Business Growth Ideas #299 This week: Gratitude, Outtathaway, Fishing

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • Each night, before you fall asleep you do your gratitude exercises. But what about first thing in the morning? Try the gratitude exercise again, but this time focus on one item, be detailed, and say it out loud. “Today, I am thankful for X, specifically because of Y.”
  • Do practices like gratitude journaling, positive psychology, and being in-the-moment fall flat with you? It’s ok. Some famous psychologists, like Dr. Daniel Kahneman, think these practices fail because we’re human and not wired for happiness, per se.
  • Jury is out on all the ways the pandemic is affecting people. That said, check in with your young employees. Especially the young and headstrong because it’s always hard to bend the world to your will, but even harder right now.
  • How important is what’s important? There is interesting literature out about shifting priorities in the population. Not everyone has the luxury of changing their path, but if you’re one we should talk. Been there, done that.

Being Human – Getting out of our own way

“But there is a question in my mind whether, with all this speeding up of our everyday activities, there is any more real thinking. Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford (in 1928)


If pressed for the most important productivity idea I’ve bumped into in the last decade, it’s a creative writing tactic that helps your brain work through ideas. I didn’t get it from a creative writing class, but from a business book by Mark Levy, “Accidental Genius.” It’s a quick read and came across my desk at the right time. Freewriting. Such a great practice.

It’s a little like brainstorming because you write down everything you can think of, and you don’t worry about how it comes out of your head and onto the paper/computer. The key is to keep your hands moving, whether pen to paper or typing. When you’re stuck you keep moving, don’t worry about what you type or spelling or editing. (my efforts have a lot of “and what next what now Im stuck I hate this part I keep typing must keep typeing still tping” sentences sprinkled throughout a session)

The most interesting thing is it only takes 20 minutes a day.

Most of us work on problems requiring judgement without obvious right or wrong answers. Freewriting lets us go deeper into problems, work through nagging thoughts, and come up with novel approaches. It forces us to put our internal editor on hold for a few minutes and lets our brain do its thing.

Get the book and try the technique for a week. Put on the headphones, crank up the Chopin, pick one of the many problems/concerns in your brain, set the DND, put a phone alarm for 20 minutes, and go to work. My magic number is 13 minutes. Good ideas seem to happen after 12 minutes of dreck. Stop at 20 minutes and set it aside to review later. (I’m guessing the book’s instructions are similar, but wouldn’t be surprised if I’m off a bit.)

It’s a good idea. Important for my productivity and the others I’ve introduced it to. It’s my top productivity idea from the last decade. Check back in a few years for the next one.

Good stuff.

Random stuff


“Meow’ means ‘woof’ in cat.”- George Carlin


I’m not into conflict in my personal life. Years back in a management seminar I was told an effective salesperson works to avoid conflict, but a manager actively courts it. I spent years learning how to do use conflict to get things done, but when push comes to shove I’ll revert to pleaser mode. Can’t help it.

These days, conflict is often sought out because it gets rewarded. Two conflicting sides encourages people to choose one or the other. If I claim persecution, especially by a group, I’ll get some people on my side, and others will take up arms with my assailants. This is on my mind because there’s a war, a constant source of conflict in our household.

Wilson vs Bianca vs Ajax. Dog v Cat v Cat.

As far as I can tell, Wilson controls the backyard perimeter, the back of the house by his kennel, and the right side of the couch. The cats have free rein of the rest of the house, with Ajax having a front-yard presence, and Bianca having control of wherever her cat-carryall is sitting. It gets complicated but stay with me here. The old cat, Snickers, had the whole house and permitted the old dog, Louie, to be wherever the kids were. Then Ajax was inherited from the neighbor, Snickers stuck to the back and front porches, plus the neighbor’s garden/litter box. Louie passed away, giving way to Wilson. Snickers was too old to fight for the backyard and settled on the upstairs, the basement, and the front porch. Ajax was away at sea most of this time, so when he came back it just made Wilson mad. Ajax thought Snickers was old and gave up the family room too easily. Snickers passed and is followed by Bianca. She comes in and, of course, wants to re-negotiate the entire setup. Ajax has retired from grand voyages, thinking he’s the elder of the house, but Wilson and Bianca think they’re the bosses. So much conflict.

Missing from this equation is the master of the house. Me. I should be the alpha. But does the alpha have to clean both the litter boxes, the yard, and make sure the furry bunch has enough kibble? And what about administering medicines? Did you know pets need medicine, just like humans?

There is constant turmoil in this humble abode. From the street we put forth a calm exterior, a placid familial scene, but inside it’s roiling. A struggle for dominance reminiscent of a George R.R. Martin story . . . minus the betrayals, hideous deaths, and sex scenes, but just as complicated.

I need a break. I should go fishing.


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