When’s the last time you did something for the first time?

Thinking about 2016 and how many firsts I had. First time something happened to me. First time I went somewhere. First time I did something. First time I attempted a new skill.

There’s something amazing about Shoshin, the beginner mindset.

And other research shows mixing up routine with new tasks is good for your brain and overall health.

Say what you will about 2016.

Heartache, catastrophe and the unexpected will ever continue, and at increasing rates.

Both literally, because there are more people on the planet each day and therefore greater probability of something tragic happening to those people.

And as a matter of perception, as every day you and I become aware of more of those people and more of those tragedies.

If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. — Thich Nhat Hanh

I do new things in part to increase the immensity of my river.

Each new thing gives me capacity to absorb external events and continue on in pursuit of my priorities.

First time walking the new Hoover Dam bridge


Lots of car stuff:

Bought a car
Got car insurance
Got a Utah license
Replaced driveline U joints
Changed my own oil
Replaced an air filter
Replaced an engine temp sending unit
Aligned a set of front tires
Flushed my radiator + engine coolant
Replaced a tie rod
Replaced a battery
Took old car fluids for recycling
Bought car tires
Went to a junkyard
Pulled a transfer case
Bought a breaker bar
Replaced a fuel filter
Replace a fuel pump
Started a car w/starter fluid
Treated an engine w/Sea Foam
Drained and replaced power steering fluid
Drove with 4WD
Went rock crawling
Forded a river
Got stuck, figured it out, made it home


Lots of marketing stuff:

Used/learned Ontraport CRM
Figured out embedding Ontraport forms into ClickFunnels pages
Built an online school with Teachable
Produced and launched courses on Teachable
Used Zapier for real: Teachable <> Ontraport integration
Built a website from scratch with Squarespace
Programmed forms on a page to autoredirect to a new page after submission
Used Squarespace’s custom CSS injection
Used/learned Google Tag Manager
Setup Google Analytics goals based on firing of tags in GTM
Used Webflow to manage a site’s content
Used UTM parameters … like really
Used/learned ConvertKit


Went to/through/across . . .

Lake Powell
Sedona, AZ
The new Hoover Dam bridge (walked)
Oquirrh Mountain Temple
Logan, UT
Bear Lake
Oregon Coast
Antelope Island (the one in the Great Salt Lake)
San Antonio
Downata Hot Springs
An indoor gun range
Western Grand Canyon Rim
Tibble Fork Canyon
Forest Lake
Uintas via Midway
Pine Canyon (drove)
Butterfield Canyon (drove to the mine lookout)
Millcreek Canyon (ran, rode)
Old Ward Canyon (drove)
Farmington Canyon (drove)
Cedar Canyon (drove)
Allred + Robinson family sites in Spring City
Three Sisters Lakes + Sunset Peak (ran)
Clayton Peak (hiked)
Mt. Olympus (ran)
Catherine’s Pass + Alta-Brighton loop (ran)
Little Cottonwood Canyon (ran)
Big Cottonwood Canyon (ran)
Lambs Canyon to Brighton (ran)


Saw David Copperfield perform

Bought a Mac

Moved to + lived in Salt Lake City


Stepped into Alum role and mentored current BYU students in their nascent comms/marketing/entrepreneur journeys

Took a long-term commitment to volunteer at a hospital

Co-hosted a little party in Watch Hill, RI next to T Swift’s place

Did a via ferrata

Summited Mt Olympus in the snow

Ran up a mountain with Yaktrax

Volunteered for RAGNAR

Volunteered at the Peak Series

Used social media to get considered for a job

Joined Circle, by Squarespace

Went to a funeral for a former roommate

Was the one to break up a dating relationship rather than be the one broken up with

Listened/watched/read the entire BYU Speeches archive for a single speaker

Sold something on the street to a complete stranger

Passed out giving blood

Shopped at Costco . . . on my own membership

Joined a tri club

Did a blood-sampling lactate test to determine my heart rate zones

Raced a tri at elevation (6400′)

Won my age-group outright in a regular-format sprint tri (swim -> bike -> run)

Did one of those escape-the-room challenges

Did the Utah caucus thing

Voted 3rd party

Played tennis 4 days in a row

Got a Suunto

Started running on Newtons, with Sofsole inserts, Balega socks and Skratch nutrition

Bought my own kickboard, paddles, buoy, fins and snorkel

Trained with said snorkel … man alive, that’s tough right now

Trained with power on the bike

Shipped a pallet across the country via an LTL freight order

Paced a runner

Ran a stand-alone marathon (twice)

