083—What's one thing you're proud of doing this year?

083—What's one thing you're proud of doing this year?


🧠 Branding the Problem 
🖼 Show & Tell (Scotch & Bean) 👉 12 Days of Cardmas

This the 80th edition of Cultivating Resilience, a weekly newsletter how we build, adapt, and lead in times of change—brought to you by Jason Shen, a PM, resilience coach, 1st gen immigrant, ex-gymnast, and 3x startup founder.

🤔 What's one thing you're proud of?

Social science suggests that pride is a deeply ingrained human behavior, with kids first experiencing it as early as 30 months into life. Research believe that pride is a emotion that motivates and reinforces socially valued behaviors that earn you social status and respect.

And it turns out talking about what you're proud of is part of that!

Proud individuals ensure these benefits by directly informing others of their accomplishments; the two most frequent behavioral responses to a pride experience are ‘‘making contact with others’’ (reported by 47% of individuals experiencing pride) and ‘‘seeking out others’’ (39%; Noftle & Robins, 2006).
So tell me: what's one thing you're proud of doing this year?

Doesn't have to be the "most important" thing or the thing you'll put in your annual review. But just something that mattered to you. Tell me so I can celebrate with you!

Once again, reply back over email (it just goes to me) and I'll share with you my answer!

🧠 The Importance of Branding a Problem

I'm reading a great book called Upstream by Dan Heath about the challenge of preventative efforts to solve problems before they happen. This is obviously a huge challenge when you think about things like climate change, public health, or anti-Asian hate.

Upstream - The Question to Solve Problems Before They Happen

Buy on Amazon

One of the ideas Dan articulates is about problem blindness. The idea that until we really make it clear that something is a problem, we can't solve it. This may seem obvious, but there are a lot of problems people will dismiss as simply "how things go".

One such example is sexual harassment, a term coined by a journalist named Lin Forley who had been teaching at Cornell about women in the workplace.

Forley cast about intentionally for a term—a label—that would capture these shared experiences, and she settled on sexual harassment. She later wrote in the New York Times, “Working women immediately took up the phrase, which finally captured the sexual coercion they were experiencing daily. No longer did they have to explain to their friends and family that ‘he hit on me and wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I had to quit.’ What he did had a name.”

An evocative yet descriptive name can do wonders. As Napkin Math explained in a great piece about why Qualtrics beat Survey Monkey (now Momentive).

Qualtrics invented something entirely their own, “Experience Management.” What is this? Who cares! Sounds a hell of a lot more valuable than “survey software.” The core difference between Qualtrics and everyone else is this choice. By doing experience management versus selling software they have shifted from selling tools to selling outcomes.

I'm working on a project at work that many might consider to be similarly endemic to a big company, so reading this makes me think that I might need to do more to "brand" the problem so to speak.

Upstream - Heath Brothers
New York Times bestselling author Dan Heath examines how to prevent problems before they happen, drawing on insights from hundreds of interviews with unconventional problem solvers. So often in life, we get stuck in a cycle of response. We put out fires. We deal with emergencies. We stay downstream,…
Product-Led Growth’s Failure
How a Scrappy Utah Software Company Ignored Every Silicon Valley Heuristic and Won Anyway


Longtime readers will remember my musing about his missing coauthor and brother Chip in Edition #015 - we now have more info: Chip has a new book out with a different coauthor about communicating numbers!

🖼 Show & Tell (Scotch & Bean #035)

Scotch gets his revenge on Espresso after 034 - Shadow.

Scotch & Bean is a webcomic by me, Jason Shen, about friends at work. Tried making it animated today - what do you think?

👉 Ghost's 12 Days of Cardmas

I've written before about being a big fan of the Ghost platform (having migrated this newsletter over to it recently). Recently, the team rolled out 12 awesome new features in the last few weeks. I even got together with some Ghost creators to thank them for the effort.

Keen readers will notice that I've shared a bunch of these new capabilities throughout this issue of the newsletter.

Thank you for being a member of Cultivating Resilience. This newsletter has spread almost exclusively by word of mouth. Would you help share it with a friend or two who might also enjoy it?

More Resources and Fun Stuff

  • Book Notes: Summaries / quotes from great books I've read
  • Scotch & Bean: a webcomic about work, friendship, and wellness
  • Birthday Lessons: Ideas, questions, and principles I've picked up over the years
  • Career Spotlight: A deep dive into my journey as an athlete, PM, founder, and creator.