To Know Someone You Must Fight Them

I've been thinking a lot about conflict lately and wanting to blog about it.Conflict is a funny thing. I think most of us spend a great deal of time fearing it. Worrying that it will ruin our relationships. We push away from conflict so that we can maintain our bubble of perceived happiness and perfection. But this is sheer folly in my opinion. It's only when you have a conflict that you truly begin to know someone. Here are a few more of my thoughts including some advice from one of my favorites sages.

 

Going Lean in Everyday Life (Or How to Write a Blog Post in 10 Minutes)

I’m a creative type. There I said it. If you know anything about this type you know that they love to be left alone for long hours huddled in their creative den, perfectly their art whether it be a painting, website or in my case--writing. Like the stereotype often goes--my work area can become super messy and even though it bugs me I just dive deeper into my work. Lately my work has been off the charts busy with a full-time client and two part-time ones. Pretty sure that doesn’t equal a balanced life. But it does equal a messy house, a neglected personal blog and too many thing too do.

I am ready to try new things--not because a big number ticked over a few weeks ago but because I have been trying to do things different since I got sick this past summer. This sickness was an indication that the way I was doing things just wasn’t working and since I’m not insane that meant that I needed to do things a different way.

So, for the past few weeks I’ve been trying something a bit different. Rather than allocating a full day to a project like I’d like to I am now getting work in very small micro bursts. I’ve started with 10 minutes on a timer for each iteration. 10 minutes to clean off my desk. 10 minutes to plow through my email. I even did it for this blog post. I didn't futz over it or spend hours trying to get the perfect phrasing. I published. a.k.a. Committing or Shipping in the tech world. I largely think it worked.  (Though I did add 5 minutes for the actual posting because wordpress can be a rascal sometimes) Sometimes I need to add another 10 minutes because I’ve gotten into the task and I want to get just a bit more done. I did this last night. I cleaned off my desk (which meant sorting my bills and receipts and other nonsense) and then in the last 3 minutes of the second iteration I paid off 3 bills and took care of another billing issue. I went to bed feeling quite pleased. I got the inspiration from the world of lean startups and small iterations and my mom who has done a similar approach which she probably got from a woman's magazine.

What I love about my lean approach

1) Feels very doable

2) I get something done which is better than nothing

3) I get very focused on the task at hand

4) I feel good about it so I inch up a few notches on happiness meter.

Now certainly everything may not fit into this lean approach and that quality doesn't matter because it does and there are times I will certainly want to luxuriate in a project. That said, so far it's really helping me to stay focused and get an enormous amount done especially in things I dread because I don't think I have time. Wondering how you might be able to put this concept into your life and what you discover.

How To Find Your Startup Story

Just keep getting the damn words on the page! You're still very early in the process. Even though it may seem like you're been doing a lot of writing you're still in the process of peeling back the layers to understand the larger story you want to tell. The only way to peel is by writing--so keep at it, girlfriend!


This quote is from the instructor of my memoir writing course. I've been writing for about a year and a half but when you're reliving your life, trying to hash out the most important moments to find the real story, it can feel like well---a lifetime. During the class we have opportunities to get feedback on our writing. Although it can be cringe-inducing at times, the feedback is the most valuable part of the experience. People skip over stories you labored over and linger in unexpected places. For a writer, a reader's feedback is critical as it offers the most telling sign of what resonates with your audience, whether you're on the right track or if you need to rip up the floor boards and start again to build the right foundation.

Finding Your Story
Finding the story while writing a memoir is not unlike a startup or small business trying to find the most compelling story they can tell about their value proposition to customers and potential investors. In the beginning it's a bit like a game of hide and seek. First you'll look in one place for the story and then another. It can go on this way for quite a while until you find the story that your audience grabs onto and your business really takes off.

Don't Quit
Don't worry. This is game of hide and seek is just a part of the process to refining your message. Don't give up! Don't wait for the perfect marketing message to appear before approaching your audience. Just keep crafting your story. Find out which parts of the story resonate with your audience. Actively look for the feedback of potential customers and investors. When someone takes an action on your site ask for their feedback. Recently, TechStars Boulder 2012 company 27 Perry, who has just launched their site publicly, contacted me to get my opinion. CEO Kelly James asked thoughtful questions about what appealed to me the most and was open to my thoughts. If she keeps doing this she'll find her story--probably sooner than later.

Just keep crafting and getting feedback. A story that resonates with your audience will emerge. Whatever you do--don't give up. Just keep peeling!