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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Resentment & Self-Sabbotage

When I act and behave in a way that goes against my own values and principles, it’s often as a response to what other people have or haven’t done or said.

It can be an act of punishment – “f*ck you, and if you don’t care [about this thing] then why should I?”

It’s also about me creating expectations for other people’s behaviour based on my own values, which is always going to backfire.

Related Article: Letter XI: Ideals and expectations

What arises is anger, frustration, and the feeling that is mostly prominent in these moments is resentment.

Until this week I thought I resented other people, which, of course, is not a good place to be…but the truth is that I end up resenting myself.

The resentment is for not being true to myself and my own values. For not living with integrity.

So, instead of being easily swayed by other people’s actions and behaviour, and ultimately self-sabotaging, I must come back to my values, do the right thing, and live and act with integrity.

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You can be grateful and unhappy…

After many, many years of building and practicing a habit of gratitude I figured out that, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time.

Who knew 🤷‍♂️

You might be asking yourself – “I’m truly grateful for all I have, but why do I still feel unhappy?” or “Why do I still have a deep level of dissatisfaction?”

I will, of course, continue with my habit, but…

  1. I won’t let gratitude shrink me.
  2. I won’t let gratitude diminish my ambition.
  3. I won’t let gratitude make me feel guilty for wanting more or better.

By sharing this, I hope it helps someone recognise that they are experiencing the same conflict, and perhaps get through it a little faster than I did.

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Stoic leadership: Leading through change…

  1. What’s good for the hive is good for the bee
  2. Everything is born from change
  3. Nothing is unending…it will pass
  4. Like a river, change is constantly flowing, and to resist change is to resist the inevitable.
  5. Take a beat – don’t let my emotions rush me
  6. The only way out is through
  7. I don’t have to have an opinion (It’s neither good or bad, it just is)
  8. Focus on what I have complete control over (how I respond)
  9. Be wary of the perceiving eye (stay rooted in reality)
  10. Change is often worse in imagination that in reality
  11. Don’t take it personally
  12. I could be wrong
  13. Don’t make assumptions

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Stoic leadership: How to respond and deal with recognition and praise

  1. It’s nice to receive recognition and praise, but it’s not why you do the work.
  2. You do not rely on recognition to motivate you to do your best work.
  3. Does an emerald look worse because no one recognises its beauty? No. So even if no one ever recognises your work, you do your best regardless.
  4. You never let it go to your head. You receive it with thanks, but you turn back to the work immediately. There’s always learning to do. There’s always growth. You don’t let it puff you up.
  5. Return to modesty, humbleness, and always be ready to learn from others.
  6. Don’t forget, everyone is better than you at something.
  7. Get your head into a space where you simply do not need or look for recognition.
  8. Be so busy giving others recognition that you don’t need it for yourself.
  9. Celebrate other people’s wins and successes as if it were your own
  10. Be happy that other people are receiving recognition and credit for your ideas.
  11. You don’t keep score.
  12. What matters the most is that you do the right thing…

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Know thyself [work version]

  1. What is my unique value?
  2. What should I be saying yes to?
  3. What should I be saying no to?
  4. What makes me feel good/bad?
  5. What conditions allow me to be at my best?
  6. Who do I want to be at work?
  7. How do I behave when I’m angry or frustrated?
  8. When do I find myself outside of my integrity?
  9. How do I accept and deal with feedback?
  10. What do I have complete control over?

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Coming back to my values – was I the person I wanted to be today?

Almost daily I write a reply on an index card to the following question:

“Who do I want to be today?”

I’ve been doing this consistently since February 2021, and it was only today I realised that I was only doing half the exercise!

The part that’s missing is to, at the end of the day, look back over it and see how closely my actions and behaviours corresponded with who I wanted to be today.

I share this with you for a few reasons:

  1. It’s a very simple exercise
  2. It has helped me to do better work (and it may help you)
  3. On bad days, it has helped me come back to my values

…and right now, I’m looking back through three months of entries and it’s clear to me a) who I *really* want to be, and b) what I struggle with on a daily basis.

Here’s a snippet of what keeps turning up for me:

  • Smile
  • Be kind
  • Listen and be genuinely interested in others
  • Pay attention
  • It’s not about you
  • Lean into your strengths
  • Believe in the value you bring
  • Be the best teacher/coach you can be
  • Ask great questions
  • Don’t take things personally
  • Don’t let fear control you
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Just be yourself
  • You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone
  • See the potential in others
  • Assume that people are good and trying their best
  • Elevate and celebrate others

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What can you rely on when things are uncertain?

I’ve had a number of major ‘career’ transitions this past 10 years.

A highlight reel:

  1. Left home to start my first management job (19)
  2. Employee to student (at 29)
  3. Student to entrepreneur (at 31)
  4. Entrepreneur to employee (at 38)

Of course, there’s always uncertainty when making big changes and decisions, but when I look back I never really got bogged down or distracted by the uncertainty.

Why is that?

About 18 months ago me and a friend were both going through a major career change, and although we had both landed in a good place, we were both unsure about many things.

That’s when we changed our thinking.

Instead of worrying about what’s uncertain (not within our control), we focused on what is certain (what we have complete control over).

Here’s a quick list of what we could rely on:

  1. Our work ethic and willingness to do the work
  2. Our ability to study and learn quickly
  3. Our ability to get on with and help other people

For me, knowing that these three factors are always within my complete control gives me the certainty that I will do well wherever I end up.

Over to you…

What can you rely on when things in your life are uncertain?

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