“It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own.”

 – Marcus Aurelius

At some stage in your career, you will want to go beyond the technical aspect of your work. For me, the technical is content marketing. It’s a fast-changing industry, but I know that the difference between me and someone like me isn’t found in what we know. The difference is found in our ability to communicate – for me that’s teaching and coaching. 

If I want to get further and be better, I need to be a world-class communicator.

Developing your own self-awareness is perhaps the most crucial element for personal growth. It’s certainly been the most powerful and dramatic shift I’ve had in my life so far. 

In the past few years, I can count on one hand the number of industry-based books I’ve read, and I haven’t attended a single industry conference. That’s not to say there’s no value there, but at this stage of my learning, it’s clear that my growth is going to come from a different source. 

Think about your self-awareness like a dial on an old FM radio, just like your parents used to own. Over the past few years, I’ve been learning to dial my self-awareness into the right frequency. There’s a still a lot of noise, but there are more moments when I’m tuned into the right frequency and I feel a lot closer to it now that I ever have. 

So, with that in mind, here are the books that I recommend that you read, study and embrace as you go on your journey to developing your own self-awareness.

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My letters are typically published via email to your inbox, and I select a few every now and again to feature on the blog. Letter XI was originally published by email on 3rd July 2019, and was re-published on the blog on 6th September 2019. Subscribe at chrismarr.co.uk

Do you think people are doing the best that they can?

When Brené Brown asked this question, my immediate answer was “yeah, of course I think people are doing the best they can” – because it felt like the right answer.

However, after thinking about it for a while, and reflecting on my own behaviour, the truth is that I don’t think people are doing the best they can. 

  • I judge people I don’t know for being incompetent, lazy or stupid
  • I complain about people I care about because they don’t live up to my expectations
  • I talk about how my friends aren’t being good parents
  • I get angry when someone lets me down
  • I even complain about people complaining!

In my head, I know that I *should* believe that people are doing their best, but my actions and behaviour tell the truth.

I wouldn’t behave or think like this if I truly believed people we’re doing their best.

I think that people can do better. I expect more from people. 

But what if believed that people were all doing the best that they can? How would that change my behaviour? 

Let’s talk through it.

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My letters are typically published via email to your inbox, and I select a few every now and again to feature on the blog. Letter VI was originally published by email on 17th May 2019, and was re-published on the blog on 8th August 2019. Subscribe at chrismarr.co.uk

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

– Stephen R. Covey 

As a new step-dad, my relationship with Sophie is still developing. She was 15 when I first met her, and she’s turning 18 soon. We’ve lived together for over two years and this past year has been transformational for her.

She has:

  1. Passed her higher exams with incredible results
  2. Met her first boyfriend
  3. Secured her first job
  4. Passed her driving test and bought a car

She literally finished her final exam yesterday. In a few short months, she’ll be moving out of the family home and starting university in Edinburgh.

I forgot how much change there is at this time of our life. She seems to take it all in her stride. Confident, focused, determined and deliberate.

She’s an inspiring young lady.

It’s fair to say that Sophie has a lot going on in her life. A lot of choices and decisions to make.

To create and build the life we want, it really comes down to the decisions we make.

Our whole life is simply made up choices and decisions.

The way I see it, there are three paths when it comes to making decisions.

  1. You make a decision
  2. You don’t make a decision, or
  3. You do nothing – you make a decision to not make a decision.

What’s strikes me as interesting about decision making is that I can’t think of anyone at any time in my life teaching me how to make good decisions.

Seems to me like a huge gap in our learning and personal growth, don’t you think?

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My letters are typically published via email to your inbox, and I select a few every now and again to feature on the blog. Letter II was originally published by email on 7th February 2019, and was re-published on the blog on 8th August 2019. Subscribe at chrismarr.co.uk

“…it is impossible for a person to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows”

– Epictetus

Cara and I are fed up nagging Paddy every time he uses the bathroom to wipe his butt, flush the toilet and wash his hands.

Paddy isn’t materialistic so you can’t use the carrot and stick methodology with him because it doesn’t motivate him.

To change his behaviour, and for it to stick, It has to be about how his actions impact others. It has to be about the why and the purpose.

We’re going to have to take a different approach.

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