Took caffeine pills before the second marathon (oops)

Raced as a sponsored/supported athlete

Coached someone thru their first tri

Finished 26 books

Got evacuated from my residence for one night by the police (SWAT extracted an active shooter from my former next-door neighbor’s house)

Listened in on a police scanner (about SWAT extracting said shooter)

Launched a personal website (this one first, then www.tmbconsulting.com five months later)

Blogged once a month

Took a photo class

Discovered the awesomeness of quick video chatting via Snapchat and Marco Polo

BBQed ribs in the oven

Made world’s best chocolate chip cookies

A number of mental/emotional/spiritual firsts that have been intensely personal

I live by semesters so this will continue.


OH AND HOW COULD I FORGET?!? I won my fantasy football league … against all guys who played ball while I was in marching band.


What’d you do for the first time in 2016?

Even if your first thought is “not much,” I bet if you think about it your first-time-in-2016 list will surprise you.

By |2021-01-15T15:37:23-07:00December 26th, 2016|General Life|2 Comments

I Have a Degree in Being Self Employed (4-Year Biz Anniversary)

When I took my first job out of college I never thought I’d be self employed before I turned fifty.

At this so-called “integrated communications” agency, I was put on 3 client accounts and 1 internal project. As my “senior” (I’m an arrogant snob, get ready) account colleagues walked me through the grunt work I’d take off their plates, they all said the same thing at the end of their “training”:

“So you’ll do this for about a year . . .”


I of course didn’t say this out loud. But this is what I screamed in my head and from my gut in about .07 seconds:

I didn’t go to college, study comms in a consistently ranked top-5 program, be the comms VP of a 60-person team with a 5-figure annual budget, intern with the university’s spokesman for a year on getting coverage in top trade publications and national outlets … to land HERE doing something I, on my now FIRST day, could train a high schooler from down the street to do in 15 minutes!! You’re gonna PAY me to do that?

OH … AND … we’re gonna BILL our clients, HOW MUCH, for me to do THAT? And you want ME, with all my skills, to be THE ONE doing it … for a YEAR?!!!

You. Gotta. Be. Kidding.

Someone pinch me. Plzzzz.

This can’t be happening.

It was so so so hard to humbly listen to anything my new colleagues said.

As I saw it then, who cares if they had been at the company for a year, or two? None of them studied comms in college, let alone a top-ranked program. None of them had jobs or legit experience in comms before starting, which I did. And ANYONE who thought it worthwhile to spend a year doing this mindless crap must not have two cells between their ears to rub together and therefore isn’t intelligent enough for my attention.


Yeah I just wrote all that. That was 6 years ago and the visceral-ness is still there. I warned you … my intellectual arrogance and snobbery game were strong.

In fact, I’m certain I came across this very ecard or something close to it, printed it off, and taped it on the wall behind my desk.

Snarkiness of the Self Employed

Within a few days, it mysteriously disappeared.

If you hang this at your desk at your corporate gig . . . my money is that you’re destined to join the mighty ranks of the self employed just like me.

I bring all this up to point out WHAT I REALIZED from my then “for a year at a time”-oriented colleagues:

I was used to living life by semesters . . . ie, in 4-month cycles. And I had NO plans to change that.

In 4-month cycles, I learned:

  • a good chunk of Newtonian physics
  • partial differential calculus
  • to name every bone, bone segment, organ, muscle, muscle segment etc. in the body
  • the chemistry of how DNA replicates and the physical science of exactly why DNA is an oblong double helix
  • how to plan, draft and launch PR campaigns
  • the major points of a dozen political philosophers
  • to identify dozens of works of art, literature, opera
  • that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is nothing like what we’ve turned it into
  • you know … every class I took in college

I LOVE learning. Have always sought out and taken the fast track.

AND NOW . . .

A YEAR to do what I’ve conceptually mastered in the 15 minutes you took to explain it to me?

I had NO idea what I was getting into, and this was one of my ruder awakenings to #AgencyLife in New York City.

I committed at the moment to NOT let this “adult” “grownup” view of living by years take over my pattern of mastery/growth/rebirth in semesters or 4-month cycles.

NO WAY was I going to slow down my life just because people around me start talking in terms of years.

No. Way.

# # #

One year later, the writing on the wall was strong.

And a year after that, I was let go.

On July 17, 2012 I was what I call “friendly fired”: given 30-days’ notice.

