July 29th, 2014

Be a weed

Dandelions annoy me. They infest my lawn, multiplying before my eyes, with roots so deep they take serious effort to eradicate. Their yellow flowers are eye-catching, a bold and constant reminder of their existence. And they cleverly evolve into a wind-enabled, self-seeding weapon of mass lawn destruction.
I see it as a negative but then I got curious. Dandelions are symbolic of positivity, progress and survival*. They show strength and determination.
Seems to me that this is everything I stand for.
I am not about to make peace with them in my lawn any day now but, it occurs to me that there is a lot we can learn from the humble weed:
- Grow your Roots Strong. Set a solid foundation and you will be more able to survive the inevitable knocks and setbacks. As your mother no doubt told you, mine certainly told me, if a job is worth doing it is worth doing well. Doing things properly the first time will create long term stability for your business.
- Be Bold. Be sure people know who you are and remind them of your existence (without being a stalker!)
- Be Catchy. Make sure your message is concise, clear and repeatable. Allow other people to be the wind that sows the seeds of your idea. People love to help and people love to share knowledge, allow your network to help you propagate your message.
- Be Healthy. Dandelions are a superfood. Their leaves are packed with vitamins and nutrients; their roots purported to deliver many (bitter) benefits. Your health is your greatest asset.
- Use Your Whole. The dandelion uses every element of itself to ensure it’s survival. Do you have a superpower you are not using? It’s all the individual elements that lead to a strong whole - cute accent, interesting family history, strong math skills, badass golf wing, fantastic hair? Use whatever you have, you are your own secret weapon.
*I enjoyed reading this article as I wrote this post: the meaning of the dandelion 
June 30th, 2014

Perfectly Imperfect

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Oh how we strive for perfection, an exercise in futility if ever I knew one. I know this but still I beat myself up as I fail to measure up to some unattainable standard I have set for myself.

So I presume many of us are fighting the good fight. 

Why? Because we see perfection in others. Removed from the exhaustion, personal struggle, self-doubts and defeats - in a world where we very publicly celebrate all the #fabulous - we see the surface. And perfection thrives at the surface.

This month has presented me with founders thinking their plans should be perfect before they start to execute, people I see as perfect showing their vulnerability and even my own stalling in the search for a perfect way to launch The Squiggly Line.

We all do it. 

So, in an offer to the gods of imperfection, I am launching #thesquigglyline today. Now.

I will get an imperfect website up, I will stumble with some imperfect first interviews and I will strive for imperfection in all I do.

Because, at its heart, The Squiggly Line stands for the power of imperfection. It stands for making that one decision that you can make now. And for making that a brave step, a big leap, into the unknown.

So here I step. 

May 19th, 2014

How to get your “dream” job.

Recently I had the pleasure of working with a number of fabulous people in search of their next gig. They wanted to know what I look for when I hire, so I figured a blog was in order. I will write separately on how to get an interview but, what do you do once you are in the hot seat?
Start-Ups are looking for a very specific person. We run a tight ship, pivot quickly, and spend a lot of time together. Hiring is hard, it’s a distraction and it’s a scary prospect to face – we don’t want to get it wrong. 
My best advice is to be yourself, gloriously. I want to feel that you are genuine and trustworthy. I also want to know you are the kind of person I could handle being stuck in an airport with.
Nervous is totally cool, pretension sucks. 
 
So what else?
- Know the company but please don’t tell me how to run it. Don’t act like you would have it all under control in a few days. Even if true, no one likes a know-it-all.
- Don’t badmouth your previous or current employer. Or anyone. It shows your lack of character, not theirs. 
- Be cool. Startups heavily rely on culture strength to get through good and bad times.
- Don’t ask about vacation, sick leave, personal leave, flexible hours, travel, birthdays off, etc. Working at a startup doesn’t involve punching out at 5pm. Ever.
- Have a great story on hand about the time you had an almighty disaster to deal with and how you coped. Start-ups are often fire drill upon fire drill. 
May 9th, 2014

I have never heard this term in reference to being an entrepreneur. Which I find surprising. The belief we steadfastly have in our idea - despite the fact it never existed before, may never work and seems to be falling apart daily. But we dedicate our lives to it, our every waking moment, and will passionately tell you of our glorious vision for the future. Kalopsia - because delusion gets me through the day.

