The Essential Unexecutive 2015

Spending a little time reflecting on each year in an important practice for those who want to create the impossible. Which is why after reading a post by my friend and client Leo Babauta, I decided to share with you what I’ve done this year as well as what each experience taught me.

This year I did alot:

I gave a TEDx Talk –

  • In May I gave a TEDx Talk titled, “Picking Role Models That Matter” at the TEDx Women’s Conference In Zurich Switzerland.

  • What I learned – To prepare for something really epic, you have to practice beyond the point of comfort until you achieve a familiarity that makes your delivery seem natural.

I attended four conferences, –

  • This year I returned to the World Domination Summit as I’ve done in years past, but I also went to some new events including:

  • What I learned – There is nothing like meeting people in person. These conferences helped me make new friends, connect with new clients, and got me excited about trying new things. I love connecting online, but if you can it’s always better to be with real people in real time.

I was named as a 25 Up and Coming Entrepreneur to Watch

  • I love the Fizzle community and was honored to be nominated and selected as the only coach among this group of amazing and exciting entrepreneurs.
  • What I learned – Unfortunately getting featured made me a bit of a lightning rod and I had to defend myself against an attack from a fellow Fizzler, who thought I had mistreated him. It was a good learning experience in how to handle an unhappy potential customer. I taught me that getting honored is great but it may not have a big impact on your business and might attract the ire of others. Still, it’s always nice to be recognized for all the hard work you’ve been doing and I’m very grateful for the guys at Fizzle for choosing me to be a part of this illustrious group.

Jane and I moved into a new apartment –

  • Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s been a long time dream of mine to live in a snazzy urban apartment, and this year that dream came true.

  • What I learned – Buy cheap rugs. Not only is it easier to find a cheap rug without hours of deliberation, but when your cat destroys it, you’ll be happy you can get another one for the same low price.

I retired my original brand and site MindFitMove

  • I used Mind Fit Move for 3 years as I was figuring out my business and my life. The site and the brand served me well. But as fitness faded as a central part of my business and my primary audience shifted, I needed to let go of it and find something that fit my brand better.

  • What I learned – It’s hard to let go of something you built, but it’s better to put something up and get started than trying to make things perfect before you begin. Sometimes in life you have to kill your digital children for all the right reasons. It’s bittersweet but necessary if you’re going to keep becoming the kind of person who grows and changes.

I joined 4PC

  • 4PC is a community of the world’s top 4% of coaches. Joining this group was a big commitment for me and something I thought about all year. The people in the group are amazing, inspiring, and at times a little intimidating.

  • What I learned – People don’t often talk about this but when you change things, the results aren’t always immediate. Sometimes you have to pass through a dip until you start playing the kind of game that will take you to the next level.

On top of all that I :

  • Worked with some of worlds most breathtaking clients. (I seriously love you guys)
  • Made some amazing new friends including one I’ve gotten really close to (I’m looking at you Kyle )
  • Had fun and got support from my dear friends (including My Ginger Princess Jane, The Bad Movie Alliance, My Fam, Josh Sabraw, Corbett Barr, and too many others to mention)
  • Worked with some amazing coaches including Danielle Ross, Jason Goldberg, Jennifer Blankl, Jeff Riddle, and Leo Babauta (who coached me on my writing)
  • and I did a bunch of Podcast interviews ( Here’s a list ).

Looking back on this year I’m amazed at what I’ve gotten done, all the inspiring people who’ve shaped my life, and all the amazing people I’ve been able to serve. Thank you to each of you who have joined me on this journey and I really excited to see what’s coming next year.

My Top Posts of 2015

Here are some of my favorite and most popular posts in 2015
1. How To Go Minimalist With Fulfillment
2. How To Instantly Find The Work You Love (in 40 years or less)
3. Your Vulnerability Superpower
4. Are You Letting Hidden Fear Control Your Life?
5. How To Create Deep Connections
6. Do You Need A Coach
7. How to Enjoy Your Life 99.99% More of the Time
8. The 20-Day “I Love You Man” Challenge
9. How To Fight Terrorism With Compassion
10. Finding Peace On The Eve Of Something

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The 5 Minimalist Planning Skills – as taught by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits

#BP typingonatablet

5 Minimalist Skills To Simplify Your Life – As taught by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits

Life is simple?
How many of your friends have dropped their phone in the toilet?
Think about it.

What does that say about our society?
Are we so connected and so busy we can’t even take a second to use the bathroom?

Sure modern life is complicated. But what if it doesn’t have to be that way. What if we could learn to live more simply and with more joy?

I recently attended a webinar with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits about simplifying your day. First, he shared 11 obstacles to simplification
1. Underestimating Completion Time
2. Overestimating Capacity
3. The Ease of Yes
4. Misallocating Personal Resources
5. Distractions
6. We Forget To Make Time for What’s Important
7. The Demands of Others
8. Wanting to Please Others
9. E-mail
10. Expectations
11. Small Task Mode

He explained how these 11 habits can get us of track and keep us stressed out. Then went on to explain a short set of skills we can use to overcome them.

5 Minimalist Skills to Simplify Your Life
These 5 skills are the ways he discovered to living a simpler and more fulfilling life. And though none of them are secret or revolutionary there application can be.

Often we don’t pay close attention to how we spend our time. We move from one activity to the next responding to situations without considering the bigger picture. As soon as we get going the momentum of activity carries us away.

Leo defines consciousness as deciding ahead of time how you are going to live your life.

He says we need to continually ask, “Is this how I want to be spending my time?” Is this in line with my values?” And then assess the answer.

You can make this assessment at the beginning of each hour, each day, each week, then look again at the end of the day, and see how you did. The key to simplification is to make sure you have a system with reminders built in.

