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How to Change When Change Is Hard: Lessons from a Timid Mouse

I was coming back from a run up and down Mount Tabor in Southeast Portland. I know the route well. It’s about a 5-6 mile loop from my house, depending on which path I take. More often than not, when I’m home for a while I run it at least once a week.

As I neared my neighborhood toward the end of the run, I noticed a cat in a driveway. Being a cat person, I often say hi to felines when I see them out and about on my run. Cats being cats, sometimes they follow me for blocks, intent on being my friend for life, and other times they can’t be bothered to acknowledge my presence.

This cat, I noticed, was different. He was sitting on his hind legs in the driveway, staring intently at something. Maybe it’s because he was so intent on the object of his fascination, or maybe I was just tired toward the end of the run—but for whatever reason I decided to slow down and walk over to the driveway.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I said to the cat. (Yeah, I talk to cats the same way I talk to people. If you’ve ever had a cat, you understand.)

The cat gave no response. He was fully immersed in something, and as I got closer, I could see what it was. There was a mouse! A tiny one, shivering in an isolated section of grass near the driveway—and just a paw’s swipe away from the cat.

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100 Days Without Fear: A Daily Video Experiment

Michelle Poler 2 A few months ago, Michelle Poler moved from Venezuela to New York to pursue a Master's Degree. While she was there, she started a project called 100 Days Without Fear to systematically combat the things that she was afraid of.

This fun project recently wrapped up with daily videos of her teaching a Zumba class, crowd surfing, posing nude for a drawing class, interviewing strangers, and attempting dozens of other interesting tasks.

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The Emotional Balance Sheet

I often enjoy the personal finance columns by Carl Richards. In a recent one, he explains how to create an “emotional balance sheet” to quantify (or at least tally) your non-financial assets.

Carl tells the story of how he and his wife Cori made the choice for her to become a full-time mom, despite the fact that the family would lose more than $1 million in earnings over the next twenty years.

He’s quick to point out that the moral of the story isn’t “all mothers should stay home with their children”—which is good, since presumably many readers would make different choices. The lesson is a) to be clear about your intentions, and b) learn to value non-financial assets.

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Happiness Is a Superpower

3025340899_178b8f62b4_z I heard something in a dialogue recently. One character was complaining about being unhappy, and the other character replied, “You have a misguided notion of what makes you happy.”

The sentence made me stop and think. Most of us, at different times, have a misguided notion of what we think will make us happy. We go around trying out different prescriptions and remedies.

Maybe the new thing will work ... or maybe I should go back to the old one?

Maybe there's still something else out there, just waiting to be discovered?

That’s why the alternative to misguided notions—true clarity with the possibility of contentment—is so powerful. Knowing what will really make you happy, as opposed to what you think will make you happy, is no less a superpower than flying.

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Travel Hacker and Ethical Fashionista: On the Road with Lauren K. Lancy

This is a travel hacking case study. (Read others or nominate yourself.)

Not only is Lauren Lancy a travel hacker, using miles & points to see the world, but she's also merged travel and fashion with her new project, The Kindcraft.

I’m a fashion designer and trend forecaster from Brooklyn. At the end of 2012, I traded New York City’s concrete jungle for the jungles of Southeast Asia. Now, instead of designing for fast fashion brands, I advocate for slower, more thoughtful and ethical kinds of fashion.

My interest in handmade products, textiles, and ethnic arts took me to Luang Prabang, Laos where my husband and I lived for 2013. Our home is now in Chiang Mai, a creative city in the tropical mountains of Northern Thailand.

I travel regularly to meet artists for my latest project, The Kindcraft, which is a celebration of makers of traditional art and contemporary craft from around the globe.

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My Favorite Hotel Card Now Has a 30,000 Point Bonus—And You Can Earn Two of Them

Link: New 30,000 Point Signup Bonus (Personal Card)

Link: New 30,000 Point Signup Bonus (Business Card)

16940311578_06494f51fb_z I've been using the Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express for more than eight years. For the first couple of years, in fact, it was the only mileage-earning card I had. Back then, there was no sign-up bonus. It was simply a great card, especially due to its ability to earn a 20% bonus on all earned points when transferring to most major airline programs.

