Guilt-Free Play Fuels Quality Work

When’s the last time you had fun? I mean, laugh out loud, throw caution to the wind type of fun. Our society tends to devalue play as we get older. We push it aside because we have more “important” things to do.

Did you know?

  • Guilt-free play is one of the best things you can do to overcome procrastination?
  • Producers and peak performers take more vacations, are healthier, and focus on the right things.

According to Neil Fiore, author of The Now Habit, producers understand the importance of play and enjoy it guilt-free. Instead of dreading a big project, scheduled guilt-free play lets you know that there will be rewards along the way. Thus, this method can help you stick to things long-term.

In order to do quality work, you must stop putting off living and engage in fun and relaxation. One of the reasons we procrastinate is because we fear that once we start working, we won’t be able to have fun. We learn to associate work with pain. Guilt-free play flips this on its head by scheduling the fun stuff first.

To improve your productivity, you must make your work periods shorter (less painful) and your rewards more frequent.

The enjoyment of guilt-free play is part of a cycle that leads to higher quality, creative work. The cycle begins with scheduling guilt-free play which gives you a sense of freedom that makes it easier to focus on short periods of quality work.

As you get better at enjoying guilt-free play, you’ll realize that more insights come to you throughout the day. You’ll notice that playing the guitar, hanging out with friends, taking a vacation will provide insights and “aha” moments that will fuel more quality work. You’ll see that guilt-free play is quality work. It’s in the same bucket.


Fiore, Neil (2007) The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

Make It a Treat

When’s the last time you’ve visited a landmark or major tourist attraction in your city? We tend to devalue things that are easily available. This means that a latte, cocktail, or favorite restaurant, becomes less enjoyable the more frequently you consume it.

By limiting access to your favorite things, you increase pleasure. Instead of drinking a latte every morning, try to limit it to Friday mornings. Want to indulge in a chocolate bar? Divide your treat into small pieces and eat it throughout the day. Want to make Christmas morning more exciting? Wrap a lot of small gifts instead of one large gift.

When it comes to appreciation, sometimes less is more.


Dunn, Elizabeth & Norton, Michael (2014) Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending

Buy Experiences, Not Things

People who spend more money on experiences report higher satisfaction with their lives. Experiences provide more satisfaction than physical goods because experiences create a connection with others. Experiences also make us happier because they create memories.

You’re likely to enjoy your experiences more if:

  • The experience brings your closer with others.
  • The experience creates stories you’ll want to share again and again.
  • The experience is aligned with who you are and who you want to be.
  • The experience is a unique opportunity not easily available.

Satisfaction with experiences tends to increase over time, while satisfaction with things tends to decrease over time.


Dunn, Elizabeth & Norton, Michael (2014) Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending

Document what you do

Whatever your work, you have a unique approach to your art. There are people who are interested in that approach if it’s presented to them the right way. Documenting and showing your process connects you with others and is most valuable when you’re still learning.

How to document:

  • Start a work journal – I use Roam to document my notes, insights, tools, and lessons learned throughout the day.
  • Write down your thoughts – Log them in your work journal or take a voice memo on your phone.
  • Take photos – Shoot prototypes, logo concepts, meetings.
  • Take videos – Film yourself working, thinking through problems, sharing insights.

While you may not share everything, the process of documenting itself has many benefits. You gain more insight into your daily work and you’ll be able to visually see your progress.

When you document, you’ll have a lot of material to choose from including journals, research, sketches, demos, prototypes, and more.


Kleon, A. (2014). Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Show your process

Traditionally, artists worked in secrecy toiling away at their work until they were ready to unveil a masterpiece to the world. Little value was placed on showing what happened on behind-the-scenes.

In today’s connected world, creators can share as much or as little as they want. They can share ideas, insights, inspiration or anything that’s part of their process.

By sharing your daily process, you form a unique bond with your audience. People are fascinated by how other humans think. People not only want to see your end work but want to be a part of the journey as well. So share your process and take them with you.


