Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

6201.  Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success;
6202.  Most people would choose entertainment and distraction instead of learning and growing;
6203.  Repetition can be boring or tedious, which is why so few people ever master anything;
6204.  For every day you read a book, millions of others didn’t;
6205.  For every morning you woke up early to create and produce, millions of others slept in;
6206.  For every day you kept going, millions of others quit;
6207.  Ordinary people seek entertainment.  Extraordinary people seek education and learning;
6208.  Deep down, most people don’t think they have what it takes to be extraordinary.  It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If you don’t believe you can, you surely won’t;
6209.  If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one;
6210.  Forget about titles and impressing others.  Focus on becoming a person you are incredibly proud to be;
6211.  Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become;
6212.  Being jealous and resentful is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die;
6213.  Choose what you want not what anyone else wants;
6214.  Alexander Graham Bell made his primary residence in D.C. (because of his numerous court cases involving patent disputes);
6215.  Most people doubt their beliefs and believe their doubts.  Do the opposite;
6216.  Researchers are finding that the pursuit of happiness falls short and real contentment and well-being comes from living a life of meaning;
6217.  Goals live in your discomfort zone.  Projects live in your comfort zone.  If it’s not a bit risky, if it doesn’t demand your full engagement and breakthrough creativity then it’s not a goal.  It’s a project;
6218.  If you can find nothing intrinsically motivating about a certain project, you should probably strike it from your goals list and find a way to automate or delegate it;
6219.  It’s not a true goal unless it has a transformative effect on your life or business in some way.  Projects are about maintenance or at best incremental improvement.  By contrast, goals are about leapfrog innovation and dramatic improvements that require us to step outside our day-to-day tasks;
6220.  Projects are composed of daily tasks we do to stay afloat.  If the alternative to treading water is drowning, I’m all for treading water!  But goals are all about swimming to new and desirable destinations;
6221.  Just because something is important, doesn’t mean you should make it a goal.  If it leaves you feeling drained or demotivated just thinking about it, you should (definitely) not make it a goal.  Instead, you should look for a way to automate or delegate it;
6222.  You want to dedicate as much of your energy as you can to the tasks only you can do to move your work and life in a new and better direction;
6223.  Flexible boundaries don’t make us more productive.  They force us to negotiate our priorities in the moment, which then invites us to make compromises.  And those compromises kill our productivity;
6224.  Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about;
6225.  The energy of abundance flows in a circle.  When we refuse to receive, we block the flow of abundance into our lives.  When we refuse to give, we do the same;
6226.  If we can’t practice self-compassion then it’s going to be very hard for us to have compassion for others;
6227.  Be thankful you are employed.  This may sound trite, but gratitude is the antidote to frustration.  You might not like your job, but being unemployed would likely be worse.  Besides, research shows that gratitude reduces stress and makes us more resilient;
6228.  Put your work in context.  The concept of “job satisfaction” is relatively new.  The truth is that work is hard.  Even at its best, there are going to be difficult days.  Frustrations, setbacks and even failure are part of life.  Don’t be surprised; accept the bad with the good;
6229.  Determine the source of your dissatisfaction.  Is your problem the work itself?  Or do you feel overwhelmed because you just have too many tasks in your drudgery or disinterest zones?  Maybe you work for a difficult boss?  Or perhaps you don’t like your commute or the working environment?  It’s important to identify the source of your frustration, so you can work on a plan to change it;
6230.  Fix what you can fix.  Unless you simply enjoy being miserable, you need to put together an action plan to change things for the better.  You might not be able to change everything, but you can, no doubt, improve some things.  Maybe you can transfer to another department, reduce your workload, establish better boundaries or do something that will make a tangible difference;
6231.  Use your job to polish your character.  Traits like kindness, peace, joy and patience don’t just happen.  They are forged in the crucible of difficult circumstances.  Very little happens when everything is going your way.  The important stuff happens when it’s not;
6232.  Encourage a coworker.  Sometimes it helps to get the focus off of yourself.  It’s not all about you.  If you’re discouraged, chances are someone else is too.  Treat them as you want to be treated.  Engage in a random act of kindness.  Provide a listening ear.  Remind them of what is ultimately true about them.  You might just find yourself encouraged in the process;
6233.  Winners are not afraid of losing, but losers are.  Failure is part of the process of success.  People who avoid failure also avoid success;
