Keeping House

truck with cardboard in itI believe it is my responsibility to clean up after myself, plus a little extra. To cause minimal impact. However I do recognize that just the act of living causes impact. My leather boots. Beef ribs for dinner. The electricity to run my computer. My computer…

I choose to reuse, recycle and conserve as much as I can – especially at work where the impact is much greater. We do our best to hire like-minded people – who share the same values. We use bottles that are made from recycled plastic and are recyclable. We have a refill system in our store, a closed loop water system in manufacturing and we recycle as much as we can. And we aspire to do better.

One issue that we’re just starting to tackle is our number one waste item – cardboard. While it’s all recycled, it would be better to reuse it or utilize it somehow at work. To make matters worse, we buy pallets of ‘new’ recycled boxes to ship our products. There must be a better way.

You have any ideas???

-Posted by Brad Black, SWTCo founder and co-CEO

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Good People vs. Themselves

Brad white water raftingI spent a week on a river with a group of friends, many of which are ex judges and lawyers. Conversations tended towards the justice system or fishing.

One discussion has stood out for me. They had some insights regarding domestic cases versus criminal cases. They said “In domestic cases, you see good people at their worst. In criminal cases you see bad people at their best.

I am divorced, as are many of my friends. It’s a common thing these days. I am saddened when I see “adults” acting like children right at the time when they need to be the most adult for their children.

Family disagreement, especially one that leads to great change, is very difficult and is hard to keep a level head. I get it – been there.

I would say to anyone facing the difficulty of divorce or separation to remember that the true struggle is with yourself. Fight your tendencies to be childish and lack responsibility. And while you’re at the Mt. Everest of emotions and struggle – recognize there is great opportunity too.

Because when you’re fighting yourself, there can be either a winner or a loser. Either way it’s you.

-Posted by Brad Black, SWTCo founder and co-CEO

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Growing Pains

cow Pink P4083417 s[1]I remember my knees hurting when I was a teenager. My Mom told that these were growing pains, a natural part of getting older and bigger.

Our company is also growing and it is painful, at times. I remind myself of my knees when things get hard – and that pain is a part of growth.

I also think of the farmer and the calf. When the calf is born and the farmer lifts the calf easily. Every day the farmer picks up the growing calf until one day the farmer can no longer lift the calf. Then, they have to find a new way to do things.

So we find ourselves often questioning how we do things. I say regularly “just because we have been doing something for years doesn’t mean it’s the way to do things now”.

Our team not only has to change, they have to help the change happen. This is not easy on anyone, and we all feel the challenges.

Accepting that change is a constant is an important acknowledgement. It prepares us for the unexpected and for the opportunity behind it.

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The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

lucy with her new and old carMy daughter was rear ended by a mail truck in her 1991 Volvo. Everything was fine except, of course, the car. So we went to a local dealership for something less destroyed.

The choices were a Jetta and a Corolla. Right off the bat she got her heart set on the Toyota – didn’t need to drive the Jetta. A nice enough car, the price was right and the gas mileage better. So we agreed to get it.

I love my daughter, as any father does, and I couldn’t help imagining what would have happened if she got rear ended in this car as opposed to the tank she had been driving. The thing is, this car felt pretty lightweight.

So when it came time to sign, I started to have regrets. Fortunately there was a problem with the paperwork and I saw my chance to renegotiate.

However she wasn’t hot on test driving the Jetta.

Lucy is almost 18, very responsible with good judgment. And this was her choice to make. So I agreed that she could have the car she wanted. However she needed to acknowledge my concerns and take full accountability for her choice. She chose to test drive the Jetta.

As we pulled back into the parking lot at the dealership she said, “Wow, I feel so much better in this car!”

Sometimes you have to let the line out to catch the fish.

-Posted by Brad Black, SWTCo founder and co-CEO

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Off The Grid

A riverEvery year I make it a point to completely unplug. No cell phone, no microwave, no electricity.

This year I will be rafting the Salmon River in Idaho.

I live a life in which I am accountable for decisions that affect many lives. I need to be available 24/7.

While constant connection is necessary, so are times of “radio silence.”

Good actions need clarity – from reflection and refinement. My quick moving world often distracts me.

