Conquer Your Fear - an Epic ePic by Mars Dorian

With immense gratitude, I turn the floor over to Mars Dorian today, who shares a Make Sh*t Happen story in his awesome I Luv Empire ePic format. This might just be my favorite post of the year. This is one of 50 moving case studies that the inaugural group of  Make Sh*t Happen participants will receive over the course of 8-weeks as they conquer their own fears and come alive through the pursuit of a giant goal.

I asked each contributor to share a story about a pivotal moment in their lives (everything from losing weight to traveling the world to beating cancer); each talked about their motivations, fears, hitting "the dip," what carried them through, and words of advice for fellow dream-seekers.

Mars' work has been an inspiration (and great source of laughter) for me, so I'm thrilled to share his thoughts with you today! Click on the images to enlarge; if you're reading this via email, you'll need to select "Show Images."

Mars MSH ePic (Part 1)

Mars MSH ePic (Part 2)

Ready to Conquer Your Own Fears and Make Sh*t Happen?

I'll be posting many more details about the course when enrollment opens on Tuesday, but the basic eight week overview is as follows (every week will have reading material, short videos, reflection exercises, meaningful assignments, case studies, discussion and accountability):

  • Week 1 - Declare Your Dream
  • Week 2 - Build a Support Network
  • Week 3 - Uncover Your Vision and Purpose
  • Week 4 - Bulldoze Your Barriers
  • Week 5 - Don't Just Dream, DO.
  • Week 6 - Grind it out.
  • Week 7 - Survive the Dip
  • Week 8 - Celebrate!

Here's what you need to know in the meantime:

  • Enrollment opens on Tuesday, September 13
  • There are 36 spots available (I'm keeping the pilot class small so I can give everyone extra time and attention)
  • The first 10 people to sign-up will get a private 1:1 coaching session with me
  • Members of the early notification list will get the first crack at sign-ups
  • If there are any spots remaining by Wednesday, I will post a note about enrollment on the blog
  • Enrollment will close on Thursday, September 15 at 8pm ET no matter what. The course begins on the following Monday.

I'm so proud of what my MSH Angel Emily and I have built -- and I absolutely cannot wait for the opportunity to work closely with 36 people to help them reach heights they never thought possible.

I'll post many more details about the course content and logistics on the enrollment page next week -- in the meantime, hang tight and have a fantastic rest of your week!

Back-to-School for the Blogosphere: Launches Galore + A Book that Saves Lives

As summer winds down, many of us experience Birthday Party Syndrome -- which my friend Erin refers to as the sadness you experience after a fun weekend or vacation - just like when you were five years old and started crying when everyone left your birthday party (BPS is magnified in proportion to how much fun you had). The Wall Street Journal even ran an article yesterday about The Post-Labor Day Letdown. But September also brings the excitement of Fall, with crisp air, sweaters and soups all making their re-appearance. It's also back-to-school time for the blogosphere and there are launches galore! I'm excited to share a handful with you today -- meanwhile working furiously behind-the-scenes to get my own launch ready for next week.

$25 to Save a Life - "End Malaria" Book Launch

My friend Michael Bungay Stanier, in partnership with The Domino Project, is launching a book today that is greatly inspiring in its content AND its mission.

The book is called End Malaria: Bold Innovation, Limitless Generosity, and the Opportunity to Save a Life. None of the contributors or the publishing house are taking any money from sales, and Amazon makes no profit; instead, $20 from every sale goes to Malaria No More (a child dies every 45 seconds from malaria).

Here are the details:

  • The book has 62 thought leaders (download PDF list of contributors) writing around the topic of Great Work – how to do more of the stuff that matters and less of all the other stuff that fills up your day.
  • The book is divided into eight key areas of insight, including: Create Freedom, Disrupt Normal and Take Small Steps
  • $20 sends a mosquito net to a family in need and supports life-saving work in the fight against malaria
  • Malaria No More’s mission is to end malaria in Africa by 2015

Click here to buy the book on Amazon and save a life today, or watch the book trailer:

[youtube id="o73udN_Y3Z0"]

Other Exciting Launches:

  • Sean Ogle launches the next round of his Location Rebel program on the same day. Debating which one to sign-up for? Sean's program is AWESOME for those of you specifically looking to build a side-hustle doing affiliate marketing, SEO, copywriting and other Internet-related stuff. It applies to anyone for sure, but I found it particularly helpful (with templates, check-lists and great forum content) for those specific areas. He also has an awesome Location Rebel arsenal e-book that you can download for free.
  • Enrollment is now open for Jen Gresham's No Regrets Career Academy -- an 8-week course to help you with six key steps: 1) define success, 2) understand yourself, 3) overcome your fear, 4) research, 5) position/package, and 6) market.
  • The UBER fabulous power-duo of Natalies - Natalie Sisson and Natalie McNeil (both have killer messages and websites) launch their WE Mastermind program for female entrepreneurs (with a chance to win $5K to launch your business). Theirs is a six-month program "designed for women wanting to play a bigger game and turn their passion or expertise into a product or service that will lead to a profitable online business that allows them to live the lifestyle they desire."

Overwhelmed?

Don't feel like you have to sign-up for everything (or anything, for that matter) -- if something jumps out and fits YOUR life with where YOU are right now, great! If not, there are plenty of free resources available. I'd be happy to refer you to other great resources if you tell me what you're looking for in the comments -- it's one of my favorite things to do!

And stay tuned for an amazing guest post from Mars Dorian tomorrow -- it might just be my favorite piece of blog content so far this year :)

Caught a Case of The Jealousies? 4 Ways to Do Something About It

The Jealousies (n). A brilliant term coined by my friends Jamie and Nicole to convey the sentiment of watching someone be or do something you wish you could. Perhaps it's an internal quality, like their charm or joie de virve. Or maybe they wrote a book or ran a marathon; bought a house or started a business. I'm a firm believer that The Jealousies can be a good thing -- envy may be one of the seven deadly sins, but The Jealousies can act as a sign-post to something amazing you're wanting to do or become in your own life. Channeled productively, The Jealousies help us reach new heights and accomplish great things.

You know it when you have it. You itch with simultaneous glee for your friend and a nagging tug in your brain. A tug that is at once hopeful and afraid. A tug that, for many of us, begins to ask the wrong questions.

The Wrong Questions We Often Ask:

  • Can I do that?
  • Am I capable?
  • Do I deserve that level of success?
  • Would I fail if I tried?
  • Will I ever get off my a** and do something about this feeling?

And that's if we're even asking questions. Some of us jump immediately to: 

  • S/he is special. I could never do that.
  • I'm not smart/talented/beautiful enough.
  • I don't have what it takes.
  • I wasn't born with the right set of skills or resources.
  • I could only do that IF....
  • I can only attempt that after achieving a laundry list of other goals first.
  • I'm too lazy.
  • I'm too busy.

Asking "can I do that?" focused questions or immediately shooting ourselves down takes us into an abyss of inaction. It takes your brain down a dead-end road that often ends with "no," "I'm not sure," or "I'll figure it out later."

There's another huge problem with capability-based questions when it comes to your big goals:

Your brain has no effing clue! It has never attempted that goal before! How would your brain, going off your own history, actually know whether you can achieve this new thing or not? That's where the popular saying, "You won't know 'til you try" comes in.

The secret to channelling your Jealousies productively is to ask HOW questions: 

  • How can I make a plan to attempt this goal?
  • How do I want my life to look on the other side?
  • How can I start making room in my schedule?
  • How can I enlist support from my friends and family?
  • How can I start taking baby steps?

1. Get curious: what is it about this person or accomplishment that really gets you excited? Start by entertaining the thought that it's available to you too. The Jealousies are a flashing road marker, pointing you toward something thrilling.

2. Don't dwell in an endless spin-cycle of whether or not you are capable. You are. Flip the switch in your brain from yes or no questions to the much more expansive HOW questions (without getting bogged down by how-related details yet).

3. Get creative! Give your brain the opportunity to brainstorm exciting new possibilities for you, instead of sinking into hypotheticals or your past experiences. Ask creative, open-ended questions like, "How can I write a book and continue working full-time?" or "How can make training for a marathon fun even though I don't really like running?"

4. Get support: An exciting announcement

I'm nervous as all get-out to tell you this, but the Make Sh*t Happen course is launching in TWO weeks. Two weeks!

This is MY big scary goal that I've been working on all summer; it's the first time I've been able to put my 5+ years of Training & Development experience at Google into my own project. I've put together an 8-week course that will help you channel your jealousies productively, taking your massive goal from a "nice idea" to inevitable success, using the framework and coaching strategies that I've applied to every major goal in my own life.

There will only be 36 spots in the pilot class -- I'm keeping it small so that I can go above and beyond for each person and make sure the course is as effective as I'm anticipating it will be. I'm going to email the Make Sh*t Happen early notification list first; they will get the first crack at sign-ups. If there are any spots left, I will then announce that enrollment is open on my Inside Scoop list, then the blog. If you're itching for a spot, make sure you sign-up to be one of the first to know when it opens!

I can't freakin' wait.

What's currently giving you a case of The Jealousies? More importantly, what are you going to do about it?

20 Lessons from 2 Months of Solopreneurship (Part Two)

Can you believe summer is almost over? I'm shocked at how fast time is flying. It seems like just yesterday that I was hosting a Creative Day of New Years Genius and making big plans for the year, uncertain about where my book and sabbatical would take me. I had no idea that just nine months later I'd be packing up my things to move to New York, self-employed, pinching pennies and researching everything from how to get health insurance to how on earth to sign and send in forms without so much as a scanner or a printer (though I've since discovered a super handy tablet app that does this!)

Earlier this week I posted the first 10 of 20 lessons I've learned during the first two months of solopreneurship. I'm sure there are hundreds more coming my way -- and that each of the things I have shared will become even more real and important over time. You can also read more at the Side Hustle & Flow Series interview I contributed to Pam Slim's Escape from Cubicle Nation earlier this week. 

20 Lessons from 2 Months of Solopreneurship (Part Two)

  1. No matter what business you're in, you've got two priorities: learn about sales and marketing. Michael talks about this is his upcoming book -- for most of us, sales and marketing are not things we learn in school, and yet they are vital skills for making a living as a solopreneur. I've been giving myself sales, copywriting and marketing boot camp with the help of brilliant friends like Andy, Jonathan, Michael, and Calise.
  2. Plan ahead for building months (as opposed to doing months). I'm "in the red" this month on expenses to income, but it's largely because I've been working like a madwoman building out the Make Sh*t Happen course. I'm placing a big bet that people will sign-up; if it works, I'll be relatively stable income-wise in Q4; however, looking back, I should have planned ahead more in July so that I didn't have such a drop in income. If you know you've got a building month coming up, ask yourself if it's okay to dip into savings, or whether you need to split your time between building and immediate sales-generating activity.
  3. Stay grounded in your long-term vision. I could be doing a much better job of this. I have a vision for where I want my business to be six months from now, but the next thing I'd like to do is plan how I want the JBE operation (aka my life) to look a year from now. It will make all of the micro-decisions between now and then much clearer (while still leaving plenty of room for adjustments and surprises along the way).
  4. "What gets measured gets managed." This is a saying I learned from one of my favorite managers at Google. I had a really helpful call with Michael Bungay Stanier (of Do More Great Work) when I was starting out, and he told me about the monthly metrics he tracks. This will be no surprise, but I've set-up a tracking spreadsheet where I can see data for ~20 statistics related to my business (coaching clients, speaking gigs, monthly traffic, book sales, subscribers, etc) and the percent change month-over-month. Michael makes a great point that once you're tracking, the real challenge is to figure out which numbers are actually useful/important; not every metric matters.
  5. (The right) conferences are major business boosters. I've attended five conferences this year (SXSW, BiSC, WDS, BBNYC, 20SB Summit), and at each one I've met new people, reconnected with existing friends, and learned a mind-blowing amount of helpful best practices from others doing similar work. If you can scrounge up the money, I think this is one of the best investments you can make.
  6. However, beware the many costs of travel. Trips -- even ones I'm getting partially reimbursed for -- can be shockingly expensive! Beyond flight and hotel, common expenses include cab fares, meals out, airport purchases, Internet on the plane (I fly Virgin everywhere), touristy activities, drinks with friends and shopping for clothes to wear at these events. I need to keep a really close eye on this in the future.
  7. Peer support is key. It might be your first launch, but you are not the first to launch. I'm excited and super nervous about launching MSH. For example: I've never written a sales page or set-up a payment system. No matter what you're doing, talk with others who have gone before you on your big goals. Big thanks to Sean and Molly who have shared their tremendously helpful lessons-learned from their launches.
  8. Peer support and bootstrapping is great, but know when to hire professional help. Once you've reached a limit of what you can do on your own, it makes sense to hire professionals who can help in areas you are deficient (without going overboard); for example: a VA, an accountant, and web designer. I could have designed my website myself (I have the technical skills) but with nowhere NEAR the polish that Nina did.
  9. Be creative with how you structure your time. Focus. Maximize your best energy windows. When do you do your best work? Structure your days and weeks as best you can to optimize those windows, and know what activities recharge you when you hit energy dips. For me that's getting out of the house and going to yoga in the afternoons, then I can work again when I get back.
  10. Monthly recurring expenses can add up VERY quickly. I had NO idea how quickly my monthly business-related recurring expenses would add up. Here's a short sampling that DOESN'T include one-off software purchases (also very pricey): COBRA health insurance ($500), cell phone ($80), Dreamhost ($30), VaultPress Blog Backup ($15), AWeber Email ($19). Total: ~$700 -- and that's before adding in gym, yoga, rent, travel, food, etc. YIKES!

