Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 270 - Nightly Roundup

My current reading and the kids having a wild and crazy time at a party.

Hello to all! If you notice the gap in dates, I did achieve a lot in the days between 275 and 270, but by the time evening rolled around, just wanted to climb into bed and sleep.

A lot has happened, my goal was to stretch myself, dig a bit deeper to see what I can do. And that has happened;-). There are days when I find myself thinking starting a new business takes a lot out of you, and days when I think starting a new business puts a whole lot into you.

A tiny example of this is I'm far less shy about calling people that I don't know. A few days ago I finally got ahold of someone at our church to offer to help organize a plant sale for Habitat for Humanity. Then I called a women's prison here in WI called Taycheedah Correctional Center to see if they would be interested in a book drive for their library (an idea I got from an Oprah show). I'm still waiting to hear back as I was given the voicemail of the head of education.

Similarly, I had a meeting with a potential toy designer yesterday and no longer feel anxious about such meetings, just focused on trying to get the idea across in a way that can be understood and moved forward.

I've now had two meetings with my wonderful mentor group and am learning to balance a lot of opinions while trying to keep a specific vision. I've had two classes for my improvisation course and am learning you have to be in the moment to do improv and really listen to the person speaking. If you tune out or preplan what you want to say - it doesn't work as improv - and I must admit that being in the moment and really listening is something to work on in both my personal and professional life. It's a sort of "yes and..." rather than "yes, but" approach to conversations.

I saw Food Inc on Oprah and that made me want to recommit to at least an 80 percent vegan and whole food approach. Kirk wanted to go to McDonalds yesterday for their big play structure, so we got veggie burgers at Burger King, then french fries and a drink at McDonalds. The kids didn't like the veggie burgers at all - too spicy - but at least it was trying out something new. I will check out Whole Foods next week to find what other options are out there.

I will be heading to NYC in another week or so for the international toy show. I'm a bit anxious as I've never traveled New York alone, but excited too. I've been reading a LOT of books about how boys learn to read, what struggles boys face, building a company, and building a brand. It's all quite interesting when you immediately get to apply what you're learning.

I do need to stop and check in with the kids a lot. Kai goes to a part-time preschool/daycare and they sent home a report the other day that said a lot of good things, but also mentioned that he often instigates conflict with the other kids - i.e. knocking down another kid's block tower. Everything you read says your true priorities show up in how you spend your time and I do see at least in the last two months, the business concept has taken front and center. That needs to be corrected in terms of quantity/quality time with the kids. Greg assures me starting a new company is like have a newborn and it just needs more of your attention to get through those first few months and I'm hoping he's right.

My writers both turned in their first chapters. They are taking different approaches and we're going to have them write about three chapters using completely separate ideas, then test these with moms and dads and kids and pick the best approach. This part is a lot of fun. We also hired a professional company to help us with our logo and just today found a college kid with quite a bit of experience to help us with our website development.

Greg and I are learning to work together as a team. We've had a few rocky bits as we're both used to being in charge in our own domains - he's the managing partner for his law firm and used to being in charge. Similarly, I'm used to being in charge in teaching or here at home. Fortunately, we've built up a lot of good will in a dozen years of marriage, both respect each other's abilities and realize we are a lot stronger as a team than as individually. And this sharing of risk/reward in the company is definitely stretching our marriage - in a good way - more as equals.

Well, that's a long update. How are the rest of you doing. Are you getting stronger? Do you feel a bit overwhelmed at times? Just keep plodding on, day by day, inch by inch, and I believe we'll all be amazed what the end of the year brings.

Good wishes!! Eileen

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