This month I broke my record for the most traffic to my blog. Ever. About 375,000 page views. Hooray. Ironically, I spent most of the month garnering high-traffic by writing about what a hard time I’ve been having. So I want to take a day to pat myself on the back, because if I only write about the stuff I struggle with, I start to feel one-dimensional here. Or three-dimensional, but a 3-D mess.

Anyway, for most of last year, I struggled to blog regularly and run the company and be around for my kids. Finally, this month, when the company has been more difficult than ever, I managed to start blogging four times a week again. This is the result of trying a new time management trick every week, for months and months, until I figured out a system for getting the blog posts done. What finally worked was examining the other problems I was having in my life, and solving those first.

That shouldn't surprise you. Because the research about problem solving is that if you start targeting any problem in your life, and nail it, all the other problems become easier. There are problem solvers and problem sufferers. And most problems are not unique, so you need to just start tackling them to fall into the first category. Read more

People ask me all the time, “What blogs do you read?” The answer is that I read different ones at different times. It’s a mood thing, I think. I could give you my favorite blogs for finding cool research, or my favorite blogs from my friends, or my favorite fashion blogs for when I don’t know how to wear a pair of shoes I love. But the list I’m going to do today is the list of blogs I read when I get frustrated that running a company is so hard.

Oh, I love Owen Thomas. He has a knack for making anything in Silicon Valley look totally stupid. And he is so sharp, that when I am feeling totally stupid, he can actually make me believe that I’m not alone. Art Spiegelman elevated the comic book format by using it to talk about the Holocaust. Owen Thomas elevates the gossip rag format by using it to tell people how to run a business.

You know what? I hate reading this blog because it’s like a frat party but they forgot the beer and the girls. Still, I know that part of feeling like a competent entrepreneur is knowing what’s going on in the community. Plus, who can begrudge Michael Arrington kudos for making the most boring topic in the world — big egos taking down big egos — funny and interesting? Read more

I receive about fifty career questions each week. The questions have a predictable diversity, but not my answers. My answers are almost always the same advice: Know yourself better.


Problem: My boss is a jerk. How can I fix it?

Advice: Understand what you can do differently to make people act differently around you.

Problem: My coworker got promoted instead of me but she does not work.

Advice: Understand why you are not as likable as your coworker and make yourself more likable.

Problem: I've been out of the workforce for three years and I want to reenter. What’s the best way?

Advice: Understand the unique things you can offer your network and an employer, then craft a resume that shows those things.

Do you see the pattern? Self-knowledge is what helps you solve your problems. Sometimes we can get it on our own. But if your problem persists, and you can't solve it, go to therapy. Therapy speeds up the process of gaining self-knowledge.

I can tell you that in my own experience, people who have been to therapy are more interesting than those who haven’t. (Which is the genesis of today's poll — I have a hunch that many of you have been to therapy.)

I will admit that I am probably biased about therapy. I have been going since I was five. My parents knew I was weird but didn't know what to do about it, so they took me to a therapist, and we sat at his desk, because play therapy had not been invented, and I wondered how he could have had such a boring job, and then he told my parents I didn’t need therapy. Read more

Here is a map of where all the single men are:

I do not live near any single men. Well, I sort of do. My divorce lawyer has set me up with a few men in my hometown, Madison, Wisconsin. He told me that I am too focused on my work life. I need to get my personal life in order.

Here’s how things went:

One guy was a little chunky in the middle, but he is a real estate mogul. I know, you’re thinking, real estate mogul, in Wisconsin? Are there any? There are a few. I mean, Lake Michigan is a nice place in the summer, and also, someone’s gotta own the real estate around the Green Bay Packers stadium. And besides, you can invest in real estate from any state, really.

So I went out with the real estate guy. Read more

We all know that people judge each other in the first five seconds they see each other. We talk about clothes, and weight , and tone of voice. But you can also judge someone by their walk.

Don't tell me this is shallow. You can't help but judge people by their gait. But the good news is that we are very good at judging people on first impressions (sponsor link: download movies). It's probably a survival skill we developed very early on as humans — before you could Google someone to know their credibility. And when it comes to gait, it is possible that we each have a unique gait, like a unique thumbprint. (Yes, people are developing security technology based on gait: Cool, right?)

I am convinced that you can change how you function in the world by changing your gait. We already know that people with the most control over their image work hard on understanding the body language they project. For example, if you feel defensive, resist the temptation to fold your arms in front of your chest and the person you're talking to will think you are listening better. And, in fact, you will be listening better because based on your physical urge to fold your arms you gained intellectual awareness that you are feeling defensive. Read more

Ryan calls me from the office. I say, “Don’t talk to me now. I’m sulking.”