Bonus: #21. Despite the challenges (and the many more sure to follow), working on JBE full-time is still the most incredible, freeing feeling in the world. I haven't looked back for one second. I feel like ME again. Or rather, like I finally have access to the best version of myself that I always knew was hibernating underneath the stress and uncertainty. I feel ALIVE.

20 Lessons from 2 Months of Solopreneurship (Part One)

I'm writing today from a place of deep gratitude. I was one of two keynote speakers at the first annual 20 Something Blogger Summit this past weekend in Chicago -- three incredible days of ideas, connections and reunions with friends new and old. Despite my nerves about living up to keynote status (this was my first), the speech went off without a hitch. I have the audience to thank; it was without question the best group I've ever spoken to; their energy, compassion, attention, humor, and presence lifted me up and made my job easy. By the time I sat down, I had 200+ @replies on Twitter, and though I didn't get a chance to respond to each one, I'd like the attendees to know how deeply moved *I* was. Thank you so much. Big thanks are also in order to Derek and A Squared Group for putting on a killer event, and for believing in me.

Below is a two-minute video snippet from my speech (thank you Stephanie Florence for capturing this!), in which I talk about the importance of community and the impact Michael Ellsberg had on my decision to leave Google after only knowing him for one week. I'll be sure to post the full keynote video as soon as it's available!

[youtube id=RRp86eirkG4]

Welcome Escape from Cubicle Nation Readers!

I'm excited to be featured today in the Side Hustle & Flow series on Pamela Slim's -- my friend, mentor and Internet Auntie's -- blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation.

For several years now, Pam (and her work) has been a guiding light for me. I showed up at her first Escape workshop in 2009 after devouring her book, debating whether to stay or leave Google. I sat in the back and didn't say much. I was beyond scared and confused.

I kept reading her blog and the side hustle series, watching her in admiration as a model for how I'd like to run my business, wondering when I’d have the guts to go out on my own and tell my story like her other courageous readers had.

Two years later, I'm proud to report that it's my turn to hopefully show others that one day they too can make the leap if that's what their heart is telling them to do. If you're new here, get caught up with I'm a Free Agent: From Six Figures to Suitcase and Free Agent Part Two: Big Decisions + Very Real Fears

20 Lessons Learned in 2 Months of Solopreneurship (Part One)

The last two months of solopreneurship have been some of the happiest of my life. I'm in love with my newfound freedom! But they haven't been easy, and I've had to make adjustments every single day as I learn what works and what doesn't for my life and business.

I may share more detailed numbers later, but for now: I broke even on income to expenses in July, then in August the lion's share of my projected income (mostly coaching and speaking) got cancelled or postponed. It's been tough, but I'm okay with that; I consider this a building month as I get ready to launch Make Sh*t Happen, my new course, in a few short weeks.

I feel a little silly writing this post because more seasoned entrepreneurs may be reading it thinking, "Oh just you wait!" or "What does she know?" but nevertheless, this is a snapshot of where I am in my learning two months in.

  1. Fears are so much smaller on the other side. Prior to my decision to leave, my fears rang in my ears so loud I could barely hear myself think. It was as if my inner critic stood on a soapboax shouting through a megaphone, commanding me not to shake up the status quo. Now that I'm on the other side, my mind is quiet again. Despite losing almost all of my projected income for the month of August, I am not afraid. I am motivated to act. As Joan Baez said, "Action is the antidote to despair."
  2. Readjustment takes time and energy. Going from the structured, fast pace of a 9-to-5 job to total wild-wild-west freedom is an adjustment. I grossly underestimated how much mental and physical energy making such a MASSIVE transition would take. I felt very tired for the first few weeks as my body finally got a chance to rest after working so hard on my day job and side hustles for so many years.
  3. The old adages ring true: get comfortable being uncomfortable, and the only certainty is uncertainty. This has been my biggest mental shift since striking out on my own. Going from a steady (very healthy) paycheck to....total uncertainty...has been a major adjustment. As a solopreneur, especially in the beginning, you've got to get comfortable not knowing exactly where every dollar will come from. Work comes in, work gets canceled. You sell things and it works; you sell things and they flop. Developing semi-passive income streams takes time, and there's nothing passive about the process. One night I went to bed with a knot in my stomach about how I'd pay my credit card bills. The next day, in one hour, I had sold $5K of business. The next week, it was gone. You've got to get comfortable (or as close to comfortable as you can) riding that wave without freaking out.
  4. On that note, NEVER count (or spend!) your chickens before they've hatched. It's ridiculously easy to do, and it is definitely not fun to dig out of. Desperation isn't attractive when dating or selling.
  5. Routine is king. For the first month my productivity on any given day was a total crapshoot. On some days I would wake up rearing to go, and on others you couldn't pay me to pry myself off the couch. Because I was lacking routine, I was at the whims of what side of bed I'd wake up on. As Jonathan Fields shared at WDS, some of the most successful creatives have very structured lives, even if their actual creative time is very free-flowing. This predictability allows them to manage the rest of their lives with greater ease, thereby focusing their best energy on their creative work.
  6. Health and fitness is queen. I just finished a 21-day cleanse with no caffeine, alcohol, dairy, wheat, refined sugar, or red meat. I knew I'd physically feel better by the end of it (light years!!!) but I had NO idea how significantly it would impact my business. I am infinitely more creative, happy, and productive every day. I've gotten more done in the last three weeks than in the last two months! I've finally re-prioritized exercise too -- I run every morning for 20 minutes before doing anything else, and I try to go to yoga 4 times per week. Centering my day around exercise -- putting it at the very top of my priority list -- is THE BEST thing I have done for my business since leaving Google.
  7. Your community are your new co-workers. Just because you leave your job doesn't mean you have to work isolated on an island. As I talked about in my speech and the video above, you have so much more support than you realize. LEAN IN to your community, let them lean into you; you have so many people rooting for you, especially those of you who have built thriving communities on Twitter, Facebook and your blog.
  8. Run your business otherwise it will run you. Tackle 1-2 big frogs each day before you do anything else (h/t Brian Tracy). You'll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, and you won't resent reactive things that come up later in the day because you've already made major progress. After my mandatory morning frog (the 20-minute run), I try to accomplish 1-2 things that will significantly move things forward, whether it's a blog post, drafting a sales page, creating a newsletter auto-responder, or building the MSH course. Only later do I start responding to emails or taking calls. I also only take meetings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which allows me to eat many frogs on every other day of the week.
  9. However, sometimes you need to start with quick wins. When I'm tired or particularly behind, opening my my inbox to answer email can feel like going in for a root canal. During moments like that, if I try to go after a big frog, I'll get overwhelmed and not do anything at all. So I start with quick wins -- emails I can answer in two minutes or less; tasks I can complete in 30 seconds. That gets me moving, and there's a good chance I'll dive back into the bigger stuff once I get going.
  10. Building "entrepreneurial resilience" is like building a muscle; it takes practice. This is something my good friend (and high school & college classmate!) Alex Budak and I have discussed at length. Alex is an awesome guy who recently left his corporate gig to launch Start Some Good, which facilitates kickstarter-style funding for social entrepreneurs. In Alex'swords:

    "Especially as a first-time entrepreneur, the roller coaster that is starting one's own business is intense.  The highs feel incredibly high, and the lows feel incredibly low. Simply recognizing that this is normal and to be expected was a huge step for me as I sought to strengthen my own entrepreneurial resilience.

    The second, and equally crucial step for me was surrounding myself with fellow entrepreneurs.  It's amazing how easy it is, when isolated, to think that you're the only person going through these ups and downs, but as soon as you share your struggles with others, you realize just how similar many of the issues are.  Just like you'd prefer to sit next to someone on a real roller-coaster, having friends alongside you to ride the entrepreneurial roller coaster makes a huge difference.  Oh, and as my friend Jenny told me, 'It helps to just breathe, sometimes' too."

Stay tuned for the next 10 lessons later this week! In the meantime, what did I miss?

Have you experienced any of the lessons above, either on your side hustle or full-time work?

Video: Sneak Preview of My 20SB Summit Keynote

Before I jump in, a heartfelt thanks to all of you for the incredible response to the new website design - you've blown me and Nina away! It feels great knowing that all of our hard work paid off, and I look forward to continuing to pimp things out around here with your guidance and feedback! :) I'm writing from Chicago today, getting ready to meet up with 200 bloggers for the first annual 20SB Summit this weekend.

I'm excited to share the stage with dozens of other kick-ass bloggers and friends, and I'm even more humbled to be one of this year's keynote speakers -- I feel like any one of the attendees could be up there! It's my very first keynote, which gives me all kinds of butterflies...mostly in a good way. That's how I know it's a great challenge!

But I'd be lying if I said I didn't go through my fair share of, "Who, me? Am I worthy of being a keynote? What if one of the other speakers would have done a better job? Can I really impact the audience in a keynote-y kind of way?"

Those fears are only natural for something like this -- it's an interesting lesson in silencing my inner critic and busting through my upper limits of what I think I'm capable of. This is actually a huge dream come true, and I feel reassured knowing that I'll be talking to a room full of friends and people who care and want to see me succeed. I've also written a speech that I feel proud to deliver; I've been practicing while on my morning runs...looking like a crazy person talking to myself!

In this video I share a sneak peek at what I'm going to be talking about during my speech -- change, fear, and the courage to take great leaps in life (which I are all qualities of what it takes to be a 20 Something Blogger). Check-in on the 20SB Summit website on Sunday -- my talk will be streamed live, so you can watch from home!

Here are links to things I mention during the video: 

Can't wait to see many of you in Chicago very soon. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you in the comments:

How do you navigate major changes and leaps of faith in your life?

Life After College: Makeover Revealed!

Today is a VERY exciting day. If you're reading in a feed reader, pop on over to the blog to check out the fancy new digs! I've had the same logo and tagline since 2005 when I first set-up this website -- that's SIX years! To say that I've outgrown it is an understatement ("No one said it was easy" -- c'mon, I can do better than that). I feel like my blog and I (yes, we're basically imaginary friends now) just moved into a mansion after living in a nice comfortable house that we had outgrown.

Thanks to the incredible Nina Cross (@crossnina), I'm thrilled to reveal a major site overhaul today, including:

  • Completely new design that matches my book's branding. The tagline actually means something to me -- it's the impact I want to have on other people through my writing: to help people of all ages "Wake up. Live big! And love the journey."
  • A landing page with four clear options so that people can "choose their own adventure" (I've gotten a lot of feedback that my current blog landing page can be overwhelming for newcomers)
  • Category landing pages that lay out a clear roadmap for each section so that people know where to start with my 4 years of archives
  • Simplified sidebar -- one column instead of two, far fewer options to get distracted by. I also added in some "As seen in..." social proof icons
  • A Store + Freebies page to hawk some new wares -- I'm trying to get creative about packaging my existing content and ideas to be helpful to you AND to pay the bills in post-Google life :)
  • I moved to the Thesis theme to help with SEO, customizability, and to clean up some of the clutter from my existing (free) theme. At first I resisted because I didn't want my site to look like every other Thesis blog, but Nina did a great job personalizing it, and the benefits of using Thesis were too great to ignore.

This upgrade has been a long time coming...

There have been so many things that I've wanted to do here over the years, but never felt like I had the time, focus or energy while working full-time.

With Nina's help, I've finally been able to implement my vision for the direction this site can go. I've been wanting a site design that is friendly, easy to navigate, inviting, and ridiculously useful. The category archives alone could provide tons of value to new visitors -- if only they were easier to sift through -- so I wanted to make sure they are well-organized and laid out in a way that focuses on the user (not just reverse chronological order).

I also FINALLY added a newsletter freebie (should have done this years ago). My templates are no longer available from my top navigation -- I'm giving them away as part of a kick-butt "Organized Like a Ninja" toolkit in exchange for signing up for my Inside Scoop mailing list.

