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176 – How We Got Out of The “Video Mud” By Ignoring The Blueprints

Wandering Aimfully Through Our Podcast: What is it all for?

176 – How We Got Out of The “Video Mud” By Ignoring The Blueprints

You may have wondered if we survived the video recording "mud" we’d stepped into. Well, we’re happy to report we’ve turned a corner!
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

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Jason Zook

Listen to our full episode on How We Got Out of The “Video Mud” By Ignoring The Blueprints below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.



Five Key Takeaways for How We Got Out of The “Video Mud” By Ignoring The Blueprints

1. Surviving the video recording marathon

In our recent video recording week, we not only survived but thrived! We finally found our rhythm with the new filming format, and it’s safe to say we’re actually enjoying the process now. This experience has taught us a valuable lesson about leaning into our unique talents and not blindly following someone else’s blueprint when it feels unnatural.

2. Finding satisfaction in completing tasks

We discuss the importance of completing tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Caroline shared her approach of focusing on one thing at a time, which, in this case, was completing the article template. We think it’ll be fun for everyone to see the new way that we want to display our articles. There are also some fun little bits and bobs in there, which makes it exciting for us, too, because we get something new as well.

3. Navigating Special Sad Days

Caroline reflects on and acknowledges the personal challenges she’s facing, particularly the accumulation of family-related stress over the past couple of months. She shares how her theme for the year, “capable,” has helped her build self-esteem and rewrite old narratives of inadequacy. She also realized the importance of recognizing her emotions and the need to balance being competent with allowing herself to be a human with feelings.

4. Embracing creative restlessness

We feel like we’re in a season of creative restlessness. We think this is what happens when you take time “off” from working on new things in your business, which we did last year. We share our journey of achieving financial stability in our business while realizing that money alone doesn’t lead to happiness. We have this longing for the fulfillment that creative pursuits offer, even if they may not always bring financial rewards. We also acknowledge that this phase is a natural part of our business journey.

5. Calm Business Confidential

The Calm Business Confidential is where we highlight two businesses. The other person does not know the business that we’re talking about, and basically, we’re looking for businesses that make under $1.5 million per year. We wanted a parameter that felt like we could talk about some businesses that were growing and doing well, but also money doesn’t really matter.

Carol’s pick: Gabby Beckford of Packs Light (travel digital creator)

Jason’s pick: Arushi Sachdeva and Chaman Raj of Dohful Cookies (e-commerce business 🍪

If you have a calm business you think we should talk about, send us an email and share it!


Show Notes for Episode 176: How We Got Out of The “Video Mud” By Ignoring The Blueprints

PHEW! We made it out of the “video mud” we were stuck in last week and we have a solid plan of action moving forward for recording 26 YouTube videos.

In this episode, we talk about finally getting into a groove, the power of doing something YOUR way (not following a blueprint), how to get a jolt of momentum in a big project, and why you can feel creative restlessness when you’ve been running your business for a few years.

Tune in to future episodes for updates and on September 18, our 26 days 😉 of content will start being published!


Full Transcript of Episode 176: How We Got Out of The “Video Mud” By Ignoring The Blueprints

⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript

Caroline: Welcome to What Is It All For? A podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We’re your hosts, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an unboring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, what is it all for? Thanks for listening. And now let’s get into the show.

Jason: And I’m here, too. Bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum not a song, though, just the sounds.

Caroline: It is a song.

Jason: Because you said… No, it’s not. A song would be like, I don’t know, talking about the words and things. That’s a song. I just was making sounds. Yeah.

Caroline: Can I get a full album of just…?

Jason: Me singing songs?

Caroline: Five and a half second songs by Jason? That’s the name of the album.

Jason: Yeah, I can only…

Caroline: You’ve heard of 5 Seconds of Summer? Is that a band? I think I’ve heard of that.

Jason: Really missed my calling on Vine, apparently.

Caroline: 5 seconds of Jason.

Jason: Missed my calling on Vine.

Caroline: Do one more.

Jason: Here we go. And that’s it. And that’s it. Should I be making TikTok beats?

Caroline: My favorite part about track two because that’s track two…

Jason: Okay.

Caroline: Is just you think it’s headed somewhere. It’s like, here we go. And then it’s just…

Jason: See?

Caroline: Such a letdown.

Jason: Yeah. People in their cars right now are like, what is going on? Welcome back to the podcast. And welcome back to our 26 day content blitz therapy sessions where we sit with you and share how things are going.

Caroline: Yeah, I was going to say, well, if you’re tuning into the podcast, you know, the cliffhanger from last episode, which is we are still together as a couple, which is great news.

Jason: If a new episode popped up in your feed and we were both on it, then we made it.

Caroline: Do you think if we broke up, we’d still do the podcast?

Jason: I think I would still do it, obviously.

Caroline: I think I’d still do it, too.

Jason: No, I don’t think you would.

Caroline: No, I wouldn’t. You’re right.

Jason: Exactly. Considering I’ve had, in our lives together, I think I’ve had six podcasts and you’ve had two.

Caroline: First of all, who’s keeping track? Second of all, is that right?

Jason: Yeah, I think so.

Caroline: I had the podcast with you before and then this podcast.

Jason: With me.

Caroline: With you.

Jason: There’s a constant.

Caroline: And then those are the two that I’ve had.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: Can you name all of mine? I don’t think you can, but let’s try.

Caroline: How many?

Jason: I think it’s six total.

Caroline: Okay. The Action Army podcast.

Jason: That was, yeah, my solo podcast.

Caroline: Your solo podcast that you used to record from our closet in Poway. Invisible Office Hours with Paul Jarvis. Move The Needle with Craig.

Jason: Seven. Yeah. Okay.

Caroline: Oh, you forgot that one?

Jason: I did, yeah.

Caroline: Okay, well, then I get a bonus point. The podcast with me, Sleeping With The Boss.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: This podcast, What Is It All For? So I’m missing two.

Jason: Maybe it’s only six then.

Caroline: Am I just thinking of one? What was…? Oh, Jason Squared?

Jason: Oh, yeah.

Caroline: That’s another one… I… You’re… There’s one I’m missing.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: The Buy Our Future podcast?

Jason: Actually, there’s another one.

Caroline: That’s another one?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: And then the Watch Me Write podcast.

Caroline: You did a podcast for that?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: That’s silly.

Jason: I know.

Caroline: Because first of all, watching someone write is silly, but listening to someone talk about watching me write is very silly. I feel like you didn’t play into the absurdity of that.

Jason: Eight of them total for me.

Caroline: So you love hearing the sound of your own voice.

Jason: I never listen back, so I just like my voice going out of my body.

Caroline: That feels like a real male energy.

Jason: Well, I just feel like in these times, there’s a lot that I…

Caroline: Yeah. There’s a void in the market.

Jason: We make this joke all the time where we’re just like, well, I mean but hold on a second.

Caroline: You know whose thoughts need to be heard? Mine.

Jason: Tall white bald man deserves the stage for one small moment.

Caroline: For once.

Jason: It’s a… Truly just a joke.

Caroline: We get it. It’s a joke.

Jason: All right, so last week, where we left you was we had started doing the recording of our videos. And just to give you a quick overview, we are doing a 26 day content blitz where we are recording 26 YouTube videos and writing 26 articles that accompany those videos to create a big, awesome resource on the Wandering Aimfully website as like a… This is like…

Caroline: The go to.

Jason: Our ethos of what we’ve basically put in the past five years of Wandering Aimfully, but broken down into, like, very small chunks that you could go through. And so we started recording.

Caroline: Also, as a reminder, we’re doing that as a lead up to our Fall launch of our program, Wandering Aimfully Unlimited, which is our unboring coaching program. And it’s a real two… Well, it’s a three pronged approach, which I won’t get into the prongs.

