A Better Brian

This might be narcissistic, but I’m excited about this new goal. I’ve had a busy year, but I’ve let “busy” be an excuse. Busy is a relative term. Was I busy for 45 minutes this afternoon when I sat on my ass watching a replay of a bad soccer match? No. I was unmotivated. Undisciplined. This post is an experiment in changing that.

I have problems staying focused, staying motivated, and completing things I start. This is not news to many of you. I’m hoping to change that. I’ve got it pretty good, but I think I can have it better. I think I can have and do more, and I think it’s going to take a better version of me to get there. So this is my kick off; my pledge; my accountability post.

Here are my goals:


It starts with writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve recently found some old elementary school stories and will probably publish a few for fun, but it reminded me how much I just loved to write. As I got older, I had to write. For school. For work. I hated it. Then I started blogging and enjoyed it, but never committed to it. Never took it seriously. So then I just stopped. I still wrote a few things here and there – mostly recaps of experiences I’d had, and a few publications – but I wasn’t writing regularly or the way I wanted to. Now’s as good a time as any to start. To make the time for it. To enjoy the process. To reach into the drafts folder in Dropbox and the Drafts app on my phone and finish those thoughts and share them with you.

Doing daily and weekly writing exercises will help me accomplish this goal.


I’m not a perfect model of health. I’m also not terribly unhealthy. I have cholesterol level that should be 30% lower, a little too much around my waist and a tendency to binge eat when I’m bored or depressed. But I’m pretty active. I have two active kids and I enjoy time with them. I play soccer and some occasional rugby. I bike to the mail room and the bank when I am motivated enough to do so. I enjoy my stand-up paddleboard, again when I’m motivated enough to lug it to the lake. But I am often unmotivated, and undisciplined with workouts, training, eating, etc. That can and will change.

Logging my food intake and exercise, and doing at least one active thing each day, will help me accomplish this goal.


I quit my job almost exactly one year ago to continue to grow Duce Enterprises and to launch Learning Ninjas. I’m thrilled with the results. But I could have done more this past year. I could have been more focused, delivered things ahead of schedule, sought out some bigger projects and set some bigger goals. But I coasted more than I’d like. I want to do better. Notice I didn’t say I want to do more. I was happy with my work/life balance over this last year. I want to do better. Better projects. Better decisions. Better management. Better risks. Better pricing. I want to enable more adventures and more experiences, not only for me, but for my family and my friends.

Doing better work and saying “no” more often will help me accomplish this goal.


I’ve got a good life. I know this. I need to recognize it in key moments, though, and really enjoy life even more. I post about and share a lot of inspirational quotes and videos because I believe in the messages they hold. Life is full of sacrifice and bad decisions and consequences, but it’s also filled with unexpected joys and good decisions and amazing results. I can do better to focus on the positives and embrace the negatives and hold on to them, and learn from them and use them to teach others.

Volunteering, coaching and taking adventures with my kids will help me accomplish this goal.

I’ll be posting results, but if you want to know how things are going, get in touch.


On the flight from Houston to San Jose for ASTD Tech Knowledge, I once again marveled at how much open space there still is left in this country.

Somewhere Over New Mexico
Somewhere Over New Mexico

A few years ago I went to New Hampshire to do some user testing for SkillSoft. I remember mentioning to a colleague during the flight that I was surprised how much undeveloped land there was. It had an impact on me, as I wondered, and still wonder [1], what percentage of available land in the U.S. has actually been developed. I also noted how little of this country, let alone this planet, I’ve actually experienced in person.

I’ve mostly lived in big cities, but exploration has always been important to me. When I lived in Arizona we used to go camping every month; we could just drive up to the river and start exploring. I learned a lot during those experiences. It was unstructured, unsupervised exploration. I look at these amazing places I’ve flown over or ridden by, and I want to explore all of them. I know I cannot get to everything, but my goal is to explore more, both locally and when I travel (and, hopefully, on a motorcycle).

I hope to bring my kids along as much as possible. I’m reading Last Child in the Woods right now (thanks for the recommendation, Kris). It’s both enlightening and depressing. We all should explore more. Get out into the wild, or the closest thing you have to it, and look, smell, listen, learn. Bring your kids, so the only experiences they have with nature aren’t from The History Channel or Google Earth. Think about the spaces you’ve passed by but never explored. Go back with a new mission. Explore. Play. Learn.

Ask yourself, “what if this is the only time, or the last time, I’ll ever see this place?”.

[1] Apparently, it’s only around 6% (as of 2003).

Up To Our Necks

“This. This passion. This love for what we are born to do. Whatever that is for each of us. Like her, our days should be filled with it. Every moment. We should wake up each day inching to get up to our necks in it. To be covered with it. To be a part of it. To be intimate with it.”

Patrick Rhone – “The Farmer”

Well said. What is your passion? Find it. Live it. Breathe it.