Curious about what the site used to look like? Life After College through the years...

It started with the HTML version I built in 2005 (notice the "we've" in the second paragraph? I didn't want anyone to know it was just a 22-year-old behind the curtain...too funny!):

Screenshot of the LAC Website from 2005

Then I gave it a face-lift in 2008/2009 by upgrading to a free WordPress theme that I customized (here's the very first blog post I wrote, when I had zero subscribers. Note to future bloggers: best to create an archive of posts FIRST, then announce to friends and family):

Life After College Screenshot - 2008-2011

Drumroll please....the new site!!

Life After College - New Site!

The brand new "choose your own adventure" landing page -- (people clicking over from email/rss/social media will still go directly to the blog page):

New-life-after-college-landing-page

I'm beyond excited to keep building out this site as I continue to grow into my business, and as always, I welcome your feedback at any time!

For any of you looking to upgrade your own sites, Nina Cross is an absolute pleasure to work with. She was able to read my mind and translate my vague descriptions into something beautiful; she was responsive, took feedback incredibly well, and handled every step of the process professionally. Big huge thanks to Andrew Norcross for his WordPress ninjary too -- to call him the hero of the blog community would be a massive understatement -- he has come through for me countless times, and this launch was no exception. There aren't enough words to thank him properly...

So wherever you are, let's lift a virtual cupcake and toast Nina for doing such a fantastic job!

Stuck like glue? Enter the Pining Prevention Plan.

Last December, during the magical week in which my friend Julie and I realized we simply had to move to New York, I met a guy. He will be hereto referred to as The Guy, so as to protect the innocent, though the only one about to be embarrassed by this post is me. Now I'm just crossing every finger and toe, hoping he doesn't actually read my blog!

Wherein I make myself sound like Debbie Desperate:  

It was a snowy Saturday night at The Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking district, and I was all dressed up because I had just attended my NYC Angel Ann's 40th birthday party. See Exhibit A. 

I'm not sure how The Guy and I started talking, but we didn't stop until 5am. And no, not "talking" as a euphemism; ACTUAL talking. With words and stuff.

We talked about life, big dreams, grand career ambitions, side hustling while working corporate jobs, taking risks, tough financial decisions, and creating a location independent lifestyle. After last call at the bar, we moved into the lounge -- ordered water and a grilled cheese sandwich -- and the conversation continued.

I was smitten.

He was handsome, tall, athletic, intelligent, successful and humble. The Guy and I hung out a few times that week, then it was time for me to head back to California. I expected all communication to end, given that we lived on opposite coasts, but I was secretly hoping it wouldn't.

During the week that we hung out, he was mysterious. A little hard to follow. I was never sure how interested he was. On a scale of 1-10, it could have easily been a 2 or an 8. After I got home, we did end up texting a little bit. I found myself thinking about him all the time.

The other day I joked that I'm dating my blog.

I haven't had a serious boyfriend since I started getting serious about my blog and book -- so, if you do the math, it's been a little over 3 years. Apparently I'm even pickier than I am busy! So when someone gets my attention -- really grabs it with chemistry and conversation -- I'm hard-pressed to let go. This is a flaw.

It's a flaw because I'm big on being treated with respect; but in a pining state, I accept so much less than what makes me happy. I settle for scraps - a text message here, a three-day (or three-week) wait time on the next reply there - and somehow project that things could still work out.

I tried forgetting about The Guy. Hard.

Do you know how many times I've been back to NYC since I met him? 3 times, including a one month stint. I still wonder about him every single time I'm there. I think about him when I'm out at night; when the conversations disappoint me and I wonder when I'll feel that excited about someone again. Which is crazy, since he didn't seem all that excited about me.

We hung out once when I was back there in May, but every sign in the universe (and my non-ringing phone) said, "He's just not that into you."

Note: If you haven't read my post Love & Limerence (with Break-up Template), that is a MUST. It explains the crazy "addicted to crack" feeling that love and it's crush cousin create.

Back in December I made a list of questions in my journal that I felt would help me work through the pining:

  • The shame of wanting something that so clearly would be nothing
  • Feeling crazy about obsessing over someone without it being reciprocated
  • Identifying the gap between fantasy and actual reality
  • Disappointment at not being able to move on

For the last seven months the questions have only lived in my journal for two reasons: a) I was debating when to embarrass myself by sharing this story, and b) I wasn't sure if it would actually be helpful. But alas, as with most things, I'd rather put it out there and let you all be the judge.

{Check out the Pining Prevention Plan template

This is more of a reflection exercise than a template -- and to be honest, it won't PREVENT pining (I'd surely become a millionaire!) it will hopefully just help alleviate it. I just couldn't resist that great 3P alliteration...can you blame me?

The questions will help you work through your pining and hopefully see your situation in a new light that helps you move on. It will work even better if you have a friend who can help you talk through the answers to each of the questions.

It's still a MAJOR work in progress, so from those who try it, I would love to know:

Is it helpful? What other questions should I ask? What helps you move on from someone when it's clear things won't work out?

And finally,

How on Earth can one person who we can't have (or forget) drive us so damn crazy?!

Okay fine, that last one is rhetorical. ;)

***

P.S. Make sure you actually visit my blog next week....the new redesign launches, baby! It will be the first time in SIX years that the logo and tagline will be updated (from when I designed my website myself in 2005) -- among making everything else prettier too. Thank you Nina Cross!

P.P.S. If you're not already, sign-up for my Inside Scoop behind-the-scenes monthly newsletter and you'll get access to my Organized Like a Ninja Tooklit and 15 (!!) kick-ass templates for every area of your life.

Enough about me, a little bit about you: the Life After College survey results

Huge thanks to the 230 of you who took the Life After College reader survey that I posted a few weeks ago - your kind words, encouragement and suggestions are helpful and motivating beyond words! Before I share the results, here's a short 2-minute thank you video, in which I also share a quote that recently rocked my world (at the 0:55 mark):

Survey Results

Overall, you are here for a mix of inspiration, relatedness, community, and practical tips. The areas that people are most focused on are motivation, career growth, taking risks, personal finance, personal development, time management and overall life happiness and fulfillment, which makes sense since that's what I write about!

The biggest takeaways for me are: 

  1. I actually have a TON of content already created (a webinar on How to Rock Your Personal Finances, for example) -- now I need to figure out how to package it so it's easy for all of you to find. Nina Cross and I will be unveiling the new website in a few short weeks, and I'm going to use that as motivation to better organize everything! Each category will eventually have a "start here" map that walks people through getting that area of their life organized.
  2. My big, hairy scary project of the moment is my 8-week Make Sh*t Happen course, which is still in development. Your survey results helped me understand what kinds of ambitions you have, and how important it can be to have accountability, community and support when going after what you want in life. I originally planned on launching the course in July, but the perfectionist in my wants to make it as outstanding as possible, so it's still a work in progress. Click here to sign-up for updates in the meantime, and to be on the early notification list for when the course launches (the pilot class will be limited to 30 people).

Because I enjoy reading survey recaps on other people's blogs (I find the insight into other people's wants and needs fascinating), I've included more detailed results below. Feel free to skip the rest of this post if this doesn't interest you!

DEMOGRAPHICS

Gender:

Take these with a grain of salt, since the respondents are not necessarily a representative sample. For example, my blog readers could be 68% female OR it could indicate that women are more likely to respond to a survey than men.

Reader Survey - Demographics - Sex

Age distribution:

Again, not necessarily representative, but interesting nonetheless! I often hypothesized that I had a good number of non-recent grads, given that my content is not skewed toward the nuts and bolts stuff people are often looking for at 21-22.

Life After College reader survey - demographics - age distribution

CONTENT THEMES:

Why do you read life after college?

Writing Style -- Many of you shared that you appreciate the authentic, vulnerabile and inspiring nature of the blog (thank you!)

 

  • “Because I think what you have to share to SO authentic and real and vulnerable that my heart beats in my chest when I read about your journey and it lives out that piece about 'letting your light shine and unconsciously giving others permission to do the same!”
  • “I read the email updates for inspiration. And consolation - because I am often hard on myself and it’s nice to have affirmation that I am doing a good job, that I have taken risks, and that I am pursuing my dreams. Reading the blog reminds me of all these things and encourages me to continue dreaming big.”
  • "SO real/authentic, humorous, but practical and very helpful."

Career Growth -- A large portion are interested in career changes, entrepreneurship and professional development in general:

  • "It is inspiring, engaging, and challenges me to seek growth- personal & professional- - kind of like my own career coach/guiding light now that I'm graduated and don't have a career services department at my side."

Community/relatedness -- The recent grads out there are reading for a sense of community, and to know they're not alone (you're not!):

  • “I read Life After College because it is such a huge relief to hear that, as a recent college graduate, I don't have to have it all figured out, that everyone has doubts, and that I can take big leaps even if they're risky. There are real tools here to help me improve my life, and because of a lack of pretension, I feel comfortable trusting those tools.”

What's the biggest pain / problem / challenge / struggle you're facing right now?

Job Satisfaction -- Many of you cited feeling professionally lost as a current challenge:

  • “Finding my true passion and having the guts to go after it 100% - no fear, not allowing my self to worry about what others may think or say, and finding the energy to dedicate myself to it.”
  • “Job satisfaction and work/life balance. I've hopped around jobs quite a bit, and still have not found that 100% satisfaction I'm looking for. Also, being a young professional, I'm really struggling to find the right balance for my personal life - I feel like I can never fit in all the exercising, healthy eating and cooking, socializing and other things I want to do in my non-working time.”

Personal Finance-- this is an area that people of all ages seem to struggle with (understandably so!):

  • "Complete financial independence. I've got the stepping stones in place (job, savings plan that works, good credit, brokerage account, IRA, side hustle) but I somehow feel like I'm missing something so that I can move out of my house...quite possibly even to another city."
  • “Paying off student loans! But I think Ive got a good handle on it. Your blog post about a day in the life of your paycheck, combined with the budgets are sexy blog and my own knowledge, I've got a good system down, just wish I made a lot more so I could pay it off quicker.”

Entrepreneurial Advice -- I'm still a newbie, but I'll do my best!

  • “Same as you. Needing the motivation and confidence in myself to walk away from a six figure desk job as a commercial banker to go solopreneur!"
  • “Right now I am jumping into a new career path as Life Coach and eventually launching my own business. I am so excited and engaged in this process, but there is a constant feeling of having way too much on my plate and not knowing where I should be focusing my energy. I thought I would LOVE transitioning from my full time job in an office to working out of a coffee shop, but I am not feeling that "warm loving" feeling.”

Overall happiness -- Other themes that came up were life balance, health (getting back on the wagon), coaching advice, and general fulfillment:

  • “The balancing act that comes with post-college life -- how to juggle work, my personal health/fitness, my long-time boyfriend, my dog, and still maintain some semblance of a social life with  my friends. Also identifying what I want to do for the rest of my life!"
  • “Managing my full time job and trying to pursue my passion on the side.”
  • "Time Management - in terms of setting priorities and time accordingly. For example I have a blog, a marketing role on a conference, a full time job and a screen writing big dream. Where does my own blog fit into this journey? You did a great job moulding yours to support your goal."

Dating -- Ay caramba! Not sure how I can help on this one, but have a fun super-secret related project that I've been working on... :)

  • “Meeting great people to date. I cycle between wanting to settle down with someone really sweet and who will support/be there for me - and wanting to be flexible to hook up with any pretty girl that crosses my path. Not that I've had much luck with either!”
  • “Falling in love isn't always convenient to the lifestyle we have previously chosen. Girl likes boy. Boy likes girl. They live on separate continents.”

Personal Development -- becoming the best version of yourself:

  • “Gutting everything about my lifestyle (type of work, income streams, personal circles, food/exercise, habits, etc.) to completely reinvent myself.”
  • “I struggle with self-doubt and low feelings about self-worth as I try to figure out my next steps into the "real world." I lack solid ground and am in major "transition mode." “
  • "Trying to figure out what I want to do as I don't want to pursue graduate schooling in what I majored in at college. Also, I have a hard time not wanting to just try to emmulate everyone else instead of being the best version of myself."

How do you think I could serve you best, for your particular needs?

Entrepreneurial Advice / My own career transition:

  • “Posts about working for yourself would be helpful. Anything that has advice for people who are choosing alternative routes or guest posts from people who have successfully done it. I like reading stories about people who do their own thing, because it gives me hope that I can too.”
  • “I'm excited about your decision to leave Google and take on new opportunities! Maybe this will push me to make scary decisions, too. I'd love to hear more about the challenges you face as you move, work for yourself, etc.”

