work-life parallel > work-life balance

10-plus years in the making.

At first, I didn’t even consider actually pursuing work-life parallel. I just thought it was a neat idea. I mean, think about it—instead of keeping work and life equal, yet separate, and constantly at-odds for balance, the two align and become leverage. What’s not to love about that?

I started by chasing the money when I graduated college. Good experience. Bad idea.

I tried finding a job that was car-related—but wasn’t sales or service. I washed (and sometimes rented out) cars for Enterprise. I sold aftermarket parts and shitty body kits for Motorweb. I ran early CRM, ERP, and SCM communities for Toolbox.

Believe it or not, I was fired twice between graduating college and Toolbox. I think both times were on V’s birthday, too. (Not the best memories, to be sure, but to show it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows.)

I wasn’t cut out for waste water engineering head hunting by cold calling in the Carolinas. And the new management at Toolbox didn’t think online community leaders should participate in the online communities they were leading. (Might explain why you’ve never heard of them.)

Over the course of the decade, my thinking evolved—

  • from “work-life parallel is a neat idea” at Apollo Group
  • to “work-life parallel is possible” at LeadMD
  • to “Holy shit. I’m work-life parallel” at ClearVoice.

So what is work-life parallel?

It’s where what you do for a living is what you would otherwise do for fun.

But it’s more than that. I love drifting turbocharged, AWD Mitsubishis on dirt roads—but there are precious few paid seats available for that train. I like writing, publishing, and marketing—and I’ve been doing it on the side for years. Now I spend my days helping fellow marketers get things written and published through technology that empowers freelancers to be their own bosses. Win-win-win.

But it’s more than that, too. It’s a framework. It’s a way of looking at ourselves and the world around us. It’s a way of figuring out where we are—right now—so we know which direction to go next.

Reflection > Exploration > Discovery > Action > Documentation. That’s how you do it.

Guess what I’m going to be talking about next week…

A difference is the only thing worth making.

Truly.

Yesterday, I wrapped things up with one of my favorite thoughts—business exists to make a difference. Today I’d like to explain what I mean by that.

Our days are filled with marketing messages for what I can only describe as thoughtless, lowest common denominator, derivative crap. The Uber of this. The Twitter of that. Another “new and improved”, “professional grade”, “platinum-premium buzzword” commodity nobody gives a rat’s ass about at the end of the day.

All these products are supposed to make a difference in people’s lives. Maybe they do.

Toothpaste makes a difference. So does toilet paper. So does any cloud-based, data-driven, predictive customer analytics martech offering designed to help you accelerate and scale and grow your sales pipeline. (read: Likely 90% of them.)

You’ve experienced this profit-first mentality. Probably today.

  • If you used a self-checkout kiosk.
  • If you were unable to shop a third ISP.
  • If you spoke to a customer service rep who couldn’t help you.

Business spends an inordinate amount of money trying to scale sales and marketing. But what if they shifted that investment into making a legitimate difference in the customer’s life?

What if everyone got a real person on the phone within two rings, who was not only an expert on both company and product/service—but also empowered to resolve any and all customer issues with complete autonomy?

What if you really could vote with your wallet and fire that rat bastard ISP that raises your rate more than they improve your service, and go with a more affordable, more privacy-focused, local competitor that actually appreciates your business?

I’m not saying it’s easy—especially not scaling this sort of thing—but it’s the kind of business I want to build one day. Product and services truly worth owning sell themselves—through honest word of mouth.

If you make a widget, even if it’s a variation on a dozen widgets already in the marketplace, I think you should stand out by caring about the results your customers get more than you care about the margin you make on the sale.

Yeah, you need those margins. I know. But at the end of the day, results that fucking matter are all that matters. Make a difference in the customer’s life and you’ve got a customer FOR life.

(You can see how this pairs with my definition of success.)

#nlgs18: Getting up at 5AM *every* day.

A look back at small success.

A couple months back, I realized I’m a morning person.

Just kidding. Morning has its charms, for sure, but there is little pleasantry in being awake when your body would rather not be. Ideally, we could all just go to bed and wake up when we felt like it.

I realized it makes more sense for me to get up early to work on GBXM than to workout. It’s easy to get online. It’s not easy to get up and do something you don’t want to do.

And if GBXM takes off, I’ll be able to plan exercise wherever it works for me. Not having to commute, alone, would put nearly two hours back in my day. And it would truly be MY day for once.

In any case, the urgency of getting #nlgs18 launched on schedule has proven beneficial.

Monday and Tuesday were rough. P work up with bad dreams or such just before five both days.

Wednesday was the first day my alarm woke me. It also wakes V. Who is fine with it when I actually get up.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday? I just woke up between 4:50 and 4:58AM, dismissed the alarm, and got to work.

Sunday too. So I went an entire week getting up at 5AM—even on the weekend, when I could have slept in. I run out of steam a lot earlier in the evening than I did last week, and I’ve been staying up later (often to 11PM) recording podcasts, but I’m easily getting an extra day out of the week just for GBXM stuff—a full eight hours of effort.

#nlgs18dones

  • email signup form: done (enough)
  • landing page: done (enough)
  • announce & get some players: done (enough)

Small success. Now to turn it into a big one. It’s time to purchase a Learning Management System, connect it to my forum, and start building activities. (And, put on my Marketer hat to get the word out.)

There’s a simple signup form and no-bs explanation of #nlgs18 here, by the way:

#NLGS18