Category Archives: LIFESTYLE

BUSINESS, CONTRIBUTORS, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

Get used to being uncomfortable

I have a good friend going through a tough time right now. He’s just recently suffered a big loss, and despite putting out a strong front to the world, I know he is struggling mightily.

“I suck at this,” he says. Followed by “I feel so broken.”

I get it. We’ve all been there.

And then today, as I write this, I had a big business setback myself. A project I was counting on fell through at the very last minute.

“How could this have happened to me,” I yelled out loud earlier today, within earshot of my poor wife who had no choice but to listen to my frustrated rant.

I’m feeling pretty blue as a result. This despite the fact that at this very moment in my life, I’ve never been happier, I’ve never felt more optimistic, and the growth track with my business remains overwhelmingly positive.

But setbacks and losses still suck. They still hurt. A lot. And it’s easy to fall into a tailspin as a result.

Here is what I am learning: Setbacks are a regular part of life. As much as you don’t want them to happen, they do. YOU HAVE NO CHOICE IN THIS MATTER.

And instead of curling up in the fetal position, or venting through loud vocal obscenities and rage like I do, foolishly, you have to suck it up and move on.

As a new friend of mine says, you have go forward, “Always Forward.”

Business and life is uncomfortable. It just is. If you expect it to be smooth and easy, you’ll be disappointed.

But it is moving forward, picking yourself back up, taking one step forward at a time = THE ONLY WAY TO KEEP GOING.

You know this, even if you are unwilling to admit it.

All the great ones do this. You can too. I can too. And I have to, for people are counting on me.

Life is uncomfortable. And it always will be. You have no choice but to accept that, and take that on as a personal challenge, and embrace it.

The Sun will come up tomorrow, the clock will keep ticking, dust will keep going through the hourglass, and you’ll still be there…

The question is will you be wallowing in it and sucking on your thumb? Or will you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward…Always Forward?

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BUSINESS, LIFESTYLE

Emily Lagasse: Our pets deserve better food

Joined on the show today by Emily Lagasse, the Founder + CEO of Fedwell Pet Foods. Our pets deserve better food, yes. But learn how one entrepreneur built a business from scratch to solve a very common problem….

Discussion guide from my conversation with Emily Lagasse:

1. The inspiration behind starting Fedwell Pet Foods.

2. Challenges with manufacturing and getting the product made, and how she’s dealing with that.

3. She shares her unique distribution model, and how she will scale the business when the time comes. And what you can learn from how she will accomplish that.

4. She walks us through her current product line, but shares where things can go from here: foods for new animals, and adding new proteins, such as crickets. Yes…crickets!

5. How do you build trust with a new market, in a very competitive market, on a very sensitive subject (what people feed their fur babies)…

6. What are the biggest challenges building a business like this? And can you share some key lessons for those trying to do something similar?

7. Any guidance for finding and recruiting manufacturing for any type of product?

8. How do you deal with the strict testing of product, especially when everyone in your market is concerned, from finicky owners to veterinarians?

9. How do you scale a business such as this, without compromising quality and your principles?

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Emily Lagasse

About Emily Lagasse:

Emily is the founder and CEO of Fedwell Pet Foods, a Boston-based company offering the only 100% natural pet food on the market. Fedwell products are based on Emily’s home- cooked recipes that she used to heal her African dog, Fenway, after he got sick upon their return from Peace Corps service in Togo. Every bag of Fedwell contains recognizable ingredients anyone would be proud to serve their whole family.

Emily was the grand prize winner at the 2013 Female Entrepreneurship Challenge, earning over $30K in cash and non-cash prizes. Emily was also a semi-finalist at Babson’s BETA challenge in 2014, and in 2015 Fedwell was named one of Inc Magazine’s coolest college startups. Fedwell concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, with over 200 backers, raising over $20,000. Fedwell is currently carried in specialty pet stores in Massachusetts and is being featured on the PBS show StartUp, which draws 15 million viewers annually. (Episode 308, Wake up and smell the dog food, airs on Boston’s WGBH on November 22nd at 12:30pm.) Emily is a native of Boston, attended Ohio State University for her undergraduate degree in Marketing and Transportation Logistics and is a recent MBA graduate from Babson college. In her spare time Emily plays in a volleyball league, enjoys outdoor activities with her dog, and teaches life skills to youth aging out of the foster care system.

