11 Things I Learned from Building and Selling Nightlight Farms

Nightlight Farms

I’ve learned alot in building my first brick and mortar business (nightlightfarms.com) in the past year and a half or so (March, 2012 – July, 2013). They are as follows:


  1. I have been incredibly blessed to have such wonderful people come into my life.
  2. Incredible things happen when I put myself out there.
  3. Diligence in the numbers = success for any financial endeavor
  4. To complete a big project, focus all of your energy on it until it is complete.
  5. Always provide consistency and communication to your relationships (employees/clients/peers)
  6. Trading with other vendors is the BEST part of the farmer’s market.
  7. When building a business, it is key to have an environment that you WANT to be in.
  8. Maintenance is what makes a business/relationship/’anything meant to last’ great
  9. I thrive if I have all basic needs met. (see Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs)
  10. I want and value support from my partner in all projects and endeavors.
  11. Confronting your fears and overcoming them is one of the most challenging and gratifying aspects of building a business.




18 months of work to come up with a few bullet points?


Yup! I should be so lucky to work for another 18 months for a follow-up list…


Goal Visualization: Finishing up Projects

Forest Find: Cutting Board

Forest Find: Cutting Board


This post is to help me visualize completing my goals in the coming weeks. It’s a bit dry, consider yourself warned.


The goals I will complete by February 28, ’13


  • Taxes Complete (personal & NLF)
  • EW+HI (websites) analytics added and monetized simply
  • GroAction Microgreen course is complete and published
  • Earth Oven roof completed
  • Cutting Board cured, cracks filled with epoxy + oiled




Visualizing the Completion Process

Taxes Complete

This is first on this list for a reason. I have had a serious aversion to doing taxes in the past.  This year I meant to complete it in January… and have yet to do it. When you sit down to do it, it really doesn’t take much time. It’s just a matter of doing it.

I wonder where the resistance comes in doing it. I suppose it’s part intimidation of the unknown and part not wanting to give away hard earned money.

(visioning now) I had resistance doing my taxes earlier, but what worked well for me was setting aside an entire day to do them. Then, once I completed them I allowed myself to do something more fun like work on the Earth oven structure. Heyo, not bad.

Really, they were pretty simple to complete. It started by googling “how to complete your taxes for an LLC” then went to “how to pay yourself from an LLC” and between those two, I was able to lay out the steps needed and just sit down and crank on it. The nice thing about getting my taxes done now means I can setup Quickbooks for the coming year and prepare myself even better for the coming years. This is especially crucial in the coming year because I will have a third entity to report for (GroAction non-profit 501©(3).


EW+HI (website acquisitions) Systemized

EW has been hanging over my head a bit over the past couple of weeks so getting this done feels really good. The reason that there has been so much resistance is because of the format of the site. It’s currently 138 pages of custom HTML. Initially, I was thinking about converting it to WordPress but once I realized that the unknown process (of converting the site) was keeping me from doing the conversion, I decided to save the conversion for later and just focus on the basics now.


The list of things I did is as follows:

  1. Install google Analytics (1 hour)
  2. Ad Adsense units to each page (1 hour)
  3. Apply for all affiliate programs featured on site (1 hour)
  4. Change affiliate links throughout site to my account (2 hours)
  5. Add click bank ebook links (3 hours)
  6. Add TLA widget on 1 page (20 minutes)
  7. Cross EW off my list and start earning money: just under 9 hours, and incredibly satisfying


HI, I just acquired this site last week and am really excited about it. Ultimately I’d like to develop an ebook with video interviews for it, but I will wait until March to outline and develop that.


The list of things I did to HI in ‘Phase I’ is as follows:

  1. Transfer site to my hosting account (2 hours)
  2. Install Google Analytics (1 hour)
  3. Install Adsense units on header and footer of pages (1 hour)
  4. Advertise (via email connection) to resident expert on sidebar of pages  (3 hours)
  5. Wrap up Phase I of HI: 8 hours, and a baseline to measure earnings from this exciting new site!


GroAction Microgreens Course, Complete and Launched

Oooph, this has been a really big project. I really enjoyed developing it the whole way through, but even with the incredible support team of 5 people, it has been a ton of work! I really see the need to systemize this course development process in order to produce future courses more efficiently. What’s most exciting, is that I can really see this course (and future courses) having a big impact. Clearly, these GroAction courses have the most potential to bring wonderful things into my life. It’s always good to keep this in mind, because it’s easy to forget when I feel burdened by completing the course.


Ok, here are all of the things I did to finish this course up and launch it incredibly successfully.

1. Finalized the Content

  • Taking comments from all people who have helped (4 editors) and finalizing the draft. (4 hours)
  • Making each link in the doc work. (3 hours)


2. Finishing Design

  • Making design comments (1.5 hours)
  • Making design changes (3 hours)


3. Marketing

  • Creating 2 landing pages (3 hours)
  • Creating videos for each landing page (2 hours each. 4 total)
  • Split testing landing pages (2 hours)
  • Developing course with Clickbank (2 hours)
  • Sending to 5 key bloggers (2 hours)
  • Following up with everyone interested previously (2 hours)


4. Summary

Finalizing the first paid GroAction course: just under 30 hours, an absolutely incredible sense of accomplishment, and money coming into GroAction each month!



Earth Oven Roof completed

This is an unfinished project that has been hanging out in the sideyard since the end of summer. It feels great to have it wrapped up. The hardest part was committing to purchasing the materials. Once I had everything, the building was no problem at all.


Here’s how I went about things:
1. Purchased all the materials: (3 hours)

  • Posts
  • Concrete for the footings
  • A tin roof
  • 2x lumber to build a roof structure underlayment (gleaned from the NLF grow station)

2. Finished digging the posts exactly where I wanted them and at a depth below the frost line (3 hours)
3. Poured the concrete and set the posts (4 hours)
4.  Built the roof underlayment. (3 hours)
5.  Nailed on the roof (2 hours)
6. Finished the earth oven structure/project: 15 hours, and a great feeling of having completed this project that will last for many years to come.



