Don’t just do something…stand there!

chemex

Consistency and patience make great coffee (and a great life).

Last year I wrote a blogpost about what a coffee snob I am. I used this lovely device called a Chemex to make my coffee in. I hand grind my beans with a fancy burr grinder.

Sometime in the fall, I broke my Chemex when I accidentally hit it against the faucet in the sink. It was a sad, sad day.

And I didn’t replace my Chemex (they’re kind of expensive). I bought a little French press instead. And I accidentally broke that the same way earlier this year. Which was okay because it made yucky coffee. Then I tried a small, simple device for a pour-over. The result was even ickier coffee.

So, after getting a gift certificate to Amazon.com, I bought myself a new Chemex! Yay and hooray for exceptionally great coffee again!

It gets even better…

Nelson sent me a YouTube video on how to best use the Chemex. In this video, they recommend a special kettle to boil water in, a slow…slow…slow…routine of pouring the water over the grounds. And when I say slow I mean FOUR MINUTES of slow.

Four minutes?!?! Are you kidding me? That’s like forever. I could do six different things in those four minutes.

Yet for me, a good cup of coffee is a thing to behold. So, while I still don’t have the fancy kettle (yet), I did the four minute routine.

The result? My coffee is awesome. Freaking awesome. And so worth the patience, attention, and the wait.

And I’ll keep doing it. The results are worth it.

This of course leads me to wonder where in your life you could create a slow, deliberate routine? One that leads to an awesome outcome?

One of the overriding themes of my “Pay What You Can” sessions has been the idea of consistency. Not perfection, not everyday, not without fail.

Just be consistent. Regular action. Regular attention. Regular routine.

What are some ways you can be consistent to improve your business and life?

  • Marketing. There’s a reason I send out two notes a week. It WORKS.
  • Exercise. Your body and brain will thank you.
  • Prospecting. A little each day or each week goes a long way in consistently building your pipeline.
  • Clutter control. Two minutes now saves hours (of filing, frustration, and frantic searching) later.
  • Rest. Getting regular sleep does a body and brain good.
  • Vacation. Not one every five years. I mean several times a year. Good long ones, too. Because a 3-day weekend ain’t a vacation.
  • Connection. Being in relationship with one another is what makes life so sweet.

Slow down. Pay attention. Create routines. Be consistent. Choose the things that matter and will bring results that vastly improve your life and business.

When you need help, that’s where I come in. I’ll help you make some room. Create a schedule that supports consistency (and vacation time). And I’ll hold you accountable in the most loving, consistent way that is me.

Make some room,

Angie

P.S. Where do you want help being more consistent? I’d love to hear!

P.P.S. I’m noodling the idea of a summer series. Videos, worksheets, and Q&A calls. So, I’d seriously love to hear where you could use some support being more consistent. Do share!

I touched a tadpole!

On Sunday this past weekend, Nelson and I went kayaking. It had been quite awhile since we’d sat in our boats. Life sort of got in the way with the move to the mountains and the wedding.

Happily, Sunday was a gorgeous day. Cascade Lake in Pisgah Forest is a little gem. A friend of ours came along and we headed out. Destination: Hooker Falls.

The cool thing about Cascade Lake is you can paddle right up to the base of one of the prettiest waterfalls in the area. Most people hike in and don’t even realize it’s a paddle destination, too!

Hooker Falls is located in Transylvania County, Land of Waterfalls. Seriously, we have some 250 waterfalls here and all of them are gorgeous. Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls are all located close together and are big tourist attractions. There were lots of folks swimming and picnicking, riding horses, hiking, and even a few crazy souls who jumped off the top of the falls (not recommended).

On the paddle back, we took our time. Jeremy and Nelson did a bit of fly fishing. I meandered along near the bank and into the shallows. In one particular place, I noticed a lot of movement. I set my paddle on my knees and got very still.

To my surprise, this shallow arm of the lake was full of tadpoles! Now, I have a bit of an obsession with wanting to touch things under the water (as long as I can see them, mind you). So, for the next few minutes it became my goal to touch a tadpole.

I’d push my boat forward gently and immerse my hand without making waves. And then, I’d wait.

