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First Thoughts

Here we go. 2016. This month's theme was originally going to be about Big Ideas. Moonshots. I even went to a conference called the Big Ideas Fest. I was totally prepared for January.

And then I realized I needed to back up. It's the start of a new year. You're probably already brimming with BHAGs and eager to get going. So instead of helping you dream, I want to help you turn that dream into a Plan of Action. Below you'll find a book, a calendar, a blog, and a conference all centered around Ideas and how to make them work.

Thanks for reading and here's to a great year!

Reader's Digest:

Do Over - Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck

Jon Acuff


  • The Career Savings Account (CSA) is a practical framework to understand your own personal development. 
  • Thinking about your career in terms of intersecting axes of voluntary/involuntary and negative/positive results in four quadrants of career moves: Career Ceilings (negative & voluntary), Career Jumps (positive & voluntary), Career Bumps (negative & involuntary), and Career Opportunities (positive and involuntary). 
  • Jon is hilarious. Ninja Turtles, office cobras, and advice on not letting people in skinny jeans see you cry. (See? You're missing out on so much!)
(Relationships + Skills + Character) x Hustle = CSA  

Key Quote:

“Day one of our new adventure behind us, we are shocked to learn the hardest lesson of chasing a dream. When you go for it, you don't escape fear, you land in it. Fear is not a dragon to be slain once, it's an ocean to be swum daily."

If you're still not convinced, you should read this interview done by an expert. You can also buy the book here. (I recommend this one on audio. Jon reads it himself and adds a couple of asides not in the print version.)
I'm a calendar enthusiast. It's not a thing, but maybe it should be. If you'd like a wall calendar... as in, 'not digital,' based on this book, you can find it here.

Around the Web

The Ultimate Guide to Personal Productivity Methods

Look, it's all well and good to have the desire to lose 15 pounds or whatever your New Year's Resolution is, but you have to have the tools (and discipline) to make it happen. And you have to be flexible about it. Circumstances will change, your favorite apps will be sold to companies and summarily shut down, etc. So here are some suggestions to help you get started turning your Resolution into a Plan.

Key Quote:

"...Wading through the thousands of articles about different productivity systems can be a massive time commitment – time you could be using to actually get things done."

Bonus: 5 Tips to Supercharge Action and Personal Improvement

What I'm Learning

Big Ideas Fest

It's true, I get to go to quite a few conferences and events. Enough that I usually have to check my attitude at the door and try not to snark my way through all the programming. (Hey, we all have flaws. Get off me.) That being said, I really enjoyed the curveball of an event that was Big Ideas Fest, held in San Jose, CA back in December.

Why It's Different

Format - A combo of immersive, design-thinking processes and rapid-fire featured speakers. From a college president who is actually making college affordable to an 11 year-old entrepreneur to Kristi Yamaguchi to teachers at a charter school inside of a Los Angeles prison

People - There was no vendor hall, so the only vendors there were those hoping to learn about education and contribute to the conversation. (In other words, the BEST KIND of vendors.) There were folks from all over the country from kindergarten to higher education and the full range of public, private, and charter schools were represented. 

Ideas - The conference definitely lived up to its name. I wrote pages and pages of notes. The 'provocation arc' we used to spur our design thinking is worth its own email... And after the closing keynote, I totally want to start a Lexicon of Education Innovation. Anybody want to help?

Favorite Quote

The emcee/facilitator for the event asked each featured speaker the same question, which I'm totally stealing: "How did you get in trouble in school?"

Just for fun:

I'm a total data nerd. I'm in no way trained to do anything with it (it took me two tries to pass Statistics for Business in college...) but I can geek out with the best of them. So in your pursuit to go from Average to Awesome, it could be helpful to know what Average looks like. I present to you, Day in the Life.

A Small Request

If you're enjoying or getting something useful/practical out of this, would you mind sharing it with one other person? Just forward this email and they'll be all set! If you really want to up the ante, use one of the sharing links below.

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