Cutting Board completed

This was a small project that I made from a newly fallen tree. Unfortunately, it developed some really large cracks (see above photo) after being inside the dry house for a day. To remedy this, I did the following:

  1. Let it sit outside for 3 months (I think it may need this much time to cure slowly outside… we’ll play it by ear)
  2. Filled the cracks with a clear epoxy or fiberglass resin (1 hour)
  3. Sealed the wood with 5 coats of Mineral Oil (not mineral spirits) (1 coat each day)

Finished the cutting board project: 3 months, 5 days, and an hour. A bit longer than initially expected…



In Closing

Well a bit dry, but incredibly helpful in helping me accomplish these goals before I head to California at the end of the month.



Negotiation Strategies – Play their Hand, not Yours


photo of the week Feb 5-12,2013

Felling & Falling (White Salmon, Tom)

A note on this photo. Since I’m posting every Tuesday, I have decided to post my favorite photo taken during the previous week. These photos have nothing to do with the post their in, but I’m sure the creatives can draw parallels.


“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

-what excellent communicators do


Here’s what’s been on my mind today. The dynamics of negotiation.


Let’s say for the purposes of this discussion we’re that talking about an item with nebulus value. Say, a beautiful abalone shell.

Let’s also say that we, as the interested party, have an idea of what it is worth to us ($100).

And, let’s assume the seller knows its real market value ($50).


Instance 1:

Us: “I’ll give you $75 for that nifty abalone.”

Seller: “Deal”

Deal closes.

End result: We should be thrilled. Afterall we got the abalone for $75 when we “knew” it to be worth $100. We should be thrilled. But we’re not. No, we’re not at all. In fact, part of us thinks that we should have gotten a better deal. We wonder if we should have offered $40 first. We still purchase the abalone, but it just doesn’t feel as good as we thought it would.

We simply don’t feel like we got a deal.


Instance 2:

Us: “I’ll give you $75 for that nifty swifty ultra spiffy abalone, good sir.”

Seller: “No way! You dare insult me with that price for such a gem?!? I shouldn’t even talk to you anymore. Ok fine I will, but this time you must offer something close to what it’s actually worth!”

Us (a bit perturbed, but eyes set on the ‘lone): “Hmm… How about $90?”

Seller: (Still showing a bit of disgust) “Still too low pal. Either offer me $125 or get out of here. This kind of lowballing is no good for my prized abalone’s ego.”

Us: “You drive a hard bargain jabroney.” (Taking out a crisp 100 dollar bill and slapping it on that magnificent shell.) “Here’s my final offer. Take it or leave it”

Seller: “no….”

Us: (We pick up mr. Franklin and start walking away)

Seller (waits until we’re 20 feet away): “Alright! Fine. You want it for $100? My wife is going to kill me. Fine. You can have it, just don’t tell anyone.”

Deal closes.

End result: We feel like we got a deal! A great deal at that. It doesn’t matter that this is the EXACT same abalone as the above example. All that matters is that we haggled with the best of them. And won! We’re going to be telling this story to all of our friends for a long time to come.

We ‘know’ we got a great deal.



What’s the difference in the two situations?

In both examples we’re allowing the other to dictate the value for us. Instead of absolutely knowing without a doubt what the value (to us) is, we let the seller dictate the value. This leaves us open for an emotional experience dictated entirely by the seller.


In order to negotiate correctly, we must see the subject of negotation (abalone) as two separate elements:

1. The True Value. This is the value that we know it holds. How we find this is not important. What is important, is that we arrive at this conclusion with sufficient evidence for us to be 100% confident in the value we attribute to it.

2. The seller’s Perceived Value. This can vary wildly. Often times it is higher than our True Value. The seller’s Perceived Value is whatever the seller deems it to be. It can be based on lots of logical things or it can be plucked out of thin air. At the end of the day, It doesn’t matter where the seller gets this value. It is what it is.


The Negotiation Process

First. We must internalize what we believe to be the True Value.

Second. We must seek to understand the seller’s Perceived Value.

Third. If the seller’s Perceived Value is higher than the True Value, we must educate them on why the True Value is what it is. If however, the seller’s Perceived Value is lower than the True Value, you can have it for whatever the seller’s Perceived Value is, assuming you can get the seller to tell you the Perceived Value before you tell them your True Value.

When you boil it down. Negotiation is all about understanding the other party’s Perceived Value regardless if you’re the buyer or seller.


Skilled negotiators will play their cards close to their chest. Their mission is to determine what value you hold with the subject of negotiation before you determine theirs.  The best negotiators will tease out your perceived value, challenge you a bit and make you jump through a hoop or two, then reward you with a deal that you think is excellent.

This way both parties leave feeling good which, at the end of the day, is all we’re looking for.


Your thoughts? Let’s hear ’em in the comments below.



Marathon Story 1 of 3 – Sneaking In

November 1, 2009

It was July when I first figured I could do it.  Something about it had always appealed to me. I suppose I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it (and anything else I set my mind to). Fast forward to today and I still had the idea of running a marathon in my mind.

If I was really going to run a marathon, I would have to get serious.

First things first, Google ‘local marathons’ and how to run them.

I soon found the Sacramento CIM (California International Marathon) which was scheduled for December 6th, 2009 at 7am. 35 days away. Plenty of time to get in shape.

Find marathon. Check.

The only problem is that registration closed the day before. October 31st.

How’s that for irony? At first I saw that as a clear sign I should not run this marathon. With a bit of backwards rationalizing I decided that it would be a perfect oppurtunity to accomplish a slightly smaller goal of mine…

To sneak into a marathon!

Just kidding.  I wish i could say that sneaking into a marathon was on my bucket list, but it definitely wasn’t.  So now, along with not being prepared to run this marathon, I would be sneaking into it.  Great. I think this may be the definition of stupid idea.

Enough of the negativity. Onto the next step.

Google: “How to run a marathon.”

The internet being the amazing place that it is had all sorts of suggestions on how to train for a marathon. The entries ranged from first incredible first hand accounts like this one to full-on 6 month training regimes.  Unfortunately none of them were geared towards training for a marathon in 35 days. Drat. I certainly did not have 6 months to train.