6234.  I never see failure as failure, but only as a learning experience;
6235.  What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?
6236.  Elizabeth likes anal;
6237.  . . . check;
6238.  (According to Christina,) I’m very tactile;
6239.  When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus;
6240.  Clutter limits your brain’s ability to process information.  Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you would in an uncluttered, organized and serene environment;
6241.  If you’re looking for a good, late night place (to eat) by Dupont Circle, try Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse on 17th Street;
6242.  About six hours after you wake up, your body’s circadian rhythm starts to dip and you’re likely to feel drowsy, especially if you’ve had a busy morning and lunch.  A twenty-minute power nap at this point (say at 1:00 PM) is enough to give you a mental recharge without leaving you groggy: if you keep it short, you’ll wake up fairly alert and can quickly get back to work.  If you stretch it out to an hour, the balance between your circadian rhythm and sleep pressure will produce a nap that balances R.E.M. and short-wave sleep;
6243.  If you take a nap five hours after waking, the balance will be different: more R.E.M. sleep, and less slow-wave sleep.  This kind of nap will deliver a little creative nudge: you’re likely to dream and more likely to enroll your subconscious in whatever you were recently working on;
6244.  If you take a nap seven hours after waking, your body needs more rest and an hour-long nap will be richer in slow-wave sleep and more physically restorative than creatively stimulating;
6245.  Compal, Quanta, Inventec, Asustek and Wistron (in Shenzhen, China) make 90% of all brand name laptops and notebook computers;
6246.  Teens, who spend 5+ hours a day on their phones, are 51% more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation;
6247.  Teens in 8th grade, who use social media excessively, are 27% more likely to be depressed;
6248.  Teens who go “iPhone free” for five days at camp perform better on empathy tests;
6249.  True productivity isn’t about getting more things done.  It’s about getting the right things done;
6250.  It’s easy to confuse abundance with blessing especially in our work life.  But sometimes abundance is just another word for burden.  And it’s crucial for our success and satisfaction that we learn to spot the difference;

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

6151.  Generosity makes us happy.  Giving our time and money to others gives us an emotional boost.  According to researcher Christian Smith, it’s because feeling good is a product of doing good.  It’s built into our neurochemistry.  Giving triggers feel-good chemicals like endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin.  And, according to a Harvard Business School study, it’s true across cultural and economic lines;
6152.  Generosity lowers our stress.  It turns out being stingy can actually raise our stress levels.  After hooking people up to heart monitors, researchers found that when people felt they were giving too little in a transaction it actually drove up their stress.  Being generous, on the other hand, kept stress down;
6153.  Generosity improves our relationships.  In a study of generosity and its effect in marriage, researchers found that the recipient of generosity expressed high levels of marital satisfaction, but so did the giver;
6154.  It’s impossible to play in a bad mood and it turns out researchers find people are better at solving problems when they’re upbeat and positive.  The basic idea is that a positive mood loosens the grip of attention so that stimuli and ideas that used to get filtered out can now have a greater impact on mental processing.  And it’s self-perpetuating because research shows that creativity makes us happy;
6155.  A scientific study of brain circuits confirmed that creative activity is highest during and immediately after sleep, while the analytical parts of the brain (i.e., the editing and proofreading parts) become more active as the day goes on;
6156.  According to Northwestern University researchers, Brian Lucas and Loran Nordgren, people consistently underestimate the value of persisting on creative tasks.  Basically, we do our best work later in the creative process after many people have already dropped out;
6157.  Identifying with a stereotype can have a direct effect on your creativity.  When students saw themselves as uncreative, they actually were uncreative.  But students were measurably more creative when they imagined they were eccentric poets;
6158.  The mere presence of other people engaged in the same task as us can boost our motivation.  In 1920, social psychologist Floyd Allport showed that a group of people working individually at the same table performed better on a whole range of tasks even though they weren’t cooperating or competing.  Allport’s research illustrates how the energy of other people can act as a substitute team even if we’re working solo;
6159.  Team members with a big picture thinking style are great for brainstorming and creative problem solving, but when it comes to idea execution a study suggests it’s a good idea to have at least one focused, analytic thinker on your team, who can focus on the details of your project;
6160.  One key to leadership is being willing to take responsibility for your mistakes.  Good leaders do this even when they’re guilty of only 10 percent of the problem or accusation;
6161.  It takes an act of courage to own a bad situation.  It can be terribly frightening to admit a wrong, to be vulnerable and expose yourself to anger and even punishment;
6162.  If we want to turn things around, we have to add remorse to responsibility.  Our failings cause difficulty to others.  Our mistakes cost time, money and sometimes heartache.  We should express sorrow and regret for the hurt our behavior caused;
6163.  Once a major mistake comes to light, it can be easy to slink off and leave the problem in other’s hands, but you always have something you can do.  If you can’t fix the actual problem, you can still address your part in it, your failings, misjudgments, destructive habits, whatever contributed to the crisis;
6164.  Without the vital ingredient of subconscious belief alignment, where you have a core belief in your ability to attain the goal, no amount of desire or knowledge (or even effort) is going to get you there.  It’s one thing to want a goal, it’s often another thing entirely to believe you can have it.  If your subconscious mind doesn’t believe you can have it then you won’t get it.  You’ll fall prey to “subconscious sabotage” and you’ll find that you either spin your wheels, things fall apart at the last minute or you encounter so many obstacles that you just can’t seem to make any progress on your goal;
