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When the universe is aligning

“Alineación y balanceo” photo by Marcos Zerene

Photo by Marcos Zerene

It’s funny how a major event can make you exhale, especially when you didn’t even realize you were holding your breath.

When we announced Hubpages acquired Squidoo back in August, that’s exactly what I did. Exhaled.

I loved Squidoo – what it stood for, what it accomplished, and the relationships I developed while working on it. But it was intense. Nine intense years, seven days a week, many many hours per day.

I was about to have a ton of time on my hands, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. I soon realized I had an even bigger problem than that. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. The only thing I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to sit for long, nor did I want to try anything as big or demanding as the role of Squidoo’s COO.

So I took some naps. I went on a “vinyl vacation” (a mostly agenda-less trip to other cities to explore used record shops). I committed to some long overdue personal work during these new found quiet moments. Then I began to notice some important things I’d overlooked.

I think when we think about our work, we focus too much on the actions: designing, writing, coding, managing… That’s what we do, but that’s not our “art”.

Fewer still try to combine those actions with a job we’re passionate doing, a company we believe allows for us to do that sort of work.

That’s great (and necessary). But there’s something missing in that equation – the “I want to jump out of bed each morning and start creating my art” sort of feeling.

For me, I need all to also surround myself with people who are passionate about what they do. People who bring positive energy, who want to push the envelope, and who want to collaborate as much as I do.

I titled this post “When the universe is aligning” because of Seth Godin. I worked with Seth every day for nine years, and a lot of his ideas rubbed off on me, thankfully. He recently posted a comment on No Treble’s debut podcast episode where he mentioned the universe aligning. 

The back story: I got an email from Seth some time in 2014 introducing me to Mitch Joel. Mitch is an accomplished marketer, author, speaker, and podcaster among other things. He’s the man. He’s also a bass player. Mitch was telling Seth about how he wanted to do a podcast about bass, Seth laughed and told him he knew a guy he should talk to. (Mitch tells the story on his blog.)

So two weeks ago, we launched “Groove – The No Treble Podcast”. Episode 1 was a conversation with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo. I connected with Robert thanks to my work on the official Jaco Pastorius site – more universe aligning stuff. Soon, the podcast spread around the web, and I felt such energy because of it all. I saw Mitch’s excitement, and it made me even happier.

When it comes to No Treble, I get a lot of that same energizing feeling thanks to Kevin Johnson, AKA “Mr. Crush It”. Kevin is No Treble’s Managing Editor, but far more than that, he’s one of my best friends. I want to continue working on No Treble because he’s making it happen with me.

In my post-Squidoo projects, I’ve seen even more of these happy connections more clearly than ever. I’ve worked with Liz Hamilton on design for my own “instigator” branding, some killer Jaco Pastorius shirts and stickers and a couple of other web projects.

Joey Blake helped me out of a technical jam and shared his exciting new gig with me. We talked about things we might explore together in 2015.

Josh Brown (my brother) has taught me the basics of Sass and always shares the latest geeky goodness he discovers.

Stephanie Mangino worked on the Jaco bio for the site and helps out with tons of No Treble editorial.

This has me fired up and looking forward to more collaboration in 2015. I know surrounding myself with passionate, positive, energizing and talented folks like these not only turns work into art, it makes it feel better.

If you’re in a period of transition, try to picture your surroundings and see if you can find what makes your mojo go. Think less about the task, the role, and especially the money. Find that place where you can do your amazing work… not the work that happens between the clock punches and paychecks.

If you’re looking for someone to bounce ideas around with and tinker, I’m listening!