Last week I met Jon Swanson for the first time in person. We’ve been friends over Twitter for a couple years. Yes, those relationships can happen, yes they can be good. This one is a home run. About a year ago, he started talking about the importance of routines. He even wrote about a book about routines. I’m very fond of conversations and initiatives that involve routine, discipline, planning and the likes. After my meeting this morning I jumped on to Twitter and came across a tweet from John about working from home. The post by Joelle was a great read. It reminded me that routines aren’t he enemy. Don’t hold freedom and flexibility so high that we think routines will get in the way.
I’m traveling the same road as Joelle, trying to figure out my daily routine when some days I have meetings, some days I work at my favorite Starbucks, some days there’s nothing like my home office. But it’s worth examining how routines fit into our daily or even weekly flow.
Last night I got to finally meet Jon Swanson. I was introduced to Jon when I was following Chris Brogan and he tweeted about not being a spiritual guy, but he reads 300 Words a Day (following Jesus). That intrigued me. I started following Jon’s blog and I’ve been reading it ever since. Jon and I have tweeted back and forth a bit and even started emailing last spring regarding one of my blog posts. His writing has always challenged me with the ease in which he crafts and presents his words, really his voice.
You can imagine my joy when Jon tweeted a few weeks ago that he’d be driving past Madison and was hoping we could make time for dinner or coffee. We made the arrangements and last night Katie and I met Jon and Nancy at the El Dorado Grille for dinner. We chatted for over two hours so we went next door to Ground Zero for some decaf coffee to end our evening. I’m documenting this on my blog because it was wonderful to meet a (Twitter) friend in person. This is the world many of us live in these days, and I love it. Additionally, I’m writing this to put a rock down and mark this moment as significant for me professionally. Jon asked me some pointed questions about my writing and my routines that have sparked tremendous creative thoughts over the last 24 hours. They’re not all fleshed out, I suppose I’ve only scratched the surface. But I’m thankful tonight for meeting a mentor of mine, a pastor of mine for the first time.
Welcome to 2014. I’m excited for the newness of the season and the energy of moment. As many people do this time of year, I’ve spent a great deal of time reflecting on the past, planning for the future. After all, life is a series of adjustments. My last post was an epic recounting of 2013 and I am very proud of what I captured and what I published. But the year also ended with a thought that maybe it’s possible to capture too much.
Mark Batterson was one of the first folks I followed as a blogger. When I realized I wanted to write, he was doing it already and he was doing it well. Now just about everyone blogs. Not true. But it feels like I connect with very influential and motivational people who all blog. There’s something to be said for processing life, events, thoughts through words. The transparency and the discipline are beautiful.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about family and legacy. I’ve been thinking about the next season of my life. That has included a lot of story-telling, as husband & father and as an education consultant. Then I stumbled on this short vignette from Batterson: Why I Write.
The first Kickstarter campaign I ever supported was for Donald Miller’s movie adaptation for Blue Like Jazz. I hardly knew what Kickstarted was back then. The second one was for PressGram by John Saddington. This one is pretty cool because I get to be a beta tester for the photo app he’s building.* Anyway, I don’t do Kickstarter campaigns a lot. Additionally I don’t ask a lot on this blog. But I’m going to combine those two and ask (hard!) that you support a Kickstarter campaign that I think you’ll really enjoy.
Are you an entrepreneur? Are you trying to figure out the next season of your life? Are you feeling the urge to do something big – personal or professional, but need that extra motivation to get you over the hump? I think Shaun King’s book “100 Life Goals” will be a significant catalyst to get you to that next level. Shaun is a in my top 10 reads on Twitter. The guy is just hitting the ball out of the park. He used to be a pastor and has been doing a lot of digital online work as a “Techie-Humanitarian.” How cool is that?!
Shaun is writing a book and the guy has the experience to put some awesome thoughts on that paper. It will be worth the read.What does Shaun do? He started this organization called HopeMob. You know flash mobs, right? Well he said we need to take that “mob” mentality when disaster strikes and do good! So when those tornadoes ravaged through Oklahoma… he was on Twitter all night pushing people to give through his organization. And 100% of the money goes to the cause. I gave that night. Because Shaun is a difference maker.
I just gave to the Kickstarter campaign and here’s what I’m asking you. Please consider joining our team. I’m hoping to get 25 of my friends to do this. Hey, you get a book! If you support this project, read the book, and don’t like it – I’ll buy it back from you! I’ve never done anything like this, but when you see the good people in life, you jump on board and help when help is needed. And we need your support.