I will disconnect in order to connect with myself. I need this quiet in order to hear what I’m thinking, or not thinking.

In the roar of the rushing river I’ll be able to hear that quiet voice that guides me.

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Everything in Moderation

the trunk of brad's carLife is a balance….a juggle. A roller coaster of peaks and valleys.

There are good times and bad. A time to kick ass and a time to be mellow.

There is a time to talk and a time to listen. A time to laugh and a time to cry.

There is no set course except where life takes you – ups, downs, lefts and rights.

The above photo is of my trunk on Friday - a bucket of flowers, toilet paper, food and my tools.

Prepare for everything, expect nothing. Remember the flowers.

I’m happy, and sad too, and realize I need them both.

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brad and friendsWhen you’re young you tend to be friends with the people around you. As you get older your friends become the people that share the same beliefs and passions.

As these interests evolve, so do your friends.

Your friends are a reflection of you. They’re the mirror you see yourself in, hopefully in a positive light.

Today I find myself surrounded by a group of people as varied in industry as they are in background. We’re accomplished, clear about our priorities and have an understanding that we live our life according to our own rules. I love my friends for how they think and act and I value myself more because I see myself reflected in them.

Our common interest is spending time with other creative people, giving and receiving the kind of influence that makes our work better. We stoke each other’s fire.

Whether we’re making music, art, food, movies or soap, the sum of our collective action is greater than the total of its parts. Our work resonates everywhere and our influence is wider than it would ever be if we worked alone.

-Posted by Brad Black, SWTCo founder and co-CEO

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Go Outside.

A trail in Haida GwaiiI was recently on Haida Gwaii, an island off the Canadian coast just south of Alaska. It’s no easy trek to make, yet well worth it.

I took a long walk in the woods. Clicked 750 photos. Listened to birds, and to the quiet. It’s the time of year for moss, and the world was vivid green and so alive. The forest was a breathing thing around me and I was a part of it.

I met some incredible people, purchased an argillite totem (made by a local artist that I’ve been wanting to meet for years) and ate some great meals.

One thing that stands out in my memory is how great it is to explore the world. It’s much different than reading or watching a video about it. Life is very much about experiences. And trips like this transform you because of the rawness, the awesomeness and the curiosity.

We live in a world of many experts of nothing – at the click of a button. Take a break from the distracted. Go someplace that you know nothing of or have wanted to visit for a while. Be a part of it.

Go outside of your experience.

-Posted by Brad Black, SWTCo founder and co-CEO


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Everything about Everything

Brad's FamilyRecently I found myself in a conversation with someone that I thought was stupid and ignorant. This person did not know anything I wanted to learn. I became frustrated and short with them.

Damn, as I look back at myself, how could I have the expectation that this person should know everything about everything? Or that anyone should for that matter, including myself.

Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I was arrogant. I probably made that person feel badly with my frustration and shortness.

Life is about relationships – with others and with yourself. So, there should be compassion for all. There is no rush, why be impatient?

-Posted by Brad Black, SWTCo founder and co-CEO

Posted in Living Life, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Your Job

Lucy riding bikeI’ve had a few conversation with recent graduates. They seem burdened by the need to get a serious job. My reply in most instances is “Are you fucking crazy?”. They are stunned by my answer. Then, relieved.

Sure we need to make money. However being happy and fulfilled takes first place for me. Whether you’re flipping burgers, performing brain surgery or teaching a child to ride a bike you must be present, engaged and know how to communicate to be successful. You can learn a lot in college, however they don’t teach you this, and should, as this is our real job.

I’d like to see a series of courses around the subject “I am the only one that knows what’s best for me.” I’d like to see that idea built upon and taught. I didn’t start to figure this out until I was on my own, after graduation. I learned through bungee jumping, weaving my bicycle down Van Ness St at rush hour, and heading out to a party at 3am – by living life.

Slowly, the things that were important to me became important. “Seriousness” did follow. As did passion and clarity of purpose. And the ability to stand in most headwinds and navigate.

So after (hopefully) four years of ivy walls and moldy rooms, it’s time to let loose. To take what you’ve learned in life and experience it.

I was over 30 when we started EO. There’s plenty of time.

-Posted by Brad Black, SWTCo founder and co-CEO

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