Where do you see yourself in a year? 5 years? 10 years? By retirement?
That’s your endgame. The “roll credits” moment in your life where you step back and say, “I did it.”
What does that look like?
All too often I find that we can get caught up in our daily lives and find ourselves treading water, going through the motions, running on the mouse wheel, but never progressing in any particular direction.
When I go running, I’ve been using the Peloton Outdoor App (which, for the price of Netflix, I recommend if you are someone who runs outdoors). Each run is guided by a trainer who talks throughout the process and builds a music playlist for the run.
In the beginning of COVID, you may remember everyone jumping on the Peloton train as we all shuttered ourselves indoors. They gave away a 60-day free trial, which was great, but eventually ran out.
As someone who has the ability to make my own playlists and track my own runs with apps like MapMyRun, I decided I’d give it 60 more days to see if I could keep up with my routine as well as my effort during each run.
While my efforts were respectable, my ability to push myself in those moments I needed it most, or refuse to give myself some slack at the end of a hard interval, were challenged without having someone reminding me of my end game.
So, I signed back up.
The main reason I enjoy this app is because during each workout, you’re reminded of your endgame. Each of the trainers regularly recalibrate your focus to remind you of what you’re working towards: better stamina, weight loss, marathon training, intervals training, or, simply, to have fun on a run.
In those moments where sweat is pouring down my face and I’m inclined to take it back to a jog, there’s a voice in my ear reminding me of how great it’ll feel at the completion of the run knowing I gave it all I had in an effort to get to where I want to go.
The reason I bring this up is twofold:
Endgame as a concept has come up in my conversations with clients specifically surrounding growing on more than one occasion.
As you consider life decisions, such as taking on a new client, signing a new job offer, or making a large purchase, the main question you should be asking yourself is “Does this get me closer to my endgame?"
I’ll dive into these more in the following sections, but the takeaway is that regularly refocusing on the goal at hand will ensure that you don’t stray too far from progressing towards that goal.
1. Professionals in the Cannabis Space
Where do you want to end up? Management? Cultivation? Extraction? Business Owner?
Regardless of your industry, but especially in burgeoning industries like cannabis, knowing where you see yourself in the future will help inform your decisions in the present.
Sometimes, we are so eager to be in a certain industry, space, or role that we overlook how it affects our trajectory towards our endgame. And this holds especially true in the cannabis industry.
The turnover rate in cannabis is one of the highest of any industry, with bud tenders cycling through dispensaries sometimes in as little as a few weeks. What this says about the industry is twofold:
Candidates are not sure of what they want and therefore accept any opportunity that seems related to the main industry (cannabis) even if they are not interested in the professional trajectory of that role.
Candidates in these positions are flighty at best because they haven’t been set up for longterm success, and their loyalty will likely follow the newest, shiniest job posting.
Personally, I’ve watched this happen time and time again. I have good friends who are not great fits for their roles, but who enjoy being in the industry, and, as a result, have largely spent their years in the industry zig zagging from one entry-level role to another, hoping they will eventually find that one role that fits.
Instead, if they looked for a role that fit first, they’d likely be making greater progress towards their endgames (if they even know what they are).
Rather than hopping from different departments within the industry every 3-6 months, take a step back and try to identify what you actually want out of the job/role/professional path.
If your endgame is to be familiar with all aspects of a licensed operation, then spending 3-6 months in each role makes sense. If your goal is to be start-studded awesome at marketing, then spending your days trimming buds or working as a sales clerk/budtender wouldn’t make as much sense.
Now, granted, we all have bills to pay and I absolutely understand taking a job because you need it, even if you don’t want it. I also understand how overwhelming it can feel to sit down and figure out your life.
Look, there’s really no pressure. Think of it like a conversation with a good friend.
What’re you working on these days?
I’m trying to do _______ (goal) in the next _________ (timeframe).
That’s your answer. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Nor is it permanent; your goals evolve over time.
In essence, this is what your buddy that preaches about manifestation is talking about: regularly think about what goals you have and are working on. In the cannabis industry, it is easy to get distracted by all the smoke everyone is blowing (literally and figuratively) but knowing what you want will give you a baseline to check your decisions against.
