Mindset Monday – Intention and Purpose – December 6, 2021

Hi Team,

This week I am cultivating a mindset of purpose-driven intention. It sounds straightforward, and it is, but it is also multi-layered. To operate with intention, we must focus on our planning for the week ahead. To plan and enable intent, we must have a defined purpose. I go back to my Just Purpose when setting my intentions.

Recently we’ve been discussing a monthly objective and key result schedule. We think evaluating progress towards our OKRs monthly and setting next months helps keep us nimble while also providing the clarity to keep us creating intentional plans on purpose each week.

We have a lot of things going on every day. However, each of those things is furthering us in our pursuit of our individual Just Purpose. We know none of it is in vain. Still, to make incremental progress towards realizing our sizeable long-term goals, we must become more adept at progressing with intention.

I know that understanding my Just Purpose helps me make more intentional decisions from moment to moment. For example, being patient gives me more space to create a deliberate choice free from reactionary pressure and fear. I have also found that leading a collaborative problem-solving effort with a high-performing team requires a consistent process-driven approach.

We identify the problem, and we define the scope. We recognize the solutions and steps to implementation. Then we have the path to create a plan and identify the key deliverables. As with any program, the enemy gets a vote. We know that each day will present new challenges, and we will have to adapt. We will always need to build confidence in our ability to thrive in chaos. The better we do at planning, the more variables we account for, the more processes we can automate, the easier it becomes to ride the eddies of chaos in the direction of our purpose.

This week, let us integrate a mindset of purpose-driven intention into our identity. Creating meaning is about a tactical plan for meeting our objectives. It can be hard to get started, and it can be exhausting. We often tend to focus on the laundry list or build up too many goals for the week, making it impossible to feel successful.

We will keep the focus on the key results each week. We will not consistently achieve one hundred percent of our key results, which is okay. That is necessary because our key results should push us. However, we will make continuous progress towards our objectives because we will plan with intent.

Stay Safe Out There!

Change The Relationship Food Ideas Mindset Monday Self

Mindset Monday November 22, 2021

Hi Team,

This Monday, I am starting the week thinking about the Thanksgiving holiday. Several things come to mind for me.

First, my main focus is on the food. We have already been shopping to collect nearly all of the ingredients for a proper feast. I do like to make a great feast. I have an enjoyable recipe for keto stuffing and a funky Shepards pie that I continue to evolve. I love preparing the food and making excellent meals.

Second, I’m thinking about how grateful I am for all of the incredible blessings in my life. With my wife, kids, family, friends, colleagues, and all of the opportunities ahead of me, the universe is truly abundant. I am excited to continue learning and growing on this journey.

Third, I’ve got a busy week ahead in my personal life. The week-long retreat was fantastic, but getting back into the regular flow was a sprint to catch back up. We take on a lot of activities as a family, and we continuously work on managing our health and well-being. We know that we can’t be our best for ourselves and others if we don’t take of ourselves.

Fourth, my professional life does not take a break. I am in the process of building multiple lines of business, and my day job demands high performance.

All of this has me thinking more about time. Time is a resource we have not figured out how to get back. We have to protect our time fiercely because it is the most limited resource we possess. We want to use our time wisely, and we seek to know our value and increase it.

This week, I want to use my time mindfully. I want to be mindful of the value my time adds. It’s my time, and I may be using it in the service of others, but it is always for me. I am my best when I spend my time in balanced ways, filling all of the cups a little at a time. I feel out of sync when some cups are too full, and others are not full enough.

As you go through the week, consider where your time goes; how are you spending it? Are you using it mindfully? Do you value where your time is going? When you choose to spend time in one way over another, why do you spend it that way?

Happy Monday!

Stay Safe Out There,

Change The Relationship Mindset Monday Self

Mindset Monday November 29, 2021

Hi Team,

This week I’m looking to hold onto the gratitude from this past week. It is easy to say, but this past week has not been easy to maintain a grateful mindset. We have been challenged with a short week to accomplish our business, potentially extra food preparation, and even increased face time. There is additional pressure to maximize family time and be present. We also have to attempt to recharge, and we also try to sneak in clean-up and preparation for the next holiday.

No, this past week has not been an easy one, but we’re still here. I am grateful for the time and the opportunity to be my best last week. I know I did not succeed in every moment, but overall it was a great week. Not everything worked out, and there were some stressful moments where I reacted less gracefully than I would have liked. However, folks were patient with me, and I did my best to be patient with everyone else.

