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Issue #30: The Other Side of Simple

Sitting in bed bored on my iPad a few weeks ago, I went on a cruise through the App Store. Feeling li

James Costa

October 17 · Issue #30 · View online
A batch of thoughts, resources, and motivation from a friendly digital agency owner delivered every Monday at 6am ET.

Sitting in bed bored on my iPad a few weeks ago, I went on a cruise through the App Store. Feeling like playing a simple game, I ended up downloading Restaurant Story 2. While clearly not a game intended for my demographic, I was hooked. In the game you run a restaurant (d'uh), make food, and people come in to eat it. You pay for the ingredients and food you make, and your customers pay you for dining in your fine establishment. Easy.
The next morning, I continued to play. Upon being asked by my wife why I was playing such a stupid game, I remarked: “look how easy it is to run a business here!”
As a business owner, it’s easy to fantasize about a simpler job. Maybe something in data entry where you can clock in and out and keep your head down, or handling reference checks in an HR department. (Hell, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about going back to work at the Pizza Hut I worked at while I was in high school.) The idea of removing emotion from the workplace and doing a simple, repeatable thing is tempting when you deal with daily emotion, big decisions, and an uncertain future that a business owner does.
I believe business owners crave creativity, and with it comes the emotion that makes us yearn for something different. You can go to work at a job that removes the emotion, but with that you lose creativity. You can compare your job to friends in other professions or peers that seem more successful, but upon digging you’ll always find the emotion that you’ll never be immune to. The only way we can deal with these thoughts is through understanding and managing emotion.
For myself, much of that self-awareness came through writing, researching, and realizing that there are ways to overcome the mental battles that can plague the day-to-day. Issues like the one I wrote on decision-making documents my thought-process and findings on how to deal with a feeling of “mental fog”. Through appreciating where my emotions come from and understanding them as things that can either block progress or accelerate it, I’ve been able to play them to my advantage.
I’m not nearly perfect, but as I continue to learn, I’ve found that habits and environment are critical. Somewhat ironically, I find myself ineffective working from home as a remote business owner. Instead, I plan my days based on which coffee shop I’ll be working from (which in turn has had an impact on how and when I schedule meetings). Our jobs are what we make of them, and while we may feel out of control with them, often we’re just out of control with our emotions.
PS: If you enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing this newsletter. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or going to a Trump rally and holding up a sign with my name on it, it would mean the world to me.

How To Eliminate Organizational Debt
Work In Progress
MailChimp and the Un-Silicon Valley Way to Make It as a Start-Up
My Distraction Sickness — and Yours
“The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. No, not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.”
- Robert Fulghum
This week I thought I’d close with a [dad] joke that I found particularly funny as I prepare the house for Halloween: “Why don’t skeletons ever go trick-or-treating? Because they have no body to go with!” 
As always, if you have any questions or I can help you in any way, all you have to do is respond to this email!
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