Hustle & Flow. My theme of the year, and boy-oh-boy did it deliver. I may even adopt it as a life motto :) A few changes on the horizon as I wrap up 2014 . . . A bittersweet send-off: I am stepping aside as Director of Operations for SpringUps, the urban farming company that I was doing part-time consulting for during much of this year. I absolutely loved working with John and Christian—we all had so much fun diving in to a new industry, getting to know the food scene in New York City, and building the business from the ground up. Now that SpringUps' main systems, infrastructure and communications are up-and-running, I am stepping back to focus the lion's share of my attention on The Pivot Method, related speaking and workshops, and launching an exciting new complimentary program in 2015 (stay tuned!). This opportunity was such a blessing for me this year, and a huge part of what rejuvenated my own sense of momentum and excitement. Above all, I'm grateful to be walking away with two incredible friendships with men who are like family to me now.
Speaking of writing and launching, I've been planning a secret "workcation" escape to Southeast Asia for January and part of February. This trip is not social or touristy, but rather a sunny sojourn out of the scrum of New York City for some much-needed peace, quiet, writing, and yoga. Travel is always so important in my process of sparking new ideas and perspectives, and I am looking forward to the more peaceful, creative ease that I tend to feel out there. If you have a career pivot story that you want so submit for my book, it is not too late! I'd love to hear it—fill out this Google Form. I would also be grateful for you to share with friends who have interesting stories too!
I'm also helping to coordinate a yoga retreat in Italy with my New York City angel, Ann Turi, at her villa in Panni next August. If you are interested, learn more here. To Ann: thank you for being such a wonderful friend, and happy birthday month—you are FABULOUS!
Reflection & Planning Resources
- Bloggers: I've updated the highly-requested Website Editorial Calendar Template for 2015, with a second tab that mirrors what Marisol and I use for social media planning on big campaigns (here's a full guide to How I Work with My Communications Director and my VA)
- Template to kick-start 2015: 15 Thought-Starters for the Year Ahead
- Susannah Conway's Unravelling the Year Ahead 2015 workbook and calendar (h/t Monica) and free Find Your Word for 2015 course
What Can I Create for You This Year?
It is important to me not to create in a vacuum, but rather have an ongoing two-way conversation with all of you. If you have a minute, I would love for you to answer two quick questions about what you'd like to see on JennyBlake.me in 2015. Everyone who answers will be entered to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards for your reading pleasure!
- My good friend (and crazy-talented business brainstorm buddy) Ryan Stephens on How and Why I Track My Life
- Wired says In Silicon Valley, Meditation Is No Fad. It Could Make Your Career.
- Need an app for that? Check out Lucent and our free four-day meditation kick-start course
- Speaking of Lucent, big thanks to Laura Garnett for featuring us in her Inc.com round-up of 10 Innovative Gift Ideas to Help Someone's Performance at Work
- Alexandra Franzen provides extra cawfee tawk kindling with 100 Questions to spark conversation & connection
- I'm interested in how our society defines existential "life crises" because I see them accelerating as our economy continues to be transformed by technology. The Atlantic examines the "U-Curve" of mid-life and how to navigate it: The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis:
"If you had described my own career to me as someone else’s, or for that matter if you had offered it to me when I was just out of college, I would have said, “Wow, I want that!” Yet morning after morning (mornings were the worst), I would wake up feeling disappointed, my head buzzing with obsessive thoughts about my failures. I had accomplished too little professionally, had let life pass me by, needed some nameless kind of change or escape.
My dissatisfaction was whiny and irrational, as I well knew, so I kept it to myself. When I thought about it—which I did, a lot—I rejected the term midlife crisis, because I was holding a steady course and never in fact experienced a crisis: more like a constant drizzle of disappointment. What annoyed me most of all, much more than the disappointment itself, was that I felt ungrateful, the last thing in the world I was entitled to be."
- Infographic of Mason Currey's research on the daily rituals of hundreds of creatives
- I happen to love Whole Foods (it's my happy place!) but this classic post is always good for a few laughs: Surviving Whole Foods (h/t Elisa)
- This revealing look at the micro-polish of celebrities' bodies and faces in movies made my jaw drop: Everyone is altered: The secret Hollywood procedure that has fooled us for years:
"Hollywood has always carefully guarded its vanity magic tricks. Diet pills, plastic surgery and Botox were Beverly Hills’ pretty little secrets before they were accepted as the norm. But the entertainment industry’s latest glamour miracle — a technique so effective that nearly every movie star has started using it — has stayed underground for more than a decade.
It’s called “beauty work.” It's a digital procedure of sorts, in which a handful of skilled artists use highly specialized software in the final stages of post-production to slim, de-age and enhance actors’ faces and bodies.
'Nobody looks like what you see on TV and in the movies. Everybody is altered,' says Claus Hansen, a beauty-work pioneer."
- Y-Combinator co-founder Paul Graham on Mean People Fail
- Taking some time off? Here's Dan Andrews' Brief Guide to Being Bad at Email
- Evernote Quick Tip: How to stay organized by creating notebook stacks
- Dorie Clark put together an awesome resource guide for entrepreneurial professionals: The Apps, Productivity Tools, Products & Services I Use
- Warren Buffett's 9 rules for running a business
- The Atlantic on Happiness At Work: What Matters Most? "Two-thirds of adults said they would take a job with less pay if it offered shorter hours and more flexibility."
- The New York Times rounds up The Best Start-Ups of 2014
- Huge congrats to my friend Kyle, who officially launched the new and improved OurDeal.com! It's a fantastic one-stop contract marketplace—great for solopreneurs and small business owners.
- Seth Godin’s latest Skillshare course: Become a Connector: The Impresario Institute
- Loved this Business Insider interview with Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his take on experimentation and failure:
"One of my jobs is to encourage people to be bold. It’s incredibly hard. Experiments are, by their very nature, prone to failure. A few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work.
Bold bets — Amazon Web Services, Kindle, Amazon Prime, our third-party seller business — all of those things are examples of bold bets that did work, and they pay for a lot of experiments."
- DROOL. Love me some vertical (and color-coded!!) book stacks. Check out Studio Jelly's digital Library.
- Tim Ferriss rounds-up The Unusual Books That Shaped Billionaires, Mega-Bestselling Authors, and Other Prodigies
- 99u just released—Make Your Mark: The Creative's Guide to Building A Business with Impact. Here's an excerpt on becoming a lean mean learning machine.
Just for Fun
An oldie but such a goodie! Jimmy Kimmel has parents prank their kids on Christmas with terrible presents: [youtube id="q4a9CKgLprQ"]
"It's a barbie . . . you broke my heart!"