Yael’s Variety Hour: Battling Scope Creep, Avoiding Content Mills and Motivation vs. Inspiration

Welcome to possibly the shortest variety hour ever. What can I say? Been busy. Here’s two pieces that apply mostly to freelancers, and one for everybody.

  • The Difference Between Motivation and Inspiration. “We seem to need motivation to get stuff done,” says Danielle LaPorte. “Typically there’s a lot of ‘measuring’ that happens in the realm of motivation. Check lists and goal posts and markers and such. There is often a fear of loss involved. We are on duty. All perfectly natural. But beyond finish lines and well done, is a different call. Inspiration. It is magnetic and progressive. It’s reasoning can not always be reasoned — I just gotta do it. It busts you outta shouldsville into the unfenced field of freedom and possibility. Inspiration is a completely different force of creativity….Follow the pull. It’s the first step toward flying.”

Shameless Self-Promotion

  • I’ll have some goodies–one in the November issue of Experience Life (squeee!) and one in the Performance Menu. I’ll write about these within the next two weeks… and there’s a few other things in the works… you will be the first to know!
  • For fight fans, I’ve got weekly recaps of The Ultimate Fighter over at MMA HQ. (Here’s the latest one, from last week.) I’ve also got a couple profiles which will be posted within the next couple weeks, so stay tuned!

See you next week!

Yael’s Variety Hour: Steve Jobs, PR Fail & Some Tips for Freelancers

Steve Jobs (R.I.P.)

  • Steve Jobs, My Father, and Yom Kippur “…our real impact on others is not always easily noticed, or even appreciated. Not every worthwhile life is built upon achieving personal goals. We are all interrelated in so many different ways, that you can never be sure how your actions are affecting others.”

Feel Better!


  • Jaclyn Day – Working From Home With all this rain lately… Healthy snacks? Leaving the house? Shenanigans!
  • Here’s a picture of Wil Wheaton collating papers. “You’ve been sent to this page because you offered a blogger a photo of some random celebrity standing near some product that no one actually gives a shit about.”  OMG. This is too funny. Why has it taken me so long to find this site? “Please know that we will be happy to accept a high-res picture of ‘Nathan Fillion holding some twine’ in return for publicizing your product just as soon as that becomes an acceptable form of currency anywhere in the entire goddam world. Until then, please take us off the mailing list of bloggers-who-are-so-desperate-for-content-that-we-assume-they’ll-write-for-free-about-pretty-much-anything-we-hand-them. We would, however, be thrilled to be placed on your list of bloggers-whose-time-is-worth-real-compensation-and-whose-highly-reasonable-rate-sheets-are-available-upon-request.”
  •  And then the PR guy called me “a fucking bitch”. I can’t even make this shit up.  Now that the Bloggess is my new best friend (in my  mind) this makes me so mad! So this PR guy tells her she should be flattered that she’s even considered relevant enough to send spammy celeb ads to. “Please stand by for a demonstration of relevancy,” she responded. Love it.

Requisite BJJ Section

  • How to Roll is a great piece by Cane Prevost about how to roll with different people and ability levels.

Requisite Paleo/Primal Section

Shameless Self-Promotion

Just MMA pieces this week. I wrote two pieces about  Joe Lauzon for Sherdog before his last fight.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Yael’s Variety Hour: Biz Smarts, Humor & More

Biz Smarts


Requisite MMA/BJJ Section
Requisite Paleo Propaganda
  • Paleo Table looks like a great free resource for Paleo meal plans.
Shameless Self-Promotion
  • It’s been an MMA writing week! First, I got to go to XFO 41 to see Red Schafer take on Chris Albandia, and I wrote an event review for Sherdog and also put together a series of videos (created by others) with both the fight footage, weight cut video, highlight reel and even a Paleo vid.
  • I also wrote a profile of Josh Barnett, who will be fighting in Strikeforce this weekend. The article, Tunnel Vision, is up on Sherdog.

Friday Musings: 16 Thoughts (5 Rants Included)

1. Apparently our downstairs neighbor almost had her house broken into. Or maybe it was just some drunk guy pounding on her door. It is hard to say, but I was glad to hear that she is okay, had her shotgun loaded, and the POS got caught!

