Yesterday was the day. The day of the Club Penguin shut down. Expected for weeks, possibly even months, it still was a rough day at our house. Our almost 15 year old daughter has had her account for nearly 10 years, and our 8 year old son has had his for nearly half of his life. Because of their age difference, it was one of the few things they two of them still do together.
It was also the day that I let go a well loved member of the Kildal Services team.
My son took the Club Penguin shut down the hardest.
As I was talking to him, I mentioned that he didn’t really play it all that often any more; he replied that it was the first game he’d ever played and “what got him into video games.”
When I brought up that he’d had weeks, months even, to prepare for this day, he told me: “I know, but TODAY is the day that it happens. It’s not any easier because I knew.”
I couldn’t help but think about the parallels the Club Penguin shut down had to my situation. The person I let go got me “into” aspects of my business I wouldn’t have without that relationship. I’ve known for weeks, even months, that the working relationship was nearing it’s end.
After we’d recorded his last session before Club Penguin shut down forever at midnight, and grabbed some screen shots of my daughter’s house, I reminded them both that now we’ll always have those memories.
After the kids went to bed, I started thinking about how hard it is to let things and people we care about go; how each time we do, the choices we make about how to handle it and how we carry that hurt become pieces of the people we are.
This morning, I made a list of the valuable lessons I learned from that team member – both about my business and about myself – so that I can keep those memories, too.
I had sort of crappy day the other day, and was in a rather pissy mood and was not making things better by reading one after the other of what successful business owners do every damn day. As I read each list, I thought: “Nope. Don’t do that. Also? Not that. Aaaand I’ve never done that.”
I decided to write my own list of things that I sometimes do, yet still manage to be rather successful.
Here it is:
Forget to take a shower until 2p, if I remember at all
Eat what’s left on one of my kids’ plates for dinner
Don’t get all of my work done because I get too caught up in that one Law & Order where Stabler loses his temper
Stay up WAY too late, setting up goodies in Neko Atsume to lure Lady Meow Meow to visit
Check email every 3 minutes, because I can’t focus
Bitch about having to wake up in the morning, and then ask my husband if we can just lay around all day
Get seriously jealous of my cats when I see them laying around all day
Feel an enormous sense of satisfaction as I cross off things on my To Do list at the end of the day… And then add them to tomorrow’s To Do list
Send at least 3 selfies throughout the day, of whatever I’m doing at that moment, to my friend Richard
Sorry… I got sucked into another episode of Law & Order, I can’t remember number 10… Maybe something about using QuickBooks Online?
My point here is the one I try to remind everyone when they get down on themselves about not being as productive as they think they should be every waking minute.
On occasion, I consider getting nothing done a very successful day.
It’s important to have goals, and to bust your ass to reach them. It’s important to be a successful business owner, because otherwise, what’s the point? But sometimes? It’s also important to not be productive every second of every day, and just eat ice cream* for lunch, standing in the middle of your kitchen.
*Gelato can also be defined here as a very successful standing-in-your-kitchen lunch.
Last month, I ran across this article: “24 daily habits that will make you smarter“, and I since I ask my husband at least once a week if he remembers when I used be smart*, back before we had kids, I thought I’d try it.
I wasn’t sure if the article was saying that I needed to do ALL 24 of these things every day, or just a few, so I decided to do what I do and just go all in and do them all.
Or, you know, try to… So here’s how it went.
1. Come up with 10 new ideas every day. Really? REALLY? Do you have any idea how hard this is to do EVERY SINGLE DAY? With 2 kids, a rental property to maintain, a household to manage, 2 businesses to run… Man. I have a LOT of shit going on, okay? By the 3rd day, my “new ideas” were centered around how I could incorporate my kids’ Snackeez in dinner prep.
Ten new ideas. New.
2. Follow your questions. Which questions should I follow? The one I ask myself 4000 times a day: “Where did I leave my phone?” or the ones I ask my kids: “How many times do I have to tell you guys to throw away your mini muffin wrappers/not to eat ice cream for lunch when I’m doing a webinar/flush the toilet when you’re done?” And do I really want to see where they take me, if I do follow them?
3. Play devil’s advocate. I think almost every person that knows me would encourage me to NOT do this on a daily basis. That being said, oh hells yes, I upped my game on this. Pretty sure I’m approaching genius levels because of it.
