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Freshly painted in Kauai this morning, an image based off of an idea of Jose Caballer’s of

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If you’ve ever taken a few yoga classes, you’ve probably seen this a few times…in the middle of the class during some difficult pose, while people are straining and grimacing, the yoga instructor says “Remember to smile, it’s only yoga!” And you can feel the whole class lighten up as they smile.

Next time you’re grimacing at work…remember to smile.  Even better, remind someone else there to smile!  I mean it’s only work – it’s not life or death, is it?

Smiling can actually make you feel happier.  Physical actions trigger feelings, so by acting happier you can actually truly improve your mood (and the mood of those around you, creating a virtuous cycle).

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

And if you’re not doing something you love, and bad enough there that you really can’t even smile when you try, maybe it’s time to start considering, for real, an escape plan.

And finally, an unnecessary but very funny picture

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In a post in May, The Power of “Why Not?”, I outlined some reasoning for “why not do some work from kauai?”  A half dozen people agreed, and here we are now 😀

It’s my first time here, and Kauai is amazingly beautiful!

For the first part of the trip, Will Jessup (founder,, Tony Wong (founder), and Patty Yun (CitrusBuyte/MBA, USC) came out.   We quickly discovered that the Grand Hyatt Kauai, on the south shore, has an excellent office area:

The view from our office (with one of my favorite books, and a key inspiration of

Initial thoughts on this kind of trip

To any of you skeptics – we really are working here in Kauai in addition to enjoying ourselves at the beach 🙂  The most valuable part of this trip isn’t the amount of work we crank out with our analytical left brains.  The value is giving ourselves some mental space to breathe, getting clear, and letting our creative right brains make those “aha!” and “why didn’t I see that sooner?” leaps of intuition. Sometimes this happens while we’re writing, hiking, driving, sometimes while sketching… but it’s the kind of thinking that happens rarely when we’re overloaded from work back home.

Great Place to Stay in Princeville

Ever want to stay at a townhouse in Princeville?  I’d recommend where we are:

More Trip Pictures

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A “5th Work Option”

July 13th, 2008

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In 2007, while thinking quite a bit about what I wanted to do next in work and life, I realized along the way that what I wanted wasn’t among the most common work options you can jump into:

  • A corporate job (working for someone else? Nah.)
    – I’m including “start a company that takes outside financing” in this category as well…because you’re still working for your investors.
  • Consulting (you’re always “on the clock”)
  • Non-profit (work on changing the world, but the stable income ain’t much!)
  • Artist (work through authentic passion, but good luck supporting yourself)

My goal changed from uncovering the next opportunity to creating my own perfect working world, combining the best parts of all.

Why can’t I have:

  • The stability of the corporate world
  • The independence of a consultant
  • The financial upside of a starting your own company
  • The passion of an artist / purpose of a non-profit

The goal: create an environment that enables a workstyle of “more fun, more freedom AND more money” – without compromising anything. I’m not willing to sacrifice my health, personal life or purpose for work.

What does the ‘5th Work Option’ actually look like?

A business based around your passions or life purpose (or as I’d say, your “Unique Genius”), that generates a steadily growing flow of passive income. It often begins either as consulting or time-based services or a side project/hobby…and then over time develops into a business that sells products, programs, information or anything else that requires only a little bit of your time. Also, through the process of building the business, you develop enough of an ‘audience’ and base of True Fans (who actively spread word-of-mouth for you) to generate a plenty of income.

Easier said than done, right?


The thinking of “how I can I make this a reality?” led to the development of PebbleStorm, and my life purpose of “to help people make money through enjoyment.” PebbleStorm is a roadmap to this 5th Work Option, to make it easier, less lonely and less risky to get there.

Why is my purpose about helping others make money through enjoyment? Because the more like-minded people there are who think this way and help each other stay focused on making money through enjoyment rather than just making money…the easier achieving the 5th Work Option becomes – for us all! This is why one of the most important parts of PebbleStorm is community – connecting people at similar stages of development to share information and to support each other.

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I’m excited to put this information up, and so I’m doing it before it’s fully baked!  This is something that will keep evolving over the coming months.  But I just couldn’t wait to share 🙂   Also, if you’re a fan (or skeptic) of meditation, check out the last part of this post.

First version of the Stages

One of the PebbleStorm puzzle pieces (say that three times fast!) I’ve been noodling on is the stages of the journey.  I want to give people a map of where they are and what comes next, and to be able to organize content and meet-ups (such as in Los Angeles or San Francisco) by stage.

Although the names, details and pictures of the stages will likely evolve, I feel like I’ve captured the right fundamentals here.  I will go into each stage in more depth here on the blog in the future.

The Stages

  1. Reflect – What is my unique genius?  What do I enjoy doing?  What makes me happy?  What is my dream business / 5th Option?  Choose the working life you want to create.
  2. Play – How can I have fun playing with the ways I can express my unique genius and mash my passions?  How do my ideas, plans and “voice” evolve as I keep playing with writing or speaking or sketching or video or photos or …?  What if I tried [this], or [that], or [the other]?  How do these morph into business ideas?
  3. Attract – Who is drawn to me?  (Audiences, subscribers, clients, fans…)  What kind of person/persona connects with what I am sharing?  Who is most active in telling others about my work?
  4. Package – What kinds of services, products, programs or subscriptions does my audience want to buy?
  5. Receive – How can I set up my “layers of the onion” and magnets to make it easy for customers to get to know me and buy?  How can I avoid any pushy selling yet steadily grow my income?  (Sneak peak at a future post around Receiving Sales Never Selling.)

The hinge, the fulcrum, the foundation of everything is of course…Enjoyment.  What brings me the most enjoyment?  (Both the process and the outcome, as illustrated in the Enjoyment Map).  How can I do more of what I enjoy, and less of what I don’t, while making my business even more successful?

And with a bigger picture (click to expand)

Goody #1: Where the Five Stages came from: Saturation + Meditation

I started meditating in September of 2007, and have been steadily improving at it. It took about six months to become pretty regular.  I’ll write more about it around a future topic of ‘healthy hyperproductivity.’  I’m finding that one of the benefits of meditation is problem solving – I can give my subconscious a kick in the pants to cough up the answers I keep looking for!

I’ve been trying to figure out these stages for a couple of months now, playing with different versions – none of which I felt were right.  I decided I’d given my left and conscious brains enough of a crack at it, and that after saturating them with ideas and drafts, it was time to shift gears and let things crystallize on their own.  Once I posed the question, and after 5-10 minutes of meditation, the basic sketches and stages started downloading, over about 10 minutes.

Goody #2: Foreshadowing

“Receiving Sales”, “Layers of the Onion”, “Healthy Hyperproductivity” are a few key ideas I’ve mentioned here that I’m excited to write more about at some point 😀   If you’re impatient, you can find them on

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