I first talked publicly about getting fired on The Brave Entrepreneur (ep. 18), and my Quora answer on how I emotionally/mentally/physically dealt with getting fired has been viewed nearly 18,000 times.

# # #

There’s a corollary to the 4-month semester cycle, and it lasts around 4 years, or sometimes as little as 2.

These are like degrees:

Middle school + junior high

High school



So this month, September 2016, when I crossed 4-years being self employed . . .

And Linkedin reminded everyone of that . . .

And I got dozens of ‘likes’ and canned notes . . .

(which I sincerely appreciate, btw, and consider this post, my friends, my return note to all of you) . . .

I had a moment:

I’ve employed myself FT twice as long as my agency tenure (two years) and for as long as I was in college.

I therefore have “a degree” in being self employed.

I have a degree in providing for myself, as my own boss.

I have a degree in how to make and earn money without an employer.

I don’t have a masters of business administration, but I DO have rudimentary mastery (at least) of ALL aspects of administering a business:

  • I do my own bookkeeping
  • I write and review my own contracts
  • I set my own strategy
  • I do my own business development
  • I close the deals
  • I collect payments
  • I send the invoices
  • I do the work
  • I run quality control
  • I’m my own “account manager” “customer success manager” “client happiness specialist” and so on
  • I’m my own HR department
  • I’ve hired/released/completed/fired 20+ contractors
  • I’m my own marketing department
  • I’ve closed deals and finished projects for 50+ businesses

Anyone who is an entrepreneur/business owner knows what I’m talking about.

The ‘being self employed’ ride has been INSANE but I’m grateful to have put myself through an incredible learning experience, in which I’ve laid a foundation for a life I am excited to live at this very moment and am eager to continue building upon.

Here’s a recap of my entrepreneur coursework that led to my Self Employed Degree:

For simplicity and to make general themes more obvious, I limited myself to three “classes” per semester when really, as in college, it was more like 6-7 at a time.


Freshman Year

Fall 2012 (Sep-Dec)

Reality Check 100: Oh crap, am I really doing this?

Desperation 101: Consult for free

Desperation 102: Also interview for FT jobs in a lateral industry

Winter 2013 (Jan-Apr)

Client Satisfaction 101: my first legit client (CMC)

Networking 101: night events, shows, conferences, masterminds, etc.

Business Admin 100: bank account, domain, invoices, contracts, etc.

Summer 2013 (May-Aug)

Experiments in Marketing 210: “I Do Gamification”

Business Expansion 150: Second client, yay! Third client, yay! Fourth client, yay!

Skill Development 180: Email + CRM with Mailchimp, Infusionsoft

Sophomore Year

Fall 2013 (Sep-Dec)

Investment 201: sponsor a conference

Investment 202: business coach

Struggle 101: second-guess my selection for a business coach

Winter 2014 (Jan-Apr)

Mega Excitement 240: biggest client renews with massive budget expansion!

Scaling 210: subcontractors, subcontractors, subcontractors

Shiny Objects 100: bunch of random side projects I feel I can do because of all this main-gig income sustaining me

Life context: sleep and energy management at all-time low, begin Ironman training

Summer 2014 (May-Aug)

Life context: Ironman training in full swing

Skill Development 225: managing website projects

Struggle 300: what did I get myself into with all these subcontractors?

Struggle 480: biggest client pulls the project plug early

Junior Year

Fall 2014 (Sep-Dec)

Life context: I’m an Ironman

Consequences 300: planned income for rest of year is gone

Business Reflections 312: I didn’t start a business to spend all my time managing subcontractors . . . and, somehow, I want to bring triathlon in business

Experimentation 206: build and launch an online course (initial success promptly fizzles)

Winter 2015 (Jan-Apr)

Life context: live the winter in LA, decide to move out of NYC

Rebirth 285: marketing advisor (help a lot of business owners a little bit, do no implementation) + endurance coach

Launch 286: group program where I advise small biz owners on marketing AND coach them in endurance training

Skill Development 325: coaching, teaching, lesson plans

Summer 2015 (May-Aug)

Life context: pack up and leave NYC

Business Reflections 412: the people I count as the greatest successes, in business and sports, pick something and embrace the routine grind . . . repetition, repetition, repetition

Business Reflections 413: my business lifestyle (lots of ups and down, lots of travel) doesn’t align with life priorities, and there’s little room for repetition, meaningful practice and mastering a craft

Business Reflections 485: survey course, hmmmmmmmmmmmm

Senior Year

Fall 2015 (Sep-Dec)

Life context: temporarily, under-the-radar move to Utah

Drastic Measures 420: cut ties, fire clients, don’t renew my group coaching program

Embracing Your Craft 421: work as deeply as possible (on marketing) with as few clients as possible

Business Reflections 460: if “being a great marketer” is more important than being an entrepreneur, maybe a full-time role is a good idea? Open the door to FT job search

Winter 2016 (Jan-Apr)

Life context: move permanently to Utah … buy a car, get my license, etc.

