How Young People Keep Me in Shape

At a party a couple weeks ago a young man and former debate student of mine asked, “How do you stay in such good shape?”

My 18-year-old daughter is in excellent shape, as are all the young people in my home.

He was in his 20s, newly married and looking great. I’m 42 and struggled to keep the 40-something gut from getting the best of me. I gotta say, his question puffed me up!

“I have lost 20 pounds since the beginning of the year,” I responded. I don’t really talk about this much (I don’t know many guys who do), but it got me thinking of the history of my weight and my generally good shape. 

What Would You Tell Atlas?

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged threw me into a thoughtful analysis of how much influence government has on entrepreneurs. I haven’t read the book, but I had the opportunity to see one of the movies when invited by a couple of movie reviewers to watch it with them (read my first two reflections on Part 1 and Part 2). These deep thoughts beg an example, and a good example happened earlier this school year.

If you saw Atlas carrying the exhausting weight of the world on his shoulders, what would you tell him?


10 Business Lessons in a Do-It-Yourself Project

We’re about 1/2 way done with the development of my home office, probably the toughest work behind us. In three days we’ve demolished a small part of the basement, erected closet walls, insulated, dry-walled, replaced a window and a door, wired reciprocals and lights, taped the drywall seams. We still have to sand the drywall and reapply the mud, paint, trim, woodwork, build a bookshelf, assemble two closets, lay interior flooring, lay carpet, and anything else we may have overlooked.

I’m tired, but it’s a good tired. There’s a lot to say about good, hard work that makes doing it yourself so totally worth it. It has gotten me to reflect:

The indisputable lessons of business can be learned in a do-it-yourself project.

And vice versa. It’s true. This home office project you’ve enjoyed with me has been a great example. I’ve come up with 10 business lessons in this do-it-yourself project, and these lessons can be applied to any entrepreneurial project:

Pictures of Our Office Suite Development

I have a profound thought. I’m self-employed because I love life and my family. These two themes are threaded throughout, you know that. But this remodeling project is bringing these two themes to the surface.

The crew (LtoR): Isaiah, me, Micah and my dad, Bernie.

We’re two days into my office suite remodel, and the following pictures explain some of the work we’ve gotten done. Notice a few things:

  • A plane ticket to fly my dad out to help us was well worth the expense. Three generations building a home office suite is priceless.
  • Two of my sons have exemplified incredible trade skill (Isaiah with electricity, Micah with framing). I’m so proud of them.
  • The rest of the family help out where they can, even if it is helping make lunch for the crew. Everyone’s excited about the development in the basement.

Conversations, cracking jokes, thinking through difficult constructions – life and family. It’s magical in our home right now as we press forward with the development of the home office suite. Enjoy the pictures; I’ll post more tomorrow. 

The Best Use of Space for My Office Suite

If you’re thinking of transforming a part of your house into a home office suite, I suspect you need to think carefully on how you use your space. I have only a certain amount of home “space” to work. Simply throwing a desk into a room served a purpose, but more analysis could serve me and my business much better. Let me share with you my thinking on how I planned to transform my old garage into a useful home office suite.

Day 1: I worked with Isaiah on rewiring the garage, and my dad (I flew him in from Minnesota) worked with Micah on framing. We had a ball, and the first phase is behind us.


8 Considerations for My Home Office

If you’re thinking of a home business, an office is one of those needed assets. Subscribe to my blog as I think through and build mine. I hope it gives you ideas and vision for your home office.

This is my current garage, soon-to-be home office.

I walled up my garage years ago, making better use of the 20′ x 40′ space than parking our old vehicles. For the longest time one side of the garage served as storage, the other side split between an office and a laundry room. But the more I get into home business, the more I need a business hub. There have been several frustrations with my home office, and I’m ready for a change.

