Allow me to introduce you to my handsome friend, Kier. Kier is a brilliant singer songwriter born in Denmark, but based in Hollywood who is moments away from becoming a household name.  I have to share because there is not a female that has met him that is not instantly smitten by his humility and genuine kindness, which is unfortunately rare in the entertainment business.  As part of the Tosh.0 segment that aired last night he had the opportunity to be a “Toshcapella” and I could not be happier for him.  This isn’t his style of music, but it was a hilarious segment and I encourage you to follow him on all social media networks as @KierSings or treat your ears to his inspiring, emotionally charged music here: http://kiermusic.com/.  Enjoy my friends!  



Today we have a guest blog that kicks off a series I’ve always wanted to do around the question: what does it feel like to be you?  We always hear the guys on the news going on and on about the solutions that government is pushing and we hold our own preconceived notions about what caused someone else’s circumstances.  As much as I hate to admit it, I confess that I judge.  Maybe I’m the only one, but yes, I used to judge that if you are living a particular way it is a result of your own decisions. Recently I have been getting more involved with helping the less fortunate in my community and I realize that decisions are one part of the story.  The other part is purely circumstance.  We are born where we are born and we can’t change growing up in one of the worst public school systems in the country or parents that lack a support system or resources.  And so I asked, what does it feel like to be you?  

Morning.  My mornings lack optimism and opportunity.  It is a begrudging grind of routine and struggle. Praying, hoping against the odds that your child doesn’t get sick, but God forbid you should get sick then you’re doomed.  It’s knowing that you don’t have options.  That a blown tire on your busted old car means financial ruin and an ear infection could be catastrophic.  The newspaper you can’t afford to buy sold at the coffee shop you can’t indulge in tells the story of politicians who debate what it must feel like to be you, what it must be like to be you, and how they alone have the solution to help you.  Politics and the arguments of scholars and strategists are debates better left to the people who aren’t slaving away at two jobs in a daily struggle to determine if this is the month they can afford vegetables and fresh fruit.  What I would give for broccoli that isn’t frozen.  

Poor.  It isn’t a status or a fun fact that you include in your social media bio for all to celebrate.  It is the aching feeling deep in your soul that says your day to day existence, the existence of the children you never would have brought into this world had it not been for a different life, different circumstances, a different bank account, is a struggle.  It is familiarity with pawn shops, pay day loans, cheap fast food bargains, and even cheaper grocery stores because you can’t indulge in fancy places like Whole Foods.  Whole Foods.  It’s a laughable concept.  The country adds an affordable care act that just reminds you that yes you are poor because you can’t even afford to qualify to pay for a health care plan that the government calls affordable. They’re sure that if they insure you it changes anything- that your lack of paid sick time won’t be discouragement enough from taking time off from that job that you live in fear of losing.  That free health care solves the problem of struggling to put dinner on the table.  You don’t work hard every day- you work harder than anyone else because to lose this job would mean to lose your only life line to an existence that currently includes electricity and clean running water.  

Starving.  It isn’t just the ache in your belly from how hungry you are after that long 12 hour shift slaving away at the job you hate.  It is the deeper desire to do something better for your family.  It is the dreams the social media communities tell you to dream bigger.  Dream so big that you can imagine yourself out of these circumstances, this set of what, where, when, how that has you waking up each morning lacking optimism, lacking opportunity, lacking any ability to make those big dreams happen.  You over hear the ambitious entrepreneur in the lobby talk about VC and you’re not sure, but maybe it’s a disease of rich kids from fancy schools who don’t know what it feels like to be truly starving.  Starvation isn’t just what happens to your body. It is what happens to your entire soul when you are deprived of inspiration.  When you are deprived of intellectual interaction.  

Alone.  You see poverty isn’t fun.  You try to hide it, but eventually everyone knows.  They can tell because you can’t join them at the bar for a beer or the coffee shop for a fancy gourmet thing with foam.  Family stops taking your calls because they are sick of hearing about your reality and they aren’t offering up solutions.  You don’t call them for solutions.  You call for support or a kind word, but they aren’t offering up that either. You’re on your own out here and it’s every working poor man or woman for themselves.  For fun you surf the internet.  It’s internet you’re stealing from your neighbor and you keep seeing the suggestion that you dream big again and again.  

Dream big.  Are you supposed to dream big enough to dream away the empty kitchen cabinet or the electric bill that you’re behind on?  Can you dream big enough to dream of circumstances that don’t have you working 100 hour weeks just to buy some bananas?  Dreams seem so indulgent, so luxurious, so completely decadent when you are struggling with the day to day.  Dreams are the things of second and third generations- the stuff of hit rap songs and best selling books about single motherhood.  For today I am left falling asleep dreaming of winning the lottery.  That must be what it feels like to wake up one day and have those big dreams come true.



Our team went to Europe for a couple of weeks on business and the last thing you’d think I would do is spend two weeks starving, but that’s exactly what I did.  Oh you think I deprived myself of food?  Ha!  Have you seen me?  I never met a carb that I didn’t savor.  Come on people, I’m talking about the starvation of technology.  Essentially I lived in 1988.  My iPhone stayed with our director of operations, I lived on dial up internet that forced me to only check social media and email every couple of days, and all of my must have gadgets stayed home.  You see, at home I am a technology addict.  An ardent workaholic, I live for that first text and have been known to tweet people I am sitting at a table with.  It drives my family insane and I know better.  But, like any junkie, I go back for more.  This trip was the perfect opportunity to test just what could happen.  

PictureOne of those first meals sans tech
At first, I was like any recovering addict.  The shaky hands with nothing to do, the fast moving eyes searching for something to engage with, and the bundles of energy just waiting to be channeled for the sake of productivity.  The first couple of days saw me looking longingly at my laptop screen as the internet contemplated connecting me to the site I had requested.  My well trained brain instantly wanted to share photos and videos of once in a lifetime moments with all of you on Facebook.  But what would Twitter do without the documentation of my adventurous play by play?  Would Instagram survive without photographic evidence of my day?  Even more incredulous, would my fans somehow be disappointed if I did not include them in my journey?  Will my business continue to exist if I am not available on a moment’s notice to discuss every last detail?  Nothing good can come of this insanity.  But can it?

PictureRainy Venice- Tech-less!
As with any diet, day four was my break through.  I awoke more alert, not having fallen asleep to the light of my laptop and the chaos of the television in the background.  I don’t know if I can credit the delicious food, the 10 hours of indulgent sleep, or espresso that could fuel jets, but I was more alert and clear than before I had my children.  It was as if the haze had lifted and I was able to identify opportunities, create strategies to optimize them, and execute at a rate only known to the fast talking Micro machine guy from the commercials of the 1980’s.  I stopped searching my bag for my phone, quit trying to connect to internet that was more painful than running stairs, and was fully focused on the people I was meeting with.  Yup, you heard it here first my friends: I was fully present.  Starvation led to a buffet of engagement unlike anything that any social media community can give you.  This was a filet of detail and color with connection unlike any other.  My retention far improved, my creativity blossomed to achieve it’s full potential, and engagement stopped being something I talked about and starting doing.  

PictureMichael Buble concert in Milan- taken not with a phone, but a real camera!
Clearly I’m not starving any longer, but I will tell you that I am on a reduced calorie diet of technology.  I returned to put technology into it’s rightful place in my life.  Instead of being a priority to return emails within mere moments, I have a set schedule to reply to them and I am taking the time to meditate each morning before I lunge at my phone.  I fell in love with being at my best and realized that like any addiction, my technology addiction wasn’t helping me to achieve my best self. Isn’t it time to fall in love with some starvation in your life?