More on Personal Finance: 

  • "I would like to see more about budgeting though. I'm terrible with money. I'd really like to hear some of your tips for budgeting to start your own business."
  • "I would love it if you talked about getting out of debt, specifically student loans. I have zero credit card debt, I have a car, I'm living with my parents, and after a year of searching I got my dream job. Student loans seem to be the largest issue looming both for myself and my friends, no matter what college or school they attended. There are obviously exceptions but I would love and in-depth tackling of this issue."

Personal Development:

  • “Sharing a variety of experiences -- yours and those of others -- while also asking good questions.”
  • “Writing articles about how shy people can gain confidence”

Time Management:

  • “How can I manage the side-hustles with my day job, while being true to both? I am juggling so much that it's grossly inefficient, and not a pleasant experience. Or you could find a way for me to pay off my debt, but that's a more complicated matter :)”

***

Thank you AGAIN for the incredibly helpful guidance -- I feel like I've just won the blogger lottery!

Want to chime in? I'm going to leave the survey open so people can continue to share their thoughts.

Now I'm off to work -- gotta start delivering on as much as I can above!

August Miscellaneum

Someone send me to blog detention. I've been meaning to write a summer "Hodge Podge" post for two weeks -- but procrastinated instead, thereby missing the boat on several key announcements. Doh! Speaking of which, I came up with a four-part reminder whenever I get stressed or start taking a doomsday view on my to-do list:

  1. Nobody's dying.
  2. I'm not curing cancer.
  3. Everyone can wait.
  4. It will all get done.

Do you have a similar mantra to counter out-of-proportion overwhelm?

LAC Book summary featured on The Personal MBA

Amazon often shows that people buy my book with Josh Kaufman's Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business (a GREAT read) - so I was excited to contribute a book summary with the ten most salient points from the book. Although it's hard to summarize the dozens of tips from each chapter, I've done my best to choose the most important ones, and have included two new templates! Read the post here, and enter your email on the righthand side to receive more of Josh's great book summaries in the future.

20 Something Blogger Summit: Conference Pass Giveaway

I have the great honor of being a keynote speaker for the inaugural 20SB Summit in Chicago in three short weeks. If you're interested in attending, I'm giving away two conference passes on the Life After College Facebook page (though you'll still have to cover travel expenses). There will be 200 awesome bloggers in attendance, and two tracks of sessions focusing on application and aspiration. Enter to win by commenting on the contest prompt by the end of day today (Tuesday, August 2).

Location Rebel Case Study

For those of you who want to hear more about my decision to leave Google, I'm one of three featured Location Rebels for Sean Ogle's new course. Although his program is now closed (sold out in less than an hour!) you can read my inaugural story here. Here's an excerpt that I haven't yet shared on this blog:

I’ve always prided myself on being an independent woman, but for a long time I felt like I could only go out on my own once I was in a stable, long-term relationship (ie when pigs fly, for those who know me well :). I thought that would give me the safety net I needed in case I fell short on income one month or wasn’t able to pay my bills.

But I quickly realized that if I was going to do this, I had to be ready and willing to do it all on my own; not to put my dreams on hold for someone else or some uncertain future state. I also realized that I am rich in friends and family; people who want what’s best for me and are willing to provide support through the big transition.

Links I love:

August Health Challenge

If at any point I get grumpy this month, blame it on the modified cleanse I'm starting. We've been having a great discussion on Google+, which began with my shameful confession about indulging in Panda Express and a Snickers bar at the airport on Sunday. New low. That's it! I thought. Time for a change.

I've become too reliant on coffee, sugar and bad foods as a crutch for low energy (and boredom/procrastination), and they're causing mood swings and an energy rollercoaster that I know can largely be avoided.

Here's how I've crafted my personal challenge (I'm doing this with a friend for added accountability):

  • 21 days no alcohol, refined sugar or caffeine
  • Minimize significantly: wheat, beef, dairy, processed foods
  • Exercise at least 20 min/day 5 days a week, with yoga at least once per week
Anyone interested in joining? If so, here's a copy of the template my friend and I are using (c'mon, you know I don't lift a finger without creating a template to help!)

How about you - any fun links, productivity or health tips to share for this month's miscellaneum?

How I Stay Organized Part Two (Hint: Like a Ninja)

Okay, okay -- I'll let you judge the ninja-level of my organization skills, but I needed something to spruce up the title! The two most popular posts of ALL TIME on my blog are the original How I Stay Organized (9K page views) and 8 Ways to Organize Your Life with Google Docs (15K page views), in addition to my Templates on everything from personal finance to professional development to processing a break-up (sign-up for my monthly Inside Scoop newsletter and you'll get access to all 15+ templates, including many other tips and tools).

Start with How I Stay Organized (Part One) if you haven't already read it; today's post will cover more nuanced tools and processes that I use.

A quick aside: I just started monkeying around with Google+ (connect with me here) and am really enjoying it. But does anyone else think that saying, "I want to circle you?" or "circle me" connotes an impending shark and/or stalker attack? 

Gmail Tools

  • Priority Inbox: This is saving my life! Groups emails by priority: important and unread, starred, and the rest. You can teach gmail over time what emails should be marked as important. Each day, I set a goal to answer at least five "starred" emails. For emails that I'm long overdue on a reply, I use the exclamation star.
  • Auto-advance My email productivity doubled (if not tripled) after I started using this feature. I used to hem and haw over what email to answer next -- now auto-advance sends me right to the next one -- when I get in the zone, I just answer via auto-advance without going back to my inbox for 30 minutes at a time. It's amazing how much you can get done!
  • Canned responses Any email that you've written more than once deserves a canned response. I save a bunch of these and use them as a starting point, then modify to personalize for the recipient. I don't use them all the time, but they come in very handy for repetitive emails.
  • Superstars, Send & Archive, Shortcuts = A MUST.  Not much else to add here! Superstars are awesome: I use the yellow star to indicate an important or high priority email, and an exclamation mark to indicate something high priority or overdue that I want to reply to that same day (or the next one).
  • Boomerang (browser extension):  Boomerang is amazing!!! It enables delayed send, but more importantly (and true to the name) it allows you to "hide" an email and boomerang it back to yourself in a set amount of time. This is a great way to clear your inbox and have emails sent back when it's time to follow-up, or at a later date. Procrastinators, beware! It gets very easy to boomerang everything... :)
  • Rappaportive (browser extension):  Another incredible tool! When you open an email, it shows you all of someone's social media profiles and latest updates in the right-hand sidebar. You can see if you're following someone, see their picture (if they have one), add them to social networks, and stay up-to-date on their latest news. LOVE this feature.

Task management 

  • Still in it for the long-haul: Post-its and my moleskine! Every day I write a post-it with my top 5 priorities, ranked in order. This can include project-oriented tasks, people to reach out to, or anything else that I want to finish before the day is done.
  • Todoist.com: I use this for tracking ALL non-timebound activity, particularly longer-term items, ideas, open questions, and anything else that is not fixed to a date (those things go on my daily "to do" post-its, a weekly list, or into Google Calendar). My Todoist categories include:
    • CURRENT WEEK (you can also use TeuxDeux.com for super simple weekly planning)
    • Accountant (questions for her)
    • Condo (any tasks related to repair, rental, etc)
    • Blog posts (where I track ideas, in addition to my "drafts" folder)
    • Networking (people to follow-up with)
    • Life After College (general website-related tasks)
    • LAC Strategic Tasks (broader business-related tasks)
    • Personal Development (courses I'm considering signing-up for or purchasing, ebooks I own that I have yet to read)
    • Coaching / Speaking / Yoga (follow-up items related to those parts of my business)
    • Travel (I keep one running item for each city and who to reach-out to when I get there)
    • NYC (things to do related to my move)
    • Shopping / Wish list (things I want to buy, but know that I shouldn't purchase on impulse!) See related: 4-Step Budget Template and Mint.com (for tracking all financial accounts and expenses).
    • Errands / To-buy (self-explanatory)
    • Tools & Resources (things I haven't used yet, but want to check-out)
  • Project Plan template: Created by yours truly! I use this format to track all major projects that I'm working on -- I've tried more complicated tools and they don't work for me. The benefit of this is you can also share with others for collaborative projects. Want to see a project plan on crack? Check-out my 15-tab Master Book Marketing Spreadsheet.

Scheduling

  • Tungle.me: for speedier appointment-booking (so you don't have to go back and forth via email), though I'm considering switching to Google's appointment feature (that I used when I still worked there). I've also adjusted my schedule so that I only have meetings two days a week -- this keeps me focused and batches my tasks so that I don't have meetings scattered throughout the week.
  • Google Calendar: For any super important meetings, I add reminders via email. I also have Facebook email me weekly with a list of upcoming birthdays -- then plug my close friends' birthdays into my "Birthdays" calendar with an annual repeating event and email reminder.

Data Storage/Back-up

  • Arq (thanks Willie!): Completes an automatic daily back-up that syncs to my Amazon S3 storage
  • Amazon S3 (h/t WFJ): Holds BOATLOADS of data for a very low monthly fee; I have about 50GB that costs ~8/mo
  • Amazon cloud storage/player: Currently experimenting with this to play music from THE CLOUD (woohoo) via my phone and Xoom tablet; though thinking that Apple's Cloud is probably a lot sexier (for what it's worth, I have a Nexus S, not an iPhone. I even tried to switch to an iPhone and went crawling back because I realized I was passionately in love with my Nexus S!).

Social Media

  • NutshellMail (h/t Elisa): NutshellMail is awesome -- it sends a daily digest (or at a frequency you suggest) of social media activity -- new followers, friend requests, the latest tweets/facebook updates, and any other accounts you choose to follow (like LinkedIn).
  • Tweetdeck: In addition to creating groups for different friends and updating both Facebook and Twitter, I use Tweetdeck to schedule tweets when I publish a blog post at odd hours. Many people also use Hootsuite.

Other Tips and Tricks

  • Google Docs: I use Google Docs and Spreadsheets for EVERYTHING. My most frequently used docs are: the Keepers File, Taxes (spreadsheet where I track notes related to taxes and expenses), Business Tracker (income, expenses, clients, key metrics -- yes, one day I will make this a template :-), Quotes, and many other random "scratch" documents where I draft content or plan ideas before implementing them. I also use Google Docs for all coaching-related documents with clients.
  • Browser: I use Chrome because it's super-fast and doesn't crash. My second choice is Safari; Firefox just got too slow for me with the number of tabs and windows I keep open at any given time. I make sure to have the restore feature enabled so that if my browser crashes, I can re-open my tabs (which I often use like a to-do list).
  • Consistent windows/tabs: There are certain websites that I keep in the exact same window/tab order so that I always know where to find them. Window 1 (my "home" window) always has the following tabs in this order: Gmail, Calendar, Todoist, Pandora, Facebook, Twitter, Google+. Window 2 starts with Google Docs in position 1, then I only have other docs and spreadsheets open in the other tabs. Window 3 is my working folder for blog-related activity: admin interface, my blog's homepage, Google Reader, and other related tabs.
  • I use shortcuts to quickly switch between tabs and windows (Command + Tab# takes you to whichever tab's number you indicate; Command+~ toggles between browser windows).
  • Downloads: I have this selected in my browser preferences to "ask every time" -- that way my desktop and/or downloads folder doesn't get completely cluttered (as has happened to me in the past).
  • Droplr (thanks again to Willie on this one!): Allows you to quickly take screenshots, and drag, drop and share easily.
  • Google Maps: I've saved my address and frequent locations into My Places -- I also have a canned response that gives someone directions to my house.
  • Google Voice: Transcribes my voicemails so that I receive them as emails. I can't say it's accurate, but it allows me to quickly see who called and generally what their message was about. For some funny google voice transcriptions, check this out.
  • Transcription Services (h/t Gayle): Speaking of transcriptions, Google should hire TransPacificMedical! I've been using them to transcribe my dad's lectures on the History of Post-Modernism, and they are incredibly fast and accurate, with amazing customer service. They charge $1 per minute, and you can request a free trial (for 30 minutes or 300 lines).
  • TripIt -- I love this website and its accompanying app. TripIt keeps all your travel plans in one spot; it has a gmail plug-in that grabs reservations automatically, then shows you weather and local maps for that area. TripIt is smart enough to group hotel and flight reservations together for the same location, and makes it easy to see where friends and family in your network are traveling.
WHEW!!! Tell me in the comments: What did I miss? What are some of your favorite productivity tips and tricks?

 

 

You can't make everyone happy. So stop trying and start LIVING.

It might be the double latte talking, but I'm totally fired up right now; I want to shake my people-pleaser self, look her in the eyes and tell her to STOP. STOP TRYING TO MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY ALL THE TIME!!

You can either go (emotionally) broke running around trying to please everyone, or you can spend your time creating, living and being AUTHENTIC to your own needs and desires. This is not new information -- I'm sure countless blog posts exist on this topic (including my own Stop Auditioning for Other People's Lives), but it's time for a reminder.