2. Growing Better Cannabis
What do you want from your plants/grow?
As I mentioned, endgame has come up quite frequently in my work with clients as of late, particularly my writings on cultivation. You see, there are so many nuances to growing, and everyone seems to have the perfect answer.
But the most important question is: what are YOU looking for out of your plants?
My first plant, I was looking to keep it alive.
My second cycle, I was looking to improve air circulation.
Now, I’m working at improving my VPD situation to promote the qualities of my plants like aroma and girth that come from having proper grow conditions.
If your goal is to produce incredible solventless hash, you are going to grow very differently than someone who is looking to produce giant flowers, or from someone who is growing specifically for THC content for use in products like distillates or edibles.
Each endgame dictates different approaches in your grow, from what you’re feeding to the environment you’re maintaining.
Sure, there’s always things you can tweak to improve your trajectory, but there’s also a point where you have to align what you are doing with what you are hoping to achieve: If you’re trying out a small plant for the first time for fun, then you don’t need to invest $1,000s in grow equipment. Conversely, if you are attempting to become a solventless extractor, then you’re going to want to invest in lights, nutrients and genetics designed to enhance resin production, as well as the post-processing equipment needed to perfect your craft.
So, while a certain process may work well for a buddy of yours or for someone you follow on the internet, it’s important to take that with the grain of salt. Grow advice is subjective to your setup and your endgame.
– – –
Here’s a picture of my current flower situation. On the left, I’ve got two Tangie plants, and on the right, I’m flowering out the Blueberry and Sherbadough cuts that I got from Archive for the first time.
As you can tell, I had some issues with lockout on the left side with my Tangie plants (this is why the leaves are yellowing), which changed my endgame for those plants. Originally, my endgame was to improve upon the Tangie I harvested last cycle; when they went into lockout, my endgame changed to saving the plants and doing my best to fix the lockout situation.
I’ll also point out that, as I said, I’m no expert, and, as every grower says, you learn best how to deal with an issue by experiencing it firsthand. While I’d had experience with lockout using chelated salts, I wasn’t aware you could lock a plant out with organics, and, through my talks with more experienced growers than myself, learned that my lockout was likely a combination of three variables: overfeeding, poor pH, and improper VPD. While each of these may have been overcome by the plants independently, combined they were a recipe for disaster, and thus, lockout.
But, with some luck and technique, I hope to have saved these babes, and I learned a whole bunch about a slew of variables that will inform my efforts, and endgames, moving forward.
3. Cannabis Myth-Busting
Myth: High prices = high quality; low prices = low quality.
Today’s myth surrounds pricing as it relates to quality. It is very common to assume that the higher the price, the better the quality, and sometimes that’s a great frame of reference if you have none. Other times, it speaks less to the product and more to the marketing behind it.
For example, there has been a ton of hype surrounding Denver’s newest dispensary from the famed COOKIES brand. Even in the midst of a pandemic, 100s of people line up every Friday for the COOKIES drop, and 100s more lined up to be among the first to shop at the new Denver location.
There is a certain hype and social status to flexing those blue mylar bags all over the interwebs. COOKIES brand flower is among the most expensive flower you can buy in Colorado currently. And, while the product is definitely quality, I would not say that the quality matches the price. But that doesn’t matter to COOKIES, because the endgame of their pricing structure is to elevate and maintain a certain status for their products and brands. Hate them or love them, it’s working.
Conversely, brands like Apothecary Extracts have the endgame of making quality concentrates affordable to the masses. This results in products that are typically priced 25-50% less than competitors while maintaining a quality that is equal or better. Similarly, hate it or love it, brands like AE are proving that you don’t HAVE to charge an arm and a leg for quality, especially if your goal is to get more products into more people’s hands, rather than ensuring exclusivity.
Both companies are doing very well, with multiple retail outlets in multiple states, and brand recognition that spans the country (and globe). Both have very different endgames, and thus very different approaches to pricing, marketing, and running their businesses.
But at the end of the day, the “price” does not dictate the quality, rather, the endgame dictates the price.
