It’s 10:31pm and I Can’t Find My Underwear

When it comes to upgrading your habits, timing is everything.

Why I love moving (and you should too)

Note: I didnt actually pack this truck.
Note: I didn’t actually pack this truck.

Moving Trucks.

I just spent the weekend moving our family from the home we lived in for half a decade to a new place on the other side of town. It wasn’t a little thing either. Nope. It was the whole enchilada. Here’s a synopsis of what I experienced…

  • Processed the idea of a move with my family for about a year
  • Found a place that made sense
  • Packed for weeks
  • Felt like an awful human consumer for having way too much stuff
  • Hid from garbage collectors, embarrassed because of how much we threw out
  • Bragged that because we purged so much that we’d be done moving in half a day
  • Freaked out that six humans and a dog can’t get moved anywhere in half a day
  • Hyperventilated when movers arrived late
  • Mad that I missed about a week’s worth of life because of this move
  • Discovered I am in the midst of life – all the time – even when I move
  • Laughed (a lot) with friends showing up to lend a hand
  • Wondered why the back of such a young man could hurt so much ;)
  • Noticed I walked 28,991 steps up 50+ flights in one day
  • Spent another full day just getting the resemblance of a home
  • Realizing it’ll be 90 days before I really feel in any sort of rhythm again

I can see some of you nodding. You can relate, right? The experience of moving is so common it can feel cliché. But, it was more than that.

It was also a golden moment. Or, at least it could be…

Why humans don’t change much.

Despite the fact that people rarely change very much (especially “balanced” people), the idea of habit change is remarkably popular these days.

That said, there is a rare but universally acknowledged exception to the rule-of-not-changing. It goes like this…

In times of significant life transition, we all have a window of opportunity to do life in a new way.

Think of the phenomenon like this: We all have problems we’re trying to solve in life. Everything from where to get groceries to how to stay active to which coffee shop you hit up on your way to work.

Once we find a basic routine to deal with these very human and often pedestrian dilemmas, many of us tend to settle in. In time, we can become old dogs doing our tricks. We stick with them because they work well enough (at least for the most part).

That all shifts though when we stumble into the unfamiliar.

When faced with the need to find new ways to solve old problems, we become willing to forge unfamiliar paths. And it just happens to turn out that the most predictable milestones that invite unfamiliar routines are things like…

  • Getting married
  • Having a kid (or)
  • Moving to a new part of town

When we change our context like that, we’re open to finding new rhythms, at least for a little while. Once the new rhythms get routine, they tend to harden up.

In case you’re wondering, this phenomenon isn’t lost on marketers. Why do you think you got bombarded with Lowe’s and Target coupons the last time you changed your address at the Post Office?

Companies can be so welcoming!
Companies can be so welcoming!

They’re looking to hit us up when the clay is squishy. And, they know there’s a window where things will be less flexible and folks like me will soon be more out of reach.

Fertile Ground.

What I love about this dynamic is it can work in the other direction too. Transitional moments aren’t just about what companies out there can do to me.

It’s also an opportunity for me to hit myself up in fresh and intentional ways.

  • Want to take on a new exercise regimen?
  • Eager to reset my eating habits?
  • Curious what a new daily method could look like if you could wave a magic wand?

Now’s your chance.

In my particular case, the problem is I’m exhausted. My hands feel swollen from lifting heavy boxes. I feel entitled to not do the extra stuff that make a difference for new habits to develop. I want to just kind of sleepwalk for a while… or just sleep.

The window is closing.

But, then I remember what I’m in the middle of. The window is closing. 90 days from now, my new normal will be, well, normal and I’ll be less apt to shift.

The irony is if I really want to change, going all-in right now is what will give me my best (and maybe only) shot.

When I really think about it though, “moving” itself might just be a construct. Can’t I take any 90 day window and decide “I just moved” or “had a baby” or “got married” and mix it up? If the window is closing, why can’t I just open up another new window and go again?

