What am I working on?

I believe that wisdom can only be created through our own action and effort. We do that by exhausting our own resources working on problems, ideas, and asking ourselves tough questions. Here you will find (almost) daily posts of the things I'm trying to figure out for myself. Have a quick scroll through and see if you can find something that interests you :)

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Help others while helping yourself

I ask a lot of questions, and occasionally people will ask me where these questions come from.

What I’ve found to be true is that if I’m working through something myself, there’s a really good chance that other people have the need to work on that thing too.

And so, I turn my personal challenges into questions.

Here are a few incisive questions I’ve been asking recently:

  1. Why does your work matter?
  2. What excites you the most about your work?
  3. How does your work help you to feel fulfilled?
  4. In what ways does your work inspire you to do your best work?

These questions have opened up some incredible conversations with individuals and teams, and have not only helped me to learn more about the people I’m working with, but others are learning things about themselves and their teammates that they weren’t aware of before.

The added bonus is that these conversations help me to get more clear on the answers I’m looking for, too. I can help others while also helping myself.

That’s the power of great questions combined with genuine curiosity.

Over to you:

  1. What are you struggling with or working on right now?
  2. Is it possible turn that into a question?
  3. Can you see how you can help others, and help yourself at the same time?

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On turning up…

We all have bad days.

Just because you have a plan and routine for what a good day looks like, doesn’t mean you always get to have it.

On the not-so-good days, ‘turning up’ becomes my simple strategy.

That way I:

  1. don’t break the chain
  2. move in the right direction
  3. keep the momentum
  4. feel a little better
  5. confirm my identity

And…I typically end up doing more than I thought I would.

You might not feel like turning up, it might not feel like enough, you might not hit your goal…but on the bad days, it might be all you can do.

Turn up, see what happens…you may surprise yourself. 🙂

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Stop trying to ‘manage time’ and do this instead…

Time management and productivity hacks are mostly useless if you don’t firstly know WHY your time truly matters to you.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the past 20 years of my career:

  1. Accept that you can’t manage time, but you can manage your choices and decisions.
  2. Work on getting crystal clear on why your time matters to you.
  3. Figure out what you’re really good at and the value you bring.
  4. Say no to what you shouldn’t be doing.
  5. Be honest with yourself about what you can’t do well (harder than you think!).
  6. Stop saying yes; to save other people, for recognition, to feel important.
  7. Resist the craving to be busy. Any fool can be busy.
  8. Continually increase the amount of control you have of your schedule (you have more control than you believe).
  9. Block out more thinking time for yourself.
  10. Create some non-negotiable boundaries.
  11. Delegate and ask for help. Other people grow when they get to do what they’re good at.
  12. Stop trying to do everything in one day.
  13. Your work will be waiting for you tomorrow.

Know that when you get clear on WHY your time matters, you can start to make better choices and decisions about where you spend your time. More importantly, you can say NO with confidence, kindness and integrity.

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Don’t do it for success. Do it to SUCK LESS!

Suck Less

What could you get better at if you did it every day for 100 days?

Pretty much anything, right?

This is Austin Kleon’s philosophy and I love it!

I pick up my guitar every day anyway, but I’ve picked a very particular song to practice every day so I can SUCK LESS at it.

I’ve got the chart on my wall, I’m checking off the numbers, it only takes a few days to build up a chain…and now it’s up to me not to break it!

What would you like to SUCK LESS at over the next 100 days?

Go get the printable chart from Austin’s website here.

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Where is there certainty?

There are a lot of posts on LinkedIn about ‘these uncertain times’ and people are freaking out.

And rightly so.

There’s a lot of change happening on the daily and we feel threatened by these changes. Much of it is completely outside of our control.

It creates an unbalance in our lives, and it’s exhausting.

What I know is that it’s difficult to cope with change on a daily basis if you only focus on what’s changing.

So, for today, grab some pen and paper and write out a list of what’s not changing.

Where is there certainty in these uncertain times?

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Here’s my quick list of things that are certain:

  • Today. Right now.
  • Making my bed.
  • Reading my book.
  • Writing this list.
  • Nothing is unending.
  • Things will change. For the better. For the worse.
  • There will be both good and bad.
  • I am alive.
  • What I choose to do.
  • What I choose not to do.
  • A smile.
  • My thoughts.
  • A conversation.
  • A phone call.
  • Electricity.
  • Notepad and pen.
  • Ink comes out of my pen.
  • I will need to go to the bathroom.
  • Water out of the tap.
  • Wind. Clouds. Rain.
  • The trees in the park.
  • The grass on the ground.
  • Ice. Puddles.
  • Ducks. Swans. Coots.
  • Coffee in my mug.
  • I wake up. I go to sleep.
  • Tomorrow. (Mostly certain)
  • Hope. Regret. Apologies.
  • Questions. Answers. Solutions to problems.
  • Happiness. Anger. Frustration. Joy.
  • Kindness.
  • Time.
  • Love for my children.
  • I have my mind. I can see, hear, feel.
  • Tidying up after my kids. Bricks. Food. Jam.
  • Everything dies. (Certain)

How to read books…

  1. Choose your books deliberately
  2. Read every day
  3. Don’t go anywhere without a book
  4. Don’t suffer shite books
  5. Don’t lend out your books
  6. Buy your books (from an independent) and build your library
  7. Build your ‘antilibrary’ (source)
  8. Stick with great writers
  9. Build a re-reading list
  10. Make a plan for what you want to read
  11. Don’t get distracted by new books
  12. Don’t get distracted by what or how many books other people are reading
  13. Make sure your kids see you reading physical books

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Where does wisdom come from?

  1. Wisdom is not transferred easily like knowledge can be. You have to create your own wisdom through working on your own problems, challenges and mistakes.
  2. Don’t confuse inspiration for wisdom. Wisdom is not a motivational quote. You can be inspired by other people’s wisdom, but you still have to put that inspiration to work for yourself and create your own wisdom.
  3. Don’t rely on other sources of knowledge as your first option to solve problems. Create your own wisdom by exhausting your own resources working on problems, challenges and ideas. Create something of your own.
  4. Dismiss your dependence on thought leaders telling you the way and what to think and say. Think for yourself and carve your own path.
  5. No single person or group of people own truth and wisdom – there’s an infinite amount of space and time for creating wisdom. Everyone has the opportunity to create their own.

In short, wisdom comes from developing self-awareness and becoming a student of your own life.

What would you add?

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Efficient vs effective: what comes first?

To become a more efficient growth team, start with becoming more EFFECTIVE and the efficiencies will shake out.

Here are a few key ways to approach it:

  1. Firstly, spend time with your team in their work – find out how they work, how they do what they do, get a clear understanding of how the work happens. Everyone works a little differently. Don’t make assumptions.
  2. Help to identify their ‘one thing’? What’s their core strength? What are they great at?
  3. What are they currently doing that is distracting them from doing that one-thing? What’s a waste of their time? Take that away – delegate, eliminate, hire support resources, introduce technology/automation.
  4. What tools, resources and guidance do they need in order to be more effective in their role? What conditions need to be true in order for them to do their best work?
  5. Supply your team with clear information – goals, KPIs, guidance documentation, make it easy to access (via technology)
  6. Do they feel like the master of their own destiny? In other words, are your team members making changes in their own work? Are the changes employee-led?
  7. Finally, trust them to get on with their work.

Start by doing the right things, then do those things right.

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