Categories
Blog Commentary Life Relationship Workplace

Are You In or Out?

Recently, I thought how funny it was that, when it comes to a pool in the summer who can only let 50 people in at a time (no thanks, Coronavirus), if you want a line, you should start a line, keying into the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that plays so deeply in human nature.

In fact, an interesting thing I noticed is that when everyone was in line, people talked and joked with each other amiably — a sort of communal suffering brought us all together while standing in a line for a pool.

But the moment the gate to the pool was about to be opened, the very intention of the line changed. Like a physical change happened, the gate was not a resting place any more. It was a vehicle. A means to an end.

The game was now afoot and, I imagined to myself the gears turning in others’ heads as they sized up the lady two feet in front of them with three small kids and a Target store’s worth of pool toys, or the grandmotherly woman they were exchanging now-vacant pleasantries with, grinning to themselves as they deduced they could easily beat her to one of the scarce poolside umbrellas that were just out of reach, past the pearly (wrought iron) gates blocking our access to Shangri-La.

Marketers Play on our FOMO

In fact, marketers are so savvy to this primal need of ours to fit in, they often position their products with this exact pitch, letting you know you’re out unless you know that Choosy moms choose Jif, you could be saving 15% or more on your car insurance, that hipper, more active/creative people than you wear the Apple Watch, that going to McDonald’s is actually a lifestyle choice, and that wearing this makeup is not only good for your skin (spf 15!) but if your daily walk to work accidentally turns into a photo shoot for Vogue, you’ll be ready.

We see this constant us vs them show up in so many forms throughout life:

  • Graduating from the kids table at grandma’s Thanksgiving Dinner!
  • Being invited to the cool kids table at lunch.
  • Being on the (insert sport/club) team in high school.
  • Acceptance to your college of choice.
  • Receiving a highly contested scholarship.
  • Getting the job you know so many others applied for.
  • Receiving a raise when you know others did not.
  • Keeping your job when others lose theirs.

Even silly things make us feel important when, really, we’re absolutely no different than anyone else. Here’s a few I have to admit to:

  • My GPS app getting me around traffic smartly, saving me exactly 37 second of drive time. Suckers.
  • Checking out of the big club discount store using their app, skipping the 30-minute checkout line. Smiling condescendingly down on others from around my cinnamon dusted churro.
  • Being able to use the HOV lane on my commute, mocking the unwashed masses stuck in traffic as I comparatively and arrogantly fly by.
  • TSA Pre-Check enabling me to skip the slower airport security lines for the common-folk.

Comedian Brian Regan got it right when he noted that what we’re really saying about ourselves in situations like this is “I think I’m more important than I really am.”

In fact, in life, it seems the only constant is that in every sphere we are in, we are, by definition, out of some others, and that can be a source of intense unseen bias if we are not aware of it.

  • People who retort “all lives matter” to Black Lives Matter sentiments because, in their spheres of influence, they have never experienced the haunting systematic injustice many minorities live with as a daily backdrop to their lives.
  • Not having empathy that its hard to get a job sometimes when you, yourself, have always been employed.
  • Recruiters ghosting candidates because they are very busy getting offers out to the successful candidates.
  • Demanding VIP treatment because of your past donations or “platinum status” or some other so-called qualification.

If you are employed today, with 40 Million unemployed in the United States, you are a very lucky member of a very “in” crowd right now.

What can you do to avoid thinking you are more important than you really are?

Categories
Allyship Blog Communication Life Lifehacks Process Improvement Relationship Workplace

The Skill that Saved My Business and My Marriage

If there’s something people have remarked consistently about me, it’s that I can talk about almost anything.

I am a naturally curious person.

And, in recruiting, it’s not a lie that I get a lot of excitement hearing about people’s life stories, their passions and their dreams. Occasionally, their downfalls and their struggles.  All of these things, to me are part of the tapestry of their life, and I love hearing about them.  

Being naturally curious may be my super power as a recruiter.

I also enjoy reading, spend an unhealthy amount of time on medium, and replaced my heavy metal music with podcasts and audiobooks while mowing the lawn on the weekends.  (The latter has become somewhat of a favorite past-time, which my 10-year-ago self would have actually, verbally scoffed at.)

Often, I find myself using this treasure trove of stories from different sources as an attempt to relate to people. The flow seems natural at first glance, 

“Oh, you went zip lining? Nice! I know a guy that runs a whole Zipline and ropes course. Cool place. They are expanding and they do summer camps now. I played basketball with him and his sons for years. Good people…”

From inside my own head, this seemed like a good conversation. But from an outsiders perspective, and especially from the perspective of the other person in the conversation, I had developed a problem. 

I had become a One-Upper.

I had a story for everything and everyone, and while I thought I was adding to the conversation and moving it along, in reality, I totally missed the person right in front of me because I got too busy sharing something someone else has done!  Or worse, something I have done!

