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In reflecting upon my life and times lately, I’ve had a new thought about what has worked and what hasn’t and why. For others, and for myself. I think it has to do with a certain form of status and credibility.

When we look to others for answers (which is a favored pastime for most of us), we look to those who have been remarkably noticeable on their path. We’re seeking for those who are enough like us to see ourselves in them, but also enough unlike us to have an excuse for why we’re not where they are already. We want people who seem less burdened by our burdens, and more rewarded than we are. In short, we seek to follow the successful.

So we look for markers of success like riches or fame, or preferably both (and riches can always buy fame). Even in seeking spiritual teachers, we tend to look to those who are the well-marketed ones. The “easy to listen to” instead of the more enlightened but more everyday folks already around us. We like to find the prettier and semi-distant ones. Perhaps someday we could touch the hem of a garment, but never befriend them.

Looking at my own adventures, I see that while I have been very fortunate, I’ve actively avoided amassing any fortunes. Instead, I’ve worked on building communities and helping build for others. Anything of my own that I launched, I did at (or below) cost. I did profit often enough to get by, but I lost out and quietly walked away far more often. This lead to a cycle of debt that I am (sigh) yet again working my way out from now.

Then there’s fame. Growing up around fame as I did, I never sought to be famous. I knew too many famous people! I saw what fame cost and decided at a young age that I was unwilling to pay for this on the other end.

So I worked hard to develop a core set of strengths as a performer that I saw as within reach of those who came to see the show. Whenever people would come up to me and say something like “You’re amazing! I could never do that” yes I knew they meant it as a compliment, yet to me it was one of the most hurtful things I could hear — it was the polar opposite of what I was trying to accomplish. I wanted people to feel like they could do exactly what I was doing, as that was the point of me getting on stage in the first place. I wanted to build a bridge so that we could all play together, never lead just to have others follow. I didn’t want followers, what I wanted was friends.

As a thinker, designer, writer, speaker, coach, and all the other more mental things I’ve done, I wanted to be remarkable, but not really noticeably so. I wanted to empower others from a position that is a little closer than most people are comfortable with. And definitely while embracing more discomfort than most people are willing to put up with. I wanted to deal with what’s really going on in its raw and untidy form instead of the sanitized versions we usually like to present. I went in vulnerable and comfortable with an elevated degree of chaos, and I expected others to meet me there. With their intentions if not yet with their abilities.

I see now that things like this directly sabotaged the fame that I could have grown. At the time, I was perfectly fine with that. Proud, even! I was never a rebellious artist type, but in my own way I didn’t want to sell out. And I didn’t.

As a result, I didn’t sell much of anything. Then again, remember that I didn’t want to sell gobs of anything. The environmental impacts of making single-use or downcycled things kept me from making most of the things I envisioned. The social and personal impacts of serving any given need tends to simply displace the struggle-of-the-day that we focus on, and I wasn’t about to simply shuffle pain for profit like that. I wanted to sell just enough to keep people engaged and inspired and supplied on their own conscious journeys. Not following, but leading themselves, because this has the potential to shift the very nature of our struggles.

One thing I don’t think I ever tried to sell was a solution to a self-identified problem. I sold what I saw as true solutions to the underlying problems people would rather avoid acknowledging. Noble maybe, but a recipe for financial success it is not.

I kinda had a sense of most of this. And I was clear from the get go that I was a weirdo. People had told me this a lot from an early age, so for me it was factual statement and as close to a recognition of my true self as I was likely to get from folks. Call me a weirdo, and I’ll say “thank you” with a big smile.

What I didn’t understand is what this was costing me. In avoiding the costs of fame, I managed to find an anti-fame that cost nearly as much: almost no one wants to listen.

It’s hard to scale your impact when people don’t share it with others of their own accord. And if people can’t even describe what happened, then they can’t spread what happened — even if they do want to.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the work I’ve done over the years. Usually pretty quietly, always very intentionally. I’ve accomplished some pretty remarkable things, I think.

I wonder if, now in 2021, I might want anyone else to notice? Not for me, but for the work itself to go further than I myself can take it.

Perhaps it’s time for a new choice in this new year?

Your thoughts are valued. Comment below as you please.

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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 01/01/21)

Welcome to the new year…finally! I for one plan to use all that I’ve learned from the trainwreck of 2020 to do my very best by 2021.

What does that mean, specifically? Well, I’m doing a lot of reflecting, as I tend to do about this time of year. I’m looking at what worked and what didn’t, not only in the last year, but in life. I’m happy to report that I’m having some new thoughts and realizations. More posts to come on all that.

Along with this, my day job as Global Learning Technology & Analytics Manager for ConvaTec is taking a lot of my time and attention right now. Our main admin just quit, and I just hired someone new, and there’s a lot of chaos in the transition that I have to tend to personally this month. So that’s the main thing, and my main challenge will be in not working like I would work if it were my company…as in 80-100hrs per week. So I’m learning how to be a manager and how to let stuff drop. Lessons I’ve never really learned thus far in my mostly backwards, weird & wonderful life.

In case you missed it, I’m living in the middle of Utah, working as a full-time employee for the first time in my life as of last July. Crazy, huh?

While I likely won’t get to do much outside of this in January, because it’s enough (and because damn, it’s cold out right now!), I do have some personal projects still:
  • Learning Spanish = For this month, I’m focusing on complete mastery of my first 1000 words. I probably already have several hundred that fit in my mouth already, but I don’t really know what they are yet. After enjoying the book Ultralearning recently, I’m inspired to take a more rigorous approach. I have time set aside to work on this every day.
  • Gaining strength & losing weight = I’ve been mostly vegan for a year now. Though for the holidays, I did make exceptions for the traditional turkey and such. Then more exceptions for pies and treats and…you get the idea. I’ve also been tracking my weight for the last month, watching how it cycles through all this. In January, I plan to release 10lbs of fat and gain about that much muscle. So while my weight may not go down very much, I’m also measuring the diameter of my biceps, chest, thighs, & waist which are where I’m focusing my results. Exercise isn’t as easy this time of year, so I’m doubling down what I’ve got.
  • Drop50 cleanup = My annual Drop100 turned into a Drop50 this year, and I had to roll over quite a few things. I’m still chipping away at all that as I can.
  • Tableau Certification = Because I just finished my Data Analytics & Visualization course, I should have the skills to get my basic certification in Tableau now. But probably not if I wait too long. I plan to take the test in a week or so while all this is still relatively fresh in my mind. Fingers crossed that I can pass it!
  • NAS maximization = When I started setting up my Synology NAS last Summer, I didn’t know all that it could do. I had a lot of simple data management to do at the time, and was happy just to have one place to put everything. Now I think I know what I want from it, and I plan to have it fully configured as an automated backup solution for all my devices, mobile storage and streaming for all photos/music/movies, collaborative fileserver, public webserver, local email server, and remote VPN by the end of this month. Wish me luck! We’ll see how far I get. If I get far enough, I plan to set up an offsite backup for this backup in February. And I also want to host this website there by my birthday in March (and transition from Textpattern to Hugo in the process).

So that’s me! How about YOU? Hit me up or leave me a comment below.

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Looks like this year instead of doing my full Drop100, I only go to Drop50. And I didn’t get as far down with those as I’d hoped. But I did still get a lot more done than I would have otherwise!

The numbering has changed from my part 1 and part 2 posts, but to keep myself honest, here’s what I’ve got to show for my 2020 efforts.

DONE
  1. complete all Christmas gift wrapping & sending (including online gifts)DONE
  2. finish Data Analytics & Visualization course requirementsDONE
  3. finish IWT courseDONE
  4. decide on purchase of next computerDONE, ordered (and received) my new M1 MacBook Air
  5. decide on linux studio computer rebuild & configurationDONE, I’m setting it in my closet and forgetting about it until further notice
  6. migrate & retire Nextcloud accountDONE
  7. move all calendars to Synology CalendarDONE
  8. move all contacts to Synology ContactsDONE
  9. move all photos to Synology MomentsDONE
  10. move all music to PlexDONE, I think. I could still find more in other subfolders, but I think I got all the commercial music now
  11. move all movies & shows to PlexDONE, again in terms of commercial movies and shows, not the ones I made
  12. all URLs renewed or releasedDONE
  13. redirect remaining URLs for saleDONE
  14. re-record all voicemailsDONE
  15. archive email accounts from EUG & VLCDONE, I have archived zips of these though that’s not really what I’m meant when I wrote this it turns out that what I meant is really complicated, so I’m calling this enough
  16. 2021 learning plan finalizedDONE
  17. 2021 timeboxing/visioningDONE
  18. ConvaTec admin transition managementDONE
  19. retire & archive all LinkedIn groups/pagesDONE, although it turns out I can’t retire/archive groups so I set mine to “hidden” instead
  20. reset & migrate all email accounts for 2021DONE, for now at least. Likely a new effort and a new post on this coming soon.
  21. complete new MacBook transition (install files, licenses, authorizations, etc) DONE, and though this wasn’t in my original list it did take a substantial amount of time that led to the below being in dropped & rollover status
DROPPED
  1. obtain & install new Tableau (student license)DROPPED, can’t install on my new M1 Mac because it’s not supported yet
  2. complete writing courseDROPPED
  3. complete Indistractible audiobook & set daily activities from workbookDROPPED, I’m only taking select daily activities from the workbook
  4. clean & prep Suburban for saleDROPPED, this will have to wait until Spring, it’s just too dang cold and icy here
  5. auto insurance switch & vehicle registration changesDROPPED, dependent on above
  6. deduplicate all musicDROPPED, I have better things to do with my time and with all the music I have…this is a thing
  7. end of year tax info & updates/communicationsDROPPED, I reached out but never heard back
  8. archive all pre-2018 emails to textDROPPED, I don’t know why it’s so complicated to turn emails into plaintext for archival purposes but whatever
  9. cellphone hardening & redirectionDROPPED, as it looks like I may be switching carriers and maybe phones too
  10. chatbot build DROPPED, things have gotten pretty crazy at work with our main LMS Admin quitting, so I just won’t get to this probably at all
  11. follow up on all outstanding post-gig tasks from last 12-months DROPPED, for emotionally complex reasons I just don’t have it in me to complete this one
  12. Denise office setup completedDROPPED, she doesn’t really want this anymore
  13. retire & archive all Facebook groups/pagesDROPPED, I did change all my security settings and tried to manage more groups & pages but they don’t make it easy and…I’ve done as much of this as I’m going to do for now
  14. cancel all Snap Synapse credit cardsDROPPED, decided to cancel one but keep the other two for now for reward point & credit score purposes
  15. retire & archive instagram accountDROPPED, yeah changed my mind on this one
  16. confirm validity/expiry status of all coupons & creditsDROPPED, because 2020 has been a helluva year for everyone, and aside from the three credits I remember that are over $100, I’m not going to sweat the small stuff like this
ROLLED OVER INTO Q1
  1. initiate closing of any extra Optimistic Holdings accounts, rolling back to primary – part of one of my Top 5 projects for 2021Q1
  2. create routing map of all financial & insurance accounts – part of one of my Top 5 projects for 2021Q1
  3. update 401k loan paperwork post-COVID legislation – part of one of my Top 5 projects for 2021Q1
  4. reconfigure office & network setup – part of one of my Top 5 projects for 2021Q1
  5. test/configure home VPN – part of one of my Top 5 projects for 2021Q1
  6. download & archive all video tutorials & livestreaming appearances for 2020 – I got most but not all as this requires additional authorization from other people that I’ll follow up with soon
  7. end of year reporting & final Clear Mind payment to Crosspulse – this got way more complicated when I cancelled my Vimeo account, and I’m going to have to just make my best guess by Monday
  8. reset all autoresponders – because I don’t really know what these should say yet, another post coming soon
  9. Verizon discount applied & account restructured – This one is in process, but is complicated
  10. unsubscribe from all email newsletters (again) – I got a few dozen, and the rest will slide into January
  11. unsubscribe from all non-essential annual services/softwares – this was not well-defined, another post on this coming soon
  12. CPR cert renewal – this should really only take one afternoon, and I hope to complete it next Saturday
  13. ConvaTec end of year reporting scorecard – I couldn’t get it done by end-of-year for reasons outside my control, and it is my primary deliverable for week 1 of the new year
  14. retire & archive alternate/old Twitter accounts (6) – Turns out you can’t both download your activity and delete your account at the same time, so this is taking a bit longer than planned

Because I didn’t get as far this time as usual, I’m budgeting in time to do another Drop50 at the end of the next quarter. Maybe this will be better as a smaller recurring project every couple of months than the one big one at the end of the year? …How can we find out?

Any suggestions or observations you care to share, please use the comments below.

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I never get everything transitioned over. But when I try for something really crazy, what I get done as a result is still surprisingly aggressive.

One of the main reasons I didn’t get as much done as anticipated is that my new M1 Mac arrived early! I thought it wouldn’t get to me until January, but instead I got it on Christmas Eve. Naturally there are a lot of extra projects and processes surrounding getting this machine up and running, and transitioning off of my iPad and older Mac — which I’ve already done. Those are much more entertaining (and unexpectedly time consuming) than the other stuff I was expecting to work on.