Jason: Well, don’t talk about the program too much because we have not gotten a cheque. So we typically don’t get our cheques to start talking about them until two to three weeks beforehand. As a sponsor of this podcast.

Caroline: Hey, Bud. The seriousness with which you said that…?

Jason: Gotcha.

Caroline: Listeners, you cannot see his face. In my head, I was like, what cheque is he talking about?

Jason: Hey, guess what?

Caroline: What?

Jason: Got you. So that is the thing that we have been doing, and last week was the recording week. So you had written some YouTube scripts, we sat down to punch them up. Again, listen to last episode if you want the full drama of this thing.

Caroline: We unpacked it all.

Jason: Yeah, we did.

Caroline: This episode.

Jason: The very funny part of this is that like a month or so ago when we were planning this project and starting to talk about getting excited. We’re like, there will come a moment in this project when we just want to throw up our hands and say, fuck it, why are we doing this?

Caroline: We were like, this is it.

Jason: That was the moment.

Caroline: We were like, this is a big project and there’s going to come a moment where we just go, why are we doing this to ourselves? And then literally, I think one of us said, why are we doing this to ourselves? And we were like, Here it is.

Jason: Here it is, here’s the moment.

Caroline: Doesn’t make it any easier when it arrives, but actually it does.

Jason: Because it reminds you that you saw this coming. You know how difficult this is.

Caroline: You’re doing a hard thing.

Jason: Yeah. And I think for anybody listening this who has done a hard thing, you’ve tried to make something ambitious, whether it’s on your own, whether it’s with someone else. There’s just always a part in projects that is difficult.

Caroline: And wait, I just want to answer that because then the next…

Jason: It wasn’t a question, but go ahead.

Caroline: The next logical question from that is, well, what is it all for then? Why are you doing this to yourselves? And we asked ourselves that many times. But I just want to say now, being on the other side of that sort of low point last week, I can say, oh, it’s because we like challenging ourselves. We like pushing the envelope of new projects and bumping up against the uncomfortability of learning a new thing and collaborating. And there’s a fine line between something being challenging and then something just being like torturous for no reason. So we have to find that line. But I think our pivot helped us.

Jason: It did. So what we pivoted to. So I think we talked about this last week, was we were going to sit down and record proper talking head YouTube videos with a script. We would do some B roll and things over top of it. But it’s very much of when you think of like a person talking about online business on YouTube, you can pretty much picture what that looks like. But what we decided was, hey, that doesn’t work for us in the way that we record videos together. There’s always friction. What if we kind of go to a route that we know works, which is what we do in our unboring coaching sessions where we have a Keynote with slides that we’ve put a lot of time and effort into designing to make that helpful for us to move through it. And then we both kind of tag team back and forth through that information.

Caroline: Right. And then you don’t need a script. And the Keynote itself is not only acting as a script for, like a prompt of what we want to talk about, but B, it’s also letting us know which topics we each want to take so that we can smoothly collaborate. And then the third thing is you’re not having to do graphics because that gives you a visual way to keep it interesting.

Jason: And listen, do we think that this type of YouTube video is going to be super exciting for the YouTube hungry audience? No, because they want the beautifully shot 4K depth of field.

Caroline: The video essay with the archival footage and the motion graphics. We’re not going to do that.

Jason: We’re just not going to do that. But also the point of this project, and I think this is really important when you’re doing anything like this, is to really go back to your goal and go, well, is our goal to get a bunch of YouTube traffic and subscribers? No, that’s not our goal. Our goal is have these videos be helpful and in a way that is enjoyable to watch. And we can both agree that after this last session that we did towards the end of this week, I edited those together. We watched them on the big screen and we were like, yeah.

Caroline: I would watch these.

Jason: Yeah, these are good enough. Definitely how we would describe them.

Caroline: Yeah, we felt proud of the product that we were able to create in the time that we did. So we both felt good about it, is the long and short of it.

Jason: So kind of what we’ve gotten to as far as the process goes is you’re cranking out like three to four Keynotes per day and then that basically is like a full day of work for you, amongst a couple of other things here and there.

Caroline: Yeah, I mean, I’ve gotten it to the place where at the bare minimum, they take 2 hours per and I can’t get that any shorter.

Jason: Right.

Caroline: So usually that looks like a day of doing them rough. So that’s three to 4 hours of like a rough cut and then another three to 4 hours and I’m splitting it up kind of across two days like that.

Jason: Right. So once you’re done, like, this was our day yesterday. It was a filming day.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: So if the sound is any different whatsoever to some of you, which some of you it might be, some of you won’t notice.

Caroline: It’s two listeners.

Jason: We’re actually recording our podcast today from where we’re recording the videos from. So our podcast mics are at our dining room table.

Caroline: We’re not all cozy on the couch right now.

Jason: Not as cozy.

Caroline: We don’t sound as cozy. It’s because we’re not as cozy.

Jason: Exactly. Thank you so much for clearing the coziness… Clearing…

Caroline: In case someone’s like, wow, not quite as cozy. It’s because we’re not as cozy.

Jason: They leave a five star review. They’re like, I love this podcast.

Caroline: But not quite as cozy.

Jason: But episode 176 didn’t sound as cozy.

Caroline: Did not sound as cozy. Be careful for that one.

Jason: Yeah. Hey, quick shout out to those of you who actually just really love this podcast. Do you have a favorite episode that you could just name off the top of your head? Send us an email. I would love to know which one episode you’re like, this one is the one I go back to all the time. Would just be curious.

Caroline: Me too.

Jason: Because I have episodes of podcasts that I’ve listened to where I’m like, that’s a go to. I would go back to the episode. Anyway, so you do the Keynotes. Yesterday, we did the recording of the videos. It took about 15 ish minutes. Ten to 15 minutes to record the Keynotes. Lot of flubs, lot of stopping and going. But when you watch it back, you will barely notice at all. You’ll see maybe a couple of jump cuts, but I try and do a good job, like seamlessly cutting it and finding the words. That really… That’s one of the things I actually enjoy in the editing process. Yeah, I’m like, your tick is the you say “so” or you say “um”. My tick is I think I say “and” but my ands are spaced out perfectly, where I just, like, lop them out. Your “sos” are actually… those can be tricky because they lead in, but your “ums” are perfect.

Caroline: No, my “ums” are perfect.

Jason: Because your “ums…” I can, like, shoot, they’re gone.

Caroline: You know why the “sos” are tricky? Is because it is a tick, but it’s also an intentional tick, which is I actually quite hate when people are doing Keynotes and it doesn’t flow like a story. And so my “sos” are, I think, my internal way of connecting thoughts, because I don’t like the stop and start. It feels too robotic for me.

Jason: But I get a lot of pleasure when I can get rid of one.

Caroline: I know.

Jason: And I can whoop right up to it, and then it just sounds like it never existed. I’m like, not bad. And then no one’s there to give me a high five. So I got those videos edited. So it, again, took us about 15-20 minutes to record them. We took little breaks in between. We would review the slides, go over them beforehand.

Caroline: Did not fight.

Jason: Did not fight. And then when we were done, I got into my little editing cave and I edited them. They took about 45 minutes each. And then they basically went down to, like, five to six minutes each. And we were pretty happy with the outcome of those. Now, the I guess, only problem left at this point is that there’s just a lot of hours left. So we have recorded seven of them, which means we have 19 left. So at 2 hours in Keynote creation time, that’s 38 hours of Keynote creation time. Call it just 1 hour of video editing time. That’s 19 hours. Plus we have an ending segment that we need to film, which is going to be probably a couple of hours. So.