“I’ll play in the rugby tournament in AZ in two weeks (November 17) and feel out the marathon from there.” I thought to myself knowing full well that I had only run a total of 10 odd miles since July.

Fast forward two weeks of sedentary living.  The tournament came around and after playing both days I somehow felt pretty damn good. Sure the whole weekend of running was probably equivalent to running about 7 miles. But still, I felt great.

At that point I didn’t make a decision either way on the marathon.  On my way back to Davis from Phoenix, AZ  I stopped by my friend Yasar’s place in LA.

One night I decided to go for a “training” run with the goal to run a long distance. Luckily it was night time and after running up to the Hollywood sign I got lost. This forced me extend my training run. 2 hrs and 10 minutes later I found his place.

Doing some math, I figured myself at a 10 minute mile pace to have run 12-13 miles and, surprisingly enough, I did not feel that bad the next day. Sure I was sore, but I could walk. In fact, we volunteered at a local Habitat for Humanity house and all I could think was:

“I got this marathon business in the bag!”


Fast forward 10 days. It was now a week before the race.  I  had put an 8 mile run around campus under my belt as well.

For the folks counting at home, we’re pushing 20 miles in training runs in the 6 months leading up to the race. Plus, the two day touch rugby tournament. That should certainly put my total miles run above the golden 26.2.

Training. Check.


Feeling ok, I decided to do a bit of due diligence and see if sneaking into this marathon is kosher. At first I thought I could just show up with a windbreaker on and run with it the whole time, pretending my racing bib was underneath,  but after reading the website I saw very clearly in bold letters:

Your bib (number) must be showing at all times or else you will be subject to disqualification from the race.

So much for that idea.  Not entirely discouraged, I searched through the site a bit more and found a place to sign up as a volunteer the day before the race. My eyes lit up.

This was be my ticket in! I didn’t know exactly how I would finagle my way into the race legitimately, but there had to be a way!

After a couple emails I was now signed up pass out bibs the upcoming saturday. Sunday @6am being the official start.

At this point I was still not sure whether or not I would be running, but I figured I could make a more informed decision the day before while I was volunteering.

The Saturday to volunteer came around. I rolled out of bed at 11.15a, after somehow managing to stay up until 6a doing the wrong kind of carbo loading.

“No way am I running this race, I can barely even get up to volunteer.” I thought to myself.  Regardless, I had a commitment to fulfill as a volunteer so I got it together and headed to the convention center.

Upon walking in, the crowd was absolutely buzzing with runner freaks. Everyone was milling around sipping lattes comparing notes on another’s rigorous training schedules.  Not wanting to hear a word of it I reported for duty and immediately started talking to the volunteer next to me who was getting updates on the USC-AZ foosball game.

The work was surprisingly fun and afforded an easy way into the race!. I had the bibs for all the registered runners whose last name started with Sa – Zz. Every time someone came up for their bib, I would wade through what seemed to be 1,000 bibs finding the one meant just for them. As long as 1 out of the 1000 runners whose bibs I had didn’t show up, I’d be in! This “bib security” allowed me to relax into my volunteering duties for the next couple of hours.

The runners certainly provided some entertainment for me. There was a good looking girl  passing out bibs next to me that alot of the male racers seemed to fancy.

These spandex clad nerds would walk up trying to be smooth to get their bib and say something like “Is this for the half marathon?” She’d shake her head no. “Oh no, I signed up for the wrong race! Oh well. I guess I’ll run it anyways.”  Then the runner would smile, head to his buddy for a high five and walk away.

That’s when I would say something to her like, “Those guys are dorks, wanna make out?” Of course, she would oblige. Every time.

Then there were the other runners who showed up in their shortest shorts complete with water bottle belts, just in case somebody blew a whistle signaling a one-time-only head start for those who dared be ready for such an occasion.


All in all, I enjoyed the volunteering duties. It started wrapping up, which meant it was time to assume my racing identity…


In my box there were still about 250 bib packets unaccounted for. Perfect. I had my pick of aliases for the run.

I started flipping through all the names looking for one that really matched up with my running character. One top contender was Major Willis.  I began visioning myself running 26.2 in army fatigues and a green beret.

“Yeah, I could swing that.”

Just then, an interesting fellow approached my booth, and I just knew it was Major Willis himself.   Sure enough, he said “Hi I’m Maj…”

With my hand already on the packet, I handed it to him before he could say “reporting for duty.”

The Major was a bit taken aback but must have just figured I was a professional volunteer.


The final minutes of the registration ticked away, and just before 5 o’clock I snagged a bib!

We’ll call him Andre’ Schlemmer from Oregon. Looking and feeling as German as possible I strolled to the registration booth, bib in hand. It was a bit awkward because I had talked to Jerry, the volunteer at the registration booth, for a few minutes before and certainly hadn’t mentioned that I was running the race. Let alone that my name wasn’t actually Luke, but rather Andre.


Either way, Jerry got me (Andre) checked in and gave me race t-shirts. Piece of cake. It was really looking like I’d have to run this race afterall.


As the racers started clearing out, and the volunteers packed up, I set my bib at my booth and jogged over to the Gu booth to get some of the energy gel that would keep me going through the race, should I decide to run it.  After loading up with Gu packs, I made my way around to the other booths to see if I could score any other free race shwag.

Nothing. All the other promo booths had closed up shop. Bummer.

On top of that, upon returning to my booth, my worst nightmare had materialized.

My bib was gone!

“Is this some sort of sign that I shouldn’t run the race tomorrow?”  I thought to myself incredulously.

I couldn’t believe it! Someone had picked up the bib I worked so hard for! Well, technically, the bib Andre had worked so hard for. But still! Someone had to run in his honor. I had to find that bib.

Just then, I noticed the Lead volunteer, Amy, putting what looked like racing bibs into packing boxes.

I walked by her acting cool, but couldn’t bring myself to inquire about the bibs. After all, she knew me as Luke the volunteer…

Before I had a second to say anything, she handed her box of bibs to another who promptly put a lid on it and sealed it with tape.