What it comes down to for me is whether I want this thing enough to turn my world upside down… right now. I wonder if this is the real gift of making a move.

© Dane Sanders

Why Jimmy Fallon is Best in Show

How the new Tonight Show host is reinventing late night while showing us all how to own our entrepreneurial space.

In his first week as the host of The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon did what he always does: He delivered the goods.

Many pundits believed that the entire genre of late night talk shows had run its course. The golden age of Johnny Carson and Jay Leno and David Letterman had come and gone. We were in a perpetual farewell tour.

Sure, there are some funny guys still going strong. Conan is hilarious. Kimmel kills. I remember in college when I would set my alarm every morning just to wake up to Jimmy doing the morning sports on KROQ. The new school of late night is amazing.

But, the reason why Jimmy Fallon is the Sidney Crosby of late night is because he’s taking an old game and making it his own.

Those other amazing entertainers are great. But, they’re playing the same old game. As the new host demonstrated in his inaugural week, he took his unique signature and tatooed it on late night.

We shouldn’t be comparing Fallon to Carson. We should be thanking Lorne Michaels! The Tonight Show is like watching Saturday Night Live, every night of the week. Why? Because that is what Fallon has been cultivating his entire career. The man is reaping what he’s sown.

And, my gut tells me he’s just getting started.

How did Jimmy do it?

Years before the changing of the guard at the Tonight show began (again), Fallon had been developing and honing his comedic style; the substance of which is reinventing the talk show genre before our very eyes.

But, he wasn’t just practiced in creating his amazing, often collaborative, content.

Fallon is way more entrepreneurial than that.

He’s been practicing for this moment. In fact, I say it was a pre-ordained set-up! This thing has been in the making for years. On his opening night monologue, Fallon mentions that he didn’t know how he got to his esteemed position. And, in a sense, I believe him.

He doesn’t need to know how he got there. He wasn’t concerning himself with that. Instead, he concerned himself with creating amazing stuff, every chance he got.

That’s what the new pre-ordained looks like:

  1. Make first.
  2. Refine until awesome.
  3. Make some more.
  4. Patiently trust the outcome to take care of itself.

What if it really was that simple?

The reason I’m so excited is because we’re witnessing the equivalent of what the iPhone did to our flip phones. Apple didn’t just create a better communication device. They offered a signature contribution that reinvented what a phone even meant.

But, beyond the innovator’s solution, I also don’t want to miss the good news for mere mortals like you and me.

Way beyond the disruption that Fallon is bringing to late night, he’s also demonstrating to all of us what’s possible when we make the habit of creating our best work our best primary offering to the world.

What Jimmy Fallon does best is he takes his body of work… and puts it to work! It’s what Brian Clark calls a media first mindset. By leading with his stuff, the form plays second fiddle to the content while he puts himself in the best possible position to rule his space. It’s not about clever sketches. Nobody can beat that signature content because he’s the only one who can sign his work that way.

And, the best news of all is you and I can do the same if we’re willing to do the work to put ourselves in a similar position.

Is it sustainable?

The only real concern anyone can lob on Fallon right now is more a query than grenade: Can he sustain this level of quality into the future?

It’s an understandable question. But, it fails to notice that this isn’t a new initiative he’s offering.

Look in the opposite direction and the answer becomes obvious.

Jimmy Fallon has been doing this for years! This is more culmination than inauguration. If he’s been doing it from SNL until now, why shouldn’t we expect him to keep on trucking?

What about you?

The big lesson to learn from Fallon is the same lesson friends like Seth Godin have been saying for years… If you want to reinvent, start yesterday.

Let’s pretend you are your habits for a second. Of course, you’re more than that, but let’s start there. If you have the habit of doing the hard work of becoming first, you will live into a legacy you didn’t think was possible.

That’s what Fallon is showing us. It’s an invitation for us to go and do likewise. And, if Fallon’s life so far is any indicator, being the real article looks pretty fun too.

© Dane Sanders

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