Three Part To-Do List

As you know from my last blog post here, Miss O and I are two-week entrepreneurs.  Technically, we are down to one week, so make that one-week entrepreneurs.  To help us create products, launch our shop and reach our goal of becoming small business owners, we used a three part to-do list that was suggested by my new Zappos friend, Jennifer.  Jennifer is the goals queen!  Literally, it's what she does for a living - teaches others how to create goals groups, set goals, and accomplish them.  How's that for an amazing niche?  I think every business, school, and college needs her (probably every family, too).

Three Part To-Do List Collage

Jennifer recommend a three part to-do list.  She may have called it something differently when we were in Las Vegas, but I am calling it this very fancy name, The Three Part To-do List.  Though, you can name each part whatever you'd like, Miss O and I went with....

To-do:  This included all of the micro-steps to accomplishing our big goal of running a successful small business....

To-Do List Closeup

In Progress:  Once a to-do item was in progress, we moved it to this portion of the three part list. There was something REALLY gratifying about seeing each micro-step in action and moving along the completion journey. And really, can my business partner's hair be any shinier or straighter?  I foresee Pantene commercials in her future.

In Progress closeup

High Five:  This last part of our three part list was full of celebrations.  Miss O and I literally high fived each other each time a new sticky note made it to the end of the journey.  Using sticky notes, by the way, was another Jennifer suggestion.

High Five closeup

Now, as you can see below, we are in the final two sticky notes of our three part list.  The only items left for us to do in the progress section is "create thank you cards" and "ship necklaces," which we will be doing for one more week before we close up for the summer (PS - we plan to re-open at some point in the fall).

Three Part To-Do List Journey

I asked Miss O what she thought of the three part to-do list and she said she really liked it.  Her favorite part was moving the stickies along the journey and realizing how much we needed to accomplish and how much we did.  High five!  What do you think of the three part to-do list?

See you at our Etsy shop, OJCreates.  We close around June 7th, so go now!  Big thanks to Jennifer for suggesting the three part to-do list.  And good luck, Jennifer, on the release of your book, Goallaboration, this summer!  Goallaboration!?  What a fun word!

Off I go, dear friends - life is full as a small business owner, college professor, mom and blogger. Lest not forget I am writing a book, too!





Two Week Entrepreneurs

Miss O and I are embarking on something new.  We are two week entrepreneurs.  If you've been following along on Instagram, you know we've been in the planning stages for almost two weeks now. Today is showtime!  Welcome to our new Etsy shop - OJCreates.  We are only open for two weeks, so go shop now.  Really, go!  We close in 14 days and our inventory is made up of 17 special editions.

OJCreates Etsy Shop

This small business project is actually quite overdue.  Last summer, Miss O and I researched opening a business. We even bought a domain name, learned about logo design, and a whole bunch of other good businessy things.  However, my (awesome) sabbatical in the fall kind of got in the way.

Now, with just a few weeks before our summer kicks into full gear, we are finally living the dream - making pleasing and useful products, selling them to customers (like you!) and learning about small business.  I can't think of a better skill set for Miss O to possess than to learn the ins and outs of owning a business.

Our first items for sale are 17 different necklaces.  The necklaces are all one-of-a-kind, hand-knotted, and feature the coolest color & bead combinations on the planet.  Miss O designed 75% of them as she has a fantastic eye for color and style.  I designed or we co-designed the other 25%.  I am the master beader.  Miss O is the master necklace namer.  You can see examples below.   Miss O literally has a story to go with each necklace she's designed and named.  You can read more when you click on an individual necklace in our shop.  Miss O is also our lead shipper who writes all of our hand-written thank you notes.  Just wait until you see her old-school cursive handwriting in person!

Want to peek at the necklaces?

This necklace, Cupcake, is one of our color favorites.  Miss O wanted to design something with soft and fun colors.  I love how this necklace really is simple yet sooooo pretty with all those gorgeous freshwater pearls.

Cupcake handknotted beaded necklace

Lilypad, I designed.  I enjoy necklaces that incorporate eclectic beads and colors.  I feel like this necklace would match just about any outfit for summer and beyond.  I also like the uneven spacing between beads.  Sometimes we unevenly space and sometimes we don't.  It all depends on the design and look we are going for.

