JournalJourney

ACCEPTING A ROLE AS COO - A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

Part of the press release today reads:

MartianCraft announced today that Jaimee Newberry has been named Chief Operating Officer as part of a broader expansion of their executive management team. Newberry brings with her proven industry leadership and experience gained from advising C-level and senior management teams at startups, agencies, and Fortune 500 darlings. This role culminates a year-long appointment as management consultant and advisor to MartianCraft’s Board of Directors.
"Jaimee has been a key adviser to MartianCraft over the past year. Her impact on our daily operations was immediate and substantial," said Kyle Richter, MartianCraft's CEO. 
(read full press release)

I’m Stoked
As simply as I can say it: I’m excited! 

This role is truly a step forward for me. MartianCraft has their feet firmly planted in the mobile space, with clients of incredible caliber, and a team of impossibly high-quality talent. I’ve seen this team operate with openness and honesty, and I like what I see.

The role demonstrates to me, that I have pushed beyond some personal barriers that I’ve struggled with overcoming in my career path. I am absolutely excited to embark on this journey.

But… Aren’t You a Designer?
I struggled for years at communicating my value to companies, beyond “design”. I realized eventually, a lot of that had to do with getting out of my own way. But things were definitely simpler when I was “a designer” and my actual work involved solving problems that resulted in a digital user interface that I had some direct hand in crafting. In an attempt to remain humble and to shun the ‘inflated titles’ epidemic, I long held the simple title “Designer.” As much as I wanted to believe titles didn’t mean anything, I’ve learned that they absolutely do and sticking with "Designer" had grown into a miscommunication. I respect the skills designers have, and the potential they bring to every table they sit at. I designed a lot of great things using a designer’s core skill set: Problem solving.

I come from a design background. All the way from my drawing and metal sculpture defined art degree (1994-1998) through being an award-winning web designer and agency partner (1998-2009), into mobile application UX (2010-2013). I know design, I love and respect design and designers. I can teach design and, on the personal front, I still practice design. But I haven’t done hands-on visual design for clients since 2009, and I’ve not done hands-on UX work for digital product clients since 2013 when I burned out so badly, I passed the point-of-no-return. 

While I survived burnout, I never fully returned to hands-on design work. Not in the way the world typically expects someone called a “designer” to, anyway. Often the world still thinks of designers as the people who make things look nice. They don’t see us as business people, or problem solvers. Truth is, the good designers are more that than anything else. I’m proud to say my design skills will continue to be useful tools that support every aspect of my life personally and professionally, from organization design through life design.

I’ve always brought a lot of other strengths to the table, strengths that make more sense in the business side of things. Some folks I’ve worked with through the years have seen these things in me. Many saw these skills in me more clearly than I did. I struggled with self-confidence and I fumbled through communicating in diplomatic, yet direct ways. Awareness has kept me constantly chipping away at improving my shortcomings. Experimenting, learning, failing, succeeding, growing.

I have done a lot of work personally to allow myself to stand up and say, “I am good at this.” It’s been hard, I still worry about how cocky it all reads. I still mess up with the wording. Deep down, I KNOW what I am capable of. It’s scary to speak with confidence.

To folks that knew me as “a designer," this role may be a surprising shift from where you imagine I fit, or belong. Those who’ve worked with me in the past 3 years, and maybe even further back, you know this is a role that amplifies what I am truly passionate about, and leverages my strengths and capabilities with vast opportunity for learning and growth along with my contributions. Sometimes it’s hard to see a person any differently than the context from which you first meet them. We all grow, change is inevitable. 

Full Time, Baby!
The decision to join this amazing team in a full-time capacity did not come without careful consideration and nearly a year of having MartianCraft as a dear client.

For the past 3 years, I’ve made quite an effort to define my independence and shift focus drastically away from hands-on product creation into coaching and advising Fortune 500 executives, world-renowned product teams, and individuals. It’s worked out very well. So well, the idea of taking a full-time job anywhere, ever again seemed almost like a joke. It would have to be an insane offer to make me give up what I’d built.

I’ve cherished my independence and have taken great care to live and breathe freedom and play. I’ve experimented constantly and exercised ownership of my time. I’ve chosen to work only with clients with whom I could align both strategically and philosophically. I’ve sought out clients who could understand the ecology and value I can bring to a team, if not pre-defined by a narrow, misunderstood label indicating I was there to make things look nice.

Tons of Gratitude
What sealed the deal for me was not only the ability to continue working remotely from my home and the understanding that I am an independent mother with two young girls. It was not only the amazing, talented and kind individuals that work here or the offer to accept a role that feels like, “Finally, at last, it fits!”

What sealed the deal for me was that working with MartianCraft never once made me feel my gender. From our first conversation about the potential to work together, to agreeing to come aboard full time in the capacity of COO, I’ve simply felt like an empowered human being. I’ve felt listened to and clearly understood, rather than dismissed. I’ve felt elevated, rather than shelved. I’ve felt supported and encouraged, rather than held back. 

