Value of Simple

This begins a month of really diving into what Value of Simple stands for and why we've gathered to help each other liberate our time, money, and talent.


Holy crap.

It's been over two years since I wrote my first blog post on November 27, 2010. I've been blogging for two years?!


I'm going to explain how far I've come since that first post (only good for a laugh these days) and show the invaluable lessons I've learned.

You can even read my first year blogging recap, but the context isn't necessary. Like my one-year anniversary, I'm marking this second year with a little of everything.

Join me for story time and to create a benchmark for what's to come a year from now.

This Could Get Serious

Most of the articles I created before March 2, 2012 – my last day working a corporate job – weren't all that great. Some of them were so unredeemable that they were deleted when Enlightened Resource Management became Value of Simple in July.

I'm proud of some earlier articles, but I simply didn't have the time, focus, skills, and energy to create consistently badass content until quitting my job.

Since March, I've been working my butt off to make a ripple in the Internet and spark positive change. I gotta tell ya, becoming dedicated to teaching others how to simplify, organize, be money wise, and find their “why” has been immensely rewarding.

Some of the best ways I've been a catalyst for other people's personal renaissance were in creating things like:

  1. The Personal User Guide: Who's nutty enough to create their own Personal User Guide (and make it public) so anyone can understand what makes a person tick in ten minutes or less? Apparently I am. And a number of folks have joined me to transparently celebrate who they are.
  2. The Continuous Creation Challenge: It started with a personal 72 hour challenge in April and blossom into a shared 120 hour challenge in September. I have big plans for the Continuous Creation Challenge! Those include building resources that will make planning and experiencing it as amazing for everyone else as it is for me.
  3. The 27 Simple Sages Article: This was intended to be my big splash in rebranding this website. 5,000 views, 43 “Likes,” and 50 tweets later, I'd say the Simple Sages helped me succeed with this one.
  4. Smart and Simple Matters: Launching my online audio show and the episodes so far has been more fun than anything else I've done. I absolutely, positively love doing the show. And people love listening or reading the episodes too. Damn it feels good to know I'm making waves with SASM!
  5. Start Investing with $100: It was only two weeks ago that SIW100 launched, but already I've felt the impact. To my students' confidence, to my personal bottom line, and to the increased respect I've received from a number of people.

I could keep going, but this isn't a “Joel's 2012 highlight reel” and it's not to showcase the lowlights either. I've pointed out plenty of my faults and plan to call out more later this month.

Let's hit the main event and discover what invaluable lessons year number two revealed.

Lessons Learned

This could easily be an epic 4,000 word post. However, I'm keeping this shorter to save other lessons learned for another day. As these biggies are revealed, think about what takeaways you can act on from one or all of the lessons.

Help Until It Hurts … and Then Keep Helping

Maybe it was Keith Ferrazzi's influence from Never Eat Alone and Who's Got Your Back (affiliate links). Maybe it was a strange experiment with Help Day.

Whatever it was, this year was focused on helping my friends, family, peers, online communities, neighbors, random strangers, and everyone else in between.

I spent so many more of my resources helping others this year than any other year. Sometimes until it literally hurt (like back pain from digging holes in a garden on Help Day) and sometimes until the mental strain got too big (like punishing my brain coming up with the perfect name for a friend's new website).

You know what?

The more I helped everyone else, the more help was available to me. I can't begin to explain how many people are willing to help you deeply when they know you're ready to help them too.

Always Seek New Communities

I've joined or embraced many communities in the past year.

Podcasters, Toastmasters, Puttypeeps, and Bootstrappers.

Blogging Bootcamps, a Comment Cartel, one Mastermind, and Product Creators.

Curators, Spreadsheet Makers, Bodyweight Exercisers, and Paleo Bakers.

I could go on.

Each of these communities has given me something – a tool, mindset, resource, or support – I couldn't get anywhere else.

The awesome part for you is that each of these communities has made me a better content creator (except maybe the Bodyweight Exercisers and Paleo Bakers).

I'm a better public speaker, leader, writer, blogger, idea generator, and entrepreneur because of them. I'm a more ethical, organized, thoughtful, smart, passionate, creative, simple, and money wise dude based on their help.

I believe you can never have too many friends. I also believe you can never have too many “people.”

As my dad would say, who are your “people?” What groups do they belong to? How can you find and join communities that have a message or mission that resonates deep inside?

Earn and Re-earn Everyone's Attention and Respect

Who consumes what you create and what action do they take from it?

Those two questions are holdovers from last year and are just as relevant today.

Nobody just gets a community that will keep coming back. You have to earn and reearn the right and privilege of people's attention. You have to earn and reearn everyone's respect, even from folks who have stuck with you for years.

The goal at VoS is to have you absorb what I create and take positive action as a result.

Sometimes it's:

But if you're not taking action, I'm not doing it right.

Cultivate Family and Friends Support

Friends and family will naturally support who you are, what you do, how you achieve your goals, and why you operate a certain way…to an extent.

The first time you take their support for granted is the first time you start to lose some of it. Cultivate support when you don't need it so that it's freely given when you do need it.

Support from our most important people, who also empower most of our success and happiness, is like being physically healthy. I always say:

Our bodies show amazing resiliency when necessary, as long as we treat them well before it's necessary.

I constantly remind myself that the things I depend upon don't just let me depend upon them without intentional cultivating.

Start thinking about what lessons you can act on now that I've shared my biggest lessons. If you don't act, I'm not doing it right.

Do You Want to Help?

With the help you've already provided, I had almost as many visitors on July 9, 2012 as I did from December 2010 to December 2011. As much in a day as a whole freakin' year!

Do you want to help make VoS ten times better in year three? Here are some simple things you can do right now to empower us all:

  1. Leave a comment about what you'd like to see more and less of. It can be specific like “More podcasts about digital organizing” or general like “Less text. Keep it brief, man!”
  2. Contact me about what you need to sign up or stay signed up to our email newsletter
  3. Make others aware I exist. You can do it your own way, but tweeting about me or an article (like this one) and leaving a written review of Smart and Simple Matters in iTunes help a ton.

Thanks again for reading! It's truly special to share myself, my resources, my ideas, and this space with you!

What are the biggest lessons you've learned this year? And which of the three simple ways to help us did you just complete?


Special note: The winners of the two Start Investing with $100 scholarships are Emilie and Jim! Congratulations to you both and I'm excited to see you on the inside of SIW100.