Caroline: I’m mean, I think at this point, we have to make peace with the fact that we may not have all 26 in the can before they…

Jason: Which is what we wanted to do. So the reason I bring that up is what we had hoped is that they would all be done by September 18, when the first one goes live.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: But we’re going to release them day by day.

Caroline: But I think it’s very possible to, by the end of that Friday, have them done. So that would be my goal is whatever the Friday is after the 18th, 19th.

Jason: Oh, that week.

Caroline: Yeah, the 22nd, let’s say. My goal would be to have them all done and scheduled by the 22nd.

Jason: Yeah. I will say I feel like we’re in a good groove. Like, as much as my organized heart would have loved to stick to our original plan, which is just the thing that my brain does. Like, you give it a plan, and it wants to stick to it.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: It’s okay…

Caroline: To be fair, that is the purpose of a plan. So I think that’s a very normal…

Jason: But I do get a little bit like, we got to get it done.

Caroline: No, not you.

Jason: No, not me. Why would that be me? But we are at a place where I feel like we’re in a good rhythm. As long as your eyes aren’t getting too fatigued in this process because it is a lot of focus time for your eyes.

Caroline: Do you want to tell everyone what we discovered about the…?

Jason: Oh, yeah. That was an interesting discovery.

Caroline: Here’s an interesting discovery.

Jason: You asked if I wanted to tell them, but then you’re going to tell them? Heated up for me.

Caroline: I just meant do you want us to tell them? And by us, I mean me.

Jason: Okay.

Caroline: Can I tell them?

Jason: Yeah, but this is like in golf, when there’s just a perfect… your ball is just perfectly up on a tuft of grass, and you’re like, hey, do you want to hit that perfectly set up ball? I’m like, yeah, I do. And then you just run up and hit it. I’m like, but that was set up for me.

Caroline: I got to be honest. You lost me at golf. I was gone.

Jason: The sport of golf?

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: Never seen it.

Caroline: Never heard of it.

Jason: Never heard of it?

Caroline: No.

Jason: Okay, we’ll watch…

Caroline: That Happy Gilmore movie, was that?

Jason: It is.

Caroline: It is.

Jason: That’s actually where it started.

Caroline: That’s how you play golf.

Jason: No, that’s where it started. That was…

Caroline: The origin of golf. They made it up for the movie.

Jason: People loved it.

Caroline: Everyone knows Happy Gilmore is the best fantasy movie out there. And then they were like, we should make this.

Jason: Okay. Go ahead. Feel free.

Caroline: We’re in a silly mood today. We’re not cozy, but we are silly.

Jason: We are.

Caroline: We had pizza, that’s why.

Jason: For lunch.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: Yeah, I was just sharing all the details.

Caroline: No, for breakfast.

Jason: You could have pizza for breakfast.

Caroline: It’s such a good idea. Well…

Jason: Everyone’s like, get to it. Damn it.

Caroline: They know what they’re getting into. We make this big pivot to the Keynote thing. And then for the first day, I think we said this at the end of last episode, we did, like, a little dry run where I was, like, trying to work on a Keynote, and it seemed okay. And then I did two more and my eyes started getting very fatigued and on the fritz. And for those of you who don’t know, I have an eye condition. It’s called binocular vision dysfunction. We found out about it, like, two or three years ago. And it causes some pretty gnarly, like dizziness and vertigo almost symptoms. But it’s wild now that I know that I have it. Certain things…

Jason: Are really triggering.

Caroline: Are really triggering. So, for example, light sensitivity, like strobing lights. I can’t even tell you the sensation that goes through my body when something is like a strobing light. But something else I found out recently was I can’t do dark mode on anything because I just can’t describe it. You know how sometimes people do, like, notes apologies on Instagram, and it’s like a black background with white text.

Jason: Can’t do it.

Caroline: It makes my eyes absolutely go bonkers. And so I’ve known that there’s something there, like black text on white background, fine. White text on black background, not fine. Which is weird because they say dark mode is better for your eyes. But anyway, for me, no. So long story short, I make this Keynote template for these videos and it’s our signature Wandering Aimfully blue background with white text.

Jason: Yeah. Just real quick, what would you call that blue?

Caroline: Like a cobalt or like a royal blue, actually.

Jason: Is it cobalt or royal?

Caroline: I think it’s royal.

Jason: It’s royal blue.

Caroline: Yeah, it’s mostly royal blue.

Jason: Can we go Royal Parisian blue? I’d like it to have a flare.

Caroline: Parisian is more…

Jason: Royal Turkish blue?

Caroline: Now you’re getting cultural and I don’t want to make a mistake there.

Jason: That’s a good point. Royal Ocean blue?

Caroline: Ocean blue?

Jason: Royal Ocean blue. It’s got, like, some, like a little…

Caroline: You need a flare, gravitas. Royal Ocean blue.

Jason: Thank you.

Caroline: And so I made these slides and I am staring at them for an hour and I go, Jason, this is really hurting my eyes. Which is weird because I make Keynotes all the time for our coaching session. But I thought maybe it was the working in Figma and doing all this stuff. Like, too much eye stuff. After the second day, I go, Jace, I think because you were playing them on the big screen on our TV and it was still happening and it was like a really weird eye thing happening. Long story. I don’t even know if you guys care. But anyway, I think I have this intuition that it’s the blue, it’s the contrast, the white text on dark background. I switched it. Totally fine. Have not had an eye problem since.

Jason: That is wild.

Caroline: It’s bizarre.

Jason: It really is.

Caroline: Like what would that be?

Jason: Well, I certainly don’t know for sure. I’m not a doctor.

Caroline: Certainly don’t know. Anyway, for all my BBD-ers out there, careful, careful with the white text on the high contrast.

Jason: The high contrast with the dark background. Anyway. Yeah. So I feel like we’ve gotten into a good rhythm. I feel like we’ve gotten to a place where we’re actually enjoying this process, which is good. And I think this is something, as a reminder, you wrote here, is you really need to figure out if you can find your own unique process and talents to bring your project to life, do what feels best to you. Don’t just copy what works for other people.

Caroline: Yeah. And we know this, but I think video is just an arena where we had to relearn it because, again, it’s a fine line between something that you’re not yet good at and so you want to get better at it, and you go, of course it feels unnatural. I haven’t ever practiced this right. So it’s hard to know when it’s just something that you need to practice to get better at, and when it’s just something that is so completely unnatural that it’s fighting an uphill battle. It’s that hard line of knowing when to quit something and go a different direction. But I think for us, it was a decision of we have given this a college try many times.

Jason: Time to move on.

Caroline: And it was time to move on and to not follow the blueprint of what works or what other people are doing, but to just do us.

Jason: Nice, like, we should just do it, I think.

Caroline: Just do it. I love the ring of that,

Jason: I think it’s novel.

Caroline: No one’s ever thought of that before. Like, just do it. You know what I mean?

Jason: Cool. Also on the checklist of things, we finished the article design for the articles because, as we mentioned, part of this project is 26 articles. We have our existing article template, but we wanted something new that’s five years old. Wanted something fresh and different.

Caroline: The template is five years old.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: We wanted something new. And I wrote down here just a lesson that I learned from that is when you’re in the midst of a big project and you feel like you have a bunch of half done things, I also equate this to I’ve never renovated a house, but I imagine this translates to that where it’s like you’ve started the baseboards and you’re sanding this, and this is…

Jason: Baseboards would probably be like, the last thing you would do, but that’s okay.

Caroline: It doesn’t matter. Half demoed and this and that, and you sort of look around and go, everything is half completed. For me personally, when I start to feel overwhelmed, which is how this project started to feel, I was like, I got to pick one thing and just finish it. So that was the article template. And really, you were kind of like, if you want our developer to work on this, you got to get to it.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And you were right. And so I just sat down and I had a very productive day, and I finished the designs, and I felt really good about it.

