Just like last year: What a year. Ups and downs. I’m sure we all had them.
In order to not dwell on the past, this quick one is meant to share some stories and learnings from this past year’s history, some of the best things I came across, and to hopefully relay some joy, love, and enrichment.
Daggon, my thoughts from last year are still what I want to say today:
From starting different groups, exploring new places, and genuinely trying to be good I was able to build a lot of new and meaningful relationships. That being said, there were many challenges with relationships all around me; from family and close friends to personal and political. This will almost always be the case for everyone IMO, but using the experiences that you go through, or seeing the situations around you, to better your future relationships, and to help others, is the best thing we can get out of them. Using others’ and your own experiences to learn is invaluable.
Now, onto the new stuff.
Learning from the good and bad, and appreciating both of them, are struggles for me, so I practice them consistently. Another important principle from the great Ray Dalio is:
Pain + Reflection = Progress.
I started 2018 with intentions to do more toward my mission of relaying joy, love, and enrichment. I worked to the best of my ability to do that; focusing on productivity, intelligible prioritized decision making, and sheer effort/will. Sounds great. It was, for most of the year. Or so I thought. More on that later. In 2017 I was asked to manage the back-end sales for my $15mil/yr employer then build a system to replace my position. Then in 2018, I was asked to become the training manager and main-trainer. This job was significantly more simple, even though we beat our sales goal by 199%, and it allowed me the time and space to focus on building things that were meaningful to me. Namely, KleinHaus Gym, KleinHaus Studio, Hockey for Covington (CSHL), and KleanMeals. While the first two projects were solo-run, there were many people involved with the latter two. The relationships and experiences gained from these projects are invaluable to me, and I’m completely grateful for them.
As mentioned earlier on the blog, the ending of 2017 was rough for me in that I was recovering poorly from a very extended period of little sleep. That coupled with a sprinkling of depression and an addictive personality, I drank more alcohol and spent more money at bars than at any other time in my life – all while building these projects. This lasted from January to August or September when I quit cigarettes with two of my brothers. Quitting the smokes, and a personal reason, helped me avoid the bars, think clearly, prioritize, and reinforce certain areas that I felt needed to be focused on.
Even though in the latter part of the year I was thinking more clearly and intelligibly than ever before, I was spread too thin. Close people around me were misunderstanding my reasoning for not ‘being able to’ do certain activities as complaining, and me getting resentful for their words and reactions, I found it most valuable to remove myself from certain leadership roles. The main one being stepping down from ownership of Hockey for Covington (CSHL). I felt confident in stepping down due to the leadership team that was in place, and my effort (described above) for 35-50hrs/wk for most of the year to set up a mission, vision, systems, processes, relationships with partners, leaders, and city officials, and culture. In short, I was confident that I put everything I had, for as long as I could, and as productively as I knew how to help create an organization that would do good and was sustainable. It was more important to me to maintain meaningful relationships than work on (or own/lead) the organization at that point.
Legitimizing and delegitimizing KleanMeals
Also a great experience. We took it from a few people and companies, cooking out of our kitchens, to state and federal recognition and cooking out of an incubator kitchen. We learned and executed the ins and outs of the food industry regulations and business, saw that our timing was off (due to higher commitments to other organizations), that Amazon is working on a similar business model (we don’t want to compete with them), and we got out. We could have done more, and better, had we put more concentration toward it, however, I see it as a valuable experience that positively affected many people (our goal), and the opportunity to get back into it remains.
Every time I think I’m out… They drag me back in
It’s been well over 5 years since working in the service industry. That’s changed since Thanksgiving as I decided it’s better to make money at the bar than spend it at this time in my life; I’ve started barbacking at 16Bit. I’ve found it nice to be back, everyone has been super friendly, and it’s freeing to work at one of the busiest bars in the city while not ‘feeling like I HAVE’ to work there. Cheers to the couple of buddies who put in a good word for me there!
Some personal notes
With some, now obvious, glaring blind spots removed, I found some faults of mine that I can now work on. Namely:
-Communicating with some very close people to me only when I want something. So, I’ll be working on spending quality time, rather than productive time, with more people.
-Using alcohol to stay present with people when my empathy reserves run out. Also, using alcohol to not address root-cause issues. So, I’ll be drinking way less (for other reasons as well) and continuing to practice presence all the time.
Now onto some of the heavy-positive-impactors for 2018:
Root Car Insurance – reduced my car insurance from Geico by more than %50.
Arcadia Power – reduced my electric bill quite a lot and it’s all green-source.
Brawl Stars – a fun cartoon/shooter game for mobile.
The new Onnit Total Human – This is the reintroduction (with some added stuff) that I’ve promoted for a long time. It’s magic.
Jordan Peterson – He’s blown up in the past couple of years. His message resonates with me due to my religious upbringing, interest in the philosophy of Truth and meaning, and very high-level thinking and communicating.
I was very fortunate to read, and listen to, a lot of books this year. Here’s a list of the most impactful ones for me this year and I ask everyone read/listen to them (please) (I may start doing book reviews – does that interest you? LMK):
(Again) Principles: Life and Work – R. Dalio
(Again) Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win – L. Babin, J. Willink
The Lessons of History – W. and A. Durant, details the cycles of socio-politics and religion through history, how they are linked and interact, and how they repeat (cycles).
The Hero with a Thousand Faces – J. Cambell, details the religious and mystic heroes through history and where they come from.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage– A. Lansing, the story of one of the first journeys to the south-pole and the ‘endurance’ and leadership needed to survive through extraordinary circumstances.
The Daily Stoic – R. Holiday, provides a daily passage from a stoic-great and food for thought.
How to Win Friends & Influence People – D. Carnegie, the classic.
The 49th Mystic (Beyond the Circle) – T. Dekker, My favorite book I’ve ever listened to. It was like watching a movie in my mind. Science, philosophy, futurism, religion, heroes… it had it all.
Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae – S. Pressfield
-Side note – I went through so many books that I’m limiting the number of new ones in 2019 and revisiting most of the above again this year.
Again, this year, I was fortunate to travel a lot for work and such. Here are a couple spots I highly recommend to check out during the winter for spectacular ocular pleasure 🙂
Salt Lake City
NYC in the snow
Thanks a lot for reading and sharing your attention! Happy new year, and let’s make this the best year yet!!
If you have any questions or want to talk, please reach out any time.