6165.  Frustration is a key indicator that shows you that you have a belief that is out of alignment with your goal.  If you do some digging, find the belief blockage and then do some reprogramming, you’ll pave the way to your success.  It usually happens very quickly once you remove the block;
6166.  The best goals are: 1.  Specific enough to focus and direct your energies; 2.  Measurable so you can keep track of your progress; 3.  Actionable with clear initiating verbs that prompt specific activity; 4.  Risky enough to leverage our natural tendency to rise to challenges; 5.  Time-keyed so you’re prompted exactly when to act; 6.  Exciting enough to inspire and harness the power of your intrinsic motivation; and 7.  Relevant within the overall context of your life;
6167.  When you hit a wall, it’s time to pivot.  Your goal might be sacred, but your strategy isn’t.  Don’t give up on your goal, just change your approach;
6168.  If you’re on a plane and your ears won’t pop, try pinching and (then) blowing your nose;
6169.  Some high schoolers are very mature (specifically female debate club members from Florida);
6170.  There are castles for sale . . . and there are people looking to buy them;
6171.  I can say I’ve met “Mr. M” and that I almost had dinner with him;
6172.  Uber’s first engineer is a pretty normal guy . . . and a ski bum;
6173.  I can say I’ve had dinner with Uber’s first engineer;
6174.  I can also say I’ve shared an Airbnb with Uber’s first engineer;
6175.  Tony Robbins’s 80th “Date With Destiny” was (at the Palm Beach County Convention Center) in West Palm Beach, Florida from December 5th-10th, 2017;
6176.  I can say I was at “Date With Destiny” with Derek Hough, Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich;
6177.  I can also say I was at “Date With Destiny” with Tim Ferriss(, the author and host of the “Tim Ferriss Show”) and Marc Benioff( , the CEO of Salesforce.com);
6178.  Usher can’t resist dancing to his (own) songs at “Date With Destiny;”
6179.  Elizabeth likes to be spanked;
6180.  Shower . . . check . . . sink . . . (double) check;
6181.  Apparently, Dave Matthews was quite the ladies’ man (back in the day) in Charlottesville;
6182.  You can lose a condom in a vagina.  Who knew?
6183.  In order to change the nature of family relationships, you’ll have to change your mind about them and consider that you are the source of the anguish in your relationships rather than the individual whom you’ve pegged as the most outrageous, the most despicable or the most infuriating.  Over the years, all of these individuals have been treating you exactly as you’ve allowed them to with your reactions and behaviors.  This can miraculously change when you choose to be at peace with your relatives;
6184.  If the focus of your inner dialogue about your family members is on what they’re doing that’s wrong then that’s precisely how your relationship with them will be experienced.  If your inner speech centers on what’s annoying about them then that’s what you’ll notice.  But if you’re thinking, I am authentic and peaceful with this relative then that’s what you’ll experience even if that relative continues to be exactly the way s/he has always been;
6185.  Seth Hurwitz (the co-owner of the 9:30 Club) plays the drums;
6186.  I can say I’ve been back stage at “The Anthem;”
6187.  Stephen Kellogg is really tall;
6188.  Apparently, Richard On (the lead guitarist of O.A.R.) hates being called “Dick;”
6189.  Mikel Paris (the keyboardist for O.A.R.) seems like a nice guy;
6190.  Marc Roberge (the lead singer of O.A.R.) is about my height;
6191.  Apparently, there’s a $3.50 service charge added to all drinks at Saint Yves (SaintYvesDC.com) in D.C.;
6192.  I can say I’ve been to a (rock) band’s after party;
6193.  Apparently, Bradley Beal (of the Washington Wizards) likes to hang out at Saint Yves;
6194.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, just do it;
6195.  The moment you accept total responsibility for everything in your life is the day you claim the power to change anything in your life;
6196.  If you’re not willing to fail, you guarantee you’ll stay average-at-best;
6197.  If you want to grow into an extraordinary version of yourself, you must be willing to fail  . . .  a lot;
6198.  Failure brings humility.  It develops your character.  It helps you laugh at your mistakes and not take things so seriously.  Like a plant placed from the shade into sunlight, your growth rate will accelerate 10 times;
6199.  Don’t seek praise, seek criticism;
6200.  If you embrace the possibility of failure, you open yourself up to enormous success you’ve never seen before;

Monday, December 4, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

6101.  (The) Macallan doesn’t color their Scotch/whiskey;
6102.  Gin is (just) vodka infused with botanicals (i.e., juniper berries);
6103.  Apparently, smoking and fire are bad in a distillery;
6104.  What does an eleven-year, veteran NFL center from (Fond du Lac) Wisconsin (specifically Cory Raymer of the Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers) do in retirement?  The answer is: (Make and) sell chocolates;
6105.  Blackfinn Ameripub (BlackfinnAmeripub.com) in D.C. has bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys (for brunch) on Saturdays and Sundays until 3:00 PM for $13.00.  You’re not limited to one or the other.  You can switch back and forth. . . . If you’re looking for more bang for the buck, go with the Bloody Marys;
6106.  Lenders and investors (such as banks, private organizations or individuals) simply want to know that they are going to get a healthy return on their investment;
6107.  The key to raising money comes down to four factors that will help demonstrate the return on investment: 1.  Project: What is the project the lender is providing you capital for?  What makes this opportunity unique and attractive?  Don’t share just the positives also explain the negatives and how you plan to overcome them; 2.  Partners: Who are the key players in the project?  Who’s putting the deal together and what is their track record?  The experience and expertise each partner brings to the table is a big part of the equation; 3.  Financing: Show the investor, as accurately as you can, how the project (either a business or investment) will make money.  Be realistic and don’t avoid discussing the roadblocks ahead because every business and investment project has problems so pretending yours won’t makes you look like an amateur.  You’ll want to show how much money you’re raising in total, where the money is coming from (i.e., private parties, traditional lenders, etc.), the terms of the money being borrowed and how the money will be allocated.  Hint: If you even suggest that any of the money raised will be used to pay your salary, doors will close.  If you want a paycheck then go get a job.  Potential investors want to know how soon they will get their initial investment back and what their return will be so they will use all of these numbers to determine if your financing structure and terms are attractive; and 4.  Management: Investors want to know who’s running the day-to-day operations because this is crucial to the ongoing success of any venture.  Explain who they are, their background and how they react under pressure, etc.;