Jason: Yeah, looks great. I think it’ll be fun for everyone to kind of see the new way that we wanted to display our articles. There’s some fun little bits and bobs in there, so it makes it exciting for us, too, because we get something new as well.

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: All right.

Caroline: That’s our new approach to redesigning our website is just like one page at a time because we redid the home page this year. We’re redoing the article template. It’s just kind of funny how that works.

Jason: Well, yeah, but we redid the dashboard, which is a gigantic project. No one sees that except for our WAIMers. But that’s okay.

Caroline: Inside scoop.

Jason: Because they get to see it. Do you want to talk about your special sad day?

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: Okay.

Caroline: This is a new thing that I’m going to try in my life. But the part I wanted to mention here is I didn’t really mention it, I don’t think, in last episode. But I think part of what exacerbated the whole filming process was not only… I mean, I think it was inevitable. I think it was going to happen regardless, but it was also coming at a time where a lot of kind of two months of family stuff for me had hit a critical mass. So there’s just like personal things that are stressful that are going on. And I have had this approach to it this year where I think I mentioned in the episode at the top of the year that my word for the year is capable. And I really wanted my theme for this year to be proving to myself that I’m more capable than I sometimes give myself credit for. And so far, that theme has worked out really well for me. I do feel like this year, I have really grown my self esteem in an area that needed it, which was this belief in myself that I am independent, that I am resilient, that I can handle things better than I think I can, rewriting old stories that my anxiety told me about I’m incapable of handling things. And this is also coming out of a lot of years of EMDR therapy where literally in my therapist’s office, I can’t tell you the amount of times the story has come back to I’m not capable. It always leads back to there. And so this is coming from a healing journey. This isn’t about me being like, I need to be strong in order to be worthy. It’s just like, no, there is a part of me that needs to heal this story about myself. So anyway, I’m sharing all of that backstory to say that all this stuff is happening with my family, and I am trying to kind of take it in stride and not fall apart. And then, of course, we have this content project on top of all that. And I think in an effort to show myself how capable I am, I forgot that you can be both capable and a human being who has emotions at the same time.

Jason: I try not to do that.

Caroline: Yeah, I know. That’s not your favorite thing, but I think I really overdid it in terms of I swung the pendulum too far the other way, where I just sort of tried to pretend that it wasn’t happening. And finally it all kind of after this whole filming thing went awry and then a couple more things happened. And then finally on Sunday, I just looked at you and I was like, I think I’ve been trying to suppress some sadness, and I don’t think I’m capable of suppressing it anymore. And I think I’m going to try a different approach, which is I am going to give myself what I call a special sad day, which was, I’m going to designate this day of Sunday.

Jason: Sundays are great for this.

Caroline: Sundays are great for this.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And I’m going to just fully give myself a container to feel all the feelings that are coming with these stressful things and see what happens. And it was so funny because it was like I didn’t even need the full day. It was like, in giving myself that space, I felt so much better. And I think a part of it, too, is the complicated nature of not wanting to yes, it’s wanting to prove to myself that I’m capable, but I know there’s some stuff there of wanting to prove to you that I’m capable because of the dynamic that developed over the course of my anxiety journey. And I didn’t like the sort of power imbalance that happened where it was like, you are responsible for everything, and then I am just sort of like not. And I didn’t like the power imbalance that that created not of your intentional doing, but a little bit of it is trying to kind of balance that in a different direction. But I think, like I said, in doing that, it becomes unhealthy because it becomes, oh, now I’m just trying to be someone I’m not, you know, so it’s like a very fine but. So my special sad day was about still being the Caroline that is sensitive and feels very deeply when these things are happening to people that I care about a lot. And also showing myself that that doesn’t detract from being capable in any way, shape or form. And I needed to kind of show that to myself. And doing that allowed me to approach the week in a way where I was just a lot happier because I wasn’t trying to suppress anything.

Jason: Yeah, I think it was a good job of understanding that you knew what you needed to kind of move forward.

Caroline: Yeah. So I’m going to try to use that in the future. I just like calling it a special sad day because it made it feel more fun. It was like…

Jason: Nothing special happened.

Caroline: No, it was just I gave myself permission to I can cry if I want. I can watch sad things, listen to sad music. I can have special snacks because I’m sad.

Jason: Did you even have a special snack?

Caroline: I don’t think so. But it felt fun. But I could have.

Jason: Had you wanted to.

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And also you would just ask me to do stuff, and I would say, I’m really sorry, but it’s a special sad day, and I can’t and I liked the power of that.

Jason: Yeah. You get one of these every 13 years.

Caroline: That’s why it’s special.

Jason: Yeah, exactly.

Caroline: So I’ve lived it up. Happy special sad day to me.

Jason: Congratulations.

Caroline: And if anybody else wants to use that, feel free.

Jason: Go for it.

Caroline: And if you’re a licensed therapist and that’s a bad idea, don’t tell me.

Jason: Yeah, exactly. All right. Do you want to talk about this last bullet point on our list here before we get into the Calm Business Confidential?

Caroline: Oh, yeah. The last thing I wanted to share that is top of mind for us is also and maybe we’ve mentioned it on past episodes, but I feel like we’re in a season of creative restlessness.

Jason: Yeah, well, I think this is what happens when you take a year, which we did last year, where we worked, and we still did a monthly coaching session. We still sent out a weekly newsletter. We still recorded a podcast. From the outside looking in, people were probably like, yeah, you’re still working. But we didn’t really do anything creatively. And so we kind of lived this entire life having all these experiences, but we weren’t creating anything. We were just kind of like, living and then working as minimally as possible. And I think it really created, we’ve talked about this before, but your friend Margaret said, like, this creative dam that’s built up, and we had all this energy. And I think what has happened is we’ve been working on bigger projects this year. We’ve gotten a lot of things done, but I think we’ve also just kind of felt like none of it’s really pushing us in any way. Nothing is really that different or unique necessarily. I think it’s all very helpful stuff. And I think this might be what happens when you get a couple of years into running a business and you’ve actually figured out kind of the financial part of it, which is incredibly amazing to do. Like, we tried for many years and never figured that out. And finally with where we are now, we’ve kind of figured that out. But it’s one of those things where it’s like, yeah, but money isn’t the thing that makes you happy. What makes you happy is your creative pursuits. So, like, especially for us, and I know it’s very easy to hear someone say, like, oh, it must be nice to be like, money doesn’t make you happy. It’s not like we’re just swimming in money. But I’m just saying getting to a place where we have predictable revenue is not having us just sitting back and like, here we are, we are done, and we are so happy. It’s like, no, now we’re at the place where we’re like, okay, that’s great. What we did got us to this place, but now we’re craving that itch of all the creative things we did many years ago that maybe didn’t make that much money, but we’re very fulfilling it from a creative standpoint.

Caroline: Yeah. And I just think that is the journey of life. You don’t arrive at this place where that’s the balance that we often talk about between enough and it’s okay to have a purpose because I think sometimes wanting more is actually just wanting something in front of you to work towards. And there can be really unhealthy versions of that, which is like this endless pursuit of more that can get you in a lot of an endless cycle of dissatisfaction. But there’s also, I think, healthy versions of that, which is I want to wake up in the morning and feel like I have something to look forward to. I want to have a spot off in the distance over the horizon that I’m sailing towards. That makes me feel fulfilled, that makes me feel like I have direction. That makes me feel the opposite of kind of lost. And so I just think it’s interesting. I think this is a very natural part of a business journey where, yeah, our business is five years old now, and we have hit this place where we’re ready for what’s the next evolution? Where do we take it? What projects we want to take on?

Jason: I also think there’s something to be said for neither of us have ever run a business, the same business for more than five years.

Caroline: Totally.