It probably took ten minutes for me to touch a tadpole, but I did it! And as soon as we made contact, he skittered off into the cover of the sand and aquatic weeds.

Still, it was a victory! I pumped my fist in the air and let out a primal scream.

No, I’m kidding. I didn’t do that. I just sat quietly and enjoyed the nature.

Our day ended with a final paddle across the lake, a turtle sighting (a really BIG one) and no fish were harmed during our expedition.

Why does all this matter?

It doesn’t really, except that I felt very at peace and relaxed during and after our outing.

My phone was off except to take pictures. I didn’t think about work, didn’t feel any stress, and pretty much lost track of time.

I was in the flow.

Gentle reader, when was the last time you were “in the flow.” Totally absorbed in what you were doing, happy as a clam (what does that expression mean, anyway?), without a care in the world?

If you haven’t been in the flow in awhile, your homework is to go find it.

Read a book. Do some crafts. Restart a long forgotten art project. Go outdoors and hike, paddle, or raft. Fly a kite. Ride your motorcycle somewhere curvy and beautiful. Enjoy the splendor that is LIFE.

And once you do it, write to me and tell me how you felt.

I bet it’ll feel gooooooood.

Make some room,

Angie

P.S. Haven’t gotten your copy of my Make Some Room Manifesto yet? Order one for some inspiration. Then make some room for fun today!

Technology is not the boss of you

If you’ve known me for any stretch of time you’ve inevitably heard me rant that technology is not the boss of you.

I had an epiphany a few weeks ago that further strengthened my less-than-positive feelings about our over-reliance and fixation on technology being the end-all, be-all answer to what ails us.

It happened as I was listening to a book on tape during my commute from the city back home to the mountains. I was listening to a book about spirituality when the narrator shared the following wisdom:

“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”

I’d heard this quote by Lao Tzu many times before. For some reason, on this day it struck me in a new way. I reworded it like this:

“Technology is wonderful servant, but a terrible master.” Angie Mattson Stegall

Think about it: using technology can be wonderful. There are real gains to be had in ease, efficiency, and effectiveness if we’re in control of it.

The downsides of becoming a servant to technology, though, are tremendous.

  • Kids who can’t focus, play, read, or engage with their own imaginations because they are so used to the “rewards” of playing and interacting with devices.
  • Adults who don’t communicate with another over dinner, driveways, or desks because their eyeballs (and minds) are glued to their devices.
  • Folks who are completely addicted to online porn, gaming, or gambling. This includes people who are far more invested in social media drama or their “Second Life” than their real lives.
  • Anyone who texts and drives. And a lot of people who talk on the phone and drive. A potentially deadly multi-tasking sh*t storm.
  • People who, as soon as their alarms go off, grab their smartphones or tablets to check email and social media instead of embracing their partner, spouse, kids, pets, or themselves.
  • Everyone who grabs for their devices when they hear anyone else’s devices beep, bing, ring, or vibrate. That hit of dopamine in our brains feels goooooooood, doesn’t it? What a reward!

Truthfully, all this makes me desperately sad.

It’s why I harp on it. And why I’ve chosen NOT to focus on technology solutions in my business.

I think who we are and how we are being is far more important.

In fact, Nelson and I are exploring creating an off-the-grid retreat where people (YOU) can visit and disconnect from your devices. A place to make some room to rest, relax, write, and dream. Come sit around a campfire with us and talk about your big ideas. Go hiking or fishing or horseback riding with us. Walk a labyrinth as a moving meditation. Purposefully take time to unwind, unplug, and recharge. It’s a big vision for sure, but one that is becoming clearer (and we hope) closer to reality each day. We’ll hope you’ll come stay for a night, a weekend or longer.

In the meantime, I’m interested in how you manage technology use in your world. Are you a servant to your technology or have you mastered the art of controlling it in your life?

Share your examples and stories with me, please!

Make some room,

Angie

P.S.¬†Playwright Max Frisch said, “Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn’t have to experience it.” Think about that deeply for a couple of minutes. How is technology keeping you from really experiencing life and genuinely interacting with the people right in front of you?

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