Rob Rhyne, Kyle Richter, Jeff LaMarche and the whole team at MartianCraft. Thank you for seeing me.

Rob, I’m sad to see you go. The past months of working side-by-side with you have been refreshing, exciting, hilarious, and straight up delightful. I know you’ll rock it over at the fruit company. I hope you carry an enormous sense of pride in knowing you built something strong enough to continue breathing, building, growing while you reach new heights of your own. You’re like the Johnny Appleseed of MartianCraft. You planted some good seeds, I hope we do you proud and keep those seeds watered, fertilized and growing.

It is a great honor for me to join this team, in this role. I look forward to our future together.

\o/

Looking Back at January 2016

January 31, 2016
It’s the last day of January. This month has been both, moving far too quickly and strangely slow all at once. January held a bowl full of challenges for me. I'm taking a look back at the month to reflect on the ups and downs, where I’m at and where I need to go from here. Here's how it all went:

THREE WORDS
My “official” tinychallenges objective was to choose my 3 words for the year, inspired by Chris Brogan and outlined on our first tinychallenges podcast.  To close the loop on that challenge, here is what I chose and why.

  1. Finish
    I’ve chosen the word finish, because, though I do acknowledge I start AND finish many things, I have a tendency to start much more than I finish. Maybe from the outside, this isn’t all bad. From the inside, it’s not all bad. The bigger picture for me with the word “Finish” is more about demonstrating to my girls that we must finish what we start. If we begin a thing, we must close the circle. There will be plenty of opportunities to change gears when things don’t feel right, to course-correct
  2. Focus
    Closely related to “Finish” is my desire to apply more focus on a few things that feel right to apply focus toward. I would like to narrow my focus on service and on a smaller field of work and projects that support and align with my What’s Important principles.
    I want to be even more mindful of the things I spend my time on. 
  3. Fun
    Not all things in life are fun. Taking out the trash isn’t particularly fun, nor is doing laundry or dishes. I like to think I’m pretty good at fun a lot of the time, but over the past couple years, my focus has been more on balance and space. Being responsible. All these things are very important and I believe I’ve served myself well in making those things a priority. When I think how this word should apply, it’s about the things and people I welcome into my life. It’s about the energy I put back into the world. I find myself very tired at times, and my favorite remedy for those times is most often found in the form of fun.

DAILY JOURNAL
I took on a small secondary challenge to write and post something every day, because writing is where I’ve found solace, exploration and introspection. I wanted to keep it very simple, so I stuck with the daily journal approach.

I succeeded! This post will close the loop on that challenge as the 31st and final daily journal post for January, 2016. Woo-hoo!

PERSONAL PROJECT #1
I also had a personal project that I plugged away on here and there, but I would mostly consider progress on this a fail. I can see where, why and how in hindsight, which is very much the reason I have journaled through it. I asked for help and got a little bit of it, which was nice. What reaching out for help reminded me more than anything, though is that if you really want to do a thing, YOU have to do it. It has to be a priority. I thought it was for me, but I didn’t treat it like it was. I worked on a lot of other things that I preferred to focus on instead. 

WHERE I’M GOING
We’ve set a “music memories” challenge for the tinychallenges community. I did this last year, I loved it. We've staged it as the community challenge because we are genuinely fascinated with the stories people will have to share on this topic. I’m not sure I have another 29 of my own to share. I have considered redoing last year’s via YouTube, I would have one bonus day to add this year. 

I miss YouTube. I’ve not posted a video since July 31, 2015 and I really, really miss it. I struggle with YouTube because there’s a huge piece of me that wants to imporve the quality of my videos. I started YouTube to push past the fear of quality and all the excuses I had around NOT doing it. I did it. But the more I did, the better I wanted the videos to be. The reality is that quality returned as a barrier for me. If I put it off until I can do better lighting, or get a better camera, I simply won’t do it. But I love it enough that perhaps I'll just keep doing what I do. So… throwing that out there. 

While I have some pretty solid plans for February, I won’t make a final decision about what I’m doing or how until I wake up tomorrow and see what feels right. The key component of what direction I choose tomorrow will be ensuring it supports my three words, which ultimately extend to support my What’s Important principles. 

<3

About #tinychallenges

In 2013, I started experimenting sporadically with small challenges in order to push through personal fears, boundaries, and excuses. I wanted to make better use of my time, have fun and generally improve my life - one tiny step at a time. 

In December of 2014, I committed to doing a random monthly challenge for every month of 2015 that had 31 days in it. Because of the momentum and fun, it quickly grew into something I did every single month. I was never very consistent with how I tagged these projects. Sometimes it was #31days, #30days, sometimes #randomadventures, it varied depending on what I was doing. These challenges inspired a talk I gave last June in San Franciso at the Layers Conference called, “No Excuses.” (you can see that talk here.)

