About What Happened in Vegas...


Hey, good morning. First of all, thank you for the great comments and private messages about Monday's post. I spend a lot of time thinking about and producing a wide range of creative content that always ties back to the consistent theme of work. Along with finding the right spectrum, ranging from choosing a work wardrobe to men's take on paternity leave, sometimes I feel self-conscious about personal story telling vs. practicality, the obvious vs. insightful, etc. All that to say: I am happy that the diet tweak resonated with many of you. 

Today, I'm taking things in yet an entirely different direction, really testing this spectrum. I've had a burning desire to write about scale through a couple lenses, like scaling a business or social networks... And today, I'm going to write about scale through a sad and difficult lens: destruction.

I'm going to present "scale" via a few lenses to you, via a mini-series that will go live over the next couple Thursdays. On the surface today's article may not appear tied to work, but stay with me if you will. The common thread reveal itself as the series unfolds...


I woke up on Monday morning and was surprised to learn that the largest mass shooting in the history of the U.S. had happened overnight in Las Vegas. And I admit to you: to use the word "surprised" sounds like an understatement, but for me, it's significant. Last year, I embarrassingly admitted to a couple of close friends that shootings and terrorist attacks don't rattle me as much as I know they should.

When I realized this about myself, I was rightly alarmed that I couldn't seem to feel the pain of others in the empathetic way that I should. For goodness sake, I was one block away from the Boston Marathon attack; I heard the bomb explode and felt the ground shake, saw the FBI black cars speeding past me, and finally sprinted down the course searching for my now-husband who was running. You'd think that I'd be able to recall the personal terror on-demand. 

Amidst my "what is wrong with me?" self-analysis, I realized that I was 12 years old when the Oklahoma City Bombings occurred. I was 16 during the Columbine shooting. And at 18 I watched live footage of September 11th on my high school library's TV. History-altering events that showcased the worst side of humanity began for me in fifth grade. I expect them.

For me, one of the main connections between all these is: they were attacks from afar, en masse. Not one of these mentioned killers had the courage or ambition to kill another close up, while looking into his victim's eyes. The pain was all inflicted from a distance, while some coward hid behind a veil - a detonator switch, an airplane, a gun.


Have you heard of the Trolley Dilemma? It's an ethical dilemma, posed by British philosopher Philippa Foot in the 1960s. It embarks to answer: is it more wrong to kill five people than one person?

And because I've grown up with horrible events inflicted at a distance, the secondary question posed at the very end has always intrigued me more than the first:

Why does it feel less wrong to kill one or five people by flipping a switch - at a distance - than it does to kill one person by physically touching him, pushing him into the trolley tracks?

When you take away weapons of mass destruction or even the keyboard courage that some feel when they're hiding behind the veil of social media, it is difficult to do wrong to another. It is morally, mentally, and physically more difficult. Whether we're talking about life and death or an internet troll, take away the wrong-doer's distance, and (s)he would never EVER have the courage to perform the same heinous act up close - if forced to look into the eyes of a fellow human being.



photo via Studio 21 Tattoo

video via BBC Radio 4


The Diet Tweak that Shot My Productivity through the Roof

Once upon a time, I moved to London. I lived there for three gray and cloudy years, and my time there changed many facets of my life: my career, my understanding of other cultures, and even my body. 


When I arrived in the U.K. back in March 2014, I was alone for the first four months. Although my partner promised that he was on his way, the unrelenting pessimist inside taunted me, day in and day out. I tried ignoring her by pouring all my attention into building a new business for my company. After all, that's what I was there to do. But when I wasn't in the office, I was mostly crying into my pillow, wondering if I'd meet people and if my partner would ever board that one way flight.


So, how did I gracefully deal with all this distraction and fear, while slowly chipping away at work that had no end in sight? 

I ate my feelings, of course.


I've always wondered about those people: those mystical human beings who lose weight when they're stressed. It's a concept that I simply do not understand. They say that they lose their appetite. But in case you're unfamiliar with stress eating, let me educate you: it does not require an appetite. You just shovel in food.

However, after many years of this habit that brought me much shame, a noticed something new about myself when stress eating: I became aware of how my body felt and how my actions impacted the way my brain functioned. I had a big job to do at work, and all the Oreos were stifling my performance. I constantly had a dull headache, I was irritable and emotional, and I was deeply unhappy. All these things affected every area of my life, including my productivity.


Around that time, I came across U.K.-based nutritionist Chris Sandel. After learning more about his approach, I decided that it was time to invest in help. Four years later, I maintain that working with him was one of the best investments I've made. I learned about myself in several dimensions: my belief system; how my sleep, temperature, and energy are all physiologically intertwined; and of course, food. 


Chris embedded knowledge and habits in me that I actively use today, which has made me content (dare I say: even happy) with my body and brain.

So I wanted to share one of his most impactful, actionable diet tweaks that has created tangible productivity outcomes in me. It's not complicated, but it does take some habit formation and planning:


Eat more protein. Especially at breakfast.


So simple it's almost underwhelming, right? I'm quickly leaving my personal circle of knowledge, but allow me take it one step further. After my intensive six months of client work with Chris ended, I took the new foundation that he created in me and layered on experimentation with other programs, like Tim Ferriss's 4 Hour Body. Although Tim's program in its complete form is all wrong (for me), his iteration on this protein commandment took my body and brain to the next level:


1. Eat breakfast within one hour of waking - ideally, within 30 minutes.

2. Include >20g of protein in breakfast - equivalent to three eggs or a generous scoop of vegan protein.


Since I've incorporated this tweak into my routine, I stay full until lunchtime, have stabilized and constant energy throughout the morning and afternoon, and have an extra edge that allows me to go mentally deep into each problem that I'm trying to solve in and out of the office. 



PS - Hopefully it goes without saying that (a) I am not a doctor nor nutritionist and (b) I recognize that everybody, and every body is different.

For me, having low maintenance weekday morning habits are critical, so I cook the pictured protein-packed muffins each Sunday, then re-heat and pair with a smoothie each day of the week. This how I personally am able to integrate this advice into my routine in an easy, doable way.



Tale of the Two Wolves


I'm currently in the throws of training for a big race. A couple weeks ago, during the peak of training, and running like shit. Or shall I say: I felt like shit. I was sick of running four times a week, the paces felt too fast, and my body and mind were being tortured.

I've been thinking so much about psychology lately; and after barely eeking out 12 miles one morning, I texted a friend to confide, "My mindset sucks right now."

I read this sweet and wise fable a year ago, and it's stuck with at times like this, when my mindset is so off. It could be affecting my running or my company's 2018 growth plans.

I reflect: am I getting sucked into giving my energy to negative feelings, situations, or people? Or am I putting in the effort to "feed" habits and mindsets that will breed my desired result, like the grandfather advises below?


"An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. 'A fight is going on inside me,' he said to the boy. 'It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.'
He continued, 'The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you- and inside every other person too.'
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
'Which wolf will win?'
The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.'" - Cherokee Legend


Photo from Bungalow Classic