International “Sick Of Being Sick” Day

IMG_5422Today is a newly minted holiday, by me. I’m calling it the International “Sick Of Being Sick” Day. It’s going to be the fourth Thursday in January from now on.

I woke up this morning and once again, felt like I’d been run over by a bulldozer. I’ve had a cold/flu/illness for 16 days now, and I’ve had enough. I decided to live this day as if I wasn’t sick, because I’m sick of being sick.

I really wanted to just stay in my nice warm bed, but since today is now an international holiday, I got up, put on my running shoes, and hit the road. I think that’s the best way to celebrate – with a “polar walk”, unless you happen to live in Australia, in which case you can just take a walk on the beach.

Was I in top form today? Not even close.

But… sometimes *something* is better than nothing.

I’ve had a full day of work and driving kids around and can’t wait to crawl back into bed. But, again, it’s a shiny new International holiday so instead, I’m going to take my daughter to dinner first. We’ve gotta celebrate this day!

If you’re sick of being sick, today is your day! How will you celebrate?

“The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short”

Before the event even started, I was in tears.

I attended Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit 2013 in Portland this past weekend. I expected to be inspired, hear from great speakers, meet great people and just plain have a ton of fun.

That happened. 🙂

What I didn’t expect to happen was meeting someone who has totally inspired me for the past 8 years… and I didn’t even know she existed!

Whew. Deep breath. This part of the story is hard to talk about.

I got divorced 8 years ago. I have 5 kids. At that time, they were ages 7, 5, 3, and 1 year old twins. The twins weren’t even walking yet. I was a wreck of a human being. Totally devasted. I let someone else be in control of my personal happiness for way, way too long and I was badly broken. Suicidal. I moved into my house with the kids and had no idea how I was going to survive practically, financially or emotionally.

Around that time, I heard someone say this: “The days are long, but the years are short”.

This became my mantra. I put it on my dining room wall as a daily reminder.

Screenshot 7:10:13 1:17 PM

Even though I was in a really bad place, somehow, through the haze, I knew that I didn’t want to miss one second of my kids growing up. I had no idea how I was going to get through “a” day, let alone “years”.

At that time, the days were painfully long. Every day was so.much.work. It was all I could do just to take care of the kids, let alone figure out how to pay the bills.

But I knew that at some time in the future, I would hit a tipping point and the years would start to speed by. That quote gave me the strength and hope to know that somehow, at some point, life would get easier, and I didn’t want to miss it in the meantime.

That happened. 🙂

It hasn’t been easy, still isn’t really, but I recreated myself as an online business owner and marketer, and I’m pretty damn good at it. My kids are fantastic. They are well-adjusted, self-motivated, intelligent, and just plain fun to be around. I have inner peace now. I’m happy. 🙂

When my oldest turned 14, I hit that tipping point and the years have indeed started to scream by at an increasingly alarming speed.

If it weren’t for that saying, I might have been too lost in my own sadness to enjoy, and attempt to enrich, my babies’ childhood.

Fast forward to #WDS2013… I’m eagerly waiting for the event to start on the first morning. Quotes from the various speakers were being flashed on the screen, and I saw this:

Screenshot 7:10:13 1:15 PM-3The emotional response I felt took me completely by surprise. I had tears streaming down my face.  I felt such a huge sense of connection and… relief?

It was like seeing a best friend that had helped me through the most difficult time of my life. If that quote were embodied as a person, I would have ran towards her, embraced her, and cried with love & gratitude.

I heard that quote before I really knew how to work the Internet. It was such a mainstay in my life that I never even thought about Googling it to see who said it. I assumed it was just some sage, old saying, like “Time heals all wounds”. Somebody like Shakespeare had probably said it, I thought.

I was dumbfounded to learn that MY quote had actually been said by a real person who was speaking at the event!

New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin had written a book called “The Happiness Project”, and my beloved quote was one of the many pearls of wisdom from her book.

Gretchen Rubin, I am forever grateful to you for your wise words that have helped me to not miss out on the most important part of my life–the formative years of my children’s lives–even though I didn’t feel like living it at the time.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to tell Gretchen in person how much this quote has meant to me.

Screenshot 7:10:13 1:16 PM

 

 

 

 

How Google Is Contributing To The “Walmartization” Of The World

Out of BusinessI walk in.

There’s usually a quaint little bell that rings when I open the door. I take in the shabby rows of mismatched chairs.

I smell the exotic spices wafting in from the clearly visible kitchen. I look to make sure the plastic flowers are proudly arranged in their little glass vases at every table.

The waiter walks towards me with a tantalizing menu. I’ve never heard of at least half of the dishes.

I have arrived!

The thrill of going where no friends have gone before… Trying dishes I’ve never dreamed existed… Dreaming of visiting far away countries… That’s what walking into a non-chain restaurant feels like to me.

It seems to me that with the move towards favoring big brands, Google is taking this away from me.

