Outsourcing

My mental health is my own to manage and no one else. I cannot outsource my mental health to anyone else. Given that I have no known chemical imbalances and do not suffer from any major life traumas, I am solely responsible for my own mental health.

Seeing a counselor helped me sort through some of my own thoughts, questions, perspectives, and ideas. But truly, my mental health was still my own to work through. I could not work on anything I was not willing to engage. I could not grow in any area I was not willing to assess and discuss and I could not improve if first I was not willing to admit an ability to be wrong in an area.

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Even still, at no point in my journey with a mental health professional was she responsible for my mental health. If I went off the deep end, nobody was going to be calling her. If I became a superstar, nobody was going to be questioning her about my accomplishments.

My friends are not responsible for my mental health. They can help me make good decisions and focus on the right priorities through their suggestions, pointed ideas, and willingness to have hard conversations with me.

Nobody was ever going to be calling them if I went off the deep end to get answers or calling them to credit them with a super success if I suddenly was achieving greater than I was ever achieving before.s

My mental health is my responsibility and I must focus on it and be conscious of it and be working on my mental health. It will not naturally improve on its own. It will always be improving or deteriorating. I must work to make sure I am involved in where it is going and not let it be influenced by unintentional factors.

I cannot outsource my mental healthcare.

You can outsource you car maintenance, housework, and even your meal planning. But you cannot outsource your mental healthcare.

How are you doing at self care? Are you paying attention to your mental state? Have you been generally grumpy lately? What emotion are you putting out to your friends and family? How are you doing at interacting with other people? Are your social skills up to the par they should be at? How is your mental health? What friend can help you assess your mental health?

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The Underbelly

I recently ran into this graphic of what it is like to work on a project. How you spend all this time in the underbelly of the project or system, and so little time actually engaging what is going on.

The hot, new, sexy thing is on top. Meanwhile, the whole rest of the project is the seventy percent of the iceberg you cannot see and it can sink your boat. Everyone wants the top of the iceberg, nobody want to spend the time building the bottom of the iceberg where all the work is.

The part of the iceberg where you are drowning because of the anxiety of the enormity of the project you are working on.

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The part where you want to give up.

The part where you are not sure how you are going to afford to pay your bills and keep going.

The part of a project, process, or story where everyone is most engaged and involved is in the underbelly. The start of the project is happy and easy and nobody seems to care. The end of the project is the obvious conclusion of what everyone expected.

The underbelly is where everything gets interesting.

Are you really going to give up now that things are finally interesting? How do you keep your goal and end in sight while you are in the underbelly of the story? What did you do the last time you encountered the underbelly of a project? How are you preparing for the underbelly of the next project?

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Scoot Scoot

Pushing an electric scooter.

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Sounds ridiculous, but I did see someone riding down the street on one of those electric scooters and he was pushing it. Much like you might push/ride a normal scooter, but he was on an electric scooter.

Potentially, he didn’t know how it is supposed to work. Or he thought it was working normally and it wasn’t going fast enough for his liking. I have seen plenty of people riding them and, when working properly, they go much faster than he was going.

But in his mind somewhere, he decided the scooter functioned this way. He could have been fearful about going too fast under the scooter’s power and falling off and hurting himself. The scooter might have had a dead battery and he was the poor soul using a dead scooter. He may not have wanted to pay to use the scooter and instead he was pushing it purely under his own power.

No matter what, he never stopped to search it and figure it out. He never questioned the scooter. He never stopped and tried to see if there was a better way. He hopped on and whisked himself away. One giant push at a time.

How am I any different? I assume I am broken and my expectations are too high or my experiences are wrong or I am just plain wrong all the time. Probably more times than I notice really.

Where are you pushing an electric scooter?

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Meeting New

Traveling to a new place it is easy to enjoy the sites, be scintillated by the novelty of the newness, and to enjoy the diversity of people. People who do not live where you live, do what you do, or think how you think.

Getting away from home really has the potential to bring you to a place where the world is your oyster.

You are also an island unto yourself.

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You are the only one from your town, thinking the way you do, and doing what you do. You are generally away from your tribe and without your support network.

You do breath air. Much like the people around you.

You do eat food. Much like the people around you.

You need somewhere to sleep and eat.

So, what is stopping you from meeting the people you cross paths with already? Engaging them in who they are and what they do? Finding out what is coming next in their lives? Their family? Their occupation? What do they do in their spare time? How do you know someone you will cross paths with today is out of their element and could use a local guide to get to their next adventure?

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Vote

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Today is our day! Today we vote. We take part in our national our privilege.

We vote because not everyone can vote. We vote for what we believe. We vote for what we need. We do not vote out of fear. Today we vote with hope to make a difference.