4. Navigating the Nuances
Endgame: Your future goal for what you’re doing in the present. The finish line. The “I made it” moment. The checkpoint that signals it’s time to go on to the next goal.
Lockout: Lockout is when your plant’s roots stop absorbing nutrients, either due to high concentrations, salt buildup, burnt roots, or a variety of issues. It’s like locking yourself out of your house while everyone is waiting for food inside, except your house is the root system of your plants, and you are the nutrient who can no longer get in to feed everyone.
Hash: Had a great conversation about this with one of my clients this week. Hash is colloquially used to refer to all concentrates, regardless of the process used to create them. Specifically, I consider “hash” to be solventless concentrates separated from the flower through traditional bubble hash and rosin procedures.
Solventless: Generally speaking, concentrates are made with or without solvents such as butane, pentane, propane, CO2, hexane, and a bunch of other -ane’s. “Solventless” products are made without chemical solvents, relying on water, ice, heat, and mechanical separation to extract the resins of the plant. Technically, water is the solvent, but it’s not actually creating a solution as would typically be defined, which is why we refer to water hash as “solventless”. (Try telling someone who prefers solventless that water is a solvent and watch their head explode.)
Flexing: Showing off. Being ostentatious. Especially if you’re faking it. In the same way that bodybuilders flex their muscles, many in society “flex” their income, possessions, skills, or bodies for reactions from an audience.
5. Blunts with Ben
Sticking to our motif of Endgame Over Everything, I wanted to call to attention your endgame for interacting with others.
I tweeted recently that if I waved, said Hi, or otherwise greeted you (a random person I encountered during my day) and you ignored me (no wave, returned greeting, head nod, grunt, etc.) that I automatically assume you’re an asshole.
I stand by this assumption.
But it also called into question WHY I was greeting others and WHY I felt that their responses indicated asshole-ness.
Since COVID hit, I’ve been putting extra effort into spreading positive energy to others by greeting them cheerfully whenever I can. This is my endgame.
From the clerk at the grocery store to the grumpy guy with his tiny ankle-biter dog that brusquely shoves his way past me while walking my dog, I am hyper aware of our lack of interaction with one another this past year. So, when I do interact with people, I try to make it a pleasant one for everyone’s benefit.
Also, personally, I have older family members who don’t get out as much normally, let alone with COVID, and, when I get the chance to spread some good cheer to someone who appears lonely or elderly, it seems like a perfect opportunity to work on my endgame of spreading positivity instead of negativity.
It’s so easy for us to curse the driver in front of us, the slow cashier at the grocer, the guy who swiped the last Tropaya Cream SHO Badder from the dispensary, and yet, what is the endgame in doing so? What goal do we hope to achieve by casting this negative energy towards one another?
Don’t get me wrong, I catch myself doing it all the time, and if my effort to share good will is rebuked, best believe I’m throwing some negative energy that way, but, as we refocus and step back to examine our actions, there doesn’t seem to be a justifiable endgame to the negative actions, whereas spreading some cheer seems to “make the world a better place.”
(God, that is so cliche, but it’s so true.)
So, as you approach interactions, whether they are casual greetings on the road of life or specific events and occasions, consider your endgame for those interactions and consciously work towards achieving them.
If you have a coffee date with an old friend, make your endgame to leave the meeting knowing what they’ve been up to and what they’re favorite recipes have been during the pandemic.
If you’re Skyping with a relative, make your endgame to learn something new about their lives or to impart advice that they can use in their daily life.
Of, if you’re meeting up with a buddy because it’s his birthday and he’s too exhausted to plan anything after a 12 hour shift, make your endgame to get him as high as possible and have some good laughs.
Whatever your endgame, I hope this week’s email helps you focus a bit more on achieving it, or working in the right direction with your life, your plants, and your interactions with others.
If you enjoyed this Substack, please give it a like by clicking the heart at the top or bottom of this email/post.
If you’re interested in what I’ve been writing recently, I’ve linked a recent piece below for your weekly reading list (there’s more in the works, but election coverage would bury almost anything published this week: