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Letters to My Daughters

Letters to My Daughters

For the past twelve years, I’ve been working on a journal filled with entries from me to Emilia. I’ve been doing the same in a second journal for the past decade with entries to Ivy.

For me, this is a form of legacy. It takes very little of my time (I average about one entry in each, per month) to create something in which they may find great value.

Could you ever put a price on a book filled with letters that one of your parents wrote, specifically to you, for the first 15 years of your life?

I made a Facebook Live video about these journals in The Sweet Life group, because I wanted to share not only what they are, but also show what they look like and the various treasures I hide in the pages (a letter to Santa, a note from a teacher, a drawing).

Legacy is one of the things that Mike and I make an effort to talk about – to consider. Legacy is more than making sure someone doesn’t go into debt handling your affairs after you die. It’s about the connections we create and difference we make in the lives of those around us.

I’m not sure when I’ll give the girls their journals. When they graduate high school? When they’re twenty-five? At what age or stage is a person able to appreciate a parent’s chronicle?

They’ll read stories they know well and stories they’ve never heard before. They’ll read of their developing personalities, and struggles I’ve gone through along the way. They’ll be reminded of adventures we’ve had which otherwise might have remained forgotten.

As their mother, we’ll likely go through many times when they don’t like me very much. That’s okay. Regardless, they’ll each have a book of my honest thoughts in my own handwriting – about us, our relationship, and our lives.

Join The Community!

Join our Facebook GroupJoin the quest for “The Sweet Life.”  Request access to our Facebook Group.  Let’s learn from each other!  GO HERE

Free Audio Book Download

Full Unabridged Audio Book “Vagabonding With Kids” by AK Turner!  GO HERE

Take The SWEET LIFE Assessment

See how you score? Identify your strengths. Discover areas in your life you want to improve. GO HERE.

Giving Back

Amanda and Mike launched an Impact Club in their hometown of Boise, Idaho in 2017, and have had a blast gathering like-minded individuals, families, and organizations to make significant impact in our community, raising over $200,000 locally and over $1.5 million nationally.  

Join Our Next Monthly CHALLENGE

Every month Amanda and Mike pick a month-long challenge that pushes us out of our comfort zone so we can grow, learn, and become better versions of ourselves.  Sometimes we design our own unique challenge and other times we join pre-established challenges. Email us to find out about our next upcoming challenge. Us@BusinessofUs.com

About Us

Our Story | Mike and Amanda TurnerWe are Mike and Amanda Turner, founders of “The Business of Us.” We are fierce advocates of helping entrepreneurial couples and families improve their lives, livelihoods, and legacies… READ MORE

Life is Not a Seasonal Sport

Life is Not a Seasonal Sport

I played almost every sport I could in my youth. Growing up on an Island in Alaska, if you played sports, that meant you would either take a multi-day ferry ride or an airplane when it came time to play another team. Playing sports was our primary way off the island.

My challenge was that I was always far from the best player on the team. But I did everything I could to make it on the traveling team. That meant showing up with my best effort all the time.

It bothered me that I wasn’t as good as my friends, so I aimed to make up my lack of talent with hustle.

But with each passing grade level, it becomes harder and harder to make a sports team. Eventually, coaches are forced to cut players, and if you want the starting varsity spot, you have to prove you are the best player available to take that spot.

My motto in sports was, “You can’t outwork me.”

With wind sprint drills, the faster runners would beat me easily, but the longer the coach pushed us, I eventually would lead in sprints because I maintained my speed while they slowed down.

I would add extra workouts in before school, I’d spend more time in the gym hitting the weights, anything to help get an extra edge.

Even with all that effort, I was still far from the best player, but throughout my time playing sports, I knew my coaches always appreciated having me on the team because I set a great example for the other players.

At the end of the season, I wouldn’t be the one recognized for having the best stats, or the most wins, but I was regularly honored with some sort of “Coach Appreciation Award” for my efforts.

At the time, I didn’t think much of these. Another coach’s award? Great. It felt like a consolation prize. I would have much preferred to have the first place trophies.

But now I understand. And I’m grateful. The coaches knew that effort matters, and the fact that they made a special point to recognize and honor me for my efforts humbles me to think about now.

You get to choose the effort you put out every day.

When Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden tutored young quarterbacks, his parting advice was: “Go lead the league in effort. That’s the one thing that requires no talent at all. It’s simply a decision you make.”