What a jerk move!

We all know that person who can’t keep their mouth shut about an experience that clearly tops whatever experience you share. 

Beware The Me-Monster

Brian Regan calls this the Me Monster, and covers the phenomenon beautifully in his act, I Walked On the Moon (Amazon): 

Needless to say, when you find yourself in the company of a one-upper you feel pretty small and unappreciated after a while (like, 27 seconds).

Imagine working with or being married to one (some of you know how this is from firsthand experience)! If you have been chained to a one-upper as a desk-mate or partner, and had a chance to magically do-over that relationship, it seems most people would either opt-out of the one-uppmanship or opt out of the person altogether.

And that is what was happening for me in my life and in my work. People and relationships that were important to me were starting to move away from me, or just not invite me back to work with them.

In my marriage, this was part of some other challenges I brought that all resulted from being overly focused on myself and not what my partner was dealing with or concerned about.

The Elementary School Skill That Saved Me

To get around this problem, I began to realize I needed to do something that would:

  1. Help my mind stay quiet when others spoke
  2. Enable me to actually listen and hear the other person
  3. Recall and remember the things they discussed

As with most things, being aware that I had a problem here helped me start to look for way to fix it.

The Importance of Taking Notes

Back in 2015, I stumbled on* a linkedin post from Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group** called The Importance of Taking Notes.

In the article, which also strikes at the heart of gender disparity in the workplace, he noted how infrequent it is for him, who is a ravenous note taker, to see other executives taking notes in meetings.

He states the aside that many of the most-successful ventures he has undertaken came about because of random chance things he thought to write down. Yet, in business, note taking is somehow not seen as a smart way to It is seen as “office housework,” to quote Sheryl Sandberg, and, as Branson notes, is a fantastic skill to develop to help someone understand their business better:

“On top of counteracting gender bias in the work force, it will also give men a better understanding of what going on within the business and what needs to be done to make things run more effectively.'”

The Importance of Taking Notes by Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

So, I started consciously taking notes.

On p.a.p.e.r.***

In a hardbound notebook that I carry everywhere and can reference later.

It’s something I actually found myself good at doing, since I really had been taught to take notes since elementary school.

And, over time, I found that the process of note-taking forced me to actively listen to people as they spoke, to get the words and information they were trying to convey.

This helped my mind focus on them and what was going on, not on myself or what I wanted to say next.

That enabled me to really connect with the person I was talking with, feel with them the hard parts of what they were experiencing, celebrate with them the successes they had, and make an actionable plan that could be carried out to collaboratively solve a problem we identified.

Leveraging the brilliance of the scannable app and my Evernote account to archive and keep notes forever, a journal (with page numbers) became the final lynch pin in my note taking trifecta as I could reference items by page number or, if something was really a long project, by book and then by page number.

I used to prefer Moleskine notebooks, but more recently, I prefer the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted, numbered series journals, and the “A5” size (148 x 210 mm), which is a thing. It feels a bit like a legal sized piece of paper folded top-to-bottom, then turned on it’s side to write with.

I find the A5 book size is just enough that I have plenty of room to write most things, and I am not carrying around a huge notebook and feel like I should be headed off to school at any moment.

Note Taking Has Become A Super Power

Its been five years since I actively worked on this habit, and I would like to think it has over taken my desire to overtalk and subconsciously one-up the others in the room.

This has lead to more business deals, fantastic opportunities I have been able to execute on that came initially from scribbles on a pice of paper, and the uncanny ability to actually recall what happened in a meeting three months ago because, I wrote it down.

Clients have remarked how much they appreciate that I take notes. I have been told it helps people know I am listening, and there’s a sense that I truly must value what they’re talking about or else, “why would [I] take notes on it?”

Wait, How Did Taking Notes Save Your Marriage?

Anyone in a committed relationship will tell you that your relationship will be stronger if your partner seems to really be interested in you, listen to you, sees and hears you, and follows through on the things they said they would do.

To the letter, every one of the benefits I have found from note taking will improve your ability to be present with, care about and follow through on your commitments with your partner or loved ones.

I have even pulled out my notebook in the middle of something going on and said, “One moment. This is important to me. I am going to take some notes.”

As awkward as it may have been the first time I said that, my wife appreciates that, when I write something down, it sticks in my mind longer than the dinner menu does, and when there’s a commitment I make, I stick to it much better.

Try it and let me know how it goes.

*well, the algorithm “stumbled upon”
** disclosure: I own shares in Virgin Galactic via Robinhood.
*** mental note: why I write on paper deserves its own write up.
Some links in this article

Categories
Blog Jobseekers Networking Working with Recruiters

Doing It Wrong

Jobseeker PSA: If you see your dream job come open and all you do in response is apply online… You’re doing it wrong. #ftfy
Categories
Blog Life Lifehacks Relationship

Give > Receive

Our parents or grandparents taught us this principle, often in the middle of our requests for some grand thing.

