BL&T No. 100: Continuing the Practice


This post originally appeared in my newsletter, Borrowed, Learned, & Thought. BL&T is sent weekly on Mondays. In every edition, I share lessons learned in agency leadership, life, and e-commerce. This post does not include all the details shared in the newsletter sent via email. Subscribe here.


"Consider what it means to practice, to have a practice, and to be practicing. Perhaps the central idea is that we’re doing something repeatedly, with the intention of becoming better at it. In other words, when we’re practicing, we are not expecting (and others are not expecting us) to perform perfectly. In naming what we’re doing practice, we signal that we’re experimenting, trying something on, working at improving. And we clarify that practice is what we’re supposed to be doing—trying hard at something to get better at it. We’re creating conditions in which we won’t feel pressure to demonstrate expertise, conditions that will allow us to experiment, that will allow us to gather feedback, that will help us learn. Practice also suggests we’re doing something routinely, regularly, as a normal part of our lives."

From "An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization" by Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey [Book]


Wow. Here we are — the 100th edition of BL&T.

As excited as I was to set out on this journey 100 weeks ago, I remember thinking, "What did I just sign up for?" Keeping up with this newsletter has not always been easy, but when I wake up on Tuesday morning, I never regret making the time.

100 doesn't feel much different than 91 or 63 or 41. For this reason, I've come to look at many aspects of life as practice, including this newsletter. It's not about the end goal; but the journey of continuous growth, discovery, and improvement. Through that lens, 100 is a milestone worth celebrating, but all the work before and after is what matters most. Like saving money or getting in a workout, the gains multiply the more you put in the effort.

"Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent." (James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)

It's hard to believe everything that's happened since I sent the first edition. Funny enough, it was all about taking action on new initiatives. Maybe I was planting a seed in my mind as I embarked on this project.

To celebrate today's milestone, I enjoyed going through all of the past BL&T editions, re-connecting with many of life moments & highlights:

  1. I became an Uncle to my new baby niece, Sofia. (Ed. 029)
  2. I took on a new role, Chief Experience Officer. (Ed. 036)
  3. Dana and I bought a house, and I moved home. (Ed. 046)
  4. I visited my niece and nephew, Olivia and Owen, in the UK. (Ed. 049)
  5. We launched the first version of a management training framework at Barrel. (Ed. 058)
  6. I learned to ride a motorcycle (Ed. 059) and that taught me so much (Ed. 061) more (Ed. 064)
  7. Barrel went through its first-ever layoffs. (Ed. 077)
  8. Dana and I rescued a puppy and named him Gizmo. (Ed. 081)
  9. Barrel celebrated 16 years. (Ed. 091)
  10. I competed in my first Strongman competition. (Ed. 097)

Writing this newsletter has taught me so much about myself and the world around me. I've enjoyed the weekly ritual to reflect on my experiences and connect the dots, often with what I'm consuming. It's encouraged me to stop and think in moments when I'd typically keep on moving with the busyness of life. I don't know where I'd be right now if I hadn't taken the time to take my thoughts somewhere new, but I like to think I'm better for it — feeling more balanced, engaged, and self-aware.

Despite having 100 reps in the books, I'm still in the process of finding my groove each week. In many ways, I hope that feeling never fades — I'm not sure I'll get the same value if it ever comes too easy. That said, I'm grateful for what BL&T has taught me about letting go. I have a Monday evening deadline — that's that. It's crazy to think about how much I might have held on to or never explored if this deadline weren't in place.

I appreciate all of you who follow along with me as I learn out loud. As valuable as this practice has been for me, it always makes me smile when I hear how it has impacted you.

Thanks for reading.

More from this week: Mental Checklist: Guiding Behaviors for Client Calls

Thought Starter

Where am I chasing short-term milestones and missing the joy and growth of the journey? How might a daily/weekly/monthly practice help me stay on track?

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