This week, my focus is on patience and keeping my mind on happily waiting for the right time. Timing is everything, I’ve heard it said. The longer I live, the more I do; it only becomes more and more authentic. But, unfortunately, the perfect idea too early or too late is not nearly as good and often seems to backfire.

We don’t benefit from rushing, but we don’t benefit from waiting too long either. The right timing can only happen when we’re clear on the data that is driving our decision. The purpose, the scope, and the process require patience to work through. Sometimes we feel like we’re in a hurry to get to the end. Sometimes we feel like we’re going to miss out. We get impatient, frustrated, fearful, and then we try to force the universe to act on our timetable.

When we get into this mode of forcing, the things we want start to recoil. Maybe we will find some of the things we hope for, but the things we need will be out of reach. At least, that is how it seems to work for me. When I try too hard, it all becomes counterproductive and self-defeating.

This week, I will be mindful of maintaining my patience. Whether I’m working through a challenge at work, helping the kids resolve a conflict, or even waiting for conditions to be correct for a trade entry or exit.

I am patiently following my process to lose body fat. I am patiently tending to my communication development process. I am patiently developing my trading process. I am patiently creating business streams. I am patiently helping the kids build their skills. I am patiently waiting for my trades to develop. I am patient while waiting for others to be ready. I am patient with myself when I don’t live up to my expectations.

It’s going to be a great week. I am grateful for the time I had with my favorite people this past week. I am looking forward to getting back to a regular workflow this week. I am patiently waiting for all of the opportunities. And I am patiently doing all of the work that I know needs doing to prepare myself for those opportunities as they present themselves.

This week is going to be a great week. So stay patient and do the work, my friends.

Stay Safe Out There!

Change The Relationship

It’s Already Working

The tactic of getting time away from daily life in a beautiful relaxing place to gain focus and clarity has already begun paying dividends.

Let me back up because I know I haven’t shared a lot yet.

I have had a dream of building a company for a long time. I waffled about it for a long time, and eventually, I did start a business. Branch Water Entertainment was born. It has served a great purpose for me mentally, but it has not moved past the small side hustle stage. I have a long-term plan, but I will need substantial help to make it real.

This retreat is about the first stage of that help. I have been looking for the ideal way to bring my partner in life, Sarah, into this. This retreat allows us to collaborate on the next steps of this plan. We are figuring out the way our skills fit and where we go next.

First, we have noticed what we want by brainstorming and capturing as many ideas as possible on various themes. Then we identified what we wanted to do first out of all these ideas and things to do. Third, we set about doing the three key first things we identified. Finally, we celebrated doing and completing these first steps.

The concept is out there in so many ways, but sometimes it’s tough to implement it.

When we notice something, we begin to want it. Once we have or do it and like it, we will want to have or do more of it. This loop can be healthy or unhealthy. You can call it a habit, you can call it a ritual, you can call it a process, you can call it a program, but in the end, it’s us.

If we can hack this loop and make it work for us, then we can enact the process of becoming the person we want to be. It sounds simple, and it is. I think this is easy to understand. But just because it is easy to understand does not make it easy to do.

Notice – Want – Do – Like

I like the phrasing of these as the loop elements because noticing is a helpful word when we think about the initiation of the loop. You can use this idea of notice to identify when you end up going down a path you don’t like and the why. The key is that this isn’t an external why because it has to do with our reaction to the noticed thing.

Our reaction to the noticing is encapsulated in the idea of “wanting.” First, we notice, and then we want. The wanting isn’t the action, but it precedes action. If we do not wish to, we will not act. The wanting comes from the noticing, but the wanting manifests our internal reaction to the noticing. The nature of the wanting and relationship to noticing has everything to do with your mindset. It has frequently been said, ‘We can not control what’s happening, only our reaction to it.’

Wanting inevitably leads to doing, and the nature of the doing is related to our mindset. So there could easily be a loop within a loop that creates a negative trigger between wanting something good but then doing something terrible. Self-sabotage is a real thing that many folks struggle with, and here we find a crucial element of teasing apart the loop so we can do some maintenance. Here, we can’t control everything that comes into our view, and we can’t control how that makes us feel, but we can always control what we do.

Once the doing is done, we must classify the experience as did like or did not like. Maybe there were parts of it we did not like, but it comes down to the reward we got. Our brains want to do more of the things we tell them we like, and our brain thinks we like the things we focus the most on. So the things we notice regularly, the wants those noticings well up inside us, the actions we do about those wantings, and how well we like the actions we do.

