February 2016 Flex Worker Brown Bag

Dawn Noland (Discussion Lead)
Jeff Hancock

Mentoring: What does it mean to you, your company, and your future?

I was pleased to meet Jeff during this meeting. He and his wife have lived in the Issaquah Highlands for six years and have an infant son. Our conversation was wide-roaming, and Jeff was kind enough to share the references he spoke about during our meeting. I am sharing them here for your reading pleasure.


I hope you have had a chance to check out Stephen Ritz and the Green Bronx Machine.  If not here are some links.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=j4GRnl7Gzow   (1 min video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm3YgHwDRPE    (+1 min video)

http://www.globalteacherprize.org/top-10-finalist/stephen-ritz?utm_source=FBSH  http://www.upworthy.com/his-class-attendance-went-from-40-to-93-because-of-a-garden?g=2

These are some of my favorite business resources, if I ever get stuck.

The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCm0otCwQPo

Cash Flow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki : Compares the risk versus reward of employment, business, and investment.

The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss : It is a great contrarian manual that may open your mind.

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki : Critical elements to consider before and during your start.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko : Identify the millionaires next door and see what they do.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill : You become what you think about (kind of like the Secret)

Note.  There is also great internet content from/about these authors.

I attached an excerpt from the Russell Theory Letters about the perfect business.    It helps you choose the business that fits and does not overburden you.

“If you’re about to start a business or join someone else’s business or if you want to buy a business, the following list may help you. The more of these criteria that you can apply to your new business or new job, the better off you’ll be.

(1) The ideal business sells the world, rather than a single neighborhood or even a single city or state. In other words, it has an unlimited global market (and today this is more important than ever, since world markets have now opened up to an extent unparalleled in my lifetime).

(2) The ideal business offers a product that enjoys an “inelastic” demand. Inelastic refers to a product that people need or desire — almost regardless of price.

(3) The ideal business sells a product that cannot be easily substituted or copied. This means that the product is an original or at least it’s something that can be copyrighted or patented.

(4) The ideal business has minimal labor requirements (the fewer personnel, the better). Today’s example of this is the much-talked about “virtual corporation.” The virtual corporation may consist of an office with three executives, where literally all manufacturing and services are farmed out to other companies.

(5) The ideal business enjoys low overhead. It does not need an expensive location; it does not need large amounts of electricity, advertising, legal advice, high-priced employees, large inventory, etc.

(6) The ideal business does not require big cash outlays or major investments in equipment. In other words, it does not tie up your capital (incidentally, one of the major reasons for new-business failure is under-capitalization).

(7) The ideal business enjoys cash billings. In other words, it does not tie up your capital with lengthy or complex credit terms.

(8) The ideal business is relatively free of all kinds of government and industry regulations and strictures (if you’re now in your own business, you most definitely know what I mean with this one).

(9) The ideal business is portable or easily moveable. This means that you can take your business (and yourself) anywhere you want — Nevada, Florida, Texas, Washington, S. Dakota (none have state income taxes) or hey, maybe even Monte Carlo or Switzerland or the south of France.

(10) Here’s a crucial one that’s often overlooked; the ideal business satisfies your intellectual (and often emotional) needs. There’s nothing like being fascinated with what you’re doing. When that happens, you’re not working, you’re having fun.

(11) The ideal business leaves you with free time. In other words, it doesn’t require your labor and attention 12, 16 or 18 hours a day (my lawyer wife, who leaves the house at 6:30 AM and comes home at 6:30 PM and often later, has been well aware of this one).

(12) Super-important: the ideal business is one in which your income is not limited by your personal output (lawyers and doctors have this problem). No, in the ideal business you can sell 10,000 customers as easily as you sell one (publishing is an example).

That’s it. If you use this list it may help you cut through a lot of nonsense and hypocrisy and wishes and dreams regarding what you are looking for in life and in your work. None of us own or work at the ideal business. But it’s helpful knowing what we’re looking for and dealing with.  As a buddy of mine once put it, “I can’t lay an egg and I can’t cook, but I know what a great omelet looks like and tastes like.”