Job Search 300: say no at the 1-inch line for a role when asked to negotiate one of my from-the-outset non-negotiables; from another, get a “want you on the team, but can’t bring you on until maybe around end of the year . . .”

Skill Development 410: build my first website from scratch, in Squarespace

Struggle 210: I’ve been entertaining FT work options, it hasn’t panned out, now I need more clients . . .

Summer 2016 (May-Aug)

Business Revelations 482: Holy smokes, I can make websites on my own without a developer or designer

Rebirth 386: Full-Stack Marketer . . . strategy + traffic + content + website + CRM + automation

Business Expansions 402: website project, website project, website project, more websites than I can deliver on deadline, begin time tracking and creating administrative controls and processes

And now on to . . .

Grad School

1st year

Fall 2016 (Sep-Dec)

Business Admin 505: tracking time, cash-flow control systems, time and resource allocation

Elevation 512: rate hikes, packaged services with (smartly priced, profitable) fixed project fees

Demand Generation 560: systematically booking work 6+ months ahead of time

The rest? Stay tuned.

By |2021-01-15T15:37:23-07:00September 16th, 2016|General Life, Marketing|0 Comments

Year In Review: 2015

It’s my birthday real soon.

There’s a lot I could say about the past year, and what I’d like to do in this Year In Review is share one theme that impacts everything and then a list of small adjustments that make a huge impact, along with shout outs to the people who hooked me up.

These adjustments are easy to implement, and I believe they follow the 80:20 rule: 20% of decisions account for 80% of the impact.

And before recapping this year … first an unmentioned win from 2014:

Reduce phone notifications as much as possible.

I watched Ryan Seamons of LinkedIn give this talk. (Highly recommend, it’s 14:34.)

Ryan is unmistakably clear: attention is an asset.

And I had cheaply sold my attention to pings that didn’t add value to my life:

  • every email arrival
  • every Facebook notification
  • every Instagram notification
  • and more I don’t even remember now
  • AND the circle indicators of all the apps

Here’s what my phone does now:

  • rings when people call
  • buzzes when I get a text/voicemail to my private #
  • nothing when I get a text/voicemail at my public #
  • nothing when email arrives
  • calendar alerts

I get a few more notifications, such as Delta alerts when I’m traveling. These are highly limited in time and tied to when I know I need the info.

Further, I turned off almost all those pesky red “unread” circles.

Those circles say, “You need to open me!” But the truth is, “I will open you when I need to.”

Reclaiming my attention has been extraordinary.

I imagine my resting heart rate dropped a few clicks.


Year In Review: 2015

Theme of the year: Priorities.

  1. Family – dating – marriage
  2. Health: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual
  3. Financial stability
  4. Physical performance
  5. Career success

Those are my priorities. God is in them all.

During the year, I’ve aligned my life (time, attention, resources, work, environment) with my priorities by:

  • moving out of New York
  • withdrawing from a business club
  • working more deeply with fewer clients
  • drastically cutting travel (Sept 1 and on), including cancelling trip to Australia and not spending the winter in AZ
  • putting podcast on temporary hold
  • moving to Utah (permanent as of Jan 2016)
  • turning down an exciting job offer to be the first Director of Marketing at a company in Manhattan; it would have had me move back to NYC Aug 2016

It’s like I lived as if I were writing my Year In Review every day.

And now … 16 Small Things that Make a Huge Impact:

2-meter Phone Charger via Peter Lombard

Year In Review: 2015 - 2m Apple USB cable

I once made the mistake of buying a HALF-meter charging cable. That size is a joke. On a business trip Peter pulled out a 2m cable. I thought it was cheap aftermarket crap. “Nope, this is genuine Apple.” So much distance. So much convenience.

($29 on Amazon, Apple)


The Jackery via Peter Lombard

This wallet-size portable battery packs a punch. It charges my phone 2.5 times and hasn’t lost its power in the year I’ve owned it. It has an LED flashlight built in. And it’s orange.

($30 on Amazon)

The 95 Whitney by Gregory via Josh Wright

Year In Review: 2015 - whitney95

If you wear suits to work this probably isn’t a good plan for your road warrior arsenal; stick with a roller. But if like me you’re typically shod in Rainbows or Sperry’s and sometimes hauling a bike, slinging your clothes on your back is the way to go.

95 means 95 liters and it’s large.

The pack holds my year-round wardrobe and workout gear, sans shoes.

Pro tip: get a plain, massive tote bag (this is the one I got) and slip your pack in when you check it at airports. That’ll save the life of the pack’s straps, buckles and finish.

(The Whitney is out of production, but you can scan Amazon for used deals, or check out Gregory’s new 95-liter pack, the Baltoro. $239-379 on Amazon)

Pro tip part dos: check SierraTradingPost.com, don’t buy it, and wait for them to push discount codes to you via Facebook ads.

Air Bag, Zippsack + Zipptwists by Granite Gear via Josh Wright

Year In Review: 2015 - zipptwists

Companions to the 95 Whitney, these are like portable drawers. They add no volume and insignificant weight, but do add organization and convenience to the max. How many shirts and pants does one need? Only as many as fit in one sack. I love arriving at my destination, sliding the sacks out and putting them immediately into a drawer: and boom, I’m moved in.

Thanks, Josh. You saved me hours this year.

($18 and up on Amazon)

Hang closet items longest to shortest, left to right by Marie Kondo via Eric Brief

Year In Review: 2015 - Clothes Left To Right

Maybe it’s different in societies that read right to left…

But for this American, life happens left to right. And upward lines inspire positivity. This method handles my hitherto unanswered question: what IS the best way to sort my closet? Every item has a place. Every item has a hanger. Unneeded items are no more. Benefit? Pleasantness and time saved.

(Free, pull yourself together and give that little OCD gremlin a stroke)

Where does this tip come from? A little book that, as the title promises, will change your life: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

($9.99 on Amazon)


Intermission from ‘Year in Review: 2015’ to praise …

Year In Review: 2015 - Deep Fried Pizza

My friend Jimmy “The Dude” Fahey

… who introduced me to deep-fried pizza on the Venice Beach Boardwalk.

About Jimmy: He’s a legit studio engineer.

We started a podcast production business together too.

These Small Things come from The Dude:

Live Music

It’s good for my soul. Whether I hate the show or love it, I watch people perform. They’re the ones with the guts to get up there. When I shut my phone off and let the music roll, I access a level of chillness that the rest of my ad- and commercial-message-saturated life doesn’t get.

High Drags (ahem, live music)

Year In Review: 2015 - High Drags

I praised High Drags a year ago. Still stands. Great songs. Favorite: “New War Games”

(Free on Soundcloud)

Engineering Mindset

We were talking about inbox flow.

“But see that’s flawed thinking. I don’t need that to come to me. When I need it, I’ll find it.”

I was promoting Unroll.me and defending my practice of keeping commercial subscriptions … stuff like deal-alerts from Bonobos.

“Yeah but sometimes an amazing deal comes through…” I protested.

“Doesn’t matter. If you don’t need it, it’s waste. Think like an engineer.

And just like that I was convinced.

I’ve been eliminating wasted communication and alerts by unsubscribing from everything that is unnecessary, and in the process, steadily taking my attention and inbox real estate back.

Think like an engineer.

When I need something, I will go and get it.

I don’t need unsolicited stuff flowing to me.


And the pruning spread …

Drastically Prune Accounts Followed

I’ve unfollowed hundreds if not +1,000 accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

I don’t need, I can’t properly process, I won’t really be served by so much information.

Just say ‘No.’

Or better yet say ‘No more.’


Minimize In-Between-Time

In NY, people take cabs and the subway. When I lived there, I made use of commuting time like everyone else because my mind wasn’t occupied driving. Texting and driving don’t mix. Subway riding and mobile use do.

But in LA (and elsewhere ex-NY), people drive. And the distances can be long, especially in LA. This creates in Jimmy’s life an abundance of In-Between-Time.

In-Between-Time is getting from waking up to work, and work to working out, and working out to the show — driving, showering, eating, waiting, etc. is all “between” the real stuff of life.

The game of Jimmy’s life is minimizing In-Between-Time.

Again, think like an engineer.

Reduce waste. Reduce In-Between-Time.