Kleon, A. (2014). Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Diversify your self-esteem

Ray Dalio says, “Whatever asset class you invest in, I promise you, in your lifetime, it will drop no less than 50% and more likely 70% at some point. That is why you absolutely must diversify.”

The same is true for self-worth. Whatever area of life you’re most invested in, will experience a large dip at some point. It’s just the way life works. Things move in cycles.

While we may not admit it, many of us attach our happiness, self-worth to external projects. When business is great, we feel great. But when it’s suffering, we feel bad and our self-worth comes down tumbling with it. A good way to counterbalance is through diversification. Instead of putting all of your self-worth in one bucket, diversify by focusing on different areas of your life like relationships, fitness, hobbies.

It’s rare for every area in your life to be “down” all at once. While sales might be slow in your start-up, you might be hitting a new one-rep max in the gym. While you may have lost a big client, you may have also just mastered a new song on the guitar. There’s always something to feel good about.

Coronavirus: What if Social Distancing Was The Greatest Thing That Ever Happened To You?

” You can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather.”

OutKast, Ms. Jackson

A few days ago, I was getting ready for a huge meeting with an international distributor. I was preparing to pitch a group of investors for a much needed cash infusion and I was making huge progress toward a long time fitness goal. I was almost getting my damn six-pack!

Then Coronavirus happened and everything changed.

Almost overnight, the Expo where the distributor meeting was taking place postponed, the investor pitch was moved online with only a few people attending and my gym became a “no-go zone.”

You might be experiencing the same thing.

Schools are closed, restaurants are closed, bars are closed and many people are working from home.

The world has stopped and we’re faced with the very real possibility of being self quarantined for at least the next 14 days. And that, my friends, is where the opportunity lies.

What if this #SocialDistancing was the greatest thing that ever happened to you?

I believe that adversity reveals who you truly are. Do you quit and hide under the covers when things don’t go your way? Or do you double down, commit, and keep moving towards your goals regardless of what’s going on around you?

Are you unreasonable?

I invite you to treat these next 14 days as your personal dojo. Learn a new skills, form a deeper bond with your kids, practice the art of detachment. Whatever you do, use this situation as opportunity to create and lead.

Here’s how I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks.

My Plan For Being Unreasonable

  • Work from my car – I love going to coffee shops and knocking out my most important task early in the morning. I’m still doing that, but with a twist. Instead of a coffee house, I’m dressing up each morning and going to the nearest coffee shop drive-thru. Next, I drive to a park and work from my car. Yup, I’m in slacks and a dress shirt working from my car. It’s about “showing up” even when no one is watching.
  • Attend all meetings (virtually)– I’m sticking to all of my meetings but adapting them to my current situation. My business partner and I just pitched a group on investors from separate locations via Zoom.
  • Workout at home – I was on a damn roll before Coronavirus (you bastard!). I was going to the gym 4-5 times per week and losing a lot of body fat. While I’m not going to a public gym anymore, I am doing home kettlebell workouts 4-5 times per week.
  • Stick to my Diet – I’m craving a lot of carbs right now, but I’m committed to sticking to my low carb diet. I’m eating clean 6 days and having 1 yes day. I plan to go HAM this Saturday with lasagna, cookies, ice cream and more.

Areas To Cultivate

While I’m focusing on keeping my core routines from above, I’m using the next few days to cultivate a few areas in my life.

  • Flexibility & forming a deeper bond with my kids – After I knock out my most important task from my car, I’ll head home to do some more work. I’m fully expecting my kiddos to knock on the door and want to play. Here’s where the practice comes in. I will say yes and drop anything work related in order to play with them. Get ready for some awesome hide-and-seek.
  • Being a leader – There’s a lot of fear and panic in the world right now. I’m committed to being 100% responsible for those I love. I’m practicing this by posting videos on social media and helping folks see the opportunity in the current situation.

My challenge to you

Turn these next few weeks as your personal dojo. Will you learn a new instrument, form a deeper bond with your kids? Get in the best shape of your life? It’s all up to you.