Stay Safe Out There,


Retreat and Regroup

This week we are having a retreat to plan the next evolution of Branch Water and prepare for 2022. When you’re in the day-to-day melee of life, it’s often easy to just get into problem-solving mode. While there are goals, objectives, strategies, workflows, procedures, and all sorts of other tools available to help us continue in the desired direction, it is critical to take an objective look at where we are and what we want to do next.

We’ll use the outputs of this time to refocus the tools and ensure we’re still going in the direction that we want to be heading.

We’re excited about this year’s retreat because we’ve got a big plan to get through. We have had a really great year of growth that has opened up a lot of possibilities. We have several strong streams to work with, and we need to spend time focused on planning. Our goal is to enable a tremendous coordinated effort.

Our execution will continue to evolve and improve over time. We will continue to learn as we go. I know there will be times when I feel like I’ve botched something, but I’ll learn from it and do better.

This week we’re away from the office, away from the kids, away from all other commitments. This week, we’re regrouping in a location that lets us relax and unwind. Only through unwinding are we going to be able to really get a good the desired perspective.

We love being with everyone, and taking this time away to reset alone lets us be there more fully for the rest of the time. One thing we’re looking at is making this a quarterly plan. It makes a lot of sense to me to make more frequent, more minor course corrections. It adds an additional layer of logistics, but if we are getting more value out of our time, it may be worth it.

I am pretty existential today. I had the pleasure of spending some time this morning listening to a segment of the Lex Fridman podcast and his conversation with Stephen Wolfram. I’ve only had time to listen to about 45 minutes so far, but this is a fantastic conversation.

I love decoupling things from other things, whether it’s weight loss from exercise, earning money from time, or in this case, intelligence and consciousness and Time from Action.

I really love thinking about how the separation of action and time at the elemental level of the universe presents the theoretical possibility of warp speed and a similar concept for a ship that could travel through time. Then the conversation pivots to computational equivalence and irreducibility, tricky sounding phrases. Still, they are part of breaking down highly complex systems into their elemental components, like Time and Action.

What would the world look like to the weather? That’s an interesting question that I’d love to explore, even from a silly perspective. The earnest question implies the reality of consciousness or intelligence. Does a thunderstorm have a particular feeling about itself as we do?

My mind is blown! I see the coming together of all these concepts where my world view is getting more and more confirmations from every direction.

There is always something new to learn and a way to grow. The more perspectives and ideas we can take in, the better prepared we can be for the chaotic dance of life.

I am excited to set out our plans for the next evolution and take those forward into the unknown.
Stay Safe Out There,

Change The Relationship Money

Making Money

I’ve been building my technical analysis skill set. I’ve been changing my relationship with money and making money. I’m decoupling the making of money from the spending of time. I’m decoupling creativity from money making.

I’ve been supremely impressed with Sarah Potter and her book How You Can Trade Like a Pro

The concepts for taking in data points and building the analysis are straight forward and helpful. These same ideas can be helpful in so many arenas, not just options or futures trading. I’m not planning to get into a ton of specifics here because the book is great at that.

My topic for today is to think about how helpful it is to decouple the idea of making money from both doing a job and spending finite amounts of time.

A similar concept has worked wonders for me in managing my weight and physical health. I decoupled exercise and weight. Once I was able to separate the two ideas, it gave me space to manage my weight without the excuse of no time for exercise.

In short, the idea gave me control over the outcome. Options trading has given me a similar control over outcome when it comes to making money. It’s given me the space to allow myself to be creative in other areas without feeling like I have to make money from my creativity.

The thing I like a lot about options trading is how the skillset really can be applied to so many of lives arenas. One good example of this is patience. I’ve heard it recently said that for traders, patience pays. It saves you money when you are patient and avoid getting into a bad position because the setup does not actually develop. It also pays when you get into the right position at the right time and patiently wait for the correct exit. Patience puts money in a traders pocket.

Patience also pays in many areas of life. When we push too hard, we often end up in over our head or out of position for all the good things that are coming our way. I know some folks don’t ascribe to the concept that the things they want are coming their way, but perhaps not in the time frame they expect.

As a rebel, I’m intimately familiar with the power and challenge of expectations. Not all rebels are as aware of the impact of expectation on themselves and others, but I am acutely aware. Expectations are like quicksand for me and they are for many others as well. When we expect things from existance and that expectation is time sensitive, it creates a lot of internal friction that manifests in negative outward behaviors. We often push away the things we want because of our reaction to these unmet expectations.

The patience of a trader can be a tremendous benefit when unmet expectations boil up. First, I seek to understand, what has transpired that the expectation is unmet and why was I expecting it in the first place. Second, I seek to recognize the opportunity and meaning behind the unmet expectation. Finally, I move forward patiently and continue to seek to be the person who does the things that the person I see myself as would do.

