Photo by Vladimir Kudinov (Creative Commons)

Why I’m Ready to Be Braver This Year

We’re already 14 days into the new year – are you on track? I AM! Know my secret? I didn’t make any resolutions. (I never do.)  So thus far I’m 100% on track, haha. :) No, I don’t have resolutions but I do have some big goals. And they feel so aspirational that they are scary.

This is an unusual post for me. Against many wise friends’ advice, I still feel compelled to share it with you. I have tried to understand why. The best sense I can make of this compulsion is that I have no idea if I can actually do any of these goals. This might be the last I see of them! So in case they are fleeting, I want to mark the occasion and enjoy the optimism while it lasts.

Also I feel I need to own these goals in order to achieve them, even though I might fail. This level of thinking and risk feels like shift in me, and that shift is one I’ve witnessed, wistfully, in a lot of friends before me. I’d always crazy admired their bravery for trying things they might fail at, but I never thought I’d experience the courage to attempt it myself. Still don’t know if I have the courage to follow through but at least today I have the courage to admit that I’m thinking about it.

Now: merely talking about doing something means very little, we all know that. Action is all that matters. But like an addict must admit they have a problem, admitting you have a goal seems like a necessary first step in recovery. For me, this is the first step in many towards the recovery of being true to myself, as an artist.

For me 2015 was a year of huge progress. My husband Roy, 3 year old son Soren and I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles just in time to have our second child. Keep Reading

What I did in 2015

Since sooo much happened in 2015 and I was admittedly terrible about keeping people updated about my whereabouts and whatuptos, here’s a quick update for my friends. This is what I was up to in 2015.

• Said goodbye to an amazing era in San Francisco (2000 bubble to 2015 bubble, that’s 15 years less three stints living abroad!)

• Bought an awesome old house (our first time owning!) and moved close to my family near the beach in L.A.. Developed a watch tan and a flip flop tan for the first time since the year 2000.

• Grew my business (Kickass Enterprises) even as I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Coached some incredibly inspiring founders about getting their businesses to the next level, and helped my startup clients grow. Popped champagne as one of them, Aspiration, became one of the fastest growing startups in financial technology history (Techcrunch).

• Had a beautiful, endlessly smiley little baby girl (Arrow, now 6 months). In my living room, with an amazing team of midwives, with no drugs.

• Spent a lot more time with my son (Soren, now 4.5 years) than ever before, since I wasn’t working as much while I was on maternity leave and busy remodeling and nesting. Wow. I saw an amazing impact of the mere time together on his entire being. We created a little “art studio” for him in our house and watched how the design of his space becomes the contents of his life and his mind. POWERFUL STUFF.

These big changes were super positive and like all great changes brought unexpected consequences. For me one of the biggest was a different mindset and sense of what I need to do on earth. Which kinda scared the pants off of me.   

caneel gorilla

I Could Tell Some Really F*&)(&ing Personal Stories. (Please weigh in.)

 

I write a lot about how and why to do things at work – I’ve explored the academic, the productive, and the professional. But this post is different. It’s the beginning of exploring the personal. 

The oldest writing advice in the world is “Write What You Know.” Reflecting on this, I decided to take a wild leap and begin to share the deep down dirty stuff here… the stuff that’s important to ME as a PERSON. The stuff that I know more about now – because I just went through it – than I ever will again. I feel a volcanically strong urge to bring these ideas and this temporary form of “life expertise”, opinion, and passion out into the world.

But spewing personal hot lava is not very professional and while it certainly informs me it’s not what my business is about. So I’ve built a new home for my work writings at Kickass Enterprises and am going to start taking over this blog with the rest of my ideas. And I have a lot of those ideas and opinions that I haven’t been sharing. Until now. Keep Reading

Creativity Hacks: Five steps to using constraints to solve problems fast

Boxed

“Think outside the box.” That advice is about as helpful under time pressure as telling a three year old to “calm down!” in the middle of a tantrum. We all want to be creative when we face tricky problems, but how?

Many creativity experts advise opening your mind to wacky ideas, and creating a sense of total freedom when you’re brainstorming. I’m here to argue for the opposite: Limitations actually help you create new ideas and solve big tricky problems. Why? My research suggests that too much freedom is actually paralyzing – it provides too many choices and our brains get overwhelmed.  Limitations, or constraints, help you unleash creativity inside your own brain, and inside your team.

I was recently interviewed on the Thrivecast podcast about using constraints to get creative in solving business problems. (All forms of creative work, from running a startup to launching a new innovation demands creative problem solving, and running an innovative accounting practice like the Thrivecast advocates is no different!)

Here are some of the tips that came out of the conversation. Give them a try. Keep Reading

Design is an Organizational Behavior Challenge

What do top universities, international airlines, and the California DMV have in common? Answer: Terrible websites, with so much hierarchy in their navigation scheme that accomplishing a basic task requires a black belt in enterprise bureaucracy.  Why do companies with so many resources at their disposal have such a hard time producing good design?

Simple, clean UX design is hard work. Sometimes you just have to lock yourself up for a week to figure out how to make the complex look simple. But getting design done in a huge enterprise – where stakeholders are spread across departments with decades of political history dividing their interests – is a total bitch.

Keep Reading