24
Apr
Take the journey. Life is short. Live your dream.
6
Mar

What I learned from “We are all Weird” by Seth Godin 

I’ve been on a bit of a Seth Godin kick lately, I love his books they are short, succinct and I always get a lot out of them. We are all weird is no different. I grew up being the weird one, which was tough at times but as I’ve gotten older I have learned to truly embrace my weird. I have found that I like who I am and all that’s weird about me.

You don’t need a private plane to be rich, but you do need enough time and food and health and access to be able to interact with the market for stuff and for ideas.

True and I really don’t want to be rich… I just want to be able to have choices about what to buy and choices about how to live.

Are you confident enough to encourage people to do what’s right and useful and joyful, as opposed to what the system has always told them they have to do?

I am really moving in this direction as I have found that what we have always been taught is not always what’s best and I want to help educate people on how to live their best life ever.

A few things that really stood out to me as truths:

It’s not an accident that our instincts, expectations and biases are organized around honoring the masses.  

It determines not just what we buy, but what we want, how we measure others, how we vote, how we have kids, and how we go to war. It’s all built on this idea that everyone is the same.

However the tide has turned, and mass as the engine of our culture is gone forever.

The weird aren’t loners. They’re not alone, either. The weird are weird because they’ve foregone the comfort and efficiency of mass and instead they’re forming smaller groups, groups where their weirdness is actually expected.

The key element of being weird is this: you insist on making a choice. More choice, less mass.

  • Force one: Creation is amplified.

  • Force two: Rich allows us to do what we want, and we want to be weird.

  • Force three: Marketing is far more efficient at reaching the weird.

  • Force four: Tribes are better connected.

You need to be rich to be weird. Not Rockefeller rich, of course, but rich enough to not worry about surviving. Rich enough to care about choice.

in much of the world even the poor are rich enough to make choices, rich enough to have passions, enough to care about what they watch or what they eat.

When we give people choice, we make them richer.

I have a choice, I need to exercise it and now that I don’t feel alone it’s easier to be weird. However If you want me to buy from you, you need to acknowledge and  respect my weirdness.

We’ve been trained since birth to enforce the status quo. Our bias is to the many. To please the many. To sell to the many. To be organized to serve the many.

Surprise. The weird are now more important than the many, because the weird are the many.

If you persist in trying to be all things to all people, you will fail. The only alternative, then, is to be something important to a few people.

If you cater to the normal, you will disappoint the weird.

It’s true that we want to be part of a tribe. What’s not true is that it must be the uber tribe, the one and only mass tribe, the center of the curve. Our own little circle is in fact what we really want.

I am different and I want learn differently, think differently, and dream differently.

If only we could embrace the weird in our children, this is an area that is so ripe for change. I was the weird kid. I was homeschooled when it was relatively unheard of.. I worked hard, got stuff done and embraced my passions, I remember signing up for multiple home study courses in high school in areas that I was interested in.. and sometimes I imagine what I could have learned had I had access to the internet of today…

What are we going to do with 4 million weird kids? Every year! When a six-or seven-or eight-year-old kid is gifted at visual thinking, why do we shut her down and force her to do fractions? When a teenager wants nothing more than to organize and to solve interesting problems, why do we push him to study for the SAT instead? When the standard at a school is defined as mediocre, why don’t we celebrate and leverage the student who’s willing to push the envelope and produce heroic work?

The simple alternative to our broken system of education is to embrace the weird. To abandon normal.

It’s simple, but it’s not easy. It’s not easy because we can’t process weird. We can’t mass-produce students when we have to work with them one at a time or in like-minded groups. We can’t test these kids into compliance, and thus we can’t have a reliable, process-oriented factory mindset for the business of education. No, it’s not easy at all.

The stories of so many outliers are remarkably familiar. They didn’t like the conformity forced on them by school. Struggled. Suffered. Survived. And now they’re revered.

What happens if our schools (and the people who run them and fund them) stop seeing the mass and start looking for weird? What if they acknowledge that more compliance doesn’t make a better school, but merely makes one that’s easier to run?

My proposed solution is simple: don’t waste a lot of time and money pushing kids in directions they don’t want to go. Instead, find out what weirdness they excel at and encourage them to do that. Then get out of the way.

We are coming together. Finding each other, Embracing our weird and creating change.

Weird is everywhere you look it’s the outliers, the previously alone, who are getting together in order to reinforce their nascent movement. They’re well aware that their world doesn’t extend forever; in fact, it might not go much further than this tent they’re standing in.

It’s human nature to be weird, but also human to be lonely. This conflict between fitting in and standing out is at the core of who we are.

The weird have an obligation, too If marketers are going to cater to the edge cases, then the edge cases have to step up and spend money, speak up and get involved. Yes, they have to act a little less weird, and organize into tribes willing to engage with the outside world.

If you want marketers to make exactly what you want, you have to tell the marketers what you want.

