Archive for the ‘Balanced Life’ Category

Breaking a daily ritual

November 12th, 2013

I’m starting to realize that sometimes I do things purely out of ritual. I can’t even explain why I do certain things, nor do I even necessarily want to do them. I refer to this as ritual, but I guess in some cases it could also be called addiction.

For me, my big ritual is coffee multiple times a day. Even though I’m a snob when it comes to coffee, I’ll drink bad coffee purely because it’s there and it’s a part of the ritual. Get up, go have coffee, read, go to work. After lunch, it continues with iced coffee, sometimes multiple cups.

The times that I’ve worked to stop drinking coffee aren’t because I don’t want to drink it anymore. I just want to break the ritual. I’ve had the same thing with beer. It would be better to enjoy a craft brew in moderation when I feel like it or with a special friend versus having one at the end of every work day just because that’s what I feel the need to do.

I’m not saying that ritual is always a bad thing, but it’s good to understand why we do things, and it’s good not to be controlled by things we consume. I guess it comes down to everything in moderation.

What are your rituals? Do you feel comfortable with them or are you working towards moderation?


December 12th, 2011

My TEDx Irvine talk “Transition”.
Special thanks to the TEDx team for asking me to speak and for putting on an amazing event. If anyone has ever wanted to know what’s in my heart, this talk is as transparent as I’ve ever been about where I want to go.

Slow and steady wins the race

June 16th, 2011

I’ve said many times that I believe “slow and steady wins the race.” In a world driven by profits and self preservation, I think we’ve lost sight of paying attention to the toll this pursuit can have on our relationships.

Over the past two years, I’ve had some amazing things happen and it’s been a bit of a reward to feel like I’ve always leaned towards relationships first. It’s not that I don’t want profits, it’s that I don’t think you have to give up relationships to get profits, unless you’re trying to get them too quickly. I would much rather build a strong business over time and have some great friendships along the way than step on people to get to the top.

I don’t believe we can be truly profitable at the expense of others. We’ve certainly seen this to be true when companies like Enron do anything and everything to appease shareholders only to crash in the end. I’m pretty sure if we looked into the history books, we would see the same model played out over and over again.

I got a touching email last week that included the line, “Honestly dude, you are one of the few people I’ve met in my life that I can without hesitation say that you deserve every good thing that comes your way.” Humbling comment for sure, but it also made me realize and even enjoy a bit of vindication that you can be a good guy in business and still do okay.

I’m reminded by the great quote from Zig Ziglar who said, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

As for me, I’ll continue helping and believing that “slow and steady wins the race.”

Lesson 4 from going large: Sometimes you have to suck it up.

February 25th, 2011

Taking my year-end large project was a contradiction of sorts. I’ve spoke numerous times about only working with clients who are a good fit and how you should work with clients with whom you can do your best work. Generally, I still believe that. But I also believe that sometimes you have to suck it up… Continue reading at CFC blog >

Lesson 3 from going large: Know Your Resets

February 24th, 2011

Being on a deadline doesn’t mean giving up on the idea of a balanced life. Sure, there are times in our business when we have to buckle down and put in the hours, but I think it’s important to not let that become the new normal. It’s easy to come off a large project, dive right in to another project and forget to take a breath and find those resets… Continue reading on the CFC blog >

Lesson 2 from going large: One Point Of Contact

February 23rd, 2011

This seems like a no-brainer, but enforcing the “one point of contact” rule with a larger project/client can be a little tricky. Maybe it’s due to the complexity of the project or just the nature of the client’s organization. But no matter the size, having everything go through one person can make things easier… Continue reading at CFC Blog >

Lesson 1 from going large: Always time for process

February 22nd, 2011

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: There isn’t enough time to do it right, but there’s always enough time to do it over. I think the same applies to process. For certain things, order is king.

Because of the deadline on my large project, I sort of decided to just throw my process out the window and start working. Big mistake. This lead to many false starts, some misunderstandings with the client and the need to redo parts of the project because the direction was incorrect…. Continue reading over on the CFC blog >

Lessons learned from going large (part 1)

February 21st, 2011

I’ve been MIA from blogging and a lot of things lately, mainly because I landed a large project at the end of last year that carried into January.