Minimize all stuff that isn’t most imporatnt.


Stand Up Comedy: Sunday late nights at The Comedy Store and Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

Year In Review: 2015 - Comedy Store
The Comedy Store in Hollywood.

I so appreciate comedians.

I couldn’t write my Year In Review: 2015 without mentioning them.

How on earth does a stand up comic have a 1-way conversation with a room full of people … for AN HOUR?

Sunday nights at The Comedy Store — not the main room, the small room upstairs at the back that you get to going up a flight of outdoor stairs from the back parking lot (orange arrow) — are where stand ups go to test their material in front of … other stand ups. It is brutal vulnerability and instant feedback to the extreme. I now know because Jimmy took me there. We were probably the only non-comics in the place.

Successful people get rapid feedback from people who are more willing to tell the truth than to be nice (or stroke your ego so you’ll like them). As painful as it is, that’s why the comics show up. To get the truth, the brutal truth. I haven’t yet braved the mic. Don’t know when I will, but I will.

I have tremendous respect for the craft. Yet again, another craft where the path to mastery is clear: test your material, test your material, test your material. For years. And after 10 years and 500 dingy shows, you might then knock it out of the park with a TV audience.

(Free, Sunday nights at The Comedy Store)

Once I left LA, I wanted more comedy. I got into Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee by Jerry Seinfeld and I love it. Two comedians being themselves … looking for, celebrating, ridiculing and exploring what it is to be a human.

I like comedy because successful comedians always add to the conversation and move the action forward. The act dies and they fail if they don’t. I value that. I want to learn the craft.

Episodes are 10-20 minutes. One episode at a time does wonders for the mind and heart. As of now, there are 7 seasons and 48 episodes.

(No longer free at ComediansInCarsGettingCoffee.com … coming soon to Netflix)

Many thanks, Jimmy. You think as a genius does, and my life is better for it. Now back to the Year In Review: 2015.

Removing Gmail from my phone via Eric Sharpe

Year In Review: 2015 - Gmail app in phone screen
That app is GONE.

Here’s the truth about my former email habits on mobile:

  • waste time
  • use as a crutch from engaging
  • use as a distraction/diversion from something else
  • mostly scan and worry about how soon I could get to a computer to actually handle the request in the email
  • provide pithy responses if I did reply

So basically …

My email responses on mobile were subpar at best and worthless at worst.

Hat tip to Eric for the initial analysis and his willingness to share all this at Camp Good Life Project.

Eric ran a computer repair shop in Savannah, Georgia and had a large team of freelances/contractors/interns handling IT consulting, graphic design, web design and all kinds of tech support for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Then, and even in his role now as Director of Marketing at an IT firm, he gets a lot of emails from people who need support and direction. AND he deleted the Gmail app?

I agreed with his analysis of his personal mobile email use and saw mine was the same.

I got rid of the Gmail app right then. And I moved the native email app to the last screen so I would only access it when I really needed to.

No regrets since.

I’ve trained people in my life to call or text with truly urgent requests. The rest goes to email which I handle when I’m in a real position to handle (i.e. sitting at a desktop with available attention).

The Gmail app allowed me to fill In-Between-Time with worthless busyness.

I’d scan my inbox for emails where I only needed to read the subject, highlight the message and delete it. I felt “productive” … staying “in the loop” and lowering the unread count on my inbox.

But it was a losing battle.

The “productivity” wasn’t central to my priorities. Was ALL unnecessary. Back to think like an engineer — why get emails where I only read the subject? A great signal to unsubscribe.

Having no Gmail app on my iPhone eliminates an avenue for a worthless distraction, making In-Between-Time more intolerable, giving positive pressure to reduce In-Between-Time and maximize Life Time.

Just delete it.

And then hide your native inbox app.

And turn off the display of unread emails.

And write about it in your next Year In Review.


Swearing via myself

…under my breath that is. And sparingly.

In a research study, 71 undergrads in the UK were asked:

“to submerge their hands in freezing water for as long as they could bear it. One group was asked to repeat a swear word of their choice — one they might use if they banged their head accidentally, for instance — while their hands were in the water. The other group was asked to repeat a control word they might use to describe a table. Then, both groups repeated the task using the word they hadn’t previously tried. The researchers found that 73% of the participants kept their hands under water longer while swearing … lasting 31 seconds longer in the cold hand plunge” (TIME).

I’m NOT saying swear AT people.