“Grandpa” a photo of a woman kissing an old man’s cheek outside an apartment building or storefront in a busy urban environment. He smiles and you can tell she loves him.  Photo by Treddy Chen on Unsplash
grandpa”, photo by Trendy Chen on Unsplash.

At the time, we probably didn’t hear it or felt it was a cop out or distraction technique to change the subject from the thing we begged for.

“Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To say I didn’t understand his urging—that giving was somehow better than receiving—is an understatement.

If you’re like me, this puffy, patriarchal principle seemed something passed down from another time, an age gone by. A time when things were scarce, not plentiful. A time when pictures were black and white, not color, and things were hard to come by, not easy to accumulate like they were in my childhood (and easier than ever now). To me, this advice was from a bygone time marked by saving everything and “making due” (whatever a 9 year old could make of that strange phrase), and of a long, faraway look in my grandfather’s eyes when he thought perhaps too much of those hard, lean times when he was a boy.

(But perhaps, they are times more and more of us may be facing again)

Of course, this proberb’s lesson, as they are wont to do, seems to sweeten and perfect itself over time.

Giving Of Your Time Actually Gives You More Time

Our rise and grind culture of worshipping at the altar of the eternal hustle dissuades this belief, but for centuries, people have found that the more you see and be with other people around you, or open yourself up to the humanity that is present when we just stop and listen for it, the happier and more abundant your life will become.

And I argue you will have more time, and you will be more productive with your time because you will be happier, think clearer and have more energy.

If you are struggling, lonely, find yourself frustrated, anxious or afraid, I am moved by the calm that can come as you pull yourself away from the tightening, shrinkingly claustrophobic cares and concerns of your own life and open your heart wider to allow the life of another.

Perhaps a forgotten friend or a struggling neighbor.

A widow or a stranger.

Even getting to know your postal worker or the Amazon delivery person, or making a concerted effort to graciously thank your DoorDash delivery person can open your heart a little wider than before.

Thanking employees your come across for working and brightening their shift as you check out from the store or buy your take out meal can brighten your day as well as theirs. If this feels challenging to you, remember that they would probably rather be (and might need to be) home caring for a loved one rather than working, but they are deemed essential and have to work instead (which carries less and less paycheck and more and more risk these days).

In times of COVID-19, many people’s support systems are shrinking smaller and smaller. Rediscovering the joy of a phone call, letters across town like a pen pal, or baked goods delivered carefully to another’s door can lighten or brighten a day, a week or a year.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself.”

And, it turns out, giving is much, much better than receiving.

What will you give or give up today to have peace and more happiness tomorrow?

Categories
Blog Hiring Jobseekers Networking Recruiting Industry Working with Recruiters

Real Talk About Resumes in Nine Pithy Tweets

Meme of a resume that simply says "please hire me" in large type
This is what your resume looks like to all recruiters, no matter what.

I have some real talk about resumes and how they are really, really a bad way to get yourself into the job you love. They are a part of it, but relying to heavily on your resume is a rookie mistake. As we used to say where I grew up, “Let me learn you some about it.”

Pull up a chair.

I wrote a tweetstorm about why resumes suck so bad at helping people get jobs and how you can step out of the hamster wheel and actually get attention from employers for who you are.

Just a note: Recruiting and Hiring is intensely biased by nature. It’s very hard to do well. Many great recruiters and people leaders spend all their waking hours trying to solve this problem and curb the risks of institutional bias in what they do. That being said, it’s out there. Everywhere. Being aware of what you’re up against doesn’t make it fair, but at least you know a little more about your enemy, which is understanding the reasons people hire versus the process companies tell you to follow when applying for jobs, which, spoiler alert, are completely opposite each other.

If you hear nothing else from this, remember this one lesson: “Standing in Line is for Suckers”.

Stop following “the rules” when going for your dream job. Do w.h.a.t.e.v.e.r. it takes to get noticed. That gets you hired, and promoted, and respected.

(While you’re waiting to get a call back from that intern screening resumes, someone is connecting with the department VP right now, and they will get hired in the next 3 days)

On to the tweetstorm…

Bottom-Line Up Front:

☝? Hiring is based on feelings not facts.
✌? Getting referred gives everyone that buzzy feeling about you.
?? You get to show up and be your authentic self. They already like you.
?? Spend 80% of your energy getting REFERRED for jobs

Come along for the ride, below:

Take a look at this tweetstorm about resumes and why relying on them to help you find a job is never, ever a good idea.

Looking for resume feedback?

Here the real talk: jobseeking is marketing.

And resumes suuuck at marketing you. Your vibrance. Your passion. Your drive. Your dreams.

The REAL you.