Jason: So it’s like, my I Wear Your Shirt business was the closest that got to that, but it was so tumultuous that it wasn’t like five years of start at zero, get to an enough finish line and feel good about it. Wandering Aimfully actually did that. And so now it’s at a place where we’re like, okay, this is unfamiliar territory. What are we doing now?

Caroline: Totally.

Jason: I think it’s a fun challenge that we keep coming back to where we’re trying to walk… toe the line of like, well, don’t just blow it all up because you’re bored and you want to do something super creative and different. It’s like you figured out a thing that works, keep doing the thing that works, which we’re very happy to keep doing. But it’s also like, you have to know there’s something in you that says you need to be doing something more creative. And so…

Caroline: How can you scratch that itch?

Jason: How do you figure that out?

Caroline: Exactly. And the other part of that is like when you’ve hit this place where things are working and you’re really happy to have it just be sustainable and extremely calm which we are. And especially last year I was so grateful to have like a calm business, right? And then we hit this place this year where I’m starting to feel that boredom or that restlessness or that itch or whatever. And I think our initial reaction is to go. Oh, that’s a bad feeling. Does that mean I’m lost? Does that mean I don’t know where…? I’m rudderless? And I had this thought in the shower the other day that was like no, this is the fun part. This is our favorite part is that lost feeling of what’s next. It’s like on one side from one perspective it’s like oh yeah, I don’t know what the next thing is. And that can feel lost. But from a different angle you could just as easily say everything is exciting and everything is an opportunity. And you’re in the exploration phase. And this is what Wandering Aimfully and the ethos at the very beginning was all about, right? The Wandering part was the exploration and the experimentation and the trying new things and allowing yourself to change and evolve. And the Aimfully was do it with intention, do it with thoughtfulness, do it based on your own internal compass. And so I think it’s really fun because it feels like we’re coming back to what it was always meant to be which is embracing the evolution of you as a person and having a business as a tool to match that. And so I just wanted to share that in case you are going through… It doesn’t have to be the restless itch phase of your business but whatever phase of business you’re in. Even in the very beginning where you just go I don’t even know. Nothing is working. There’s a positive to every single phase of business.

Jason: Yeah, I was just thinking of an appropriate analogy, which is we’re doing like 1000…

Caroline: I thought you said an inappropriate analogy. And I was like, that tracks for you.

Jason: I could make it inappropriate.

Caroline: Please don’t.

Jason: Okay?

Caroline: Please don’t.

Jason: We’re doing 1,000 piece puzzle and it’s a very difficult puzzle. Like it’s mostly the same color all over and you’ve done like the top left corner. And for us, what we’ve done is the top left corner. But we’ve kind of gotten to the place where like I can’t really do anything more on this corner. It’s another piece that’s like a dark colored puzzle piece. They all look the same at this point. Let’s move to the bottom right. That’s like a whole different color and we’re still doing the same puzzle. It’s all to get to the same result. But now we’re in a whole different area that we can kind of play with.

Caroline: Right. It’s like, yeah, I’m craving going for a completely different corner.

Jason: But I’m still in the same puzzle. It’s not like we’re giving up and being like, let’s become full time plumbers, because that would be a weird pivot. Unless we wanted to be like Mario and Luigi. But as two Americans living in Portugal who started a plumbing company.

Caroline: That’s an inappropriate analogy.

Jason: All right, let’s get into Calm Business Confidential, where we highlight two businesses. The other person does not know the business that we’re talking about, and basically we’re looking for businesses that kind of make some amount of money. More than nothing.

Caroline: Yes.

Jason: But under $1.5 million per year, just because we wanted a parameter that felt like we could talk about some businesses that were growing and doing well, but also money doesn’t really matter. That’s just a parameter for us.

Caroline: Yeah. And we feel like there’s a lot of business podcasts that highlight these quote unquote success stories of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars of business. What about people who are just out here having a creative skill, being able to create a flexible business for themselves and earn money doing something they like?

Jason: Do you want to go first? You want me to go first?

Caroline: I can’t remember who went first last time.

Jason: It doesn’t matter.

Caroline: I’ll go first. Okay. My Calm Business Confidential pick is a name that you might remember.

Jason: I might remember. The listener might remember?

Caroline: You, Jason, might remember, and it is Gabby Beckford of Packs Light is her business, and you will remember her. Yes. So Gabby is basically a digital creator who her business is all about inspiring people to make travel happen. And the thing that I think is so cool is she figures out how to basically travel around the world doing what she calls, I thought this was a real term, but I think she made it up. But PTO. I know PTO stands for, like, paid time off. But she talks about PTO, which is Paid Travel Opportunities. So her whole thing is applying for scholarships and grants and cultural exchanges and all of these different avenues in order to be able to travel and get paid to travel. And it’s really cool. I read in her story she has been awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships, grants, funded cultural exchanges, et cetera. And she’s used them to travel to countries like the UAE, South Korea, Austria, and Fiji completely free.

Jason: Nice.

Caroline: Which is so cool. I also think it’s really inspiring because her mission is also extremely personal, because she took her first trip to Iceland, her first solo trip to Iceland, she said, in 2017. And she was the only woman of color and the least experienced on the trip. And so she also did a study abroad program in Dubai and said she was one of only other only three other black women in the program.

Jason: I think she messaged us… When she messaged us in 2018…

Caroline: She was on that program?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Maybe. I think it was… Anyway, because we did have a chat with Gabby, and I remember being inspired by her then and I’m equally inspired by her now. But I think that’s really cool because she saw this kind of gap in the market, which is there aren’t enough creators who look like me who are inspiring young black women or young women of color to travel and to show them ways that they can make it doable and accessible. And of course, her content speaks to everyone, but I think specifically that niche is really inspiring because it’s basically speaking to a past version of herself. And she has multiple digital products. So her main business is not only courses and ebooks and things like that, but also…

Jason: Which are about how to get…?

Caroline: How to get these opportunities, how to apply for paid travel opportunities, which I just think is also an extremely smart and savvy thing on her end because she could have easily been like, okay, I’m just going to go the route of travel content, right? And so I’m going to do a lot of my content around how to pack or how to do this or how to make your itinerary. And there’s nothing wrong with that content, but I think it’s a really unique and cool angle to take on it, which is to understand that a lot of people’s objection to travel is that I can’t possibly have the money to be able to do this. And so the fact that she developed this skill herself in being able to secure all this funding for her to be able to travel and to now be able to teach people that, I think it’s a cool kind of angle on the travel industry. And so I’m not exactly sure the revenue numbers, but I do know that I read an interview that in 2021, the business brought in over 170,000 gross income. And she didn’t even say that was from digital product income. That was just due to sponsored posts, blog articles, and B2B marketing consultations.

Jason: Nicely done, Gabby.

Caroline: Which is incredible. And the last thing I want to share that I thought was really inspiring and interesting because we always like these little kind of spins on things. So, Gabby, her story is that she quit her engineering job in February of 2020.

Jason: Wow.

Caroline: Okay, so listen to this. She has this engineering job, she quits in February 2020 to take her travel thing full time. What happens? Yeah. Can you imagine starting a travel business in February of 2020 and being like…

Jason: Well, we knew of one. It was the couple who started Tally.