How To Focus When You Have Too Many Ideas

Have you heard this story? There’s a donkey standing halfway between a pile of hay and a bucket of water. It keeps looking left and right, trying to decide between hay and water. Unable to decide, it eventually dies of hunger and thirst.

A donkey can’t think of the future. If he could, he’d clearly realize that he could first drink the water, then go eat the hay.

The moral of the story is don’t be a donkey.

Excerpt from Derek Sivers

I know a lot of entrepreneurs who are brilliant at coming up with ideas. But like the donkey, they struggle with choosing one to focus on. They’re scared of making the “wrong” choice and missing out on the “best” option.

In this guide, I’ll show you how I choose between ideas, what to focus on and how to structure life so you can have both the hay and the water.

1. Create a Dream List

Create a list where you write down all your best ideas (I call mine a Dream List). Every time you get a great idea, create a new note and add it to the list. I use Evernote and tag my new ideas with the keyword “ideas.”

Next, set a reminder on your calendar to review your Dream List at least once every 3 months.

Take Action – Grab your favorite note taking app and list all of your best business ideas.

2. Start Testing

Treat your idea like an experiment. Scan through your dream list and pick the idea that excites you the most. To borrow from Derek Sivers, “It’s either a Hell Yes or it’s a no.”

Take Action – Scan through your Dream List and choose one idea that excites you. That’s the one you’ll be testing.

3. Make it a Sprint

Create a 4 week sprint where you’re hyper-focused on just one idea. Block out time in your calendar to dive deep and execute on your most exciting project. If another idea comes up, add it to your dream list.

Here’s what you’ll discover:

  • Do you actually love this idea?
  • Are you gaining traction?
  • Is this a viable business opportunity?

Once the sprint is over, you can choose to keep going with that idea or start a 4-week sprint with a different idea. The key is to keep doing focused sprints of just one idea at a time.

Take Action– Commit to a 4-week sprint and work on only 1 idea at a time.

This is how you can get out of your head and into action. Do you have a business idea you’ve wanted to launch? Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to see what you’re working on.

How Pre-Selling Helped My Startup Grow From a $3K Investment to a Million Dollar Business

A few weeks ago, I asked what your biggest questions were about starting a new business. I was overwhelmed by the responses. I was shocked that most of the questions revolved around money. 

I got questions like…

  • How much money do you need to start a business?
  • How can I raise funds to start my project?
  • How much working capital do I need?

What’s interesting is the assumption that it takes a lot of money to build a business. I don’t subscribe to that theory. 

Nui, a startup I co-founded, grew to over 7 figures with only 3K each from my business partner and I. 

The thing is, most people have the formula flipped upside down when it comes to starting a business. 

They focus on the wrong things like:

  • Building a perfect business plan
  • Getting the “right” logo
  • Searching through more and more market research

They do this only to find out that years and thousands of dollars later that no one actually wants to buy what they’re selling.

There’s a better way and that’s the magic of pre-selling. This technique allows you to test your idea early to see if it’s something worth pursuing.

Here’s how it played out at Nui:

We began by making batches of cookies in Kris’ mom’s kitchen. We got good feedback from friends and family and decided to test the idea. 

We didn’t have a nice logo or fancy packaging. In fact, we were still buying our ingredients at retail and losing money on each order. That didn’t matter, we had a prototype and the goal was to see if this bad boy was gonna work.

I found a picture of a Chocolate Chip cookie on Google, created a one-page website and added a Buy Now Button to collect orders. Finally, I spent $20 on Ads to a Reddit Keto group and hit launch.

It doesn’t always have to be pretty. Here’s version 1 of Keto Kookie (Nui). We’d hand place every chocolate chip on the cookie. That was definitely Not scaleable.

That’s when the orders came in. 

We had a rule…if we got 15 orders that meant that we’d be in business. Thankfully we surpassed that number in just a few days and the rest is history.

We kept building on that initial momentum and eventually used the power of pre-selling to raise over 100K from Kickstarter.

