Tumbling Thoughts of an SEO
Have Permission

Do you ever feel burned out? Do you feel exhausted, overwhelmed, unable to focus? Ever feel like you’ve been pushing many hours a week for weeks on end and you’re not sure when it’s going to end and when you might get a moment to catch your breathe?

This was me two weeks ago. I was exhausted. All of my projects were hitting on all cylinders, I had just been asked to step up to a new position at work, I had obligations and things due to different people, and I was exhausted. I had not been sleeping well, wasn’t eating right, wasn’t getting out and hanging out with friends. I was going through the motions.

One day I was at a client’s for the morning. I was planning to take it easy the next morning and work from home, but I when I emailed my coworkers to tell them this, here was the response I got:

The funny thing is, this helped, but the hardest thing for me to do was to give myself permission to take an afternoon off. Any of you who are as driven as I am to succeed and do really well at your job, you’ll probably echo this sentiment at some point or another.

But guess what? I took that afternoon and went here:

If you don’t know, that’s the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. I rode my bicycle there and sat on one of those benches for about 45 minutes. No phone, no computer, no nothing. I sat, and I looked at the skyline. 

After that 45 minutes, guess what? I felt better. I felt a bit relaxed even. I felt like life was manageable.

This past weekend I took an extended weekend and flew to Oklahoma City to visit one of my best friends. We drank beer, we went rock climbing, we saw a movie (Looper), we hung out with his girlfriend, we ate Oklahoma-made ice cream, we saw The Head and The Heart live, we played 18 holes of golf, I slept in every morning. And now, I feel great.

If you’re tired, give yourself permission to take an afternoon or a day off. If you’ve earned it because you’ve been working hard, do it. It’s the most productive decision you can make.

Take Ownership

Here’s a question for you - do you take ownership of situations or problems in your life that you are able to fix or at least affect? Or do you sit around, always willing to point out problems but never willing to own solutions, or what might be steps towards a solution?

The Monument Steps
The Monument Steps (Photo credit: Plbmak)

It’s easy to sit back and say “Nah, I can’t do that. I’m just one guy (or girl)”? Yesterday I had this conversation with the guy who cuts my hair, Shain. We somehow got into a conversation about people who have caused change in the world, like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln, Desmond Tutu, and many more (I’m sure you can think of some woman as well). They were all “just one guy” who had a belief, an ideal, an idea, and sought to get others on board. By finding other advocates, they were able to alter the course of human history.

Do you take that kind of ownership? In my job at Distilled, one of our mantras is “Own solutions, not problems.” If you see a problem, don’t sit around and talk about it with others. Brainstorm it, see if it really is an issue, then put together next steps to go into a course of action. Or if it’s something that just needs to be changed, change it. I like the “Move fast and break things” mentality of Facebook, or the idea of “Do first and ask permission later.” I’d rather do something than have to go through a lot of bureaucracy to get anything done.

Do you take ownership of your life and situations? Believe it or not, you’re the one making the decisions. Do you want to move to a different city? Only you can decide to do that. Do you want to start your own business? Only you. Involved in an abusive relationship? Only you can get out. 

Take ownership of your life. It’s better on this side.

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Be Nice

I used to write a lot more about my life, instead of just on my New York City marketing blog. I want to get back to a bit more personal blogging though. I can’t promise that it’ll be too often, but I wanted to have a place where I could put my personal thoughts and observations about life, and I want it to be a place where we can interact. So here’s my first post.

We’re bad at being nice

I’ve been reading How To Win Friends and Influence People for a couple of months now. It’s one of those that you read a bit as you get time (for me, it’s the subway), and also because every other page contains a morsel that you need to sit back and digest…slowly. 

One of the main points in the book is about grace, and allowing others to be wrong but still allowing them to save face in front of others.

This is one of my main gripes about culture (and especially my generation) today. We have forgotten how to be gracious to one another in interactions. Often in today’s society, we hide our (thinly veiled) constant critiques of people behind sarcasm, which in reality is just passive aggressiveness disguides as humor. 

I was just in Atlanta for a couple days for work, so I took an extra 24 hours to stay there and just have some time to myself Friday night. Then, on Saturday, I went to an old college friend, and his wife’s, apartment for brunch. I ended up staying from 10:30 to 1:30, just enjoying the awesome company. At one point I was sitting back watching the two of them interact, and what struck me was how well they spoke of each other. You see, there was no power struggle there. They both appreciated each other for who they are, and to hear Collin speak of Kristen’s newfound (and self-found) love of cooking was a thing of beauty. She even said “Well, this isn’t the best breakfast I ever made” and Collin said “Kristen, everything you make it amazing”. This wasn’t an insincere thing either - I could tell that he truly meant it. Not once during my stay at their apartment did I feel like they were criticizing each other at all. It was unbelievably awesome to see.

In my opinion, constant (public or private) critique has no place in a relationship. Yes, you should tell your significant other (kindly) when they do something that hurts you, but constant criticism in front of others is not productive - it’s defeating. You’re not their mother or father - you’re their spouse or significant other. You are there to support them, not treat them like a child.

Let’s Be Nice

I was recently asked to take on a new role at work, and the beginnings of those new responsibilities have been coming through in the last couple weeks now. I realize more and more the importance of speaking well of others, as I must speak well of my coworkers in front of others even more. This is a great challenge, and one that is a challenge because our culture goes against this so strongly today.

So I have a challenge:

Every day, speak highly of another person to another person. If it’s your wife, speak highly of her to your best friend. If it’s your child, speak highly of them to your wife (or husband). The key here is to speak well of them in front of them.

I think you’ll be amazed how kindness heals many hurts, encourages people to work harder or better, and brings you closer together.

Give it a try. I am.

Just a lovely Saturday skate in Redhook. #brooklyn #nyc  (Taken with instagram)

Just a lovely Saturday skate in Redhook. #brooklyn #nyc (Taken with instagram)

So much this.

The trail is calling, so I’ve got to go.

So much this.


The trail is calling, so I’ve got to go.