Note To Self

I was going through my papers for burning and told myself not to look — just burn…

But, of course, I looked and found this little note to myself. And I can’t just burn it now that I’ve seen it. I’ve gotta keep it somewhere.

So I’m posting it here in case anyone else wants to read it, too:

Come at each task
with the hope and persistence of a child.
Have faith in following your own nose
for you do not know how the unwritten book goes
until you live it,
and to assume you know an outcome
before you even take a step
is to force a story.
Resist that urge, for it is the path of fear.
Focus, instead, on showing love
and rewarding loyalty;
give all their just dues and, in the future,
all that is right will return back you.
It is time to reveal what you have in you to be,
then stand tall and strong like a tree
for all to see.

By the way, I literally have stacks of paper to burn. If there’s a short thought I want to keep note of, I tweet it, but maybe I’ll keep posting longer thoughts here.

Better to post it and burn the paper than keep more papers than anyone in their right mind would ever look through, right? 😉

Quick Guide to Sizing Shopify Images

Want guidelines for creating Shopify images without reading an article?

You came to the right place.

The following practices are recommended when posting images on Shopify:

  • Use JPGs over PNGs for loading speed optimization
  • Optimal image size is 2048 X 2048 pixels (maximum image size is 4472 X 4472)
  • Use square images
  • Consistently use neutral, black, or white backgrounds
  • Give primary product images the same look & feel

Hope you find this useful and happy selling!

Full Moon

Tonight, the moon is full and bold as it rises, which is right in line with the mood I need to embrace while navigating the cray-cray that is 2020.

Time for a new camera, but you get the point. (Picture Aug 2, 2020)

This has been an interesting year, wouldn’t you say?

A year of challenges. A year of disruptions. A year of revisiting what’s been working and asking yourself if it will continue to work moving forward.

If you’re like me, you discovered an alarming number of things that need to change in the future. One of those things for me is that I need to embrace this digital world Gen Y & Z were raised in because –moving forward — if you’re not doing business there, you’re not doing business anywhere.

The analog world I’ve clung to for so long is about to go the way of the traveling circus: It’ll still exist nostalgically in TV and movies, but it will be legislated out of real life. I’ve seen this coming, sure, but I was able to live in a level of denial of how quickly it was approaching up until the Ides of March 2020.

That’s when I knew for certain that the analog way of doing things was about to join square TVs in history as the world transitions to 5G.

Even so, it still took me this long — all the way until August — to do something beyond dabble with one possibility after another while avoiding the obvious option of how to show up digitally:

I just need to bring my analog self online.

In real life, I’m a person people sit down with when they need to flesh out an idea or tackle a problem. I’m good at this because it’s in my nature to take the emotional weight out of difficult conversations.

Some people like looking at topics this way, some people do not. But one of the advantages of having these types of conversations in-person is that over 80% of communication is nonverbal and how we say things can be infinitely more significant than what we say. Especially when it comes to removing the inherent emotional charge embedded in a topic.

In text, however, people get to infuse your words with their nonverbals and that’s where things can get messy real quick.

But it’s time for me to get over this design flaw, accept the fact that what I have to say is ripe for the misinterpretation for those who already know what they want to hear, and to talk anyway.

Because that’s what the internet is all about: speaking up, speaking clearly, and finding out if you add value to the conversation.

So, after years of coaching other people how to show up in the digital world, it’s time to practice what I preach and show up myself. And I’m going to show up online the same way I do in real life:

I’m going to ask questions, I’m going explore various answers to questions, and I’m going to host the difficult conversations most people shy away from.

If I do this right, I’m going to attract a lot of haters for the simple fact that I tend to be a free thinker who treats scripted thought as what it is. And those who believe their scripts to be foregone conclusions get very emotional about being treated as a perspective and feel driven to attack.

