Life Posts

What Have You Found?

In the video above you can watch my three-year-old daughter Adelyn tell me the story of the witch she recently saw at a store. I’m obviously a bit biased, but I think she’s adorable. It’s only a few minutes to watch it (and I’d encourage you to stop and do that before you read on), but the point is that she really wants me to go to the store and see this witch myself.

And so, a few days later I went to see the witch with Adelyn. Notice her face in this photo.

Adelyn and the witch

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When Does Your Passion Become Official?

When Does Your Passion Become Official?

I can feel an anxious excitement brewing inside me. As I write this I have slightly more than a month left until my second book hits the shelves. It’s called Redeeming Pleasure, and I’d love to have you read it and spread the word about it. Here’s a bunch of really nice things some incredible people said about it.

For a lot of people, it will be their first exposure to my writing.

But it’s not my first book.

I wrote that book back in 2012. My first book was a labor of love and didn’t always work out the way I envisioned. I tried to find numerous publishers for it but couldn’t. I was told all sorts of discouraging “facts” in the process. My idea was bad, my writing was bad, my platform was bad, etc. Instead of not writing it, or holding onto for years, I instead self-published it. It was met with very moderate success (a nice way of saying it won’t do anything to help me put my kids through college). But it was one of those things I felt like I had to do no matter what results it brought. It was a subject geared at a very niche audience. But it was a book I felt I had to write.

Ever had a feeling like that?

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Sonder: The Realization that Everyone Has a Story

One of the people I work with sent me a link to a very cool video series. It’s called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. It’s a bit of a bizarre name but an incredible idea. The creator makes up new words to describe unique parts of everyday life. Some of them are moving, some thought-provoking, some even a bit sobering. But they each capture the essence of what it means to be human and are thus beautiful in their own regard.

Above you can watch the video for the word “sonder,” which according to John Koenig represents the realization that everyone has a story. I love what this video highlights as it reminds us that although we see ourselves as the main protagonist of every moment in our lives, we are but a character in the stories of everyone around us. Do we care about their stories? Do we embrace the part we can play not in our world, but in the story of others?

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Not Responsible For Road Debris

Not Responsible For Road Debris

I was driving on a freeway this week when I noticed the sign on the back of this truck: “Not responsible for road debris.” That’s obviously there as some legal loophole to help prevent the company from being sued. But it got me thinking of how this might play out in a real situation.

Imagine you are driving behind said truck when it hits a bump and a giant piece of something flies up and over the back. Right into your windshield. You begin swerving madly to maintain control of your vehicle and both you and the truck pull off on the next exit. After finding a safe place to stop you get out to see the damage firsthand. You realize you are lucky to be alive. Another few inches and it would have impaled you. However, your car isn’t so lucky. The entire front of it is a mess and you can’t picture it living to drive another day.

Your heart pumps furiously. You stare in disbelief. Once your adrenaline finally levels out, you look over to see the driver of the truck standing next to you. Without saying a word, you give him “the look.” In response to your intense stare he simply asks you a question: “Didn’t you see my sign?”

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Being Mentored by Seth Godin

Being Mentored by Seth Godin

I was able to see something I had been doing for years in a new light this week. This new insight was as a result of having the privilege to be mentored by Seth Godin. You are likely familiar with Seth’s brilliance from one of his many bestselling books.

Here’s the particular issue we were working to improve. For many years I’ve had an email subscription on my blog (see the signup box at the bottom of this post). Those tend to be my more committed readers who want to personally receive an email each day I have a new post. As those of you who receive that email know, you don’t actually receive the entire post in the email. This is intentional. Otherwise, you’d never need to go to my blog. Then, I wouldn’t get any of the traffic stats for my site.

As a result, I send out an email to a committed network of people with the first paragraph or so of a post. Then, I hope they click the link to read the full post on my site. In tracking the numbers of this, it’s a minority that actually do this with each post. But, that’s what the logic of the day tells you to do to help your blog.

Seth caused me to ask the question like this: Would I rather have more traffic on my blog (but less people actually read what I write), OR, would I rather have less traffic on my blog (but more people actually read what I write)?

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Unprepared

Unprepared: Is there anything worse we can say about you and your work? But the word means two things, not just one. There is the unprepared of a final exam, of forgetting your lines, of showing up to a gunfight with a knife—this is the unprepared of the industrial world, the unprepared of being an industrial cog in an industrial system, but a cog that is out-of-whack, disconnected, and poorly maintained. What about the other kind, though? We are unprepared to do something for the first time, always. We are unprepared to create a new kind of beauty, to connect with another human in a way that we've never connected before. We are unprepared for our first bestseller or for a massive failure unlike any we've ever seen before. We are unprepared to fall in love and to be loved. We are unprepared for the reaction when we surprise and delight someone, and we are always unprepared for the next breakthrough. We've been so terrified into believing in the importance of preparation that it's spilled over into that other realm, the realm of life where we have no choice but to be unprepared.

Seth Godin