daily love note: no.27

Making elaborate metaphors in the midst of a creative identity crisis

We all know the feeling of being overwhelmed:

A lump forms in your throat as if it were a cough at the dinner table. We try to power through it, periodically grunting – insisting we’re fine when asked.

It’s a small discomfort, nothing to worry about – we swallow harder, determined to clear the doubt before it becomes disruptive.

Suddenly we’ve lost control, convulsing and patting our chests, trying to smother the internal fire. Something that used to be so effortless as breathing is now impossible. Frustration, panic and embarrassment set in.

We look at our most obvious options, sitting half full, inches from our grasp – but don’t take them – continuing instead to gulp air hoping the issue will resolve itself.

Break Me off A Piece of that Self-Composure Bar

In these moments it’s ok to excuse ourselves. There’s a misconception that taking a break – stepping away from something you love for a moment – needs to end in a sort of epiphany or else be deemed a failure.

Yet, realizing the need to take a beat to compose ourselves and catch our breath in private is just as valuable as tenacity.

Our nature is not defeat.

This does not mean, however, that we can make excuses not to return to the table. Even less so does it mean we should laugh it off entirely.

Negativity forms itself in us like any other bodily function – owning it is important. Defeatism is a dish served bland and we deserve better than that.

daily love note: no.26

The Proverbial Marketing Department

A man in a robe sits at an ancient standing desk and begins to ponder:

“Okay, let’s see…I want to talk about growth…but want it to sound simple – something almost anyone can relate to.

Where to start? What is something that grows…? Ummm…

Cabbage!

Cabbage is a plant. And it definitely grows…and most people probably know that – it’s relatable.

Okay, what else?

Oh, and it has layers. So, like, there could be something in the proverb about layers and growth. Yeah, that’s good. Write that on the whiteboard.

OH AND, AND, Cabbage can be made into things like soup and other food…so, like, that is something, too!

And ALSO, it is a food on it’s own. There’s like, a….a….an element of ‘hey, man, if you’re just this that’s okay, too, ‘cause you’re healthy and junk.

Man, this is going really well, already.”

Man in robe goes to lunch – comes back distressed; holding drink he didn’t finish yet.

“Okay, so…maybe cabbage was a little too specific. I get it – not everyone likes cabbage. Needs to be more general…hmmmmm.

Well, cabbage is a plant. Maybe that’s something?

*Draws plant on scratch paper – doodles small garden in moment of distraction. Writes the word “plant” underneath doodle in an effort to justify his lack of productivity.

Okay, so…plants, right? Yeah.

A plant can’t grow…unless it’s planted.

It needs to be obvious…but not that obvious. Dig deeper. Dig…Plant. Planting.

Planting…”

*Adds more flowers and small birds to previous distraction doodle. Looks at some ancient scrolls to pass the time – then it hits him. His eyes open wide!!!!

“SEEDS!”

*Throws arms up in the air in moment of clarity.

“You plant seeds! Of course!

So, now, like…you’ve got the seed, okay. And you plant it…and it’s small at first – then big. That could be something.”

*He thinks for a bit longer…

“Telling people to be like something is really popular, nowadays. So…how can someone be like a seed?

Be like a seed…and…grow…

No, too obvious.

Be like THE seed…and fall to the ground.

Okay, falling is good. I’m almost there, I think.

Be like the seed – fall to the ground…and plant yourself. No…

…and soil yourself. Not quite…

Be like the seed: and become a cabbage – with multiple layers…that can also be turned into soup…if you like that sort of thing.

Nailed it!”

Derek was fired from the Proverbial Marketing Department later that day.

Follow-Up Questionnaire:

1. Where do you feel Derek went wrong during his development process?

2. Do you think his productivity was hindered due to an extended lunch break?

3. On a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being “I don’t like it at all” and 10 being “I like it very much”); how would you rate your affinity for cabbage?

4. Would you have given Derek a second chance? If so, why?

daily love note: no.25

How to do more of what you already do so well

It takes an incredible amount of time, patience, and energy to form new habits or develop a new skill. To do so, effectively, requires confidence and time-tested dedication.

Want to know a secret?

You already have that: the skills and good habits you already possess.

So, why not start there, yeah? Build on what you already do so well.

Try this simple exercise:

  • Get a piece of paper and a pen and write down everything you think you do on a given day.
  • Next, break each of those tasks, responsibilities, and habits down into number of minutes or hours – estimated, of course (but be honest).
  • Ask yourself: How much time do I spend on what I am already good at? Could it be more?
  • Now, get another piece of paper (or notebook) and carry it with you throughout the day. Anytime you begin a new task, write it down with the time you started it.
  • Finally, compare it with the first list. Were your estimates correct? How much time are you dedicating to the things you enjoy or are already good at?
  • You may want to run this audit a few days in a row to develop the best picture.

From here, you can clearly see what your day looks like, how much time you are spending on things you need to do, how much time you spend on spinning your wheels, and how much time is dedicated to the things you love (or are already good at).

Use this blueprint to engineer short breaks – 5 – 10 mins. During these breaks, retreat to what you already do well, or love to do (in a realistic way…don’t lose your job as a result…).

For example, you could:

  • Learn something new about something you love and incorporate it into your ability.
  • Reach out to others who share your passion.
  • Find exercises and hacks that will improve your existing abilities.
  • Identify and define a milestone you would like to achieve – mapping out the necessary steps to achieve it.