December 2015 Flex Worker Brown Bag

Dawn Noland (Discussion Lead)
Emily Cha

Grace Noland-Randle

Discussion: Interpersonal Communication: using D.O.P.E. (Dove, Owl, Peacock, or Eagle) to understand communication styles. Go to http://richardstep.com/dope-personality-type-quiz/  to see what bird you are.

We all completed the quiz — Emily and Grace were predominately Owls and I was an Eagle. The discussion the flowed to neighborhood Facebook groups and plans for the future.

I told Emily about the new innovative high school, Gibson Ek, opening in September 2016 in the former Issaquah Middle School campus. Gibson Ek is named after the first graduating class of Issaquah in 1911: Mary Gibson, Olive Gibson, and Mabel Ek. The Gibson Ek website states with the naming of the new school, we honor these three women who pioneered education in Issaquah and connect our history with future innovations.

The two-story wood-framed school-house that Mary, Olive, and Mabel attended in 1911 was located where the new high school will be, originally known as “Schoolhouse Hill”. The motto from 1911 was “Tonight we launch, where we will anchor?”

I shared with Emily that Grace and I were interested in the new high school because it would suit Grace’s learning style of hands-on better than a comprehensive high school which is lecture and homework-based. Although we did not know whether Grace would be accepted when we met with Emily, we were hopeful.

Grace was one of the 133 applicants for 54 9th grade slots – a public lottery was held on 2/25/16 and Grace was randomly selected as student 52. If anyone would like first-hand feedback on this new school, contact me in 2017.

May 2015 Telecommuter Brown Bag

Dawn Noland (Discussion Lead)
Chad Schwitters

Discussion: The Distributed Workplace (working from anywhere, anytime).

The new distributed workplace is touted to be the answer to a flexible working environment. No longer will cubes and offices (with a door!) be assigned to an individual but they will be reserved on an as-needed basis. I have yet to work within one of these brave new worlds but my team members throughout the United States have already begun. Our renovated flexible work space will be available later this year, and I look forward to discovering a new mode of working.

The shift to becoming a mobile worker today is as dramatic as the shift from moving from the farms and factories to the office, or cubicle farm, was in previous decades. While mobility affords a degree of freedom, it also comes at a cost. This cost may be in the form of a savings to our employers, and cost avoidance to individual mobile workers with regards to time and money otherwise spent commuting to a fixed office setting.

In an article published on 10/24/2014 by Bankrate.com called 11,000 reasons to work from home, Chris Kahn shares some interesting numbers. $11,000 is the estimated yearly amount that employers save for every worker allowed to telecommute on at least a part-time basis. That translates to a savings of roughly $900 billion a year – it’s no surprise that employers are beginning to embrace a mobile workforce.

Breaking down the cost savings of telecommuting workers
Savings Annual amount per worker
Increased productivity $5,764
Less office space, electricity $3,037
Fewer sick days $1,134
Less turnover $761
Total savings $10,695

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

Telecommuter Brown Bag, 4/24/2015

Happy May Day! Here are the notes from the April’s meeting. I have attached the Word .doc because this email is text only. Improving Communication_April 2015 The notes are also on https://issaquahhighlandstelecommutersclub.wordpress.com

Dawn Noland (Discussion Lead)
Robert Heuer

Special Guests:
Flora, the blonde Dumbo rat
Sheldon, the Chameleon

Discussion: Improving Communication, Befriending the Reptilian Brain and Managing Reactions

We’ve all heard of someone who is a snake, or a puppy dog, or a cuddly bear but why do we use such expressions to describe human comportment? The reason is quite simple – as humans, our brain is comprised of three basic parts, the reptilian brain, the mammalian brain and the primate brain.

Using excerpts from the four articles below, I would like to take a journey through the brainscape and learn how to befriend our reptilian brain in order become aware and less reactive to situations.

How to By-Pass Your Reptilian Brain and Restore Your Creative Power June 16, 2013 by Isabelle Beenen. http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/06/16/how-to-by-pass-your-reptilian-brain-and-restore-your-creative-power/

Humans have 3 independent yet interconnected sections in our brain:

1)  The Reptilian section 2) The Limbic section & 3) The Neo-cortex section.   Each section has its purpose.