“In life, effort matters more than talent, because effort breeds talent.”

In school sports we can get cut, or even if we make the team we eventually run out of time when the season ends.

But with life skills like education, fitness, speaking, parenting, relationships, business, and storytelling, we have an endless arena in which to improve.

And if we commit, if we show up with our best effort every day, our talent improves in 1% increments.

1% improvements can feel like you are not moving forward. Which leads to frustration and often kills effort.

“Life is not a seasonal sport. There is no offseason. You must play the long game.”

We have plenty of time to win the coach’s award in effort and allow the 1% improvements to compound. But don’t take “plenty of time” for granted either. As Gary Vaynerchuck says, be urgent in the micro, and patient in the macro.

Sustained effort is the hardest life-sport there is. But it can yield the biggest wins.

You just have to “go lead the league in effort.”

Join The Community!

Join our Facebook GroupJoin the quest for “The Sweet Life.”  Request access to our Facebook Group.  Let’s learn from each other!  GO HERE

Free Audio Book Download

Full Unabridged Audio Book “Vagabonding With Kids” by AK Turner!  GO HERE

Take The SWEET LIFE Assessment

See how you score? Identify your strengths. Discover areas in your life you want to improve. GO HERE.

Giving Back

Amanda and Mike launched an Impact Club in their hometown of Boise, Idaho in 2017, and have had a blast gathering like-minded individuals, families, and organizations to make significant impact in our community, raising over $200,000 locally and over $1.5 million nationally.  

Join Our Next Monthly CHALLENGE

Every month Amanda and Mike pick a month-long challenge that pushes us out of our comfort zone so we can grow, learn, and become better versions of ourselves.  Sometimes we design our own unique challenge and other times we join pre-established challenges. Email us to find out about our next upcoming challenge. Us@BusinessofUs.com

About Us

Our Story | Mike and Amanda TurnerWe are Mike and Amanda Turner, founders of “The Business of Us.” We are fierce advocates of helping entrepreneurial couples and families improve their lives, livelihoods, and legacies… READ MORE

Scrappy and Proud

Scrappy and Proud

My 7th grade daughter just won 6th place in the city-wide tennis tournament.

To say I’m proud is an understatement. Here’s why.

6th place was frustrating to Emilia because she lost two very close matches.

But what she failed to see was how much of an underdog she was in this tournament.

In 7th grade tennis, most kids are playing for the first time, as true beginners, and this is the case for Emilia as well. She just started playing tennis, but because she was often matched with other beginners in the sport this season, she won more matches than she lost.

But there was something about this tournament that really brought out the fighter in Emilia.

In the tournament, her matches got progressively harder as the talent and experience of the other players improved.

It would be quite evident to Amanda and me that her opponent was more experienced with their first serve of the game.

Many of her opponents had great form, polished backhands, and level swings of their rackets, illustrating that they had either been playing for some time or they were very well-coached.

Meanwhile, it was apparent from Emilia’s lack of form and unorthodox ways of hitting the ball that she was indeed a beginner.

But even though Emilia was often outmatched in skills and talent, she found a way to compete in every game. The best way to describe it is she played hard and scrappy.

When I wrestled in high school, some of the best wrestlers were labeled “scrappy.”

Scrappy in this context meant these wrestlers didn’t give up; they kept fighting hard even when it looked like there was no way to escape or avoid being scored against. This trait made them dangerous and hard to beat.

And that’s what Emilia was in this tournament. She was hard to beat.

She would lose points by not serving well or by making rookie mistakes, but she would gain them back by not giving up on difficult rallies.

The girls she would play against often hit the ball harder and with more accuracy, but Emilia would find a way to get the ball back over the net time and time again.

Her persistent style was challenging for her to keep up through the long tournament, but she hung in there and ended up 6th out of 60+ girls.

She didn’t want to talk to us for close to an hour after her last match, because she was so frustrated that she lost. That’s how much fight she had in her.

Emilia is 12. She hasn’t been interested in playing sports until recently. In fact, she almost didn’t sign up for tennis, but her aunt talked her into it right before the season started.

I hope Emilia can see what I see. She is a fighter.

I hope she’s learning that she doesn’t need to be the best player on the court to win; she needs to be the toughest player who doesn’t give up.

