Pulse CheckEvery quarter, I recap the past, present, and future of my personal journey and the voyage of Value of Simple.

This “Pulse Check” is intended to be an honest, transparent, and (hopefully) inspiring assessment of where I've been and where I'm going.

Are you ready for the Pulse Check from January to March 2015?

How to Be Intentionally Busy

In my last Pulse Check, I said that the first three months of 2015 were going to be busier than I normally like.

Why? You'll see in a moment.

But with all my “Let's just slow down, folks!” talk and “There are better things to be than busy” chatter lately, I want to clarify something (maybe just for my own sake).

It's OK to have a lot going on – at least for a while. Periodic cycles of heightened, purposeful action are just dandy if, in the long run, we remove the excess to make room for the important.

I had some unfinished business from 2014, plus some heavy action for 2015 that I committed to last year, which is why I set my ship full steam ahead. For example, there were portions of the original Experience Curating version – sometimes even whole chapters – that were gnawing at me. So I resumed work with the best idea architect I know, Erin Kurup, and did another round of book edits.

The results? Murky concepts are now clear and actionable. People are really integrating Experience Curating into their daily lives. And I've converted at least a few people into Excel fan(atic)s. It's definitely worth celebrating.

Other Experience Curating grooviness included my talk in March at South by Southwest called, “Beyond Marketing: How Curation Will Work for You.” The simple message was this:

If we limit curating to ‘content,' then we then we limit the potential of the universe outside of it.

The presentation was peachy, but the real event highlights were meetups with community managers, Burning Man enthusiasts, mindfulness seekers, and librarians. (Yes, librarians. I love their mindset and quirks).

Prepping for my SXSW talk also dovetailed with publishing the first edition of The Experience Curator, now with 100% fewer spreadsheets and 73.29% more block quotes.

Speaking of block quotes …

The Experience Curator is a periodic series giving you the most fascinating, exceptional, or fun moments from 5,000 BCE through today. From online content to offline stories to tantalizing tidbits, there's plenty here to resonate with anyone.

There's more Experience Curating schweetness ahead, but I'm fully transitioning back to my hottest passion, SimpleREV. Ohhhh, simple-living and community-building. How I've missed you!

Our SimpleREV Brain Trust has been planning our second community event for October 2-3 in Minneapolis, MN and – bang! – we're off to a fast start. For instance:

  • Joshua Becker, Marc and Angel Chernoff, Farnoosh Brock, and Donnie Maclurcan lined up as prominent participants? Check.
  • McNamara Alumni Center booked, fair-trade and organic beverages sourced, and detailed agenda drafted? Awww yeah!
  • Bonus SimpleREV local gathering training and fun surprises planned? Bada bing!

I dig fantastic folks coming to my town to get our simplicity on, but I'm more focused on bringing SimpleREV to their town. That's where the SimpleREV local gathering infrastructure comes in, especially with the host “field kit” we're crankin' on.

(By the way, subscribe to the SimpleREV email newsletter if you'd like to host or participate in a free, intimate gathering in your community.)

As a multi-passionate dude, you know it's not all Experience Curating, SimpleREV, and Excel over here. I continue to experiment with my morning rituals and have meditation, visualization, and promises (my version of affirmations) locked-in.

Now I'm working to add bodyweight exercises, intermittent fasting, and maybe even the occasional practicing dying session into the mix … all before my little guys, Grant and Clark, start stirring. It's hard, but as I say in the podcast episode on my morning rituals, I do it because it's challenging.

Home life continues to be rad – a rather easy and organic thing since my wife, Melinda, is a prominent presence – and I'm stoked to get my boys outside more without spending half the day bundling them up.

I will, however, miss walking on frozen lakes or seeing Grant ice skate for the first time on one.

Grant's First Ice Skating Attempt

And now that I've (mostly) recovered from my Wisconsin Badgers losing to the Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA Basketball Tournament Championship game, let's move on to the numbers.

The Numbers

A lot of people are interested in the stats behind Value of Simple. I am too because it helps me understand what's working, what's failing, and what I need to emphasize in the future.

But more than that, being upfront with you and sharing these numbers lets me display some core values of candor, vulnerability, and accountability. The more you know about this refuge of simplicity, the more you know whether this community is a place you want to be.