The magic of the pre-sell helped me build a business that let me travel around the world and helped me start a million-dollar business.

Pre-selling is one of the most powerful tools I’ve learned on my journey in entrepreneurship and that’s why I’m so excited to teach it in my upcoming 4-week coaching series. 

I’ll be teaching a group of 30 students what it takes to go from zero to new business. I’ll share the tips, tools, and lessons I’ve learned along the way. 

Class starts soon and will be limited to the first 30 students. 

Click here to learn more:

How To Break Through Fear and Finally Reach Your Dreams

See that clown? Yeah, I wouldn’t have hired me to watch your kids either. I was twelve years old and had just finished my babysitting certification program. I was gonna take the neighborhood of Alderdale by storm and watch every kid in town.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur. Something about running my own business has given me a sense of control over my own destiny.

But what I learned is that success often looks very different from what we expect. My babysitting business never took off… 

However, I did pick up clients from my lawn mowing business, cash washing business, and candy selling business. 

13 years later, that skinny little kid from Anaheim built a 7 figure business and landed a deal on Shark Tank.

How often do we start with so much hope only for it to slowly fade away? 

Dreams that were once in the dashboard of our lives, now relegated to the rearview mirror. 

Slowly, we start to live a life of “what if.” But there are valid reasons we say: I have responsibilities, I have kids, soccer practice, a tough job, etc.

Guess what? There are people who achieve their dreams every day with exactly the same circumstances. They pursue their goals regardless of the reasons put in front of them. 

Why do we do this? The answer is fear. 

Fear that we’ll follow our goals and fail. Fear that we’ll take the game winning 3-pointer at the buzzer and fail. Fear that others will say “I told you so.”

How To Break Through Fear

Here’s the thing, we all experience fear. A lot of times, we expect fear to disappear before we can take action towards our biggest dreams. However, there are ways to mitigate and use it to your advantage:

  1. Make it small – A lot of fear comes from making a challenge very large in our minds. The next time you experience that, break that challenge down into the smallest next step. I had a goal of meditating for 20 minutes a day. In the beginning, that goal seemed very difficult to achieve. Instead, I committed to 1 minute a day until that became easy. I was then able to incrementally grow until I reached my goal. That brings me to the next point.
  2. Get momentum – There’s something magical that happens when you build momentum towards something. Some times you just need a few small wins under your best to accomplish a big task. For example, I wanted to re-shape my body by going to the gym. Instead of committing to 12 weeks 5 days per week, I set a goal to go just twice. After I went twice, a gained momentum and was able to keep rockin’.
  3. Throw it up on paper – I have a daily journaling practice where I “throw up” all of my anxieties and insecurities on paper. I don’t filter or edit anything. I don’t plan to ever share this with anyone. This process is incredibly therapeutic and gives me a clear head to start the day.

What’s On The Other Side of Fear? 

  • What happens if we take the shot and make it? 
  • What would life be like then? 
  • What’s it costing you NOT to follow your dreams?

For me, starting a business was key, because it’s a vehicle. It’s a vehicle that allows me to create a life of my dreams. 

What do you really want in your life? 

Travel, connection, time with your family? If you build it right, a business can support and fuel this lifestyle.

The beautiful thing is that it’s never too late to start dreaming.  

  • Ray Kroc franchised McDonald’s at age 51
  • Martha Steward was 50 before starting Martha Stewart Living Magazine
  • Gordon Bowker founded Starbucks at age 52

These are just some of the reasons I’ve decided to create my coaching series for a limited time.

I’m excited to share all of these answers and more. You’ll be one of only 30 people who I will be personally coaching on how to go from zero to launch. 

Imagine, how would you feel being able to tick off items from your bucket list?

  • Do you want to travel more? 
  • Do you wish you had time for your kids or spouse?
  • Do you wish you could pay off your house?   

No goal is too big or lofty to get started today. Once inside, you’ll be shocked at what success really looks like in the lead-up and why.

Sign up for the coaching series.