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CONTRIBUTORS, LIFESTYLE

I am not wishing you Happy Birthday on Facebook. Deal with it.

My birthday is coming up soon, and frankly, I am dreading it. Why?

Not because I am getting older (but that sucks too).

It’s because of Facebook and their infernal mother-farking birthday function. It’s ruined birthdays for me, and has taken the fun out of my celebrating the birthdays of people I care about.

For the record, I no longer wish people “Happy Birthday” on Facebook, or any other social network for that matter.

I really don’t want my greeting buried under hundreds of others.

So, if you’ve been offended that I haven’t said anything to you on your BIG day well, sorry, but I am not losing any sleep over it.

Why?

Because most of what I see and hear isn’t genuine, and stems from one simple fact:

From half of my Facebook friends, I hear from them one day per year. And yeah, you guessed it: it’s on my birthday when I get the perfunctory “Happy Birthday [insert name here]!”

And it doesn’t help when you attach one of those motion-GIFS. Frankly, that’s your attempt to make it “more” personal. Despite the fact that I will receive 100s of those on the big day. All they really do is clog up Facebook’s servers.

These particular Facebook friends who pass along greetings once a year NEVER like anything else of mine. They never engage with me on my content. Never comment on stuff I share, whether it is on music, photos of my activities, food I eat, issues of the day, etc.

Now, it’s a VERY FAIR question to ask why am I connected to someone who only contacts me ONCE A YEAR? Yes, #truth. And the subject of another essay for another day. And I bear my share of responsibility in this too.

Frankly, when I observe others on their actual birthday, I am quite saddened when they are spending time ON THEIR ACTUAL BIRTHDAY responding to birthday wishes on Facebook. Do you not have other things to do on this special day? Really? You have to get out a little more friend…

I also hate the standard “Thanks for all the birthday wishes, I am very blessed, and I have the bestest friends” notes that people post, you know, so they don’t have to acknowledge all of these greetings. Probably from people they also only hear from once per year.

So yeah, at the end of the day, I’ve stopped doing it because I don’t want people to think of me the way I think of others who do it to me.

No, on rare occasion, I will send someone a birthday message via Facebook, but I’ll make it a point to personalize it and make it legitimate. Or, I will take advantage of Facebook reminding me, and send them greetings through another, more personal, medium.

And for the record, I am grateful when someone I know and interact with year round sends me a real, human, personal note.

Social media has changed the world. It connects us in ways that most never dreamed possible, and its wonders continue to marvel and hint and what’s still possible down the road.

But the downsides are its automation and lack of a personal touch.

I’ve been binging the AMC series TURN, about George Washington’s spies. Seeing them write meticulous letters on parchment with a quill pen and ink, that correspondence seems so real and genuine…

…verses the automatron scanning today’s list of birthdays on his Facebook page, and BANG-BANG-BANG-Done.

Ok, good. Moving on to the next task…

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AUTHORS, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, WELLNESS

Dave Griffin: How running leads to both personal AND professional growth

Joined on the show today by Dave Griffin, founder of Flying Feet Running Programs, and author of a new book called In the Distance: Why We Struggle Through the Demands of Running, and How It Leads Us to Peace.

Discussion guide from my conversation with Dave Griffin:

1. How the focus and drive needed to become a runner can aid and enhance professional motivation. This is more than just about running, it’s about professional development too!

2. How he used the benefits of training and running with others in his leadership of his corporate risk management team – his 4 unique takeaway tips.

3. The statistics that indicate successful leaders are also regular exercise enthusiasts – the psychological truths behind this.

4. How running takes us back to our early childhood years and why it is important to be in touch with that part of ourselves as we mature in business.

5. Of course, we discuss the health (and mental) benefits of running.

6. And for those who are NOT runners, Dave shares some insights on HOW TO START!

Find Dave Griffin’s latest book here:

About Dave Griffin:

Dave Griffin began running in 1976 as a high school freshman. He ran competitively through 1989 with PRs that include a 25:43 5M, a 32:11 10K and a 1:12:24 half marathon. After a 12-year period of casual running when his children were young, he returned to competitive running as a master.

