I dare you

cliff

I dare you to write like you mean it

I dare you to scare the shit out of yourself

I dare you to send a message

I dare you to be remembered vividly

I dare you to seek out discomfort

I dare you to not just learn something new, but to master it

I dare you to travel… loudly

I dare you to eat weird shit

I dare you to fall in love

I dare you to push away the people who are bad for you…

… and to appreciate the ones who aren’t

I dare you to watch less TV

I dare you to work your face off

I dare you to take a long vacation

I dare you to throw out a bunch of your stuff

I dare you to buy only experiences and no things

I dare you to be free…

… and to see what happens.

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Cutting in Line

window patter

When someone cuts you off in traffic, it’s offensive.

It’s offensive because they’ve broken the rules in order to get ahead of us. It creates tension because it feels like they’re taking advantage. After all, we are following the rules…

When someone makes a lot of money by taking advantage of the system, it’s frustrating.

It’s frustrating because they’ve broken the rules in order to get ahead of us. They’re taking advantage in ways that we are not willing to.

These types of black and white rules work in a world where all the cars need to go in the same direction without hitting each other. Or when we want to control our economy and prevent shady business practices.

However in the world of connectivity and social networks and hyper speed, the rules of order don’t work anymore.

Those same rules that keep cars on the road and keep people paying their taxes become a burden.

Because if you repeat something online that has already been done before. If you simply follow the “rules.” Then it probably won’t work.

No, this new world asks that you break the rules. That you stretch yourself beyond where you might feel comfortable.

And that, is why it’s exciting.

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Active Work

old tools

When you wake up in the morning, do you choose to brush your teeth?

Do you choose to eat something ‘easy’ or ‘quick’ for breakfast?

Do you choose what route you take to work?

Do you choose to go to work?

Probably not. In fact, many of the things we do on a daily basis are choices that we’ve already made. Choices that we’ve put in our mental bank of “don’t have to worry about this anymore”.

But the problem is that without an ongoing choice…

Without an ongoing analysis of what we’ve already chosen…

We end up choosing what we wanted last year. Or 5 years ago. Or even when we were 10 years old.

This is how we fall into the trap of unloving relationships, or terrible jobs. This is how we start to fail at life & work and one day we wake up wondering “what the hell just happened”?

Instead, the answer is to actively choose on a daily basis. To say yes every day to the things we take for granted…

Until we don’t.

And when the answer is no too many times in a row, we need to accept it, and take action.

Because it’s over.

You haven’t chosen yes anymore. You’ve chosen no.

The Japanese have a word for active work. They call it Samu.

Active work involves being present. Being where the work is happening.

Not distracting ourselves with excessive future planning, long meetings or loud music.

Active work is choosing your actions. Choosing your work. And choosing what you want to put out into the world.

And it’s the only way to accomplish something great. To have an impact.

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How to Play the Guitar

How do you learn to play guitar?

Do you beat yourself up each time you hit a wrong note?

No, you start again.

You repeat.

You do it better.

And pretty soon, it’s right.

And soon after that, it’s good.

And if you keep going. Maybe. Just maybe. It’ll be spectacular.

But you don’t get there by beating yourself up. You don’t get there by demanding perfection from day one.

You get there by starting. And then starting again. And continuing to push until your mind, your fingers and your soul hurt.

So how, then, do you expect to make connections?

… to produce good work?

… to build great companies?

Is it by demanding perfection from day one?

Or by making a habit of starting, then starting again, then starting again…

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I’m sorry, that’s not our problem

In customer service, it’s easy to pass the buck.

“Sir, if we can’t repeat the issue, we can’t help you…”

“Sir, it looks like the issue is with your [insert other company here] provider. Please call them for help.”

Or even…

“See our online help forum for answers to common issues”

It’s far more rare however – and more valuable – to go the extra mile.

To solve problems that don’t fall into the realm of your support services.

Often, these problems are even easy to solve for a halfway competent customer service agent.

But the problem is that there’s no standard operating procedure, so it’s scary. Scary for the employee because it involves thought. But also scary for the middle manager because it’s difficult to measure… and it’s difficult to justify.

It’s far more easy to pass the buck. Abandon the customer. And wipe your hands of the situation altogether.

But what you’re leaving on the table is a connection.

