Letters

The truck was fully loaded and we were ready to hit the road. Cara was at work and I had arranged time off to take the two wee ones on a short caravan holiday in the country.

We were extra excited about the trip because Granny and Grandad were meeting us there.

Just as I was getting ready to hit the road, in a split second I played out this horrendous accident in my mind where I crashed the truck and killed my kids. It came out of nowhere and knocked the wind out of me.

If you’re a parent you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It seems that you can’t experience joy and excitement without a dash of fear and despair.

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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 XVIII was originally published by email on 17th March 2020, and was re-published on the blog on 17th March 2020. Subscribe at chrismarr.co.uk

It’s noisy out there in the world. In my head, too. 

I can feel it. Vibrating inside me. Like all my molecules and atoms are bouncing off each other. 

It’s affecting my attention. I’m constantly distracted. It’s exhausting. 

It’s times like this when writing lists help me to get some perspective and get a grip of what’s going on in my head before it gets out of control. 

I’m a work in progress, just like you. Which means I don’t have all the answers and I certainly can’t solve the problems happening in the world right now. 

But I can always write a list. And lists make sense, at least for me.

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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 XVII was originally published by email on 23rd February 2020, and was re-published on the blog on 16th March 2020. Subscribe at chrismarr.co.uk

Six months ago I wound down my business and accepted a full-time role at IMPACT – a leading marketing company in the US. 

The burden of owning, running and managing my own company has been lifted, leaving me to focus solely on doing my best work in one area. Every day I get to do only what I’m good at and because I’m only doing that, I’m quickly getting very good at it. 

It’s like a dream come true for me, but I struggled with the transition. It’s only now, 4 months in, that I’m starting to settle into a different approach to my work. 

For the past ten years or so, I’ve consistently set goals and planned my year, but rolling into 2020 was different. I just couldn’t figure out what my year was going to look like. Thanks to Chris Brogan’s ‘three-word’ exercise, I was able to set a theme for the year and let go of any in-depth goal setting. I’m still only using these three words as my guide:

  1. Move
  2. Write
  3. Excel

It took me weeks to find a word that defined doing my best work, and I eventually settled on Excel

On the face of it, doing your best work is easy to understand and you may believe that you already do your best work.

However, for me, there is a lot of work to do in setting the physical and mental conditions for doing my best work. I’m still working on it. Naturally, I turned to my journal and I wrote a note to myself to remind me what I need to think about, and what needs to happen to do my best work. It’s not as simple as you may think. 

I thought it would be helpful for you to read through this. It’s certainly not complete, but it may get you thinking about things you need to change in your situation to allow you to do better work. 

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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 X was originally published by email on 30th June 2019, and was re-published on the blog on 26th November 2019. Subscribe at chrismarr.co.uk

For more than 10 years I’ve searched for the answer to something that’s been missing from my life. 

How did I know something was missing? 

  • I didn’t know what to do in everyday situations. 
  • I didn’t know how to say the right thing. 
  • I was easily led and mimicked other people’s behaviour.
  • To feel confident in a room I needed to feel like the smartest/most important.
  • I spent a lot of my time judging people and complaining.
  • I buried my feelings, didn’t talk about them and pretended like I had it all under control.

When you peer just below the surface, ultimately what you see is a young man that doesn’t really know who he is.

I became aware of all of this in a single work-related moment a few years ago. 

I saw clearly why I would never become the teacher and coach I so badly wanted to be. If I wasn’t prepared to be honest with myself, to open up to myself, to understand myself and to ultimately be confident in my own skin, I would never be able to get to the level where I can help people to the best of my ability. 

I had the skills, the techniques, the people to work with, the mentorship. I’ve read all the books, I’ve watched the videos and I’ve got all the right people around me. 

I didn’t need more external input. I didn’t need to put more in. I needed to go inward. 

The answer to my next stage of growth was inside of me. 

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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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