“Noooo!” I thought. Game over.

I had one move left. I had to ask her directly about Andre’s bib.  I turned to Amy again and blurted out: “Have you seen Mr. Schlemmer’s bib? I had it at my booth.”

Her face lit up.

She pulled it out of the folder that was pressed close to her chest and said “I thought he lost it! You almost gave me a heart attack!” She was pretty old so I had no choice but to believe her.

And with that, Amy handed me Andre’s bib.


With a huge sigh of relief I pocketed it knowing full well that I had to run the marathon tomorrow…

Goal Recap – Jan/Feb ’13

Goal Recap – Jan/Feb ’13

lending a helping hand


  1. Earned 50k in revenue from NLF
  2. Sold NLF to the winning apprentice?
  3. Earned $10,000 from Websites (GroAction, Cobras, SR)
  4. I am moving to South America for 1 year to learn Spanish among other things
  5. Proficient salsa dancer
  6. Released 10 courses for GroAction
  7. Handstand Pushups
  8. 52 Excellent Posts on RWL

Alright. It’s friday night february 1 and it’s time to a bit of a goal recap.

My goals for the month were to make appropriate progress on my annual goals (the 8 above). Let’s see how I’ve done.

                                                                 Goal Check-in: January ’13

1. Earned 50k in revenue from NLF
I’ve done little for this goal. However, I expected to do little. I applied for 8 markets and will find out soon which ones I get into. These results will certainly impact my future living situation. As it sits now, I love living in White Salmon and feel like I am making adequate progress towards financial freedom. However, if NLF is accepted into 5+ markets, it makes more financial sense to setup operations in Portland and make some cash. Time will tell on this front.
2. Sold NLF to the winning apprentice
I’ve done very little with this goal. I’ve talked to one person who may be interested in taking over the business, but it’s tough to say. If I get into the markets in Portland I will need to find an appropriate employee-cum-business owner.
3. Earned $10,000 from Websites. 
I have made less than $100 from websites in the month of January. However, it is a big increase from the months past. The $10,000 is certainly a lofty goal but I am progressing nicely down this path.
4. Moving to South America 
Again, no progress on this front, although I think more and more about staying in Portland for another year. It just feels like a good place to put roots down. With that said, even if I don’t take off for an entire year to South America, I’ll shoot to live in another country for 2-3 months. McMurdo Station could be fun…
5. Proficient Salsa Dancer
I haven’t danced salsa once this month. However, I have danced a bit, in Canada no less. I’ll need to really step this up in the coming months if I want to get good at dancing la salsa!
6. Released 10 courses for GroAction
I am so damn close to releasing the Microgreen Quick Start guide. It’s definitely alot to to publish one new course each month. But it certainly isn’t impossible. It will just take more planning in the coming months.
7. Handstand pushups
I’ve done 3 pushup workouts. It’s not great, but it’s a start. Once I get a routine down, I’ll track towards this goal without a problem.
8. 52 Excellent posts on RWL
I missed this Tuesday’s publishing! In fact, publishing this weekly is the hardest goal to achieve. Again, better planning will be invaluable to achieving this goal.

                                        Goals and visioning for the month of February ’13

1&2. Earned 50k in rev from NLF & Sold NLF to the winning apprentice
This month will determine the year and ultimately the future of Nightlight Farms. When I am accepted into 5+ markets, I will find a place to live in Portland, a place for the microgreens, and set out finding a suitable employee to help grow and sell the produce.
3. Earn $200 from websites
It’s the end of february and I have made $150 from one website alone. The other three income generating sites have also totaled another $200 in income which is above and beyond what I expected for them. 
4. Moving to South America for 3 months
While I have not made any physical progress towards this goal I can easily imagine myself moving to another country this fall. It feels good and rekindles my adventurous spirit.
5. Proficient salsa dancer
This month I have attended 3 salsa sessions and I can feel myself getting better! Heyo! Each session starts with a lesson which is super d uper helpful. More than that, at home during the week I turn on the latin tunes and dance around in the evenings. My next step is to get 2 solid moves in my repertoire.
6. Released 2 courses for GroAction
I released the microgreens course in the second week of Feb and I just released the Farmer’s Market course. It feels good to have both of them out there and they have even garnered some attention. I can see that it is worth spending considerable time promoting them. Also, I realize that the relationships I have with my email list is so crucial to the success of these courses. It’s so nice to be building relationships with all of these wonderful people. I’m excited to release the 3rd GroAction course ________.
7. Handstand pushups
This month I do my pushup/headstand/handstand workout 3 times per week that is as follows. 100 total pushups. 100 seconds of headstands. 20 seconds or tries of handstands. This routine has  gotten my arms/shoulders/chest alot stronger. I realize how important the core strength is to achieving balance with the handstand.
8. 4 excellent posts on RWL
I have successfully published a high quality post each tuesday @ 6am. By keeping to this schedule it became easier to always have it done. Publishing these posts has become a constant in my life and it feels great to be building the community of wonderful and driven people.

                                                     Additional Goals for the month of February ’13

9. Visit with Ianto Evans and determine if a cob building apprenticeship is in the books for this summer or the next.
I had an incredible weekend visiting Ianto and company at the Cob Cottage company. He has a truly enviable setup down there. It is certainly a vision of what I would like to create for me and my family in the future. In regards to the possibility of being a cob building apprentice, I can say with absolute certainty that…

10. Acquire a mountain bike or whitewater kayak
Ooohee it feels good to have an adwenture vehicle in my arsenal. The choice between the bike and the kayak was really just a matter of finding the best deal on Craigslist. To be honest I’m tempted to buy the other in the coming weeks…

11. Designed RWL to look good. And not the opposite.
This took a bit of doing and quite frankly a bit of copying from other blogs I like. The end result? A clean design that creates for good reading and discussing of the content and good conversion of readers to community members. 

In summary, After not completing all of January’s goals, I found an incredible drive to complete every goals in February and in every month to come. 

There have been two keys that help me complete my goals:
1. Adequate planning and scheduling of my goals
2. Doing it.