Proof resumes are the worst marketing tool:

  • Ever bought a smartphone because of the resume they put in a commercial? No.
  • Ever went to that trendy restaurant because of the resumes they sent you? No!

You did those things because of something you FELT about them.

Because no matter how much someone will tell you otherwise, hiring is an EMOTIONAL decision.

Not fair? Yes. True? Also, Yes.

In fact, the most emotional decision any manager will make is who they hire.

? Use this to your benefit and encourage them to feel interested in talking to you.

The reason recruiters/hiring managers respond to the person who submits a resume or not is based on how the resume makes them FEEL. (Usually a more logical feeling, yet i argue still a feeling)

Lots of us are trying to make this less biased but it’s still how it is today.

Why You Didn’t Get Called Back

And the reason you didn’t get called back after that interview, even when they said you have all the skills, is either you didn’t make them FEEL whatever they felt about you at first or someone ELSE they interviewed gave them that feeling they were looking for.

Stop Gambling With Your Career — with a PDF!

Waiting on a boring text attachment in an email or submitted online to give an accurate portrayal of the fullness of YOU—your fiery passions and talents, lifelong dreams and skills, even fears and struggles—is a terrible, terrible gamble.

Get on the referral gravy train! ?

Meanwhile, research shows “88% of employers said referrals are… the best source for above-average applicants.”

So companies drain precious money and resources into employee referral programs and tracking their success.

The combination here is perfect for you:

An employee you actually know (not a recruiter) referring you to a company is the BEST and easiest way for you to show off your WHOLE self.

AND companies trip over themselves to incentivize & reward employees for referring candidates.

This is what Steven R. Covey was picturing when he said “win / win”

Categories
Blog Life

Make the ‘Good-er’ Choice

I dont know what challenges you will face today, or what decisions you will have to make, and I’m not going to tell you if your choice is right or wrong.

I can encourage you to keep choosing the good.

But, if that brings some kind of remorse or shame or pressure to make sure you’re making the right choices, then let me break it down for you a little better:

Just choose the good-er one.

As you pick between

  • Two potential new jobs
  • A job versus caring for a member of your family
  • Or for caring yourself (for a change)
  • Saying no to the busy work you always get left with
  • Or to stop pretending you’ll make time for that relationship when things settle down (spoiler: they won’t)
  • And every other choice you make in a day

Choose the one that feels even 1% good-er than the other one, and you will be alright in the end.

Because that 1% more of the good things you choose builds and builds over your life, leaving you the result of a good, rich life, over time.

Side note: Turns out that good-er is usually not the one with the most money involved, at least at the outset.

  • That relationship you finally made space for
  • That mental peace and emotional resilience you developed through meditation, exercise, and/or working through past trauma
  • That ability you finally developed to say No to things that made you look one way but feel another

All these good choices have a compounding effect.

A goodness about you that will pay its own dividends in peace, good work, centeredness, full love, and better alignment of your reality and your expectations.

And, instead of searching for riches, you will find richness—in your heart, your life, faith and work.

That, my friend, is a good, good life.

Categories
Blog Lifehacks Process Improvement Tools and Apps

Missive, How I ❤️ Thee…

This is a love letter.

A love letter to email.

Well, not exactly to email, because you, email, are a necessary evil.

This, is about my email application.

No.

My — unified messaging and communications operating system.

Missive App.

(Disclaimer: No, missive pays me nothing for this. They don’t even have an affiliate program. In fact, I pay them a fairly solid monthly subscription for my growing recruiting team. I will gladly keep paying. And, enjoying the hair I did not pull out of my own head over using plain old email tools)

Story Time

Its about 23 minutes into the zoom meeting and, the other person says, “give me a moment, that’s in my other email account…

“… ugh, I got logged out.

“OK! Sent it.

“Dang. I sent it from the wrong address. That’s not going to work.

:angry email noises:

…”

via GIPHY

Meanwhile… the hopefully polite look on my face while I witness this belies the eye twitching that is happening under the surface. Not only could this meeting have likely been an email, 80% of this meeting ended up being about email issues:

  • Not finding the mail
  • Mail in the wrong place
  • Did you get the email?
  • Did they send the email?
  • Not being cc’d on the email or otherwise not knowing the content of said email
  • Getting forwarded the email last-minute and now having to page through mind-numbingly confusing forwards to find the part of the email that matters for this meeting,
  • …all from your phone because your laptop is presenting.
  • Needing to email someone and ask a specific, detailed question
  • Emailing the person again asking them to quickly reply as we’re trying to make a decision
  • Clarifying the question we asked, since, thanks to brevity, we assumed they knew all the context of what was being asked and were forced to reply with “It depends…”
  • and so on
  • and so forth

Email issues that could have been solved if communication, not email, were the priority. ?