In September of 2015, my friend Brad Heintz suggested, upon joining me for a 30-day challenge, unifying the name to something easier to follow and making it easier for others to join along. We landed on the name: "tinychallenges".

The approach: I base my challenges on philosophies of behavioral design, same way I used to approach product/interface design when I was making products hands-on for more than 15 years. I was inspired by methods I've learned and studied over the years, but applied these methods through my own trial and error to my own life, and landed on monthly challenges. The simplest way to break it down is like this:

Prompt: Also known as a trigger, this is something that tells me its time to do the thing I set out to do. Example prompts I’ve used:

  • upon waking up in the morning [insert action]
  • while my coffee is brewing [insert action]

Action: The thing I’m setting out to do. The important thing here is to start super small (hence: tinychallenges). Lots of folks take on too much to start, don’t finish, feel like they’ve failed, get frustrated and never try again. You *can* take on more, but if you find it’s too much to sustain for a full month, think smaller. Think about actions that can be done in 5 minutes or less. You can build them up later. Go for the smaller win first. Examples of super small actions I started with:

  • fill a glass of water (drinking it is bonus!)
  • write the name of a person, place or thing that inspires me
  • write a sentence capturing one thing I learned today

Celebrate: An acknowledgment that you did the thing (the action) you set out to do. You’ll want to leave it off because it feels goofy. This part is important. It can be a smile, you can raise a fist to the sky and say, “YESSS!”, you can dance a little jig, whatever you decide but DO THIS. 

How it looks when you put it all together:

  • while my coffee is brewing 
  • write the name of a person, place or thing that inspires me
  • celebrate with Rocky pose 
image source: https://unobtainium13.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/618_movies_rocky_10.jpg

image source: https://unobtainium13.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/618_movies_rocky_10.jpg

For my own monthly challenges, I choose a theme and some guidelines to keep the challenge simple and achievable and set out to cross the finish line. This is about experimenting and finishing. Sometimes I stumble, days have been missed, life happens. What I try to keep in mind is this quote from one of my all-time favorite movies (again with the Rocky references)

"It doesn't matter if I lost this fight. All I want to do is go the distance."  
-Rocky Balboa, from the movie Rocky

Keep going. Learn more. Do more. Have FUN. 

With the encouragement of Brad Heintz and now many others #tinychallenges is blossoming into a small, supportive community of people who get rid of excuses and DO THINGS. In December 2015, Daniel Steinberg and I started a tinychallenges podcast, we use storytelling to inspire and frame a challenge, then check in with our community on how it’s going.

It's fun, and growing! Hope you'll join us.

The website:  www.tinychallenges.com
The podcast:  www.tinychallenges.com/show/

 

 

Jeez... Everyone Hated That Post

January 29, 2016

The title. My exact thought as I peeked in this morning to see if I had any comments or reads on my post from yesterday. NOTHING. ZERO. No reads. Usually, there's SOMETHING. A twitter exchanges, or comments or some nice advice. There's always something. I thought, "Oh man... what did I say? Are people sick of me saying nothing at all in these stupid journal posts?" Then I realized, I hit SAVE, not SAVE & PUBLISH. Even though I've done this action literally hundreds of days in a row, somehow I still eff'd it up. Welcome to 40? Have I officially become my parents when it comes to using technology?

I use SquareSpace for my website and blogging tool. I like it. As someone who started their career of designing and coding websites many moons ago, I appreciate it's simplicity. Like most tools, there's tiny bit of learning curve at first. There are times that I can't get it to do what I want it to do, but mostly, it's easy. I've let go of the desire to control every pixel, I work within their templates and that's good enough for my purposes. I've got nothing to prove on the code or design side anymore, now my focus is on writing and coaching and staring out the window while I push a button that broadcasts my words to the internet.

As long as I push the right button, that is.

_____
YESTERDAY'S "Waiting in Drafts" POST:

January 28, 2016
It's another one of those days where I seriously have nothing to write about. It's hard to write when you have nothing much to say, yet, it's important to write through those moments. 

I have these days pretty regularly when I leave my writing to journaling, as opposed to my themed writing (talk tips, stories of things, 31people, etc.) I know these days of pushing through the wordless page are important ones for me. What I've found when I push through "the nothing" is that my world beyond writing is expanded, and I can quietly smile.

How do I push through "the nothing"?

For me, with writing, I start typing words. These days tend to start out the same, "It's another one of those days..." blahblahblah. Before long, I have something. Even if it's there's no real story about it all. I'm writing, and getting the thoughts out. 

A cool thing, I think I just stumbled upon in this exact moment through writing it out, is that I could push myself in new ways by forcing myself to start in a different way. Anytime I catch myself starting out with a line like that, from this point forward, I will push myself to change it up. Reach further, push from a different angle. How about that! Perfect example of stuff that can happen when you simply DO the thing. If it’s writing, write the words, even when there are none. You never know when something magical might happen. 

What do you get stuck on? How do you push through?

