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Ryan’s Journal: What Do You Do When You’re In A Funk?

Thursday, August 10th, 2017


Have you ever had one of those days where you just can’t seem to get it together?

You drink your coffee, go on your run, or perhaps your moment of zen. Yet that doesn’t get you out of your rut. What do you do about it?

I am in a stage of life where I am building. 

I am building my sales practice, building my family (up to five now), and building my wealth. I have found that those all keep me busy and I have little time for me. When I compare myself to my friends, though, they are in similar circumstances.

The ebb and flow of emotions is normal. Low points happen and should not be feared. However, if we allow ourselves to dwell too long, it can become more than a rut, it can be a lifestyle.

I have a new little girl at home and she is amazing. She also is a night owl and I have found that sleep deprivation and feeling down are directly correlated. My wife and I are walking around in a fog and I am not at my best.

I have started to become aware of this in the past week and have actively worked out ways to overcome it.

Currently my little one likes to wake around 5:30 in the morning. I have found if I just get up to go for a run I get the added bonus of watching the sun rise. That’s an amazing feeling.

I have also found that she likes to cry a bit so we stay up rocking her. This has led to my wife and I having genuine conversations because our phones aren’t attached to our faces. This has also been amazing as I actually like my wife. (To be clear I love her as well).

I say all of this because it’s on my mind. I know I am a bit low and I know others are too on occasion.

Ultimately it is our choice on how we proceed.

How will you proceed?

Image credit: Larry Jacobsen

If The Shoe Fits: The Stupidity Of Always On

Friday, June 30th, 2017

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mBack in the distant 1980s, when startups were valued for what they did, as opposed to the cash they raised, a founder made a casual comment that has stuck with me all these years.

He said, “There will be times when my team has to pull all-nighters, but if it happens often it is a failure of management to correctly schedule the work and set viable deadlines, as opposed to an unexpected emergency.”

Boy, has that changed. These days founders brag about their 80-120-always-on-hour-weeks and expect their team to do the same.

And they do.

It’s the new techie status symbol.

And not just in tech land.

The gig economy not only brags about it, they base their recruiting on it.

 “You eat a coffee for lunch,” the [Fiverr] ad proclaims. “You follow through on your follow through. Sleep deprivation is your drug of choice. You might be a doer.”

Doer? Or exploitee?

Or, more accurately, stupid, with a capital S.

“A culture of overwork is damaging because it turns brief binges of hard work into a long-term strategy, and, worse still, an expectation. When managers start measuring the worth of their employees according to how quickly they return emails at 3 a.m., that particular work culture is broken,” Adam Alter, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, told Business Insider in an email. (He wrote a book about how technology keeps us “always on.”)

Stupid because 80-100+ hour weeks lowers creativity and productivity, while increasing coding and other errors. Not to mention lost sales and misunderstandings.

Founders take note. Not of me, but of the research, crunch the numbers, and analyze the data.

Then think twice, send your team home and go yourself and get some sleep.

Even Uber is planning on that.

“Uber is a data-driven company, and the data shows unequivocally that when you work longer, you are not working smarter,” Uber board member Arianna Huffington told the company’s employees during an all-hands meeting last week, according to leaked audio obtained by Yahoo.
Huffington also added that employees won’t have to be “always on” and responsive to whatever is going on at the office, no matter where they are. Because “when you’re always on you’re depleted, you are distracted,” and “not as creative” as you are when you’re well-rested, Huffington also said, channeling the thesis of her new pro-sleep startup Thrive.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Hydrate Yourself with Plant Nanny

Monday, March 16th, 2015

plant-nannyLast year I wrote two posts on the value of sleep and how to power nap, important to all, but especially to entrepreneurs.

Without good sleep your life will be ruined, but if you don’t drink enough water your life will end, period. (Note: it’s not a comfortable ending.)

People know this, it’s not rocket science.

But knowing isn’t doing.

So as a public service today I’m sharing an article about Plant Nanny; a whimsical way to make sure you stay hydrated.