This post is a letter to myself. Believe me -- I am not up on a high horse...I am laying underneath one about to get trampled if I don't turn this issue around! This post is also dedicated to any other "givers" out there (or Type 2/3 Enneagrams) who naturally get satisfaction from giving and making others happy.

A people-pleaser gets her wings

It started in Elementary School. I was a quiet, shy, fringe girl. I wore spandex shorts, baggy t-shirts, and Doc Martens. I wasn't the pretty one or the popular one, but thankfully by third grade I had landed on a solid group of friends. Or so I thought.

We ate lunches together for months until one day they stopped talking to me and started pointing and laughing instead. Turns out the ring-leader of the group had bribed them all to STOP being my friend, but only after ALSO bribing them to entrap me into gossiping about her behind her back so she could later use it against me. "We never liked you, anyway" they all cackled during the lunch break in which they revealed the whole scheme.

From that day forward, I think I subconsciously decided to make it my life's mission to never give someone a reason to turn on me. To impress, charm, please and befriend everyone I could so that I would never hear those dreaded words again; so I'd never have to watch my friends turn their backs on me (or stab me in mine).

Combine that with an ENFJ personality type that thrives on helping, teaching and serving others, and well -- we are ripe for a major approval-seeking vulnerability!

It shows up in the pettiest, stupidest ways . . . all the way to much bigger fears and insecurities:

  • Worrying sometimes that if I don't reply to every tweet, blog comment or email that people will never write again...or worse, decide they dislike me because they interpret my non-responsiveness as bitchy
  • Worrying that if I don't say yes to all plans/requests or have a "good reason" for saying no, that I will massively offend the person asking (even if I have no energy to do said thing and would probably be a drag anyway)
  • When I haven't heard back from someone, wondering if I've done something to anger or offend, then over-analyzing until I do get some sort of sign that they don't hate me
  • Accepting less-than-ideal behavior from people I date because I don't want to rock-the-boat by speaking up (even though when I do, I ALWAYS feel better)
  • Wondering, after some social interactions, if I've "met expectations" or not -- and have been cheerful/happy/engaged enough, or if I've disappointed the other person
  • Generally being way more lenient and understanding with others than I am with myself

The wake-up call

Although I've been making a great deal of progress over the years, I continue to learn the following lessons:

  • People-pleasing is exhausting. It is inauthentic. It means placing everyone else's needs above your own.
  • You cannot make everyone happy all of the time, and it is futile to try.
  • You have two choices: you can spend your time worrying about other people, or you can bravely follow your own wants and needs.
  • The universe rewards backbone.
  • IT PAYS OFF to stick up for yourself, to say the hard truth, and to make the hard choices about where to spend your time and attention.
  • It pays off in sanity. Ease. Lightness. Sense of self. Confidence. Clarity. And cajones.
  • You are no good to anyone if you run yourself ragged trying to please everyone.
  • Start with yourself so that you can give back (with gusto!) to those in your life who are worthy of your precious time, love and attention.

How to turn your attention inward:

  • Author Brene Brown suggests making a list of five Most Important People: "the short list" -- of those who really matter in your life, or as she puts it, "would help you move a body." Keep that list in your wallet, and when you ruffle feathers or do something that invites "haters" out to play, ask yourself what the people on your short list would say. If they're on board, not much else matters.
  • In her book, Steering by Starlight, Martha Beck suggests using a "shackles on" versus "shackles off" approach. Does this request/person/action weigh you down and feel tiresome or draining? Or does it feel exciting, energizing and uplifting? Whenever possible, make decisions based on the latter. Homework: over the course of the next week, ask yourself whether things feel shackles on or shackles off BEFORE making decisions.
  • Free E-course by Martha Beck Certified Coach Amy Pearson called "I Don't Need Your Approval."  Pearson lists six steps for overcoming approval addiction: mindfulness, compassion, analysis, courage, vigilance and "enjoy!"

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How do you scale back when you realize you're people-pleasing or worrying too much about what others think? How do you reframe fear of rejection or the fear of letting people down? 

Free Agent Part Two: On Big Decisions & Very Real Fears

THANK YOU for the outpouring of love and support last week. You helped me see without a doubt that I am making the right decision and that I won't be alone on the road ahead. I am so incredibly blessed to have such a supportive community. Each of you continue to blow me away with your kindness, intelligence and support!

A quick note on the survey:

So far almost 200 of you (!!!) have filled it out. Thank you! I'll wrap-up the results in an upcoming post, but it's not too late to share your thoughts!

I heard from a small handful of you that the posts have gotten too personal and "meta" and that you'd like to see more practical tips. Those will return soon, I promise! Between the book launch and quitting Google, life has taken center-stage, and it's important to me that I let all of you in to "backstage" experience. However, I NEVER intend for this blog to be all about ME ME ME, so know that I am fully committed (now more than ever) to delivering the best possible content for all of you.

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A little backstory on the month leading up to my Big Decision

At SXSW in March, I was walking down Sixth Street with Andy Drish at 2am eating Philly Cheesesteaks, and he asked if I was going back to Google after my sabbatical. I hesitatingly said yes. He looked me in the eyes and said, "JB -- you're better than that." I started crying...telling him I was too overwhelmed with my book launch to even THINK about leaving...and to be honest, I was too afraid to even entertain the thought. Looking back, I'm so thankful Andy had the guts to plant that very important seed, even though my response wasn't a very receptive one at the time.

Fast-forward to May 15. I was chatting with my (now) very good friend Michael Ellsberg, author of a soon-to-be-released game-changing book called The Education of Millionaires, and he asked me, "How will you feel if one year from now you haven't made any changes to your life?" My eyes welled up with tears (common theme, I know).

I could not imagine one year out, still in limbo, still hesitating. When I told Michael my fears of leaving Google and becoming self-employed, he looked at me and said, "You can do this. I -- we (your network) -- WILL NOT LET YOU FAIL."

At that point, I had only known him for one week. And yet, Michael's conviction, his genuine belief in me, and his encouragement felt like oxygen to my semi-suffocated, paralysis-by-analysis dream. It was on that day that I *knew* what I needed to do -- I just needed to find the courage (and the financial footing) to do it. The decision-making roller-coaster continued as I spent the next month working through it all.

How I got my heart, gut, brain (and bank account) to play nice

Last week's post focused mainly on the "what" and the "why" of my big decision -- today I'm going to (do my best) to explain HOW I reached my decision -- particularly after the conversations with Michael and Andy where I felt the need to reconcile my practical reality with my "I'm so inspired!" reality.

Bottom line: very deep down, my gut knew all along. But being the THINKER that I am, I had some work to do to rally the committee in my brain (particularly my hard-driving "show me the numbers so you don't end up in a van by the river" CFO) so that I could actually muster the courage to leave my cushy job and go out on my own.

  • Identify who is on the committee in your brain -- this might be too woo woo for you, but many of us have a committee of voices contributing to any big decision (this is also often referred to as Parts Psychology). In my case, the big discussion was between my Creative Director (the one concerned with me doing my best work) and my CFO (the one concerned with making financially sound decisions). Neither voice is right or wrong - they represent various concerns we have about different aspects of a decision. In the end, you -- the CEO -- has the final say, but you might feel better to ask each of your "committee members" what they need in order to feel comfortable moving forward. To appease my CFO, I set an income goal for the month of June as a challenge to prove that I could do this without going broke. I'm happy to report that I reached my goal, but one week after I gave my two-weeks notice.
  • How far will your savings stretch? You don't have to have a saving account to make a big career decision (especially if you line up the next thing before you leave), but it certainly does help. It's a fine line between saying, "If I wasn't working full time, I could..." and meaning it, versus just using that as an excuse. In my case I did everything I could to maintain my sanity, my side hustle and my full-time job to avoid that "if/then" limiting belief. Once both became too much to handle, I looked to my savings account to provide my runway. I have about six months of savings, and I was finally willing to spend every single dime to take the risk of making it on my own. I took solace in knowing that even if I didn't lift a finger I could live for six months; so I felt a lot better once I realized how hard I was willing to work in that time, and that I could definitely find creative ways to make money.
  • Rank "Worst Case Scenario" action steps -- Let's say you take a great leap, and you fail. What then? I worked through the worst case scenario, particularly on the financial side. I made a list of back-up plans and ranked them. If I am not succeeding on my own (ie making enough to pay my bills) within six months, I will do the following (in order): use my cash savings, sell my car, sell my stocks, GET A JOB, then sell my condo. You can see that I would look for employment again before it came to selling (or defaulting on) my house. What does your worst case scenario look like, and what would a course of action look like?
  • Expect the unexpected. Accept that you will hit a dip. Accept that you are choosing a certain level of chaos and uncertainty. These were all HUGE for me. If you can't already tell, I'm a planner (haha, hello Captain Obvious) -- I like to have things mapped out, and for a while that really worked for me. Before I started college, I mapped out every single class I needed to take in a fancy four-year spreadsheet. Jumping into self-employment means ACCEPTING chaos and accepting uncertainty. I also KNOW that I will hit many dips where I feel like a failure and want to quit, or maybe even regret my decision. But I know that I will work through them, and that they are par for the course when taking great leaps.
  • Realize that you can't plan everything before making the decision. When it comes to big decisions, you will not always have all of the information you need. Sometimes you have to take the first two steps so that you can see the next two. While I did some income modeling, I do not have an accurate view of exactly how I will consistently make money for the next 12 months (though I have many ideas), and that is slightly terrifying. But this is what I signed up for, and it's the challenge that I asked for to continue learning and growing in my life. I knew that at some point I needed to leap in order to give myself the real motivation to figure it out. I also specifically chose not to look for contract work with someone else as a safety net -- I would have just stayed with Google part-time if that's what I wanted; instead, I had to really challenge myself to devote my FULL time and attention to my own business, not someone else's out of fear that I wouldn't be successful on my own.
  • Avoid fear-based decisions. This one is a biggie. Imagine sticking your arms out like an airplane -- on your left fingertips is fear-based decision-making, and on your right is "soul-stirring," intuition and excitement-based decision-making. Where do you tend to fall on this spectrum? Choose one of your proudest decisions -- was it based fear or avoidance of pain, or was it about moving toward something thrilling? This requires discipline, but try to catch yourself when you are making choices based on fear, and instead ask, "What do I want to run toward?"
  • Engage your network. Your network is much bigger than you even realize. There are many people in this world who will send you love and support -- even if it comes from unexpected places. Especially from unexpected places! It's amazing to me that someone like Michael could play such a transformative role in my life after only a week of knowing him, but it proved the true power of connecting with individuals who see the best in you and the kindness of "strangers" who are willing to offer their guidance and support. Don't feel like you have to make a decision (or face the consequences of a choice) in isolation -- remember that there are many people who have gone before you, and many who will be there to catch you if you fall.
  • Ask the big questions. What will you regret more? What choice honors your biggest dreams? If not now, when? What are you waiting for? What if you are MORE successful than you can even imagine? What would people you most respect advise you to do? In my case, all answers pointed to taking the leap. Particularly because I'm in the personal development field, I felt it was critically important to walk my own talk -- otherwise I'd feel like a fraud.

Despite working through everything above, I am still facing some very real fears. Right now they tend cross my brain like clouds passing -- I watch the dark ones carefully and try to address the practical side of the concerns without giving them too much attention (for fear that focusing on them will cause them to create a torrential downpour of despair).

My remaining Very Real Fears:

  • Do I deserve all this freedom? Is the other shoe going to drop?
  • How do I balance working hard versus getting rest, knowing that I want more than anything to make this work?
  • What if I get bored or burned-out doing my own work?
  • What if something terrible happens and I am unable to work?
  • What if I have some crazy medical emergency that sends me spiraling into mountains of debt (even with health coverage)?
  • Will I still be able to save money for emergencies and retirement?
  • Will I be able to get back into a routine that works? Will I learn to say no more so that I don't keep getting overwhelmed?
  • Will I be able to prioritize and balance "revenue-generating" activities with everything else?

You can see that most of these are hypotheticals or things that I will figure out as I go -- so I just remind myself to "cross that bridge when I get there," confident that I will be able to figure it out.

As for the "What if I end up living in a van down by the river" concern? I smile every time I think of Marc Luber's encouraging words: "If you actually do end up in a van down by the river, you're someone who will for sure find a way to teach swimming lessons, start a fishing business or give kayak tours." And that goes for you too, I'm sure :)

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The Greatest "Out in the Wild" LAC Book Picture Yet!

This picture is just too great for words!!! Katie (of KatieBlogs.com) takes Hootie on the road...and gives him some reading material so he doesn't get bored:

Katie's Hooters Owl Reads LAC

I’m a Free Agent: From Six Figures to Suitcase

Grab a cup of coffee, friends -- this is an epically long post. (Update: had to change the link, so the Facebook/Tweet counts started over. Thanks to everyone who shared so far!)

