You have to have bad days, even bad weeks sometimes. You know the good ones in comparison to the bad ones. This is what I am reminding myself this week as things anticipated are not happening and things that I thought were fine are completely broken. Making mistakes in a product business is really costly and generally takes a significant effort to dig out of. It is almost always the smallest, most obvious details that are overlooked… Mistakes that no one notices that snowball into huge mistakes.
Join Wendy while she works to master the art, study the science and discover the practice of positivity one day at a time. The growing body of scientific research in positive psychology proves without a doubt that shifting your thinking habits from negative to positive creates a thriving life. When you train yourself to remain open, curious and lean towards wonder, surprise, gratitude and occasional moments of awe, the way you see your life changes the life itself.
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A week ago I was on the East Coast for a few meetings. One of my flights was cancelled and the closest I could get was to Washington DC, which was going to oblige me to drive to Pennsylvania to meet with Rite Aid. One way cars are the most expensive ones to rent, and as it happened on Hotwire, the cheapest car to get was a luxury model. On arriving they offered me a Cadillac with no CD player- or a huge Lincoln. I wondered if I could downgrade. Then this sweet guy says, “Just you wait right here, I have the car for you…. nicest car this place has….” A few minutes later he pulls up this beautiful black Mercedes which had 4500 miles on it.
Running a product company is like trying to solve an algebraic equation that has no answer. By definition, you never have the money you need to get bigger, because the inventory you need to buy now won’t sell until much late and the faster you grow, the more you have to buy now for later.
The biggest expense that any business has is the cost of people to help you grow. In some financial industries that don’t sell any tangible products that cost alone can be 80% of the money they generate. This is another cost of growth that defies equations, you often need better people than you can actually afford before you can afford them.
I think something is happening to me. This new attention to positivity is going in deeper than before- and I am able to feel grateful and generous at times that used to be taken over by anxiety. The other day, on my trip to see Rite Aid and Kroger, I stopped in CVS and saw a couple of my main natural competitors on the shelf.
Traveling again. Moving through time zones across the country. I am in Baltimore at the historical Lord Baltimore hotel, which is currently under renovation. My room is one of the first to be renovated. It is beautifully appointed, but they didn’t account for the single digit temperatures when they were dealing with the old single pane windows. The bathroom is an ice box.
It has been really foggy where I live for days. Yesterday, the sun popped through in part of town and it was astonishing to me how bright the world seemed. I felt like I could breathe again and I was uplifted. My mood was bright for the first time in days. Again today, though the fog is covering our little community like a cap. I hear that just 25 miles in any direction there is light. Getting up and getting started with this darkness hanging around has been hard.
A marked point is the space in the field of chaos where order begins to take shape. I learned about this piece of chaos theory from my good friend, writing partner and social movement architect, Jenn Hirsch. Jenn’s business, Marked Point -named after this theory, (which the less trained eye might call just another marketing firm), is helping me create a Love Movement. It started out as an idea to get our current, loyal customers to go to our new vending partners to buy products and pay them with other products, but getting people to buy stuff has nothing to do with creating a movement that has the power to transform life.
Grief and sadness fill the world. There is so much loss, disappointment and frustrated attempts that impact so many people that I have come to believe that these are not just feelings but real entities that have weight and even take on a form inside of us. One of the dangers of learning to feel deeply is how impacted you are by the feeling experience of others. The Buddhist name for this practice is tonglen, when you deliberately breathe in the grief, fear and sadness of others and allow it to transmute into peace inside you, breathing out love and compassion. I need more practice at this- turning our collective pain into peace.
I was in the courtyard yesterday after a long break. This is a space that I have been working on for close to three years now, transforming it into a welcoming, reflective space where kids can go and get a breath and remember themselves and their potential. The efforts were inspired by a series of tragic events, most specifically, the deaths of two students at the coast. They were swept into the ocean and drowned in front of their friends. The horror and grief of this event rocked our community and inspired us to create a permanent space to celebrate life.
I am building this renewed writing practice as an extension of my ongoing mediation focus on learning to deeply feel my body. Each morning I bridge the dream world with a guided meditation deep into the felt sense of living inside myself. Breath work is foundational in every meditative practice, because it is the one autonomic function that is also at our command. Just learning how to pay attention to air moving in and out of the body slows the mind, and with time and practice pulls you into a quiet rhythm in your belly.