See what I’m saying? I PAID to have this photo taken.
4. Read a chapter in a book. I have a hard time reading just a chapter. My books are my trophies, and I’ve been known to read a book in day and can often be heard saying: “Just let me finish this chapter and then I’ll make dinner/come to bed/take you to school/insert whatever other important thing someone is asking me to do here.” Right now I’m reading this, just some light, fun summer reading!
5. Watch educational videos instead of TV. Law and Order counts as educational, right?
6. Read the newspaper. Believe it or not, I love reading the paper. We recently let our newspaper (yes! real paper, delivered to our house) subscription lapse and have been reading online. I sort of miss getting the paper, but I’m finding I’m reading a wider variety of news sources now that we don’t get it. But I won’t give up real books. You can’t make me.
7. Check in with your favorite knowledge sources. I do this via social media and a fair amount of texting/instant messaging. Quite a few of them are via Twitter and some other online forums, but I find that working from home, this is one way to also stay in touch with other life forms besides my cats and my kids 🙂
8. Share what you learn with other people. Considering it’s summer vacation for my kids, and they’re the “other people” I spend most of my time with, I try to do this every day. I’ll just say, it’s super awesome to be completely ignored
9. Apply what you learn. Well, what’s the point in learning something, if you’re not going to DO anything with it??
11. Start a “Stop Doing” list. I did not do this one time. Not once. I thought it was a horrible idea. See #10.
12. Write down what you learn. Well, duh. If I don’t write it down, then I forget that shit approximately 11 seconds after I learn it.
13. Stimulate your mind. This I found to be very generic. Isn’t that just… life?
14. Take online courses. Does teaching them count?
15. Talk to someone you find interesting. I tend to find most people are interesting in some way, if you just shut up for a few minutes and listen to what they have to say.
16. Subscribe to feeds of interesting information. This one was easy. Medium is fun, Product Hunt usually has a few cool things. I like to read The Next Web, find that Refinery29 can be a delightful timesuck, and I’m a huge reddit lurker.
17. Play “smart” games. I love board games. We love some of the games from when I was little, Stay Alive is a big favorite here. And I just bought this, as politically incorrect and unsmart as it is, it cracks me up every time – my kids, notsomuch. Words With Friends is smart, right?. Peggle probably doesn’t count. I also play 2048, I’m not sure if it’s smart, but holy f**kballs, it’s addicting and if you just downloaded it, you’re welcome and I’m sorry.
18. Use a word-of-the-day app. I’m calling it: Words With Friends has a word of the day, so I get to cross this off my list.
19. Do something scary. I didn’t do this EVERY day, but I’ve done it once a week for the last 4 weeks. I launched my training program. I’ve laid open how we run Kildal Services to train my StacyKAcademy attendees on our tools and processes. Terrifying.
20. Explore new areas. New areas of what? My basement? My psyche? I did both, and I’m cool on exploring both for a while, thankyouverymuch.
21. Hang out with people who are smarter than you. I’ve been doing this all summer. I happen to think both my kids are far more intelligent than I am, and it’s absolutely fascinating to watch how their minds work.
22. Set aside some time to do nothing. Hahahahahahahahahahaha
23. Adopt a productive hobby you can practice on a daily basis. My hobby this summer has been perfecting the homemade slip and slide.
This is v2. The final version is reusable and has shower curtain grommets so the stakes don’t rip the plastic.
It’s killing our grass, which is bumming out my husband.
According my 13 year old, the dead grass, visible from space was “Totally worth it.” I’m pretty sure that 30 Helens agree**.
24. Exercise and eat a healthy diet. This, I do not to be smarter, but because I’m almost 41 and I have no freaking choice. I feel like I’m dying if I eat anything that is remotely unhealthy and if I don’t exercise, I sort of start to lose my mind. #goodtimes
So there you go. I found some of this ridiculous, some of it helpful, some of fun. Mostly, there’s just no way to do ALL 24 of these every day. I think picking a few is a good plan to create some balance, but as for getting smarter? I’m going to say not one bit. I still lose my phone 4000 times a day, and yesterday, I told my niece: “I’ll leave the booster seat here, so you can bring Arik home.”
Then I immediately walked out the door and did not leave the damned booster seat. It took all of 7 seconds for me to forget to do that. So, there’s that.
*It’s true, I SWEAR, I was really smart. And I use to totally remember… stuff.