2. Fights + rum & diet = win.

3. Next morning = not win.

4. *Shameless self-promotion alert* I am lining up projects for 2012! Hit me up!

5. *Shameless self-promotion alert* I’ll be attending Growing Power’s Sacred Soil: Cultivating Seeds of Community Transformation gathering. I’d love to blog about it, if anyone’s interested in guest posts or articles!

6. *Rant alert* I don’t mind bagging my own groceries, but it’s kind of rude of the people at Fresh and Natural Foods in Hudson to not at least help a little bit. Don’t you think?! I’ll be shopping at Trader Joe’s from now on.

7. I looked at last year’s spreadsheets and compared it with this year’s income and, even though I have to choose between an MGInaction subscription and the new sneakers I want, I felt SO much better about my business.

8. I think the universe is conspiring against me by making everything get scheduled on 9/24. Body Tribe seminar at Athlete’s Lab, Muay Thai fights at Minnesota Top Team, Chris Haueter seminar at McCune’s, Bellator in OH, the WIlderness Survival Weekend in Cornuciopia… the list goes on. If I get one more invite to something on 9/24 I will have even worse decision fatigue and will just watch bad movies that day.

9. This is a recurring theme in my blog… Not sure why I’m missing Tucson so much this week, since it’s still summer and I’m sure it’s unbearably hot. I guess I just miss that wide open sky, and the cactus…and cafes that stay open past 10pm.

10. *Rant alert* Things I’m really sick of right now: 1. getting bad news 2. my friends getting *really* bad news 3. being totally helpless to do anything about the bad news 4. being diplomatic

11. *Rant alert* I hate that the guys who change my oil try to get me to buy things I don’t need by trying to tell me that my car will explode otherwise.

12.*Rant alert* Maybe I should put a disclaimer on my site saying that I expressly refuse to: 1. ghostwrite articles without an editor’s express permission 2. trade contact information for money 3. write college papers for people 4. write college/grad school admission essays for people 5. do any work for you that would get you fired, sued or in deep doo doo if people knew about it.

13. If you know in your bones that something is the right thing to do, threats shouldn’t get you to change your behavior. Never back down.

14. Great quote from Danielle LaPorte this week: ‎”Don’t make it worse by trying to make do with something that was wrong to begin with.”

15. *Rant alert* Dear guy who tried to sell me stuff I was very upfront about not wanting to buy before you conned me into meeting with you by pretending you wanted tips on starting a blog: the least you could’ve done was pay for my chai.

16. Yesterday marks 4 years since I started dating my man. That is 1/8 of my life! 4 more years! Woot woot!

WDS Recap Series: Danielle LaPorte

So I started recapping the World Domination Summit about a month ago, and then I went on a bunch of trips and started writing about all these other things and got off track, but wanted to get back to it. One of the highlights of the WDS for me was getting to meet Danielle LaPorte. I’ve been a long-time fan of her website, White Hot Truth: because self-realization rocks, and so much of what she spoke about really struck a chord with me.

The focus was about pushing more, about being on your edge. She spoke of impeccability–not about being without fault, since we all have our chinks and our cracks, not about being perfect, but about engaging in the messy and unpredictable art of innovation with an unsullied, unbridled version of who we are.

“When do you not go the extra mile?” Danielle asked. When do you rise above fatigue and push through it? When are you truly present rather than just showing up? Certainly demanding nothing but the best leads to nothing but burnout, and yet it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing just enough to scrape by rather than giving our full effort.

Danielle spoke about taking radical responsibility for our own choices, and owning our own decisions. This includes claiming your decision to accept other people’s wisdom as your own and to act on it. Owning your choices is a sign of leadership, and LaPorte spoke about softening into the roots you came in with; letting the efficiency of that pull you forward. For me this applies to giving full effort. If I choose to accept a job that is not ideal because it doesn’t pay as well as I’d like or has a tighter deadline than I’d like or whatever, I have to own that decision–and if I decide to do the bare minimum for that assignment, I have to own that as well.