What I’m saying is I think allowing the experience of anger and frustration to get voiced and released in a word is a better option than holding it in, unexpressed at best and suppressed at worst.

As I “let it go, let it goooo,” I’m more level headed when in contact with others and in situations that are stressful. In those moments, I manage only the stress of the situation and not the stress of my whole life because I already let the rest of it out.

Spare use is key to the pain-limiting effects of swearing.

More from TIME:

“Interestingly, however, the more frequently participants reported swearing during the course of their daily lives, the less effective cursing was at killing their pain and the shorter their endurance time in the cold water test.”

May not work for everyone.

Has been healthy for me.

(Free, more info here)

LDS Scripture Citation Index app via Josh Guest

Year In Review: 2015 - LDS Scripture Citation Index

(From swearing to studying the word of God … an unplanned juxtaposition.)

There’s no excuse anymore to begin your Sunday School comment by saying (or to tolerate others doing so), “I’m not sure who said it, but I remember reading a talk …”

Just. Look. It. Up.

The standard Gospel Library app has loads and then the Citation Index has tons more and makes validating and finding useful commentary very easy. It includes:

  • The Scriptures
  • All LDS General Conference talks from 1942 and on (I just dropped the f-bomb to myself as I kept typing 1042 on my phone instead of 1942)
  • The Journal of Discourses
  • Topical Index to the Journal of Discourses
  • Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

How the Citation Index app works:

Find the scripture you are reading/studying/discussing, and click on it in the app and BAM you get a list of EVERY instance that scripture got cited in the aforementioned sources.

It’s bomb.

Keep it open in Sunday School this week. My experience is 1000x when I use it.

(Free, on iTunes)

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover via Nate Bagley

Year In Review: 2015 - No More Mr Nice Guy

(Specifically: eliminating covert contracts)

Eliminating covert contracts has relieved a lot of relationship tension and makes it easier to accomplish what I want.

Allow me to explain…

Growing up in a Christian home I learned The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I can still see my mother’s handwriting in Sharpie pen, having penned those words with their Biblical citation on a piece of shiny gold cardstock that ran the length of my family’s fridge, held in place with magnets at exactly my toddler eye level. It’s a fine phrase. And I agree with the spirit of it.

There’s an upgrade to The Golden Rule:

…do until others as they wish to be done unto.

(This variation eliminates assumptions and provokes conversation to find out what people care about … topics for another time.) The limitations of a not-yet-fully-developed child’s mind (we’ll take mine as an example) can produce a perversion of this principle:

I am to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. OK, if that’s the case … THEN it follows when I want something ‘done unto me,’ I should give/do/act that way toward others so I get it in return.

In time, two addenda developed in my young brain:

…doing unto others what I want done unto me IS how to get what I want.

And later, a further perversion of The Rule:

…AND it’s better to do that than to ask for what I want.

This misinterpretation of The Golden Rule and my misguided accompanying strategy for getting what I want are common among so-called Nice Guys in Dr. Glover’s paradigm. Read the book. I’ve been a “Nice Guy.” And there are not only limitations to being one, but unhealthy consequences to boot.

Back to covert contracts. Almost there …

From my misinterpretation and misguided strategy, I developed strategies:

  • to get attention, give attention rather than ask for attention
  • to receive service, serve instead of requesting service
  • to get support, falsely or disingenuously be supportive instead of asking for support
  • to get gifts, give gifts to avoid asking directly for gifts

And so on. Giving attention, serving, being supportive and giving gifts CAN all be great … IF done agenda-free and without attachment to reciprocity.

Doing those “good” things as a covert strategy to get what I wanted created problems, didn’t consistently work, and when it did, ultimately was unsatisfying.

If the thought process of a covered contract were spoken out loud, it would go something like this:

I’ll serve you … but I’m serving with a contractual expectation that you’ll serve me in return. I’m not even going to tell you I expect something, which is why this is a covert contract. And by the way, if you don’t eventually serve me, I’ll throw this back in your face.

Imagine being able to read someone’s mind and hear those words explain why they are being kind to you.

What would you think of that? What would you do?

Back to The Golden Rule…

I’m no moralist but I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t give The Golden Rule with the preface, “here’s a pro tip on manipulating others to get what you want.” The healthiest way I’ve learned to get what you want is to be upfront and ask. Then work hard to get it or cause it to come to fruition. Asking is revealing. Revealing is vulnerable. So that’s what I do. I ask. Serving, giving, helping and encouraging with zero expectation of a return is awesome.