2. Mindfulness
Making good choices about how we spend our time is a great start. But if we are not careful during the day, we can easily get off track. Many of the obstacles that Leo listed arise in the moment. And without mindfulness, we won’t be able to notice and avoid them.

He identified 4 things that we need to be especially mindful of: expectations, plans, goals, and energy levels. When we are mindful of these things we can start to make simple conscious choices about how to spend our time.

3. Limits
Leo defined limits as tools for consciousness. Setting limits creates cues for us to check in see what we are doing.

One way is to simply limit the number of things you have on your to do list. Another is to limit the amount of time you spend on work in a week or a day. Leo suggested setting working hours after which you shut off your phone and computer or to only do email in limited amounts of time.

4. Priorities
Leo points out that when we first list our priorities we may have 10 or 15 items on our list. As we begin to use the tools we’ve already talked about we realize that there isn’t enough time to do all of them.

We can try, but Leo warns that when we say yes to everything you are really saying no to all of them.

If we underestimate time and over predict capacity, then we will be unable to do all of these things proficiently. And in the process, we will actually destroy our capacity to handle an even short list of items.

Stress and overwork will take their toll and lead to distraction or burnout.

So, Leo encourages us to shorten and simplify our list by ordering priorities and regularly eliminating the bottom item. We simply see what the least important and bow out by contacting those involved and excusing ourselves from that responsibility.

Every item we eliminate gives us more energy to focus on what is more important.

5. Negotiate
Negotiations have to do with expectations. Leo warns that expectations can significantly affect our ability to simplify our day.

But he doesn’t think that we can just wish away these expectations. Instead, he encourages us to renegotiate them.

First, we need to renegotiate our own expectations. There is nothing wrong with being driven and focused, but often we think we can do it all. Leo encourages us to focus on a few important tasks. If we have extra time we can always do more, but this assures that the important things get done first.

Next, you need to renegotiate expectations with everyone else. This could include your family, friends, or coworkers. If you explain what you are doing and why, you may find more support than you expect.

Like a Boss
Leo noted that many people fear renegotiating with their boss. We often view our bosses as inflexible. And are afraid that if we say we want to do less, our jobs may be at risk. So, Leo offered his personal experience of how he used this technique with his boss, back when he had one.

First, Leo would go in and say he thought all the things on his to do list were important. But that he knew couldn’t get them all done today. He asked to collaborate with his boss to make sure their priorities were in line for that day.

He would work with his boss to identify what was important and what he thought he could do that day. Once they came to an understanding he would go out and get to work.

If he got done with the list early, he would go back to his boss and talk with her about what else might be important to do.

This not only helped Leo manage his day better. But helped him communicate more clearly with his boss, which no doubt built some rapport between them.

What’s Really Important?
At the end of the webinar, Leo shared a lovely bit of wisdom. He reminds us that our expectations and ideals can cause a lot of anxiety in our lives. In truth, we don’t really know what is going to happen. The future is unexpected.

Leo reminded everyone that what’s really important is being happy right now. There is no way to know if all of your dreams will come true. But if you work at it, you can learn to be happy right now.

And whether your day is simple or complicated remembering this one thing can make a huge difference.

What tricks do you use to simplify your day?

MindFitMove Practice:
Make a list of what you’d like to get done today.
Now eliminate the bottom item.
Set a time that you will you stop and take a break.

When you do take a break, reflect on 3 questions:
How’s it going?
What could I do better next time?
What did I totally rock at?

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Review of The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life by Leo Babauta

Ever since living at a monastery I have moved towards living a minimalist lifestyle. But I have struggled from time to time to know where to start and how to continue on the path of less.

Then I found The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life by Leo Babauta. Leo Babauta writes a very popular blog, There are a lot of great things that I could say about his book but to keep things minimal here are 3 reasons this book rocks.

1. Actionable
Many books on minimalism have long lists about simplifying a huge house. These books don’t apply to my lifestyle as an early thirties, unmarried, unreproduced man. Other books on the subject are so sparse and conceptual that they don’t give you a concrete place to start.

The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life was walks the middle path. The concepts that Leo Babauta introduces are as useful for a family of four as they are for my life. He gives just enough direction to get you started, without creating an inflexible road map. He does this by sharing from his personal experience and giving readers the first few steps he took on the path to living a simpler life. All you have to do as a reader is take the first few steps with him.

2. Comprehensive.
The majority of books and articles I have read on minimalism address how to deal with stuff. The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life does give you tips on dealing with physical items, but it also talks about how minimalism is a value you carry into every aspect of your life. The book covers everything from a having a minimalist home to minimalist fitness.

One of my favorite chapters is on a minimalist computer. I used the tips inside this chapter to make my computer a simple beautiful seamless part of my life. I have tried 1000 different filing and to do list systems and his is the only one that has worked thus far. You may not find this chapter as useful as I did, but you are sure to find at least one chapter that will dramatically simplify your life.

3. Wisdom
Probably the best factor about this book is that it offers more than a set of rules and procedures. It has more than just a minimalist philosophy or style. Instead this book contains bits of true wisdom. The words have a pure, sparse, power. They reflect more than Leo Babauta’s knowledge of the subject; they are an embodiment of his deep practice of mindful living. In an age where words are cheap the wisdom in this book is of the highest quality.

I would recommend The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life by Leo Babauta to anyone who wants to know more about minimalism, anyone who needs more ease in his or her life, or anyone who is looking for simple book about how to simplify. It’s a book I have read more than once and refer to regularly. Thanks to Leo Babauta for writing such a lovely text.

You can buy this book here:
And Leo Babauta’s blog can be found here: