Searching for Clarity

I have spent the last 5 days in Las Vegas at a conference for performance marketing. I have been attending this conference on and off since early 2006, and yet when asked the what I do, I still don’t have a clear answer. Why? Because I personally hit work the industry from two angles. I enjoy both sides of the playing field. I enjoy both aspects and roles of this facinating arena. Yet, this time around I have realized where my passion lies… where it’s always been… in the skills I myself offer.

I haven’t recieved any magnificent revelation nor insight. Yet I now, at this very moment, feel like I actually know which direction means the most to me. This clarity in understanding which path I want to take will definitely lead to more unknowns I am sure, but for today, it’s very encouraging to know that I finally have yet another piece in the big picture of “what I want to be when I grow up”.


What this personal understanding will leave to, I haven’t the slightest idea. It’s merely a nice refreshing thought to be able to look back and say – I know when the light bulb went on.

I encourage you to take a moment and discover something new about your own goals and dreams. Are you moving in the direction you really know you want to go?

Be Honest, really

I have noticed that more often than I’d like, products and services I purchase are not really what I was expecting – at least not entirely. Why is it ok to leave information out? Do they think we won’t notice?


So many of these companies that offer “half stories” are accepted as “that’s just how it is”.  They seem to go with the line of thought – Don’t tell the whole story and hope the consumer just deals with it. I think this disturbing mostly because we do, indeed, just take it and move on. Like it or not we accept that this is how things are.

As a business owner, I think it’s important to let my customers know as much as possible upfront so they can make the decision based on the full offer, not our gimmick. I hope the information is as complete and upfront as possible. The theory is, when you’re honest and open with people, they’ll come back. When you’re sincere with your sales pitch, and the purchaser is happy with their purchase, they’ll tell their friends.


Twice this year I have had issues with one company, my cell phone service. Twice I have gone into the store to purchase an item, sign a ridiculously long contract yet making sure to get all the information upfront about what I am getting into. I explained to the sales person what I was looking for and why I was making the purchase so they could offer any additional information. Twice I have found myself in the midst of monstrous bills with charges I didn’t expect due to lack of information. And I mean, monstrous!

Is it my job as a consumer to make sure I know the ins and outs of the product lines and services offered? i don’t think so. I think it’s my job as a consumer to make sure I ask questions… but ultimately it’s the responsibly of the sales and marketing teams to make sure consumers know what they are really buying.

In the case of the cell phone issues, twice now I’ve had to deal with customer service and get fees reversed – this in turn is costing the cell company money they shouldn’t have to spend. First they lose money for the charges that I unknowingly racked up that they reverse and then they lose money paying for the employees that have to handle the issue. Silly I think. More silly, I accept it because I’d rather just deal with it than pay to get out of my contract. That’s not right!


It’s much better to be up front in the beginning. If people don’t like what you have to offer, don’t sneak around the corner to offer the same thing in a new box. Don’t pretty up the offer just to get the sale. In the end, the consumer will find out the truth, they will be more unhappy they were decieved and you will have lost the potential of not only return buyer purchases, but referral purchases.

So long story, get to the point… Be honest. Be open. Be upfront. Be Happy!

So much brain food, so little focus

Ever have one of those day where you set out to do a task that requires a tiny bit of research or info seaking to finishg completely, but in your hunt for info you run across 900 other interesting things that all catch your attention and the next thing you know its 5pm and all you’ve managed to do is make a bigger list of things you want to learn?


well thats me. I’ve finally figured out, most of my distractions are due to my constant need and interest in learning something new. The old “what did you learn today” from grade schol is a family motto here. There literally is a ton of things to learn and every day I hope to learn at least one… but my usual learning path results in my discovering of more to learn and less learning.. unless learning about things to learn about counts as learning.

Some say it’s too many hats. My attention span isn’t big enough to handle only one hat. I get bored of me too easily.

I have no real solution to this. Being my own business with no client expectations nor a boss, I don’t have the guidelines and pressure of “I have to get this done today or…”. However, fact that I finally realized the thinking process is a feat in itself. Although I’m not a huge list maker, I have recently discovered that I accomplish a heck of a lot more with a real pen and paper tangible list than any other means of note taking. There’s something about looking at and holding.. really touching the thoughts that seems to put the ideas into action that much quicker. So for now, I have a special little book, I’ll write down my thoughts and discoveries and ideas and as plug along, I’ll keep notes on what it is I want to learn later.

Do you find that your task  doing results in more tasks added to your to-do list? What techniques do you use to stay focused and on task?

Making the middle seat a great big hug

I’ve been struggling the last few weeks with various conflicts. I have found myself smack dab in the middle on more than one occasion for more than one topic and I’m feeling less and less like hugging anyone.

So how do we turn this around? Why bother being in the middle to begin with?

It’s a heck of a lot easier to draw straws, pick a side ‘n stick or just run the other way and pretend there is no reason to be involved. But that is not how I play. I stand where my beliefs are and as cute as I think cows can be, I don’t follow the herd unless the herd is where my beliefs live. (Ice cream herds, I’m SO there!)

Neopolitan Cows

An interesting fact about me and choosing sides
Because my beliefs often cross boundaries, I frequently find myself not only in the middle, but defending pieces and parts of both sides. Full body armor is usually not enough and my tendency to look for the peace keeping tactics specific to each side don’t always suffice. I am quite accustomed to hearing the rants and ravings from one side only to listen to just as many from the other… and there I sit, not always so quietly in the middle, absorbing it all so I can come out from the darkness with a light to shed on the entire situation.

Usually neither side realizes how much time I spend defending them to the other… I do it because I believe in them, not because I want treats and thank yous.