If I Haven’t Told You Missive Is Better Than Your Email App, Either We Haven’t Talked, or I am Being Nice

The other half of this story is that people who work with me know that, at this point in the meeting, if I have not yet brought up Missive, the email app I have been leveraging for at least three years now, it is because of an immense amount of personal strength to keep. my. mouth. shut.

Why?

Missive is like my right-hand, time-saving, boss-level communications master control center.

Missive is like my own mind, but with a better memory, and with emoji support. ?

I can’t stress enough all the ways that Missive helps me, my personal life, my family and my team through a week and, in building ConnectedWell from a literal company-of-one to a growing team with expanding partnerships and opportunities, Missive has been my most-trusted ally, by my side in that awesome, scalable, helpful-but-not-clingy kind of way we all seek from our email applications, but, sadly, most never find.

OK, Hot Shot. Why is Missive So good?

Here is a list of things my email program does effortlessly that yours doesn’t. Neener, neener.

  • Works effortlessly across any device I have, via app or browser, with zero functionality loss on mobile. Truly a mobile-first application.
  • One Login. I login with my account once and it remembers all my other accounts, gmail, gsuite, exchange, outlook, or whatever other email server you use.
  • Keyboard shortcuts. The gmail ones. Or, use your own
  • SWIPE multiple emails at once. Delete, Archive or Snooze all these junk emails at once and then, boom, inbox zero #FTW.
  • Also remembers all my inbound/outbound signatures, forwarding rules and other tweaks for each account.
  • Good search across all accounts or separate ones
  • Email templates for you or shared
  • SNOOOOOOOoooooze emails for working with later
  • You can even snooze email from the alerts that pop up on your computer or device.
  • Send emails later, as well (so you look like you were (or were not) up at 1:30am)
  • Snooze emails to come back to you after you sent them (so you can follow up). Choose to snooze only if the other person does not reply.
  • UNDO send, too, so you don’t look like this guy when you accidentally reply-to-all (see below, or here: youtube). This one is YUGE.
  • Rules and filters that make gmail rules, uh, not rule and make outlook’s rules feel like 1990s tv sitcom dramas. Cute, but really not that entertaining any more.
    • My personal favorite use of the email rules? I have a set of filters and rules that keep all email OUT of my inbox except for a few very specific times of the day (a la Tim Ferris style) so I can actually get work done.

What Happens When You Reply All

Here are some of the superpowers Missive gives my team and me:

Missive’s integrations beef up my
email superpowers ??
  • Inline email collaboration and editing (and inline sidebar chat) like a Google Doc, but in. email.
    • Let that last one sink in a little
  • Assign people and tasks to an email or just FYI them. Do not forward the email. Just @mention them in the sidebar and they have access. Boom. Instantly, to the whole thread in their screen, along with all chat messaged about it, in chronological order, as if they were the one who got the initial message.
  • Real team shared inboxes, both a general box like “[email protected]” where everyone gets a copy of messages, or a way to let everyone see the status, and replies of all other messages — so nothing slips through the cracks (and a great way to share know-how and best practices among team members)
  • Send on behalf of the team or as an individual, either all the time or just ad-hoc. For example, you could can ask me for help on an email, we collaborate on it, and then you can send the email AS ME, using my own email credentials, right from your own email app, and zeeeeero tech support or password sharing required.
  • Don’t forward an email to yourself or your trellor board or something. Send them (or your task list/trello board) an actual URL LINK to an exact email so you can click once and go right back into the content you need.
  • Ready to power up? Seamless integrations with apps you’re already using. I use their trello, todoist, pipedrive and other integrations every hour of the day.
  • Social integrations let me manage facebook, instagram and other social messages from my email app. Yeah. That easy.
  • Missive’s powerful Twillio integration powers the chat “bot” telegram like feature on this site (lower right corner), dropping site-based chats into the [email protected] team inbox as if they are emails. Try it.
  • I could also use Twillio to send SMS messages, too, fwiw.
  • Missive is actively being developed with a very responsive team (I’ve chatted with Etienne, Phillipe and Rafael frequently). Their Canny feature requests, get this, actually turn into product releases. They ship multiple times a month.

I will come back to this and add more, but for now, this is a pretty good list of reasons you should check out Missive.

Again, missive doesn’t pay me, but I gladly pay them. It’s a good app. And, for something you use 38 hours a day, you should treat yourself better than the way you’re being treated.

I’m just sayin.

Of course, how you choose to email is none of my business.

Would you like to reply?

Categories
Blog

How to Know if a Decision is Good

I can’t tell you if a decision is right, but I can give you a simple measuring stick to know if a decision is good.

But first, a little background…

In life, in work, in our careers, in our communities, we are faced with countless possibilities of ways to spend our days, our nights, our love, our effort, our money, our time and more.