She spoke about articulating how you want to feel in order to get some clarity around that, divided loosely into different categories. One was rest/relaxation/body/wellness. One was job/vocation/money/entrepreneurship. And one was fashion/art/car/home/things you own. Narrowing down what you want in each category to three to five sensations, motions, values or specific feelings and then figuring out what you must do each day to generate that. I’ll admit that this seems impractical to me, having spent a lot of time dreaming of ideals which rarely come into fruition. But listening to Danielle speak makes it hard to not reignite that fire and start thinking about those dreams again…

Danielle, who is great at posing questions that really push the envelope, asked this: If you trusted that your art was going to support your life, how would you live? She promised that the universe is an ever-expanding bubble, that the stuff of life, the mesh of our cosmic order is designed for you to make progress. And so we innovate and lead, on the edge, focusing on our strengths and our openness.

Much of what LaPorte shared had to do with paying attention to the spirit of what you bring into the work you do, no matter what container it’s in. This could be giving away work for free (“charge a lot or give it away for free” was the mantra–doing gigs for free is not a risk, she said, but is essential) or about NOT doing less. Stop undercharging, stop taking red eye flights, and value yourself and your work enough to hire a real web designer rather than getting your cousin to do your website.

She spoke about art as a desire to be of service or a desire to self-express. Your self-expression is divine just because you show up, she said. There’s an interesting juxtaposition between just showing up and constantly working to push the envelope that I’m working to wrap my head around. Anyway, I’m not sure this quick summary does Danielle LaPorte justice, but I don’t think any summary really could.

Resource List

  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
  • The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin
  • The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A. J. Jacobs
  • Transformational Speaking by Gail Larsen
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  • Marie Forleo
  • And, of course… Danielle’s website, http://whitehottruth.com/.


Yael’s Variety Hour: It’s All About the Attitude

Welcome to the variety hour, my weekly assortment of favorite posts…hand-selected due to their humor, quirkiness, uniqueness or thought-provocation. (Is that word?)

It’s All About the Attitude (And Making Some Noise!)

  • The Freedom Manifesto. Very empowering! Some of my favorites: “I know that it’s not about hoping for the right circumstances to present themselves, or waiting to acquire the necessary resources; it’s about creating the right circumstances and being more resourceful,” and “I place my attention on what I can control, instead of placing it on those things which I can’t control.” What are yours?
  • discerning vs. cynical. More awesomeness from Danielle LaPorte.

    “discerning: loves the thrill of making up his own mind.

    cynical: has already made up his mind.”

    Which do you want to be?

  • The Lying Experiment. CIA, here I come! I could totally tell which movie this guy actually liked. Can you?

Because I *always* write about ground fighting and conditioning.

Shameless Self-Promotion


  • I’ll be teaching a 6 week class, From Query To Print: Magazine Writing Basics, on Wednesday mornings (10 to noon) starting on September 12th. Classes will be held at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center. I set aside a spot for a scholarship student, too! I will keep you posted with the details.

Yael’s Variety Hour: Wheelin’ Deals, Overtraining, Bacon & More

This week’s Variety Hour features links on overtraining, making deals, getting annoyed and whether or not that waitress was actually hitting on you. There’s also a recipe and links to two pieces of mine: an article on adapting BJJ for self-defense and a blog post on this really awesome BJJ gym I visited in Milwaukee. Check it out.

Links o’ the Week:
  • Sweet potato, Bacon and Egg Salad. My boyfriend made this, and I ate so much that I had to make more. Definitely the recipe of the week. Doubling it is a good idea.

Shameless Self Promotion

  • For those of you who live in the Twin Cities, BodyTribe will be doing a Brutal Recess clinic on the 31st from 1-3:30 at the Athlete Lab on 3225 Country Drive in Little Canada. $40 fee. Be there!
  • Stay tuned to this site for some really great information on search engine optimization (SEO). We’ll first discuss SEO for brick and mortar businesses (those with physical locations) and then expand into SEO for online businesses. I’ll be offering a big discount on SEO consults as well. Make sure to keep checking back.