6108.  Elizabeth thinks I’m a “player;”
6109.  Elizabeth thinks I’m handsome;
6110.  Apparently, if you’re chatting with a woman on a dating app and you haven’t asked her for her number or a date within a week, she thinks you’re not interested;
6111.  Women really do get inundated on dating apps;
6112.  I can say I’ve gone diving;
6113.  Caucasian . . . check . . . ginger . . . (double) check;
6114.  When your heart is closed: 1.  You are distant and aloof; 2.  You don’t connect to people; 3.  Communication shuts down; 4.  You leave people to fend for themselves; 5.  You focus on what people are doing wrong; 6.  You are critical and demanding; and 7.  People feel oppressed.  The result is possibility dries up;
6115.  When your heart is open: 1.  You are fully present and accessible; 2.  You connect to people; 3.  Communication is wide open; 4.  You are a resource; 5.  You may focus on what is missing, but not on who is wrong; 6.  You are affirming and encouraging; and 6.  People feel free;
6116.  People today spend up to 25 percent less time enjoying nature than people did just 20 years ago;
6117.  Experiencing nature can improve our minds, rejuvenate our bodies and restore our spirits;
6118.  In one study, people performing memory and attention tests upped their scores by 20 percent after walking through an arboretum.  By comparison, walking down a busy street offered no such benefit;
6119.  Short “micro-breaks” with nature, even just looking at pictures, has discernible benefits for our minds;
6120.  Long, immersive stretches in nature offer big benefits for our creativity and problem-solving skills.  After spending four days in the wild, disconnected from any sort of digital technology, students performed 50 percent better on problem-solving tests;
6121.  Spending time in nature is a great way to find physical rejuvenation.  It turns out the reason is that nature is a stress killer;
6122.  Nature is the reset button for our minds, bodies and spirits.  If you’re spending all day indoors, you’re missing the restorative power of nature;
6123.  Apparently, Baileys Irish cream has a shelf-life of 2 years.  After that, the cream (within) can curdle;
6124.  Apparently, Abe Doumar invented the ice cream cone and the first (cone) machine to make them.  It’s still in use today at Doumar’s (Barbecue) (Doumars.com) in Norfolk, Virginia;
6125.  If you’re looking for a biergarten with nice views of (downtown) Norfolk, try Grain (GrainNorfolk.com) in the Hilton Norfolk;
6126.  People, who appear to be “gifted,” are, in fact, no more gifted than you or I.  They have just learned how to practice;
6127.  Three tips to accelerate your performance and reach your peak sooner: 1.  Master your mindset.  What you think about, you become.  And if you are still caught up believing that some people are “just born with it,” that’s going to create a limitation on what you think is possible.  Another view is “deliberate-practice mindset,” which argues that anyone can get better if they take the right approach.  This approach begins with thinking a personal breakthrough is possible; 2.  Practice with purpose.  Not all practice is necessarily equal.  Sometimes, trying harder doesn’t get you better results.  If you are not improving, it’s not because you lack innate talent; it’s because you’re not practicing the right way.  To reach peak performance, you must push yourself past what you think is possible.  If you’re not doing that then you aren’t really practicing.  You’re just spinning your wheels.  You have to put in the hours, but you also have to put in the effort; and 3.  Be around greatness.  It’s not just mindset or practice that affects our performance.  It’s also our environment.  This means that putting yourself around others who will challenge you and help you grow is essential to mastering any skill.  So, if you’re not achieving greatness then it may be time to surround yourself with others who will challenge you to grow;
6128.  We all love heroic tales of overnight success, but the truth is expertise is never an accident.  Without the right training, peak performance is practically impossible;
6129.  Anyone can achieve expert status if they understand the process and are willing to do the work.  It starts in the mind, works itself out in your daily practice and is cemented by the company you keep;
6130.  Don’t wait to have it all figured out.  A hunch is never enough, but it’s enough to get started.  You’ve got to begin someplace.  If you wait to map everything out, you’ll never get off the starting line;
6131.  Failure provides critical information.  It tells us when we still have work to do;
6132.  There are opportunities all around us, but if we’re not prepared and determined to take advantage of them, they’ll pass us by every time;
6133.  Hoping against change is hopeless.  We end up fighting against our own personal growth and professional development.  Just as bad, we make ourselves obsolete in an environment that depends on flexibility, creativity and momentum;
6134.  While the comfort zone might be comfortable for a while, it’s rarely fulfilling;
6135.  People, who cannot imagine learning and growing, are just wrapping an iron chain around their ankles.  To thrive in today’s environment, keep asking questions and poking around the next corner;
6136.  Whatever is your level of education, there’s always more to learn;
6137.  Our range of opportunities are often set by the reach of our professional network;
6138.  Change can be tough, but the only alternative is eventual obsolescence;
6139.  Getting connected with a good group can accelerate your learning, provide key insights, help you find important resources and teach you best practices;
6140.  Intentional relationships make us more productive, creative and useful than we could ever be on our own;
6141.  Your business will not grow unless you grow as a person.  If you want to lead others, you have to lead yourself first;
6142.  It is not the facts that make you miserable; it is your perception of the facts;
6143.  Constant innovation will kill you.  You don’t need more innovation, you need strategic innovation;
6144.  Most dreams die on the tyranny of “how.”  The “how” will show up when you get clear on what you want.  Focus first on what you want without regard to how you will make it happen.