If a number is in parenthesis, it's the net increase or decrease of the same stat from the previous quarter. This also includes the income I made so you can see how this site supports my family, charities like Second Harvest Heartland, and the greater community.

Note: All numbers below are a monthly average of the past three months.

Note: Amounts shown are after PayPal fees and affiliate payments are made.

  • Total Average Monthly Income: $54.96 (comparison N/A since I've stopped including SimpleREV items here)
Check out my Resources page if you want to know why I stand by these products and services.

A noteworthy number from the past three months is 200,000; the total downloads for Smart and Simple Matters as of early March.

Thanks a bunch if you're among the 200,000! And remember that you're more than a number or subscriber. I'm grateful for how this community pushes me to experiment, be consistent, and occasionally get downright funk-eh.

What I Learned (and You Might Too)

It feels great to know how to push myself in an intentional way. But with all the people I've met since becoming an entrepreneur or connected with through live events, social media, or in online communities, I've hit a tipping point with my relationships.

Perhaps I've internalized Scott Dinsmore's and Keith Ferrazzi's philosophy a little too well:

At no point in our lives should we feel like we have made enough friends.

Please don't take this as bragging – it's just the straight-up, awesome truth – but I have tons of awesome friends across the world. I'm so grateful for them, yet still super eager to connect with more awesome folks.

So, what's the issue here?

Well … because I believe maintenance is for things like gardens and machines – not humans – I'm struggling big-time to deliberately grow my current relationships and cultivate new ones.

My email response time has slipped significantly. My Skype chats or lunch dates with long-time friends have been scaled back. My feedback for SimpleREV 2015 workshop leaders, people who are waiting on me to give them direction, has sagged or been non-existent.

In other words, my long-time relationship systems are breaking down. So what does a fella who refuses to live the “go, go, go” lifestyle do?

Stop being an extrovert at events? Gently explain to my friends that my engagement levels may continue to slip, but such is life, right? Tell my kids that papa will be right with you … right after I put it in a spreadsheet?

I don't have a good solution right now. And I don't want to coast on good will and great intentions.

Maybe you can help? What have you done when you were overwhelmed by the cumulative awesomeness of your relationships? I'd love to know what mindsets, systems, or tools you use to keep the door open for new friends and keep the good times rollin' with old pals.

What's Around the Corner

First of all … I know.

I've been talking about Experience Curating print and audiobook versions for so long that it's put up or shut up time. Fortunately, I'm (finally) on it like a bonnet.

I have a working draft of the print layout from a contractor and I started recording the audiobook last week. That means you'll have a paperback in your hands or my voice hitting your ears before June begins.

Woot-ski, baby!

Delivering on my last big Experience Curating promises then frees me up to deliver on other commitments like hiring my first virtual assistant. I need one to help me take Smart and Simple Matters weekly, to revive the dormant All Things SimpleREV podcast, and get some major graphic design help.

And then what? For starters, I'll have the energy to redesign Value of Simple, something that's been overdue since the current design went live in July 2012.

I'm sick of my personal home on the web looking like crap on mobile devices. I'm tired of having a sidebar, oversized email opt-in forms, and navigation that doesn't reflect my current positioning. So I'll be crankin' away on the redesign soon and may even get the sucker live before my next Pulse Check.

It's going to be sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows then, right? 🙂

To be fair to myself and you, laying the groundwork for SimpleREV local gatherings across the globe is my top to-do right now. You see, I'm a lucky duck. I get to connect, hug, learn from, and laugh with local SimpleREVers whenever I want. Many people have told me they want that as well and I gotta make it happen for them and us.

It's-a-comin', folks. And it will be as magical as Portland, OR in July.

That's right: I'm rockin' and getting rocked by the World Domination Summit for the third year in a row, this time from July 9-13. In fact, I've been talking up the uberness of WDS to Melinda for so long – and by extension, Portland – that she wants to see what all the fuss is about.

So Grant, Clark, and my lovely lady will travel to Portland with me before WDS starts to get a family vacation in. Will I see you out there in July?

Let me know in the comments if you don't see something around the corner you were hoping to see.

And thanks for being interested enough in me and Value of Simple to read this Pulse Check!

Your partner in simplifying,


Photo Credit: fmgbain