Lilypad handknotted beaded necklace

Cooper is named after Mini Cooper.  I won't give it all away, but you can read more about how Miss O designed and named this necklace in our shop.  Cooper's color palette is amazing to me!  I have no idea how she came up with this combination, but I love it.

Cooper handknotted beaded necklace

Ok, enough of me talking.  I'm sure you are ready to get on over to OJCreates and shop.  Just a few quick things....

  • Our necklaces make great end-of-the-year gifts for your favorite teacher(s). And really, you can't beat the price for a teacher gift.  Plus, each necklace is sooooo pretty.
  • If you spend $70 or more, use this code to get free shipping:  HIGH5 (which is because Miss O and I are high-fiving ourselves that we are shop owners.  I'm thinking we could have used Pinchme or Pinchus as the code, too :)
  • I've been wearing necklaces I've made like these for years now.  The necklaces are very strong and durable, but I usually don't shower or swim in mine.  You could, but I think they will last longer if they stay more dry.
Please go shop, tell a friend, and share this blog post with as many people as you can.  We'd love to sell out of our necklaces and create more (or a new product) when we re-open in the fall.

Hurrah for OJCreates and learning new skills,

Jen (and my business partner, Miss O)

Purpose-Based Learning

As you know from my last post, life purpose is on my mind.  This week, I have a meeting related to life purpose + education, so I thought I would dig deeper.

In education, we have all types of learning:
  • Discovery Learning
  • Project-Based Learning (or PBL)
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Experiential Learning (aka: Experiential Education)
  • Active Learning
  • Hands-on Learning
Where is Purpose-Based Learning?  

What if learning, college majors, and degree programs where tied to a student's life purpose and core values?  What if we followed what Stanford 2025 recommends and students declared a mission, not a major?  What impact would learning with purpose have on a student's interest, motivation, goal completion, and ultimately, what would be the impact on the world? 

Would learning be more meaningful?  Would life be more meaningful?  Would we have more fulfilled and joyful humans?

I'd love to know your thoughts on this: Purpose-Based Learning.  I'll give an example of what this new PBL might look like in my PS comments below.   Read on if this interests you.  It sure interests me.


PS - What would Purpose-Based Learning look like for me?  My current life purpose is to matchmake ideas with the right audiences.  If I was hoping to earn another college degree in this purpose, my program of study - to support my life purpose - might include the following courses related to:
  • Anthropology and sociology - to help me better understand people and their needs
  • Psychology - for the same reason
  • Communication - to grow my skills to relate to different audiences
  • Business - to learn how to market my ideas and manage my matchmaking endeavors
  • Accounting - to learn how to manage the financial side of my small business of matchmaking
  • Mindfulness - to help me manage the stress involved with learning something new and being courageous enough to actually live my life purpose
  • Web design and/or coding - in this century, I'm really going to need to embrace technology (website design, social media, blogs, etc.)
  • Graphic design - I like things to look pretty :)  Don't you?
  • Physical education - more stress relief
  • Other courses I might want to take to support my mission, not major:  Economics, Public Policy, and definitely more coaching classes from CTI
Ok, what are your thoughts on Purpose-Based Learning?  

Life Purpose & What's Your Verb?

I recently was on a conference call and the idea of life purpose came up in relation to education.  It is not often educational institutions, from my experience, think about a student's life purpose and how that purpose impacts learning, teaching, and student engagement on the whole.  When I hung up from the call, my life purpose was tickled.  I've come to realize from my coaching training, a person's life purpose is extremely important to living a fulfilled life.  Like core values, life purpose aligns your internal compass and provides a fantastic lens to live by, make decisions, and choose paths that enable you to move forward and courageously shake up the status quo.

Jen's music stand mantel

I realized in my thinking, life purpose can change.  Looking back, what might have been my life purpose in my 20s, isn't necessarily my life purpose today.  In my 20s, I would have guessed my life purpose had something to do with opening gates of possibility and opportunity as that was the role I felt was my calling & initially brought me to the classroom and becoming a teacher.  It probably had something to do with seeking exploration and adventure as a part of life, not wasting it.  If you remember my ski bum blog post here, you can imagine how many people thought I was wasting my life away in Aspen, not living to my fullest potential.  I also think my life purpose back then had something to do with finding value in the learning that comes from the spaces in between formal learning opportunities like those found in undergraduate and grad school.  In many ways, in my 20s, I was a salmon swimming upstream.  The choices I made and my life purpose weren't easy, but they were part of my DNA and drove my efforts and life choices.

Now, almost 20 years later, my life purpose has evolved.  I think I can narrow it down to one verb. My verb.  I am a matchmaker.  I matchmake.  My life purpose is no longer to swim upstream, open gates, seek adventure or celebrate the importance of informal learning.  Instead, it is for me to matchmake ideas with audiences who are capable of shaking up the status quo.  That is why I love giving keynote addresses so much.  I get to curate that best ideas (and themes) and convince audiences to dive deeper into those ideas (or themes) and shake up what they do.  Since my audiences tend to be educators - both preK-12 and higher education - it is vital they shake up what they do to further how they champion the growth of their students and their colleagues.

My verb, my life purpose, is matchmake.

What is your verb?  As Jennifer Ford Reedy explains in her keynote address here (fast-forward to minute 8:00), your verb is what you are good at, what you like, and what impact you want to make on the world.  Your verb is very much your life purpose - at this moment in time - in one little, tidy word.  It can be different from your word of the year.  For example, my 2014 word was Brave.  Brave was not something I was good at or even liked.  It was a goal word, not my life purpose.

Matchmake, right now is my life purpose.

What's your verb?  What's your life purpose?   Please share in the comments below, email me, embrace social media, anything.  I really want to know your verb and why.

I'm so curious,

Getting Stuff Done

I am often asked how I get so much stuff done.  I've got to tell you.  If you were to spend a normal day with me, you wouldn't be asking that question.  Super hero powers, for me, do not exist.  I hung up my cape a long time ago when Perfect passed away.  I'm just a girl with a mad to-do list and dreams.  Sure I get stuff done, but, there isn't a whole lot of magic involved. However, no surprise, I do have a few thoughts about this, which might help others get stuff done or GSD, too.

Pre-keynote coffee, preparation, and deep thoughts

My non-secrets to getting stuff done (by the way, the real queen of getting stuff done, Dr. I, will be guest blogging here soon.  She is a master of GSD):

GSD Non-secret #1:  Set a goal or a few of them.  Following the advice of entrepreneur and author, Tim Ferriss, before I get out of bed in the morning, I ask myself, "What is the one task or item that must be accomplished today?"  I then make sure that item or task is tackled first when my work day begins, which is usually after dropping off Miss O and trail running with Jedi.

GSD Non-secret #2:  Use a to-do list.  If an entire book can be dedicated to using checklists and lists in general, you need one in your life. I am totally digging the to-do list I shared here.  Go print one for yourself and use it for a few weeks.  Let me know what impact it has on your GSDing.

GSD Non-secret #3:  Honor your passions.  Part of why I GSD is that I like or love what I'm doing. What a difference it makes to work on something that resonates with you.  It doesn't feel like work, it feels like you are feeding your soul.  Remember this Dear Abby quote?  

GSD Non-secret #4:  Learn how to say no and yes - in that order.  When you are decent at GSDing, others want you to GSD with them.  Invites to do so can be overwhelming.  Knowing your passions (and core values) provides the compass and confidence you need to say no when a project or task doesn't align with what makes you tick.  The more I say no, the more I can say yes to the right projects and invitations.  

GSD Non-secret #5:  Counterbalance work + play.  Did you notice in non-secret #1, I make sure my must do task happens after I trail run with Jedi? I think most USAmericans have it all wrong. They do not allow enough time for play and joy.  This deficiency shows up in negative ways affecting their health, mental health, stress levels, fitness, and overall happiness. In the popular hackschooling TED Talk, 13-year old Logan LaPlante sums this up nicely, "We are taught to make a living, not make a life."

I'm all about making a life and getting stuff done.


PS - If you are confused about your passion(s) and core values either hire me to lead a workshop or deliver a keynote at your organization or hire life coach, Sue, for one-on-one coaching.  Life changes when you align with your passions and core values.  Remember this blog post?  Man, my world was rocked in the best way.