This Wild Precious Life

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild precious life?” Mary Oliver

We should all ask this question regularly. This week marks the passing of Mary Oliver and this is as good a time as any to check-in, make sure you are living your life they way you want to.

I took this photo last week coming home from watching the sunset at Rodeo Beach. There was a change in the traffic flow and I wound up seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, which is always a magical moment. I was tempted to keep driving, but I knew I could not get back to this moment in the future. I parked and got out of the car to extend and enjoy this view. That is what I want to do with my “one wild precious life.” Recognize the moments and slow down enough to enjoy them.

Forget Your Fear

I headed down to the Stanford campus last night to hear a panel speak about Stable Coin, BlockChain based crypto currency, backed by currency. It was inspiring to hear the panel discuss their companies and the evolution of BlockChain. The companies presenting included Reserve, Maker Dao and TrustToken.

The hour discussion flew by as my brain worked overtime to parse what I have learned about BlockChain into the practical applications of a stable currency. I have lots of questions, but wasn’t ready to ask them. The combination of “expensive looking adults” and youthful nerd power kept me silent, listening to the questions as much as the answers.

When the panel finished, some people quickly left (heading to the Stanford basketball game, I am sure) and some gravitated right to the presenters to chat and connect. I hovered on the outside listening to 3 different conversations at once and some guy talking about his vacation, the gentle rumble of conversation was overwhelming. The extroverted introvert in me was confused, there were small groups and anybody could join them. I resisted, feeling the invisible wall holding me in silence.

As I was listening to the voices blend into a murmur, my discomfort continued to grow. Why was I being resistant? Was it Fear? No, it wasn’t fear. I really really had to pee. The discomfort was a swollen bladder. I remembered the urgency of parking with the lot filling up due to the basketball game next door, rushing past the bathroom wondering if I should stop and be late, or choose to be on time. An hour later, as I questioned my choices, I hobbled to the bathroom, “relieved.”

My thinking for the night, inspired by the panels discussion, has been on the words Trusted and Trustless. Why do we do transactions with people we don’t trust and what level of transparency is necessary from BlockChain companies to create Trust? No easy answers…just thoughts.

More Lemons More Vodka – 3 Tips To Improve Your Search Engine Optimization This Year

We all know the joke, when life brings you lemons, find a friend with Vodka (ok we all know the joke now). If you are looking at your business this year and want to increase relevant traffic to your business and website, a great solution is Google My Business. Download the mobile app to your phone and get it set up and integrated with your web analytics. This takes about 5 minutes, occasionally includes light cursing and fist pumping.

Basically, we are setting up a blog that is optimized for search and easy to post to. When you get this process streamlined it will add 2 minutes or less to your marketing efforts daily and provide significant impact to your search engine optimization. This is the least effort you can put in for the most reward, busy people rejoice and find friends with vodka!

The Google My Business app will show you insights into your search and the actions taken by people looking for you. Above is a screen shot of the “actions” from last month. The insights are easy to read and practical to your business. I notice when my percentages drop and see a direct correlation to how much content I post. The goal is to make it easier for people to find you on Google.

3 Tips To Improve Your SEO Using Google My Business

  1. Post Every Single Day. The world changed in 2000 when the tech bubble popped, we discovered that Americans are incredibly productive and with the benefits of technology efficient. I know you deserve your days off, unfortunately the internet is open 24/7/365. If posting on the weekend is too much for you, commit to 5 days a week. Consistency is key, if you open the app once a month to post, your results will reflect your activity.
  2. Pictures. Yes, including a picture will increase the “visibility” of your post and what shows up in search. You can take amazing photos with your iPhone, an easy example is the image of lemons on this post, this picture took 1 min to take and prepare for the post. There are plenty of iphone tutorials on the Apple web site and YouTube. Google My Business has light filters built in to make your photos better or at least different. Add a relevant or inspiring picture to every post! You don’t have to be a photoshop pro or a National Geographic photographer to take and share quality engaging photos!
  3. Same Content All Platforms. Do NOT Reinvent The Wheel! Share the same image on Instagram, Facebook, Blog, Google My Business – with the same text. I tend to write the text in one platform, copy and paste it to each platform with slight modifications as appropriate. This is the key to effective time management and consistency. It must be easy to do and you can’t think about it, as Nike says “Just Do It.” I will change the filter on the image, use a B&W image on some platforms and color on others, easy small differences that will keep your content distribution fresh and ubiquitous. Developing a good process is critical to your success. I take pictures on my iPhone regularly and edit them lightly in PSExpress on my phone, write short posts that provide enough information without wearing down the reader (this is a very long post for me) and use relevant key words within the text. Yes, you should change the voice to match the platform and use hashtags when appropriate. Your process must be simple.

