By now you’ve probably at least heard the name Marie Kondo, the Japanese decluttering expert who’s been trending all over social media. People are binging episodes of “Tidying Up,” her Netflix Original series and if you haven’t been able to follow along, you should definitely watch this clip of her with Colbert on the Late Show, surely to give you some insight. Dubbed the KonMari method, Marie reveals that the root of decluttering is in finding joy, not just in the items you own, but within your heart.

Marie begins each episode greeting and thanking the home, a silent moment of gratitude, before she helps her new clients prepare for the journey ahead of them. She takes a simplistic approach when it comes to spreading awareness of organization: “the KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.”

In addition to tidying (and teaching Americans how to fold their clothes so that their dresser drawers look incredible) Marie also speaks to productivity: the art of being organized doesn’t just lie within the walls of you home or your workspace, but within your mind. In one of her blog posts Marie explains to maximize productivity and be most efficient, she sets up routines that spark joy and align with her goals, currently of which include being able to spend more time with her children. From a macro perspective on long term goals, she begins with how to spend her time in years then progressively works toward quarters, months, and weeks- and finally works through daily routines. If you don’t have time to read through her whole blogpost here are her five tips that keep her productive while balancing work and family/personal life.

  1. Start Your Morning With Good Energy- Examples include opening the windows for fresh air and getting dressed in something that makes you feel confident.
  2. Make a Daily To-Do List- Include everything on your list, from folding the laundry to answering emails. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel incredibly accomplished after seeing all the checkmarks next to each completed task.
  3. Coordinate With Your Partner- If you have a roommate or significant other, discussing a household to-do list is a helpful habit. Not only is it a way to share what you’ve already accomplished so it doesn’t get repeated, but it also allows you to express gratitude towards each other. Though a spreadsheet might be useful in the beginning, establishing your rhythm can be helpful to figure out which tasks are best suited for each person.
  4. Clear Your Mind- When I have too many thoughts I’m trying to focus on, I like to write down everything, creating a place to hold all the information and free up the space in my head. Other activities to clear your mind might include exercising or cleaning.
  5. Create a Nighttime Routine- Bedtime isn’t just for kids. Creating a routine for winding down in the evening has many benefits, your health included. When everything has a designated home (laundry bin, papers in folders, etc) you get to head to bed knowing everything is where it’s supposed to be. Marie even suggests thanking them for their hard work. Your evening routine can also involve reading, diffusing oils, or writing in a journal.

In her conclusion: “Prioritizing what sparks joy is at the heart of all the tips I shared above. Keeping this philosophy at the center of everything I do helps me focus on what I value. If you are struggling to figure out what sparks joy for you, my first piece of advice is to tidy your home. Once you are done tidying up, you will find it easier to keep your home – and mental space – clear and focused. By being surrounded only by the things that spark joy, your life naturally begins to achieve clarity.”

If you’re interested in reading other things about KonMari, I really enjoyed this article as well. We’d love to hear your thoughts about how finding joy has been influencing your day. Drop us a comment!

A while back we hosted the Madrona Open Pitch event with special guest Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow Group, moderated by Shauna Causey and Mike Fridgen with Madrona Venture Labs. Before the event, Spencer, Shauna, Mike and I had a conversation and got on the topic of our children. It was kind of amusing to notice that the common thing among each of us was how we introduce and expose our children to entrepreneurship in some form.

Spencer shared that one month ago he started a podcast with his 10 year old son Luke. The podcast is called “Dad, I have a question!” In their podcast, Luke asks questions and then they proceed to have a conversation about it. Some of the topics are: Taxes, Savings, What is Blockchain, and the current topic is What are Unions (but not specifically State of the Union)…

If you want to listen to this podcast you can find “Dad I have a question” podcast on things like Anchor and Spotify!

