“Life was so much simpler when I was young.”

Have you ever heard somebody say that? Have you ever thought it yourself? I certainly have.

And yet, thinking about it, was life really all that simple for me when I was young?

Let’s see, my parents divorced when I was five, after which my mom moved us a few times (all within the same small town) before we finally settled down. I rarely saw my father. I was short and shy and had terrible allergies, which resulted in hearing loss, which resulted in speech issues for which I had to…


To be clear, I’m actually a big fan of roller coasters.

Except for the oddly-named “Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit” coaster at Universal Studios in Florida, of course. That thing was brutal. I walked away from it almost three years ago feeling as if I’d just been mugged in a dark alley, and had to scramble to make sure my glasses were still on my face and my wallet in my pocket.

Putting that bad experience aside, though, roller coasters offer the promise of excitement. …


“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

Stephen King offered this advice in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. It’s not original to him, of course. Or to William Faulkner or Oscar Wilde, who both expressed something similar. Apparently the sentiment goes back more than a century to another book about writing published in 1916 by Arthur Quiller-Couch.

Whoever said it and whenever they said it, the underlying idea is that writers should be willing to lose a particularly compelling or well-written sentence, paragraph, plot thread…


A few weeks ago, somebody on my LinkedIn feed posted this meme, which has been making the rounds on the internet for years now, in blog posts and on social media. It illustrates the difference between “your plan” and Reality.

Most people who see this for the first time either chuckle or groan. Maybe both. The professionals out there who are in charge of project management mostly groan. Because it speaks a truth about how Reality tends to get in the way of things like planning and deadlines and budget caps.

Scottish poet Robbie Burns painted a similar picture to…


Late last night, after a long day, long week, and even longer month, with the family room to myself, I sat down and did something I haven’t done in a while. I started flipping around the TV channels.

Normally, when I do watch TV, it’s something available on demand, or that I’ve specifically recorded in advance. This makes it easier to control the amount of time I spend, and to do it at times that are most convenient for me.

But last night, for whatever reason, I felt the urge to take my chances. …


To be honest, I’ve had a hard time writing these past couple of weeks.

Yes, I had to deal with a sinus infection, and yes, our hot water heater died last week, and yes, it’s tricky when the two breadwinners, a college student, and a high schooler are all trying to “work from home” in our house where, for the most part, it used to be just me.

And yes, the world has suddenly turned upside-down, in a way that makes the relative value of the Charmin toilet paper in our closet seem higher than all of the tech stocks…


Half a life ago, my sister passed away at the too-young age of 31 as a result of complications that inevitably arose from being a juvenile diabetic. And then, as if that weren’t enough, the following year, my biological father took his own life.

Needless to say, for the few years after this, I had to process a lot of grief.

Besides the emotional impact of losing her, my sister’s death hit me hard because it was the first death I’d ever truly experienced. …


The stories we tell ourselves often exist to bring us comfort. Predictability. Certainty. Even in the face of change or crisis. Or maybe because of it.

For instance, some companies don’t like the idea of letting their people work from home. It simply doesn’t fit the business story they tell themselves. Perhaps they worry about the logistics of meetings. Or about employees watching Netflix instead of getting work done.

Recently, though, health concerns raised by the coronavirus have forced many of these companies to rethink their stance.

For myself, I have a fair amount of experience as a remote worker…


The other day, as I sat at the kitchen counter, I happened to look up, and saw that what had been a rather small yellow stain on the ceiling the week before was growing.

This filled me with dread, of course, because it meant we probably had a water leak in the upstairs bathroom. Which is just above the kitchen.

After investigating, sure enough, the floor around the edge of the upstairs toilet was wet.

My first thought was that the wax seal under the 20 year old toilet had gone dry, was cracking, and needed to be replaced. Which…


As we head into 2020 soon, it seems like a good time to talk about vision.

Growing up, my vision was always 20/20 or better, and it stayed that way throughout my childhood and teenage years. But the thing is, I read a lot of books back then.

Let me emphasize that last statement: I read A LOT of books.

I read them in my room, in the car (no motion sickness for me), in the corner of the kindergarten classroom while all the other kids were playing outside during recess. Sometimes late into the night, under the covers, using…

Randy Heller

Story Guru for Small Businesses, Startups, and Solopreneurs, found at RandyHeller.com & linkedin.com/in/RandyHeller

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