Sure, the customer probably won’t BLAME you for passing the buck. But they won’t love you either. They won’t rave to their friends about your company. They won’t become a lifelong customer that breeds other, raving, lifelong customers.

It’s your choice.

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Here, I made this: WordPress Popup Surveys

Collecting feedback from your website visitors can be an incredible asset to your blog or business website.

It allows you to find out what your ACTUAL visitors are thinking, instead of waiting for them to send you emails – or worse, just guessing.

There are a number of tools available that allow you to collect user feedback.

Two of the premium ones are:

  1. https://qualaroo.com/
  2. https://www.hotjar.com/

I have used both of these tools in the past, and they are incredibly helpful. They cost between $20 and $100 per month for the service.

However, I wanted a popup survey tool that integrated into WordPress directly, and saved my data on my own website. After all, if I ever left one of these premium services, I would lose any data that was stored on their servers.

This lead me to create a new WordPress Survey plugin called Popup Surveys and Polls.

It’s simple. It works. And it keeps all of your survey results data on your own server.

And best of all, it’s free.

Check it out here:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/popup-surveys/

It uses a simple one page edit screen to create the surveys right within WordPress:

screenshot-1

Currently, you can create 3 kinds of survey questions:

  • Multiple choice surveys (with an unlimited number of choices)
  • Net promoter score
  • Text response

And so far, I’ve built these additional features into the plugin:

  • Create an unlimited amount of surveys
  • Run multiple surveys at the same time (only one will be displayed to a user at once)
  • Control the delay before displaying a survey
  • Display your survey on the left or the right side of your website
  • Customize the thank you message of your survey

More to come, and if you like the plugin, please give me a review over at wordpress.org. Every little bit helps.

Cheers,

~E

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Planning to death

It feels good to plan.

We plan our lives

We plan what we would do with more time off

We plan what we would do if we won the lottery

We plan a new business

In fact, many times planning is just another form of procrastination…

… because doing is hard.

Doing ruins plans, because even the best laid plans don’t work flawlessly – we as humans are really bad at predicting the future.

Doing requires us to dig deep, and work our asses off.

But doing is the only thing that produces any value.

Doing is what matters.

So do.

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I’ll think about it…

Thinking about something only works if you’re willing to actually think.

It only works if you’re going to add value to the decision making process.

It only works if you’re going to process what was said, and if you might change your choice from what your gut tells you, to something else.

If, in fact, you’re just looking for a way to politely NOT make a decision – to avoid the decision altogether – then you should probably just say no (or yes). Stop wasting everyone’s time and put it to rest.

Then, get back to work.

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Your big idea isn’t that big

By: Steve Jurvetson

Ideas are a funny creature. We want to protect them.

“My idea is a million dollar idea… but I can’t tell you about it, you might steal it”

I hate to burst your bubble, but there’s no such thing as a million dollar idea.

Ideas are only a small part of the overall picture.

Ideas require work to create value. They require refinement, testing and tons and tons of effort.

What the cycle looks like:

  1. Have an idea
  2. Create a plan
  3. Build it
  4. Launch to the world
  5. See what happens
  6. Adjust and make it better

Instagram wasn’t Instagram when it started

Airbnb tried some pretty strange ideas before they found their niche

In fact, many huge, well known brands have made major pivots in their journey

You get better at what you practice.

That means you should be practicing launching and adjusting all the time. This is good for you and good for your idea.

Go launch.

Do it relentlessly and with zeal. Create new habits of launching projects until it becomes uncomfortable if you aren’t.

You will fail – a lot – but you will also succeed far more than you would if you keep protecting your ideas.

And each time you fail, you get to apply what you learned to the next launch.

Who knows, maybe one of your ideas will make a million dollars. Or even a few billion.

But it sure won’t if you keep hoarding it to yourself.

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Is the government running your business?

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who thinks that government organized projects are efficient.

You’d be even harder pressed to find someone who would call most governments a well run organization.

Why then, do so many companies let themselves be run by the government?

They do so by building policy based on what’s bare minimum by law.

Any time you choose to follow what is written in an “employment standards act” or other bureaucratic tome, you are letting the government make business decisions for you.

After all, you have a choice.

You can instead choose your policies carefully… thoughtfully.

Of course, you can’t choose to do less than the minimum…

…but you CAN choose to do more. To be generous. And to expect generosity in return from your staff.

Because after all, if you give the bare minimum, you will get the bare minimum.

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