We also talked a little bit about how as our children grow older we want to have different things that allow us to stay connected to them. I know that is so important to me. I would love to be able to explore different fun adventurous ways to connect with them. Some of the ideas that come to mind are doing a joint podcast, helping them create a YouTube Channel, or build a Amazon or Shopify Storefront and sell LEGO collectibles on it. All these things would be insanely fun me and with the intention of them really enjoying it too!

If you would like to see/hear the talk from “How I built my Seattle Startup” there’s a podcast by Shauna Causey and Mike Fridgen taking with Spencer Rascoff!

I was walking with a coworker during our weekly 1:1 (I highly recommend doing this btw), and the subject of imposter syndrome came up. We were recalling times being in new roles and having this unfounded “what if I don’t know what I’m doing” thought looming in the background. I’ve spoken with friends and clients for years about this concept and have come to the conclusion it’s happened to many us do, and often.

Imposter syndrome, also known by imposterism (and a slew of other similar names), is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. According to this article I found in Psychology Today, it’s not an actual disorder, “but the term was coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978, when they found that despite having adequate external evidence of accomplishments, people with imposter syndrome remained convinced that they don’t deserve the success they have.”

This great post shares an interpretation of imposter syndrome in that it has multiple faces. In the article it describes how expert Dr. Valerie Young has categorized imposter syndrome into subgroups: the Perfectionist, the Superwoman/man, the Natural Genius, the Soloist, and the Expert and I challenge you to find yourself in the descriptions. Whether you are the CEO, web developer, wedding photographer, or entrepreneur inventor, the potential that you will be afflicted with imposter syndrome is high. Maya Angelou, Howard Schultz, and Sheryl Sandberg have even admitted to struggling with this phenomenon. As your resident health coach I’m happy to share that there are ways to get relief and build up the muscles to overcome it though. Take the time to remember that everyone feels imposterism and to combat it, practice positive self talk to remind yourself of your badass accomplishments and skills. Everyone is good at a lot of things and you are quite likely really good at the work to do. Your accomplishments didn’t happen due to chance, seduction, or some other external factor so don’t let imposter syndrome deceive you.

Check out this short Ted Talk video about imposter syndrome that I really enjoyed and if you have any advice or comments I’d love to see them below.

On December 10, 2018 Geekwire published an article about Microsoft seating first in Forbes ‘Just 100’ list of most responsible companies. To learn this, Forbes partnered with Just Capital and asked 81,000 Americans what they want to see most from America’s largest companies. Among the top answers were fair pay, treating customers well (while keeping their information private), environmental friendliness, and commitment to diversity. Of 890 of the largest publicly-traded companies, Microsoft ranked #1 which shows that while taking public interest to heart, it continues to grow economically and in public consciousness.

Categories where Microsoft did exceedingly well:

  • Environment – minimize pollution, reduce waste, and protect the planet
  • Worker Treatment – keeping worker pay and treatment at the heart of just business practices
  • Customers – maintaining fair treatment, privacy, and honest sales terms
  • Leadership – prioritizing ethical leadership and value creation 
  • Communities – providing community support at home and abroad

Though Microsoft like any other company has room to grow, the most noteworthy category I found was where they ranked lowest: products.

  • Products and services should be high quality, fairly priced, and beneficial to society.

Entrepreneurs create companies because they have a passion for an idea or product; success often follows if they can solve a problem facing their target market. Having been involved in the software industry for decades, Microsoft’s strong brand awareness and reputation for great products have kept them in competitive business all these years. Because of this it’s rather shocking to see that they ranked so low in the product category. If not for their product, why are their customers so loyal and their brand first-rate?

In an interview that came long the rankings, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told Forbes in an interview “People are finally coming around to saying, ‘it’s not just the surplus you’ve created for yourself. What’s the state of the world around you?’ That’s where I feel like we’re at our best.”  With this is mind it seems ever more relevant to ask what your company is doing to support the state of the world around you? Having a product or service that solves a problem or that people enjoy is what put you into business, but how do you take it to the next level in how you give back to your employees, customers, and the environment. We’re curious at thinkspace what you’re doing and where you think you rank in these categories. Leave a comment below and let’s start a discussion on why your product isn’t always the sole driver of your company’s success.