6145.  It’s never about your resources; it’s about your resourcefulness.  If you are resourceful, you will acquire the resources;
6146.  The financial goal of business is not to get rich.  The goal is to get rich and stay that way.  You can get rich by being lucky, but you can’t stay rich by being lucky;
6147.  People always act on the basis of what they believe.  If you want to change their actions (or your own) you have to change their beliefs;
6148.  People lose their way when they lose their why;
6149.  If you lose the motivation to pursue your goals, you need to expand your why;
6150.  Generosity makes us healthy.  One study found generosity actually reduced blood pressure as much as medicine and exercise.  Generosity also lowers the risk of dementia, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves chronic pain management;

Monday, November 27, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

6051.  You come into this life with nothing and you leave with nothing.  The only thing you can do with your life is give it away;
6052.  You experience joy when you attempt to bring it to others;
6053.  For some women, looks really don’t matter;
6054.  Justin Trawick kind of sounds like (Eric) Cartman (from “South Park”) singing bluegrass;
6055.  Your thoughts, not the world, cause your stress.  Your thoughts activate stressful reactions in your body.  Stressful thoughts create resistance to the joy, happiness and abundance that you desire to create in your life.  These thoughts include: I can’t; I’m too overworked; I worry; I’m afraid; I’m unworthy; It will never happen; I’m not smart enough; I’m too old/young; and so on.  These thoughts are like a program to resist being tranquil and stress free and they keep you from manifesting your desires;
6056.  You can change your thoughts of stress in any given moment and eliminate the anxiety for the next few moments or even hours and days;
6057.  You’ve left behind your capacity to manifest your desires when you don’t choose in the moment to eliminate a stressful thought;
6058.  Monitor your stressful thoughts by checking on your emotional state right in the moment.  Ask yourself the key question: Do I feel good right now?  If the answer is “no,” then repeat these five magic words: I want to feel good then shift to: I intend to feel good;
6059.  You don’t need a reason to be happy.  Your desire to be so is sufficient;
6060.  If you are still alive then you haven’t completed what you were put on earth to do;
6061.  If the most important part of your life is ahead of you, then, even during the worst times, one can be assured that there is more laughter ahead, more success to look forward to, more children to teach and help, more friends to touch and influence, etc.  There is proof of hope for more;
6062.  You may be old.  You may be sick.  You may be divorced.  Your kids may not be speaking to you.  You may be out of work.  You may be broke.  You may be discouraged.  But you’re not dead yet.  And that’s proof that you still have not completed what you were put on earth to do;
6063.  Our brains aren’t designed to go nonstop.  When we drop into neutral, ideas flow on their own, memories sort themselves out and we give ourselves a chance to rejuvenate;
6064.  Tell others about their genius.  Be as complimentary and authentic as you can.  In doing so, you’ll radiate loving, kind, abundant and creative energy.  In a universe that operates on energy and attraction, you’ll find these same qualities returning to you;
6065.  Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only what is worth having;
6066.  Will power is but the unflinching purpose to carry a task you set for yourself to fulfillment;
6067.  Where the determination is, the way can be found;
6068.  Apparently, you’ll need a license to lend “hard money” for most states in the U.S.;
6069.  The best version of ourselves is on the other side of our fears;
6070.  “Quinn’s On the Corner” (QuinnsOnTheCorner.com) (in Rosslyn) has $1.00 bottles of champagne (with purchase of a brunch item) on Saturdays and Sundays;
6071.  What’s the definition of distracted?  The answer is: Watching a football game on your phone when you’re (actually) at a hockey game;
6072.  People think focus means saying “yes” to the thing you’ve got to focus on.  But that’s not what it means at all.  It means saying “no” to the hundred other good ideas that there are.  You have to pick carefully;
6073.  We’re so busy saying “yes” to the vague possibility that something is more valuable than our work that we never get around to actually working on what matters;
6074.  Until physicists figure out something better, we’re free to use 168 hours a week and no more.  That means every “yes” is a tradeoff;
6075.  New opportunities are a gamble.  And the more of them we commit to, the less likely our fractured focus can even make good on any of them;
6076.  Set strong, specific goals.  Clarity is key.  If your priorities are clear, you can play your game instead of everyone else’s.  Goals filter incoming invitations.  Does the opportunity help you achieve your goal?  Great. If not, see you;
6077.  Recognize the tradeoffs.  When you feel like saying “yes,” count the cost.  Ask, “What am I giving up to say “yes” to this and is that worth it?  Will it benefit me more than my clearly articulated, preexisting goals?”  Probably not, if you’re honest;
6078.  Cultivate a mindset of abundance.  Fear of missing out thrives on scarcity.  You might rationalize an opportunity like this will probably never come along again so I have to say “yes” now.  But, no you don’t.  There’s always another deal;