This post has three parts:

  1. Some jumbo news; the biggest in the history of this blog (and my life). No, I’m not pregnant.
  2. A 5-minute reader survey that I would LOVE for you to take. Pretty, pretty please?!
  3. A Q&A with myself for those contemplating a great leap in their own lives. Live big, baby!

1. The big news

There's this love that is burning Deep in my soul Constantly yearning to get out of control Wanting to fly higher and higher I can't abide standing outside the fire. Life is not tried it is merely survived If you're standing outside the fire. --Garth Brooks, lyrics to Standing Outside the Fire

My heart is pounding as I write this...I’m exhilarated, nervous, and excited to share some big news with you. I'm moving to New York (more on that in another post)....aaaaand...

I quit Google.

After five years at the company and near-daily deliberation during my sabbatical, I’ve made the very difficult decision not to return to Google. Friday was my last day.

I checked all the boxes for my own Life After College, and yet something was still missing. I worked at a start-up, got a job at Google, became a manager, bought a house, bought a car, ran a marathon, and wrote and published a book. I checked every box along the "template" American Dream life that I grew up aspiring to have...and yet, after I turned 27 and saw many of my friends getting married and having babies, I realized I might not fit the mold I had created for myself. I found myself wanting to break free from it all, and move toward a life full of spontaneity, travel, independence and FREEDOM.

So I am walking away from a six figure salary, three meals a day, yoga classes, gym, the best health care money can buy, and 25,000 brilliant co-workers to see if I can hack it as a solopreneur.

For better or worse, my life (and identity) has revolved around Google for many years...and for a long time I was afraid that I wouldn’t be interesting or “valuable” to people if I no longer worked there.

And yet, my heart lies elsewhere. It lies here, with you -- with Life After College and Make Sh*t Happen and everything else I’m building.

In the end, I'm choosing to leave all of the perks behind for the uncertain promise of a more passionate future. My co-workers deserve someone who is fully committed to them, and you -- my readers -- deserve someone who is fully committed to you.

I was supposed to go back today...but I just couldn’t.

I couldn’t knowing how alive, happy and engaged I’ve felt these last three months. I couldn’t subject myself again to the stress of trying to manage two full-time jobs. I couldn’t look you in the eyes and write blog posts, coach clients and deliver speeches with integrity if meanwhile I was ignoring my own heart and gut. I couldn’t continue signing books with “live big!” and “take great leaps!” if I was unwilling to take my own advice.

So here I am, taking the greatest leap of my life.

The goodbye email I wrote to my co-workers sums things up pretty well:

I've stepped into life as an author these last three months, and yet -- somehow I find myself overcome with writer's block as I try to find the words to say goodbye.

After five amazing years at Google (on the Training, Career Development and Authors@Google teams), I have made the incredibly difficult decision not to return after my sabbatical. As much as I wanted to come back, my heart was torn; I knew it wouldn't be fair to Google or to my team if my attention was focused elsewhere. For that reason, I will be directing my full time and energy on pursuing the many ideas I have related to my book, blog, coaching and speaking business -- also known (only half-jokingly) as Jenny Blake Enterprises. What was once a side project has become a full-blown love affair, and though I am slightly terrified about how to feed myself in the real world, I am taking my own advice about "living big" and pursuing my passion by making the leap into self-employment.

It's now Jenny Blake Enterprises or bust -- so get ready for a roller-coaster, baby!!! Stick around for Part 3 of this post for a Q&A with myself about the decision...

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2. I would love to hear from you!! Click here to make my day :)

If it's wrong for me to want to change the world with what I got Let me make my own mistakes, That's a chance I'm gonna take If I'm right, I saw you all, In my dreams so long ago --Lyrics to All I Want (by Kate Earl)

As the lyrics to this song describe, I saw you all in my dreams a long long time ago (cue sappy music). From the time I was a little girl, I spent my days making worksheets, writing a monthly family newspaper and video-taping myself practicing to be a news anchor.

I was born to fly this plane full-time, and I finally mustered the courage to do it.

The way I see it, I now have all of my energy and creative faculties available to me to try to make a positive impact in all of your lives. And I want to do that over and over again.

I truly believe that’s what I’m here to do.

That’s where you come in. I would *love* to know what you’re struggling with and how I can help. I can fly this plane blindfolded or with help from all of you, and I much prefer the latter!

Please, pretty please -- take 5 minutes and share your thoughts in this survey. 1,000 karma points included!

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3. An Interview with Myself on my Departure

I'm going to share the details behind this decision with you Q&A style. If this bores you to tears, feel free to skip this part of the post, but since Google has been such a big part of my life (and income!) I want to spend some time explaining my decision for others who may be contemplating a big leap of some kind in their lives. (As you get to the end, you'll see that my gremlin snuck in some questions too.) Those who subscribe to my Inside Scoop newsletter already heard this two weeks ago -- but I wanted to make sure I gave all of my co-workers the respect of telling them first before announcing publicly through my blog.

Was it an easy decision to make? No. This was one of the hardest decisions I have EVER made, and I did not make it lightly. How could I walk away from my "dream" job as a Career Development program manager, where I worked for one of the most innovative companies in the world, where thousands apply and get rejected every day? I struggled with this decision for almost every day of my sabbatical -- every day I felt differently than the one before, and the limbo-mode became very tiring.

The thought of going out on my own struck TERROR in my heart -- and yet, once I made the decision I knew with 100% certainty that it’s the right thing to do. I’m still scared, but mostly hopeful and excited. Deep down, I knew what I needed to do in January when I declared this year my Year to Fly. I hate to disappoint those of you who saw me as an example of working at a company AND maintaining a successful side hustle, but in the end, I just couldn't do both for the long haul given the momentum around my side hustle -- so I knew (and have always secretly hoped) this day would come.

When did you realize it was the right thing to do? That's where you come in. As I said in my Book Tour Best Moments post, you have given me wings. During my 3-month sabbatical I felt lighter, freer and happier than I've ever felt in my life. I connected with inspiring people every day. I worked many 14-hour days on my own projects. I started Life After College as a website six years ago, and the blog almost four years ago. I built it during nights and weekends, with whatever time and energy was left over after my intense Google responsibilities were taken care of. I started wondering what I might be capable of -- and how I could serve you even better -- if I directed 100% of my energy back into my business.

There were also many angels along my book tour who looked me in the eyes and said they saw more for me -- and that they would not let me fail if I chose to make the leap, despite my intense trepidation and desire to be fiscally responsible.

So how will you make money? What if you end up in a van down by the river? As Danielle LaPorte said at The World Domination Summit, "The universe speaks in cash flow." Here's hoping!!! There is a part of me that deeply trusts that things will work out, AND a part of me that knows I will have to work my ASS off to meet the Universe halfway. I have a lot to learn about sales, marketing, accounting, health care, and all kinds of other unexpected things. But that's the exciting part! I'm ready for a challenge, and I trust myself to put every ounce of brainpower and effort available to me into trying to get my business off the ground. And if I fail? At least I know that I tried.

I can only hope that my audience (all of you!) don't run away in protest once I start offering paid products...which has been a very real fear for me for a VERY long time. After almost four years of blogging, my book was the first thing I ever felt comfortable pitching...and that's because I put THREE years of work into it! But I know that with my full energy and creativity that I can create things in a shorter time frame that people will love and value. And it doesn't have to be everyone -- many can continue to enjoy all of my free content and templates without ever spending a dime on coaching or courses (except for hopefully the $12 to buy my book :).

Are you going to start telling everyone to quit their jobs and become location independent? Absolutely not. I was very happy working for a company for many years, and I fully realize the self-employed path is not right for everyone (though I can tell you that I've never felt freer or lighter). But at this moment in time it is right for me.

I care WAY MORE that you are following your heart and gut and deepest desires -- no matter what those end up to be. I would have felt like a complete fraud if I continued signing books with "Live big!" and "Take great leaps!" while being unwilling to follow my own advice. I've known for YEARS that this work -- coaching, speaking and writing in service of inspiring others to live their best lives -- is what I was born to do; I just needed the courage to do it full-time.

What if you regret leaving? What about all those people that would kill to work at Google? What if you fall on your face and have to beg for your job back? For the first time in my life, I am willing to go all in on JBE. I am willing to spend my entire savings, sell my stocks, sell my car, and even sell my house if I have to. I will live out of a suitcase and I will go back to "frugality smackdown" mode until I give this a fair shot. At the end of the day, what do I have to lose? I will forever regret it if I don't try the self-employed thing. I've worked at a start-up and now a big corporation; it's time to go balls-to-the-wall and see what I can do on my own. Going back to Google would not have been fair to them or to me -- my heart wouldn't be in it, and I'd be giving every project the short-shrift by burning out again trying to do it all.

I thought about going back part-time, but at this point, I'm not even willing to spare an hour a week on something that isn't directly in line with making sure my book and blog are successful. Another factor is that my book still has a loooong way to go in terms of sales if I ever want to get another book deal -- with ~2,000 down, I've got about 10,000 more to sell.

So what's next? Over the next few months I plan on ramping up my speaking and 1:1 coaching, and applying my 5+ years of Training & Career Development knowledge toward building widely accessible coaching products that will directly benefit my audience without costing as much as individual sessions -- I like to call it "inspiration at scale." I'm incredibly excited about spending the month of July preparing to launch the 8-week Make Sh*t Happen course that will take people's biggest, scariest goal and turn it into an inevitable snowball of momentum. I live for helping people achieve their big dreams.

Speaking of which, how did you come up with Make Sh*t Happen as your next project? In my work with dozens of coaching clients and interactions with hundreds (if not thousands) of book and blog readers, I've realized that just about everyone I talk to has a big giant goal that they are tip-toeing around. These goals are so gigantic that it's hard to even say them out loud, let alone start taking action.

I put together this program as a natural extension of my book; after people get clear on their ideal vision for every area of their lives, they are ready to pick one or two major areas in which to take meaningful action. Besides, I'm right in the thick of my own "Make Sh*t Happen" goals (including a move to NYC in the fall!!) -- so I look forward to participating right alongside with everyone.  This book (and coaching program) will take your goal from impossible to inevitable -- and I can't wait to share it with those of you who are ready for the challenge!

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If you made it this far, HIGH FIVE!!!

This is the last time I’ll bug you: please take this reader survey if you haven’t already -- I will love you FOREVER.

Oh heck, who are we kidding. I love you all anyway :)

Guest Post: 3 Ways to Kick Your Gremlin's Ass

This is a guest post from my good friend Andrea Owen of Your Kick Ass Life, who I met in 2008 at one of our coach training workshops through CTI. Andrea and I have been cheering each other on ever since, and I’m thrilled to share her thoughts on Gremlin-taming (one of my favorite subjects!). If this content interests you, Andrea recently released a book (and workbook) called Kick Your Gremlin’s Ass that will help you send that sucker away once and for all. Kick Your Gremlin's Ass (by Andrea Owen)

Let’s say you have a friend you see on a regular every day basis. You’ve had this friend for what seems like forever.  And maybe a conversation with this person looks like this:

You: So, I think I’m finally going to write that book I’ve always dreamed about. Friend: Stupid idea. No one will publish it. You: I might get rejected by some publishers true….okay, I’ll self publish. Friend: OMG so embarrassing! It’s so much money! And then what if no one buys the book! Humiliation galore! You: That’s true. I’ll keep my day job. Maybe later…or not. But, I do think I’ll go to the gym today. Friend: Ugh. You’re so fat. Everyone is watching you at the gym and thinks you’re fat.

What an asshole, right? Why on earth would you keep this friend around to have conversations like this? You wouldn’t. But, many people, and maybe even you, have inner-critics that talk this way.

It’s your gremlin. You may know it well, you may have never heard of such thing.

Your gremlin is your inner-critic, a negative voice that tells you things that can range from disempowering, to mean and vicious like the example above. Gremlins are universal, we all have them. Everyone from Oprah, to Suze Orman, to Donald Trump. What all of these successful people have in common is that they have learned to manage it in order to get past imaginary obstacles in order to become so successful. To achieve the level of success and confidence these people have, there is no way their gremlins have a fighting chance.

Fact: You have lived with this gremlin for a very long time.

Ever since you were a child your inner-critic has been with you. It’s changed and evolved, just as you have. Perhaps sometimes it strips you of any power, telling you things such as, “That goal is too hard. It will take too much time/effort/money. Don’t even try” Or, it can be ruthless and mean, saying, “You’re really stupid.  No wonder you’re still single, you loser!” Terrible, right?

To make things more complicated, your gremlin has gotten smarter.

