Pulse Check

Every 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 October to December 2014?

You're on a Mission and You're Wishin' …

(Someone could cure your lonely condition? If so, don't just stand there, bust a move.)

I've recently realized that I can't be on a mission without a compelling vision.

It's a little known fact that the original Value of Simple mission was to rock the unsexy side of life (with or without Excel spreadsheets).

Since then, I've talked heavily about expanding the meaning and practice of curating. And more recently, SimpleREV has given me the mission to broaden the world of simple living and unite a community around its principles.

But what's the vision that drives the mission?

Let's use the examples above and break it down, ya'll, vision style:

  1. Rocking the unsexy side of life: An expansive community that values and uses some critical systems to simplify, organize, and be money wise.
  2. Experience Curating: A culture that knows the benefits and joy from filtering, organizing, and accessing your most meaningful experiences how, when, and wherever you like.
  3. SimpleREV: A world where the simple, sustainable life the default – and most rewarding – choice once again.

As long as I can see and communicate the vision – the big “why” behind it all – then the who, what, when, where, and how of the mission naturally (and intentionally) follow.

For instance, my good buddy, Dan Hayes, recently left the SimpleREV Brain Trust to focus on his family. Does that suck for me and the SimpleREV community?

Yes. Yes it does. But Andrea Imsdahl and Sarah Wehkamp are part of the Brain Trust too and we're moving forward nicely. Life's cast of characters and resources will vary, but your motivation stays constant when the vision informs the mission.

How jazzed was I to wake up, interview one of my all-time heroes, Mark Sisson, and aid his vision to help ten million people get healthy with a primal lifestyle?

More jazzed than Louis Armstrong with a trumpet!

How stoked was I stretch out on a couch one recent morning and create a sixty-five word family mission statement with my wife, Melinda?

More stoked than a kid with a leaf blower by a bonfire!

Here's the takeaway: spend however long you need to establish or re-evaluate your work, family, community, and environmental vision. It's worth it. Every. Single. Time. Because your mission is more enriching with a vibrant vision.

For more on developing and refining a vision, apply the principles in this article to your specific context.

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.

  • Non-Income Stats

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

  • Total Average Monthly Income: $101.44 (-$979.21)
Check out my Resources page if you want to know why I stand by these products and services.

Note 1: Monthly average income is down significantly from July-September because I wasn't selling any SimpleREV event tickets from October-December.

Note 2: I lost a net of 13 email subscribers in December, my first month ever where I went negative. I don't understand why that is yet, but I'll investigate so it doesn't become a trend.

What I Learned (and You Might Too)

Sometimes I think, “It's too bad that the ‘Life's an experiment. Be your own mad scientist.' Value of Simple Declaration statement isn't more prominent.

‘Cause I got all experiment-y in October with this thing called SimpleREV 2014, and it paid off big-time. I covered the event plenty in my last Pulse Check and in a two-part podcast recap, so let's move on to other experiments.

One of them was when Andy Traub joined me as my first co-host for a Smart and Simple Matters episode. I made some bad assumptions about how he wanted to coordinate our interview with Matt Ham, but the end result was groovy.

I credit my pal, Jared Easley, with seeding the co-host idea, Andy – a professional podcasting co-host – for executing so well, and Matt for spinning verbal gold about how we redefining rich.

I'm going to play around with the co-host format a bit more in the future, especially since my separate All Things SimpleREV podcast is on hiatus after losing my co-host, Dan.

Other experiments I've successfully run include:

  • Pretending to be a four-year-old like my son, Grant, at his birthday party. You'd be surprised how much fun it is to bop kids over the head with balloons, fend off eight of his friends trying to tackle me, and go through an obstacle course at 6'6″ (two meters tall) that's designed for humans half my size.
  • Giving up pro football after twenty years of hard-core fandom. Reclaiming those precious Sunday hours and skipping the year-round NFL analysis has led to better family time, more flexibility, and avoiding moral dilemmas about whether or not I should be watching a sport where greed and violence drive team owners, the players, and many fans.
  • Reconciling my feelings about pro football with college football. I was bummed after my Wisconsin Badgers were crushed 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship game and thrilled when they pulled out an overtime win in the Outback Bowl.

So … hows 'bout you? Have you run any fun experiments lately? Would you like to see me toy with a new idea or breathe new life into an old one (i.e., the Continuous Creation Challenge)?

What's Around the Corner

There's no way around it. I've locked myself into a busy first few months of 2015, despite normally shunning a busy life.

There's so much potential, though! That's because I'm cookin' up stuff like:

  • Selling SimpleREV 2015 tickets later this month. Dudes and dudettes … it's going to be a stellar event with amazing workshop leaders, inspiring participants, and a schuper schweet venue. (You can get early access if you subscribe to the SimpleREV email newsletter).
  • Working with my book publishing team to get Experience Curating into print and audio formats. I'm shooting for March 13 or earlier because I'm …
  • Giving a talk at SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin, TX on March 14 called “Beyond Marketing: How Curation Will Work for You.” I'd rather not explore Experience Curating from a business and content marketing perspective, but I'd also rather not pay $1,500 for the Gold Pass they comped me to speak at an event I've been geeked to attend for years. Hit me up if you're going to be in Austin, TX between March 13-17, 2015.
  • Project managing some nifty plans for an awesome man and brand. That should take up 5-8 hours a week starting later this month and I'll tell you more once I actually get ‘er cranked up.
  • Stop writing regular blog posts on Value of Simple. I've been blogging for four years, have seen fewer results from it compared to, say, podcasting or event organizing, and I simply don't like it. Putting the brakes on my blogging means more time for Smart and Simple Matters and a new recurring series I'm tentatively calling “The Experience Curator.” It's just another way to live my minimalist values and give you more of what you
  • Planning a springtime family trip with Melinda, Grant, and Clark. We have seven cities we're considering visiting and San Fran or Portland, OR have the early lead.

That's what shakin', yo! Let me know in the comments if you don't see something around the corner you were hoping to see.

Thanks for being interested enough in me and Value of Simple to read this report!

Your partner in simplifying,


Photo Credit: fmgbain