The Reptilian section (1) is the instant (no discernment) ‘survival mode’ response section of the brain. It is the oldest in terms of our human evolution, ‘The Old Brain’, The Reptilian Brain.

The Limbic section (2) is the section of the brain that first emerged in Mammals. It generates our feelings and emotions in regard to our current reality.

The Neo-cortex section (3) is the Neo-Mammalian section of the brain, the evolved section of higher order thinking.  It has infinite abilities.  It is the evolved conscious section of our brain which is most in line with source, with our higher self, our true unlimited potential. It generates creation, manifestation, imagination, awareness, development, logical thinking, objectivity, empathy and most importantly: consciousness. ‘The New Brain’

Understand the blessing of contrast that is provided with low vibrational manifestations (thoughts, emotions, circumstances). This contrast is not meant to drag you down into lower vibrational responses (although it will if you don’t understand how to get your mind right), it is meant to assist you through this observed duality you achieved through detachment/discernment, to tune into high vibrational frequencies that are in line with your life’s bliss, your life’s purpose, whatever it is that you are desiring to manifest into your life.  Contrast and duality are tools (red flags) that help keep you in alignment (if perceived properly) and increase the specificity of your emitted vibration, to bring in what you want as quickly as possible.

Your perception needs to be shifted into the (2) and (3) section of the brain.  Nothing is ‘bad’ unless you invite it to continue to be ‘bad’.  Anything that ‘pops’ up into your reality that makes you feel bad (remember your emotions are your compass), they are simply the smack across your face you need to snap back into alignment and emit the frequency of what you want which was provided to you through that experience that you attracted to begin with.

Albert Einstein said: “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it.  You must learn to see the world anew.”

4 ways to soothe a reactive brain August 29, 2013 by Karly Randolph Pitman http://growinghumankindness.com/soothe-reactive-brain/

On the surface, this high reactivity/high sensitivity can look like:

  • anxiety
  • feeling easily frustrated
  • having challenges with change and transitions
  • imagining worst case scenarios or focusing on the negative
  • feeling easily overwhelmed or overstimulated
  • and feeling threatened by change or newness
4 steps to soothe your reactive brain:
  1. Name it. When you notice yourself feeling overwhelmed, reactive or threatened, simply notice and name it. I know this may sound silly, but this is how I talk to myself:  “Oh, sweet brain. I hear you. I hear you talking to me.” I’ve found that this tender, light touch creates spaciousness, nurturing, and levity about how I relate to my reactivity.
  2. Practice acceptance. Drop any judgment about how you’re feeling. Simply accept your reactivity:  this is how it is right now.
  3. Validate and accept the feelings underneath your reactivity. You don’t have to stuff, transmute, ignore your feelings or make them wrong. Instead, validate them. It sounds counterintuitive, but validating your feelings – even those from the reactive brain, like fear, worry, doubt, or anxiety – soothes them.I like to gently say to myself, “I see you anxiety. I see you fear. It’s okay.” I don’t fight them – I just let them be. This creates a space for them to soften and move.
  4. Practice “and.” This is where we find our realm of power, choice and action. I learned about the power of “and” from Dr. Gordon Neufeld. He calls “and” integrative functioning. This is when you’re able to take all your feelings – your fear, anxiety, doubt – and – move forward into action.

Thich Nhat Hanh says that “understanding is the foundation of love.” When we understand our reactive brains, we can view ourselves – and our behavior – with softer, gentler eyes. We stop making ourselves – our reactivity, our personality, our humanity itself – wrong. We open our hearts to this part of ourselves, and from this space, we grow:  not only our integrative functioning or our resilience, but also our capacity to love ourselves, unconditionally.

