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Good morning gorgeous! It's so lovely to see you. Grab a coffee and get cozy, we have some stuff to catch up on. First, it's the second week of 2019, and we should probably talk about the #newyearnewme struggle.

2019 brings with it a lot of pressure to make drastic changes to our lives in a short period of time. Go on a diet, hit the gym, start a business, make more money. The internet is filled with crap about how CEOs get up at 4 am, read 800 books a month, and sleep 20 minutes every 16 days. These bs tips on how to GaryVander-fuck-yourself will have us productivity hacking ourselves into our early graves.

It’s exhausting.

It doesn’t help that the internet would really like us to be thinner, more stylish, wealthier, and well lit, with a rosy hue that matches the rest of our carefully curated grid. Our phones constantly remind that other people are doing it, which makes us feel bad. Then, our notifications shame us for spending too much time looking at other people #crushingit, and feeling bad, so we somehow feel worse. It’s rude.

If you’re feeling this, I’m there with you. Some gentle reminders:

1. You are not alone
It feels lonely when everyone is posting their #goals, and #wins. It’s easy to forget that the internet is cobbled together with a lot of strained smiles and well-intentioned lies. Not everything you see is real. A lot of people are struggling, and we should all be a bit more honest about it. I’m there with you.

2. Nothing great was ever built quickly
There’s a reason as we age a lot of us get rid of our Ikea furniture. Any table I built in 10 minutes won’t be very good at being a table. Good habits take time. No quick fix, productivity hack or fad diet ever made a person better. Building yourself a great life takes a long time.

We have to craft ourselves with intention and love. If you’re feeling the pressure to go faster, remember: you have time.

3. Be kinder to yourself
A lot of the pressure we feel is intrinsic— we do this shit to ourselves. If, for a day, you had to say out loud everything you say to yourself— what would happen? I’ll tell you, people in your life would probably be horrified.

We need to treat ourselves with the care we treat a close friend. Take a big deep breath with me on this Wednesday morning, and make a silent promise to be a little bit gentler on yourself this year. You’re working hard, you’re on the path, and you will get there.

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People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you're fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.
- Elizabeth Gilbert
We need to talk about fences, gates, and racist hate
Last night Trump gave a rare public address on immigration, delivering a stiff uninspired performance of a Republican President. I give it two thumbs down. Despite trying to do his best bored Mike Pence impression, Trump still managed to sniff like a 25-year-old investment banker in a recession. What was that?

Anyway, the speech was a response to the backlash against Trump's government shutdown/temper tantrum to get his racist a wall/fence. An estimated 800,000 Americans are working without pay, or are furloughed as a result of the shutdown. Essential government support like food stamps 38 million people rely on could be in jeopardy. Funny, the speech didn't address that stuff. The content of the speech was the brand of fear mongering racism we've come to expect from Trump. It was also, conservatively, like 80% lies. Here are some coles notes:
  • Trump claimed the wall will pay for itself. It won't.
  • He claimed, again, that Mexico will indirectly pay for the wall. They for sure won't
  • Trump tried to pit people of color against each other by falsely claiming immigration hurts African American and Latino communities the worst. Just stop it.
  • Trump tried to stoke fear by listing crimes committed by migrants, leaving out necessary context and historical data.
Trump has been giving the same shitty, scary "they're coming to get you" speech since 2015. This remake was dull af, but we have to keep fighting his brand of fear and racist hate in 2019. 
We need to talk about some good news

This week Cyntoia Brown was granted clemency after 15 years in prison. Cyntoia was a victim of sex trafficking, who shot and killed a man who had solicited sex from her after he became violent, and she feared for her life. A jury then convicted her as an adult and sentenced a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim, who was acting in self-defense, to life in prison. There are so many things wrong with that sentence it makes me want to hulk smash my closest houseplant.

Finally, after years of activism and work by Black Lives Matter Nashville, Cyntoia was granted clemency this week. She'll be on parole for an additional 10 years, (which is bullhockey), but she's out, and we can count that as a win. 

More good stuff? 1.5 million felons in Florida have just had their right to vote restored. 5 million Floridians showed up and voted for Amendment 4, which gave people who have paid their debt to society their democratic rights back. I never imagined congratulating Florida for progressive politics. It feels like the upside down or something. Congratulations Florida. That is cool as hell.  
Something to make you laugh
McSweeny's wants you to know: I don't hate women candidates, I just hated Hilary and I'm starting to hate Elizabeth Warren.

'I always tell my daughters they can be anything they want, so long as they don’t make other people feel uncomfortable. They can be as ambitious as they want, so long as they do it in an acceptable manner. They can reach for the stars, which you can see right up there on the ceiling painted to resemble a sky.'

Something to make you think
Adulting is hard, there’s a good reason. I read and reread How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation, it shook me and made me nod so hard my head almost rolled off. 

Something you should go to
Melissa and Johnathan Nightingale are seasoned former tech execs (and friendtors of mine) who founded Raw Signal Group, the best management training in Toronto. Now they’re turning their considerable talents to help us all build better careers with A Day To Define and Design Your Career on Feb 26th. I'll be there, and if you want to come, use the code WNTTA for a treat at checkout <3

Thanks for coming to the campfire today friend. I so appreciate that you take time to read this little letter every week. If you like it, please share it. My goal this year is to grow this community into a movement and to make that happen I'll need your help. You can nab your own link to share here, thank you.


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