Thanks for reading. I hope the links provide some good insight into what Shaun is doing. You know how to reach me if you have any questions or comments. And now – be a Kickstarter!
* You can see my experiments with Pressgram in the menu bar (far right) on this blog. More about Pressgram later.
* You can see my experiments in the menu bar (far right) on this blog. More about Pressgram later.
Sometimes I get to blog just about personal life things that I’ve enjoyed. 2012 was a fun year and brought many new things to life – some planned, others unexpected. Here’s a list of a few of them. I’m blogging this for my own memories, but I hope you can find some value also.
Jon write at 300WordsaDay and he is the one blogger I read daily. He writes about following Jesus in 300 words per day – brilliant. Short posts but they cause me to reflect and think deeply about my faith.
Workout Gear: TRX
I did a project for a grad class this semester where we looked at the biomechanical analysis of the TRX. The TRX is suspension training and my research reminded me how efficient and challenging this workout can be. For our class, the professor built a quick make-shift TRX so we could work with it. His craftsmanship inspired me so I’ll be building my own this season.
Phone: iPhone 5
I couldn’t resist. I was due for an upgrade and a couple weeks ago I got the latest Apple phone. My main reason was that Katie requires higher megapixels on our pics since she uses them for calendars and photo books, and my iPhone 4 wasn’t cutting it. It’s a wonderful upgrade.
New Project: Sorin’s photo book
Katie has been making photo books each year for our kids as gifts to my mom. This year I jumped in on the fun and did all of Sorin’s book. I had so much fun! And now Katie and I are working together to revamp how we organize our pictures so we can do these books easier and more often. What a fun project.
Start-up business: 8Bit
My blog runs on Standard Theme, a product of the guys at 8Bit. John Saddington and his crew do great work, they’re fun to watch as a team, and they are a pleasure to work and talk with on Twitter. I find a lot of inspiration from these guys.
News feed: Zite
One thing I do every morning while eating breakfast is check Zite. It’s an iPad app that puts together various feeds of news based on categories I choose. Then when I read or star certain items, Zite gets even better at providing relevant news.
Lists/Groups: Facebook and Twitter
I was so much more productive this year b/c I was able to filter out my Twitter and Facebook feeds using lists. I get very annoyed at people who complain that there’s too much on the social media sites. The fact is a little discipline and you can make the social networks work for YOU. I’m spending part of my winter break slimming down the lists even more for 2013.
Notebook: Moleskin and Evernote
I’m a hoarder, I admit it. But with Evernote, that’s not a problem. I literally keep my life in Evernote. But you can never get away from analog writing, planning, drafting. So that’s where the Moleskin notebook comes in. I’m almost to the point where the two are perfectly in sync. But that’s just me.
Business tool: Fit411
I had a fantastic conversation with Briana from Salus this semester and concluded that her software has so much potential to advance my business. I’ll stop here b/c you probably don’t care. Again remember, this is more for me than you.
Though they had quite the PR debacle at the end of the year regarding their terms of service, Instagram was a ton of fun this year. It’s amazing how well a picture can tell a story and how creative these pictures can be. I’ve enjoyed looking back at my Instagram feed from the year. (there were a lot of coffee and espresso references)
There you have it! These favorites from 2012 don’t represent everything from the year. These are essentially just the things that have come to mind at the end of the year. Probably what’s more important than looking back is looking forward. That’s what will happen later this week when I write about my 3 words for the new year. Having a great year is all about goals, not resolutions.
How about you? What are a few of your favorite things from 2012?
A few weeks ago I announced that I was donating my birthday and my participation in Madison half marathon to a great cause. My friend Jon Jordan has a son with Sturge-Weber syndrome and they have been in support of scientific research for years. Jon has created an annual golf outing to raise money. But my golf game is so bad – so I did what I do best: run! The half marathon is always the weekend of my birthday, so I decided to combine the two in an effort to raise money for the Sturge-Weber Foundation.
I am happy to report that $140 came in over the two weeks of my running. I ran Madison half marathon and then went to Iowa for their distance classic, the Dam to Dam. There was a little birthday celebration for me and a little more money came in, so I couldn’t be happier.
I asked for birthday presents. I asked for donations for my training efforts. These two components weren’t all that significant. And truth be told, when researching these extremely complicated diseases $140 doesn’t go very far. But it’s $140 that wasn’t in the bank until my friends and family stepped up to support me. I firmly believe it’s little efforts like these that allow us to grow and mature as humans, to see the importance and value in the world outside our little sphere. Thank you so much for reading this blog post, and if you donated thanks again for your support. There’s plenty of bad press out there, there’s plenty of selfish motives in our every day lives. Let’s continue to find little opportunities to make a difference and lift each other up.
