Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Just Breathe

The morning started out gloomy.

The sky was overcast and I awoke to sounds of coughing. The twins were still sick from the flu, but our girl’s coughing was getting worse. Our pediatrician had seen her on Monday and recommended we give her antibiotics only if her fever kept up, and her running nose got worse.

Mom was worried. Our girl’s temperature hadn’t peaked too many times, but it was consistently higher than normal. Mom asked me to pick up the antibiotics. I trusted her. She’s not only a concerned mom, but a Clinical Pharmacist at the local hospital. She works at the Pediatrics unit often and knows when to make decisions that could improve health or save lives for the little ones.

We called the pharmacy. No answer.

We figured with everyone stocking up on medicine, given the COVID-19 spread, the pharmacy must be busy. It made more sense just to go, place the order and wait to pick it up.

That was it. That’s what I had to do.

The drive to the pharmacy was uneventful, except the large number of cars in the parking lot. It WAS busy.

Yeah, everyone’s getting ready for entrenchment.

Then it occurred to me, “Oh yeah, I’m supposed to look more closely, listen, hear conversations, or start one. Gotta get some material for the class.”

Hmmm. How do I do that when everyone’s so focused on stocking up for their social distancing? How can I be the jovial dude?

“It ain’t gonna happen” is all I could think.

I figured I have to wait for the prescription anyway. So, why not just hang and listen. Easy enough. I can do that. It’ll be meditative, entertaining, maybe even instructive.

So, I walked in, past all the folks paying up front, and wow. There was a long line.

As I walk past each aisle to get to the back and place the order, I keep hearing a similar question, though may be in a different form, “Excuse me! Do you have any hand sanitizer…Lysol wipes…face masks left? There’s nothing on the shelf.”

But it’s not just the questions. It’s the tone, the rustle of the feet, the strenuous, controlled, palpable fear in their voices. It’s the placid smiles, and pursed lips. It’s the hyper-focused attention to what’s on each aisle. It’s the laughter of the 20-something who’s stocking the shelves, saying to someone, I don’t know who, “it’s been like this all week. People are NUTS!”

I can see how the herd mentality, the intensity, can be viral. I don’t just hear the voices. I hear my own heartbeat. The rhythm tells me what’s really going on.


Slow at first, then picking up pace as I hear the silver haired lady, rubber gloves in hand, holding a phone to her ear, pushing the cart filled with house cleaners, “It’ll probably pass, but we don’t know when…aha…aha…no, we don’t know.”

Pa-plup, Pa-plub, Pa-plup, Pa-plup, Pa-plup.

I take a few deep breaths, thinking, “Let’s focus on the breath…just the breath. How it feels on the mustache, just going in…and out…in…and out…in…”

I take my steps intentionally, slowly, approach the counter and place the order.

“It’ll be 20 minutes,” the pharmacist tells me.

“You guys are busy, huh?” was my way of letting out some of that nervous energy.

“Yeah. No joke!” And I don’t think she was amused. She’s probably heard that same line all week.

I step back and look at the white tiles. I give my focus back to my breathing and think, “It’s fine. The herd’s rustling. I don’t have to.”

It doesn’t take long since mom apparently got through to the pharmacist while I was driving. I pickup the order and take a couple of pumps from the hand sanitizer. Yeah. I gotta do that.

As I walk out, I feel like a fog lifts with the breeze blowing outside. There are still a lot of folks parking and coming in, but the sounds, the whispers, the rustling stops.

The clouds had broken a bit too and I felt the warm sun beating away the chill of the breeze.

It’ll be fine. We’ll make it through, if we just breathe…in…and out…in…and out…in…

Monday, March 9, 2020

Elevate the Organism

Today I started the Story Skills Workshop, one of the many workshops that Seth Godin and his team have put together to help us each become more than a single person, to make a difference.

I posted my introduction in the workshop and realized I've not shared here what I wrote there.

Here it is:

I came here because I want to become a better human at best, a better business person at least.

I started a freelancer and referral business three years ago around automating contracts and eSigning.

I have a software development and engineering background, can work through technical problems well, but I have trouble telling the story of my customers in a compelling way.

I want to tell their stories so that I can help more people get past their challenges at work and have a more fulfilling life. I want to make the world a better place, one person and company at a time.

I also write a personal and professional blog about uncomplicating business and life. I want to write more often better posts that people can put to use and relate to.

I’ve tried my hands at refining my message and creating these stories, especially after reading Donald Miller’s “Building a Story Brand.” My customer stories and blogs seem contrived, forced, without life.

I want to change that. I want the stories to matter, with anecdotes and ideas people actually use and amplify in their own way, and, on the more selfish front, I want to know that I made a difference, however small it may have been, in elevating the human organism to be more than it is today.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Go Big: Selfless Modeling

A couple of nights back I read an article highlighting how reading from topic to topic, blog to blog, article to article or book to book is a poor way of gaining knowledge.

Knowledge gathering has to be deliberate. Doing less is better, allowing the mind to gestate and digest one idea at a time, fully and in-depth.

Last night, when playing the Splendor board game with the family, I noticed a pattern: trying to capture small value cards slowed down any attempt at winning the game. Realizing which of the higher value cards may be easier to get at the onset, set the stage for winning.

Connecting the two ideas, I realized focusing on a central and single topic, aiming to get early and big wins on key building blocks of activities, Going Big, would be a great way of gaining momentum in business or any of life’s goals.

Want to spend meaningful time with family? Go Big and block out a whole day, weekend or week with them, not just the couple of hours each night. The hours each night are good for maintenance. What you gain on times you Go Big has to be reinforcement nightly, but it’s the times that you Go Big when you create meaning and momentum in life.

Everything I read tells me going small is a disservice to the world. I’m not doing any favor to the world by going small. It’s not that the world needs to hear specifically from me, Arash Sayadi. It’s that by going small, the whole organism of the Planet and the Cosmos moves or progresses more slowly.

We’re like the cells in our bodies. Each person is a different cell. Yes, we are individual cells. Yes, our individual efforts are for our own survival, reproduction and improvement, but we are part of a larger organism. We’re all interconnected.

Our actions make a difference, specifically if they are big and in coordination with other cells. If I’m an antibody, I make a difference when fighting a virus. I can’t just partially fight it, I have to completely, wholly fight it. I have to Go Big. If a lot more antibodies Go Big with me and fight the virus, we win. If it’s just me, the fight will fizzle out and the human organism is worse off.

So, what I do, how I interact with others, how I make a living, help our kids grow, isn’t just about me. It’s about all of us. It’s about the benefit I immediately deliver and how my actions are perceived and replicated by others.  Going small sets no precedence nor advances us enough.

Selfless Modeling is key: Create a model of your big and bold actions and behavior to advance yourself and all of humanity.  Deliver the benefits for yourself and everyone else, not for personal gains or notoriety, but for the betterment of the whole of humanity. The individual is important and effective, but only when working as part of the larger organism. And the individual is most effective if he gives it all that he's got.

Go Big!