There you have it folks. I’ll revisit this March 1 and show you more completed goals.

Add value to everything in your life. What’s stopping you?


Have you ever let a good friend slip into the past? Slowly losing contact and sense of the incredible connection that you once shared?

Have you ever owned a car only to let it slowly deteriorate until you couldn’t drive it, let alone sell it?

I most certainly have. And I’m ready to change these patterns.


Why am I writing this post?

In my quest to acquire income generating websites and live from passive income, I am confronting my tendency to allow assets in my life deteriorate due to lack of care and attention. From here on out I will add incredible value to these websites and all other things in my life.  This post is my discovery of the root of my resistance to add value to important things in my life. Bear with me because it wanders a bit, but I think you’ll enjoy accompanying me on this journey.


Ok on with it.

While the theme of deterioration has been strong in my life for a long time, I’ve always denied it in some way. I suppose subconsciously I just didn’t want to confront it.

Times change. I’m ready to fix this.


Ok, let’s have a go at visioning what it looks and feels like to be adding value to everything in my life.

At first I didn’t have an answer for this.. But after thinking about it for a little while I discovered that… it goes back into my fear of failure? No that can’t be right. 

What is it that is really causing me to allow the most important things in my life to slip away? Maybe I’m not acknowledging them as being the important things that they truly are? Hmm… that still doesn’t quite resonate with me.   What could it be I wonder?


Well, that didn’t work. Let’s try a different approach. 

One thing I know for sure, I love to start new projects. Maybe that has something to do with it.

In fact, I love starting new projects so much that I don’t even care about finishing the other ones I’ve started.


Sidenote: I appreciate that I enjoy the process and not the end result.  However, I’ve identified not finishing the projects as a fear of failure.

To overcome this and start finishing projects I now vision completing each project I start.

This visioning process has helped me  so much, that where I originally loathed the final steps of the project, I actually enjoy finishing them because I feel an incredible satisfaction from finishing projects well.]


Maybe I deem maintenance of a car/relationship to be the final parts of the project? Or maybe, because it’s not part of a big project, it just doesn’t appeal to me.


Let’s explore a real life example of allowing my assets to deteriorate


1. Allowing my car to enter a state of disrepair


The first part is easy. I have a broken car in the driveway now.  (To get around I’ve been hitchhiking which is one of my favorite ways to meet new + interesting people. More on that later).


What has kept me from taking the time to fix my car?

Let’s look at what ails Smoky (my car). Smoky has two separate problems.


a. Trouble starting in the cold.

b. The transmission slips while driving.


a. Difficulty starting in the cold can be caused by dirty points, a corroded distributor, or a faulty fuel rail.

b. The transmission slipping could be caused by a bad rear main seal. It could also be that it the transmission fluid is overfilled (an easy fix).


Why don’t I want to fix these things?

The solution for both of these problem is just a matter of setting aside an afternoon to fix them. Really not alot to ask for  in the scheme of things.

I’ll ask again, why don’t I want to fix these things?

Maybe, because I feel like I don’t have the right tools. …That’s a cop out.

I can’t say for sure what’s keeping me from setting aside the time to fix Smoky.


Let’s move on to the other examples and see if they spark something.


2. Allowing my relationships to disappear over time.


What I know:

  • I love to meet new people.
  • I’ve traveled to six continents and never sent anyone a postcard.  I’ve written a few, they just never seem to make it to the mailbox.
  • When I meet new people, I feel an incredible sense of excitement, exploration, and energy.
  • When I think about maintaining my relationships with those I care about, I don’t know exactly what that would like. (Key point)
  • I rarely talk to my family members on the phone. Every time I do, I wish I did it more.


Why don’t I stay close with the ones I care about?

  • Is it because I’m interested in meeting new people? (starting new projects)
  • Is it because… I think they won’t continue to like me? Nah.
  • Is it because. I’m really cool? Ah, there it is.  Nailed it!

…Looks like we’ll have to come back to this one too. Onto our 3rd and final example.


3. Embracing a Leadership role with the local touch rugby club


Recently I started running with the local touch rugby club. It’s a great group of people who haven’t played much touch and are just out to have a good time.

To give you a bit of background, I’ve been playing rugby since I was 15 (27 now) so I’ve got quite a bit of experience on them and sufficient skills. This is a perfect opportunity for me to take a leadership role with the team, help develop everyone’s skills, and build lasting relationships with some good people.


For some reason I’m incredibly hesitant to do so. I think it could be a fear of commitment on some level.


Ooh yeah, I think we’re on to something. Commitment issues.


Why a fear of commitment?


I would really love to help build everyone’s rugby skills.  For some reason there is a resistance to own up to being the leader that I have the potential to be. What is it? Self doubt? That could certainly be it, although I don’t think it is. Just for fun, let’s hold off on ‘fear of commitment’ and explore the self doubt route.


Where would the self doubt be stemming from? Self doubt because I haven’t made a million dollars yet? That’s a pretty cheap way to identify your value even if it is incredibly common.  My lack of financial success could be causing me self doubt. In writing this, the idea of self doubt doesn’t resonate with me. It’s safe to say we’ve explored this option and can now confidently rule out the self doubt hypothesis.

Or can we? (Bad joke…)


Let’s apply ‘fear of commitment’ to our examples.


#1. Fear of commitment with my car.

I now realize that I have subconsciously internalized the idea that I will not have this car for long. This means that at the first signs of not working well, I immediately  think it’s time to put ol’ smoky out to pasture.  It’s almost as though I’m looking for an excuse to step away from this car.  It’s because I’m afraid to commit to Smoky and own my present reality of owning a low value car.

I think I’ve hit the nail on the head with this one. Let’s try the next example.


#2. Fear of commitment with relationships.

Yeah, I’ve known this for a while. Moreso with an intimate partner though. I wonder how this transcends with my friends?

Booooring. Let’s skip it for now.

#3. Fear of commitment in becoming a leader of the touch rugby club.

By committing to this, it means that I must be held accountable for other people than myself.  It means I can’t come and go as I please as I am wont to do. This is a big step in overcoming selfishness. Ultimately it will be quite fulfilling.