Go here to find your nearest polling station.

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Customers

Your customers, the people you look in the hairy eyeball and meet their needs. They are your best advocates. These people know the quality of your work. They know your focus and attention to what matters. They know when they see you you will deliver to them exactly what they have come to expect from you.

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These customers know you and trust you. They are glad to see you and glad to have you be their person, worker, and friend.

Right?

Who are your customers (whether internal or external)? Who do you serve well? Who do you not serve well? How can you serve your customers better? What do you need to do to give your customers the best experience possible?

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Story

I love the stories of the people who have influenced my life. The person who most often comes to mind is Steve Jobs. We have all in some way been influenced by Apple, their computers, their phones, their design, their software. Whether we are appreciate the influence or not, our lives have been impacted.

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I love the story behind his life. Generally speaking, this orphaned immigrant’s son who started out headstrong and not making a lot of friends. To when he bottoms out and loses the company he built and is left to rebuild his life and a new company. Then finally, he has rebuilt his company and was aqui-hired to lead his company back to success.

And when he returned he was now this good person who had learned from his mistakes and become a new man and was no longer plagued by the un-relatable man who he was before.

This new man who people wanted to be around who was seen as a value and saw others as valuable. Through the story of his life, he became a different person who other people wanted to model their lives after and wanted to be around.

Are you be a person who others model their lives after? Are you a person who other people want to be around? Who do you want to be around? Who do you model your life after? What steps or change do you need to make to be more like your model?

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Rejecting A Cold

And just like that, Brendan Iribe, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger, and Jan Koum. They all left. Facebook lost them to their own ambitions.

Who knows who will really come out on top. Truly, all four of them could colossally fail, be an absolute success, or most likely be some mix there in-between.

No matter what, Facebook is leaking founders.

They are leaking starters

They are leaking innovators

They are leaking leaders.

It is well above my pay grade to guess the nuanced reasons as to why they are leaving. But the reality of it is, they are leaving. Much like your body will reject a cold, flu, or stomach bug. These people are leaving. Again, I do not know why, but the body of Facebook could continue as it was and keep these people a part of Facebook and so they left.

Similarly, when you are leading, when you are a part of a group, when you are doing the work that matters. Pay attention to the people around you. You will be attracting people like you and people unlike you will not stay around. When people do not resonate with you or engage with you, stop and assess what the difference was.

When someone does not stay around, stop and assess a few things in yourself, your group, and your organization/family:

What did I not resonate with them about? What is so different between us? What is so similar between us? What quality would they add to us? What can we add to them? How can we help them? How could they help us? What would I want them to add to the team? What should change about the team so someone like them can connect in the future?

These are a few ideas. You, your team, and your group is not for everyone but you should be intentional about who your group is trying to attract.

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Emo Actions

My feelings and my actions are far too often too closely tied together. I will pull a knee-jerk reaction to something because I do not feel like it is a good idea whereas once I reassess and logically process through it, it totally makes sense.

Then again in an argument, I will get too heated because my emotions are ramping up and actions are tied up in my emotions. I will overreact at times when I do not need to and escalating when I should be slowing down and processing.

I will almost be listening to myself and cannot hardly believe I am so heated so quickly. Or I will ramp myself up while stomping about and then it explodes and I do not even know why.

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All I should be doing is breathing.

Pacing myself.

Focusing.

Relaxing.

And logically processing my feelings through rather than emotionally processing my feelings.

How do you do with slowing down when your emotions are running high and logically processing what your feeling? How do you do at finding the source of your emotions? What can you do to better mediate the connection (or disconnection) between your emotions and your actions?

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Pudding

Wisdom is a brain-space. It is the area in the brain where you decide to save for retirement rather than buy a Ferrari. Wisdom is choosing to make a decision for the betterment of the whole.

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The issue with wisdom is when you find out whether or not you were wise. Generally, you never find out you were wise till after the situation plays itself out. You have to decide to deny your immediate wants and desires to make a longterm choice. But when it comes to retirement, if you save up and invest with the wrong firm, you lose it all and have no retirement and no Ferrari.

With wisdom, the proof is in the pudding.

You do not get to save yourself or others until the results of your wise decision come to fruition. Wisdom is not self evident. Wisdom is proven by her children, not on her own accord.

What risks have you taken to be wise? Where have you been wise previously? Who is helping you make wise choices? Who is you helping make wise choices?

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Authority

My whole life I have treated authority as a tool to be wielded. Much like a wand with a magical power or a wrench I have considered it something to be owned and operated by the one who holds it.

Recently I was reading a bit talking about authority and it occurred to me, the authority is not to be owned or wielded by the recipient of authority. When you are placed in authority, you are placed under the authority you are given. When you are given authority, you are now first responsible to model what it looks like to be submissive to the authority and then an arbiter of the will of the authority.