6079.  Recruiting great people is similar to any kind of sales process.  Your company is the product.  Prospective employees are your customers.  The recruiting process is not just about filtering candidates, it’s also your sales pitch;
6080.  As a leader, everything you do is contagious.  If you are discouraged, pessimistic or lacking in energy, people will feel it.  The organization will reflect it.  Conversely, when you’re upbeat, energetic and optimistic, people also feel it.  It will have a positive effect on your team and the outcomes you hope to create;
6081.  It’s critical to keep our commitments, but that doesn’t mean we can’t request a release, ask for an extension or delegate the project to someone else;
6082.  Unless you believe you can grow, your life will likely look just like it did ten years ago if not worse;
6083.  When we face time crunches, sleep is often the first thing to get cut.  It may seem efficient and even smart at the time, but it’s not.  In reality, you getting that optimal sleep is going to enable you to wake up and do the job to the best of your ability;
6084.  Taking lunch to your desk might seem like a good idea, but it’s actually detrimental.  Creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment and especially when they expose themselves to nature-like environments.  Staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to the creative process.  It’s also detrimental to doing the rumination that’s needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an “Aha!” moment;
6085.  Hank’s Oyster Bar (HanksOysterBar.com) in (Old Town) Alexandria has half price oysters ($1.25 each) at the bar Monday through Friday from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM and every night from 10:00 PM until close (i.e., midnight);
6086.  Elizabeth likes oysters;
6087.  Elizabeth grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia;
6088.  Elizabeth has soft(, cold) hands;
6089.  Elizabeth likes her neck bitten;
6090.  Apparently, Elizabeth doesn’t sleep with guys on the first date( . . . and still doesn’t);
6091.  Apparently, my (front) teeth get sore from biting necks;
6092.  You may think setting conservative goals is wise, but it actually makes us and our teams less productive;
6093.  Too many leaders believe they’ll accomplish more if they lower the bar and set goals they can easily hit.  It’s called, “sandbagging.”  When goals are fixed too low, people often achieve them, but subsequent motivation and energy levels typically flag and the goals are usually not exceeded by very much.  Sandbagged goals actually do what they’re formulated to avoid: They undercut productivity because we ultimately find them boring and demotivating.  They require little and inspire even less;
6094.  If we want our organizations to succeed, we have to set goals outside the comfort zone.  But we also have to avoid the delusional zone.  Those are truly unreachable targets where nobody wins.  Instead, we have to set goals in the discomfort zone.  These are challenging enough to inspire breakthrough thinking, but not so challenging they break morale;
6095.  The best way to stay out of the delusional zone is to get more than one perspective on it.  Ask your team.  Take the temperature of your key leaders and/or primary stakeholders.  But don’t go first.  You don’t want your statement to skew the results.  At most, offer a suggested range or a few options to start a conversation.  Factoring in what you learned from your team, finalize the goal.  You can do this together with the key leaders or by yourself.  Either way, it should feel risky enough to spark your thinking as you imagine ways to make it a reality.  You won’t be entirely certain how you’re going to pull it off;
6096.  Once you’ve set the goal, it’s your job as the leader to go back and sell it, first to the key stakeholders and then to the wider organization.  The key is to connect the accomplishment to the interests of the team.  What will it mean for them to reach the goal?  What’s at stake for the business and for them personally?  Then ask for alignment.  “Can you align with this decision?”  It is important that the stakeholders feel they have a choice and voluntarily align.  Buy-in is critical;
6097.  When we set goals in the discomfort zone, it’s easy to measure the gap and see how far off the target still is.  But if that’s too daunting, it can take the wind out of our sails.  It’s also important to measure the gains.  Even when we don’t quite make it, we inevitably wind up doing much better than we would have done without a challenging goal;
6098.  Almost a third of Americans work on the weekends;
6099.  Based on what the research tells us about rest and rejuvenation, you’ll actually be more productive if you “unplug;”
6100.  One Eight Distilling (OneEightDistilling.com) is named for Article One Section Eight of the Constitution, which provided for the establishment of a district to serve as the nation’s capital;

Monday, November 13, 2017

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

6001.  The sandwiches at “The Market” at Bellair (TigerFuelMarkets.com/TheMarketDeli) in Charlottesville, Virginia are tasty;
6002.  (I can say) I’ve been on a double date with the same girl;
6003.  (I can say) I’ve been on a date with Steve(n) (Castano);
6004.  Kristi likes gin;
6005.  Kristi’s from Estonia;
6006.  Kristi has soft hands;
6007.  The adult milkshakes at Ted’s Bulletin in D.C. are tasty (specifically the White Russian);
6008.  The Ted’s tarts are (pretty) good too (specifically the salted caramel);