Griffin started the Flying Feet Running Programs in 2004 while his daughter, Katie, was running in high school. The program has since grown to provide year-round coaching and support to runners of all experience and talent levels in the Carroll County, MD area.

Griffin began writing about running and life in 2006, when his bi-weekly column, Dave Griffin on Running, was introduced. In 2010, Dave published his first book, After the Last PR – The Virtues of Living a Runner’s Life.

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CONTRIBUTORS, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

You don’t need to get up at 4AM each morning to be a success

Every day, I read some article that, if true, someone far more awesome than me has already done the following by 6AM:

photo-1428954376791-d9ae785dfb2d1. They were wide awake, showered, dressed, and at their desk by 4AM…losing a half pound of weight in the process.
2. By 5AM, they had already written 2,000 words.
3. By 520AM, they had meditated for 20 minutes and achieved near enlightenment.
4. And by 6AM, with all the kids awake, bathed, and lunch boxes packed, they had also done yoga for an additional 20 minutes. Namaste my friend!

Let me boldly and proudly declare, that by 6AM, I haven’t gotten out of bed yet. But, according to the internet, I am the only person on the entire planet still sleeping at this time in the morning.

Other essays I’ve read, some of these even more amazing people have also run a 5K (or more), prepared food from scratch (that they harvested from the back yard garden), have read the entire Wall Street Journal by 617AM, and have even done a little work to lower the Earth’s core temperature by .05 degrees.

These are truly amazing people. And all doing overtly sustainable activities before the Sun even rises.

By 617AM, I have probably read one or two articles on the Red Sox. And by then I have a 5 year old Golden Retriever standing on my chest giving me the vulture look. I will usually pretend to go back to sleep to fake her out, but Shiloh usually doinks me in the eye with the cold tip of her wet dog nose to tell me I am full of it.

Around 625AM, I will have stolen a look at my lovely wife, who is forcing her eyes closed so that I am made to believe she isn’t awake yet. For she doesn’t really want to talk to me until 10AM at the earliest. Trust me, she’s awake.

Seriously, I am amazed at the amount of people who have rewritten the U.S. Constitution by sunup. Who are all of these people? Why are they so perfect? How is it that with all of these amazing people, we still have cancer, and why are geopolitical affairs still such a mess?

Are these people for real? Are they even real?

Despite my obvious failings in the wee hours of the morning, I am still happy. I am still running a growing and successful business, I have a wife that loves me (after 10AM), and I have two happy, healthy dogs.

And oh, I haven’t even told you the really bad news yet: The first two things I do in the morning:

1. Check Facebook.
2. Read my email.

Yes, since you started reading this essay, there have been about 300 new articles published condemning humans for checking email and social media before midday.

And yes, despite the fact that I DO NOT get up at 4AM each morning AND check email and Facebook whilst still in bed, here is a list of the things I happen to still accomplish:

1. I read a book a week.
2. I run at least a 5K three to four times a week.
3. I walk my dogs round Chicago the non-running days of the week.
4. I run a business.
5. I conduct a dozen radio interviews for my business.
6. I explore my city (which translates to: I eat a lot).

I do all these things when I can, and when I want to. I check email as often as I want to. I check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram whenever I want to.

Look, I am not condemning people who have a set morning routine. I admire them for getting up early and achieving things.

It just doesn’t work for me.

For me, every day is different. My interview schedule varies each day. Some days I am on the road. Some days Stephanie and I have plans. Some days are running days. I just simply cannot follow a strict routine day in and day out.

But you do have to find out what works for you. And stick to it. Or at least know WHAT you have to do, and be disciplined to get it done over the course of the day.

Just don’t judge me when I don’t rise at 4AM. We are all different, and we are all wired in different ways. I am glad to hear you’ve figured out what works for you, and appreciate you sharing it with us. It may very well inspire someone to try something new.

Live life on your terms. Don’t be guilted into following a process that isn’t right for you, just to please some superhero that probably isn’t real…

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