How To Know If You’re Working With Mammals Or Reptiles (And Why It Matters To Your Creativity February 7, 2013 By Drake Baer http://www.fastcocreate.com/1682363/how-to-know-if-youre-working-with-mammals-or-reptiles-and-why-it-matters-to-your-creativity

Your Manager Is Change-Averse (And Has Slits for Eyes)

Here’s the (scaly) rub: while mammals need others from the day they’re born, reptiles are adapted to living on their own. So, as they grow—whether we’re talking about the culture of crocodiles or a corporation—they have lives that are “individually oriented and socially isolated,” they live in a world, Porges says, “defined by risk and not sharing or benevolence or creativity,” and so the defining features of a reptilian workplace are embedded in defense and fear.

Reptilian managers, Porges says, have a hard time with fluid ideas. Conditioned to being defensive, suggestions would be taken as criticisms, and the main motivation would be to preserve “resources” over cultivating the growth of people, in increasing productivity rather than enhancing the practice of product development. Rather than trying to improve quality of life, a reptilian corporation would be motivated by profit.

The model is short-sighted, Porges says, because there would be no long-term plan to incorporate change—since to the reptilian manager “change is equivalent to uncertainty and uncertainty is dangerous.” Even if change were necessary to succeed, it would be viewed as a threat.

By feeling safe, individuals will be able to create uncertainty in the workspace with bold, experimental thinking.

The treatment of people, as well, would be fear-based: Porges says that a reptilian manager would be insensitive to employees, walled off from empathy, and would have a tough time trusting others or sharing goals.

Working with (and for) mammals

Mammals, on the other hand, are more connected: Porges says that a mammalian corporate style would acknowledge the interdependent nature of the enterprise and build a work environment conducive to a shared state of safety for the people involved.

This investment in safety pays dividends, since a mammalian corporation—one that cares for the people inside of it—is known as an exciting place to work, it would then attract bold and talented individuals, increasing the potential for the company as a whole.

All that is to say that safety is key to growing ideas: By feeling safe, individuals will be able to create uncertainty in the work space with bold, experimental thinking. In this safety and the caring it implies, the mammal can outpace the reptile: New ideas would be welcomed, rather than feared.

The Reptile Brain, Mammal Heart and (Sometimes Perplexing) Mind of the Juror: Toward a Triune Trial Strategy – JULY 1, 2010 BY JILL P. HOLMQUIST, J.D. FROM FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY, INC. http://www.thejuryexpert.com/2010/07/the-reptile-brain-mammal-heart-and-sometimes-perplexing-mind-of-the-juror-toward-a-triune-trial-strategy/

Summary of the Three Parts of the Brain

*See attachment for table

 Summary of the Three Ethics

*See attachment for table

Next Steps:

1. May (5/22/2015) meeting: Dawn Noland will lead the discussion on The Distributed Workplace (working from anywhere, anytime).
2. June (6/19/2015) meeting: Dawn Noland will lead the discussion on The importance of volunteering in Work/Life balance (local opportunities and experience sharing) — note: This will be the last meeting until October when we will be meeting the 1st Friday of the month (10/2/2015).

Thank you, and see you in May,

Telecommuter Brown Bag Notes, 3/20/2015

Thank you for attending the meeting this month. Chad lead the discussion and provided ample notes which are presented here. There was a conversation some months back about favorite places to work but I could not find the email threads, and that is my reason for the delayed publication this month 🙂 That and I took time to create a blog for our meeting notes. You can go to https://issaquahhighlandstelecommutersclub.wordpress.com to see all our past meetings’ notes. If you would like to reply to this email with your favorite places outside the home to work, I will add it to the blog. I remember Emily had some imaginative places such as the lobby of Swedish Hospital. The King County Libraries are also a good place to use public services like B&W and color printers free (library card required).

Emily Cha
Chad Schwitters (Discussion Lead)
Dawn Noland

Also: Grace Noland-Randle (early dismissal for TR2 grading)

Discussion topic: Picking a work location

Selecting a work location is in many ways just like anything else. You have to balance cost, convenience and quality. Working at home might be free and not have a commute; but there might be more interruptions and you might not have all the things (or access to people) that you need to get the job done. A rented office may be interruption-free and provide all the things you need, but it costs a lot more and you still have to drive there.

