I Remember

KeeleyErika2011

PHOTO TAKEN SUMMER 2011. Sparked a few memories from that summer to say the least…

I remember when… We lived in Eugene, Oregon in an apartment on 18th and Hilyard over our sophomore year summer, not taking classes, just working on the business.
I remember when… Our company was named “Flying Squirrel Peanut Butter”.
I remember when… Erika worked at Vero Coffeehouse in Eugene (to make actual money). All our friends and I would go hang out while she worked. (Free iced coffee = the most caffeinated period in my life, before or since).
I remember when… We kept our farmers market cash in a cashbox that we deposited weekly at Selco Community Credit Union.
I remember when… We would literally run out of work to do mid-afternoon and spend the rest of the time marathon-training/having fun.
I remember when… I checked my voicemail and found a message from a producer at Shark Tank (!)
I remember when… We spent a hard-earned $100 on our first 15 printed blue unisex t-shirts and we guarded them with our lives. I remember our internal debates about if a certain farmers market volunteer friend had put in the hours to earn one of our precious t-shirts!
I remember when… We had a weekend routine of waking up early to go for a run, then packing fried eggs and green juice (made in our Goodwill-find juicer) so we could eat breakfast on the way to the Farmer’s Market.
I remember when… A knock on our door could mean a delivery of USPS empty boxes, a neighbor coming by to buy some peanut butter, a various friend stopping by to pick up a few jars…
I remember when… My relationship with my older brother was deeply strained by our constant need to borrow his car for ingredient gathering missions at Winco.
I remember when… Writing a formal business plan sounded like the most daunting task I could imagine.

Funny to look back and see what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Modifying

NoPo Thursday

Push-ups are a simple, but difficult exercise.

Using just your arms, you lower your entire body weight to hover very slightly above the ground, then push your entire body weight back up. Excellent push-up technique dictates that your entire body remain flat (like plank position) engaging your core, looking slightly forward, spine straight.

This is HARD!

Because this is such a challenging exercise, it’s very common to see push-ups being done with knees on the ground. This is a great way to start doing push-ups, as it’s easier to maintain good technique and do more reps.

What’s important though, is to continue to challenge. To un-modify. Maybe try to do one excellent complete push-up, before transitioning to modified knee push-ups for the remaining reps. The next week, do two.

I see too many people limiting themselves, in exercise and in life, because they are basing today’s abilities on what they could do yesterday.

The purpose of modifying, of making something easier in the beginning, is to perfect technique and build confidence – then move forward slowly and boldly into the next phase.

Photo Credit: @nopothursdays, the best local workout group in PDX

Building Teams vs. Building Individuals

Building a team means…
Hiring amazing people.
Learning from and teaching the amazing people.
Making sure everyone feels ownership.
Investing in work relationships on a personal level.
Looking at a problem through someone else’s eyes.
Being empathetic.
Being communicative.
Listening as much as possible.
Collaborating and delegating, even when it often sounds easier to do it alone.

Building individuals means…
Making sure everyone knows their own role and responsibilities.
Empowering team members to take ownership of tasks and decision-making.
Encouraging team members to pursue passion projects.
Listening to concerns and complaints, rewarding feedback rather than punishing it.
Learning how to provide constructive feedback and making sure others are thinking critically too.
Ensuring team members not only take on tasks that take advantage of their existing skills, but also challenge them to step up in areas that they struggle in.
Supporting any team member’s interest in expanding his or her skill set.

I want to be a leader that builds a team of individuals.

You’re Good at It

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 8.22.29 PM

“I could say: “Follow your heart,” but I never did that. I worked my ass off instead.

Your life is yours, and it’s going to suck sometimes and be great sometimes. It’s going to hurt so bad that you want to turn around and crawl into a hole. It’s going to be so high and wonderful that you will wonder how to keep it there (and you’ll fail at that).

You’ll make mistakes, but you won’t ever give up—not because someone gave you that advice, but because it’s way more fun that way. And you’re good at it.”

– Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni’s Ice Cream, via Food and Wine

Challenge: Exercising my Strategy Muscle

Inspired by blogger (and, full disclosure, my best friend/boyfriend) Peter Koehler, I have decided to exercise my strategy muscle. He challenged his readers to quickly list 10 business ideas (good or bad) that you come up with on the spot.

This was a fun activity – I encourage you all to try it! I was surprised with some of my ideas (and actually really like a few). Cool to see where your brain takes you when faced with an unusual task.