Writing Every Day

January 27, 2016
I’ve been writing every day in order to push through some boundaries I’ve felt stuck on for years. Last November felt really amazing, rough at times during the NaNoWriMo challenge, but I really found a rhythm of joy with my daily journaling about my experience. I've experimented with format, and content, and different times of day. Here are little things that writing every day has surfaced for me:

I don’t always have much to say
I knew that I wouldn’t always have a ton to say. I post every day on my personal blog, I cross post stuff that may have a little more substance, but at it’s core, this is a personal journey that I’m sharing publicly. I’m not exactly sure what the destination is, I only know that I am learning stuff every single day even if all it is, is to recall my day and put it down in writing.  Pushing words out even when I don’t have a lot of things I think others will care about is a growing thing. I’m happy that I’m writing what’s real in my little world.

Writing has become my meditation
For a while I explored a more traditional form of meditation, and it was good. My dad was a big advocate for the value of meditation and used to impress upon me that I should make habit of it. I was never ery good at sticking with it. I always assumed that meditation came in a very specific format. I write these daily journals. I write for work. I write ideas and things that may never see the light of day, or that may surface some day in a more thoughtful, longer format post. What I find most beautiful is when I left my day job in 2013 I said, “I just want to write.” I didn’t know what that meant, or what I would do to make that happen, but I almost didn’t even realize that I’m doing exactly what I set out to do. Every time I sit down to write, I feel like a kid pretending to be a writer. I have off days, but that’s usually from other stuff. Writing helps work through that stuff. I can’t pinpoint if there was a transition of writing becoming my meditation, or if it’s always been there, and I just had to incubate it. Writing
is my meditation. That makes me smile.

<3

All the Feels

January 26, 2016
While some great things were happening on some fronts today, some down times where happening for others I care about. That's an interesting place emotionally, a crazy cocktail of joyful excitement mixed with empathetic concern.

I feel lucky for, and humbled by the life I have. 

I made very positive progress on client work, that filled the bulk of my day.  I also did dinner & homework with my kiddos, played with Play-Doh and attempted a Minecraft parkour course created by my 6-year-old. I didn't even know she knew what parkour was.

Personal project: 0 minutes completed today. 

Progress on some things. Not-progress on others. The day brought extreme contrast on multiple fronts. Contrast reminds me how important ups and downs are.
I feel present. I am feeling moments and appreciating them for what they are. I feel intentional, with enough room to remain flexible and up for whatever may come. I feel peace. I feel rested. I feel grateful. 

Sleeping-in.

January 25, 2016
I'm pretty good at the whole early to bed, early to rise thing, when I want to be. Then every so often I have days like today, where I hit the snooze button, then on the second snooze, I simply reset my alarm to a later time. Then hit snooze again a couple times after that later time. Ugh. I don't have a good explanation other than I didn't HAVE to be up until 7 today. 

4:30 am is awesome. I get so much done when I wake up at 4:30. Even at 5:30, I still get a huge jump on the day. I have the warmth of the fireplace, the darkness before the sunrise, the solitude of a sleeping household. Peaceful, productive joy and the absolute delight of working from home. Once 6:30 hits I've already missed the most productive parts of the morning, but still have an hour before kids have to be up to ready for school. Sometimes Zia wakes up around then, she likes to talk, and I like to listen. 6:30-7:30 is my time for getting the rest of the day organized. List making, running down the calendar, occasionally calls with East Coast clients, and so on. Today, I didn't do all that pre-7am stuff. I chose to sleep in. Because today, I had that choice. And it felt really damn good. 

I still had a regular day of work after seeing the girls onto the bus. I got a lot done, had a really nice delivery-Thai food lunch with Ken. I wrote a lot for a client project. It was a great day!

Yet... still... I always struggle later with the decision to sleep-in. Imagine all the things I could have done if I'd made the decision to do them with those two hours of time. Two hours is a HUGE amount of time! Did I squander it? Did I really need the sleep? Am I really focused on goals and accomplishing them?

Sometimes I think I allow the decision of sleeping-in to cost more than it should. Or maybe it's an expense I need to think more deeply about. Hm. 

A Regular Sort of Day

January 24, 2016
It's late. I'm having a bit of trouble finding words, but I know those are the times you have to jam something out anyway. I suppose a journal is a summary of the day's activities, and the day was certainly full in the way of activities. I concern from time to time over the days when I sit down to write and I don't feel particularly inspired to really roll with a theme or point behind it all. Days like today, where it is nothing more than a catalogue of the day.

No work on the personal project again. We're coming up on February and I'm still a good deal from finished. Not letting go of the aim to complete this one yet.

Sophia's second School of Rock performance today closed out the Fall/Winter show season. It was another impressive show, thanks for all the support everyone has shared around her doing that stuff. It's been a really amazing thing to watch a beautifully introverted kid explore her own boundaries of comfort and fear. Amazing program, incredible group of instructors and kids.

Zia and Ken made their own songs at home, I love hearing the sounds of music filling the house. Drums, guitars, singing or whatever they decide to put together, it's always a welcome sound.

It can be sort of interesting to reach the winding down part of a day, look back and find all these little delightful pockets of nice things that happened. In addition to the stuff above, the day also included Micky Mouse waffles, seeing my awesome sister and one of my nephews, meeting some really nice parents of other School of Rock-ers, In-n-Out burgers, and an afternoon nap. Not  bad for a regular sort of day.

 

Total "Mom" Day (+bonus video)

January 23, 2016

Today was full-on mom duties from 5am until about 30 seconds ago when I sat down to write about the day. I suppose that's a weird thing to say, I'm always an on-duty mom, it's just that many days are a mindful weaving of kid things and work things and home things and whatnot. Fellow parents, you're feelin' me, yes?

Sophia (10yr old) had her season performance 1 of 2 this morning at the House of Blues Las Vegas, inside Mandalay Bay. Today was the breakfast show (9am), tomorrow will be a later time slot. The show was so, so good. Kids ages 10-17 performing a tribute to Iron Maiden + Judas Priest. It was an impressive 2 hour, 23 song show. It's about an hour drive for us each way, have to have her there an hour early, we were home by noon just in time to get Zia to gymnastics. Home, lunch, talking, laughing, movies, cats, dinner, time together. A good day. I should note, Sophia is a really quiet kid, this is her third show, getting on stage is a BIG DEAL for her. Super proud!

Had a few requests for a sound clip and/or video of the rock show. If you're an Iron Maiden fan, you may appreciate this one.

School of Rock Las Vegas West, kids ages 10-17 perform Iron Maiden Tribute: Number of the Beast at House of Blues Las Vegas on 1/23/2016. 



Thoughts About Words

A shot from my CocoaLove 2015 talk, courtesy of Curtis Herbert: @parrots 

A shot from my CocoaLove 2015 talk, courtesy of Curtis Herbert: @parrots 

January 22, 2016
I spent a good deal of time today thinking about word choices. I've done a lot of work in this area, and I've done several conference talks on the topic as well. In my work as an interface designer, word choices were an imperative component of designing useful, empathetic digital products. In my work as a coach, catching on to the word choices my clients use is crucial in helping them.

I shared the talk, "NoExcuses" recently, wherein I made a point about choosing the word MAKE time, instead of FIND time. If you try to find time, you're more than likely never going to locate it. And if you're lucky enough to locate it, it's more than likely not sustainable. When you MAKE time, you have that time for as long as you continue making it. Making time implies intention. Finding time is passive.

I believe word choices play an important role in how we set our own intentions and expectations in life. Today's pondering on the topic was triggered by a comment I received about a talk I did at the CocoaLove Conference last October. My talk title was a play on Yoda's "Do. Or do not. There is no Try." I called it, "Do. Or GTFO. There is no Try."

I received a handful of comments about Yoda's saying. Comments that in summary take the stance that if you don't try, there's no opportunity to learn/fail/succeed. I can appreciate the sentiment there, but when we really get down to word choices I would still land on the point that Yoda makes the better word choice. Yoda says DO. There is no try. It's about the intention you set with "try" versus "do". I believe, whether you intend it or not, "try" gives you a subconscious escape from the amount of effort you will exert in your attempt. "Try" implies it's OK to not succeed. "Try" is passive. Even though DOING may still result in failure, and failure is acceptable, when you say, "I am going to DO this," your intention is fully committed. Your heart is present. Your mind is present. You, are going to DO the thing. 

I understand the point of view that making life changes is not as simple as changing a word here or there. I understand that life situations are sometimes not as simple or luxurious as these seemingly silly pontifications may allude. What I can tell you is that mindset and attitude affect life deeply. The words we use, the thoughts we think, when you dig deeply and push for the positive and intentional words, you create something deep inside that can open a pinhole of light when everything is dark. If you create one tiny pinhole of light, you can create another, and another. After a while, it's not a black, empty nothing, but a galaxy of opportunity.

<3

Rocking and Rolling and Sticking and Stuff...

January 21, 2016
Today went by so quickly. I feel like I've said that nearly every other day this month. Eesh... I suppose that's a good sign in a way, that there's plenty going on and I'm staying good and busy with it all.

#tinychallenges as a community is growing nicely! There are a handful of participants, some who follow the podcast, some doing their own thing, some on the Slack channel EVERYONE welcome to join! (Learn more here) It's really cool hearing/seeing/learning how folks are doing, and how we can grow tinychallenges to become even better. Super thanks to all those currently doing stuff! So very awesome!

