What if you played against no one? 

What if the success of your business wasn’t pegged against the best or worst in your industry?

What if you measured fulfillment instead of profit? What would that even look like?

What would it look like if you played *with* people in your industry instead of *against* them?

What if all your “competitors” were “partners”? Who would you be serving? How would you be serving them, together?

You might play until people are happy, and then keep playing. You might play until you’ve delivered the thing you want to deliver. You might play until you’re tired and don’t find it interesting anymore. You might play because it’s a good time to play right now. You might play because the people you respect and admire are playing. You might play so that your children know that they could play someday.

But figuring out what you’re playing and why you’re playing it will help settle whatever weird, nameless, blurry, aimless feeling you get sometimes.

Other kinds of games exist.

What Successful Entrepreneurs Don't Talk About

They don’t talk about the fact that sometimes you may spend hours, days, weeks trying to find or a fill a perfect market niche, and that a fit isn’t always found. And that the truth doesn’t change with your ability to stomach it.

They don’t talk about the FOMO, the anxiety, the constant self doubt, the hours spent working on confidence, self-esteem, experience — all to get the courage to take a risk.

They don’t talk about the fact that things fall through, that people let you down, that your business partner may leave, that you might — to your dismay — have to work in a group setting.

They don’t talk about how you’ll probably pull from your savings, depend on sheer luck and the grace of God at times, and learn to compose creative income strategies when push comes to shove.

They don’t talk about the fact that being a professional requires at least some sort of consistency, even if it’s a consistently messy desk.

They don’t talk about the gratitude for recognition, or the smallest word from a mentor giving them the booster seat they needed to sit at the table.

They don’t talk about the little tests they create to filter ideas or the time spent practicing pitches in the mirror.

They don’t talk about the loneliness and the fear involved with making decisions that affect others, and the consciousness it takes to accept that and not let it paralyze you.

They don’t talk about how you’re doing so much of this because what drives you is an insatiable curiosity or a hard-lined fear or an incredible passion — all of which can ultimately be reduced to *not logic*.

They don’t talk about how you’ll need to be good at psychology or finance or writing or something else that has nothing to do with business in order to be good at Business.


They don’t talk about these things, but they should.

  1. Budding entrepreneurs deserve realistic expectations 
  2. Vulnerability is the root of human connection

 

....and that last bit is what we’re all going for, isn’t it?

Art is a process of expression.

Here is a slideshow breakdown to help explain its importance in business and life.

Your input makes a difference

Have you ever wondered if your input makes a difference to the company you gave it to?

It does. 

Sometimes the face of an organization is hard to find, but it still surprises me when I tell people that the Squarespace team actually listens to what you have to say and takes real notes. Since 2008, I've sent a number of messages to the support team and have been consistently responded to with a "thanks for bringing this to our attention" or "we'll pass this on to our developers" or "we'll bring this up in our next meeting," and guess what?

They actually do. 

Everyone I've told this to has had a look of surprise and a high-pitched response of, "Really?" And, I understand that surprise.

Have we really gotten to a place where we're in disbelief that an organization can hear us? Are we so keen on the idea that companies are faceless, soulless organizations that we are numb to the truth that organizations are made up of people? And these people might even care about what we have to say? Even *gasp* listen to us at times? Are we really so shocked that they want to know about improvements or suggestions or errors or opportunities? 

If you're an organization that doesn't listen to people who care enough to say something, then you're failing miserably. And if you're a client or customer on the verge of giving feedback, give it. 

Don't nit pick like an asshole, and don't underestimate your words and waste everybody's time by saying something you wouldn't say in person–just be real with it. Say it like you're saying it to a friend. Give the company that benefit of the doubt, and let them give that benefit to you. 

This year, I've learned a lot about friendship–more than I ever have in my life. And, from an organizational standpoint, it's not just about being there in gratitude of service (an extremely important thing I strongly advocate), but also just existing in the world as a person who gives a damn. Just a little bit. Where it's not ever consuming, but is effective.

Like a real friend.

Find Your Muse

When they say, "Find Your Muse," they mean it. 

Coffee isn't one of those things that I just drink to drink. Coffee holds my muse. It flows through me and creates whatever it wants to create. If you'd like to chalk the caffeine up to a sheer chemical surge, then I suggest you do the same with Love.

 

Bloom Where You Are Planted (and Other Shit)

My childhood friend was feeling sad, so I made her this book of things she could do to feel better. It has helped a few of my awesome friends now, and at minimum put a smile on their face. Hopefully it helps you, too.

Please share this shit with your friends who might need it.

 

The Most Successful [Free] Business Marketing Secret of Our Time!

Care. Care more. Care more and you win.

That's it.

----

Thanks to Seth Godin for always reminding me.

Lessons & Other Things (So Far)

The following are Lessons & Other Things (So Far) that I found in an old document while looking for something else. However, I still found them completely relevant. Hopefully some of these serve as reminders to you. Here goes:

