In 2012, Ivan Dynamo De Jesus set a pretty daunting goal for himself: He wanted to make $1 million.
The first year, he failed. The second year, he failed again. But by the middle of 2016 he’d done it. At 35 years old, he was a millionaire. He made the big bucks by co-founding a company that helps doctors manage their insurance contracts.
He gives a lot of credit to Action Club, a group he founded in January 2012 whose mission statement reads: “Creating a space where collectively we inspire and encourage one another to achieve our dreams.”
He thought up the idea for Action Club few days before his 30th birthday. He was feeling “depressed and stuck.”
“There were a bunch of things I wanted to do with my life” he explained. “I thought I would have done more by 30.”
He felt like he just needed a push. He started digging around online for meetups and other groups that would help him turn some of his ideas into action. When he didn’t find one he made a Meetup page.
At the first Action Club meeting, about 12 people showed up. Now, the Facebook group is more than 400 members strong. The group meets every Monday at The Lab from 7 to 9 p.m.,with roughly 20 people showing up each week.
The meeting starts with an introduction from Dynamo (the name he goes by) who cheerily greets old friends and welcomes new faces by handing them an introductory packet and a composition book. These are used to take notes and jot down out a bucket list of 150 goals they’d like to accomplish.
Dynamo’s list is 256 goals long, 70 of which he’s completed. There are things like “produce a movie” (which has a checkmark next to it), “learn to do a cartwheel” (in process), and “own a professional sports team” (also has a checkmark next to it).
Then one person kicks off the meeting by reading the group’s mission statement aloud and sharing their primary goal — the long-term goal they’ll make incremental steps working towards. It’s not going to happen overnight, and you shouldn’t expect it to, Dynamo explained.
They sit around a wooden desk on white plastic chairs. Despite the fact that they’re preparing to announce their big plans for the future — the group seems pretty calm. Most of them have done this before.
“Hi, my name is George Michael and my goal is to help my mother become more financially and emotionally stable so I can move out.”
They follow the primary goal with another, more tangible one.
“I also want to get better at rapping and write, record, and produce a rap album.”
Each person takes a turn. Then they break up into groups of five or six.
“You get time to share frustrations, achievements, and … have people listen and offer feedback,” Dynamo explained. “Everyone is a mirror for one another, you hear insecurities and it’s an opportunity for everyone to support and share what’s going on.”
These are just a few of the goals some members shared:
The meeting ends with each person defining some action items — concrete steps they will take to get closer to achieving those goals. The action steps are then posted on the larger Facebook group to hold members accountable.
Action Club has also expanded to Fort Lauderdale, started by a member of the Miami group who used Dynamo’s model. Another group recently popped up in California. One member who moved from Miami to Australia even started one there.
“It’s taken on a life of its own,” he explained. He’s happy to share the resources and offer any support he can.
“The hardest thing is to get something that’s standing still into motion — but once it’s in motion it’s just about inertia.”
And after one goal gets completed, it’s on to the next one.
Ultimately, Dynamo wants to be a full time cartoonist or storyboard artist. But for now he’s got another goal in mind:
“Becoming an extra on Game of Thrones.”