The more that you accomplish, the bigger that your life becomes, the more goals you cross off your list, the bigger and louder your gremlin gets. Why? Because as a general rule, gremlin’s don’t like change, risk and vulnerability. They disguise themselves as protectors, but in reality, they want to keep you small. And you’re much too awesome for that.

A Personal Example:

Two months ago I asked another blogger named Jill if I could guest post for her. I figured it was a 50/50 shot that she’d say yes, considering her award-winning blog has very high traffic (and each post gets around 100 comments). Jill said yes, so I wrote the post and emailed it off. And I heard nothing. Three days later I emailed a sheepish, “Hey, did you get my post? Did you like it?”

Nothing. Ouch.

So, naturally, my gremlin piped up. “She hated it. You are the worst writer ever. Why did you think you could write for someone so big?” I sat on this made up story for TWO MONTHS. I was humiliated. I was convinced the story in my head was true. Until one day I said, “Screw it.” I put on my big girl panties and sent Jill an email. I told her if she didn’t like it, I’d be happy to edit or start over. I braced myself for the criticism. Within the hour she emailed me back, apologizing for dropping the ball. She had simply forgotten. The post went up that week.

So, in effect my gremlin’s made up story was bologna, I allowed it to be the truth until I grew a pair and questioned it.

How many stories has your gremlin made up in your head, that you have accepted as truth? Think about it. I’ll wait……

In true “Jenny Blake style” I can’t say good-bye without giving you tools to manage your own gremlin.

3 Tools for Managing Your Gremlin

  • Hear it. Simply notice. If you find yourself attached to a story you’ve made up, your first step is to realize it. Gremlin stories are always from our head. True stories about you, your character and your worth come from your heart and your gut. A step further in this tool is to do this with a buddy. Talk to a trusted friend and do these exercises together. That way when you have a “gremlin attack” and are  verbalizing what your gremlin is ranting about, your friend will hopefully recognize and call you out on it.
  • Personify it. Draw a picture of your gremlin. It could be a person, an energy, an animal, a character from a movie or comic book. This way when you hear your gremlin speaking, it takes on a separate entity from you. It’s gets easier to say, “Oh, that’s just my gremlin, ‘Squid’ talking.” It may sound silly (and your gremlin is NOT invited to criticize this!), but it works.  Keep in mind that however you personify it, may change over time. If the made up character isn’t working for you anymore, come up with a new one. (If you’d like an example, here’s mine)
  • Write down the lies and the truths. This works best when you are really stuck on something or anxiety ridden about something coming up. In one column, write down all the mean, power stripping things your gremlin is saying to you.  Don’t hold back. Next to them on the other side, write down rebuttals, or the truth. If you’re having a hard time coming up with truths, ask what your most supportive friend or family member would say about the gremlin talk. Or what would your beloved pet say?

Remember that managing your gremlin isn’t the same thing as getting an appendectomy. It won’t be removed forever. But, I can assure you; once you start practicing the steps above on a regular basis, you’ll be much quicker at hearing it, as well as be able to bounce back faster after a “gremlin attack.”

So, go out and kick some ass. Your gremlin’s ass, that is. That beast of an inner-critic will never know what hit him! And, if you’re feeling so inclined, I’d love to hear what your gremlin looks like and what it says in the comments.

Andrea Owen HeadshotAbout Andrea: Andrea Owen is a speaker and Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC). She holds a Bachelor of Science from California State University in Kinesiology, specializing in Health Science, as well as a personal training certification from the American Council on Exercise since 2005. She is passionate about helping women empower themselves to live their own kick-ass life.

You can read more about her at YourKickAssLife.com and find her on Facebook.

Enjoy Life: Nick White on The Power of Speech

Having a bad day? A rough week? Imagine finding yourself in Intensive Care after an invasive 8-hour surgery for head and neck cancer, unable to speak after doctors cut out part of your tongue so that they could replace it with muscle from your forearm. That is just the beginning of Nick White's story. The more impressive part is the pure joy he brings to life -- and to everyone whose lives he touches. Nick couldn't speak when he woke up from surgery, but he could write -- and that's when he started blogging. In Nick's own words:

"Since getting cancer & going through treatment, I’ve learned a lot about life in a very concentrated way.  My cancer experience has been serious business, but it has also enhanced my outlook on life. Thanks to the support of all my family & friends, I’m the fittest & happiest I’ve ever been in my whole life."

Some of you may recall Nick from my May Miscellaneum post -- he sent me a photo of my book on the beaches of Hawaii, en route to World Domination Summit (he made his way there all the way from Wellington, New Zealand). After checking out Nick's website and emailing back-and-forth, I couldn't wait to meet him in Portland.

Nick didn't disappoint. I immediately spotted him across the bustling crowd of 500 attendees. Nick was glowing, radiant, and friendly. His mere existence and survival is an inspiration to me -- but throw on top of that his incredibly optimistic, cheerful, all-smiles, bursting-with-energy personality, and I knew I'd made a friend for life. Update: Nick is also Making Sh*t Happen by writing a book -- he asked me to be on his goal "Dream Team" (great idea!) while I was writing this -- a total honor :)

I highly recommend you listen to Nick's story (the video is five minutes long) for a reminder on what it means to be resilient and stay positive in our lives -- and maybe even say hi to Nick on Twitter. He's someone you definitely want to know.

Nick White on The Power of Speech (5 minutes) -- Click here to open in a new window

Nick -- you are an inspiration to all.

I am so thankful that you reached out, and that we had a chance to meet in Portland. Thank you for bringing me a cupcake at the opening night party -- consider this post a little piece of virtual #cupcakekarma!

Cupcake Karma

What's your soul-on-fire superpower? On Seth Godin, Spreadsheets and Creepy Crawlers

I was on the phone with my brother yesterday, and I gave him some career-related homework (the pro or the con of having a sister who's a life coach, depending on how you see it). I asked him to write this question at the top of a piece of paper:

What am I uniquely suited to do, given my random talents, skills and interests, that makes me feel ALIVE?

Dig back to your childhood. My brother manufactured and sold Creepy Crawlers and hustled so that he could own every new gadget -- probably to a fault (remember MiniDisc players? Biiiig mistake). I practiced being a news anchor, took dance classes, started a family newspaper, hosted a neighborhood carnival, and opened a library operation out of my bedroom.

What lights your SOUL on fire?

It might be a set of skills so random you have NO clue how they relate. Write them down anyway. Those of you who have been around a while know that I love teaching, organizing, inspiring people and dancing (ideally on tables in Las Vegas if we're getting really serious -- ha).

Enter Seth Godin, The Domino Project and a peek into my crazy brain

Yesterday was a big GIANT day for me. Seth Godin linked to my 15-tab book marketing spreadsheet from The Domino Project blog, and it set my inbox ablaze. Within an hour we had 100 retweets. I watched with glee as dozens of people seemed to exhale a collective sigh of relief upon seeing the spreadsheet -- something that at one time I was afraid to share for fear that it makes me look LIKE I'VE LOST MY DAMN MIND to a bout of uber-neurotisism and compulsive organization.

But alas! Yesterday clarified that one of my superpowers is organizing complex ideas in service of making people's lives easier. How many thousands of authors have gone before me, and yet -- none have chosen to share their process in this much detail before. If you're promoting a book -- or anything really -- check it out. You can read the full back-story of how the Seth connection came about here. An excerpt:

Against today’s conventional book marketing advice, I decided to self-fund a 14-city ACTUAL book tour (in person! not virtual!). When I was invited to share my experience with Seth Godin and his team at The Domino Project headquarters in New York (by my good friend Willie Jackson), I jumped at the chance.

I had 15 minutes to present something related to my experience as an author. With a bit of nervous excitement, I decided to share the book marketing spreadsheet, which also felt very vulnerable. I was sure that sharing my spreadsheet with Seth and his team would brand me as a Type-A obsessive compulsive freak. But there was also a small chance that they would like what I had done — and that my crazy template brain could be put to use to make other author’s lives easier too.

Long story short, everyone loved it. Willie remarked that my spreadsheet “glows in the dark,” and Seth’s literary agent Lisa wanted to recommend it to every single one of her clients as a way to get organized. Seth offered to share it with his readers -- and that's when I knew I was really on to something.

Here's one of my favorite tweets from the day:

book marketing spreadsheet tweet

Pop on over to The Domino Project blog to check-out the post -- HUGE thanks to Seth for the great opportunity!

Speaking of superpowers...the Only72.com personal development fire-sale ends tomorrow morning! (9am Pacific Time on Thursday)

Only72.com button - 22 courses for $97I can't think of a better way to reveal, dig-into, enhance and plot world-domination-style greatness around your unique strengths than with the Only72 mega-pack of over 22 personal development products. A quick reminder for those of you still thinking about grabbing a set: the bundle is valued at $1087 and is selling for $97...but for three days only (ending Thursday at 9am PT). It will not be offered again.

I think this is a killer deal, but it won't be for everyone. This offer is great for anyone who has considered buying these products independently (a particularly good deal if at least three or more look interesting), and for those of you who are looking for a summer boost on productivity, relationships, and goal-setting.

If you purchase the bundle, you'll get a sneak preview at the course I'm launching later this summer called Make Sh*t Happen. This is my new baby: an 80-page e-book formatted very similarly to my actual book that I started working on in January to help you tackle a GINORMOUS goal. I think you're going to love it :) To receive a free preview of 3 sample chapters and to get on the early notification list for when the 8-week Make Sh*t Happen coaching course launches this summer, sign-up here.

I leave you today with a set of questions to consider:

  • What lights your soul (and your brain) on fire? What fills your heart with glee (beyond puppies, wine and chocolate)? What would you pay someone to be able to do?
  • What brings out your inner hustle? What gets you out of bed in the morning on your very best days?
  • Given your random background, education, job history and skillset -- what are you UNIQUELY qualified to do or talk about? It might be the psychology of stardom, how to crush it when your parents are no longer with you and you're allergic to the 9-to-5, or first-class hustlin' -- buying office supplies from stores going out of business and selling them BACK to Office Depot for profit (ahem...my brother).
  • If you weren't waiting to be good enough, smart enough, skilled enough or rich enough -- what would you share with the world?

Don't know the answers? GOOD! That means we're running your brain through some new and exciting calisthenics. Write these questions at the top of a piece of paper and let them marinate for a week or two. And answer in the comments when you think of something! Nothing lights me up more than hearing about what gets you going :)

Only72 Sale: 22+ Personal Development Products (valued at $1,087) for $97

I'm super excited today for two reasons:

  1. I get to share an incredibly sweet deal with you
  2. My next project is included in this product bundle of awesomeness, and this is your first opportunity to check it out!

72-Hour Personal Development Bundle Sale:

Only72.com button - 22 courses for $97For the next 72 hours (3 days), you can purchase a mega-pack of over 22 personal development products (valued at $1087) for $97. Most of these products sell independently for $35-$59.

I purchased the first bundle of products during the last release, and I still refer to them all the time for advice on setting up my business. It was absolutely worth the $97.

I'm sharing this with you today because I think it's a rockin' good deal, but it won't be for everyone. This offer is great for anyone who has considered buying these products independently, or for those of you who are looking for a summer boost on productivity, relationships, and goal-setting.

The full product list for this go-round includes:

The sale opens at 9am pacific time on Monday, June 20 and closes at 9am on Thursday, June 23. It will not re-open after Wednesday, so this is your only opportunity to buy these products at this price. Click here to learn more and grab your set!

***

Announcing my next project: Make Sh*t Happen: The Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving that One Big Dream 80-page e-book + soon-to-be-released coaching program

Make Shit Happen - Cover Image The backstory on how I got involved in the Only72 sale:

Many of you know that I hosted a Creative Night of New Years Genius in January to ring in the new year. The event proved to be a success -- I started writing my next book and designing a coaching program, which I am incredibly excited about, called Make Sh*t Happen.

Then, in a case of dejá vu, I did nothing with it for six months. I had 80% written, but I got super busy launching and promoting Life After College (the book), so I put the new project on hold.

While in Portland for the World Domination Summit, I was sitting at a table with Adam BakerKarol Gajda and Cara Stein (the masterminds behind today's sale), creating the launch plan for their second Only72 sale (the first focused on business products). Next thing I know, Baker turns to me and says, "Do you have a personal development product you want to add to the mix?"

I hemmed and hawed... “Well, I’ve had a draft of an e-book done since January but it still needs SO much work.” Baker: “Can you have it to me within the week?” With raging fear slight trepidation, I said “Sure.” The perfectionist in me would have worked on it for another three months, waiting far longer than necessary to share it with the world. But this opportunity was too good to pass up, so I finished the e-book after several marathon days of writing and editing, hired my friend Andrew Osborn to design the cover, and couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

Why Make Sh*t Happen?

In my work with dozens of coaching clients and interactions with hundreds (if not thousands) of book and blog readers, I’ve realized that just about everyone I talk to has a big giant goal that they are tip-toeing around. These goals are so gigantic that it’s hard to even say them out loud, let alone start taking action.