Last week I announced that I am going to be running races this year for the benefit of others – and I’m asking you to join the team. I’ve always admired athletes (and celebrities) who take their platform and leverage it for great causes. I’m not a celebrity, so let’s call me an athlete. I’ve competed in four half marathons and three full marathons. That qualifies as an athlete, right?
What I’m asking is for you to consider a donation *of any value* to my training this year. Actually, the first session will be as I train for Madison Half Marathon on May 29. Here’s all you have to do:
Decide what you want to pledge
Comment on this blog that you’re joining my team (do not disclose numbers)
Donate to my PayPal account when I email you further instructions OR donate to World Vision and I’ll take your word for it.
Sound like a deal? Obviously 100% of the money you pledge will go directly to our charitable organization. None of the money will be used for my training. I hope this campaign builds some momentum so that it affects my training. No matter how many people join or how much money we raise, I know my training will benefit knowing that our efforts and our money are going to help children. One thing I know for sure: children are in need, and World Vision is one of the best organizations helping the cause. Katie and I each support a child from World Vision – we have for over four years. This money will be donated as a one-time gift to support the Clean Water Fund.
Thanks for considering joining my team. If you think someone else you know may be interested in joining, please use the buttons below this post to share the love. I’m always available for comments or questions.
On Friday I’ll be shipping a new website for H&H Arborists. It’s been a fairly big project because I’ve worked with two programmers and a photographer. I’m acting more as an executive producer, but I’m ok with that. I received the latest copy tonight and I’ve been working on our last round of adjustments for a couple hours. I’m so excited to go live with this site.
Shipping is important for small businesses and creative people. I ship blog posts about twice a week. I try to ship interesting things on Twitter (which posts to Facebook, to some people’s dismay). But what I’ve realized is that successful people need to ship. Shipping just means putting out quality product. Some people think it should be perfect. I think it should be a work in progress. Of course you always want it to be excellent, but don’t wait for perfect. Is anyone perfect? You’ll find a laundry list of failures when you look closely at any “successful” company.
Shipping gets it out the door and into the hands of people to use it. You can always make adjustments, right? When Tom sent me this last draft tonight, I learned a ton about things I should have thought through. So I’ll make some adjustments and ship on Friday as planned. It will be a huge sense of accomplishment and the learning will continue as I mess with the site more and help it evolve.
Do you ship? Do you create? Blogging is a great way to ship. Twitter is easy because you can grab other people’s important Tweets and retweet. Do you have a book in you? You could write the first chapter and I’d help you get it online for the world to see.
Think about what you have to offer and make a plan to ship by next Wednesday. You thought I’d say Friday, didn’t you. Ship Wednesday – because you can.
In the digital culture of today, we have the ability to co information as if we’re drinking from a fire hose. I know because I live it. If I’m not very careful with my time and boundaries, I could sit in front of this computer for hours at a time. The problem is that it would all be good stuff, really good information. My Twitter list called “Thinkers” could keep you chasing links for at least three hours per day. My Facebook friends are constantly busy and seeing their pictures and updates with family and friends could fill another afternoon. Then there’s my RSS feed. Leadership, business, fitness, Chritianity, commentary. It’s all there. And like I said, it’s all good.
Consuming information these days is very easy. We subsribe to things and we don’t even have to chase them anymore – they come to us because we’ve asked for them. This is very good. But this can be very overwelming and a complete distraction if it’s not managed properly.
I subscribe to these sources of information because I know they are what sharpen my thinking and challenge my decision making as I navigate work, family, leadership, and growing as a man. Have I mentioned these are all good? But when I consider managing this overflow of information, I think of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, specifically Big Rocks. The idea here is this: if you’re going to appropriately fill your schedule (or in this case pick and choose which information to read and which to ignore) you must fill your schedule with the big rocks first, and then fill in the little rocks where there’s room. I simply can’t read every Tweet, look at every friend’s Facebook status, and read all the RSS blog posts. It’s obviously impossible. So I must be disciplined enough to find the important items and focus on those. The ‘good’ items have to come second to the ‘great’ ones.
It’s easy to consume information. And it’s good to consume information. Great and successful people are life long learners and spend their time appropriately. But consuming information is only the first step. What then do we do with all the information?
Thursday I’ll be talking about what we do with all this information we consume. How does our creativity flow out of what we’ve learned.