At no point are you ever placed in a position of authority where you are no longer responsible to the authority you in, you are required to submit to the authority first and then advocate on behalf of the authority.

What authority are you under? How are you at submitting the authority you are under? How are you at advocating on behalf of the authority you are under?

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Moving

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I moved earlier this year and a herd of my friends showed up to help me move. They showed up to help us load a U-Haul. They brought their own trucks and cars to load up. They helped unload the U-Haul. They made jokes. They got the job done without thrashing our old place, our new place, or our stuff.

They showed up and helped and completely made it happen. We might have been able to do it without them using the sheer force of will and stubbornness, but it would not have been as good.

They not only blessed us but they saved us from an immense amount of frustration, headache, and loneliness. We are incredibly grateful to them all.

What can you do this week to be a help to someone else? What little or big thing can you do to add value to someone else’s life? What skill, ability, or knowledge do you have and can use to help fill a need in someone else’s life?

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Swedish Meatballs

Not too long ago, it came out that Swedish Meatballs came were developed from a recipe brought back to Sweden by King Charles XII in the 18th century.

And yet, we will continue calling them Swedish Meatballs till the end of time.

What are you known for? Where did your reputation come from? What do you want to be known for? How can you do the diligent hard work to be known for what you want to be known for?

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Default Settings

When you open Microsoft Word, the default font is probably Calibri. For better or for worse, it is what you probably end up using whether you like it or not or until you change it when you are done working on your document.

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Calibri may not even be the best font for what you are doing. Maybe you are trying to make a statement piece with a few words to communicate a central idea and what you really need is a heavy weighted font to really emphasize what you are trying to say.

Potentially you are trying to write a long for piece and you need something with good spacing and is easy on the eyes but is not too heavy.

Or potentially, you want to write in a plain jane and you want your font to have look and feel.

Any way you look at it, you still never get there because Microsoft chose Calibri as your font and you have not changed it.

Likewise, when you get up in the morning, you are stuck with the default breakfast options because that is what you buy when you go to the store. You have been trying to eat healthy, but you keep eating the same cereal because it is what you know you are not sure what other options are actually healthy.

You have been trying to read more, but that new year’s resolution really did not stick. You stick with the default of turning on Netflix after dinner and watching your show some more.

You meant to fix that leaky faucet, but you are not quite sure how and the weekends keep filling up with family and friends and anything else, it would be a shame to spend all day inside working on a faucet when the world is full of everything else.

No matter the thing, no matter the excuse, your default is easier.

It is easier to keep doing what you have been doing than it is to do what you want to do. But, now is the time to save yourself and make progress on your one goal or project. One thing for you to make progress on. One thing for you to improve one.

What is your one thing? Who is going to help you stay on track? How are you going to overcome your default?

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Sharing Tears

The other day my son did something dumb, but it was something he knew he was not supposed to be doing. I had removed him from the temptation several times. Emphasized and been stern in how he was not supposed to be doing what he was doing. Finally, he was not listening and I sat him down in time out and made it explicitly clear he was being disobedient.

Next, he starts crying. Not the wail of pain or the cry of whining because he wants something. He just stares at me, with tiny little tears rolling down his round little cheeks.

And I am standing there watching him cry.

Then I start crying!

He is a good kid and he is learning boundaries, but I also need him to listen, the first time. It is only so long that until I need him to listen and it is the difference between him running out into a busy street or listening the first time when I tell him to stop and he does not run out into the busy street.

Until that day, I can only bond with him with the minimal vocabulary he has and the nominal understanding of the world he has. But in that moment when he was sitting, staring, and crying. It was the best thing I could do to meet him there, staring, and crying.

We can understand one another when we meet each other in these moments of tears and mutual emotion. We can share a moment together and know that despite our differences, we see each other and though we are different, we are still humans meeting each other where we are. We share emotions and humanity together.

Where are you meeting other people where they are at? How are you showing other people you are human and the same as they are despite your differences? How are you sharing moments of humanity with your coworkers, friends, and family?

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In My Head

In my head, I compare myself to other people.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself they are more fit and athletic than I am.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself they are smarter than I am.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself they are more successful than I am.

I compare myself to people, and I tell myself a lie. I tell myself an assumption.

A fictional story about who they are, how they got where they are, and why they are better than I am.

What stories are you telling yourself?

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Meeting Binary

Once again, you are showing up to the usual weekly business meeting for your group.

The meeting where the leader always drags the group through topic after topic that nobody really cares about. And there is the one person who always over-talks, they showed up and…they are over-talking. A few people are trying to discreetly be on their phones, but are still nodding, grunting, and laughing when appropriate. And they they are not really that discreet.