And then keep your promise and buy something when they make it.

We have more power than ever before. We need to realize that and band together. We can change anything we want.

Tribes are groups of people aligned around an idea, a community, and a mission.

No niches. No mass. Just tribes that care in search of those who would join them or amplify them or yes, sell to them. This is not utopia, but it is our future.

We don’t like the advertising that’s not for us, not about us, not interesting to us. But talk to me, directly to me, about something relevant and personal, and I love you for it.

The challenge of your future is to do productive and useful work for and by and with the tribe that cares about you. To find and assemble the tribe, to earn their trust, to take them where they want and need to go.

The goal is find and organize and cater to and lead a tribe of people, embracing their weirdness, not fighting.

Let’s get out there and create the shift . Let’s stand together and embrace our tribe and our own brand of weird.

6
Mar
I give myself permission to go on this journey.
6
Mar
I need to remember this today as I am letting my fear stop me right now.

I need to remember this today as I am letting my fear stop me right now.

5
Mar
I really, really want a shipping container home.
Benjamin Garcia Saxe created this home using two 40 ft shipping containers. This home is located in San Jose, Costa Rica and was constructed with a $40,000 budget.

I really, really want a shipping container home.

Benjamin Garcia Saxe created this home using two 40 ft shipping containers. This home is located in San Jose, Costa Rica and was constructed with a $40,000 budget.

3
Mar

I believe the world is conspiring to do me good 

                  “I believe the world is conspiring to do me good.”

A little Monday inspiration that came from my good friend John Gardner many years ago and its making me smile today! 

This is one of my favorite quotes from him and something that I remind myself of often.

Today in particular its feels as if this is totally true.

  • Last week in my coaching session with “the guy behind the guy” we were talking about an opportunity I have identified and one of the questions that I asked was “Should I just call them and tell them that I am going to be in the area and see if I can get a meeting with them.”

  • Today I get a call from a guy that reached out to me via LinkedIn about a consulting project and the city and state that shows up is the city and state where this company is located.

  • I also was able to get a meeting with a local person who has worked for this company in the past and he reached out to me and told me he has been in touch with them recently and wants to talk, meeting is Thursday.

  • And finally many of you know that I am serious about Bikram Yoga and over the weekend I googled this (small) city to see if they have a Bikram Studio, they DO!!! #iCanMoveNow

I know there are lots of things up in there air still with this right now but damn.. this is pretty amazing.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.. I am truly enjoying this journey. #makenosmallplans

27
Feb

One of my words for 2014 is Simplify 

I want to simplify my life. I want to slow down. I want to be present in the moment. I want to breathe. I want to enjoy the simple pleasures.

As as I think about simplifying my life I have been thinking a lot about ‘stuff’… the stuff we accumulate, the stuff we feel we have to have… its all just stuff.. and I am beginning to feel like I just don’t need it anymore.

So over the last month I have been continually asking my self .. what can I get rid of what don’t I need.

This last weekend I cleaned out my storage unit at my apartment and gave away most of what was in there.

Then yesterday I was looking around my apartment and I started making another pile of stuff I don’t feel like I need.

The more I give away, the more I want to get rid of anything that is unnecessary. I am not really sure why but I came across this quote today and maybe its so I can hear the necessary speak.

I’ve read posts about people getting rid of everything they own… and I wonder could I do that? What did they keep?

Here is a list of what I would take with me if I could only take a few things with me…

My backpack with my electronics, my laptop, my ipad, my phone, solar charger, then from my kitchen I’d take all my superfoods, blender, juicer, dehydrator, my seeds, bathroom some makeup and a shavers (I may be a hippie but I still shave) toothbrush, my yoga mat, my earthing sheets and pillow, my climbing backpack and outdoor gear, some jeans, black tees, a swimsuit, yoga pants, tennis shoes..and a few books. that’s it.

I could probably fit it all in a couple of bags and boxes.. I could pick up and go almost anywhere tomorrow.

Even as I am writing this I am thinking of things that I have that I just don’t need and want to add to the pile of things to sell or give away.

Anyone want to stop over? :)

Not sure why I am going through this phase but I am open to it and its interesting to observe the feelings that I am having and going with the flow of what I am feeling.

26
Feb

What I learned at Translator Lab on Tuesday 

Tuesday was another cold day here in Wisconsin but rather than stay in bed like I wanted to do.. I got up and headed over to Translator for one of their bi-weekly lab sessions.

And I was really glad that I did because we had the opportunity to watch this video from Webstock by Mike Monteiro - How Designers Destroyed the World.

While I am not exactly a designer I got so much out of this clip.. here are just a few things that really stood out to me from Mike’s presentation.

  • We need to fear the consequences of our work more than we fear the consequences of speaking up.

  • You are responsible for the work you put into this world.

  • There is so much that we can do that we forget to ask what we should or shouldn’t do.

  • If we only tackle the issues that facebook, google and twitter are interested in acquiring when will tackle those that they aren’t.