6009.  The marrow burger at Mason Social (Mason-Social.com) in (Old Town) Alexandria is (rather) tasty. . . . Go for “Marrow Mondays.”  The marrow burger is on special (all day) for $11.50 (v. $15.00 regularly);
6010.  Kevin Bacon can play the drums (specifically the djembe drum);
6011.  Kevin Bacon can (actually) sign;
6012.  It seems appropriate that the Bacon Brothers would play “Footloose;”
6013.  Attitude is not something that just happens; you choose it.  Even in difficult circumstances, you can choose to have a good attitude;
6014.  Define how responsive you are going to be.  Segment your contacts.  Who is your inner circle?  What about the next level out?  What about acquaintances?  What about complete strangers?  You can have a different standard for each.  You don’t necessarily need to tell them which circle they’re in;
6015.  Determine how responsive others need you to be.  If you acquire a new client, a boss or a business partner, ask them to clarify their expectations.  How quickly do they need you to respond?  Does it need to be immediate?  Within a few hours?  Within 24 hours?  In a couple of days?  Ask them to be specific.  This is an implicit contract;
6016.  Express how responsive you want others to be.  Take the initiative to clarify this with your direct reports, business associates and vendors.  It will result in less frustration for both of you.  It also provides the necessary accountability to make progress on your various projects;
6017.  Be proactive when you can’t respond in a timely manner.  If the other person has to follow-up, it’s a good sign your expectations are mismatched or you dropped the ball.  Instead of waiting for them to ask again, contact them.  For example: “I just wanted to acknowledge that I received your e-mail.  I am traveling this week, so it will likely be the end of the week before I can respond;”
6018.  The right words at the wrong time can be just as damaging as the wrong words.  When someone experiences a major setback or disappointment, we need to be careful not to dismiss their pain or frustration.  Likewise, it’s usually a bad idea to lecture about what they could or should have done differently;
6019.  Words left unsaid can also be hurtful;
6020.  Some teammates are more managerial and others are more entrepreneurial.  On any given team there are usually more of the first than the second.  It doesn’t matter what the environment is.  Entrepreneurs hunt down new opportunities and see rules as slowing them down.  Managers oversee existing business and use rules to keep things in order.  It’s inevitable that they’ll butt heads.  The managers want the entrepreneurs to be less entrepreneurial.  And the entrepreneurs want the managers to be less managerial.  But that is a mistake.  The hard thing to appreciate is that most teams need both entrepreneurs and managers to succeed;
6021.  Appreciation is a critical factor for team success.  Without managers, entrepreneurs don’t have anyone to hold down the shop.  Without entrepreneurs, managers don’t have business for the shop.  Until each can appreciate the other’s contribution, they’ll work at cross purposes;
6022.  You feel overwhelmed and you don’t know what course to take: 1.  Forget about the ultimate outcome.  The truth is that you probably have less control over the outcome than you think.  You can undoubtedly influence it, but you can’t control it.  Besides, before you ever get to the final destination, many of the variables will change.  Projects and deals have a way of unfolding over time; 2.  Focus on the next right action.  Since worrying about the outcome is unproductive, try to think about the next actions that will move the project forward.  This is far more accessible than something in the distant future; and 3.  Do something now!  This is key.  Something is better than nothing;
6023.  Clarity comes when you move toward your destination and correct along the way;
6024.  If you don’t say “no:” 1.  Other peoples’ priorities will take precedence over yours; 2.  Mere acquaintances, people you barely know, will crowd out time with family and close friends; 3.  You will not have the time you need for rest and recovery; 4.  You will end up frustrated and stressed; and 5.  You won’t be able to say “yes” to the really important things;
6025.  Out of guilt or fear of confrontation, we take on more projects or invest in someone else’s priorities.  In the process, we dissipate our most valuable personal resources, time, energy and money, on things that aren’t important to us.  Each time we agree to something without enthusiasm or interest, we waste a little more of these precious resources;
6026.  Every time we say “no” to something that is not important, we are saying “yes” to something that is: our work, our relationships and our resources;
6027.  Smart people think, say and do stupid things all the time.  One explanation is that they’re sometimes more intelligent than critical.  Researchers, who’ve studied the discrepancy between intelligent people and stupid decisions, note that critical thinkers experience fewer negative events in life when compared to highly intelligent people;
6028.  A sin is more than a mistake.  It’s a deliberate choice to do something you know is wrong;
6029.  When we say, “We are trying,” we don’t really have to do anything.  It also provides us with an excuse for why we didn’t accomplish the outcome we say we want.  You either do something or you don’t do it.  Trying is really the same as not doing it.  It just makes it easier for us to let ourselves off the hook when we fail;