Caroline: Yeah, exactly. You’re like, well, this is extremely bad timing and kind of the worst thing that I didn’t see coming. But what I love about that is the kind of grit of being able to go. And I think in this interview, I read she did consider calling back her boss and being like, hey, can we…? Just kidding. But she said, okay, I’m going to read what she said here because I copied it and I really liked it, she said, so I saw that as an opportunity space, and the first thing I did was start pitching absolutely everybody. I think I kept it short and sweet. And I sent maybe 20 emails a day. And I said, hey, I know your marketing plan is on fire, but I would love to talk for Lonely Planet about ways about ways that you can keep your love of travel alive while at home or ways that you can relive your old trips to keep your love of travel alive. And I think that is so brilliant because most people would just go, okay, this is not going to work. This is the worst time ever. And I think to have the grit to pivot and to go, okay, I just have to change my angle on how I’m talking about travel and to also recognize that it is especially when you’re starting out and the odds are stacked against you. The one thing that people can’t take away from you is your grit, your determination, your willingness to go out on a limb even though you’re going to send 100 emails and you know only one person out of that hundred may get back to you. But she started getting featured in places like The New York Times and Good Morning America and Lonely Planet because her pitch was extremely smart and she had a great value proposition and she kind of got her brand name out there and built a social media following. And I know she uses social media a lot to this day. I think she uses TikTok quite a bit, which, by the way, we’re not anti social media. We don’t use it for ourselves. But I love her story.

Jason: That’s awesome.

Caroline: I think it’s a cool business and I think she is a great example of taking something that you love to do and a unique skill and inspiring other people and making money while doing it.

Jason: Yeah, absolutely. Numbers don’t matter at all. But it is fun to note. I remember when she reached out to us, I think she had like 8000 followers on Instagram, and I just looked and she now has 160,000 followers on Instagram.

Caroline: Crazy.

Jason: So you got to love that. And also that growth has happened during the pandemic.

Caroline: Absolutely.

Jason: She hasn’t been fully out traveling. So that just shows that she’s putting out, I think, consistent, valuable content on that platform that people have liked. So shout out to Gabby. We’ll have links in the description, obviously, to both of these businesses. Now let’s get into my Calm Business Confidential. I am bringing you Arushi and Chaman.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: Of Dohful Cookies. D-O-H-F-U-L. They are, I love this so much, India’s first soft baked cookie company.

Caroline: Really?

Jason: So back in 2018, they went on their honeymoon in Europe, and they had their first ever soft baked cookie. So India is known for small, dry, crunchy cookies, biscuits very much like the UK, right? It’s like, I think, the same culture of cookie that they have there. At the time, they were running a sandwich and burger, quick service restaurant and studying business and engineering. So they had this restaurant that they were doing together, but very small, quick, window type of type of restaurant. So they did this for four to five years. They ran this sandwich and burger place. They finished their studies, and they got a ton of knowledge about the food industry. So they went on this trip and Arushi, like, loved the cookies. She was like, this is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. And so they basically decided, how could we do this? And the two hurdles that they kind of saw were, number one, India doesn’t like… the people of India don’t eat this type of cookie.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: Are we going to be able to…? But she was like, they’re just so good. People are going to have to love them.

Caroline: Word of mouth.

Jason: The second hurdle is that India has the largest vegetarian population in the world.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: So the cookies have to be eggless. So for 70 days, eight to 10 hours a day, over 300 batches of cookies, they worked to make…

Caroline: The recipe.

Jason: A perfect cookie.

Caroline: Okay. The lesson there is focus on the offer.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: Making the offer.

Jason: What I love, too, is that it’s not like they saw some wonderful cookie on Instagram, and they’re like, okay, let’s see if we can replicate. It’s like, no, we went to a place, we had the cookie. We experienced it for ourselves. Now we want to replicate it. It’s like, we know what this takes to be good, so we’re going to make that thing. We’re not just looking at what someone else makes, making a version of that being like, I think this is good. Like, no, no, I’ve had the version that I want to have. How do we make that? So I absolutely love that. I love that they are like us and that they kind of divide the labor of the business together. So Chaman does all the business side, and then Arushi handles all of the baking. And then I think the staffing and getting everybody kind of up to speed, they used Shopify to get things going, which reminds me of the couple that we met on the ferry.

Caroline: That’s what it reminded me, too. On the ferry from Hvar.

Jason: They had a tea company.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: And so they were also Indian, and they had a tea company built on Shopify.

Caroline: No, it wasn’t tea. You know what it was? Instant coffee.

Jason: Oh, it was instant coffee. That’s right.

Caroline: Instant coffee.

Jason: Instant coffee. So that was separate at the beginning of this business. So this was around 2019, they started just writing articles and they had their website. And in about, like three months, they became the number one rank for “cookies India” on Google.

Caroline: Amazing.

Jason: And it was trying a little bit, but also just putting out consistent content. They did…

Caroline: That was what year?

Jason: 2019, I believe.

Caroline: Not that long ago.

Jason: They did find that Indian customers were slower to buy because they’d never had soft bake cookies. But what they found is most of their first business was Western businesses that had teams in India. And so they would buy the cookies. So, like, a British company would buy the cookies for their office in India as gifts.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: So it became a thing of, like, you can’t get these cookies here. We would have to bring them from our home.

Caroline: Which I think is also really smart when you’re getting started is don’t make it harder on yourself. They… Sort of knew people will catch on, but go to where the people…

Jason: The existing…

Caroline: Customer always… Exactly, where you don’t have to convince your customer that they need what you have.

Jason: Yes, there are two main marketing channels that worked. They leaned on Indian YouTubers as marketing. So they went like influencers, basically. And they didn’t have any money, so they were just like, hey, please just try this cookie.

Caroline: And if you like it…

Jason: We’ll give you free ones.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: And will you just mention it? You don’t have to do, like, a full thing. And they found that a bunch of people were like, yes.

Caroline: They’re delicious.

Jason: And they still have people who will talk about their cookies ongoing because they’re so good.

Caroline: And by the way, again, that goes back to the power of your offer, your product, your service, whatever you sell. By making that thing really great from the beginning, then, you know, any marketing that you do, you don’t have to worry about sending them to YouTubers and paying them to talk about it, because the quality speaks for them.

Jason: And their second form of marketing, which we absolutely love, which is part of why I grabbed this story, is a weekly newsletter. And they’ve been sending a weekly email newsletter from the very beginning. And the newsletter has grown to 50,000 subscribers. It is a Sunday newsletter. And all it is, is just Arushi writing about how the business is going.

Caroline: Really.

Jason: So it started with that, and it is still to this day, I’m now subscribed. And I got their last email where I actually stopped my notes was here, which was they just celebrated their five year anniversary. They are now making $15,000 a month with this business. 90% is now from consumers. So they have basically, like, trained the Indian market that soft bake cookies are good.

Caroline: Taken five years, but yeah.

Jason: And then 10% of that is corporate still. And they were getting ready to open their brick and mortar store. That was like their next phase. As of writing this, and then, like, a couple of days later, I got an email from Arushi and they had their grand opening for their Delhi subway station store.

Caroline: Wow.

Jason: And she wrote out, I really loved it. She wrote out like the five days of that being open. So it was like the first day, it was like all their regular customers and friends and family.

Caroline: Celebrating.

Jason: So it felt super busy.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: But then the second day, it was like the true test, because then all that went away and it was very quiet, but she didn’t say low goal, but she was like, we just have to sell this many cookies and it’ll feel good. And so they did that. And then the third day, it started to pick up traffic. By the fourth day, they had regulars already.

Caroline: Amazing.

Jason: Who would stop in for coffee.

Caroline: And have their daily.

Jason: And she also was spending time teaching the staff who was running at the full time of like, hey, this is very vegetarian crowd. We need to make sure that if they ask for a vegetarian latte, we can do that. And so on the fifth day, they had the first vegetarian latte. So she was really proud of herself that she thought ahead to train the staff on that so they wouldn’t get frazzled. So so far, so good on the storefront for that. And I really liked this kind of, like, final remark I read in an interview that they did, which was, in a food business, there are two parts, the food and the business. And I think this is really like a profound thing in a very simple sentence, because most of the time, people only make the mist… They make the mistake of only being good at one of those two things.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: So you need to be good at both making the food and also running the business. And so this is for everybody listening to this podcast right now. You may be an incredible designer, but you also have to understand online business. You may be a really good…

Caroline: Yoga teacher.