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Pioneer Nation 2015: Registration Now Open!

13460534704_8bddfbb05d_z Link: Three Days to Improve Your Small Business

Last year, we invited 250 independent entrepreneurs (of all kinds) to join us for three days in Portland, Oregon. The first version of Pioneer Nation, the new event, was incredible.

We’re returning in October—and if you'd like to achieve some serious growth in your small business, I’d love for you to join us.

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After the Wave

Thanks to everyone who sent notes or sentiments or just thought about Ken and our family after reading yesterday’s post. I appreciate it all.

I’d also like to encourage you to not borrow trouble. This isn’t your burden, or at least it isn’t for most of you. I wanted to share what had happened for anyone who cared, but you don’t need to feel bad or think that there’s something you need to do.

In the best of cases, a story of loss can inspire you to live more intentionally and to not take your loved ones for granted. I’ve often felt inspired and challenged by stories of loss myself, so if that happens for some of you as a result of hearing about Ken, that’s great.

I’ll still be writing the blog, daily whenever possible, and I don’t want it to be all about sad things. As always, I’ll be writing about entrepreneurship and seeing the world and whatever life lessons I happen to pick up along the way.

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Let the Wave Crash Over You: A Letter for My Brother

Chris & Ken in the early years (ages 7 and 2) Dear Ken,

When I look back at all the memories we shared together, there are so many that stand out.

I tend to think of our childhood, which was not particularly a happy one for either of us—but my memories of you and me are consistently happy. I remember when we lived in different states and sent things back and forth to each other in the mail every week. We talked on the phone a lot then, too, but having something physical arrive in the mailbox was a fun thing that we each enjoyed.

I remember all the video games we played together. Well, I probably don’t remember all of them, since there were so many. But I remember going from console to console as we both grew up, sometimes competing against each other (you were always better at Sonic; I could usually beat you at Street Fighter) and sometimes cooperating.

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The Fear of Losing Prestige

Chiara Cokieng, born and raised in the Philippines, has been on a journey of multiple career changes. After graduating from a prestigious university program and landing a nice gig as an international consultant with assignments in America, she then quit her job to work on a business idea.

The business idea didn’t pan out, at least not right away—so she took on a new role as a full-time employee for a startup. She plans to see this commitment through, but eventually wants to go back to her own thing.

In all of these changes, she’s had to manage the emotional labor of shifting directions, including telling people that what she hoped to do was no longer happening.

Here’s what she describes as the most important thing she’s learned...

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Pioneer Nation Returns in October: Here’s How You Can Join Us!

Last year we debuted an all-new event to serve independent entrepreneurs and anyone who felt underserved by existing business conferences. We called it Pioneer Nation—and the first gathering was a tremendous success.

We'll be returning in October (just two months from now!) for our second edition. If you'd like to hang out in a mountain resort an hour from Portland, Oregon and learn new skills for taking your business to another level, you can join us.

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Surfing the Entire West Coast of the Americas: A Quest of Love and Discovery

Conscious traveling, a quest to surf the entire west coast of all the Americas, a van, and a dog: Jade Heilmann's experiences on the road were too good not to share.

I'm Jade. Together with my better half (aka Gabriel), our Westfalia (aka BigBlu), and our pup (aka Phi), we make up the We Travel and Blog team. Currently, we’re on a mission to surf the whole west coast of the Americas, from Tofino to Tierra de Fuego.

As an added challenge, we’ve pledged to make it to creating zero waste by the time we reach the tip of Chile. Gabriel and I see all water as holy; surf is our baptism. That’s where the zero waste pledge comes in. We’re tired of seeing trash rolling in the waves with us.

Jade3

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What Happened at WDS 2015? Unfiltered Attendee Reviews, Round II

Here's Round I.

After spending hundreds of hours in preparation and then hosting a week-long adventure for thousands of awesome people, I don’t usually say much about it afterward, at least not on the blog. I’m a writer who doesn’t do a writeup.

Thankfully, our attendees do a much more thorough job—and wouldn’t you want to read the unfiltered reviews anyway?

Every year we see hundreds of blog posts from attendees. Here’s the first second round of unfiltered reviews and opinions on a variety of topics related to WDS.

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