Posts tagged Life

Speaker Q & A Session

Big Omaha 2011

Speaker Q & A Session

Speaker Q & A Session, Day 1*

I spent two amazing days last week at Big Omaha, and I’m still trying to process it all… It’s year three for me and it’s still as overwhelmingly inspiring as ever. It’s impossible to condense everything that is Big Omaha into words, and it’s hard to know how to describe it at all…there’s a part of me that just wants to say: you just have to be there.

It’s a conference that’s part entrepreneurship, part business, part technology, part inspiration, part philanthropy, part philosophy. There’s as much talk of responsibility and work/life balance as there is about landing venture capitol or choosing a co-founder. And above all, everyone is happy to be there. There’s an air of excitement that I’ve never run into anywhere else, and a feeling that anything is possible if you add enough passion and work. It’s a booster shot of motivation like nothing else.

I should add to this a disclaimer: I am biased. Not because I live in Lincoln, and Omaha is practically in my backyard. Not because I’ve spend hard-earned cash to get in for three years running and I need to justify my dollars. No, I’m biased because Big Omaha literally changed my life. Well…Big Omaha, plus a little Gary V.

New Perspective

Gary + You = brain asplosion

Gary + You = brain asplosion

It went like this: One day in 2008, see a random link to Gary Vaynerchuk’s 2008 keynote at the Web 2.0 Expo in NYC. Mind asplodes, as the internet would say. Despite the fact that I was working at the time in a job that I loved, with people that I loved, and I couldn’t really imagine wanting to leave my job, I was set on fire by what he was saying. It was a way of looking at the world that was different than anything I’d come across before. I had an idea of how life would go, work would go, and the way the world was, and suddenly it was possible to look at it differently.

To save you a long and tiring story, I shall condense: Because Gary was going to be there, I heard of and went to Big Omaha. And without Big Omaha and Gary, I would not have invested in building a personal site that, at the time, seemed uneccessary. I would not have had my eyes open to opportunities outside of my job, and I would not have spent any time thinking and preparing for freelancing.

Big Omaha...People seem to like it

Big Omaha...People seem to like it

Because of Big Omaha, I had options when I needed them. I had the inspiration and the courage to get out of a bad situation and start freelancing full time, and I had the contacts to make it happen. Because of Big Omaha, I made it though a year of freelancing and didn’t starve. Because of Big Omaha, I am not trying to figure out why I hate what I do every day, and I am not trying to convince myself to go to work every morning anyway.

Because of Big Omaha, my entire life is different. That’s not something you usually say about a conference.

Inspiration is universal

Each year I have come to Big Omaha from a different situation, and this year I’m on a very different career track, but it has never made it any less life-changing. This year I feel much more at home with where I am and where I’m headed than I ever have; I think that let me absorb things and apply them to what I’m already planning, whereas in years past, I used the energy from Big Omaha to drive me to change my plans and the rut I was stuck in.

Millions of $ to fund a cat picture web site? Why not.

Millions of $ to fund a cat picture web site? Why not.

But that’s the beauty of Big Omaha: it doesn’t matter that much where you are, what project you’re working on, or what industry you’re in. Whoever you are, the lessons all transfer, and the conversations are still relevant. Inspiration and entrepreneurship are universal. There is no industry that doesn’t need new ideas and innovation, and no business that is not about building relationships with people (that’s right, B to B people, you are still selling to people. I have yet to see a building pull out a checkbook). So anyone can come to Big Omaha and learn – although the jokes will be a lot funnier if you know what an LOLcat is.

Oh, and for those of you following my medical saga: my foot survived. I defied my better judgement and my physical therapist and wore heels (only once), danced (twice), and generally spent too much time on my feet (did I mention that I spent the day after Big Omaha at the zoo?), but I didn’t come out too badly. I used half a roll of athletic tape, I was pretty sore and there was plenty of ice involved, but it’s actually feeling better than it did before I left! Please do not take this as license to ignore your physical therapist, if you have one. They are very smart people and you should listen to them. But sometimes the party’s too loud for talking and you just give up and dance.

*All photos by the spectacular, amazing, incomparable Malone & Co., courtesy Silicon Prairie News.