 

 

thinkspace members who have met me know that I am Peter Chee’s assistant and that I’m relatively new to Seattle. What the majority of you won’t know is that my background is in holistic health and wellness along with a master’s degree in education. These concentrations share a common foundation in that your health and work ability/brain capabilities work united. A strong mind will allow you to create, innovate, inspire, and persevere; something that as an entrepreneur you should care about. A strong mind doesn’t come just because of mere force. In addition to practice, there are particular foods to eat that will continue to keep your brain strong and fighting disease that will allow you to keep charging away for many years to come, in business and in pleasure.

Through my health coaching program I learned a great deal from Dr. Neal Barnard, President and Founder of PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) and about how foods fuel us and either create health or disease. Deciding what goes on your lunch plate might seem insignificant, and while you might really want the bacon, beer, or birthday cake, I urge you to think about “brain foods” that will power you to be more successful, inventive, and robust.

What are some of these foods? The Cleveland Clinic suggests going green with “nutrients such as folate, lutein and nitrate that are found in foods such as spinach, lettuce and kale.” Dr. Barnard shares the importance of vitamin E found in nuts and seeds, and the anthocyanins that give grapes and berries their color. Each of these are foods that will add up to a big drop in the risk of cognitive problems Barnard states.

Eating well and plant-strong will keep your mind working hard for whatever new and exciting challenge presents itself next, and of course aid in heart health. As an entrepreneur working to build the perfect business, managing stress, long hours and late nights can take a toll and it’s easy to run through a drive through or cook comfort foods that have little nutrition. Though it does take a bit of an effort to start a meal plan or to prep vegetables, I’m here as your resident health coach to let you know that it gets easier with time and a sense of purpose. Head over to this online guide for endless recipes that are plant strong and enjoy the mental fortitude it will bring.

In December we held an event at thinkspace about personal branding. Alec Mountain, Meetup host and Founder of Product Blitz, shared insight and tips about personal branding: “the brand you build around yourself and ultimately, the reputation people come to know and expect from you.” Alec explained that reputation can make all the difference in helping you land more opportunities, create better connections, and live a more fulfilling lifestyle.

The personal branding trend can drive benefits to your company. Though I’m not a marketing professional, I do have fairly strong research skills and thought I’d invest some time into learning more about this trend. What I found was that there were three overarching themes in how to strengthen your personal brand: be an expert, be authentic, create content.

Be an expert. What are you you good at? What do people know you for? If you are able to answer this question, than you solved the first challenge, but now make sure you truly are an expert on it. Read about it, write about it, practice it. Your niche is out there and when you can dial in on the thing you are expert about, they will be out there looking for you. The more specific, the better. Imagine being in need of a vegan marathoner health coach (shameless plug). There can’t be too many of those out there and to dial that into my SEO will help those searching for me that much easier.

Be authentic. Speaking about your own experience can go a long way. Not only will followers and potential customers feel a connection to you, but they will also learn to trust you and your suggestions. That being said, content shouldn’t always be about marketing and trying to be “salesy.” Followers are interested in seeing what you do in your downtime, whether it’s hiking, snowshoeing, standup comedy, or where you eat.  For example, if you recently tried the new baked potato restaurant in Ballard, Papas Hot Potatoes, and want to scream about how exciting the menu is, make sure to share about it.

Create content. Without content, what do you have to share? Without content, what expertise are you able to offer? While blog posts such as this certainly count towards content, the ease and popularity of videos on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube make it a popular choice. Experts in the field claim it as the hottest piece of content to produce. Personal branding experts tell you to come up with a purpose for your video; choose whether you want to educate, entertain or inspire. I’ve created a few videos helping clients learn to cook basic meals, helping them overcome the initial intimidation of cooking from scratch.