For my update, all the strikethrough text below is either done or dropped since the 19th. I’m putting this here to keep myself honest. And hopefully to provide a little inspiration for you!

  1. complete all Christmas gift wrapping & sending (including online gifts)DONE
  2. finish Data Analytics & Visualization course requirementsDONE
  3. obtain & install new Tableau (student license)DROPPED, can’t install on my new M1 Mac because it’s not supported yet
  4. finish IWT courseDONE
  5. complete writing courseDROPPED
  6. complete Indistractible audiobook & set daily activities from workbookDROPPED, I’m only taking select daily activities from the workbook
  7. clean & prep Suburban for saleDROPPED, this will have to wait until Spring, it’s just too dang cold and icy here
  8. auto insurance switch & vehicle registration changesDROPPED, dependent on above
  9. decide on purchase of next computerDONE, ordered (and received) my new M1 MacBook Air
  10. decide on linux studio computer rebuild & configurationDONE, I’m setting it in my closet and forgetting about it until further notice
  11. migrate & retire Nextcloud accountDONE
  12. move all calendars to Synology CalendarDONE
  13. move all contacts to Synology ContactsDONE
  14. move all photos to Synology MomentsDONE
  15. move all music to PlexDONE, I think. I could still find more in other subfolders, but I think I got all the commercial music now
  16. move all movies & shows to PlexDONE, again in terms of commercial movies and shows, not the ones I made
  17. deduplicate all musicDROPPED, I have better things to do with my time and with all the music I have…this is a thing
  18. test/configure home VPN – IN PROCESS
  19. all URLs renewed or releasedDONE
  20. redirect remaining URLs for saleDONE
  21. initiate closing of any extra Optimistic Holdings accounts, rolling back to primaryROLLING OVER to 2021Q1
  22. end of year reporting & final Clear Mind payment to Crosspulse – IN PROCESS
  23. end of year tax info & updates/communicationsDROPPED, I reached out but never heard back
  24. create routing map of all financial & insurance accountsROLLING OVER to 2021Q1
  25. cancel all Snap Synapse credit cards – IN PROCESS
  26. download & archive all video tutorials & livestreaming appearances for 2020ROLLING OVER to 2021Q1, I got most but not all as it requires additional authorization from other people that I’ll follow up with in the new year
  27. re-record all voicemailsDONE
  28. reset all autorespondersROLLING OVER to 2021Q1 because I don’t really know what these should say yet
  29. archive email accounts from EUG & VLCDONE, I have archived zips of these though that’s not really what I’m meant when I wrote this it turns out that what I meant is really complicated, so I’m calling this enough
  30. archive all pre-2018 emails to textDROPPED, I don’t know why it’s so complicated to turn emails into plaintext for archival purposes but whatever
  31. reset & migrate all email accounts for 2021 – IN PROCESS
  32. unsubscribe from all email newsletters (again) – IN PROCESS
  33. unsubscribe from all non-essential annual services/softwares – IN PROCESS
  34. follow up on all outstanding post-gig tasks from last 12-months – IN PROCESS
  35. confirm validity/expiry status of all coupons & credits – IN PROCESS
  36. update 401k loan paperwork post-COVID legislation – IN PROCESS
  37. retire & archive all LinkedIn groups/pages – IN PROCESS
  38. retire & archive alternate/old Twitter accounts (6) – IN PROCESS
  39. retire & archive all Facebook groups/pages – IN PROCESS
  40. retire & archive instagram account – IN PROCESS
  41. Verizon discount applied & account restructured – IN PROCESS
  42. cellphone hardening & redirection DROPPED, as it looks like I may be switching carriers and maybe phones too
  43. CPR cert renewal – – IN PROCESS
  44. chatbot build DROPPED, things have gotten pretty crazy at work with our main LMS Admin quitting, so I just won’t get to this probably at all
  45. 2021 learning plan finalized DONE
  46. 2021 timeboxing/visioning DONE
  47. ConvaTec admin transition management DONE
  48. ConvaTec end of year reporting scorecard – IN PROCESS
  49. reconfigure office & network setup – IN PROCESS
  50. Denise office setup completed DROPPED, she doesn’t really want this anymore

Coming soon, a bunch more stuff crossed out (I hope!) and my next list of 50 projects getting done or dropped by the end of 2020 :)

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As I wrote recently, I’ve got one of those newfangled, fancy M1 Macs and here’s what I did when I opened it. This post is a deeper dive into why I selected the programs I did, as I revise My 2020 Apps/Programs List to work better within Apple’s walled garden, and better leverage my Synology NAS.