10 BUSINESS IDEAS (Brainstormed from 10am – 10:15am):

– Personal finance website catered specifically to women in early 20’s. Extremely personalized and simple, growing with them throughout their lifespan and doing unexpected things (like personalized customer service reps joining in on client phone calls to banks, etc, and teaching good financial question-asking by demonstrating).

– Streamilined and robust platform for food/beverage distributers and their vendors to organize Purchase Orders, schedule Pick-Ups, track out-of-stock items, communicate with eachother, etc. Clean/easy to use. (Currently this is sorely lacking in the food business!)

– Book printing company that receives children’s artwork in the mail from parents and turns it into a beautiful children’s book with a narrated story (OR child’s original story turned into book with blank pages so children can do illustrations in the book to match)

– Trademark search website that is clean/easy to use (also app for phone) and explains implications of trademark law in different industries. Connects clients with lawyers who are experts in the field as needed.

– Company that makes re-usable race-bib chips (those who race often can buy once and use for every race by keying in their code, races can provide discounts to those who already own these, helps avoid packet pick-up hassle/expense)

– Design company specializing completely in “re-designs” — company name-changes, logo changes, packaging revamps, etc. Seeing this as a speciality gives companies confidence in the middle of what can be a stressful transition.

– “Luxuries” monthly box: You select how much per month you are willing to spend and your luxury categories of choice (anything from new athletic socks to expensive candles to fancy salt) and you receive a box each month with a surprise luxury

– Penpal Pledge — You receive pre-stamped, pre-addressed notecards in the mail each month to write to friends (you can sign up for 1-5 friends and key in their addresses ahead of time). You receive a 50% discount on the cost if you postmark ALL of these notecards within a pre-set time period (a motivation to actually write your friends like you pledged to!) You can choose a package to do on your own, or give as a gift to your friend so you write eachother).

– Minimalism challenge: A daily email for 30 days with challenges (get rid of 5 items of clothing and donate to Goodwill, unsubscribe to your junk mail, etc) so by end of the month your life is more streamlined

– Art printing platform that allows young age 18-and-younger artists to upload high-res images of their art — so anyone can log-on and purchase beautiful prints (from family members to community coffee shops to people who just want to buy great artwork from young people). Young artists get high percentage of the profits (they are given a suggested price to cover costs but can price higher if they’d like).

Stalking Yourself

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 4.37.10 PM

If you’re going to stalk anyone’s social media profiles, stalk your own.

Everyone’s Instagram is a portal into a veneered reality, a more exciting version of real life.

Mine is no different: full of vacations and beautiful places and cute dogs and fun company moments. I don’t Instagram the boring spreadsheets and the treadmill runs and the eggs I eat for dinner.

Stalking other people online can sometimes make you feel like your life is lame. Stalking yourself is more fun: you realize you’re the person living the awesome life you see on screen — a good reminder that it’s time to get off the computer and get back to living it.

Recent “Ah-Ha” Moments

b061a0702dab109dc922c5979f8249f8a1ed59bc_original

I’ve felt myself evolving a lot over the past few months. It’s been occasionally painful but really exciting at the same time.

There’s been a lot of moments, usually while listening to a podcast while running or reading in bed, that I’ve had some really valuable “ah-ha” moments. Here are a couple:

ON BODY IMAGE – while listening to an On Being Podcast with Brene Brown:

At one point in this interview, Brene shares a study that shows the #1 insecurity women have, by a huge majority, is body image.

It’s not surprising at all. I already knew this anecdotally – from my own experiences and those of my friends – but somehow hearing it said out loud by a field expert made a huge impact on me. My feelings about being a part of this majority of women were unexpectedly strong. I do NOT like to “go with the crowd” on anything else – in fact my instinct is to immediately reject the crowd mentality – and being another member of this vastly held insecurity suddenly felt completely mainstream and also so unnecessary for me. There is no courage in disliking or judging yourself.

Since listening to this podcast it has actually been relatively easy to reject negative body talk – I just remind myself that putting myself down is the EASY thing to do and the STRONG move is to ignore destructive self-talk.

ON HIRING – while reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz:

Ben talks a lot about hiring in his book. This is something we are currently talking a lot about here at Wild Friends and so I was paying special attention during these sections.

Ben reiterates many times the importance of hiring for the next 12 months — don’t hire the person you want doing the job when you’re at $100 Million if you’re only projected to do $20 Million in the next 12 months. The right person for the role right now is not necessarily the best person for five years down the line. Don’t get lost in the hype surrounding very experienced/exciting potential hires if they don’t fit the job that lies ahead in the next 12 months.

Above image via Ali Edwards.