Motivational Interviewing

Imagine you wanted to be a Navy Seal. They tell you, show up here at 3 am every day and we’ll walk you through what exercises to do during the week and then you can do them on your own and report back.

No one yells at you or watches you. You do it all on your own.

When you fail to do the exercises, they ask you how you feel.

Well I’m just really tired after the first day…the exercises are very hard and starting at 3 am is too early because we don’t even finish the prior day’s workout until 2:45 am.

How could we modify the training to make it easier for you? Continue reading

On November 15th, Techshop closed their US locations.  They fired the employees, locked the doors, and announced that they were immediately filing bankruptcy (which as of this writing they haven’t filed).

Months ago they stopped paying instructors and eventually they stopped making payroll while burning a rumored 5 million per year in corporate expenses.

I was fortunate enough to get a phone call from a friend to come get my tool chest before they locked the doors.  Many people had their business locked away inside, right before the holiday season.

If you paid for a service in advance at Techshop with a credit or debit card and didn’t receive 100% of that service, you can charge back what you paid. This includes prepaid membership fees, lockers, etc. Because you paid for a future service in advance, you generally have something like 120 days from the last time you expected to receive service, up to 540 days from the initial charge. Moreover these transactions are guaranteed by your card.

If like me, you paid for a year’s membership in the summer, Techshop probably owes you a thousand bucks or more. Because you paid in a lump sum, they owe you the entire amount as they didn’t render the service you paid for.

That thousand bucks will probably go a long way towards a new shop if you want to build one. If you want to pool your resources, it doesn’t take many people to buy a small shop’s worth of equipment, depending on what you need. Eric’s group is working hard to figure it out as is my group.


So here are the steps. Note that I’m not a lawyer, you should consult your doctor, accountant, this is not legal advice, etc.

1. Get the actual transaction, date, etc from your credit card statement. This will probably say Techshop with a phone number. Print it out.  It will look something like this.

06/04 Card Purchase 06/04 Techshop Menlo Park 800-640-1975 CA 998.00

2. Print out a copy of the closure email, the news story about Techshop closing, maybe a picture of the note on the closed doors.

3. Go to the bank if at all possible. It’s much easier if you can provide them with documents on the spot. If not, call the number on the back of the card. My experience was that the people on the phone didn’t capture everything quite right so I had to go through this twice. It took about two weeks per round to get resolved.

Things to emphasize to your bank:

  • “I paid for a year long service beginning this date, ending this date.” The exact dates aren’t that important. You’re just looking for this month in 2017 to this month in 2018 showing that you paid for something in advance of receiving it.
  • “On November 15th 2017, they closed the doors and fired all the employees, so I’m no longer receiving that service.” See documentation.
  • “I asked for a refund on-site that day, and the employees were locked out of the systems so they could not refund me.”
  • “I would like to issue a chargeback for this transaction….” Give them the date, amount, etc.
  • Have them call the number on your bill and see that it has been disconnected (unavailable).

Most likely the people at your bank will call the dispute resolution department and they write it all up. They then do an “investigation” for a couple weeks and make a decision. If you don’t like their decision, call them up to figure out what they wrote down wrong and do it again.

Hope this helps.

If you’re looking for a small more advanced machine shop that might include a wood shop in the mid penensula area, check out our slack channel and fill out the survey there to get on the email list.

I’ve been listening to the iprocrastinate podcast and they talk a little about increasing self awareness.

Then the other day I was thinking about how most of the coaches and athletes I know keep detailed workout logs.

They track each set, rep, weight, and some go so far as to record velocity, how they feel, what they ate, and so on.  They review these logs and they know exactly what works and what doesn’t.

In a way this is all self awareness.

Self awareness is knowing where we are, what we’re capable of, what we’re feeling, and so on.

When we don’t have self awareness the gap between who we are and who we think we are grows.

As this gap grows it becomes harder to prevent and solve problems.  It becomes harder to be who we want to be in the future.

If you’re five lbs overweight, that’s much easier to address than if you’re 85 pounds overweight.  We can address problems sooner when we are more sensitive and aware of those problems.

Losing self awareness is one of the ways we end up 85 lbs over weight.

We disconnect our immediate behaviors with our present state because we are not fully aware of our present state.  In this example eating too much is causing a decline in our health.  If we don’t recognize that decline we can’t stop it before it gets much worse.

On the other side, self awareness can reinforce positive behaviors.  Recognizing small improvements in our performance, in the quality of our lives, or in the strategies we use makes us happier.  We can understand what works, when we should continue.  We’re better able to develop strategies for getting where we want to be.

This self awareness also applies to our future selves.

We often fail to anticipate how we might feel and behave in the future.

We feel anxiety over a deadline or a task that we don’t want to do, even though we know we should.  So we procrastinate in order to remove that anxiety.

If we get an accurate picture of our future selves, we will see that this future version of us will have even greater stress performing under a close deadline.  Our future selves will have to deal with the consequences of not meeting our goals.  We can see that we will still have that anxiety, and that distraction or delay will only make it worse.

The better we understand that future self the easier it is to make good decisions today in order to make life better for our future selves.

As we better understand and attend to our current emotions, our ability to address them with positive behaviors increases, rather than simply reacting to how we feel automatically with avoidance, distraction, and so on.

What behaviors do we engage in that might decrease our self awareness?  What do we do in order to distract ourselves?

What can we do to increase our self awareness?

Our goals must compete for our willpower and resources.  Often one goal prevents us from achieving other goals because we don’t have the energy to do everything.  We try to do too much and then we fail at everything.  Even when several of our goals seem to align, they cause us to make assumptions that lead us to failure.

We can only do so much and change so much.  So when we set out to make change, it’s important consider how difficult a change will be, and how this change affects other areas of our lives. Continue reading

writing advice to yourself

Write advice to yourself or other people.  Review it regularly.  Edit it.  Refine it.  It worked for Marcus Aurelius and it worked for Bruce Lee.

I’ve started a list of advice or things I know.  Perhaps things I believe I know.  Some of these are lessons I’ve learned the hard way, others are lessons I’ve observed in others.

This process reminds us of what’s most important and helps us to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

I will edit and add to this over time.  Try making your own list and I think it will be worth your time.

Here is mine:


Go for a walk in the morning and decide what would make the day a successful day.

Get proximity to successful, happy, and rich people. Be cool. They will likely influence you automatically.

Look behind you. The Romans believed that the future comes from behind.

Do one thing really well. Solve one problem with one solution.

Work to reduce decision making for small tasks to reduce decision fatigue. Make decisions quickly.

Focus on the one thing most likely to get maximum results. Forget everything else.

Track your time manually so you have to see it and deal with it. Use a spreadsheet or paper.

Time however, is not our limitation.  It is mental space and attention.  Attention is what you’re managing.  There’s all kinds of time.  Attention is limited.  Track time to evaluate attention. Continue reading

Bill Hartman Physical Therapist

Over the holidays I sat down with Bill Hartman to talk about working, learning, how to create the perfect athlete, as well as how he broke into the publishing industry.

If you’re not already familiar with Bill, he is a physical therapist working out of Indianapolis. There he co-owns a gym and PT clinic. His clients include kids, professional athletes, CEOs, and average joes.

His internship program at IFAST has generated a number of world class physical therapists and trainers, many of whom now work in the NBA.

This was a fun talk and I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading

Man Purse

So somehow you’ve ended up with a beard, and maybe you’ve even bought a swedish made axe.  Perhaps you’ve taken an interest in zombie survival, or you really just like multitools.

Well all that stuff has to go somewhere and if it’s not with you, well what’s the point?

Enter the man purse

I get made fun of.  My little Arcteryx backpack goes with me wherever I go.  Then someone needs something…

Oh you need a towel.  Ya I’ve got one.  Here you go.



Need your finger reattached?  Let me get my bag.

Then the man purse becomes a little bit cooler, though maybe not much. It does save a ton of hassle though.  More importantly it gives you autonomy and self reliance. Continue reading

Neville wrote a great blog post today on creating a slogan.  You should go read it here.  I wanted to expand on this a little and provide an example.

No one is better at tag-lines than politicians

A few years ago I was watching a documentary called Our brand is crisis.  This documentary provides a behind the scenes look at the very best political strategists and how they frame their message to connect with voters.

One of the things they talk about is the slogan or central message.  This is the same team that came up with the “Hope and Change” slogan that was so central to the Obama campaign.

The idea is that we take a whole bunch of complicated issues, with complicated solutions, and we condense all that into a nice simple slogan or tagline.  The purpose of that tag-line is to provide a single idea or feeling that people can focus on, so that when they think of our company, they aren’t thinking about all those complications, random facts, or potentially negative qualities.  Instead, they think of that one idea, and if we do our homework, that idea is the one thing that motivates people to accept our offer.

Then, we take that idea and we repeat it over and over again.

The idea is not to sound clever.  Clever doesn’t sell.  Our objective is focus.

So if you think about “hope and change,” you’re not thinking about:

  • Is this politician trustworthy?
  • Do they have a track record of delivering on their promises?
  • Are their views the same as mine?

Instead this idea focuses us on our problems, making us feel the pain of those problems.  Because it’s simple and vague, any problem you have fits within this frame.  This drives us to seek a solution to the discomfort we experience and erases all those other issues that might distract us.

A tag-line example

Continue reading

Anyone that’s ever heard me talk about blogging knows I hate short blog posts.  Most of what I do with clients is force them to write longer and more difficult blog posts.

There’s a problem with this though, until you’ve reached a certain level of consistency, this perfectionism only leads to failure.

Just like someone new to the gym, we want you to just show up every week.  It doesn’t matter what you do, we need you to lift something 3-4 times per week.  You have to build the habit of just showing up before you worry about optimizing what you do when you’re there.

This is blogging.

Perfectionism is the biggest barrier to success in blogging when you first start out.

Until one masters writing every day, and publishing a good portion of that writing, they can’t get off the ground. Continue reading

I’m going to start with the exception to the rule. If you are

  • a large venture backed company
  • willing to invest lots of time and effort into creating great websites with lots of ground breaking content
  • or your products are assets that will likely be sold off to third parties or go public

…then by all means you should create a new site for your product.

However, most of the bloggers out there who put out their own products should be launching those products from their blog, especially info products. Continue reading