I can now see I have the irrational fear that by getting involved in this team I am committing to stay in White Salmon for a long time and not moving on. The strange thing is that I love living in White Salmon. I have no desire to live anywhere else (for now). It’s the feeling of constraint that really scares me. (This are can certainly be explored more in the future).

This is a belief that must be changed in my head. I’m far better off not worrying about whether I’m here in White Salmon for 2 weeks or 2 years. This will help me make the most of the present regardless long I may live here.


Sidenote: It’s funny that when you identify a fear in yourself, it feels so natural to acknowledge it. The process of writing this out is incredibly therapeutic in embracing this irrational fear.


Let’s take some steps to overcome this fear of commitment.

Even in writing that my heart fluttered a bit. This fear of commitment must be deep rooted indeed.

Where does this fear of commitment come from?

Maybe it’s acknowledging that I can’t do “better.”


Wow, that seems so awful just thinking that. I have a sneaky suspicion that it is right though.


I’ve got to step away from societal concerns a bit while I explore this incredibly selfish idea.


I very much live in the future and am always dreaming/visioning about what I’ll be doing in the coming months/years, whether it’s riding a motorcycle up the east coast of Africa (west would be amazing, albeit dangerous), hitchhiking to Tierra del Fuego, sailing a transoceanic journey, crossing the Darien Gap,  the list goes on.


This drive to always do more and greater things appears to actually be hindering my enjoyment and fulfillment of the present!

How’s that for irony? Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

To remedy this, I must live in the present (should write a post/vision this). This sure seems like a good time to plug “The Power of Now” by Eckhardt Tolle. I started listening to this book while living in Sweden in 2010 and really enjoyed it but never finished it. It’s one of those books that doesn’t appeal to you upon looking at the cover, but as soon as you get into it you absolutely enjoy the cover off of it (what does that mean?). Needless to say I’ll be revisiting the Power of Now this week on the bus trip up to Vancouver.


Btw, it’s funny that this post was initially meant to be discussing the concept of  “Adding value to everything you touch” and has evolved into living presently and overcoming my fear of commitment. It’s a link that is easy to see now, but I wouldn’t have made the connection without this process of writing it out.


Alright boys and girls it’s time to vision overcoming this fear of commitment… 

Tomorrow. (1.20)

Ok, tomorrow is upon us. Now we’ll do the visioning and save the editing for another tomorrow morning. (1.21)


Vision #1 – Overcoming fear of commitment with my car

Looking back at the year, I have really enjoyed driving Smoky. It’s such a reliable car. Once I fixed the transmission and replaced the distributor cap, smoky has always started and driven like a champ.  In fact, it’s been such a good car that people often comment how much they like riding with smoky. The hardest part in fixing smoky was understanding that regardless if I had it for 1 month or 12 months, I should keep it in great condition.

Overcoming this fear of commitment with Smoky has created a drive to always perform the regular maintenance and keep it running perfectly. As an added bonus, there is a real sense of accomplishment that I feel from owning such a smoothly running vehicle. I have the utmost confidence that the next car I acquire will be one that I keep for many years to come. Tentatively thinking, it will be some sort of rugged van or an 1980s Mercedes 240d turbo diesel wagon .


Vision #2 – Overcoming my fear of commitment with friendships

 First and foremost, giving gratitude for all of the wonderful people in my life has shown me how great it is to be surrounded by incredible people. I realized that there is no real commitment issue with keeping in touch with my friends, it’s just something I’ve neglected. 

Since there’s no real hurdle here, it really has become more a matter of logistics. After I created the following system for staying in touch with my friends (and sticking to it), I found that it was really quite easy to keep the friends in my life.

First, I made sure I had the address and email, Skype and phone numbers of everyone. The address collecting was the most ambitious, but a facebook message did the trick. 

Now, I make a habit of calling one friend everyday. Once I get through my group of friends, I start over. 

And no, this doesn’t mean I call my mom everyday.  I call my dad too.

Beyond the phone calls. And this is my favorite part. I send one thing in the mail every week. Sure it took me fourteen days to figure out where to buy stamps (supermarket), but once I finally did, I started sending all kinds of good stuff that I knew my friends would like. This is has ranged from a snazzy coaster from the local dive, to  a mushroom I made out of wood. Anything I feel my friends will find fun and interesting. I just slap a stamp on it, sometimes four, and pop it in the mail. No need for the envelope!


If I’ve missed you on this, shoot me an email. Don’t forget your address!


Vision #3 – Overcoming my fear of commitment becoming a leader of the touch rugby club

This ended up being incredibly easy and supremely satisfying. Once I clicked the internal switch to commit and become a leader of the Hood River Touch Rugby club, every action I made was in line with this mission. I found myself watching each players’ skills and telling them what they do superbly. I was surprised to discover how much raw athletic talent there is in the team. 

The hardest part of the process was getting through to the players who didn’t have good attitudes. There were only a couple, but for some reason it really bothered me that they didn’t have the desire to get better (at least in my terms). I now overcome this, not with my initial desire to browbeat them into wanting to improve, but rather by ignoring every instance of bad attitude. 

Then, I wait and wait until they demonstrate some inkling of a good attitude and reward them in a subtle yet positive way. Again, my first instinct was to verbally applaud them, but this didn’t work. Instead, at the first sign of good attitude/action, I flash them a smile showing very clearly that the two of us are on the same team and that they have my absolute approval and admiration. This method only works because I am respected as one of the best players and someone who they want to emulate. The best part of getting through to the players with bad attitudes is that they have not only improved their rugby skills, but they have shown more happiness and positivity in other aspects of their life. 

This really reinforced to me that rugby (or any other team sport) is a perfect setting to practice leadership skills and improve things you’re struggling.


Well, that wraps it up the visioning. In writing these visions out, I can really see, feel, and expect these experiences to come true. It feels so good to shape my reality in a way that I am proud of.  There is, however, one major subject that you may have noticed I didn’t touch on yet. If you know it, shout it out in the comments, otherwise stay tuned for more on this in the coming weeks.