Traditionally, I don’t see myself as a project guy, but 2010 was not a great year numbers-wise. Taking on this project gave me an opportunity to make up some ground on those pesky financial goals of mine.Continue Reading on the CFC Blog >

The New Salary Guide

October 19th, 2010

There have been some interesting articles lately about salary and how it relates to happiness. This is a topic that has been debated for years and will likely be talked about for years to come. It was talked about in TIME (read) and also this post from the Wall Street Journal (read)

I think one of the ways to put this all into perspective is to ask what you’re sacrificing to get where you want to be. And take a look at this list of do’s and don’ts; I think we all have to sacrifice to be successful, but let’s make sure we’re sacrificing the right things.

Do sacrifice –
Pride: Sometimes pride must be sacrificed for a brighter future. You may need to wait tables or work a job you don’t like in order to create that space to succeed later. Pride can also get in your way when it comes to asking for help or advice. I wish I was quicker to humble myself sometimes and ask for that advice. How often has pride lead to destruction? Think about it.

Instant gratification: It’s so easy to have things now, to just charge it and worry about debt later. But I think we would all agree that the stress of debt can be unending. Some of this could be unavoidable, sure, but most things we can live without. This is a hard one for me, but something I’ve committed to work on. Everything about our society tells us we can have it now, so why wait? But imagine what your life would be like without any debt.

Some of what you have: No matter how much or little you have, being a generous person will lead to a better life and sense of well-being.

Don’t sacrifice –
Your health: I know it takes hard work to be self-employed. But once you start sacrificing your health, you’re headed for a crash. It’s simply not worth it and won’t help you in the end.

Your relationships: I’ve been blessed with so many wonderful relationships. I certainly could have been more ‘business-like’ in some of my dealings and went for the option that made more money, but I’m just not willing to do that at the cost of relationships. I believe what Zig Ziglar said to be true, “You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Morals: This should go without saying. But in an era of shady bank dealings, corporate scandals and political cover-ups, it seems like we’ve lost our morals sometimes. The truth is, even if something goes unnoticed, you will feel the repercussions of poor choices in some way or another down the road. It’s just not worth it.

What are some things you are and aren’t willing to sacrifice for that extra coin?

How to keep up with digital content.

September 1st, 2010

I promised in an earlier post that I would share my system and my favorite tools for keeping up with my reading of digital goods such as blogs, articles, e-news, etc.

For blogs.
I love Google Reader. It works really well on all of my devices (laptop, iPhone, iPad) and stays in sync regardless of where I access it. Within Google Reader, I use folders to keep things organized. I have a folder for “must read” stuff like things related to clients. Then I have folders such as Marketing, News, Business, Friends and Design Inspiration. Finally, I have a cluster called Waste Time. This serves as a home for those wacky sites that I simply enjoy looking at when I want to zone out, sort of like that time spent watching TV.

A couple of things about reading blogs. First, accept that you can’t keep up and don’t feel like you have to read every post as it’s written. I block out a certain amount of time each day and read whatever I can during that time. This is where a good headline helps since I skim those first and decide what I might like to read. I will also star items when looking on my phone and come back to read those later. Second, if you find that you’re never reading posts from a certain blog or feed, just unsubscribe. Too often, I’ve hit the “mark all as read” button over and over again only to finally realize that I just don’t read that particular blog anymore. It’s fine. You can always unsubscribe and reconnect later. But don’t you dare unsubscribe from my blog.

For e-news.
I created a separate “read” email address where I direct all e-newsletters and other things I want to read later. During my morning reading time, I simply pull one or two things out that I want to read. Blog rules apply here too. If you’re always deleting e-news stuff without reading it, go unsubscribe. You can always sign up again later.

For others.
I send links, articles and other things I want to read or look at to that same “read” email address. Once I’ve read it, I will either bookmark it, save it to a job folder or simply hit delete.

Having a stack of stuff to read is nice, but only when you realize you don’t have to keep up. Most of things I read don’t expire right away. That marketing article is just as good a week from now as it is now. At the end of day, you have to find what works for you.

P.S. Another reason I love my iPad is that I can read all of the above items along with my books, Facebook and Twitter all in one place. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the iPad is the perfect device for consuming content…not that I’m trying to sell you one or anything.