Stay Safe Out There!



Just Purpose

Today is definitely a new day. It’s not going to be the same going forward as it has been before. There is no need to dwell on past weakness as we will focus on future strength. The past remains for us to learn from, but only in so far as it serves our just purpose.

This is one of those magical days when everything seems possible and clear.

What is a just purpose? If anything it is a mashup. It’s an idea for rebels, it is an idea for me. It’s a blending of a grand purpose in the spirit of Loki and a just cause in pursuit of more ahead days within the infinite game.

A Just Purpose is the thing I feel compelled to do, my purpose, and the meaning I long to assign, that my purpose is applied justly. I am not interested in following some other persons cause, but I can be persuaded to aid another’s cause when I see that it is Just and my purpose aligns with the cause.

Today, I finally feel free from fear and ready to step into my Just Purpose.

‘Fear, today we are embarking on another journey;

Creativity, you and I. We have been on many journeys together.

You will come with us, I know you won’t allow yourself to be left behind.

You may have your voice, you may have a seat at the table.

You may not set our direction or make decisions.’

This is a paraphrasing of a wonderful idea Elizabeth Gilbert presents in her book Big Magic

Don’t be afraid to live in your purpose and don’t be afraid to live that purpose justly.

Stay Safe Out There!



Quarantine Workouts!

After living with the shelter in place order for several weeks, I noticed I was falling back into old undesirable patterns of stress management. I have gained weight and noticed I was doing a lot more “comfort” eating. I wasn’t doing a great job of consistently working out before all of this, but my patterns were taking me further away from the healthy full life style I wanted for myself.

Last week I decided it must stop and I chose to do the following workout every single day. It’s simple and effective. It requires nothing except me and an approximately 6×3 patch of floor.

My Daily Exercise Routine

  • 10 x Jumping Jacks
  • 10 x Squats
  • 5 x Push-Ups
  • 10 x (each leg) Mountain Climbers
  • 10 x Plank Jump Ins
  • 10 x (each leg) high knees
  • 10 x Seated Leg Pull-Ins
  • 10 x (each side) Cross Crunches
  • 10 x Leg Lifts
  • 2 minute rest
  • 3 sets (each time through the list is one set)

If you can’t do every rep that’s okay. Push yourself to the point you can’t do anymore of that exercise and then move onto the next exercise. Each rotation is a set and your heart rate is going to be way up while you’re pushing through each set and then you’ll want to do some breathing exercises in the rest period to bring your heart rate down. This is high intensity interval training.

After I go through this, I take a hot shower. This helps my muscles stay loose and keeps the heart rate up for an extended period of time. It also feels like a nice reward for pushing myself.

If you find 3 sets is easy, then start adding sets. Each set takes just about 3 minutes, so adding in a set or two does not make it a lot longer. If you’re in great shape you may want to go up to 7 sets. My goal for 2020 is to be able to do 5 sets by the end of the year.

If you’re really on it, you can cut down your rest period to 1 minute or add in a weighted vest to increase the resistance without changing the routine.

I’m sure there are other approaches that work great for folks. This is what I need to eliminate all the excuses. The only reason I have to not do it is that it’s not a priority, because all I need is a piece of floor where I can fit to do the push-ups. I can find that anywhere.

I do this because the person I see myself as is healthy, fit, and sees the value in the freedom of choice this discipline enables. I feel more energized, more confident, happier, and more capable of maintaining my health even in the face of a pandemic.

If you’re struggling to figure out how to get motivated to do this, here’s some ideas:

  • Do it because I’m expecting you to do it.
  • Do it because You expect yourself to do it.
  • Do it because “They” know you won’t do it.
  • Do it because You want to do it.
  • Do it because it’s part of your identity.

You can rest tomorrow, today we work.

Stay Safe and Healthy Friends,


Change The Relationship Food

Huel is Cool Fuel for You(l)

For over three years I’ve been on a personal journey to get more out of myself. I started with food and I’ve been working through other things I want to change. I use this mental trick to help get out of my own way, I call it changing my relationship with X.

When I began changing my relationship with food, it was a weight loss journey, no doubt about it. I weighed 290 lbs and I did not feel great. I felt like I had no control over my weight and I felt trapped in a situation where I found it extremely challenging to make time to exercise. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to eat healthier and I certainly have plenty of experience with exercise. The problem for me was how I looked at these things and the role they played in my life.