Track your Progress

At the end of a month, or a quarter, run the time audit again.

At the end of a month, run the time audit again and ask these questions:

What is something new I learned about this thing or skill I enjoy (or happen to be good at)?

How could building upon this skill or thing improve other areas of my life?

What is a new skill or habit I could roll this momentum into?

This practice helps us understand and realize our potential. If we can excel at something we’re already good at, why can’t we add something new to the mix and get good at that?

You can – and you will.

Grow confidence in your existing abilities and leverage it to achieve greater heights.

daily love note: no.24

Hot Coffee:

a haiku about patience (or lack thereof)

handheld power plant;

persuasive steam settles – slow:

tip. lips. sip…burnt tongue…

How do you avoid burning your tongue?

daily love note: no.23

While we may not like to admit it – we, as humans, love mistakes.

Mistakes are a reminder that nothing in this world is perfect – that everything in this world is unique; re: vulnerable, flawed, and still figuring it out.

There are two paths to a mistake:

  1. A path of rejection.
  2. A path of refinement.

Rejecting our Mistakes

To reject a mistake is natural: a mistake is what it is, after all – the outcome diverted from intent. We react defensively in these situations; arguing our side of the mistake when it potentially harms the experience of someone around us. We work to justify it or make it separate from our persona.

a mistake is what it is, after all – the outcome diverted from intent. #luvdaily Click To Tweet

Refining our Mistakes

The path of refinement seeks to understand the root cause, on the other hand. While the action or outcome may have disconnected from the original intent, there is an acceptance and desire to understand where the disconnect happened.

In this place, we can forgive ourselves and turn that forgiveness into motivation – improving follow through on our best intentions.

Practice. (make a mistake). Practice. Practice.

Forgiveness isn’t easy, though. Just like refinement, it requires practice.

What mistakes have been the hardest for you to forgive: of yourself and of others?

daily love note: no.22

The New Year is our blank slate – a chance to start all over. We make resolutions, set intentions, and define new goals – sometimes for the sake of fulfillment; sometimes for the sake of improvement.

However, most resolutions, best-of-intentions, and finish lines have one common through-line: they are born of negativity.

While we must work to acknowledge the things in life that we don’t like – sometimes they cloud the beauty of the things we do like. They abate the value of our skill sets; leaving us vulnerable to the plight of comparison.

So, as you begin your transformative journey for the year – why not bolster your confidence by continuing the things you are really good at…already?

This is a much more sustainable strategy – and one that will help you build momentum to conquer the negatives in your life.

And that thing you love to do: chances are…you’ll get even better at it.

What will your positive focus be this year?

daily love note: no.21

A letter I wrote to myself:

Carry your confidence into this new year. 

This is the new you – the one that changes, daily. 

This is the guilt-free, loving kid that knows only reasons to continue. 

Sustain happiness, my friend. 

Love, 

You. 

This letter is a reminder:

confidence is not a battering ram – it is a sense of peace.

A polyphony of acceptance and assuredness and finesse.

A river – both tranquil and commanding. Sure of its mission.

Take steps to build your confidence:

start with a smile.

daily love note: no.20

Whenever I’m feeling insecure…or uncomfortable…

I like to go to a sit-down restaurant by myself.

I ditch my phone at home to avoid retreat into social media, and I challenge myself to be light and engaging throughout the duration of my meal – i.e. not staring at my napkin/plate the entire time.

I daydream as I take stock of my surroundings.

Everything is beautiful, and worth smiling at.

(especially when you don’t have to share the free bread. #bonus)

I also make it a mission to establish some form of substantial conversation. 

The rules are as follows:

  • I am not allowed to throw the daily forecast into the equation.
  • Nor can I make mention of sports teams (not that I pay much attention to them, anyway…).
  • Listen, actively – remaining engaged to the other person’s responses.
  • Conversation must happen without seeming like I am starving for social interaction (again, most are skeptical, I am sure). 

At the end of my meal, I commit to leaving a decent tip, and dish out my most genuine “Thank you.”

Then I go home. 

Every time, and I mean every time – I realize that these are the moments when I am the most secure and comfortable with myself.

The world never seems more welcoming.

It is truly amazing the things you can realize when you strive to keep an honest smile on your face.

So, for anyone out there feeling insecure or uncomfortable – I sincerely hope you will give this a try.

Love, Z.

daily love note: no.19

It’s kind of amazing to think that in a second – your life can literally change.

And it all starts in your head. (usually)

Once you have that concept actualized…it all comes down to how you choose to deploy it.

We have this habit of engineering boundaries and variables to qualify change.

But we made them up…in our minds.

If we can build up giant walls preventing us from accomplishing the things we want to do – with our minds – then why can’t we use that same super power to tear those walls down with a herring?

We can – and we should.

The new you is literally moments away – whenever you choose.

daily love note: no.18

January 2nd:

Maybe it’s a diet.

Maybe you are breaking a bad habit.

Maybe you are trying to be more decisive.

Whatever your goals are:

Make sure they come from a place of love – free from guilt.

Love for yourself.

Love for others.

Love for the world.

Love for the mistakes you have made.

Love for the things you cannot change.

Happy new you.