The personal project got no love today, I'm in a bit of a stuck spot on it again BUT I think I can move through this a bit more easily than before. I think my key for this sticking point will be working similarly to how I worked through the big NaNoWriMo challenge. I need to be excited enough about finishing this as I was about that. And to carve out the time just like I did for NaNo. That was some lean, mean discipline! ;) 

I'm excited about a lot that's going on right now. Lots of great things happening, lots of varying directions. And bonus, I got to reveal two more of my 2016 speaking dates previously marked as *On Hold* - wooHOO! Very excited about all the really incredible opportunities the speaking circuit holds this year. You can check those out --> here <--

That's the daily journal report for today, good friends. Thank you for reading!

<3

 

What's Stopping You?

January 20, 2016
Ever have a whole bunch of things on your plate, and you make a lot of progress on - seriously - a lot of things, but there are one or two things that always manage to fall off the priority list?

Half-started projects? Little stacks of things you intend to put away later? Books to read? Blog posts to write? Places to visit? People to catch up with? A basket of unfolded laundry? What else?

Things that you know if you could knock them out your life would be ever so slightly better for it?

What's stopping you? Serious question. I'm curious about the things YOU have on your list, and what stops you from doing them. Lay it on me!

When Starting Small Gets Big

January 19, 2016
If you know me, and have followed any of my monthly challenges (now called "tinychallenges"), you know I'm all about starting small. I start everything super small. It allows me to remove excuses I used to use like,

  • I don't have time
  • I can't afford it
  • I'm not good enough at X, y, z
  • I don't have the right tools
  • I have bigger priorities

Those were many of the leading excuse contenders. Once I identified them, I was able to chip away at them. There was a long time where I wasn't able to see that I was making excuses. They weren't excuses to me, they were real reasons and they were why I couldn't do many things I wanted to do. I believed that. I believed that people who told me otherwise simply didn't understand the realities of my life, my situation.

I started small. My first mistake was not starting small enough. At first I thought 30 minutes was small. Then 15-20 minutes. But even the attempt at 15 minutes of something kept unfolding more failures than successes. So I moved toward even smaller. I went tiny. 1-2 minutes a day here, no more than 5 minutes a day there. I proved to myself that when I want something badly enough, when I'm hungry enough to make it important, I hack my way through the excuses and I see them for what they are. 

I proved to myself that when I start small, I build endurance and desire to push myself more, to test my boundaries, see how much I can take before all my spinning plates come crashing to the floor and I have to start again. After lots of "tiny", I was able to experiment with bigger things. Sometimes bigger meant multiple tiny things in parallel, or bumping 2-minute max to become a 10-minute max. I learned that starting again is never really starting again. Even when everything crashes and you start over from what feels like zero, you have new experience under your belt, and your boundaries are expanded. Your objectives grow, your dedication to pursue your limits grows. You will miss the mark of expectation you hold for yourself sometimes. But if you keep going, you get better. Stronger. Braver. You begin to rule out concern for the expectation you think others hold you to and you keep moving. Trust YOUR heart, your path, your belief system. 

If you think you can't, you can. The key can be found in breaking things down smaller. Small adds up. Small becomes big. When you look back at your collections of small, but constant effort, you will be proud of what you've done. You will see your small become big. 

I set out to do 5 minutes of the personal project today, I did 65. \o/

 

Thoughts While Driving

January 18, 2016
Today was full of driving. And thinking. And singing along with Morrissey. 

I thought about how to get my kids to want to do some 5k events with me. Sophia expressed some interest in doing one, as long as it was a Zombie run, we’re considering the “5krundead”.

I thought about how sore my legs are today, it’s comical, really. 

I thought about food, because I endlessly feel like this is my biggest challenge in life. Eating well, and teaching my kids healthy habits. Deciding “what’s for lunch/dinner.” Ugh.

I thought about what an amazing Star Wars Half Marathon weekend we just had.

I thought about my 3 words from our #tinychallenges podcast (inspired by Chris Brogan), and how I would make decisions that support those words. And while I was thinking about that, I thought about some ways to make #tinychallenges a little more helpful for folks just starting out. When I got home I did some work on that, and I plan to get that on the site before February.

I thought about all the things I need to write down/add to my master todo list, and sort for the week. 

A super short post today, overall it was a pretty uneventful day, lots of driving, lots of thinking. A good amount of singing. ;)

Testing the Rules of Running

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I did it! I ran a half-marathon this morning. First time since 2004. 

I used to run longer distances much more often, I’m familiar enough with how to prepare for these things, yet for some reason, I broke all the rules this time. Let’s talk about it for a minute with complete honesty. 