I don’t like Walmart or Costco or chain restaurants. It’s too hard to get help at Walmart, and too easy to spend more money than I care to at Costco.  I don’t like that I can have the same food at Chili’s in Colorado and Connecticut.

If there were any Mom & Pop grocery stores left in my city, I’d be their best customer.  But there literally isn’t even one.  I’ve spent a bunch of time traveling around the Western states, and I’ve seen too many quaint little villages ravaged by Walmart when they come to town.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said this:  “The Internet is fast becoming a “cesspool” where false information thrives. Brands are the solution, not the problem.  Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”   

I couldn’t disagree more.  Brands aren’t the solution unless they want us to all be the same.

I’m concerned about a trend I’m seeing where, increasingly, everybody in the world eats at the same restaurants, and shops at the same places.  The more we do this, the more of our uniqueness we lose.

Pretty soon, we’ll all be wearing the same clothes and eating the same food. We’ll all look and sound the same.  No need to travel anywhere because everywhere will be the same. There will be a McDonalds on literally every corner and a Walmart in the center of every town. We’ll shop at Amazon.

Google, please don’t take away my “non-chain” experience.

I LIKE mom & pop stores, online and off.

 

 


	

I Hereby Abolish The Word ‘TEST’

That’s right, I will no longer refer to multivariate & split tests as ‘Tests’.  From now on, I declare them ‘CONTESTS’, and here’s why:

Tests are boring.  Tests are work.  Tests require studying, memorization, writing, and a #2 pencil.   I’m done with all that.

On the other hand, CONTESTS are a blast!  It is so much unbelievable fun to get back ‘Contest’ results like this:

Multi-Variate Contest Results

We had a ‘contest’ with 7 different variations of the main headline on the page, and 7 out of 7 beat the control, 5 won by enough to be statistically significant.
The biggest winner (and the one that is now the new control) got 21% more click thrus than the old control!

Tell me that isn’t fun. 😉

See what I’m sayin’?  Contests are fun!  Tests are boring.

He Who Cares Least Does Not Win

Recently, we had a training for SEO Professionals.  One of the presentations was on negotiation.  The speaker made the point that when it comes to negotiation, “He who cares least wins.”

Barbed Wire Heart

I agree.

I agree that it’s true when it comes to sales as well.  The best salesmen leave you feeling like you need them way more than they need you.  Whether or not it’s true, they leave us feeling… needy.  Like we’ve just gotta have whatever it is they are selling.

While this maxim may be true for sales and negotiations, I STRONGLY disagree with it is as a way to live life.  A person who thinks they need to care *less* than others will always have a barrier between them and others as they strive to maintain the upper hand.  It’s hard work making sure you care the least in a relationship.

I know this because after the training, I tried it for a couple of days.  I had to work at refocusing my thinking to a place of negativity and disengagement instead of just being myself.

I’d find myself cheering myself on:  “C’mon, care less!  You can do it!”

When it comes to sales, I can do this in a heartbeat.  I can care least, no problem.

But when it comes to life, I’m going to continue advocating that “He who cares MOST wins.”

When you care most, you open yourself up to hurt, unlike the person who cares least.  You may face rejection, and it may hurt more.  But the opportunity to experience life and happiness is so much bigger than for the person who decides to care least.

In summary, I choose to care more, and if you don’t like that, I could care less.  😉

I’m An Exclamation Point Kind Of Girl

Some people just aren’t exclamation point kind of people. I try really hard to restrain myself, but they just come pouring out of me and I can’t stop them.

Exclamation PointI have a friend that is a triple exclamation point!!! I’m just a single exclamation point, most of the time. It’s difficult being an exclamation point kind of girl because people don’t get me all of the time. Every time I write something, I have to plan on going back and deleting about half of the exclamation points. People that aren’t exclamation points, just periods, don’t understand how hard it is to restrain my exclamations.

They tell me to “tone it down” or “chill”. I try to comply, but begrudgingly. I LIKE exclamation points.

Period.

The Power Of The Process

I went camping over the weekend in the beautiful Uintah Mountains. It was so nice and relaxing! I forget sometimes how valuable it is to unplug. The fun thing is, I got to unplug, but still got to have some great conversation about internet marketing (one of my very favorite topics right now.) 🙂

We sat at the picnic table and talked for about 3 1/2 hours about a system for developing content on an industrial scale. I know it sounds nerdy, but having a process in place is where it’s at, man! I tell people this all the time, but to really see a business process mapped out is a beautiful thing. Understanding how things get created, and then dropped into a system and moving from place to place without me ever having to touch them is truly awe inspiring. I visualize a well-oiled machine where things just happen, like cogs whirring, and belts spinning to move the assembly process along.

People that don’t do this tend to run around like 5 year olds at a soccer game where they are always running around in little clumps chasing after the ball, with no real strategy.

Time for me to take my processes to the next level.