We all have the same stumbling blocks, it is ok that you don’t know what you are doing or can’t fully understand how to create a post on Google My Business, start today. Your metrics at the end of the year will be positively effected by the work you start doing now. Google My Business isn’t the only solution, you can effectively do this with your own blog. If you can post in both places, you increase the chance of being found. Look for some lemons, find some friends, increase your SEO with this technique.

Good Habits Start Now

New Year and a New Opportunity to create positive habits. Our habits determine the quality of our life. Our habits determine our happiness. The image below contains the symbol for happiness, this image was all over Vietnam, a constant reminder.

Here are 3 tips for creating positive habits in your life.

  1. Consistency – whether you do something once a week or every day, be consistent in your time and day. This will reduce conflicts and excuses, put it on your calendar and it becomes official.
  2. Be Realistic – differentiate between goals and habits, your goals don’t need to be realistic to happen, your habits must be! If you can’t wake up before 7, forget about the 6am yoga class. If you have an hour commute every day, listening to podcasts may be habit forming.
  3. Speak Up – share what you are doing with friends, neighbors, co-workers and social media. You will find support when you need it, inspiration and advice to develop your habits.

As someone who grew up with a father in AA, I have always been aware of the power of addiction. I choose to see it as habit and with intention create positive habits. If I can get myself to do anything 3x, it is fully at risk of “becoming a habit.” I have to be careful and conscious with my habits, as do all of us. This is the time of year to create new positive habits, I am starting with basics like diet and exercise and to do lists. Get clear about your habits and make them positive! Happiness is one positive habit away.

From Full Moon Fever to WildFlowers

Think of me what you will, I have a little space to fill. Tom Petty

Senior year in high school, Tom Petty helped me find my way into the University of Michigan, I was Runnin’ Down A Dream, Free Falling and I knew no matter what happened I Won’t Back Down. Singing loudly in the back seat of cars, the rolling bass and jangling guitar was the bandaid being ripped off of my innocence. Music has always spoken directly to me, the stories helped me understand the physical and emotional changes I could not communicate with my own words.

In college, I lost too many dollars to the BMG music club, finding comfort in the shiny CDs that arrived providing clarity on the most confusing days. As each year passed my taste evolved thru the pulsating rhythms of Detroit techno and warehouse parties to the Full Moon raves of California and House music with a healthy “dose” of the Grateful Dead. It was a long strange trip indeed.

I landed in San Francisco in 1994, with a degree in Communications, debt, 2 turntables a mixer and a sound system, determined to play great music as loud as possible. My eclectic taste had me buying Deep House from Chicago, Trance and Ambient from Europe, Jazz and Soul from the 60s and 70s, and of course WildFlowers from Tom Petty. It was uncanny how his music spoke to my heart, helping me thru the longest nights and getting me from work to the sunsets of Ocean Beach. The cry for freedom was real and I was determined to get lost in San Francisco.

Over the years Tom Petty stayed relevant in my life at random moments, always a good soundtrack at work or on a road trip, but never as important as those anti-climactic years of transition. I was inspired when the Heartbreakers played 30 nights at The Fillmore, before recording their next album. I marveled at the genius of getting tight as a band and playing thru all of your music for people who knew every note. I was deep in other music and still regret not getting to some of those shows.

It was sad, yet strangely not shocking when I heard Tom Petty died. It almost seemed like a miracle he had lived so long. He told us decades ago it was Good To Be King and that we should “get to the point, roll another joint, and let’s head on down the road, there’s somewhere I have to go and you don’t know how it feels to be me.” As I look at my neighbors, friends and family, I remind myself everyone is fighting their own battle to be happy and healthy. There are moments of strength and moments of despair and pain. Like the ecstatic moments, these moments pass by like the fog rolling over the headlands into Sausalito and Mill Valley.

This is a year of opportunity, a chance to create the life we need and want for our planet and ourselves. I know there will be challenges I don’t move past, choices I will have to make and results I don’t want. I also know that I “belong among the wildflowers…somewhere you’ll feel free.” Some days I am so far from the answer I walk trying to remember what the question is. I remind myself to pursue experiences, document life and support people who need help. 

As Tom Petty told us in Wake Up Time, the last song of WildFlowers, “if you follow your feelings, you follow your dreams, you might find the force, there in the trees, yeah you’ll be alright, it’s just gonna take time.” Ok, it will take a lot of work, sweat, tears, failures, hugs and high fives. While I want to feel all the feels this year, I also want to be less reactive. This is the space between, the place I will fill.  Set some goals and do your best, because “even the losers, get lucky some time.”

This Kid

I don’t always take photos of myself, but when I do I try and smile. I walked around the lake in Hanoi, Vietnam, unable to sleep due to the time change. The lake was serene, yet all around me people were dancing together, doing fitness classes, tai chi, random 6am. City life is real. Wake up early, do “stuff,” it will make you live longer and feel better. What. Ever. You. Want. Even in Socialist Vietnam, people do whatever they want at 6am. Think of its as Freedom.