I had built up a belief that I had to exercise to lose weight. I had a belief that I needed to eat foods that weren’t helping me because I was stressed and just wanted to enjoy myself. There were a lot of other factors in play certainly, but these were two major aspects of my limiting beliefs.

When I turned 35, I decided enough was enough. I had to find a way to change what I was doing. I remember wondering how could I possibly get to a point where I was not stuck eating endless bags of chips, large portions of meat, barely working in vegetables, and feeling terrible regularly. It seemed impossible at first because those were all so many things I had done for so long, they were part of me.

I decided to think of eating as a relationship. I had a vision of the identity of the person I wanted to be as a long term goal, but I wouldn’t try to become that person overnight. Instead, I would change my relationship with food. I did more research and realized that simply changing what I ate and how much would be enough to promote weight loss. I read some studies about protein and already had a familiarity with the concept of keto dieting.

I created a spreadsheet to track my calories. I used a bunch of excel formulas so I could track the foods I wanted to eat. This made it possible to continue eating some of the less healthy foods, but also see how it was impact my progress towards my goal. I could eat 1 chip, or 20 chips, or none at all. I could eat 1 brownie, half a brownie, a tenth of a brownie and still track it. I made it so I could track my own recipies that I made up and this made it possible for me to incorporate the tracking into my regular life.

I began experimenting with different ways to make meals that fit within my framework, made me feel full, and taste great. Because I wasn’t set into a specific type of diet and was just keeping myself open to changing my perspective on the types of food I was interested in eating, I became open to trying to a vegan diet for a week to see if I could eat totally vegan and still hit my macro nutrient targets. I realized that I could, but also that I was not ready for a 100% vegan lifestyle at that point.

The crack was made though. I have increasingly incorporated meatless options into my meals. It helps that so many more options are going mainstream and the core ideas behind my nutritional approach are more widely understood.

Sometime in September last year, I discovered the Body Love book by Kelly Leveque. My wife listened to it on auidble as well and we both began incorporating fab four ideads (fiber, fat, protein, greens) into our diet. My wife identifies as a highly picky eater and has some very strong aversions to a variety of foods. She was inspired by the book as well as Rachel Hollis saying she ‘may not like the taste (of the smoothie), but she drinks it because it’s about putting good fuel in her body.’

My fab four smoothies were different from my wife’s, but we were both on the train. We both did start to get some upset stomache issues and it may have been that we were having too many chia seeds or something along those lines. We weren’t sure, but it did present a speed bump for us.

Then I found Huel! I began with one Huel a day for myself. I loved it and found that I wasn’t having the same kind of stomache issues as I had with my self made smoothies. Huel does have a few more net carbs than you might find in the typical fab four smoothie, but there aren’t any added sugars. There is not 10 grams of fiber, but it’s close. After about a month of me drinking Huel and raving about it around the house, my wife decided to try it as a breakfast replacement.

Around that time, I decided to move to two Huels a day. The biggest gain I personally find is simplicity. At first, my wife was not a fan of the taste, just as with the fab four smoothie, she had to tell herself it was good fuel for her body and not about flavor. I’m so proud of her for being able to take that step, it was a substantial mental shift for her.

The v3.0 Huel was a game changer for her. I think it’s better as well, but now that I’ve been having two Huels a day for the last month and honestly, I feel better than I did when I was just having one, my wife has decided to go for two a day as well.

This still gives us a nightly dinner we can sit down with the kids for. It also helps us both ensure we’re getting a big jump on our core macro nutrients during the day in a simple way. I love that it’s vegan and 100% sustainable. I am not entirely gluten free, but I have some food issues and wheat can be a problem for me, so I get the gluten free Huel.

If you’re interested in checking it out, do us both a favor and save some money using this referral link!

I will continue sharing my experience with changing my life because I believe there are many more people out there like me. Those who know they have more, but are not sure how to unlock it. We can unlock our best lives together. Be good to yourself, pay yourself first. This isn’t just a recipe for financial freedom, it’s a recipe for health freedom as well.

My journey saw me lose 70 lbs in the first 6 months using a largely keto style diet. Mine was my own creation and not typical keto approach. However, since my goal was not purely about weight loss, but about discovering healthful eating and changing my relationship with food, I backed off the extremely low carb approach and have been working towards maintaining the weight loss and building up healthy relationships with food.

I’m proud to say that I’ve not gained the weight back and while my ultimate goal is to weigh less than I do now, I want to be sure I get there in a way that is sustainable.

I will continue to share my journey with you all. In future posts, I will give additional insight into other aspects of my food journey as well as how I’ve used changing relationships in other areas of my life.

Stay Safe Out There,