In our busy, modern, app-driven & time-crunched lives (and quarantine seems to have only made it worse over time) the challenges of dealing with both information overload and the resultant FOMO, the fear of missing out, if you should choose the wrong thing are a constant struggle.

Why is Decision Making so Hard?

Primarily, “one of the big reasons we all hesitate to make decisions is FEAR.” says Lynn Leigh Neild. This is definitely the case when making a decision seems to be between too many good options:

  • What if I pick the wrong one?
  • What if the other choice is better?
  • What if I don’t know enough information?

The gridlock of these conflicting influences often leads to analysis paralysis, or worse, feelings of anxiety that can spiral out of control, if unchecked.

What is Anxiety?

“Anxiety is caused by an over-reaction of the human fight-or-flight response.” explains Manuel Krause, a mindfulness and anxiety expert (MS Applied Psychology) and founder of Pocketcoach, a cool-looking chatbot* that can help you manage anxiety.

“This innate reaction has developed over more than hundred thousand years of evolution in order to protect us from danger. It’s a biological process that kicks in whenever the brain detects something dangerous.”

How Can You Overcome Mild Anxiousness?

Combating the anxiousness that can come from indecision is hard. Breathing can help (here’s why), and managing deep anxiety from a psychological level is beyond the scope of this writing, but for those who feel bodily tension, perhaps in your shoulders, around the eyes or other places in your body when it’s time to make a decision, a few things may be able to help:

Move & Breathe to Help Anxiety Move, Too

It could be thought of that anxiousness is emotion taking place in you, or having a physical effect on you. It has been said that “emotions need motion”. When you are feeling anxiousness, it is often helpful to move around to help the anxiety move along.

Further, breathing, walking or even just standing and stretching can help your body regain some regulation over these feelings.

Tips:

  • Got an apple watch? Use the Breathe app to grab some quick mindful moments.
  • My.Life (formerly Breathe) provides quick as well as deeper mindfulness tools for android and apple devices as well as Alexa.
  • Put your walking shoes on and take a brisk walk around the block or building (or house). Count your steps and think about how the ground feels under your feet with each step to bring yourself to a present state of mind.

For deeper resolution to anxiousness, I have used headspace to help me regain a feeling of centeredness and calm.

How Do You Combat FOMO?

FOMO, the fear of missing out, is increasingly common in our social-media driven society. The constant barrage of how great other people’s lives create an intensive mental challenge that is not easy to overcome, and can lead to even more decision-making gridlock.

When it comes to the fear of missing out on something, William Bednarz notes in The Conversationalist that “What you DON’T want to do is let the FOMO get the best of you and allow it to consume your mind. If you keep thinking about what you’re missing out on, it will manifest itself in your mind and dominate your thoughts to where it seems much more than it actually is.”

Some research reported by Psychology Today notes some surprising effects of FOMO relative to social media use in that, people who experienced FOMO experienced the same amount of it, no matter if they learned of the missed activity online or in person, and even if the thing they chose to do instead was fun:

In the research, “FOMO was a commonly reported feeling, which created negative emotions and feelings of distraction. Adding to this, the results showed that FOMO was felt no matter how the person found out about the alternate social activity on which they were missing out. Hearing it from a friend versus social media produced the same amount of FOMO. And finally, it was also felt even when the selected activity was an enjoyable (social) one.” #

Psychology Today, The Science of FOMO and What We’re Really Missing Out On

In light of this, it’s important to note that experiencing FOMO after you have made a decision is almost guaranteed. And experiencing FOMO is not an indicator that the decision you made was the wrong one, because you are likely to feel it anyway.

How Do I Know if a Decision is Good?

Okay, so, how do I know when a decision is a good decision? This simple measuring stick will help you, or at least give you confidence it is not a bad decision.

A good decision will impel you to be intentionally willing to turn down other choices that you also see are good.

In economics, this would be called opportunity cost, and is a real measuring stick that economists use to help understand human behavior:

“…Opportunity cost, also known as alternative cost, of making a particular choice is the value of the most valuable choice out of those that were not taken,” explains Abhishek Kothari in The Opportunity Cost of Everything. “In simple terms, when you chose to do something, you give up something.”

In practice, you can be confident a good decision is good, if the alternatives you must give up are also good.

  • Choosing between two excellent job offers.
  • Hiring one of two excellent candidates.
  • Choosing to move to a new home or stay in a home you love.
  • Deciding which great university to attend.
  • Picking an AirBnb by the beach or one in the mountains.
  • Choosing between two cars with a great payments and top safety ratings.

Why this works

This works for three deceptively simple reasons:

  1. The downside is almost nonexistent.
    Reality is, if you are choosing between attending two great university choices, the downside for you becomes vanishingly small. Really, what’s the worst that could happen? That lit class will bore you to death no matter which campus you are on (or which zoom room you are in)
  2. The upside is huge.
    Jim Rohn used to say “Indecision is the thief of opportunity.” and it seems the second you decide something, the universe aligns to help you make it happen.
  3. Choosing something creates momentum.
    And momentum makes any task easier. Objects in motion, of course, tend to stay in motion

Still Stuck? Try ‘Ooching’.