The very next day after the tournament, basketball season started with the first week entirely dedicated to tryouts.

Emilia is basically a beginner here too compared to many of the girls trying out, but she told me this morning she’s going to fight as hard she can to make the team.

I hope her coach sees the value in having a scrappy player like Emilia on his squad. But regardless of the outcome of tryouts, I’m watching her once again fight for it.

And all I can think to say about that is, “That’s my girl… keep fighting. I’m proud of you.”

Join The Community!

Join our Facebook GroupJoin the quest for “The Sweet Life.”  Request access to our Facebook Group.  Let’s learn from each other!  GO HERE

Free Audio Book Download

Full Unabridged Audio Book “Vagabonding With Kids” by AK Turner!  GO HERE

Take The SWEET LIFE Assessment

See how you score? Identify your strengths. Discover areas in your life you want to improve. GO HERE.

Giving Back

Amanda and Mike launched an Impact Club in their hometown of Boise, Idaho in 2017, and have had a blast gathering like-minded individuals, families, and organizations to make significant impact in our community, raising over $200,000 locally and over $1.5 million nationally.  

Join Our Next Monthly CHALLENGE

Every month Amanda and Mike pick a month-long challenge that pushes us out of our comfort zone so we can grow, learn, and become better versions of ourselves.  Sometimes we design our own unique challenge and other times we join pre-established challenges. Email us to find out about our next upcoming challenge. Us@BusinessofUs.com

About Us

Our Story | Mike and Amanda TurnerWe are Mike and Amanda Turner, founders of “The Business of Us.” We are fierce advocates of helping entrepreneurial couples and families improve their lives, livelihoods, and legacies… READ MORE

Driven To Be Something More

Driven To Be Something More

My friend Ryan Fletcher recently wrote something that spoke to me (I’ve paired this down from the original).

At first, I hated the pressure and burden of feeling called to become something great. It’s a torture chamber. You know your potential. Yet, you have no idea how to get there. This leads to despair and misery, and always feeling like you’re letting yourself down. 

It’s not always fun to be the 5% that feels called to become great. But if I accept it, I will build a life of vast meaning. Quitting isn’t an option. I am a slave to my purpose. My job to achieve that purpose is mission-critical. If I quit, my Lesser Self wins. And millions of the brightest lights may never get lit.”

Many of us are driven. But few are driven to be great. 

I don’t know why I feel driven to be great. But I do. 

It drives me to wake up early to stare at a blank page, and then write letters like this one.

I could be doing a million other things that could result in making more money today, but here I am reading, writing, and trying to learn ways to improve myself and help others do the same.

Sometimes I think, “Why Me?” 

Why can’t I just be satisfied with sleeping in today? 

Ryan described it well when he said, it’s a torture chamber when you know your potential but have no idea how to get there and feeling like you’re letting yourself down.

Sleeping-in feels like I’m letting myself down, it feels like torture. 

In contrast, writing letters like this gives me a warm feeling inside like I’m on the right path. 

I’m not a religious person, yet I know my moral compass always points north. 

I’m not a spiritual person, but I do feel like I’m being guided.

I don’t know why I’m driven the way I am. But it’s there, speaking to me every day. 

It’s clear to me that finding a way to answer that nagging inner drive is how we find our true potential. It’s also clear to me that this isn’t a temporary mission, but rather a lifelong mission that takes daily endurance. 

I don’t know why I’m driven the way I am, but I know I’m not the only one.

#TheBusinessofUs #Driven
#TheSweetLife

Join The Community!

Join our Facebook GroupJoin the quest for “The Sweet Life.”  Request access to our Facebook Group.  Let’s learn from each other!  GO HERE

Free Audio Book Download

Full Unabridged Audio Book “Vagabonding With Kids” by AK Turner!  GO HERE

Take The SWEET LIFE Assessment

See how you score? Identify your strengths. Discover areas in your life you want to improve. GO HERE.

Giving Back

Amanda and Mike launched an Impact Club in their hometown of Boise, Idaho in 2017, and have had a blast gathering like-minded individuals, families, and organizations to make significant impact in our community, raising over $200,000 locally and over $1.5 million nationally.  