I put together this program as a natural extension of my book; after people get clear on their ideal vision for every area of their lives, they are ready to pick one or two major areas in which to take meaningful action.

Your soul hopelessly, desperately, madly, passionately needs you to do that one thing that you’ve always known you need to do. I'm here to help you take your dreams off hold, and start becoming the amazing, talented, confident, self-expressed,no-holds-barred, accomplished person you were meant to be.

This book (and coaching program) will take your goal from impossible to inevitable -- and I can't wait to share it with those of you who are ready for the challenge!

To get on the early notification list for when the 8-week Make Sh*t Happen coaching course launches this summer, sign-up here. If you don't purchase today's bundle, your next chance to grab a copy of the e-book will be when I officially launch in July.

***

People On the Go -- Career Track Series

Speaking of courses and personal development, I'm going to be part of a three-part webinar series on Career Development this summer. Here's a quick overview if you're thinking of changing jobs or interested in taking your career to the next level:

Career Track Webinar Series:
  • Career Management in the Age of the Apps (2 x 60-minute webinars, 7/11, 7/18, 12:00 pm PT)
  • Discovering your Strengths and Putting Them to Work (60-minute webinar, 7/27, 8:00 am PT)
  • Social Networking for Career Development (2 x 90-minute webinars, 8/12, 8/19, 9:30 am PT)

***

If the courses in today's announcements are not for you, that's okay -- I'd love to hear from you on how I can be most helpful. Please feel free to send me an email (jenny [at] lifeaftercollege [dot] org) or reply in the comments; and keep an eye out for an upcoming survey on what you'd like to see more of as my blog approaches its fourth birthday later this year!

With Gratitude: Book Tour Best Moments (that can't possibly do the whole thing justice)

I'm typing this post with a heart full to the brim of gratitude. The sun is rising, and I'm reflecting on my last official book tour stop in Los Angeles on Tuesday night -- a room full of bright, warm people and blog friends (new and old) that my Dad and grandma described as "smart as a whip." YES. That's what every stop has been like.

In Los Angeles at Urth Cafe -- planning my final book tour speech

I remarked the other day that I feel rich with friends. Above all else, that's what this book tour has taught me. I am rich with brilliant friends, readers and community -- in every city, including the ones I haven't had a chance to visit (yet!).

People often ask Chris Guillebeau if his self-funded 50-city book tour was worth it and he always says yes. Mine -- albeit a little smaller scale (coming in at 10 cities) -- was absolutely worth it too.

I've never felt more inspired or more ALIVE. I sometimes resist doing recap posts because I hate the thought of leaving someone important out of a link round-up and I don't want anyone to feel left out. So this post may not contain a lot of names....but you know exactly who you are.

You know if you purchased a book, came out to my book launch party, a bookstore event, an after party, a conference; sent a tweet, a text, an email, a Facebook note, a picture, or commented on a blog post these last three months. If you did any one of those things -- or even just quietly followed along through this blog -- I am grateful. You have given me wings.

Below are some book tour highlights from every city. If I left your name out, just know that it isn't because I don't love you!

1. Austin Texas -- SXSW: a giant dinner hosted by Nick Reese with 20+ awesome people, the first official book launch party, hosted by Betty Jean Bell with my first ever cupcake sponsor. Late night Philly Cheesesteaks with Andy Drish talking about business and big plans.

2. Las Vegas, Round 1: Cancelling my flight home (despite a mile-high to-do list just two weeks before my book launch) to hop into a car for a spontaneous 19-hour drive to Vegas with Sean Ogle, Ryan Martin and Jenna Forstrom -- all friends I had met just days prior.

3. Bay Area, CA: Doing my first two book store readings; looking out to an audience of friends and family, feeling like a REAL author while signing books, realizing that the whole writing journey was absolutely worth it. Receiving quite possibly the nerdiest-but-most-awesome gift ever from my high school friends -- a framed picture of my book's ISBN number.

Patrick with Life After College

4. The Internet at Large: Having you all tweet, email, comment and share your love as you helped me launch the book (check out the post-game analysis of how it all went). Getting tweets with picture of the book on bookshelves across America at Barnes & Noble (and on the beach in Hawaii!).

5. TEDxCMU: delivering the opening speech to a live audience of 500 people; almost panicking when my slides went out, then feeling proud of the recovery while watching the video back; hanging out with Charlie and Amber and supporting each other as we helped show the audience what is possible for their lives and careers; having giant margaritas with the whole TEDx student organizer-crew after the event.

6. Making an appearance on my first Morning Show (Video ~2 Minutes)

Heading over to the BetterTV studios in NYC on the morning of my book launch party to film a two-minute video segment. Being swept into the green room where every other guest waited with their personal assistant and/or handler; watching the girls from Jerseyliscious do their thing. Feeling as nervous about those two minutes as any major speech (with only one take to get it right), but being really happy with how it all turned out and keeping fingers and toes crossed that it helps The Today Show find my phone number!

7. An Epic NYC Book Launch Party (with 2-minute Video)

Having over 200 people attend the book launch party in New York City. Receiving a larger-than-life cake from my NYC Angel Ann Turi; dancing and connecting with friends throughout the night; signing 200 books for the gift bags with Allie Mahler's help; doing my version of a Sex and the City Photo Shoot with photographer Galo Delgado. {Full Flickr set here} Click on photos below to enlarge.

Life After College Book Tour - Snapshots 2 (Jenny Blake)

Here's an awesome two-minute video-recap from videographer Bryan Ridgell (big thanks to NY Creative Interns, Victoria Monsul at Wix Lounge, and Ruth Ann Harnisch!!):

8. Converging on Las Vegas for a second time to attend Bloggers in Sin City (hosted by the amazing Nicole Antoinette): Meeting Grace Boyle in person for the first time (after knowing her for almost three years online), catching up with old friends, making new ones, having "business breakfasts" with Molly and the brilliant Bob Calise, and Jenn and I dancing our hearts out at Pure on the last night with a new friend that we picked up on the walk there (who clearly made the best decision EVER to ditch his friends hang out with 60 crazy bloggers instead). 

9. My last bookstore event in Seattle, WA: Being greeted at the airport by the fabulous Molly Hoyne, having Derek Shanahan come down from Vancouver to hang out and shoot-the-shit before my book talk, meeting an awesome crew of readers and friends (including Seattle host Mike Krass), giving a talk at the bookstore where my dad grew up (check out this great recap from Devon), heading around the corner for drinks with the awesome people who showed up and sharing our scariest can-barely-say-them-out-loud "secret" dreams and big goals with each other.

10. An amazing weekend in Portland for the World Domination Summit: with far too many great memories and new friends to count. Exploding with inspiration and possibility as I thought about all the ways I can grow Life After College. Morning techno dance sessions in the hotel room with my roommate Andy, catching up over a glass of wine with Doniree, meeting Dave for the first time in person by running into him in the elevator (telling him "my heart's going to explode!" in the coffee shop the day after the conference ended), meeting the bow-tie master himself Mike Ambassador Bruny, Sunday night shenanigans at Dante's Sinferno (h/t Sean Ogle!), countless strategy and tip-sharing talks over lunch, learning from people I've long-admired like Jonathan Mead, Charlie Gilkey and Corbett Barr, making many new friends (major girl crush alert!) and deeply feeling what it's like to be surrounded by 500 people who would call you crazy for NOT following your biggest dreams.

Life After College Book Tour Snapshots - 4

 

 

The coolest latte design I've ever seen - at Urth Cafe in LA.

11. Los Angeles, CA: The final stop with the most energetic group of book tour attendees yet! Organized by Scott Asai and generously hosted by his friend Melissa in the "Hall of Fame" room at the New York Life offices. Writing a new speech an hour beforehand on fear, change, and big leaps; having my grandma attend one of my speeches for the first time (since high school graduation); meeting two incredible women (and several others) who traveled two hours to be there; and seeing what an inspiring group of people make up the LAC community; going out to dinner with my family afterward to celebrate and trying not to look ridiculous staring as we spotted the judges from American Idol at a table nearby (Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest and Steven Tyler).

12. Plane ride to NYC: Jumping back on a plane for a whirlwind trip to NYC to present at a conference; reflecting on the last 3 months of memories, blissful moments, worn out nights, living out of my suitcase, and knowing that every single minute and every dollar spent was absolutely, unquestionably WORTH IT.

As I was writing this post, the Black Eyed Peas' The Time (of my life) song came on. This book tour has absolutely been the time of my life, and I have every one of you to thank for it. I am rich with friends, I am rich with community, and I bow to you in gratitude.

Thank you for giving me wings. There are some big updates ahead -- inspired by you -- and I can't wait until it's time to share. In the meantime, Namaste (I bow to the divine in you) -- and cupcake CHEERS! To great things ahead for all of us :)

 

Pardon the interruption; my blog has the flu (+resources for bloggers)

**Update: both problems below are solved!! I'm doing a jig around the house. Leaving the post up anyway so that you can learn about my favorite people and helpful resources. Cheers!** I am taking a break from my regularly scheduled programming to fix two urgent blog issues at the moment:

  1. My blog has been hacked. In a possibly related issue (but not sure if they're linked)...
  2. My new posts are not publishing to the RSS feed; therefore you are not being notified of new posts (via email or RSS). It's like a tree falling in the forrest -- if you don't know when I post, then I have no blog!

I will be taking a short break from adding content so that we can focus on getting these issues fixed. This is my baby and I didn't realize how much my LIFE revolves around my blog (for better or for worse) until this all went down. A piece of my heart breaks when my blog does!

I'm feeling calm at the moment only because I am graced with the help of three (yes three!) rockstar men who you should absolutely know about. For bloggers: I also want to share some of the tools that they've shared with me.

My Heros:

  • Willie Jackson -- who got me all squared away back-up wise after my laptop was stolen in March. He is a WordPress security and optimization machine.
  • Robert Granholm -- an incredible developer recommended by my good friend Cath Duncan, who has put in hours with me troubleshooting the RSS issue even though we've never met or talked.
  • Andrew Norcross -- a self-described (and confirmed by the masses) WordPress ninja who is the go-to guy for just about anyone and everyone on the Internet. He discovered that my blog had been hacked, and kindly pointed me to the right place to get it fixed.

Tools every blogger should know about:

  • VaultPress -- "Complete website backup and security that's as simple as WordPress itself"
  • Arq -- "Online back-up for Mac" that syncs files on your desktop to the cloud. Connects directly with...
  • Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) -- Fast, super cheap storage for the Internet. I'm using this to back-up all my files (not just blog related). Storing about 40GB is currently costing me $8/month. Amazing. Some alternatives: Drop Box, SugarSync, and now iCloud. I use CyberDuck as my FTP client when I want to manually move files to/from S3.
  • Sucuri Security -- Annual service that protects your blog from malware and preforms a clean-up within four hours.

Any other awesome security or storage-related tools we should all know about? Share them in the comments por favor.

That's it for now...wish us luck getting this train back on track! And stay tuned...an exciting redesign is in the works by the lovely Nina Cross -- my rockstar girl addition to the team :)

***

Last book tour stop -- join us in Los Angeles if you can!

If you’re in the LA area, click here to RSVP for the event at 7pm on Tuesday, June 14 put on by Scott Asai of Growing Forward — we’d love to see you there!

***

Support the Kidney Raffle

Speaking of Cath (one of my very favorite coaches and writers), her inspiring week-long Kidney Raffle begins today with some killer prizes (14 total packages from your favorite personal development bloggers and coaches). Cath has put her heart and soul into this project, and Robert (mentioned above) did an amazing job with the website and technical side of everything.

About the raffle in Cath's own words:

Last year, Cath and Andy Duncan’s one and only daughter (who they named Juggernaut) died at 5 months gestation because of Cath’s hereditary kidney condition. As part of Cath’s journey back to hope and strength, she committed to raising funds for kidney research and a dedicated team of friends has joined her campaign. Now you can also do your part to help fund this critical research and also get some wonderful inspiration in return.

Get some inspiration & join us to BE AN INSPIRATION…

Your favorite teachers, coaches and authors have generously donated their best work for you to stand a chance to win in our 14 free raffle draws.  We’re not talking about cheap E-Books or low-value give-aways… We’re talking high-value, “inner-circle” prizes, annual memberships, premium 1-on-1 coaching with people like Jonathan Fields, Adam Baker and Fabeku Fatunmise, and even some prizes that you can no longer buy even if you wanted to pay top dollar for it!

Extreme generosity, contribution and teamwork that makes a difference is inspiring, isn’t it? We’re asking you to join their ranks and be an inspiration by making a donation of your own. 100% of your donation will go to the Kidney Foundation.

Click here to donate.