  • Hope scales better than anything.

  • Recognize the power that we have to change things.

  • Recognize the power that we have to make things happen.

  • Recognize that with that power comes the responsibility to do it right and to do the right thing.

  • Don’t work for anyone you are afraid to say no to.

  • You are not an order taker. you are a gatekeeper. tell your client when they have a bad idea. tell them when they ask you to work in a bad way. tell them when they aren’t giving you what you need to do your job and then tell them what the right thing is.

  • No one can make you do anything you don’t want to do. no one is in charge of your actions but you.

  • Be willing to get fired.

  • You have a responsibility to yourself.

  • If you take responsibility for your work you will do better work. You will enjoy it more. You will have the respect of your clients and your colleagues.

  • And that will ultimately lead to better opportunities.

  • Remember you always have a choice.

  • The work choose to accept defines you.

  • Your portfolio just is another word for your reputation which is just another word for your integrity.

  • When I turned down a bad job, a better job appeared. Then when I finished that an even better job came after that.

  • Fear is your ego getting in the way of solutions. Get rid of your ego.

  • Destroy your fear.. you will not get every job. and you will make mistakes.

  • Get over your fear of speaking up! When something is wrong it is your responsibility to voice it.

  • Act like the expert people hired!

  • Don’t accept less than what you are worth.

And my favorite quote:

"You always have a choice. Just because you didn’t take doesn’t mean it isn’t there."

You can watch the whole video here and I recommend that you do; even if you aren’t a designer I think you can get some great learnings from it if you think about how to apply it to yourself and your industry.

25
Feb
Ask for what you want. Don’t be afraid. You deserve this. Take it if you really want it. You want this more than most people. Who stays up at night like this for a job. Go big or go home.
25
Feb
The more people you meet. The more opportunity you have.
— Katie Felten
25
Feb
If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.
— ~Maya Angelou
24
Feb

What I learned from Manage Your Day to Day 

Another book loaned to me by my friend @Jim Carlson that totally was what I needed to read with where I am at right now.

I tend to pride myself on being an organized person who gets a lot done and stays focused but I picked up several tips from this book that I think will really change how much I get done.

The Book is broken into the Four keys skill sets you must master to succeed:

  • Build a rock solid daily routine

  • Tame your tools

  • Find focus in a distracted world

  • Sharpen your creative mind

I have heard many of these things before but they really spoke to me this time around and I am going to focus on implementing them now.

  • Creative work first. Reactive work second!!
  • Limit your to do list - only schedule what will fit on a post it

  • Work on a project everyday - even if it’s only 15 min - consistency wins every time.

  • Unplug for one day a week - let your brain rest

  • Start morning pages again - write three free flowing pages first thing in the morning.

    “What I do everyday matters more than what I do once in a while”

Taking Action:

  • Stage one is sitting down and working for one hour.

  • Stage two is to repeat that the next day and the next. Can you do it for a week.

  • Stage three is to actually finish


This is so me right now:

Perfectionist - doesn’t start until there is a bunch of time to really dig in

This is what I am going to focus on:

The pragmatist puts small chunks of time time on the schedule

consistently and works on it when the time comes no matter how she is

feeling or what else needs to be done.

 

Now to get rework my calendar so I do my creative work first and to schedule things so I am doing them consistently vs trying to schedule them when I have huge chunks of time and to schedule some time off. 

22
Feb

What I learned about myself from Poke the Box… 

My friend @Jim Carlson recently loaned me Poke the Box by Seth Godin after seeing that I was going through a bit of a transition and thought that it would give me some insight into what I was going through, and WOW. It definitely spoke to me.

Below area few of the big aha’s from the book…

  • "I start stuff"
  • When can you start? Now
  • Be the initiator
  • The starting part is harder than it looks
  • It begins with the initiator, the one who begins things
  • This is my calling.
  • Stop waiting for a map. We pay people who make maps not those who follow them.
  • The biz Dev team is in charge of starting things
  • Poking doesn’t mean right, it means action
  • This might not work .. Isn’t merely something that should be
  • tolerated, it’s something that you should seek out.
  • I want a culture where a spark of initiative is valued.
  • The person who fails most usually wins
  • Keep starting until you finish
  • Be the one who starts things. Often and forever.
  • Formulating a plan is a rare and valuable skill
  • I start things. It’s my nature. It’s the only thing I know how to do.
  • So many doors are open. There is so much to leverage. If you could
  • build anything (and you can) what would you build?
  • Have you fully understood the cost of not starting?
  • Invest in starting.
  • If you’re not making a difference. It’s almost certainly because you’re afraid.

The number one thing I took away from this book is realizing: I start things. It’s my nature. It’s the only thing I know how to do.

Now to start some of those things that have been in my head for awhile that I have been afraid to do. Its time I started making a difference.

 

18
Feb
You can create any reality you want. You can change your story.