6030.  Eliminate the word “try” from your vocabulary.  Language is subtle.  The words we use can program us to perform certain ways.  Using the wrong language can create an outcome we don’t intend;
6031.  “Try” is a worthless word that accomplishes nothing.  It might make us feel better when we fail, but it actually induces the kind of behavior that leads to failure;
6032.  Decide either to do or not do.  If you don’t want to do something, fine.  Don’t do it.  But don’t pretend that trying is the same as doing.  They are two completely different postures;
6033.  Everything important we accomplish begins with a decision.  We don’t slip into our greatest achievements.  We commit and then make them happen;
6034.  Commit 100 percent to the outcome you want.  Failure is not an option.  Play full out.  Don’t quit.  Don’t settle for merely trying;
6035.  After conducting an in-depth study of seventy-two high-performing CEOs, Cornell University researchers reached a surprising conclusion.  The key predictor of success for leaders wasn’t grit, focus, education, decision-making skills, a knack for strategic planning or even IQ.  It was self-awareness;
6036.  Self-awareness is the ability to monitor and regulate our thoughts, feelings and actions (and the effect they have on ourselves and others).  It requires we identify and challenge the bogus unconscious beliefs underlying the ways we think, feel and act;
6037.  Help you surface and neutralize your self-limiting beliefs: S(top)N(otice)A(sk)P(ivot);
6038.  Stop: Take four or five deep, prayerful breaths to ground yourself in your body and return to the present moment.  The purpose of this step is simply to wake up and bring your awareness back to your immediate experience;
6039.  Notice: Often we get swept up in the rush of daily activities and habitual reactive behaviors, but rarely do we step back to observe and learn from them.  Once we’ve come to a full stop, we look around to see what we’ve been missing while we were lost in our thoughts or absorbed in our work.  Is the environment around us calm or burning to the ground?  How are we connected to what’s going on?  Are we personally in a good space or do we notice we’re caught up in outmoded, habitual perspectives and behaviors?  Whatever you discover, make sure as you notice or observe what you’re feeling, thinking and doing in the moment that you do so with compassion.  No labeling, analyzing, criticizing or trying to fix anything.  Your job right now is to simply notice and nothing else;
6040.  Ask: Now that you’re awake to what’s happening in the moment, you can ask yourself three questions that will expose any self-limiting beliefs and get you back on track if you need it: 1.  “What am I believing right now?”  This is a powerful question.  After a few minutes of quiet reflection, the unconscious beliefs fueling your anxiety can surface; 2.  “Are these beliefs true?”  Of course not; and 3.  “How would your life change if you let go of this belief?”
6041.  Pivot: Once you’ve identified and interrupted the circuit on your bogus beliefs, you can pivot and make different, healthier, more helpful choices that ae in line with the truth;
6042.  Leaders face a lot of problems, but poor communication is one they often create for themselves.  According to one study, nine out of ten employees say it sabotages the success of executives.  The same study found the second biggest problem area for leaders was a lack of clear directions;
6043.  When you get tired of hearing yourself and you think that everyone is starting to get annoyed, you’re about half(way) done.  The truth is you can’t over-communicate;
6044.  5 reasons to speak up and speak often: 1.  People can’t read your mind.  When you force people to guess what you’re after, you widen the margin for error and misunderstanding.  You need to get what’s in your mind into the minds of your teammates.  That only comes with communication; 2.  People forget.  No matter how clear your strategy and tactics are to you, others will forget.  No one retains it all; 3.  People get distracted.  Modern work is plagued by distraction.  As a leader, you can do things to combat that, but you can also compensate by continually communicating what’s important to your team; 4.  People haven’t bought into your rationale.  Just because people work for you doesn’t mean they subscribe to the mission or the values behind the individual tasks they’ve been hired to do.  If you’re serious about results, you’ll either need to let those people go or bring them up to speed; and 5.  People drift off course.  Even if team members buy into your vision or the importance behind specific tasks, they can lose sight of the target and drift off course.  A leader’s communication is the compass of the organization.  It keeps everyone oriented and moving toward the right goals;
6045.  Communication is a critical factor in team alignment.  And team alignment is a critical factor in hitting organizational goals;
6046.  If you want your doctor to stick her/his finger up your butt, turn 40;
6047.  I’ve had a man stick his finger up my butt;
6048.  Prostate exams aren’t fun;
6049.  Vegetarian tacos can be tasty (specifically the ones at Chaia (ChaiaDC.com) in Georgetown).  Who knew?
6050.  The surest way to find happiness and joy for yourself is to devote your energies toward making someone else happy.  If you make an effort to search for joy you will find it elusive, largely because you will become engaged in the search itself.  Your life will be about striving.  However, if you try to bring happiness to someone else then joy will come to you;