**That’s a Kids in the Hall reference.
A few weeks ago, I was out in the woods, listening to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, and the interview was with Hank Azaria. He was talking about something his psychiatrist taught him – the Principle of Validation.
As someone that has historically tended to immediately finish a webinar, or a speaking engagement – or just any regular day – and just focus on all the things that I totally fucked up and then obsess for days about all of those things, I instantly fell in love with this idea.
It’s ridiculously simple.
First: acknowledge yourself for the good things you did. Not just something like “I did that batch reclassify demo really well” but also acknowledge the fact that you even did it, that you’re doing something. You’re out there trying to make things better for people somehow. (And yeah, it’s okay to be making money while you’re doing that.)
Then there’s the Principle of Correction. You take a little bit of time, to go over the stuff you screwed up; you get to review (relive?) them no more than 3 times, then imagine how you’ll do better the next time.
And then that’s it. You move on to the next thing in your life.
Holy shitballs… this takes practice. Lots of practice.
I tell my coaching clients to start using the things I teach them using baby steps. Start by using the client email format with all your current clients. Use the new engagement letter to renew an existing client. For the next implement the QuickReview™ process. Eventually you have this great system that all works together.
That’s what I decided to do with the Principle of Validation. Baby steps. I started with something simple, and something I know is not one of my strongest points: doing a prospect call back.
The next time I had to do a call with a prospective client, after I hung up, I applauded myself to just doing it – for not procrastinating. Then I went through the things that went well with the call: how I was able to clearly explain how our QuickReview™ process works, why we do it with each customer, taking great notes. Last, I went over the parts that I could improve on: not interrupting, setting more time aside for the call.
Then I let it go. I did the follow up with the client, and I found the next client call was just that much better, because I’d taken the time to do this.
Now, a few weeks into this, I don’t use this process for every little thing in my personal and professional life. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing it at the end of the day, after my kids are in bed, and my day is winding down. I use it after specific events, like webinars or live training events.
It’s to the point now where I almost don’t even realize that I’m doing it. It’s a habit, like brushing my teeth before I go to bed.
Such a simple little thing that helps me recognize that I may have made mistakes – which is absolutely okay – but that I can’t change what has happened, I can only change my behavior in the future.
More important – it helps me recognize that I kicked ass at more stuff than I didn’t.
Innovation. I’ve been hearing this word so much lately. From Sesame Street to Intuit to an article on CNN, it seems to be all everywhere.
I’ve been planning on writing this post about my experience at Intuit’s Innovation Catalyst event last month at their Mountain View, California headquarters – what I call “The Mothership”, but kids, work, other writingassignments and life in general just got in the way.
But then I read that CNN article, and one little comment really stuck in brain. I mean, stuck– to the point that I couldn’t finish the article because the mindset behind it bothered me so much.
“…customer-service representatives who aren’t going to be driving innovation at the company anyway.”
Who can say where innovation will come from? Doesn’t It makes sense that the most public facing employees have the greatest insight into the next big thing that will wow customers? Since they’re the ones interacting with them every day?
I read this Harvard Business Review article right after I was invited to Intuit’s Catalyst, and to be honest, I was a little skeptical. It sounded a bit like a bunch of corporate obscuration. However, when I got to Intuit, I was really surprised at how completely fascinating I ended up finding the experience.
You can also see an example by checking out this video, featuring our group (including Brandon Cotter of ZenCash and Dawn Brolin) from our day at Intuit:
Our task was to encourage play and physical activity among Intuit employees to promote a healthier lifestyle. We went from talking about scheduling basketball tournaments to coming up with a simple solution that could be very easily implemented at ANY company: putting rugs/carpets in with a hopscotch board drawn on them. Just that little bit of old school play at random times during the day would get them moving physically and make them just that much happier – and ultimately a little healthier.
I can’t remember whom it was that suggested we offer hopscotch, and it doesn’t matter. Which really is my point, and the reason that comment bothered me so much. What if most of us in the group had dismissed some of the others? Automatically assumed that their ideas wouldn’t be valid?
My experience at the Intuit Catalyst proved that anyone can have a great idea – you just need to follow some simple rules: everyone is a designer, be present, everyone has an equal voice, work as team and most importantly: share what you learn. Even the muppets that live on Sesame Street know this stuff 🙂