If you’ve interacted with me in the past year and knew me further back from that, maybe you’ve had the thought, “Nat doesn’t seem as cheery and nice as he used to…”


A lot of my nice-ness was a front.

I’m working on it. Stay tuned for life impact. So far, the impact is the satisfaction of a corrected and healthy relationship with myself. A foundation of that thing we call Integrity. (Free + your humility) By the way, this scratches the surface of what I am getting out of the book. I listened to it a second time in December. And I will again and again. ($9.99 on Amazon) Nate, thanks dawg, for the recommendation. Learn more good stuff from Nate inside Love School.

“Tomorrow!” via Cherie Romney

Replay this familiar scenario …

You’re at a social event. There are many new faces. You’ve arrived with excitement and anxiety, and the intention to meet someone new.

Throughout the event, you get introduced. You introduce yourself. You take in the faces. You evaluate who is who.

You wonder if you’ll click with anyone at all, and perhaps someone amazing.

And then you do.

You chat and talk and trade laughs and jump from topic to topic like familiar friends. It seems the planets aligned and every good thing that’s ever happened is happening right now.

Wow! I’m SO glad I showed up,” you think.

The fun continues.

Then you notice the event winding down. There’s now a deadline. You sense the connection has run its course for the first encounter, but not to worry … you’ll connect again.

“Let’s get together!” you say, hoping your excitement is reciprocated.

“I’d like that!”

It was!

You continue…

“When works for you?”

“Ummmmm. Hold on, let me check my schedule … “

S/he pulls out his/her phone.

S/he reads an unread text … and replies.

S/he scans for the calendar app, gets a ping for a new email … and opens it.

Quick glance.

Now the calendar …

“Hang on, sorry, just checking something…” s/he says.

You can feel it.

The energy fading. The moment losing its luster.

“What’s happening?!” you think. “Such good convo for so long. I’m sure it was good for him/her too … now why such a shift as soon as we bust out our phones? Maybe s/he doesn’t really want to meet again.”

You tune back in.

S/he speaks.

“Ok ok ok. Wow. This week is bad. I’m traveling next week, then work is nuts … but I’m totally open the weekend after that.”

Back in your thoughts: “IN FOUR WEEKS?”

End of the drama.

Here’s the thing. Not every connection is important. But some are.

At the moment of planning the next rendezvous with a new acquaintance, an important something gets communicated in the words you both choose.

What gets communicated is one of two things:

You are important.


My existing life is more important than you.

I used to say that very thing: “Let me check my schedule…”

And I did it ALL the time.

I had no idea what was carried in my words.

In saying, “Let me check my schedule,” what’s carried, intentionally or not, is the message: “My present life is more important than you. Let me see if I can fit you in.”

Dieter Uchtdorf threw down on this in 2012:

We even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life.

Listen, for some connections and relationships this is fine to say, “Let me check my schedule.” Because some connections ARE less important than your overall existing life.

In the case of business, that might be “Hey, you are the exact supplier we want to work with, we’re on track to need your services in Q4. I’ll call you in August to set up an order.”

But when we’re talking about dating and major partnerships…

Expressing priority in word and deed is huge.

And so now I say (only if I AM interested of course):

“How about tomorrow?!”

EVEN IF I’m getting on a plane tomorrow morning and I KNOW that in the moment … I still say “how about tomorrow?!”

Think about it: if you also knew I was getting on a plane tomorrow and you really valued our connection, wouldn’t you like hearing the suggestion that we meet tomorrow anyway?

Saying so signals, “YOU, this this new connection … this is priority right now.” And communicating priority status first is more important than landing on workable logistics, which can be handled second or third or at any later time.

Next time you’re in the beginning of something important, try it out: “How about tomorrow?!” Or even better, “What are you doing right now?” Let that land, then sort out the details.


I could write an ENTIRE Year In Review with nothing but diamond tips from Cherie. More here.

So that’s it … my Year In Review: 2015!

A Toast to 2016

Having spent 2015 aligning time, attention, resources, work and environment toward priorities, my toast for 2016 is…

By continual alignment, the promise of fulfillment.

To your health, happiness and success,

Nat sig

P.S. Since you’re reading this you made it all the way thru a super long Year In Review, and I think that means you found something valuable, entertaining, useful or fun. I’d be so appreciative of you sharing that … in a comment, with a friend, by email or around on social media.

By |2021-05-06T16:58:42-06:00March 6th, 2016|General Life|2 Comments