So I wonder, when my chair isn’t appreciated in that middle spot.. and someone feels the need to complain that I’m there, would their view change if they knew how much I just stood up for them? Or would they continue to complain about me? Honestly, I think they expect it more than they would appreciate it. Yet, I continue to sit in this chair I’ve created. Comfy or not, it’s mine and I’m proud of it.

I’m a big believer in direct communication
Although I will discuss issues behind closed doors and I will share insight and opinions in closed conversations. At the end of the day, the conversations are always opened to those involved regardless of how personal the issue might have originated. Why? because I think its important to be upfront. It’s important to let others know how I feel about them and how they are impacting my life. I also think its important to realize not everyone is going to agree and its ok to not follow the same path. The “end of the day” might be weeks from now, but it eventually comes and the whole thought process is shared. Heard or understood, I don’t always know. I put it out there and let it go.

Communication - Penguin Humor

Now here is a disappointing reality
What I am learning most recently is that no matter how upfront or forthcoming I am, there will always be those that face-to-face will be on one side, yet when out of sight, join the other team. Maybe they were a competitor all along or maybe they just didn’t want to hurt my feelings with their criticisms face-to-face. Either way, its dishonest, disappointing and disheartening. It makes me deeply sad to witness this kind of behavior, even moreso when its individuals I hold close to my heart.

How tiring would that be to play both sides? How exhausting is it to have to carrying around so many faces or game bags? I can’t do it. I have a hard enough time remembering where I put my socks I just put on. How could I doodle big grins if I spent so much of my time angry or disappointed or irritated? That’s like trying to enjoy a delightful slice of cheesecake with a green olive in your mouth.

There’s a fine line between respect and polite behavior vs pretending to get along just to save face in front of whomever.

So how do we make it all work when things seem to be a tighter squeeze than we’d like?

No, we don’t run and hide or pick a side we don’t 100% support. We stand our ground. That’s it. In the long run one side will loosen up, lose interest or move on. Until then, pretend its a great big hug and find that happy place way down deep in the midst of your being. It is there and it is waiting to embrace the you that you are trying to hold true.

I Love Hugs

Designing with a focus

I just ran across a great little write up asking “Where do you find your focus”, and it got me thinking. Where do I find my focus? Sometimes I really wonder if I have a focus or even know what focusing is. Sometimes I get so caught up in thought – letting one idea lead into the next – that I literally get lost in my own mind… there is no focus there.

Then I started really thinking about the topic – everything I do is focused around the idea that I have designs I want to share. I doodle and I want people to be able to see and enjoy the images. So everything I do revolves around the fact that my drawings exsist. Any marketing or promotion or site building I may do… all points to the jgoode originals I am hoping others will see, like and maybe even pass along.

That sounds like focus to me.

In my reply to the focusing comments, I said:
“I think everyone has their own “doodle” – it’s deciding what it is and why it is important that is the difficult part. Once this is determined, putting a focus to anything else involved is relatively simple.”.

I really do think it’s that simple. You need to find a single cause, topic, product (line), point or purpose and then put all your efforts into that single item’s success. I don’t mean a single t-shirt or single image. I mean a single whatever-you-want-it-to-be. Maybe it’s your entire business model… your whole family, the entire single community you live in. Maybe your single thing is your dream to be a great – fill in the blank -.

As a magnet on my refridgerator says…

Whatever you are, be a good one.

That, in my opinion, is finding a focus.

Over Achiever Syndrome

Today is Tuesday and I do indeed have a topic for you today… it’s the “I think I can do more than can but I’m going to add more to my list because I love new ideas day”, otherwise known as the Over Achiever Syndrome. Yes, I have it. I sometimes get it confused with my “need to be productive even while I sleep disorder” as well as the “busy me busy bee flu” but they’re all actually quite similar.

This is how it works…

I have a to-do list. Usually when I begin my to-do list I run across something else (sometimes related, sometimes not) that I have forgotten about. Sometimes it’s not a forgotten item but a brand new thought. Now, many people would stop right there and write down the new thing and continue on their list. Me, no… I have to stop and ponder and sometimes just jump on board the new bus and take a ride. This of course always leads into to new “oh cool idea” moments and “wow I didnt know that” findings that I must, of course, also investigate. Next thing I know it’s 3 weeks later and I’m back at the beginning of my to-do list… and it’s twice as long as it was the last time I looked, but I’m sure I haven’t enjoyed a single bon bon.

Sorry for missing last week by the way – I was distracted with myself being distracted.

So how do we, the over achieving workaholics battle this? We get married, have kids and add to the list. We work for ourselves so we don’t continually get fired for not finishing the to-do list someone else dictated. We also work around our own self distractions and call it intentional. Sometimes we even allow ourselves to venture off into one of these unending distractions and we label it research. I am a particularly exquisite breed of researcher; I research, don’t mark the path I followed – 3 months later forget I went on the journey to begin with and stumble upon it as if it were new, all over again. So  self entertaining!

So the next time you find yourself feeling as though you’ve accomplished nothing because your to-do list is a mile long and you’re positive you haven’t finished a single project in weeks… stop for a moment, one last distraction for the day, and walk memory lane to rediscover how your new to-dos got on that list. I’m sure you’ll find you’ve accomplished mountains of over achieving. You’re just not ready to show the world what your great doings are

Today’s comment have no image for your viewing enjoyment. If i stop to find an image that will fit my thoughts, I’ll decide there are none that fit just perfectly so I’ll have to doodle up something and that will remind me of other doodles I’ve been meaning to do and next thing we’ll both know….


It will be next Tuesday and you’ll really be wishing for my silly Tuesday’s topics which are two weeks missing. So I’ll let you distract yourself for a moment while you envision your own doodle for today.

-moment of silence for the doodle day dreaming….

I’d love to see your distraction doodles and hear your stories of cluttered discovery!