The meeting that slowly eats away at your soul no matter how hard you try to keep your mouth shut, keep the meeting focused, and ‘use the bathroom’ when certain topics come up.

The meeting is missing something.

The meeting is missing you.

The meeting where your input would make it better. Your preparation would help the meeting leader prepare better topics. Your input during the meeting would help resolve issues faster.

You can add in to the meeting rather than take away. Everyone in the room is either adding in or taking away. The people on their phones are taking away from the meeting. You, sitting silently, are taking away from the meeting. At least the over-talking guy is contributing something to the meeting.

You can add in rather than take away. Move the meeting forward and escape the mind numbing pain of another thousand hours of painful meetings.

Where can you contribute to make a meeting better? What other avenue in life can you be a more active participant in? Where else can you join in rather than riding along?

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Songify

Lin Manuel Miranda, Rogers and Hammerstein, Beethoven, Bach, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Vivaldi wrote every song, score, and symphony the exact same way: One note at a time.

They sat down with their staff paper and added in note by note, part by part, every melody, chorus, verse, bridge, and prechorus. 

After outlining the core of their piece, the added on the harmonies to round it out. Once it was satisfactorily well rounded, they added in the embellishments that set it apart with their mark and style. 

Likewise, you are today because you build upon who you were yesterday and who you have been up till now. You have not found a way to jump to a point where you are more developed or fully developed without putting in the work. 

Each day of your life is another dot on the staff paper. Each week, another bar. Each year, another phrase, melody, and embellisment.

Like their compositions, your life does not compose itself it is made up of the decisions you make and the way you live your life and there is no shortcut to becoming who you want to be. Each day must be lived in consistency with the key signature and values you want my life to be consistent with. 

Some of these decisions are made for you. Skin color. Height. Eye color.

The rest is up to you to maximize the decisions you cannot control for the good of the people that matter most to you. And every day is more progress toward giving them the sweet song your life is becoming. These people are the audience of the song of your life. The people who get to enjoy your life as it plays out.

Who is the audience of the song of your life? What values are you keeping your life consistent with? How are you focusing on making the people you care most about better? 

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Human Touch

When we order a steak at a restaurant, we ask for our steak with the appropriate fixings and cooked to order.

There is nothing in the order about the chef or the waiter. There is only the specifications of our order and the expectations the food will be everything promised on the menu.

The waiter being attentive, magically keeps our cup full, and cracking the right amount of jokes to be friendly without being too involved in our experience is a stylized personality bonus.

The chef stopping by to check on us and to make sure our food tastes right and more than meets our expectations. This is a bit of personality the restaurant offers.

When we encounter unexpected good personality, it is a massive bonus. We get to enjoy our experience knowing we are getting everything we ordered PLUS there is the added joy of the personality we cannot get anywhere else.

Where else do we go and the chef checks on us? Where else do we go and the waiter knows our name? Where else do we go and the experience is cooked to order and personalized, just a little bit, for us?

How are you personalizing each experience for people? How are you adding in a slight margin of human personality to your job? How can you add a human touch to your service? How can you add in a custom touch to make it better when your peers to stop by your desk?

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USE CASE

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A factory’s primary job is to produce a product at the end of an assembly line. Mattel makes toys. Ford makes cars. Boise Paper Company makes paper.

The raw product, parts, and pieces go into the factory and out the other side comes the finished product.

Actually, the ‘finished’ product.

When we break it down, the product is not actually finished. The product is now ready its appropriate use case.

The toy is ready to be broken out of the package and used by a child for, hopefully, years of enjoyment. The car is ready to be driven. The paper ready to be printed on, written on, or turned into an airplane.

In life, we never arrive either. When we are trying to lose weight, save money, develop a new habit, or improve ourselves, we never arrive. We never reach a point where we have permanently lost the weight and we are done. Transitioning from a weight loss diet to a weight maintenance diet means we keep the weight off. Going back to how we were eating before we lost the weight means we gain it all back.

These lifestyle changes are not destinations, but they are mile-markers. We develop the habit of reading daily so we can learn and read more. We do not develop the habit of reading daily in order to then be done reading. We might run a 5K to accomplish a life goal, but we will start reading daily to learn more about the American Civil War or learn about modern philosophy on assembly line factories.

Our lives do not have a point where we are finished products. There is only the race we run each day and the habits, actions, and use cases we are developing ourselves to be ready for.

What use cases are you ready for? What use cases are you developing yourself for? What tools do you have in your personality toolbox? What tools are you developing? What use cases should you be ready for? What use cases do you encounter regularly? What use cases should you be handling better than you do?

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