April 25th, 2014

Where the magic happens…

That thought “what if I did XYZ” occurs to all of us at some point. That idea to move, whether job, city or country or to start a business or? These are all things that, when acted on, have the ability to change our lives.

We know these big ideas when we have them. Your body feels different, you have immense clarity of thought, maybe your heart quickens? 

The intuitive thought of life altering proportion feels, in some way, significant. Whether it nags at us – refusing to leave our side – or just appears/occurs to us in THAT way. It’s usually obvious when we have it.

But, to make magic happen we must step into discomfort. Harnessing the intuitive thought is where true bravery is required.

Glen Andersen nails this visually in his Flipped Classroom presentation http://www.slideshare.net/gandersen07/flipped-classroom-ucet-2014

Are you playing it safe? Or are you making magic happen?

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August 12th, 2013

Even Rockstars Have Bad Days

I had an unexpected outpouring of support after my last post “Today is different”. 

I thought I was writing about the optimism I feel after a seemingly bad day.

Those days that challenge you and cause you to question everything. Those moments that tease you with the idea of giving up.

Apparently, it was surprising that I might ever have bad days. Which in turn surprises me, I have bad days all the time.

How we deal with the bad days is what defines us.

Sometimes the bad days do knock us back. Sometimes the bad days extend into bad weeks. When the #squigglyline seems to be delivering mostly backwards and sideways, what then? Stop. Not long enough to lose momentum but long enough to create a little time and space to absorb the pushback you are getting.

Some bad days will require you to grit your teeth, dig in, work harder. They bring out my inner street fighter, I double down. I think they call it pushing boulders uphill for a reason. Those are the days I work late, I clear my to do list, I get shit done and I create momentum by doing.

But often it’s about working smarter. There are times when the squiggles are signs that we need to slow down. My husband is a sculptor and he has taught me that, when making art, it’s more often about standing back and observing than it is about doing. Those are the days I get out and hike, do yoga or bake bread. Any activity really that takes me out of my head and allow my intuition to take over.

So, I have learned to relish the bad days. I have learned to appreciate the information they give me. That, and the knowledge that it takes the backwards and sideways to know that you are truly on the #squigglyline.

August 8th, 2013
I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can.
Kristin Armstrong (via wordsthat-speak)
Reblogged from My mind, it wanders
July 19th, 2013
Today is different
Yesterday was hard. I thought I had finally broken through a problem with my increasingly squiggly business. Not quite a eureka but close. I confidently strode to my meeting only to be completely beaten up by a potential investor. “I hope I didn’t beat you up too much” he says smiling. Yeah, you did. I replied. “But it’s cool, apparently we are not where we need to be yet.”
I walked home. Pissed off, frustrated, angry, deflated. I said angry right? Eventually, after giving myself a good talking to, I figured out how I was going to figure everything out.
And today, anything is possible. Even the impossible. Especially the impossible.
Because today is different. Today, anything could happen.

Today is different

Yesterday was hard. I thought I had finally broken through a problem with my increasingly squiggly business. Not quite a eureka but close. I confidently strode to my meeting only to be completely beaten up by a potential investor. “I hope I didn’t beat you up too much” he says smiling. Yeah, you did. I replied. “But it’s cool, apparently we are not where we need to be yet.”

I walked home. Pissed off, frustrated, angry, deflated. I said angry right? Eventually, after giving myself a good talking to, I figured out how I was going to figure everything out.

And today, anything is possible. Even the impossible. Especially the impossible.

Because today is different. Today, anything could happen.

July 10th, 2013

Anxiety

This Kierkegaard quote means a lot to me. Especially on those exceptionally squiggly days. Those days where a low-level of nausea seems to follow me wherever I go. Anxiety. I now take comfort from that feeling. It’s anxiety that is fueling me, keeping me on my edge, pushing me beyond the status quo. So now those (frequent) days of epic discomfort tell me I am on the right track. I am on the squiggly line.

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