If you stilllllllll just can’t make that choice, then you might try “ooching”. It means taking incrementally, but intentional steps toward the thing you’re trying to do to see where things lead.

Ooching “allows you to experiment with a decision while minimizing the risk, which can be helpful with choices large and small,” according to Kristin Wong at Forge, referencing the book Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath (Amazon).

Wong continues with some examples: “If you’re thinking of moving to a new city, for example, maybe first you ask permission to work remotely for a month in that city. If you’re thinking of buying a new car but unsure if you can make the monthly payments, set aside a couple hundred bucks each month in a separate savings account to see if you can swing it.” #

*Disclosures:
– I have never used Pocketcoach, but it looks appealing.

Categories
Blog

Productivity Hack for Freelancers: Multiple Chrome Profiles, FTW

Google Chrome is a popular web browser. Beside the powerful extensions, speed and other benefits, Chrome is really the way to go for a simple, fast web browser on your computer.

If you are a freelancer or independent contractor, or even more importantly, a solopreneur or working a side-hustle, your time is, literally, money, and the most-precious asset you have.

Often, a lot of it gets “sucked up” in the mental problem of logging into this account or that, either your personal, your work, your side-gig or your client’s accounts.

How Multiple Profiles Helps

Setting up multiple user profiles in Chrome helps you avoid this issue all while keeping passwords in sync, data from being colluded between accounts*

I tell people this tip a lot and they roll their eyes just a little at me, because, I know, “How hard is it really to manage switching from one Google Account to another?”

Well, it’s not. By itself.

But, if you’re like me, it gets a little hairy when you have 3 to 5 different client accounts you’re managing all at the same time, and they ALL use the same systems, such as G-Suite, Google Docs, and in my recruiting world, Lever, SmartRecruiters or Greenhouse to boot. Fun fun.

Don’t forget how awkward it is when you’re sharing your screen on a zoom call and the link you click drops you into your other client’s account for everyone to see. They might not say anything, but it IS awkward. Believe me.

Oh, you’re also working for them, huh?

Look, whatever s0-called loyalty is these days, the last thing you need is Bob in finance bringing your name up when budget discussions come around and the CFO is looking to trim some fat, “Well, we know they’re double-dipping on us with ACME corp… I think it’s safe for us to cut this contract.”

Personally, I’d rather save the headache, embarrassment, and time of trying to keep all your swimlanes clear when you’re going from client to client.

How Multiple Profiles Work

You could think of multiple profiles in Chrome like being able to login to your computer with multiple accounts, but see them all on the same screen. See this primer from PC World about Chrome Profiles, if you like.

Windows, Tabs, Profiles, Oh My!

You are already familiar with browser windows. Yeah, that thing with 300 tabs you have sitting there in your face all day long. You can open multiple browser windows, too, which you might already do to separate tasks from each other.

Adding profiles to this this takes additional browser windows-usage up a notch as you can separate client work, or personal browsing (banking, for example) from your work profiles.

Each Chrome browser window is tied to a Profile by default. That Profile can be tied to a Google Account, if you like, with some benefits such as cloud synchronized password storage, cookie and search history and more. If you haven’t done anything with profiles, you probably have just one profile on your user account, and if you use GMail, it’s probably tied to your Gmail account already.

This means you’re 90% there already.

In the upper right corner of Chrome, next to all your Chrome Extension add ons, you might see a little user icon or your own picture (if you’ve connected to a Google Account)

My user icon to the right of this bar of Chrome Extensions tells me in a glance which “profile” I am in right now. This icon is for my professional ConnectedWell account.

Tapping this little icon allows you to open other Chrome profile windows OR add a new one (down at the bottom).

I assign different
Chrome profiles
different user icons
so I can tell them apart

When I add a new profile, I will link it to a google account and give it a unique icon or user avatar image so I can quickly pop up off the page and see which account I am in. I have one for personal and one for work, and one for each client sandbox I want to have (where I have access to their internal systems).

I have had up to six active profiles going at a time. It really helps streamline things!

Pro-Tips and Errata

A few side benefits to this behavior:

Delete old client profiles in moments, not days

Beside parsing away all your client work from your other clients or personal work, you can easily blow away an account and delete everything when your relationship with that client is over. All good things come to an end. I promise, ripping off the bandaid is better.

Delete the profile and you can safely know you won’t accidentally violate any privacy agreements or trip any alarms if your browser tries to log you into something in the background.

Keep your bookmarks (and browsing history) separate

Look, you don’t have to go far online to see examples of, ahem, interesting things that popped up in someone’s google search bar when they were trying to search for something while presenting to a room (or a recorded video conference).