When you download the app, you input some personal information (height, weight, physical activity level) and then pick out a plant. Plant Nanny tells you how many cups of water you have to drink per day.

For every cup of water you drink, you tap the little circle in the bottom right hand corner. The goal is to drink all the cups of water you’re supposed to every day. It keeps your plant happy, and presumably it keeps you hydrated. If you forget to water your plant, it will look sad. If you completely neglect it, it will die and you’ll have to start over.

I like the fact that the amount of water, as well as the size of your “cup,” is customizable based on you — not one-size-fits-all, which it doesn’t.

It works on iPhone and Android, so you don’t have that excuse.

Besides being a lot healthier, water is a whole lot cheaper — as in free.

If you have a thing against tap water, invest in a good, refillable, filtering water bottle.

Because a lot of bottled water is not special and plastic is definitely not green.

Happy hydrating.

Image credit: Plant Nanny

Foot-In-Mouth Advertising

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015


Procter and Gamble is known as a marketing powerhouse and no novice when it comes to social media.

So it makes you wonder how one of its divisions could have stuck its foot so deeply into its mouth on Twitter.

Vicks, maker of NyQuil, DayQuil and ZzzQuil tweeted the following

SLEEP LIKE he finally proposed. And you have been dating for a decade. #SleepLike #engaged #shesaidyes pic.twitter.com/r3MQNNjZM6

— ZzzQuil (@ZzzQuil) January 23, 2015

and was lambasted for 19 hours by women and men alike.

While the tweet sucks as an attempt at humor, it is right in line with two TV ads currently running.

In case you aren’t familiar, one is for dads and one is for moms.

The dads take NyQuil so they can go to work, while the moms take DayQuil so they can stay home and chauffeur the kids around.

Seems like all three would play better in the 1950s than now.

I suppose you could blame Vicks advertising agency for them, but Vicks marketing must have signed off on them.

It just goes to show that even the savviest companies can trip if they lose site of who their customers are, as opposed to who they were.

Image credit: theimpulsivebuy

Entrepreneurs: the Power of Power Napping

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Entrepreneurs are notorious for their 80 to 100 hour weeks.

In fact, many of them see that work schedule as a badge of honor; an initiation by fire to an exclusive club.

What they ignore is that as time goes by each week, the quality of the work produced goes down.

Because, much as they want to be superman, entrepreneurs are human and humans require food and their brains require rest to function at their best.

Many have tried napping, but often feel worse afterwards.

The good news is that there is a scientific reason why naps that exceed 30 minutes have the opposite effect as desired.

The secret to revitalizing a tired brain and juicing creativity is not found in grabbing an hour’s sleep here and there.

It’s found in the practice of Power Napping.

Try it; it works!

YouTube credit: AsapSCIENCE

If the Shoe Fits: Surviving Your Startup

Friday, April 18th, 2014

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_m Whether you admire Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, or not, you can’t argue with her success.

But it came at a cost, “…seven years ago I collapsed from exhaustion, burnout and sleep deprivation. I broke my cheekbone on the way down and got four stitches on my right eye.”

That incident lead Huffington to add a third metric to success’ standard two metrics of money and power.

…the third metric, which includes our well-being, our wisdom, our capacity to wonder and bring joy into our lives, and our capacity to give. Without these four pillars, life is really reduced to our to-do list.

Too many in the startup community do treat their lives as a to-do list, from starting a company through marriage and kids, with sub to-do lists for each.

They lose sight of the simple; seeing life as a series of competitive challenges.

Which I find hilarious, since that attitude harks back to the much maligned Boomers, whose mantra was “life is a challenge to be overcome.”

Granted, there are many challenges that indeed need to be added to our to-do list until overcome, but there are many others that, although noticed, may be passed by, with nary a ripple in our well-being.

Destroying yourself for the sake of a vision benefits no one—not your team, nor your investors, nor your family/friends and least of all yourself.

Image credit: HikingArtist

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