I did not train.
I’m not saying this to be a jerk or to in any way advocate, for not training. And I’m not exaggerating. I did not train. I told a friend this, he laughed and said, “ya, right!” But seriously. I didn’t. I signed up for this event in June, well intentioned enough, thinking I had plenty of time to train, and WORST CASE I could start training in October. I did a two-week intro to CrossFit thing in June or July, we did some running in there but only like 400 meters or something not terribly overwhelming, other than it’s pretty hot in Las Vegas in June and July. October, November, and December came and went. I did not run one single time. I walked on the treadmill one time for an hour a couple weeks ago. I knew what I was getting into, I’ve run half marathons and whole marathons, and after doing a full, while still an incredibly respectable distance, doesn’t *feel* as big to my mind. My sweet, simple little mind. Somehow the gap in time (11 years) since my last half hadn’t registered at all to my mind. I’m not 29-year-old Jaimee anymore. I’m 40-year-old Jaimee. My mind was calm about it, I didn’t feel at all intimidated by the distance. I remember feeling really intimidated by it for my first couple events way back. For a full marathon, there’s no way I’d attempt that without serious training. Nonono. For this half event though, I did pretty well through mile 8, then needed to do some walk breaks. I expected walk breaks, this was the Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland, after all. I had to take a lot of photos and post them along the way, too. For me, this was not a “race” for time or speed for me. This was an event for fun times and merriment. My body let me know around mile 11 that zero training wasn’t wise, my hip flexors started to stiffen up pretty good. Mile 12 I walked most of, with the ever-tightening hip flexors. I finished out all 13.1 miles, I had a ton of fun, but boy oh boy am I sore now. Definitely do not recommend the not training approach.

I wore brand new shoes. 
All the guide and advice experts say, never wear new shoes on race day. Wear shoes that are tried and true. I totally meant to try my shoes out before race day. I’d ordered them on line a couple weeks ago, I meant to try them on when they arrived. I didn’t. I tried them on in the hotel room last night. Super lucky for me, they worked out great. I have slightly a bruised toe. Other than that, no blisters, no weird or painful rubbing or digging. If you’re tthinking about doing some running, it’s definitely better to break in your shoes on lower mileage training runs. For sure. But if you know your foot and fit pretty well, 

Who knows what I ate. 
There are all sorts of recommended foods to eat and avoid the night before a big event. I followed none of the DOs and pretty sure I did all of the DON’Ts. If I were running hard for speed or a good personal record, this would have possibly been a bigger deal. The only thing I did avoid, per recommendation, was my morning coffee. Hydration is important and I respect that. Maybe what’s most important for these events is listening to your body. If your body is cool with margaritas and bean & cheese burritos the night before a long run, go for it! If you prefer the pasta carb load angle, that’s cool, too. For me, I didn’t notice much in the way of feeling off from foods/diet decisions the night before. 

Despite my poor preparation, I loved this event for a couple reasons. 
It let me know exactly where I was in the scheme of fitness levels, and where I’d like to be. It also let me know that running is still a viable option for me. I’m very lucky for that. I remember when my doctor told me I couldn’t for a while, it broke my heart. I found other activities that kept me fit for a while until life got all scrambly and so on. Now I dabble here and there in various things. Whatever seems interesting, until it doesn’t anymore. 

runDisney / The Star Wars Half Marathon was a really amazing experience.  I just ran 13.1 miles dressed in a Darth Vader costume. At the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks and the surrounding area. It was insane, fun, and I absolutely recommend it. If you think you may want to do it, the registration fills up super fast, so go to their site and sign up to be notified once registration opens (sometime around May/June), and sign up. They have a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and some kids events. Good stuff all around.

I posted a whole bunch of photos on my Instagram account if you’re interested in checking out more of what I saw/experienced today. https://www.instagram.com/jaimeejaimee/

Rock on!

On Your Mark, Get Set... Daily Journal: Jan 16, 2016

Tomorrow morning, I'm participating in the Star Wars Half Marathon. The last Half I ran was in 2004, a few months before my doctor told me I should stop running until after my first kid was born. I was 6 months pregnant then. I switched to yoga, and really never went back to running. Last year I trained and participated in a Color Run 5k in Las Vegas. I loved it. It reminded me of all the things I'd once loved, but had somehow forgotten about running. I didn't maintain a regular running schedule, however. I dabbled for a few months. But when I heard about this Star Wars Half Marathon in June, I had to sign up. I figured I'd have plenty of time to train and get re-acclimated for such a distance, yet, I had already run full-length marathons, so the idea of a half just never felt intimidating again. I'm a little nervous now, the night before. I am not prepared at all, and I'm doing all the things the "rules" of running tell you not to do. And I ate WAY too much for dinner tonight. But I'm doing this event nonetheless. It's almost like an experiment to see exactly where I'm at physically and mentally. A Half is a respectable distance. It's no joke, yet, I haven't taken it very seriously at all. I will be slow. I will embrace the entertainment, and the scenery. I'm seriously in it for the fun, that's about as serious as I'm getting about it.  ;) 

It'll be dark at the start, but I'll be posting a lot of photos and maybe even a periscope or two, so if you're interested in having a look, keep an eye on my -->Twitter and -->Instagram accounts.

The personal project has been on hold during my trip, but my daily journal continues. The half marathon, friends, food, and fun are my focus until Monday.  To ensure there's no confusion, the half marathon is not my #tinychallenges focus for January, this daily journal is. The Half is something happening along the way. 

See you tomorrow, folks!