The best answer


I don’t have a great answer for people who give me the head-tilt when they find out I switched from web design to psychology. There are many reasons, and most of them are hard to articulate. But perhaps the best summary I have found is a quote I just stumbled across:

Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him.

- Carlos Castaneda

I found this at, which I found because of this video, which also hits me pretty close to the heart. I am a sentimental person, but this brings home to me that taking sentimental (and what some scoff at as cheesy) things seriously can take your life in directions you never thought possible. I’d rather be this guy than Warren Buffet.

/end sentimental rant



The things I have learned/changed so far in P90X:


Due to my arch injury, I’ve gone through the gamut of modifications and possible solutions. Jerry-rigged arch supports, modified workouts, swapping in Insanity, you name it. Finally I bit the bullet and decided to stay away from anything that involves jumping, lunging, downward dogging, and the like. So the final verdict is:

  • Replaced all the cardio workouts (Plyo, Yoga, and Kenpo) with low-impact alternatives; i.e. biking and swimming.
  • Replaced Legs & Back with either biking or swimming, may do a modified or different alternative workout in the future.
  • Better Supports: Got some faux-orthotics, which so far are working out well. As long as I’m not jumping or doing fast direction changes they stay put without tape (hooray!), and they make all my non-running shoes useable again (epic party!)

I know that the swimming I’m doing is not as intense as a P90x cardio workout, but obviously I can’t jump in and do an insane amount of swimming right out of the gate. Endurance will come with time – I’m content for now that I’m doing something, and it’s not taking the healing process backwards.


This has been the harder part, but I think I’m finally hitting equilibrium. Things that are working:

  • Eating more, earlier. Unfortunately I can go most of the day without eating much (either intentionally or because I’m busy or forget), but then I tend to eat way too much late. Not good. Reminding myself to eat large meals earlier has solved a lot of my problems.
  • Keeping easy protein sources handy at all times. I have to plan for my lazy days. Nuts, trail mix, protien bars, etc.
  • Breakfast. This goes along with eating earlier, but having easy breakfast stuff has helped. I made a batch of healthy breakfast burritos and threw them in the freezer, because I am never going to have the motivation or time to cook that early.
  • Pre-making as much as I can/having canned meat on hand. Easy protein = good.
  • Finding easy, healthy go-to recipes. I get too ambitious sometimes, which is fine for weekends, bad for busy days.
  • Whole wheat. In an effort to stick to the nutrition guide, and eat things that are better for me, I stocked up on whole wheat tortillas, pasta, and rice – so when I do eat carbs, they’re actually healthy, and I have less temptation to eat the ever-feared white food.

Doing all this, I’ve managed not to binge/eat anything ridiculous all week. I still have to be mindful, but spreading my calories over the entire day instead of binging at night has helped a lot. If I can actually get all the P90x workouts in this week (the few left in my schedule), and make it to the rec to swim/bike, I should be back on track – and hopefully in an actually sustainable way.

Today’s workout: 30mins Swimming



First of all, I should follow up on my previous post and note that one of my roommates spontaneously offered to figure out how to get more P90x-friendly food on our grocery list, about 2 seconds after I complained about it, so I am a horrible person, yada yada. Still not sure how we’re going to work that one out, but I shouldn’t complain so much. :)

Thursday, Thursday, why are you so crazy? Got up, started laundry, did client project, went to the bank, got (healthy) groceries, made lunch, did more laundry, read psych reading assignment, wrote response paper, did 45 minutes of P90x yoga, took a shower, went to class, went to second class, came home…and now it’s 10:16p.m. I am, how you say….tired.

I say ’45 minutes’ of P90x because that’s all I had time for. So I did about half of the power yoga and skipped to the balance/stretch part, and had time for about half of that before it was shower or be late to class. If I had done my reading/writing for school earlier this week, of course, I would have had much more time, but alas. Yoga is a stretch for me anyway. I think it’s something I might enjoy doing with other people, but it’s the one P90x workout that just drags for me. It’s challenging, and all that, but it’s looooong, and very hard on my poor foot…I may switch it out with something else for a while, just so I can keep motivated and have time to do a workout.

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