Jason: Yoga teacher. But you do still have to understand business. And if you don’t, you need to outsource it to someone who can help you with that part of it. But I think that’s such a good lesson to take away from these two, where you can create the best cookie in the world, but if you don’t have a mechanism to get it in the hands of people, especially an audience who are not used to it, you’re never going to sell those cookies. And there’s another story of this company that goes a whole different direction, where they didn’t push through, they didn’t try a bunch of different marketing techniques and try to get this in a bunch of different people and write a bunch of content that probably no one read or paid attention to early on. And I think that’s just a really fun story. And I know you were going to ask this question, so I’ll go ahead and answer it.

Caroline: Please.

Jason: The best sellers are the chocolate brownie cookie and the chocolate chunk cookie.

Caroline: Chocolate chunk.

Jason: I’m going to leave…

Caroline: I love that.

Jason: Obviously, I’ll leave the links in the show notes here. I’ll also leave a link to a Day in the Life video that they released recently, which was just absolutely adorable. Also, they’ve been doing this for five years. She didn’t include any footage of the bakery, and she wrote a note in it that was like, sorry, I forgot to show the bakery today, but I just thought that was really cute. So Dohful Cookies is the cookies. I really wanted to see if I could order them just to try them, but I was like, this is kind of like a waste of resources to get them flowing all the way here from India. But I love their story. I thought it was very fun.

Caroline: Good find.

Jason: And also, if I can talk about cookies, you know I’m happy.

Caroline: Yeah. How happy were you when you found a husband and wife and a bakery business?

Jason: And also, it’s not like a gigantic company. It’s a very approachable amount of money that feels like a lot of people can relate to. Like, they’re not making millions of dollars selling cookies, and they’re very happy with their business.

Caroline: Just following something that makes them happy.

Jason: All right, let’s finish out with the Portugal/ life updates.

Caroline: The life updates. Well, do you want to tell them what we just did today?

Jason: We can do that. I listen to every once in a while a podcast with the Kelsey brothers who are NFL football players.

Caroline: I’m aware of that. For the Mahomes.

Jason: They… Patrick Mahomes is the quarterback of the team that Travis Kelsey plays for, but his brother plays for the Eagles, so whatever.

Caroline: Wait, there’s two of them?

Jason: Yeah, they’re brothers. That’s why I said there’s two brothers. Jason Kelsey and Travis Kelsey. They’re two.

Caroline: And who’s the one that’s on the…?

Jason: Travis.

Caroline: Travis.

Jason: Travis just got injured. The brothers. Both of them. You okay? You okay? You need a moment?

Caroline: No, wait. Who’s the one on the Eagles?

Jason: Jason.

Caroline: His name’s Jason.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Okay. What was your point in bringing him up?

Jason: Thank you. So they have their own podcast. They’ve had it. It’s taken off. It’s, like, the number one sports podcast now, but they have a segment that’s new news, which is very funny, but I thought that mine would now be Knee News.

Caroline: I like Knee News.

Jason: Because it’s Knee News.

Caroline: Knee News.

Jason: That was a very long roundabout way to get to my Knee update.

Caroline: Who doesn’t love long roundabout? If you are listening to this podcast, you love a long roundabout.

Jason: We drove to Lisbon. Speaking of roundabouts.

Caroline: Yes.

Jason: And we went to the sports injury clinic that I had talked to and had a conversation with the doctor, Dr. Rui, and basically this consult was to talk about what’s next, like, what should I do based on the information that he gave us? And so we went there. Very enjoyable, simple experience. Didn’t have to wait too long.

Caroline: This whole ticket queue thing.

Jason: Is really smart.

Caroline: Why are we not doing that more?

Jason: I think probably this does happen in some places in the States, but it doesn’t happen everywhere. And it should.

Caroline: It happens everywhere in Portugal. You go to a doctor’s office, there’s a little electronic kiosk. You press a button, you get a number. They have a screen. It’s like you know exactly where to go. There’s no, like, do I sit in this line?

Jason: Do I go here? What’s going on?

Caroline: It’s so… And it’s very soothing when you know exactly why.

Jason: And again, I do think some places in the US have this, but we saw it less there than we have seen it here, which is everywhere. So anyway, we sit down with Dr. Rui, and what’s the first thing he says?

Caroline: Oh, I wish I had my notes.

Jason: You can paraphrase.

Caroline: No, I need to get the exact quote because I wrote it down. I was taking notes for Jason because I knew he would want to be listening.

Jason: So I’ll give the context here. So we sit down. He logs in to get my MRI images up. So he starts looking at my MRI images, and then he looks to us and says…?

Caroline: I don’t have it here. But it was something to the effect of these are not good knees, man.

Jason: Never…

Caroline: I wrote it down. It was the first thing that came out of his mouth. These are not good knees, man. And I was, Oh, no.

Jason: Never a good sentence. Never a good sentence. So, anyway, we just talked about what are my goals, what do I want to be able to do? For those of you who care, which if you’re listening to this long, you care. I used to be fairly athletic. I’d like to get back to being able to be somewhat athletic. I don’t expect to be able to play basketball. I don’t expect to be able to play tennis. But I’d like to be able to go out on a paddle court and not move too much, but actually be able to play. And in our first call, he said that if your leg is strong enough and it feels stable in daily life, then absolutely, you should be able to play. Your leg will be strong enough that having an ACL that’s torn and meniscuses that are torn, you’re not going to do anything else to it. It’s fine. But you also have to be smart. Like, I can’t be, like, diving.

Caroline: Okay. But this is the part that I, as your wife, am really worried about, is you have done nothing to demonstrate to me that you have an ability to prevent yourself from pushing yourself too hard.

Jason: I know. I have to have a chance.

Caroline: You’re going to try?

Jason: One life, but two shots. If you’ve watched After Party on Apple TV that will make sense.

Caroline: I would like to believe that you can develop this as a skill, but so far, I don’t feel great about it.

Jason: So here’s the plan, is I need arthroscopic surgery to clean out all the loose bodies that are floating around.

Caroline: So many… Let the bodies.

Jason: I think there’s a general bit of concern on his face of how much is…

Caroline: Moving around.

Jason: And one of my favorite things that he said was he was like, you basically have bone on bone going right now.

Caroline: He said… I wrote it down. He said, you have a grade four arthritis… arthrosis. That’s the worst you can have. That’s what he said to you.

Jason: Kind of feels like an accomplishment.

Caroline: I know. I knew you’d like that. I knew you’d like that.

Jason: Kind of feels like I won the worst knee game you could win.

Caroline: So you’re saying I got the high score?

Jason: So you’re saying I’m doing great?

Caroline: Can I have my initials?

Jason: And I just love that he’s also like, just so we’re clear, you’re going to have to have a knee replacement at some point. It’s not soon.

Caroline: No, he said, Best case scenario is 15 years. Best case. And then he laughed, remember? He was like…

Jason: No. I think what he meant with the 15 years wasn’t a knee replacement. It was another arthroscopic surgery. That’s what he meant. Yeah, because knee replacement, when we talked the first time, he was like, you definitely should try to not have it before you’re 70.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Got it. Yeah. No, I think actually he was talking about the what do you call the…?

Jason: Microfracture.

Caroline: Micro fracture surgery.

Jason: So, anyway, I have an ala carte menu of things I could do.

Caroline: I’m now learning words like micro fracture and arthrosis.

Jason: Anyway, the plan here is we made an appointment for December 1 or December 7 to have the arthroscopic surgery. That should be a very simple surgery because it’s just going in. It’s like a little vacuum that just sucks all the bits out.