If you don’t want to have to defend that your daughter is the one who watches My Little Pony fan videos, not you, just use another browser profile for your, uh, your daughter’s web surfing interests.

Other smart people think this is a good idea, too:

Questions? Ask away.

*Not sure if this could really happen, but in the age of GDPR, keeping my accounts (or more important, my client’s accounts) in separate sandboxed Chrome instances makes me sleep better, anyway. The extra layer of separation seems like it’s only a good idea.

Categories
Blog Entrepreneurship My Favorite Things Process Improvement

Gusto Makes Paying Payroll & Contractors Magical

I have used Gusto* twice now to run my payroll in my business ventures and, in the 8 clicks or so that it took to pay my contractors and employees today, I thought I should write about it. Partly because, for some strange reason, I avoided using them during my current venture even though I loved them before. Looking back, I put myself through a lot of pain this go-round. Don’t do that to yourself. #learnFromMyMistakes

Managing payroll and compliance with Gusto makes my small business or solopreneur venture even more awesome. Key benefit for me? Paying contractors any amount with direct deposit with no extra fees or transaction charges. ? ⬇️ Finally, I can stop using Venmo!

Gusto definetly goes on my list of how to run a business smarter, not harder. Three years (and $20k in tax issues later), cough up the comparative pocket change to do this right.

The OLD WAY of paying contractors for me included trying to find their venmo account, ignore how many times they bought tacos last week (really?) negotiate on if they wanted payment from Cash App instead or maybe paypal… and then haggle over who paid the transaction fees. This worked “great” until I had enough business I bumped up against my venmo transaction limits, and my people will attest that the waiting around for payments SUCKED. I had two contractors getting paid by venmo, one on Cash app, a bunch I had to hoodwink into reactivating their PayPal accounts (and I coughed down the fees most of the time). P.S None of this included the accounting gymnastics I got to do monthly when I had to parse out which payments went to whom and for what work

The cost of using Gusto to pay yourself + 9 employees is the equivalent of 58cents an hour. If your billing rate can’t choke that down, I seriously recommend you find a regular job ?.

If you are going out (or already out) on your own or taking on a side hustle, or partnering with some colleagues at a joint-venture, it’s alluring to run everything on your own and go lean, but after three years of trying and making mistakes at this, I am learning to automate the things computers can do so I can do the things I do best — which is recruit and lead and support my team.

Things Gusto does very well (the top three were enough for me to stop kicking myself and sign up)

  • Manages payroll for W-2 employees seamlessly.
  • Send payments to 1099 Contractors direct deposit, and for no extra fees.
  • Run as many payroll or expense reimbursement runs per month as you like, for no extra fees.
  • Ability for your employees to get “instant” paychecks if they like or are short on cash (no cost to you).
  • Ridiculously quick and friendly support.
  • Awesome, simple user interface.
  • Access to benefits and other nifty features such as charitable contributions, 401k, 529 accounts, life insurance and more.
  • Helps you process 1099s and W-2 statements at the end of the year.
  • Know before you submit payroll exactly how much will come from your accounts and when.
  • Automatically handles state and federal tax requirements, sending the right tax amounts to the right withholding accounts so you can rest easy knowing the tax man cometh, but not with a scythe. They even got my account numbers for me. I did zero paperwork.
  • Onboard and offboard employees, even sending offer letters!
  • Sync magically with all accounting packages.
  • Causes your accountants to regularly break out into song.

Plus, they’re giving you $100 Amazon gift card to try it just for signing up at my recommendation (after you run payroll). I mean, I would recommend it anyway, but, if they’re going to front you a hundred bucks, that’s 2.5 months worth of their fee if you (yourself or others) are a W-2 employee. That’s 4 months free if you have no W-2 employees and 4 contractors (16 months free if you have just one contractor).

Full disclosure, I also get $100 if you try this. I’d recommend it anyway, so, if you feel strange about that just go to gusto.com yourself and sign up, or ask your accountant to refer you if you want to keep the cash “in the family”, so to speak.

Either way, I ran payroll and paid my contractors and ticked off a bunch of tired old tax-compliance boxes using Gusto this morning in way less time than it took to write this.

Or, keep doing payroll the hard way.

Gusto is part of my accounting stack for small businesses, which includes:

Tell ’em I sent ya ?

*This is a referral link. If you go here and buy stuff, I may or may not get a small something in return. It might be money or a gift-card or a discount on my service. It’s usually not much. And, I am a paying customer of all these services, so its really just soda money in the end. I am not living off this, lol. If this makes you feel strange, feel free to run over to that website all by yourself or ask someone else to refer you. No problem. But if you feel like my advice helped you, clicking this link is one way to say thanks. I mean, that or five pound box of $50 bills would work, too… but clicking the link is easier. #justsayin