About Us

Our Story | Mike and Amanda TurnerWe are Mike and Amanda Turner, founders of “The Business of Us.” We are fierce advocates of helping entrepreneurial couples and families improve their lives, livelihoods, and legacies… READ MORE

Quote Image for 'The Price of Kindness' a The Sweet Life article by Amanda Turner

The Price of Kindness

When I think about what it is to be kind, it doesn’t always mean going out of your way to help strangers and give compliments and donate your time. Sometimes kindness is as simple as holding your tongue.

Quote Image for 'Do You Have a Young Reader' a The Sweet Life article by Amanda Turner

Do You Have a Young Reader

There are a million wonderful foods out there, but you’ll never know if you won’t even give them a try. “It’s the same with books, Ivy,” he said. “You’ll never know if you’ll like a book because you won’t even try it.” She is almost always willing to try new foods, so I’m hoping this comparison gets through to her.

Quote Image for 'Little Changes' a The Sweet Life article by Amanda Turner

Little Changes

A week or so back from our most recent trip, I began to notice that while my daughters got ready for school, I’d have half-hearted conversations with them, but with my focus largely on my laptop. It didn’t sit well with me, so I don’t do that anymore. That laptop stays closed.

Quote Image for 'Adult(ish)' a The Sweet Life article by Amanda Turner

Adult(ish)

What we don’t realize as kids, however, is that the adults around us are constantly having to adapt the plans. Or sometimes the plans aren’t even really plans, they’re just events that come up. To a kid, it all seems so orchestrated.

Quote Image for 'We’re Going to Camp' a The Sweet Life article by Amanda Turner

We’re Going to Camp

We signed two contracts for two retreats. The first contract we signed the day before we left and the second one on the DAY we left, right before heading to the airport. Some of our friends were surprised to learn that we booked two different venues. Why not simplify things and have everything at one place? But we have two different groups in mind. The first retreat will be for writers and the second for couples.

Mindset & What Truly Matters

Mindset & What Truly Matters

As an aspiring writer, I was constantly consumed with goals. What would lead to publication? What would bring in money? Would fame follow if I wrote a space opera werewolf romance?

It’s easy to get caught up in this mindset, especially in the beginning. I wasn’t thinking about my writing in a long-term context. Of what it might mean and to whom.

Until one day in early 2007 when I purchased a blank, hardbound journal. I decided then that I would spend the next decade or so writing for an audience of one. I would fill the book with entries from me to my daughter.

I’ve been writing this book for over twelve years. When her sister came along, I purchased another blank journal, in which I’ve been writing for just over a decade.

I remember when I sat down to make my first entry. What pen would I use? Should I wait and research to find the perfect pen? Would I write in print or cursive? I looked over at Emilia, an infant barricaded by pillows on one end of the couch, sleeping, drooling, and occasionally farting.

Would my writing even matter? No one would read it anytime soon. When would I give it to her? When she was sixteen? Eighteen? Twenty-five? What did I have to say, anyway?

All of the demons and doubts grew from my desire for instant gratification. There would be no reward, not then and maybe not ever, for my efforts. If words are written and go unread, do they still exist?

Anyone who keeps a regular journal will tell you that yes, they absolutely do exist and they have meaning. Which is why aspiring writers are so often encouraged to journal. This breaks the mindset of continually looking for the gain (publication or paycheck). You cannot improve if you do not write. And you will not write if you are all-consumed with what you’re going to get for your efforts.

I told myself two words: Just Begin.

I knew very little about my audience of one. I had no inclination as to how her humor, her personality, or temperament might evolve. I stopped worrying about it, focusing instead on what I felt and wanted to communicate. One sentence led to the next. A page turned into two. A year’s worth of entries. Then five years. Now twelve.

When Tony Doerr wrote All the Light We Cannot See (on which he spent over a decade), did he approach each chapter with the mindset of, “I’m going to write this so that I can win a Pulitzer”? I’m thinking not.

When we allocate our efforts, we have a choice:

#1. I’m doing this for the short-term, feel good, or superficial gain.

#2. I’m in it for the long haul in pursuit of improvement, meaningful connection, to better the world around me, or to create positive and lasting legacy.

Whichever mindset we adopt from the start will have huge impact on the work we produce.

This doesn’t just apply to writing, but to everything:

• Are you working out just to cross it off the list (short-term, feel good), or are you truly pushing yourself in pursuit of greater health?

• Are you churning out the space opera werewolf romance because you heard it’s the latest trend (superficial gain), or are you working on creating meaningful connection?