Caroline: Yeah, same thing.

Jason: Yeah. And they’ll just clean out a couple of things, and then hopefully the recovery from that is, like, one week on crutches, three weeks of rehab, and really you’re kind of back to yourself after a month. So knock on wood. I hope that’s how that goes.

Caroline: But we were worried because we’re going back to the States, and you were trying to decide, should I do it before?

Jason: Right. And they didn’t have an appointment before, necessarily. So now we’re kind of on a short list that if I could squeeze in here before the end of September, I might do it because I could be fully recovered, excuse me, in a month. And I don’t want to wait that much longer because it’s a real hindrance right now with things floating around in my knee. It is very difficult every day to operate as a normal person. And so getting those out will help me operate as a normal person. So anyway, that’s the Knee News. But the exciting part on the way back from that was…

Caroline: Tell them what happened, Jason.

Jason: Caroline took the wheel. And by took the wheel, I mean she was like, do you think you could pull over and I could drive home?

Caroline: What was I thinking? Why did I do that?

Jason: You were hopped up on pizza.

Caroline: I think I was hopped up on pizza.

Jason: But also this part of the drive home. So we’re like 20 minutes from home or 15 minutes from home. It’s like so peaceful.

Caroline: To give everyone some context, I have not driven been behind a wheel of a vehicle in close to two years.

Jason: Yeah. When was the last time you drove?

Caroline: Around your dental procedure before the trip.

Jason: When you took me to In and Out… when I asked you to go inside.

Caroline: And it’s because when I went through all of my anxiety stuff, 2019, and then my eye stuff, I’ve had multiple panic attacks in a car trying to drive. Turns out it was because I had an eye condition that literally creates maximum anxiety while driving. And so I sort of then got out of practice. Then Jason was driving everywhere. Then it became…

Jason: Then we were in Europe.

Caroline: Exactly. Then it was built up in my head. Then we were traveling last year, and so it just became easier to let Jason drive. And so now I’m, like, really out of practice, and I know that I have to break through this. It’s not as bad as a phobia, but it’s definitely a mental barrier. And it’s been my goal since moving here to take driving lessons, get comfortable on the roads. Thankfully, it’s a very easy country to drive.

Jason: I mean, I think it would be very different if we lived where we used to live in Southern California. It’s kind of hectic. There’s a lot of cars, there’s a lot of things. Like here we live in a very peaceful part. The scariest part is probably just going to be the small European roads.

Caroline: Roads, exactly.

Jason: That’s the thing.

Caroline: But anyway.

Jason: You did great on the way home.

Caroline: I think it’s because it’s been top of mind because you were a little bit worried about when you get knee surgery, like, who’s going to go to the grocery store and stuff like that. And you’re right, because you won’t be able to drive for a little bit. And I wanted to at least be capable enough to be able to go to the grocery store and things. And so I was like I need to figure this out. And so I think because we went to the knee place today, that was probably top of mind. I was hopped up on pizza. We were 50 minutes from home and I knew the roads. And so I just said, pull over. I think I could do this.

Jason: Yeah. And you did it.

Caroline: And I did great. And I feel very…

Jason: We only hit that bus and then we…

Caroline: Oh, yeah. We hit the bus. But it was fine. No, I feel like I’ve broken the seal. And so now I just want to practice more. So I’m going to start out like near the house and just doing that.

Jason: We can drive around the neighborhood. Then I think we could do an easy trip into town into Lourinhã. You know when we pull in and we…

Caroline: Go to the right hand side.

Jason: We go to the right hand side. And you can just park right there. Super easy.

Caroline: And I definitely want to practice the grocery route.

Jason: The grocery route, you get a couple of roundabouts. I think that’s like level three.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: But level two is just like driving into Lourinhã, parking in the little side park. Because even when you leave, it’s actually very easy. Just left turn, left turn and you’re out. Like there’s…

Caroline: Going to Terra Terra or Ansem?

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: Exactamente.

Caroline: Exactamente.

Jason: So anyway, that’s the update. Caroline drove for the first time in two years. Did a great job.

Caroline: Parabéns.

Jason: Parabéns. Last update is that we had a little get together at our house.

Caroline: We had people, we have friends over at our house.

Jason: We had people over, we had… and it was lovely. It was just a lovely time. We got to chat and laugh with people in our own home. They loved our playlist that we played.

Caroline: They did. I love when…

Jason: Not as happy as having a grade four arthritic knee.

Caroline: Of course.

Jason: Because that’s the top top.

Caroline: That’s the top top.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And it felt so nice.

Jason: Yeah. People stayed over way too late, though.

Caroline: We were out so late. And I…

Jason: By out, I mean up.

Caroline: Oh, no, I was up. Yeah, because we were at the house. But no, we stayed up way too late. And I was like, wow, I actually can’t do this anymore because it’s no coincidence that the next day was special sad day.

Jason: Oh, yeah, that’s true. That was special sad day.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: Also way too late for us is 2:00 a.m. And I think some people, they’re like, I stay up to see the sunset.

Caroline: No, but speaking of that, I think after that, being so tired and having a special sad day, I decided that I’m trying to wake up an hour earlier. And so far it’s going really well.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Wouldn’t you say so? It’s been freaking you out because I…

Jason: One day freaked me out because you got up in the six time. It was still a six on O’clock, which really weirded me out.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: But the rest of the days it’s been in the 7th.

Caroline: You’re okay about the 7th, but you don’t like the six.

Jason: Sixes weird me out because sometimes I don’t get up in the sixes.

Caroline: I know. Two days I got up and you were still in bed and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Jason: But then I got up.

Caroline: Well, yeah, because I felt weird. I don’t know how to open the house. It’s like opening a store. I haven’t been trained on how to open yet.

Jason: There’s no coffee waiting for you.

Caroline: I’m not an opener.

Jason: The lights aren’t all up.

Caroline: Yeah, I don’t have the keys to shit.

Jason: What would you do?

Caroline: Mop? Like, what do you do? What do you do at 6:00 a.m.?

Jason: There’s definitely mopping every morning. So that’s a thing you should put on the list. Make sure the toilet bowls are scrubbed.

Caroline: Send us an email. Who opens your house?

Jason: Also, every Thursday, there’s fresh baked cookies. So these are things you have to do. Just make sure they’re on your list.

Caroline: That you eat by 6:30 and then it never happens?

Jason: I think so, yeah. All right.

Caroline: Now you’re going to see me up at six.

Jason: If you’re going to make cookies, I would love that. All right, everybody, that’s it for our episode. Thanks for coming along on this journey with us. We hope you enjoyed it. And yeah, if you have any calm businesses that you want to share with us that you think we should mention. Again, we really want them to have kind of, like, a fun angle, like something interesting, something different that they’re doing. And the more information you can kind of send about them, the better for us to be able to vet them. So please send those along if we don’t write back or you don’t hear from us, do know that we are collecting them and putting them in a folder. I’m very organized with those things. And then also, yeah, feel free to send through, if there’s, like, a really memorable go to episode of this podcast. I would just be very curious to know what that is for people.

Caroline: Definitely.

Jason: Okay, that’s it.

Caroline: Thanks for listening.

Jason: Bye.

176 – How We Got Out of The “Video Mud” By Ignoring The Blueprints

(Big Fat Takeaway)

When you get stuck in business it might be because you need to ignore the blueprints someone else has created that aren't working for you.

IT IT

This article written by

Jason Zook

I'm all about that Cinnamon Roll life (that just seemed like a "cool" way to say I love baking and eating cinnamon rolls). Also, I co-run this WAIM thing as well as Teachery. Currently, 75ish% completion of Tears of the Kingdom 🧝‍♀️⚔️.

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