Before I spend a grand or two (and that’ll be frugal), I need to know this is a good idea. I have a home office already, so is this all that necessary? Could I get by without it? Here are some considerations:

  1. Sound. I have 14 children at home. I need more soundproofing. Ya think?
  2. Traffic. My current office had two doors in it, so to get from the living area to the garage/storage area, you’d have to go through my office.
  3. Copier. My copier is used a lot by the kids (we home educate), so interruptions are frequent.
  4. Coziness. My current office is pragmatic, but definitely far from “cozy.” I want a place to hang my elk antlers.
  5. Space. My current office only has room for a desk. I need wall space for a dry erase board, and more room for a round conference table.
  6. Storage. A couple closets and a big bookshelf would be awesome. I’m a publisher, for crying out loud.
  7. Temperature. I don’t mind scooting to Serranos on hot afternoons, or cuddling in my bedroom on cold winter days. But it thwarts work. I need an office that can control the temperature.
  8. Studio. I would like to venture into videos and podcasts, but need an office that would be a better studio atmosphere.

I must say that a work environment is incredibly important for the self-employed. Perhaps it is overlooked way too much. I’m looking forward to this remodeling project, and I hope you are too. Be sure you’re subscribed to this blog, and let your home-business friends know about it too. I’d appreciate that!

Question: What other considerations can you think of for a home office? 

Focus on Who You Need to Convince

Politics for me is a sport. It’s about influencing public opinion, and sometimes it involves tackling ’em hard, giving them a fight, conquering the opposition and winning. I root for my candidates like a football fan roots for their team. I’m a bit of a geek, but I’m still 100% male. I prefer for presidential debate than a football game.

We spent Monday night watching the Presidential Debates. Where were 10 million others?

And it just so happened that 10 million testosterone-filled guys weren’t joining me on Monday night. They were watching Monday Night Football. Did the presidential candidates consider this? I believe Romney did. He already persuaded the football fans in the first debate that he’s got a backbone. Their wives would be gathered together watching the debates, and he needed to convince them he had a heart.

It just so happens

Why Romney Won on Monday (But Debaters Thought He Lost)

When Bob Schieffer opened up Monday’s debates with Benghazi, I expected blood. So did my debaters and coaches in our Twitter group. Talk about momentum that fell flat. I was beside myself. Some of my debate coaches – one an avid supporter of Romney in the primaries – was admitting Romney the loser. The consensus was clear: Romney lost, perhaps big.

This is an academic debate round at one of my camps. Who are the debaters supposed to persuade?

Then Wendy, my wife, piped up. “I think Romney won.”

You know my family. I’m the debate coach, not Wendy. So I proceeded to argue with her because, naturally, I’m the better debater.

But she won the argument. Here’s why. 

Why the Debates Mattered This Time

Finally, a series of presidential debates that extended beyond campaign slogans and cheesy commercials. This year we witnessed true ideological differences between the incumbent and his challenger, solidifying the decision for their electorate. Ultimately,

The philosophical choice Americans have between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama couldn’t be clearer.

Seriously. There was genuine clash between the candidates, not political posturing or dodging of questions. Both sides dug into the other side without hesitation, framing their positions firmly against the other. And both campaigns articulated (or failed to articulate) their worldviews. Allow me to elaborate on these reasons these debates mattered so much and will help the electorate make their final decision for the presidency.

Final Presidential Debate and LIVE Feed

Tonight’s the final debate between President Barack Obama and challenger Governor Mitt Romney. Debate coaches and champion students will be gathering under my debate Twitter feed. If you’d like to be added to the feed, Tweet me your twitter handle and I’ll add you.

Watch the debates and follow our twitter feed for immediate comments.

Details (taken from 2012 Election Central)

Topic: Foreign policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Bob Schieffer (Host of Face the Nation on CBS)

The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy.

Tune into this page for a live feed of the debates. Feel free to visit my live twitter feed for immediate comment from me and my coaches/competitors. It has been a thrill to view for the past debates, and this should be no difference. “See” you tonight!

Question: Who do you think will win tonight’s debate…and why?