• Are you fighting for what you really believe in (better the world around you), or joining a cause for the sake of appearance?

Before my genre-loving friends snap their #2 pencils in half, YES, I believe a well-crafted space opera werewolf romance can create meaningful connection. But make sure that it’s what you truly feel called to create, rather than grasping for the latest fad.

I connected with readers through my first humor series. It worked. But by the time the series was finished, I KNEW it was finished. I’d moved from the mindset of checking goals off my to-do list (Publish! Publish! Publish!) and leaned into the mindset of what truly matters (improvement, meaningful connection, better the world around me, create positive and lasting legacy).

When I think now about what matters, sometimes it’s as simple as writing for an audience of one.

Join The Community!

Join our Facebook GroupJoin the quest for “The Sweet Life.”  Request access to our Facebook Group.  Let’s learn from each other!  GO HERE

Free Audio Book Download

Full Unabridged Audio Book “Vagabonding With Kids” by AK Turner!  GO HERE

Take The SWEET LIFE Assessment

See how you score? Identify your strengths. Discover areas in your life you want to improve. GO HERE.

Giving Back

Amanda and Mike launched an Impact Club in their hometown of Boise, Idaho in 2017, and have had a blast gathering like-minded individuals, families, and organizations to make significant impact in our community, raising over $200,000 locally and over $1.5 million nationally.  

About Us

Our Story | Mike and Amanda TurnerWe are Mike and Amanda Turner, founders of “The Business of Us.” We are fierce advocates of helping entrepreneurial couples and families improve their lives, livelihoods, and legacies… READ MORE

Have reverence for those who give

Have reverence for those who give

Mom Tickets

For my birthday, Ivy presented me with Mom Tickets and five, one-dollar bills.

I can redeem the Mom Tickets for various chores. Mopping the floor (up to ten times, good for one year), doing the dishes (up to five times, good for three weeks), and unlimited back massages over the course of the next month.

There are also tickets for breakfast in bed, help making dinner, the power to choose what we watch on movie night, and getting to have dessert (unlimited and with no expiration date).

The last ticket is a Bonus Ticket. It reads: Choose whatever ticket you liked the most and do it again!

Her gifts to me are a perfect reflection of who she is. Sugar-obsessed, hence the lack of parameters on the dessert ticket, but also centered on doing things for others.

When she was younger, she used to ask all the time, “Can I be your service?”

This meant she wanted to be told what to do. Bring me a glass of water, rub my feet, make me toast. She is compelled to serve.

We used to intervene when we’d see Emilia ordering Ivy around. “But she wants to do my chores for me,” Emilia would say. “She wants to be my service.” Ivy would nod in confirmation.

For years, Ivy was obsessed with waitresses. She would tell them how pretty they were. A waitress could be plagued with boils on her face, and Ivy would tell her she was pretty. Because a waitress was the embodiment of serving other people. To Ivy, that was beautiful.

As she’s grown, she’s recognized that service extends beyond the waitress. Her fixation with waitresses faded and she became obsessed with teachers. At the end of the last school year, she came home sobbing, distraught that her beloved Mrs. Sosa would no longer be her teacher.

She has reverence for those who give.

I’m not sure if this is something she’ll grow out of (I hope not), but it’s a beautiful thing to see.

For the foreseeable future, I have someone to help me with the household chores. And those five, one-dollar bills are going to make their way back to her in the form of tips.

Join The Community!

Join our Facebook GroupJoin the quest for “The Sweet Life.”  Request access to our Facebook Group.  Let’s learn from each other!  GO HERE

Free Audio Book Download

Full Unabridged Audio Book “Vagabonding With Kids” by AK Turner!  GO HERE

Take The SWEET LIFE Assessment

See how you score? Identify your strengths. Discover areas in your life you want to improve. GO HERE.

Giving Back

Amanda and Mike launched an Impact Club in their hometown of Boise, Idaho in 2017, and have had a blast gathering like-minded individuals, families, and organizations to make significant impact in our community, raising over $200,000 locally and over $1.5 million nationally.  

About Us

Our Story | Mike and Amanda TurnerWe are Mike and Amanda Turner, founders of “The Business of Us.” We are fierce advocates of helping entrepreneurial couples and families improve their lives, livelihoods, and legacies… READ MORE

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