The gift everyone wants this Christmas.

Recently I sent a business contact an email.

I immediately received his automatic response which informed me that he would be on vacation until January 5th.

I thought to myself, “That must be awesome to take that much vacation. I wish I could do that!”

Then I remembered I can.

I work for myself now.

There’s no approval process for me to take days off. I’m an entrepreneur. I can take as much vacation as I want!

But that’s a bit of a myth, because when you work for yourself, you tend to take less vacation, not more. If you’re not careful, you end up working constantly. There’s no downtime because it’s not work time and home time, it’s just time. Add the phone in the mix and everyone is always available for work, not just entrepreneurs. Our phones make all of us on call like doctors only we don’t get paid like doctors. (And be honest, no one dies if you don’t answer a call.)

If you work for yourself, if you work for a big company, or if you’re out of work I know exactly what everyone in your life wants for Christmas this year – your presence.

Your husband? He wants your presence.

Your wife? She wants your presence.

Your kids? They want your presence.

Your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your father, your mother, your friend, your neighbor? They all want your presence.

Every day this gift becomes rarer and rarer. Can you remember the last time you had a full conversation with someone’s face, not just their forehead as they stared at their phone? Can you remember the last time someone was “all there” not just partially there because interacting with you wasn’t enough to hold their full attention? I have to leave my phone in the car when we go to dinner parties or I will be physically present but absent in every other way possible as I engage with the phone instead of anyone else.

Don’t miss Christmas because you’re working or you’re lost in your phone.

This year, give someone that rarest gift of all, your presence. No one else can give them that.

It costs nothing, but it’s worth everything.

 

 

We fail at the finish line because sometimes we want to.

Artists and entrepreneurs alike often launch self sabotage missions right before they cross the finish line of projects. They are afraid that if they do complete that thing, that work, that dream, something terrifying will happen-success.

Or worse yet, we won’t know what to do next. The idea we always talked about will actually exist and will be up for criticism and analysis. Maybe we’re not actually a real writer or a real photographer or real business owner after all. If we don’t finish, we can still hold onto the fantasy that we might be. For another week, another month, forever.

These are the things fear tells you near the finish line. So we pause. We count the cost of completion in anxious nights and early mornings.

Instead of launching our work, we launch our own missles at the bows of our own boats.

Beware the traps you set for yourself, especially if you’re near a finish line.

1 surprising lesson about dream chasing from a Heisman Trophy winner.

Last night, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy.

That means, a panel of 800+ college football experts from around the country voted he was the best player in the 2014-2015 season.

It’s an extraordinary accomplishment, but what’s most surprising about it is how many schools offered Mariota a scholarship to play football.

There are 120+ division 1 football programs.

Given that he was named the best played in all of college football this year, how many scholarships do you think he received?

12 colleges? That would be 10%.

6? That would be 5%.

3? Surely 2.5% of the schools in the country saw his potential.

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3 reasons I’m learning to love a technology I hated for 18 years.

A few weeks ago, my 11 year old didn’t want to eat a vegetable we were having for dinner.

She told my wife Jenny, “I don’t like parsnips.”

Jenny responded, “That’s OK, because that’s a yellow carrot, not a parsnip.” Then we had kind of a hostage/negotiator stand off moment.

I told L.E., “It’s fine to not like yellow carrots, but you have to eat them. It’s just one of those things you might not like but still have to do in life.”

She immediately looked at me and said, “You mean like email is for you?”

Well played, small child, well played indeed.

Ever since I got my first email in 1996, I haven’t disliked it, I’ve hated it.

If you’ve ever sent me one, you know this to be true because I probably didn’t respond. Or if I did, it started with, “I am so sorry it took me so long to respond.”

My personal hatred of email eventually poisoned my approach to sending out newsletters too. As an “Idea Generator,” the title I’m calling myself today because I get to do that, I never sent out ideas via email. But lately, I’ve been learning to love email. Why? Here are the top 3 reasons:

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Want to be on the Do Over media list?

My new book, Do Over, comes out April 7, 2015.

In the months ahead, I’m going to be having a lot of fun conversations with a lot of fun people in the media.

In order to do that, I’m putting together a list of all the folks I know who are in the media.

That includes:
Podcasts
Blogs
Websites
Newspaper
Radio
TV
Magazine
And any other cool mediums I don’t know about because I’m old.

If that’s you, and you want to be in the know as far as cities I’ll be in, launch updates or possible interviews, please fill out this quick form.

I’ll put together a separate book launch team in a few weeks, so if you’re not media or don’t have a blog/podcast, please don’t worry about filling out the form.

Thanks!

Jon

Every Minute Matters! Sign up for the 10-Day Do Over Challenge.

It took less than a minute for Jenny to say yes when I proposed to her.

The phone call where I received my first book deal took a minute.

The biggest career opportunities I’ve had took a handful of minutes.

As I look back over my life and the lives of the people I respect, I see a consistent pattern.

Every minute matters.

Did I date Jenny for months and months before I proposed? Did I work for months to get the book deal? Did I practice for months before getting public speaking offers? Of course, but those months were made of weeks and weeks are made of days and days are made of minutes.

Starting January 1st, I’m launching a rescue mission for our minutes. I’m going to help you make the most of your minutes, because that is what all our lives are made of.

Challenge

It’s called the 10-Day Do Over Challenge. Here’s how it will work:

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