Because it’s a balancing act, there can be no single perfect solution. Like any set of tradeoffs, the key to being happy with your choice is prioritizing. What’s important to you, and what can you put up with? The answer will be very different for each of us because we all have different jobs duties, temperaments, and work/home/public situations.

So this consideration is of necessity a solitary exercise in the end. But what we can do as group is give each other tips on how to maximize the benefits and reduce the downsides. For example, how to convince the spouse or kids to interrupt you less often. Or where to find cheaper shared workspace. Or how to make friends with baristas so you can stay in the coffee shop all day.

Some things to consider

•        Gas, tolls, parking
•        Rent
•        Basic materials: desk, chair, phone/fax/copy/print, internet, white board
•        Commute time
•        Availability of personal needs: restroom, food, coffee, etc
•        Ease of taking care of personal tasks
•        Ability to work any time inspiration strikes or time is free
•        Noise (including noise you make, say on phone calls – will it bother others?)
•        Interruptions
•        Comfort – lighting, seating position, environment, etc
•        Making sure personal tasks don’t take the place of work
•        Availability of receptionist, conference room, etc if you need them

Your job details:
•        What type of work are you doing – on the computer, on the phone, physical, collaborative, etc
•        If you get reimbursed for renting office space, driving, tolls, parking, equipment
•        Whether your job may be enhanced by idea-bouncing off random others
•        Do you have a laptop/tablet that you can take somewhere to work on?
•        Is the computer enough, or do you need a whiteboard or drafting table?
•        How much noise your work makes
Your temperament:
•        How easily you are distracted by home tasks
•        Whether you are energized or distracted by being around others
•        How well you deal with noise
Your  local situation:
•        How understanding others at home are (if there is anybody there)
•        How much room you have in your house, and if the rooms are appropriate (i.e. a door)
•        Do you have all the equipment you need at home, or would you have to buy things?
•        What coffee shop/office rental places are available near you

Next Steps:

1. April (4/24/2015) meeting: Dawn Noland will lead the discussion on Improving Communication (befriending the reptilian brain and managing reactions). Special appearances by Sheldon the Chameleon, and Flora the blonde Dumbo Rat (no, she’s not stupid).
2. May (5/22/2015) meeting: Dawn Noland will lead the discussion on The Distributed Workplace (working from anywhere, anytime).

Thank you, and see you in April,

Telecommuter Brown Bag notes, 2/20/2015

Thank you for attending the meeting last Friday — the discussion was thought-provoking and has stayed with me as I pause to get these notes committed to an email. Best practice is to complete meeting notes within 30 minutes but that is a professional best practice, meant for the quick-paced working world. These notes take time to mature and grow — that is my reasoning for publishing one week after the meeting 🙂

Chad Schwitters
Dawn Noland
Matthew Meyer
Robert Heuer (Discussion Lead)

Also: Grace Noland-Randle (2nd winter break from school)

Discussion topic: Mindfulness

Robert led the group through challenges of mindfulness in everyday life using examples from his own life. Each of us had examples from our own life to contribute and personally, I found the meeting cathartic. We spoke of activities we undertake in our day-to-day lives to manage stress and keep our ‘monkey minds’ occupied so we do not become derailed. Although our experiences were as diverse as each of us are as individuals, there were common chords…some that resonated quite deeply for me…that ran through the conversation. All in all, an hour well spent from my perspective!

Matthew Meyer joined the group this month and is a neighbor of Robert’s. We are always happy to welcome new members 🙂

Recommendations from Robert Heuer:


Harris, Dan. “10 Percent Happier: How I Tamed The Voice In My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, And Found Self-Help That Actually Works” (2014)

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. “Full Catastrophe Living: Using The Wisdom Of Your Body And Mind To Face Stress, Pain, And Illness” (1990; revised 2013)

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. “Wherever You Go, There You Are” (1994; revised 2005)

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. “Mindfulness For Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—And Your Life” (2011)

Ellard, Jae. “Stop and Listen: Practicing Presence” (2014)


simpleintentions.com – Jae Ellard’s Kirkland-based consulting company that coaches on mindfulness in the workplace

mindfulnessnorthwest – local resource with interesting links to seminars, books, speakers, etc.