  • Too much information can be a bad thing.
  • Hiking is good for you.
  • The sand is beige and the grass is green, and you should have both.
  • Dogs are the best pets on earth.
  • People hide their feelings all the time.
  • Don’t try to save face.
  • Tell the truth and save the hassle.
  • Anything I set up to succeed without me is a good idea.
  • Singing in the car relieves stress.
  • Be kind to people and they’ll be kind to you.
  • Your mom has suffered more than you, because she’s older.
  • Your dad has suffered more than you, because . . . he won’t talk about it.
  • Care more about your unintentional impression than your intentional one.
  • Don’t be sad if they get the wrong impression.
  • Be understanding but pick a side.
  • Things only go gray when you cross a line.
  • Even Tim Ferriss can mess up.
  • Creating patterns out of randomness is overall a good human trait.
  • Eating your feelings can, in fact, be a form of therapy.
  • Kick your own ass.
  • Once you’re passed the point of being tired, keep going. Just kidding, you tried to rationalize something bad for yourself again.
  • OneRepublic is a pretty decent band.
  • If someone you love doesn’t pay attention to you and is by your side, just nudge their leg and fall asleep.
  • Kiss your puppy on the head. It's good for the both of you.
  • Watch movies and feel unproductive in a productive way.
  • Purposely make yourself more creative for your own benefit.
  • Go back on your judgements.
  • Be content or do something else–avoid the middle.
  • Forward useful emails.
  • Make valuable connections for people.
  • Get excited, get disappointed, and refuse to repeat the disappointing part.
  • “Thinkers never sleep, sleepers never think” is not true.
  • Soup still nourishes your soul.

Creating Best-in-Class Service

Great service begins with gratitude.

But what does gratitude begin with?

The ability to see connections.

How does that happen?

By having the proper scope of vision. 

But what gives you the proper scope of vision?

The willingness to See.

And what makes you willing to see?

 

Good question.

 

The Opportunity to Care

The Opportunity to Care

It’s normally a burden. We often wish, how can we do less of this. We sometimes even pray for us to stop doing it, to lessen its harshness, to ease its egging obligation stemming from empathy or need or desire. 

"I Love You" is a Process, and It's Not Just for People

"I Love You" is a Process, and It's Not Just for People

It’s for companies, organizations of all sizes. It’s not cyclical in the way we think about other processes. It works more like a drop of water in a still pond. It shakes things up, and at a time where business seems to be synonymous with cold, hard systems, it gives blood to an organization.

The Fear of Looking Lived

The Fear of Looking Lived

We want things to be pristine, which works great for a model home, but not so much for life.

Does Money Make You?

Does Money Make You?

Everybody knows, I love the personification of business. I love talking about an organizational emotion or feel, its value system, beliefs, culture--all those things that go beyond location but which location also influences. But a lot of businesses (not all) are measured in money. And that got me thinking about measurements. 

February Books of Choice

I'm in the middle of reading some and have yet to begin others. If you've read them, share with me your best take-aways (@tanyamoushi or via email works). If you haven't read them, you can do so now while I'm reading them. If you want notes, highlights, etc. let me know. Sometimes we learn things better by teaching others. That's a fact, actually. Disclaimer: the links below are autoconnected to Amazon Associates. If you live in Phoenix, I recommend a local book store called Changing Hands

The Rain

Someone told me that the greatest thing that ever happened to them was the rain. They said it was the only thing that made them notice the sun. 

The Beginning of Marketing Kindness

To be kind is simply to express the knowledge and conviction of a truth: that among the many varying places which exist, and generations that have come before us; that among the particular, notable time of earth and between the lives that lived before us and those arriving afterwards, it is a significant thing that we exist together, now. And by that virtue, the treatment towards one another, the interactions that naturally abound, will be bearing this fact as the foundation of action. I am compelled to recognize the sameness, and thus can’t help but hold the empathy that dwells mercilessly in me for you. 

Brian ;)

I met a stranger who is not really a stranger anymore. His name was Brian. Well actually, Brian ;) is what his name tag read, and young Brian, 23, helped change my life. Because young Brian was not afraid to be kind to people, to care about his work, to believe in his impact, to make very apparent the correct idea that little things like a winky-face smiley at the end of his name tag could make people smile, and that’s all most people needed on a tough day. 

They buried Brian on my birthday, May 17 [2013] after a hit and run by some white pick-up truck that has yet to be caught. His small interactions continue to make a big difference, even now.

And so do yours, by the way.

  

We have become masters

. . . of distraction.

We must disrupt ourselves. We must mess up the lies we’ve told, we must wreck our fears by throwing them into the abyss. We must run rampant on our comfort, leaving it bewildered behind us. We must detach the untruths--we must discover them first. We must hear the thing we wish not to hear, we must give chance to the thing we hate to watch, we must say the things we cannot say. We must drink the thing we cannot chew and swallow the thing we cannot stomach. We must break the things given to us and put them back together our own way, for it is a sin to do nothing with a gift that has been given to us and yet call it our own. 

We must disrupt everything.

 

The Most Subtle Marketing

Just check out this site. The four-slide pictures are intensely showcasing beautiful scenery with minimal subtle emphasis on the clothes. It's about the environment. the beauty of the place. Whereas most clothing sites want you to see the fabric up close and personal, the model front and center, the outfit perfectly put together, they

just want you to barely notice them.

And that's enough.

2013-05-20_2313.png

Suffering Makes Two Options Available

Option 1: Become bitter. Not a little bitter. Soul-turning, dream-resigning, disbelieving bitter. This can be, depending on the person, the much easier option. It's certainly more straightforward. It's like a switch, you turn off. But for the person whose nature it is to care, this will undoubtedly lead to (you guessed it) more suffering. It seems so easy doesn't it? You hurt?? Stop caring and you'll be fine. Well isn't that the greatest advice you've ever heard. Care, by all means. But don't care to become bitter. Care to become better.  

Option 2: Be creative. Turn it into a creative force. I know that sounds borderline ignorant to the suffering in the first place, but, the truth is that this is the moment you have no shame. This is the moment you have time. This is the moment you have you (whether you like you or not). So do something with you. 

At the end of the day, the people who suffered Hurricane Sandy or a broken heart or a painful mourning (quite sure we each have gone through--or are going through--at least 2/3 of these) who can do something, will do something. I'm pretty sure bitter people don't help re-plant trees in their town.

Just saying.