I've come up with a small set of rules that guide how I work, parent, and live. Here they are in no particular order:

Working:

  • Business runs on relationships, and relationships run on emotions. People won't remember what you said to them, but they will remember how you made them feel. I try to share my emotions in conversations, which surprises people in the workplace. But nobody can argue with how you feel, and it creates space to have more meaningful connections.
  • I find that surprisingly often, the most meaningful things I do, I do when I think I'm out of time, but I try them anyway. There's always one more thing that I can do to improve any situation. So I try those things, even when I don't think I have time to do them.
  • When I get a "no," I just consider that a request for more information.
  • Communication is surprisingly hard. The hardest part is how many times it has to be done in order to truly reach someone. There may be no such thing as over communication.

Parenting:

  • Always have a good reason for saying "no." Often, "no" is just an excuse for lazy parenting. For example, when our kids want to help me at the gas pump, it'd be easy to say "no" because they're strapped in their car seats. It's always a chore to get them out, and it's quick to pump gas so it barely feels worth the effort. It'd be easy to tell them no. But I always start with "yes" and only say "no" if I have a good reason for it. So, they usually get to pump gas with me, which they love.
  • We've taught our kids to never say "I can't do it." Instead, they say "I don't know if I can do it, but I'll try."
  • We always have our kids taste every food at least once.
  • Hugs with our kids at least these three times every day: 1) when we wake up, 2) when we go to sleep, and 3) whenever we come back from being away from each other.
  • If the kids fight over something, it gets taken away from both of them.

Living:

  • Whenever I want to learn a new habit, I make myself repeat the thing I did wrong, so I can actually learn how to do it right. It's amazing how often I see people say they want to learn something new, but then never actually make themselves try it.
  • Relationships really are like a garden. The more they're tended to, the more fruit they bear. And there's never a shortage of weeds to be pulled.
  • Whoever it's more important to... wins. That requires a high level of mutual trust to pull off.

The picture above is of my daughter Devina getting mic'd up for an interview. I brought my family to a work conference, and I was doing interviews. She walked by and wanted to be interviewed, too. It was one of those moments of starting with "yes" and needing to have a good reason to say "no." I didn't have a good reason not to do it, so I interviewed her, too, and we both had a blast.