Recommendations from Matthew Meyer:

Circles of Concern and Influence


Time Management Matrix


Next Steps:

  1. March (3/20/2015) meeting: Chad Schwitters will lead the discussion on picking a spot to work (balancing home needs, interruptions, pricing, privacy, and amenities).
  2. April (4/17/2015) meeting: Dawn Noland will lead the discussion on improving communication (befriending the reptilian brain and managing reactions).
  3. Investigate using free Blog app like Blogspot or WordPress to store meeting notes. AI: Dawn, by 4/17/2015

Thank you, and see you in March,

Telecommuter Brown Bag notes, 1/23/2015

Thank you for attending the meeting last Friday — our discussion gave me much to mull over. My apologies for the tardiness of the notes, 2015 has come in roaring like a lion with project deadlines, school activities for my daughter, my personal volunteer activities, and a new exercise regiment. I enjoyed the break our club meeting gave me and very much appreciated having someone else lead the discussion 🙂

Chad Schwitters
Dale Sande
Dawn Noland
Emily Cha (Discussion Lead)

Discussion topic: Tools of Communication

Dale: He is a free-lance developer.  He uses Flowdock and Google video conferencing
tool, and Git tool. Likes Google Inbox (which is only available via invitation).

Emily: Works for a traditional company that supports part-time teleworking.
Uses F5 Networks Firepass, cell phone authentication, MS Lync and

Chad: Email is a mainstay, phone, Webex, tried Skype. Also using enhanced
version of Google doc drive. Now using Pebble Smart Watch for
notifications. Also recommends Ooma phone system.

Dawn: Works for a telecommunication company undergoing a shared, temporary workspace transformation.
Uses VPN to connect to company network with hard security key. Once on the network,
uses native tools for Project Management workflow, AT&T Connect (video/audio conferencing with white-board),
Q (similar to Lync), and does not use phone (voice) much during the working day.
Shared the following AT&T marketing video: http://youtu.be/uheqycyvTVE

Dale joined us after his wife saw one of the monthly flyers I post at Starbucks. He is a mobile worker, working in Minneapolis, MN and San Francisco, CA as well as Seattle. He noted that Seattle lacks the choice of flexible, affordable working spots that other technology hubs like San Francisco provide. There are facilities that rent out office space on a monthly basis but they are not a cost-effective solution if you only need to use them for 3 to 4 days a month.

I forgot to mention during the meeting that the King County Library system is a no-cost option for flexible workers. I have used the Issaquah library extensively since it was built in 2001 for my printing needs (which are minimal). The Sammamish Library is another option that is close by, and I have a work colleague who uses the Seattle Library to work so her mother can perform research and they can lunch together in downtown Seattle.

Emily provided chai tea with almond milk and shortbread biscuits shaped like Scottish Terriers. Yum!

Book recommendations:

  1. Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink — the book is full of choice nuggets of information, I liked the section for further recommended reading, the list of business gurus, and the glossary. Favorite concept: The Sawyer Effect – A weird behavioral alchemy inspired by the scene in ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ in which Tom and friends white-wash Aunt Polly’s fence. This effect has two aspects. The negative: Rewards can turn play into work. The positive: Focusing on mastery can turn work into play.
  2. Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux — I haven’t read this book yet since it was only recommended by Dale on Friday but it looks very compelling. The Amazon summary is too long to list here but it deals with evolving the way we manage and operate organizations to match the advances made in human consciousness theory over the past century and a half. Like Drive, I believe this book addresses the outmoded way organizations are managed today that no longer fit the creative roles we are all called to fill.

Next Steps:

  1. February (2/20/2015) meeting: Robert Heuer will lead the discussion on mindfulness (finding quiet in our ever-connected, device-filled world).
  2. March (3/20/2015) meeting: Chad Schwitters will lead the discussion on picking a spot to work (balancing home needs, interruptions, pricing, privacy, and amenities).

Thank you, and see you in February,