Yael’s Variety Hour: Stress, Addiction and Conscious Living

Today’s weekly variety hour (where I pull up my favorite posts from all corners of the internet) is a bit abbreviated. I had a very busy week, doing lots of writing and getting ready for a BJJ tournament which took place last Saturday. I do have a few posts for you, though!



  • Is Sugar Toxic? I’ve been asking that myself. A New York Times piece by Gary Taubes, author of “Why We Get Fat”.

Conscious Living

Shameless Self Promotion

There’s a few other things in the works, and I’ll hopefully be able to announce them next week. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your favorite links from the week in the comments.



Yael’s Variety Hour: Fitness, Biz Skills, Poetry

Welcome to this week’s Variety Hour–my personal pick of the most inspiring, thought-provoking, interesting or sometimes funny posts from the past seven days. Putting this list o’ lovely links together has made me a bit less depressed about Mother Nature deciding to throw a hissy-fit at the END OF MARCH. Just as the snow was melting and we were getting all excited about spring, it has to snow and turn into Winter Wonderland all over again. Boo. I’m sending Mother Nature to time out. In the meantime, here’s this week’s posts.

For Fitness Enthusiasts

  • How To Bully A Barbell. On the Other end of the spectrum, Travis Schefcik describes some strategies that may help you show the bar who’s boss.
  • The Path of the Buttercup. Ever since attending a Whole9 seminar (which I’ll write all about soon), I’ve been addicted to Dallas and Melissa’s site. This is an interesting article on overtraining vs. undertraining.
  • I Haven’t Done Shit. And that can be healthy sometimes! Not a fitness article per se, but I thought it tied in nicely. (And word on the street is that Johnny B. Truant has a mean deadlift.)

Food For Thought

  • On Blogs Being Dead is some excellent analysis by Charlie Gilkey which made me think about why I will sit down for hours with a copy of Wired but merely scan headlines on many blog posts. His is worth reading all the way through.

Poetical (Yes, it is a word! I just made it up!)

  • open up any way is moving poetry from the ever-amazing Danielle LaPorte. “engage every cell in fiercely wishing: to be seen. to be graduated. adored. valued. validated. met.” Beautiful.

Shameless Self-Promotion

  • Step Up And Face The Beast! The Beast Sled is an amazing fitness tool we developed to help you take your performance to the next level! If you want to build strength, develop speed, maximize endurance–even work on active recovery–the Beast will help you step it up a notch and get results! I could go on and on, but will just let you check it out yourself.

Yael’s Variety Hour: Tools, Business & Media Woes

Yay! It’s Variety Hour day! I get to share the assortment of funny, interesting, amusing or otherwise fascinating articles and posts I’ve found on the web for the past 7 days.

You Don’t Say?

  • Be Careful What You Pay For briefly delves into new research indicating that the more time you spend analyzing the features of a product, the less satisfied you’ll be. This research has been covered in books by Jonah Lehrer (or was it Malcolm Gladwell? Dan Ariely?) but is always a worthy reminder if you are already familiar with it.

Media Woes

  • The Content Farm provides “informative articles about every topic, written by people with a passing knowledge.” Parody rocks. ‘Nuff said.

Ethical Marketing (Really!)

You Swine

  • What Not To Say About Lara Logan. “As news of Logan’s assault in Egypt broke, the victim-blaming machine kicked in,” Mary Elizabeth Williams points out on Salon.com.
  • Revisiting After Pat’s Birthday I recently watched the documentary The Tillman Story, about Pat Tillman’s death by fratricide and the smokescreen of propaganda and lies that followed, due to government corruption and cover-ups. I found this article by his brother poignant as ever.
  • Wrestling With Conviction is not about rape or fratricide, so it almost seems silly to include it in this category. It is, however, a great editorial on the decision of Joel Northrup to forfeit a wrestling match rather than face Cassy Herkelman…due to religious reasons. “He was the fifth-ranked wrestler in the state at 112 pounds. He was 35-4. He had a chance to win the whole thing. In Iowa, that means a lifetime of people buying you lunch. It’s corn-state royalty. To give all that up to protect a girl who loathes being protected? What a waste of a dream,” Rick Reilly wrote.

That’s all for this week! Feel free to add your favorite links from this week or share your thoughts on mine in the comments.