So below are the Mac-friendly programs & services that I use as of 2021:
  • Email Client = Apples’s native Mail program. Formerly Thunderbird (Windows/Mac/Linux), which I really wanted to like but it just hangs and errors out constantly. Plus, no mobile version.
  • Email Host = Synology MailPlus. Formerly self-hosted at Greengeeks but I’d like to take email into my own hands so I can batch process stuff better.
  • Calendar Client = BusyCal for Mac & iOS, which is one of the nicest calendars I’ve ever worked with. Formerly Lightening add-on for Thunderbird (Windows/Mac/Linux) but this just never worked right and cost me some critical client meetings this year.
  • Contacts Client = Apple’s native Mail program, which is decidedly “meh”. I may end up shelling out the fifty bucks for BusyContacts at some point, I dunno. Formerly CardBook add-on for Thunderbird (Windows/Mac/Linux) but dangit I could never get it to deduplicate and merge contacts properly.
  • Calendar & Contacts Host = Synology Contacts. Formerly The Good Cloud (running Nextcloud) but I’m canceling that annual membership. I still think The Good Cloud provides fantastic services! I just don’t need them anymore.
  • RSS Client = Newsblur. Formerly Thunderbird (Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • RSS Host = Formerly Miniflux (self-hosted at Greengeeks), and…I’m not sure about a local replacement for this one yet. More research is needed.
  • Websites = Hugo static site generator for all remaining web properties, leveraging Homebrew on the Mac. Currently Textpattern & Wordpress (self-hosted at Greengeeks )
  • Webhost = Greengeeks is still my favorite, but I’m also going to try running this site off of my Raspberry Pi and see what happens ;)
  • Registrar = Namecheap.com. Formerly GoDaddy but I’ve wanted to get out from under my dependence on them for many reasons for a long time.
  • Filesharing = Synology Office & Synology Drive. Formerly The Good Cloud (running Nextcloud). Again I still think The Good Cloud & Nextcloud are terrific! I just want to keep things in-house if I can.
  • Image editor = Apple Photos, probably — now that it finally allows editing of RAW images! Though for more complex editing in layers GIMP (Windows/Mac/Linux) may remain my pick, we’ll see.
  • Music Player = Plex & iTunes. Formerly Clementine (Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • Video Player = Quicktime. Formerly VLC for local content, LBRY for online viewing (both Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • Video editor = back to FinalCut Pro again. I may still use Davinci Resolve (Windows/Mac/Linux) for some projects, but I’m not doing anything cinematic these days so maybe not.
  • Video transcoder = Apple Compressor. Formerly Handbrake (Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • Stereo Audio editor = GarageBand. Formerly Audacity (Windows/Mac/Linux), which I will still install and keep handy because why not?
  • Multitrack Audio editor = GarageBand, again. Formerly ProTools.
  • Antivirus = probably still ClamAV (Windows/Mac/Linux) though I’ll need to look into this more.
  • Drive Burner = likely still Balena Etcher (Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • Screenshare = sticking with TeamViewer (Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • Text Editor = Now evaluating Bear, which is a notetaking app that works on MacOS & iOS and can handle plaintext as plaintext and (my favorite!) markdown. I’m still a huge fan of Atom (Windows/Mac/Linux) but there’s no way I know to use it on mobile that I know, which is a prime use case for me.
  • Office Suite = Synology Office again. Formerly Open Office (Windows/Mac/Linux)
  • Task/Project Manager = Keeping ToDoist (Windows/Mac/Linux/web/iOS)
  • Time Tracker = I don’t know that I need one of these anymore at all. Will likely still install Toggl (Window/Mac/web) and never use it :)
  • Podcatcher = Pocketcasts (Windows/Mac/web) is still the clear winner for me!
  • VPN = Synology VPN. Formerly NordVPN.
  • Password Manager = Probably soon to be BitWarden, I’m not sure yet. Currently Dashlane, but there’s a lot about their changes over the last year that I do not like.
  • Web Browsers = Staying with Firefox for my default, Brave as an alternate, and Chrome for social media & Google products only (Windows/Mac/Linux). No Safari, sorry.
  • Image Clipper = Techsmith Snagit. It just works better than anything else I know.
  • Screencaster = Techsmith Camtasia. Again, it is simply better for me.

The other big thing I’m changing with this new machine and new year is all my emails! If you send something to an old email, it may not work in 2021, though you’ll get an auto-response saying why and what to do instead. I’m always trying to pare this down, and this year I can make more drastic changes than ever before!

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