Category Archives: Life

Why I love Halloween

jack'o'lanternHalloween has always been my favorite holiday. Yes, I like it even more than Christmas.

Why? I guess it comes down to Community. Or, if I’m not being hyperbolic, introversion.

I’m an introvert, something I’ve made no secret of. And it’s because of this that I find Community so interesting. As someone who isn’t able to walk into a room and make five new friends – or sometimes, not able to even spark a conversation – Community is a huge boon. A strong community can help me feel like a real human being. Real community helps me be social and fun and the person that people like.

Halloween is all about Community. Christmas? That’s about family. And that’s great and important (coming from a family with only 2 kids who are 6 months apart, probably less important to me than to big families). But Halloween is about the world around you.

robot costumeHalloween is scary…but enticing. You go out in the world. You meet strangers and take candy from them (something your parents normally tell you not to do). You see the generosity of the world, and you get to talk about your creativity (“I’m Spider-Man!”).

Halloween allows you to step out of yourself for a moment. Even if you’re an awkward person, once you’re a robot, or a space captain, or a zombie, you have some leeway to experiment with being a different person. A fun person.

Halloween is both scary and warm. You go out scared of the darkness (which again, your parents generally don’t let you out in) and you come back with your heart warmed – and your belly filled – by strangers.

Halloween is Community. And I will dress up every Halloween for the rest of my life.

Fall in love with the journey, not the destination

illustrationThis article rings so true. Falling in love with the journey is the right way to reach success.

“If you look at the people who are consistently achieving their goals, you start to realize that it’s not the events or the results that make them different. It’s their commitment to the process. They fall in love with the daily practice, not the individual event.”

I’m good at half of this. I like inventing things and making them work and figuring out how to optimize them.

Where I fall down is the follow-through. I’m stoked about inventing something but once it’s reasonably established I’m not as interested in following through with the minutia that makes it a long-term success.

I attribute this to two things:

1) Weakness of character. Honestly, I just need to get better at following through.

2) Delegation. Previously I had very few resources in terms of delegation, so any detail-oriented follow-through fell on me. I’m happy to do anything, but trying to balance company-wide strategy and editing HTML emails is hard.

I need to fall in love with making the minutia happen. I hope with a fresh attitude and a passionate team I can do this.


Transitions are always a good excuse to build new habits. After finishing the phenomenal Power of Habit, I’m even more jazzed about the idea about building new habits for myself. As I transition to my exciting and challenging Director of Community & Customer Loyalty role at ZOZI, I’m going to try to establish the following habits.

Saying “maybe”

I’m good at saying no. As a practical person who has had to manage people and projects for years, I can easily find reasons to say “no” to most proposals. On the flip side, I like people want to make them happy, so I say “yes” to a lot of things I may not have time for. I’d like to be better at saying “maybe”, and really weighing the pros and cons of what I’m considering. Defaulting to one or another only causes problems.

Taking time to breathe

sun and clouds

We live in a world that seems to be increasingly harried – especially in tech. But studies show that we do a lot of our thinking unconsciously when we let our brain relax. I’m going to work my ass off for ZOZI, but I’m also going to make sure I have downtime. I’m going to make sure to go out in the world (especially since ZOZI has so many adventures I can choose from). And I’m going to take the time in my day to breathe. I’m going to take walks. I’m going to go to the cafe and brainstorm and breathe and think. These things aren’t wastes of time, but exactly the opposite.

Never stop learning, never stop sharing

I’m actually a bit excited that my job will no longer require me finding and serving up tasty community management & customer service articles. It was a great excuse to get immersed in some great blogs, but it became a chore. I’m determined to relish going through those same blogs now as a learner, taking notes and letting the lessons within really sink in. I no longer professionally have to blog about this stuff…but I love blogging because I like helping people and it helps me gather my thoughts. I am going to force myself to blog here, even though it’s not my job. Take a look around, I’ve already posted several items!

Be more organized

I’m an artist at heart (shameless plug: check out my music!) I often act like an artist; I love to conceptualize something and bootstrap it off the ground. It’s a great feeling. But sometimes I do this at the expense of good documentation, scalable practices, and integration with other departments. It doesn’t have to be this way! I am going to work my hardest to balance my artistic inspiration with thorough planning & documentation.

beersBe healthy

I’ve often, especially in the last 6 months, let stress & work schedule dictate my health habits. Drinking too much beer or eating too much food to let off stress just makes me unhealthy and more stressed. I will not  let stress define what I consume. I feel my best when I balance the delicious things in life with exercise and rest. And I’m going to need to be my best for this new job.

Let people try (and sometimes fail)

I feel that I spent too much time micromanaging Carter Gibson at UserVoice, because I often get obsessed with quality. I wish I had given him more leeway to try…and sometimes fail. A few failures are worth it if your employee gets better at what they do and feels empowered. And if they don’t get better, then you can talk to them, rather than assuming they won’t do things up to your standards.

Will I succeed at all these things? Most likely not. But I’m going to do my best. Feel free to post your personal goals in the comments or just give me emotional support. 😉

Why do you NEED to check your smartphone?

A hilarious bit from Louis C.K. that is actually pretty profound too. Are we giving ourselves bite-sized doses of happiness to avoid our actual sadness? And is this preventing us from feeling actual, genuine happiness?

It’s a fascinating thought, delivered as a joke. I admit that I check my phone far too often…but I also work hard to give myself moments to think to myself. Whether it be brainstorming, riding my bike somewhere, or just a few minutes sitting on the bus not distracting myself with anything, I think agree with Louis – the good comes with the bad.

Via Thomas Knoll.

Stress is good for you?

I just stumbled across this fascinating TED talk. As someone who deals with a fair amount of stress, I found this pretty amazing.

The gist? Stress only shortens your lifespan if you let it. Embrace stress and you’ll be fine.

The action items?

1) When you feel your heart start to race and you break out in sweat, don’t freak out. View it has helpful. Thank your body for bringing it’s A-Game and use that adrenaline to kick ass. It could actually be the difference between that stress being good or bad for your heart.

2) The “cuddle hormone”, oxytocin, is actually part of the human stress response. This is the hormone that enhances your empathy and makes you want to connect more with others. It’s also very, VERY good for your heart. These heart benefits are enhanced by reaching out to others to seek support or help them…which will shorten the effects of your stress. Stressed? Reach out and touch someone.

3) People who spend time caring for others show hardly any stress-related health effects. Help others, be more healthy.