Friends, Food, Fun: Daily Journal - Jan 15, 2016

If I were to summarize what today was about, it would be these three things:
FRIENDS. FUN. And FOOD.

We got to meet up with several folks throughout the day at Disneyland. I'm really grateful for technology. When we used to do Disneyland back in my high school days, coordinating logistics was often chaos. "Meet me at this location, at this time" always seemed simple enough until you get to the spot and realize you didn't communicate some hugely important detail that makes the difference in finding that person or complete frustration due to inability to find that person. Now, we text stuff instantly. "I'm here!" "We're here, we don't see you" "Describe what you see" "Ducks and benches" "Don't move, we'll be right there." 


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We ate some great food. Tried out that Jazz Kitchen joint in Downtown Disney. Two thumbs up on the Filet Mignon. Great accommodation for those needing gluten free or dietary restricted options.

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Today was ridiculously fun. We saw all the great Star Wars stuff going on at Disneyland right now, I nearly kissed a Stormtrooper, I discovered the life-sized BobaFett statue is a bit shorter than I'd imagined. And we saw the Iron Man suit that "Tony Stark was able to build in a cave! With a box of scraps!"

Excellent bonus, we got to watch Elton John play his red piano in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle, while hanging out with one of our favorite YouTube personalities. 

This day was one for the memory books. Looking forward to the big Star Wars Half Marathon on Sunday! I'll be doing lots of social media posts (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) throughout the event. Hope you'll join me!

Driving the Crazy Train: Journal - Jan 14, 2016

The photo captures today pretty perfectly. It felt a bit like I was driving a crazy train, but it was infused with fun the whole time. I got about 11 minutes in on the personal project. I wanted to do so much more but other things were more pressing today. Daniel Steinberg and I got episode 2 of our #tinychallenges podcast live. Getting kids ready for school, even though we had the same amount of time we always have, for some reason felt extra short and rushed today. Feeling rushed always results in a little bit of stress. Then I had some loose ends to tie up on the work front before driving to Southern California for the weekend. And there was a lot of stuff to get in order before we headed out.

The drive was pleasant, I love road trips, even if it's a stretch of road I've traveled thousands of times. I take it easy, I don't rush. My time with Ken was magical, I expect it'll continue being awesome through the weekend. 

We're bundling some birthday celebration for Ken in with a race I signed up to run back in June. I'll share more about the race on Sunday. It should be pretty cool.

Posting much later than anticipated today due to some late night Disney-ing and dinner, and patience-testing with hotel wifi. ;)

More tomorrow!

Decision-Junctions: Jan 13, 2016

This week is flying by so swiftly! I made some pretty significant progress on the personal project today, my friends. It didn't feel like a lot of movement in the scheme of how much is left to do, but doing something as simple as making a decision that narrows the focus is HUGE progress. Sometimes projects are exactly that - a series of making focus-inducing decisions. Move through one decision, line up the next one that needs to be made. And so on. The sticky point for me with this latest decision-junction has been having three different potential directions, and cycling through all three in various stages because I haven't been certain about which path was the right one to keep moving down.

I believe I've made a decision. I believe this will offer a great degree of focus. Now I've got to pull it together and finish, no matter what it takes. Then, if I feel like other directions are worth pursuing afterward, awesome. If not, on to new projects! (Focus, Jaimee. Focus.)

I'm headed to CA tomorrow. Participating in the Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland on Sunday. Making up for missed birthday celebrations for Ken in-between. I'll share the merriment periodically, and continue plugging away on work and personal project #1 stuff throughout.

What do YOU do to stay focused and keep moving through decision-junctions?

 

Journal Post feat. Zia (6yrs old): Jan 12, 2016

The day started off with a super productive call, then kids-to-school routines, then a very full day of work. After school stuff was pretty amazing in the simplest of ways. It's days like today that remind me how lucky I am for the simple luxuries, like being able to drop off and pick up my kids from school, and to really be present in the moments that my kids actually want to talk to me. I imagine they'll outgrow that, so I do make some effort to be in the moment. Today was very much about time with Zia. We didn't have extracurricular running about tonight, so Zia thought it'd be a great idea to make "steak and cake" to celebrate Ken's birthday, which was somewhat overlooked yesterday with all the goings on.

We did a grocery run. Zia made the cake while I focused on the steak and sweet potatoes. She measured the ingredients out, mixed and poured the mix into the tiny cake pans. My only job on the cakes were egg cracking and oven duties. She did great.


After dinner and cleanup, we did homework. At some point, I mentioned I needed to get my writing done for the night, she said she wanted to do it for me. I let her sit at my desk and write, like she's seen me do a million times. After a few minutes she wanted to pause and continue tomorrow night, but she said she got a great start. Have a look:

I love this so much. It's amazing to peek inside her mind in this way. I can't wait to see where it goes from here. ;)

That's how the day broke down. Did I work on the personal project? Yes, I got 37 minutes in early this morning. Still plugging away!