Go After what you Want. Unapologetically.


Have you ever seen a pretty girl and been too shy to talk to her? To even say hi?

Have you ever wanted to pursue your passion as an artist? As a writer? But been too afraid to commit yourself absolutely, unapologetically to it without fear of failure?

Everyone has fears and limiting beliefs that keep them from living the life they were meant to live.  Most look back on their life and regret the chances they didn’t take. The great ones look back in awe of the fears they overcame and the incredible results that resulted.

How will you end up? The choice is yours.


One of the themes in Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha struck a chord with me. It was the manner that Siddhartha pursued what he desired in his life. Siddhartha actively sought enlightenment through experience. To achieve these experiences, there is one rule that his character was always true to.

The rule is this:

 Go after what you want. Unapologetically.



Below are the 3 steps I adamantly follow when setting and achieving goals. It has been incredibly helpful to manifesting what I want in life. Perhaps you can benefit from it too.


1. Vision your Goal – Be clear about what you want. Vision what it will look like once you have achieved it.

In order to achieve a goal, you must absolutely, without question, know what the goal is and everything about it.

This means you better know exactly how it will feel internally once you’ve achieved it, who will look up to you, what will be coming next for you, and most importantly, you must, you must, absolutely expect it of yourself. The achievement of this goal  must be the constant that your reality is shaped around. It must be as easy to see and feel, as it is to imagine yourself checking email tomorrow, going to work, or making dinner.


2. Create a flexible plan to achieve your goal –  This is a hypothesis that you will improve to get to your goal.

Step into your creative scientific brain. This is the fun part. This is where you get to create the path from your current reality to your goal-fulfilled life. The important things to remember about this step are:

  • There are no wrong answers, only learning experiences. In fact you’ll learn more, the more you’re wrong, so embrace the mistakes with a laugh and a shrug.
  • You will be evolving this plan after you start executing it, so don’t get emotionally attached to this as the only path to the light.
  • Be playful. This path to achievement is every bit as much of a game as Monopoly. Start playing without fear of failing.(foreshadowing…)


3. Put the first things first. Get started and keep your focus on the goal. 

Do you ever put off a big project because finding the first step is too intimidating? For many this paralysis of action is exactly what keeps them from achieving big things in their life. There’s no need to fall victim to this easy to overcome hurdle. Here’s the trick.

Get started in the smallest way possible. Often times, this is as simple as saying hi to a stranger,  picking up the phone, or even something as anonymous as sending an email!

You’ll be surprised at how quickly a small first step like this will build the momentum necessary to immerse you in your goal.

Let Siddartha lead you

Throughout the novel, Siddhartha very clearly goes after what he wants. He knows exactly what he wants, who he wants it from, all the while being completely unapologetic about his intents.

This doggedness plays a subtle yet formative role in the book that shapes his entire journey. At no point does Siddhartha sacrifice his goals for impulsive behavior, peer pressure, lack of confidence. or any other dissuading force.

Learn from Siddartha. The life you live is yours and yours alone. Pursue your passion. Make no excuses and start today.

Your life will be richer for it. I guarantee it. (I feel like the guy from Men’s Warehouse)


A Personal Reflection on my own Limiting Beliefs


(Note: Below is a very real look into my own reality. Expressing this publicly is not easy to do but is surprisingly satisfying)

Fear of rejection from beautiful women

Thinking that my value is too low to entertain a conversation with a beautiful woman.  This limiting belief must absolutely be shattered. It’s incongruent with who I am.  I’ve never once questioned my value when pursuing a job, talking to a stranger, or even asking for help from someone. Internally, I have an incredible confidence and sense of entitlement that shapes my reality and allows me to talk to strangers.

For example, When I walk into a job interview with a prospective employer, I know with 100% confidence, that I am the best employee they could ever ask for. I understand my value enough to know that their company will be lucky to have me as a part of their team. This isn’t because I know the job roles better than anyone else, it’s because of my (perceived value) absolute confidence in my ability to learn faster than anyone else and evolve into the ideal employee for that position.

Now, getting into the fear that I have experienced when thinking about approaching a beautiful woman.  This is one aspect of my life where I have felt incredible anxiety. Why? What is it about a beautiful woman that makes me question who I am as a man and what I offer to her and the world?

The answer:  Fear of Failure.


Vision of overcoming my fear of rejection from beautiful women

(Note: In order to move on, I must embrace the notion that failing is not bad, and is even something to strive for. Afterall,  good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from mistakes. And mistakes come from bad judgement. )

I am now no longer afraid of rejection from beautiful women in the same way that I am not afraid of rejection from potential employers, clients, strangers on the street, or anyone else in this world. In fact, I never see it as rejection like I used to. I don’t see a beautiful woman rejecting me. I see another human who is not interested in opening up and allowing someone else into her life who will add incredible value to her.  This is in regards to the few who have declined an interaction.

As for the majority of the others I have said hi to, some are now good friends, potential lovers (if I were not in a committed relationship), while others were simply friendly enough to say hi, entertain a conversation, and allow us both to discover that there is not a connection and nothing further need be explored.

Looking back at my fear of initiating conversations with beautiful women, I see that the biggest hurdle I overcame was allowing myself to be vulnerable in the presence of a woman. In fact, this newfound vulnerability has been commented on by many as incredibly grounding and attractive.

By allowing myself to access my own emotions, label them, and express them to others, I have made significant strides in the relationships with everyone I cherish in my life.   It’s funny how overcoming a small fear like this  has actually helped me make a significant improvement with the people who matter most in my life.

Also, in talking to the beautiful women I have allowed myself to relinquish any outcomes and just enjoy her energy in the present moment. There is no desire for anything greater, just to enjoy the present with another.



Share your own vulnerability in the comments below. 

1. What do you want that you haven’t gone after yet?

2. What is one of your limiting beliefs?




Also, if it sounds like you might like to read Siddhartha, here’s a link on Amazon. If you buy 1000 copies of them I can keep riding my motorcycle around the world. No pressure.