This aggression used to deter me, but it’s 2020 now and everyone is emotional about everything. The world is not-so-slowly turning into a mental institution where all the borderline personalities with imaginary PhDs are intent on re-writing public policy. It’s nuts out there and people are screaming anything they want at the top of their lungs, so why should I worry about any who might take issue with me speaking in circumspect tones?

The answer is: I shouldn’t.

I’m not here for the people who want a sound bite to amplify into an echo chamber, or a hashtag they can trend with a retweet. I’m here for the people who have a topic they want to dig into in a way that requires a little bit of trust and mutual respect to discuss objectively, rather than through the pinhole of treating one thought as a foregone conclusion.

I’m a person who can show you what the same elements look like in different frames. I have my biases, sure. And I may explain them from time to time to see if they can survive external stress tests, but I never assume I am correct. I’ve been around the block far too many times to assume that — especially if everyone agrees with me. For truth is never popular and no one is less popular that s/he who speaks the truth.

Feel free to throw that at me if I ever get popular. 😉 (I know I have at least one brother who definitely will.)

In the meantime, know that it is my aim to bring my analog value online and turn this blog into a full-time income. How that will happen will evolve with time. To start, however, I will have a donate button in case you feel like tipping me for content you find particularly valuable, along with affiliate links for suggested products you can buy while tossing a small commission my way.

For now, I’m going to focus on content and connecting, just like I do in real life. The first step to any worthwhile business is always to create value worthy of brand loyalty, so let’s start there while talking about everything under the sun.

Anything you want to talk about? Tag me on FB or Twitter and let’s have a conversation.

I look forward to connecting with you.

Once Upon This One Time…

by: Sheralyn Pratt

Once upon this one time, I was walking my dog at night. We were going along our usual path at about our usual time. The world around us was fast asleep; the houses were dark and you could hear a pin drop in the street.

Everything was quite usual this night, except maybe just one thing: I’d felt the urge to walk our usual path in reverse, so we were taking our route in the opposite direction.

We’d just taken the first of two turns that would point us back home when, out of nowhere, a voice said, “It should occur to you to be concerned right now,” and it took a moment to realize the voice was just in my head.

But I answered it anyway, saying, “Oh? Why is that?”

“Because of the man in the van.”

“The man in the van?” I asked, eyes searching around. Yet I was passing between a home and a wall of high bushes, so all I could see were a tunnel of leaves and the side of a house.

“Yes,” the voice replied. “There is a man in the van on the other side of this bush. And it should occur to you to be concerned.”

And, so it was that I became concerned and, as I stepped beyond the bush I glanced back.

Sure enough, there was a white van parked in perfect alignment with the tunnel-sized bush in a way that seemed quite intentional, but not red-flag suspicious.

It was quite dark and the nearest street light did little to illuminate the inside of the vehicle. But, when I looked at the outline of the two front seats, all I saw were the outline of the two front seats.

“It’s just a van,” I told myself. “No man.” And the moment I thought these words, I heard the metal-on-metal rat-ta-ta-tat of a car seat reclining – loud as a drum in the still of night.

With the noise, the outline of the driver’s side seat disappeared and the distant street light shone through the back window and into my view.

There was definitely someone in the van. And they had definitely noticed me glancing back for a peek and tried to hide while making the absolute loudest of creaks.

There was really no way to ignore the sound, but I made a go of it anyway.

I kept walking, making it about 30 more feet before I heard the car seat return to its upright position just before the engine started – followed by headlights on full-bright, making it useless to look for the person inside.

I kept walking as this white van from the 20th century – maybe a Dodge Caravan – raced me to the corner. The air felt charged as the man rubbernecked as he passed, then sped down the street with a single tail light doing nothing to illuminate a darkened license plate.

When he reached the end of the street, did a full-stop at the stop sign, belatedly signaled, turned right, and was gone.

As I replayed everything in my mind to make a best guess if all threat was past, the voice added, “Sometimes, it’s good to come at things from an opposite view.”

Then it disappeared as quickly as the van and I was left with my thoughts as I walked my dog home – rarely to walk the same path again.