Deeper Weekend 2014

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  • Adrian Simmons
    Adrian Simmons
  • Bryan Coleman
    Bryan Coleman
  • Greg Kyte
    Greg Kyte
  • guestblogger
  • Jason Blumer
    Jason Blumer
  • Jennifer Blumer
    Jennifer Blumer
  • Scott Kregel
    Scott Kregel

REFM -  Adrian Photo Square - CATOBAs a small business owner, you have one foot in the future and one foot in the the present: building your firm for the future, while serving the needs of the present. The difference between the two worlds is the gap: the space between where you are and where you’ll be. If you let that gap grow too big while your feet are straddling it…well, I think you get the picture. 😉

In some ways, that gap is what defines an entrepreneur. They see the difference between the world how it is and how it can be. It’s an internal cognitive dissonance, a type of itch, that they reach out to scratch.

What can happen nowadays, though, is that so much innovation comes at us, that the volume of cognitive dissonance grows too loud (anyone out there felt it?). There’s a difference between a music level that’s motivating, and a music level that’s inhibiting, or even downright crushing.

That’s why I’d like to suggest that the way to drink from the proverbial firehose is to not: the truth is, we can only drink from a stream. We either choose our stream, or we get pummeled and disoriented by the firehose.

The key is honing in on the signal within the noise, adjusting our tuners. Before, we were limited by the amount of data we could gather — data was the limiting constraint. But nowadays we’re limited by our attention capacity — data is abundant, and attention is the limiting constraint. As a result, we begin to discover the fallacy of the principle that more data will produce a better decision. In reality, there’s a point after which more data, is just more data.

The signal we’re looking to hone in on is the one related to the next step we’re trying to take. And just like drinking from a firehose, the reality of taking steps, is that you can only take one at a time. We’re gonna have to accept that — you don’t get to take two steps at a time, just one.

So identify that step, gather data, stop gathering data, take that step, and here’s the important part: ignore everything else. Everything else will stop you from taking that step. Everything else will flood your brain and paralyze it. Everything else will zap your attention so none is left for the step. Everything else is just noise and not signal, excess cognitive dissonance and not flow — choose flow.

Flow comes from creating small gaps, then closing them. Be aware of your cognitive dissonance, and use it to your advantage, and not disadvantage: let it surround one step at a time, and no more.

Adrian G. Simmons is a CPA innovating ways to put money in its place. After working as an auditor out of college for KPMG, he joined his father in public practice in 2002, and now acts as the Chief Creative Designer there. With the team, he looks for ways to help their customers become financially strong, so that they can focus on what truly matters in life. Adrian likes tech, uses a fountain pen, successfully attempted a half-marathon (and may try another), and prefers dark over milk chocolate. 

Greg Kyte 2When Jason and I interviewed Cal Newport on the ThriveCast, he called BS on following your passion.


Everybody’s been told – and most people believe – that you first find your passion, and then you find a way to make money pursuing that passion.


And we buy it, even though the logic’s clearly flawed: I love napping. Always have. Everybody loves a good nap. Some people love napping so much it could be classified as a passion. Despite all that napping passion there are no professional mattress critics. Only semi-pro. And you can’t put the kids through college on a one-time $1600 semi-pro mattress critic stipend. Read more

Other Thoughts, Personal Growth, THRIVEcast

Jason BlumerJuly 1, 2014 was the Blumer CPAs 2 year anniversary of being a virtual firm. We messed some stuff up, but have also learned a lot. I believe our virtualness sets us apart, so we are committed to getting better at being a virtual firm. So that I can add to my learning around being virtual, I’m documenting 9 things we’ve learned in 2 years of being virtual.

First, let me define virtual. We do not have offices, and thus we don’t exist anywhere except at a web address. But you could have firm offices and still be virtual to your clients. In that scenario, the team still meets together in one location, but the clients may or may not come to your offices. I don’t call that virtual, I call that paperless. Virtual in my definition is when a client can not assume that they have access to you physically. It’s a totally different mindset, and that’s why I’m defining it. Read more

Business, Leadership, ROWE, Strategy

Greg Kyte 2The title of this post is a lie. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Actually, we’ll get to a lot of crap in a minute. Like why it’s maybe not the best idea to post the following status on Facebook:


Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 11.53.43 AM

And also – just a heads up – it’s maybe not a good idea to call someone who’s close to you and say, “Hey, I need to find a drug dealer, and you’re the first person I thought of.” Read more

Coaching, Personal Growth

REFM -  Adrian Photo Square - CATOBWhen I’m reading for content, I’m all about the marginalia: underlines, questions in the borders, even one­ sided hand­written debates with the author. Which is why I was much relieved that the Kindle allows you to digitally underline text and add notes too — you can even export them to a PDF to save and search, a way cool feature that I’ve taken advantage of many a time.

But what if the text in a book went from edge to edge? No spaces between the lines, no space on either side of the page, none at the top, none at the bottom: a page littered with letters. Hard to read, cramped with lines blurring, and eyes crossing… Read more

Management and Operations

Scott KregelIn Thriveal we talk about many key tenants as we are building our practices… value pricing, results only work environments, business models and system design, and knowledge work. Part of knowledge work requires understanding how our brains function and how we build disciplines into our daily, weekly, monthly schedules so that when called upon, we are doing our best work. A concept or state of mind that might be new to some of us is the idea of Flow. Many of us have experienced this… working on a project late into the night where heavy concentration and fresh insights seemed to ‘flow.’ We finished our project exhausted yet exhilarated with a glow of satisfaction and confidence that stayed with us.

Research on the various states of consciousness have taught us about the complexity of our minds and how much this influences our decision making, our motivation, and our performance over time. Flow is an optimal state of consciousness. Mihayl Csikszentmihalyi is sort of the godfather of flow. He saw ten core components of flow:
• Clear goals
• Concentration
• A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness
• Distorted sense of time
• Direct and immediate feedback
• Balance between ability and level and challenge
• Sense of personal control over the situation
• Activity is intrinsically rewarding, so action is effortless
• A lack of awareness of bodily needs
• Absorption: narrowing of awareness down to the activity itself Read more

Book Review