Buy Siddhartha on Amazon



Goals and Vision 2013 – Manifesting Financial Freedom

Goals and VisionHave you ever wanted to create a life where your time could be spent on self-actualization instead of trading it for a greenback, peso, or lira? Me too! In fact, I’ve been scheming on this for many years and below I have outlined my goals and vision for manifesting financial freedom this year, 2013.


The Goals

  1. Earned 50k in revenue from NLF
  2. Sold NLF to the winning apprentice?
  3. Earned $10,000 from Websites (GroAction, Cobras, SR)
  4. I am moving to South America for 1 year to learn Spanish among other things
  5. Proficient salsa dancer
  6. Released 10 courses for GroAction
  7.  Handstand Pushups
  8.  52 Excellent Posts on RWL



The Vision

1. Earned 50 k with NLF

I have earned 50,000 in income selling microgreens to residents of the greater Portland area. The majority of the income came from selling microgreens at farmer’s markets, but there was still a decent amount that came from selling micros to local restaurants. I have garnered alot of interest and attraction from local community members. In fact, quite a few people have offered up their land to farm and put a greenhouse. I am very tempted to get it into production and continue farming next year.  While I know that this could open incredible doors to being a community leader here in Portland, Oregon, I also know that I am progressing on my path and the door will be there for me wherever I decide to build my house, raise a family, and build community.



2. Sold NLF to the winning apprentice

Great leader: This was the biggest learning experience of the year. I’ve gotten alot better at managing employees. I have embraced the idea that business is an extension of myself in every action I make. With that internalization, Nightlight Farms has been primarily a meditation on the discipline of creating a life that adds value to others and myself through the process of delivering the highest quality microgreens in the greater Portland, Oregon area.


System Builder: Through my directive and the help of my team, we have created systems for every aspect of Nightlight Farms.

The systems developed include but are not limited to, the accounting system, growing system, customer acquisition system, produce delivery system, market setup/takedown system, market customer interaction systems, and many more. I will detail these in my urban ag course for Groaction.



3. Earned 10,000 from income generating websites

Each month I have acquired one new (to me) website that now generates revenue for me. My negotiation skills were good when I began this, but they’ve gotten even better. In fact, I’ve found that when I say no to a purchase, often times the owner will reconsider a few days after declaring the deal won’t work out and come back to me with the offer that I can justify. Because I keep excellent records on the return on investment I make in each one of the websites, I can see that each deal I make is better and better.

So, with these new sites, I am now earning $1500 per month and can potentially live on this income.


4. Moving to South America for 1 year to learn Spanish

I am moving to South America for the year to pursue travel, adventure, and a new landscape while I become fluent in Spanish in 2014. This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and am finally doing it.

Initially when I started writing this I did not feel connected to the outcome of this goal. In other words, I couldn’t imagine myself traveling to South American for the year. This is most certainly because of my ‘static state’ here in Portland for the last 15 months. In one year, I will have spent 27 months in Portland! That is certainly enough time to, as the bourgeoisie would say, ‘shite or get off the pot.’

Now, knowing that I will be headed southbound by this time next year, I am filled with overwhelming inspiration and a bit of trepidation of what’s to come!


5. Released 10 Courses from GroAction

This has by far been the biggest impact in making a name for myself and for my future career as a resilience strategist working with cities to develop community resilience via local, sustainable, economies.

Each course has attracted great people into my life! So much so, that I get multiple emails per day about one course or another and new friends telling me how much they loved the course and what they are doing with their knowledge. All of the courses have communities built into them, but the most compelling part of all has been the joy and satisfaction I get from making new connections, developing my personality in the interviews (mostly by being honest and saying no to what I think is bullshit) and helping people build Local, Sustainable, Businesses.


It also means that when I go travel, I’ve got lots and lots of people to know on a more personal level.



6. Proficient Salsa Dancer

It’s beginning to seem like a long time ago when I was standing in the kitchen with Chelsea telling and showing her that I couldn’t move my hips in a circle. Now, after attending one weekly salsa session (sometimes two!), I’m one hell of a lot better at dancing la salsa! In fact, I’ll dance around while I’m making dinner, hanging out, or whenever the desire come. At first, the most difficult thing was getting my rythym in tune with the music, but I fixed that by listening to it until it became second nature. At each salsa session I always watched the best dancer to see what moves I could glean from them. Each session I would try one new move until I felt comfortable with it in my repertoire. Once I got the rythym down, and a handful of moves, I was making true mexican salsa. Oye!


7. Handstand pushups

This is another thing that I’ve been wanting to be able to do for a while now. There are two major components to this, and I think you know what they are. Yep. handstands and pushups. The pushups require a ton of shoulder strength, but since I’ve been working my arms out alot, this came within six weeks. The second half, the handstand, just came in another 6 weeks. Once you start keeping your center of balance on the balls of your hands you can rock back and forth between your fingertips and the palms of your hands with ease.


8. 52 Excellent Posts on RWL

This blog is something I have been wanting to develop since 2009 after returning on my motorcycle trip around the world US (I wrote that subconsciously, maybe it’s a sign that developing RWL and the wonderful community will lead me on a trip around the world to meet everyone).

Initially, producing the blog posts on a strict weekly basis of every Tuesday @6am PST was difficult for me. I was nervous about releasing my writing to the world, but soon after, I received great feedback and was assured that my writing skills suffice to communicate my messages. I even discovered that my followers have come to look forward to the consistent publishing of my articles every week.

Through the encouragement of my community and satisfaction from reading past posts, I now absolutely love to add to my blog weekly. In fact it has become the best way to reflect what I have done/learned of significance in the previous week while looking forward to what I want to accomplish next.




In Closing: A Note on Execution 

On the execution of these goals. Every single Sunday I read these goals in order to gauge my progress, stoke the fire inside me to accomplish these feats, and keep a bearing on where I am heading this time next year.


Just in writing this post, I absolutely know that I can and will accomplish each and every one of these goals.



Thank you to each and everyone of for creating the incredible community that is today, and for creating the value that our connection has. I have much gratitude for your presence in my life.


LMC 1/7/13