Whatever the purpose, it’s most important to simply have one. Ultimately, personal branding is a vehicle to help build brand awareness and help you reach your goals. If content creation or personal branding is something you are passionate about, I’d love to hear what kind of content you create and invite you to share your expertise with the thinkspace community. Is your expertise in another area? I invite you to share it with us in your own guest blog post! Email thinkspace and let us know you’re interested.

Resources: Entrepreneur.com , Forbes.com, Briar Prestidge

 

 

 

 

Recently, I attended a workshop on Building a Predictable Sales Pipeline by Heinz Marketing. The focus was enablement strategies and tactics to increase your confidence in hitting your number month-after-month. The speaker was Matt Heinz who has over 20 years of marketing and sales experience translating strategy into execution and building a framework that allows your company to generate a net-new sales pipeline with predictability and at scale.

During the workshop, one of my questions was in a “boiler sales room” how many prospects does a sales person have to reach out to every single day, Matt’s response was 130-200 but you can’t have productive conversations. Since I’m not interested in creating a sales boiler room, I asked, what is a reasonable number of people that a sales person should be reaching out to on a daily basis? Matt said, that 40-50 people is considered to be reasonable.

This is the first time that I’ve heard anyone say a specific number. It’s 40 per day.

After hearing that number 40, I decided to start asking questions to sales people that call me. My question to a sale representatives at Outreach.io and to SalesForce.com was how many people do you reach out to regularly? They said about 40 people. They are also said that they are looking for seven (7) meaningful prospects each day of those 40. Meaningful is defined as someone that is genuinely interested in solving their problem with our solution. I also started to research the number 40 and found this: “The average sales rep makes 52 calls every day.” — The Bridge Group 

If you expect your sales people to reach out to 40 people per day, you’re going to need to have a good process. That means you’ve defined things well and you have a good sales sequence. Without a sequence that the team can follow, you’re going to end up with randomness, uneven results, and something that isn’t predictable at all. Sales sequence steps are things like 1) phone call. 2) voice mail. 3) email. 4) social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. 5) newsletters. 6) invitations to events. How many steps are in your sales sequence?

There’s a lot more which was covered by Matt and I’ll continue to blog more about that but I wanted to first touch on the number of prospects that your sales and business development people are reaching out to every day.

I’ve been tracking all my time while on a computer this week and it’s broken down to 30.5 hours. 49% of my time is spent on communication and scheduling, 21% on business, 11% on design and composition. I am very hopeful that hiring an executive assistant is going to be one of the best decisions I could make and I’m really excited about this. Have you hired an EA before? What was your experience? Here’s the JD for the position: https://bit.ly/2In7zPo

We’re down to the final stretch before our March 1st Lake Union launch. From the work side we’ve only got five offices left before we hit 100% pre-lease occupancy. We’ve got twelve days or 244 hours left!

From the personal side, I’ve run two half marathons in the last two weekends and tonight I went for a swim and covered 120 lengths, 3000 meters, or about two miles.

Mentally and physically, it’s time to give it all we’ve got. Be strong, maximum effort, set a new threshold, and get across the finish line.

Just finished a 14 mile run. However the first thing I did before I ran this AM was my Headspace sports meditation. The biggest opponent is always inside and my crazy has a loud voice. I believe that meditation and yoga makes me more resilient as an athlete and entrepreneur.

I feel like I’m on my way to being able to take on anything and later this year I’ll find out while I push equally hard to do an Ironman and raise money to grow and scale thinkspace. I’m starting to feel like I’m drawing power and energy from mediation + yoga and this isn’t “slowing down” or “self-care” but just another fuel source to ensure I can push harder, become even stronger, and increase my threshold.

For those of you that mediate or practice yoga, how does it help you as an entrepreneur and/or athlete?

As we launch our Lake Union location we’re doing both meditation and yoga at work and training for an Ironman. Join us?