He says, “Okay. What are we doing about the five-year sales projections?”

I say, “I told you. I need ten minutes.”

“Nothing is going to change in ten minutes,”

“In ten minutes I'll be more pleasant on the phone.”

“Okay.” He hangs up.

I eat two waffles and then I write on the calendar how many calories I can eat for the rest of the week to make up for the waffles. Then I take out two more waffles and while they’re cooking, I change all the numbers on the calendar.

Then I look at my email, and there is another missive from Guy Kawasaki telling me that I am underutilizing Twitter. He even took a picture of two tweets he thinks I should respond to. He sent the picture to me.

He thinks I should give 140-character career advice.

Here’s some advice I think of immediately: Read more

It's a big day, and I'm excited to take a pause from work with the rest of the country to watch Barack Obama give his inagural speech.

In the meantime, I'm thinking about the day of service. How Obama wants the country to come together in the name of service. And I heard MTV declare, last night, that the next generation is Generation S. For service.

So I'm thinking about service, and how all our efforts to help people, really, are aimed to make them more indepdent. And that's what work is about: Taking care of ourselves, mentally and financially.

When you mentor someone in the work arena, you are providing that service. So often we pick the superstar to mentor. Or the up-and-comer. Or the one who can help us with our own networking. But you can use your work skills to help someone pull themselves out of a bad spot. A really bad spot. Work skills are very powerful. And so is mentoring.

So when you think about service, don't' think of it as separate from work. Obama stands for all the things that we do, on this blog: Personal responsibility, transparency, honesty, change even when it's difficult. This inagural day is the beginning of meshing the public life and worklife so that we are living the values we believe in, wherever we go.

Think about how you can focus on service at work. Each of us has a lot of tools at our disposal. If we take the time to use them.

Most of us set goals for ourselves to do things that are difficult for us to do. Instead, how about setting goals to work hard at something that is actually a pleasure?

It’s clear that the deep, fulfilling experiences in life are when we are very focused at what we really enjoy doing. So goals should start with that premise, and aim to create more of that in our lives. Here are five steps to create goals that encourage you to do more of what you love.

1. Stop thinking about the goal, and start thinking about the process.
The things that matter most for success in life is how hard you work at what you want to achieve, according to research reported in Scientific American. So formulate goals that focus on working hard at something you like working at.

For a lot of us this means we need a bit of self-discovery. What are we great at? What do we love doing? If you are not spending a lot of time and energy on what you think you should spend it on, then maybe that’s not quite right for you.

The act of being lost in this world is actually the process of figuring out what are appropriate goals for ourselves. Where should we spend our time developing our talents? Read more

There is no other way to figure out where you belong than to make time to do it and give yourself space to fail, give yourself time to be lost. If you think you have to get it right the first time, you won’t have the space really to investigate, and you’ll convince yourself that something is right when it’s not. And then you’ll have a quarterlife crisis when you realize that you lied to yourself so you could feel stable instead of investigating. Here's how to avoid that outcome.

1. Take time to figure out what you love to do.

When I graduated from college, I was shocked to find out that I just spent 18 years getting an education and the only jobs offered to me sucked. Everything was some version of creating a new filing system for someone who is important.

Often bad situations bring on our most creative solutions. And this was one of those times: I asked myself, “What do I want to do most in the world, if I could do anything?” I decided it was to play volleyball, so I went to Los Angeles to figure out how to play on the professional beach circuit. Read more

There's a huge market for telling women how to be happier. Maybe it's because women read more than men. Or maybe it's the discrepancy that women know when they are overweight and men don't. Or the discrepancy that most men think they are good parents and most women think they need to be better parents. The list goes on and on, in a glass-half-empty kind of way.

In general, I think the strength of women is that they see things more clearly. Yes, it's a glass-half-empty world for women, compared to men, but women should leverage their stronger grip on reality. So here's my contribution to women and clarity. I am debunking five totally annoying pieces of advice I hear people give women all the time.

1. Take a look at the lists of best companies for women to work for
This is an advertising ploy, not a plan for you to run your life. Every single time there's a list like this, women write to me from the companies on the list to tell me how much they suck for women. But it's not like I need those emails. I can just look at senior management, which is almost always all men, and see that corporate careers are set up for a one kind of life: very focused, no other interests, except, maybe, oneself. And this is not all that appealing to most women.

So you can forget the lists. The bar is so low to get on the lists that which company is on and which company is off is statistically irrelevant to women planning their careers. Read more