My Writing

My Writing

I get my best ideas from listening to people. Fortunately, that’s my job.

I like to say that people are my library, and my daily writing practice is a way to discover what’s in it: new ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little whimsy for good measure.  As your humble librarian I invite you to check out a new idea every day. No late fees ever.

Enjoy…

Bravery – Do one thing every day that scares you

do one thing every day that scares you

Yesterday’s article started with the words:

Are you Brave Enough? 

Bravery is a key word for me…..

This article was linked to HR leaders and being brave and also applies to all of us. Bravery is a key component of leadership, including self-leadership, one I come back to over and over again in my writing.

This reminded me of a phrase that has helped me to keep stretching, keep seeking to grow, evolve, learn:

“Do one thing every day that scares you” (more…)

Leadership – on Patience

A dear friend recently counselled me:

“Patience, my friend, is when nothing happens and you are ok with it.”

I loved this. That friend also noted to me that in so many areas of life (including in my roles with clients as a sounding board, coach etc) I am patience personified, yet I’m a human and we all have our gaps, and in one or two areas of life I can be pretty impatient.

This counsel was and is most valuable, and it also had me think about patience for leaders. (more…)

Leadership – The impact of beautiful art

quote-we-re-all-lonely-for-something-we-don-t-know-we-re-lonely-for-how-else-to-explain-the-david-foster-wallace-42-95-84

“We’re all lonely for something we don’t know we’re lonely for.”

~ David Foster Wallace

Early morning, awake and reading a lovely book by Matt Haig called “The Humans“. As I read, I am stopped and mesmerised by this beautiful quote in the book from David Foster Wallace.

When “DFW”s masterwork of a novel, “Infinite Jest” came out, the sheer size of the hardback book was epic, yet I voraciously devoured all 577,608 words of it (most works of fiction are well under 100,000 words), mesmerised by the genius of DFW.

Yet, with all of his ability to captivate with a magnum opus, somehow when I read this short sentence it stops me in my tracks. I am not thinking, rationalising, something about it simply stops me in the beauty and depth of expression made so concisely.

What does this say to me about how we humans receive and interpret information?

What can leaders and others who have as their key role to understand, communicate, engage, enrol others learn from such art?

(more…)

What is a Friend?

what is a friend

A while ago I heard someone coin the term “professional friend”.

I loved the designator “professional friends”, as they aren’t involved in each other’s personal lives, simply have been meeting up for several years each month for a full day as a business owners peer group. Through that experience, they have built close bonds.

This group has a clear sense that they would be there for each other whenever needed, whether that be for investment, support around their business, support personally. They already have, including investing in each other’s businesses when needed.

This makes them friends. The term professional friends came out of a conversation at their annual retreat where they recognised that they aren’t involved in each other’s personal lives at all, they keep it in that context of supporting each other in their roles ad business owners and leaders.

In your work, your business, who are your Professional Friends?

Perhaps first look more at how we define the word Friend? (more…)

Leadership Lessons from Pushing Cars

mg midget

When I was a young Chartered Accountancy student I had an old MG Midget just like this one. A tiny little car (and yes, somehow I fit in it!), it had a faulty starter motor, so I became very familiar with push starting it. As a relatively big and strong guy with a small car, I could do this myself and often had to!

One thing I remember most was that it took a LOT of effort to get the car moving from a standing start, but once it was rolling it was easy to keep going and even to push faster. (more…)

Brevity is the soul of wit

Yesterday’s post, “Beauty in Brevity” mused eclectically on the power of art and prose to communicate to us powerfully and rapidly through being concise.

Today, I turn that focus to messaging in business and leadership.

In many situations, the shorter and simpler the message, the more powerful it is. (more…)

Are you resumé building or legacy building?

Rosie and Mike blake

This week I went to New York to support my friend, the force of nature that is Rosie Von Lila (for more, see VonLila.com). Her guest at the event was New York State Assembly Member Michael Blake, an inspiring individual indeed.

Paolo Coelho’s latest email to his subscribers had me recall something Mike Blake said to an amazing 18-year-old activist as advice. The whole exchange between them gave me goosebumps. The early 30s statesman and the young woman about to graduate high school the very next day and already focused on a career in public service.

One piece of advice he gave was to always consider in the choices we make :

“Are you resumé building or legacy building?” (more…)

People are my Index Cards

rodin_theThinker

Socrates distilled wisdom encourages us to “Know Thyself”, and I am on a constant journey of self-knowledge. I know I don’t have all the answers at any stage in life, I’m constantly curious and like to think I have a “beginner’s mind” and, in most areas, a Growth Mindset.

As we move through life, how do we know what we know? How can we learn more? What is our chosen method of learning on the lifelong journey of discovery? (more…)

Amor Fati and “I did it My Way”

I write often about presence, about flow, about stretching out of our comfort zone.

I fully embrace that I am a romanticist, an idealist, I look for the best in people and situations, I see people deeply, their ability and opportunity to live their life to their full potential.

At the same time, I’m also very aware (and sometimes painfully so) that life is not all smiles, joy, success, pleasure, sometimes it also comes with pain, regret, suffering.

I talk often about having “enough structure to allow flow”, so today let me come back to a topic I also write often about, which is structure. We all need foundation, structure, solidity in our life, our thoughts, our emotions, and one area of study and practice for me around this is Stoicism

Taken from the great Stoics such as Marcus Aurelius, Nietzsche focussed on the term “Amor Fati”, or love of one’s fate. (more…)

Trust that the dots will connect

Steve jobs connect the dots

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

~ Steve Jobs

Yesterday I wrote about “Commitment, Boldness and Magic” from a log cabin under majestic redwood trees in California, closing with the quote from Coelho “When you want something; all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Today I link to this quote from Steve Jobs, one of three core points he made in one of my favourite speeches ever, his Stanford Commencement speech in 2009. I wrote about this and shared a video along with two other favourite commencement/graduation speeches in: “Movies with Meaning – with a difference“.

So, a personal story around trusting that the dots will somehow connect.

As I sit here, I am in deep gratitude. You see, last night I became totally clear on the book that is “in me” to write and that it will take learnings from my late guide and mentor, Ed Percival, extend them and share them. The book is now writing itself in my head and with frequent audio and text notes downloading like a fire hose!

I also have #goosebumps as I gained this clarity sitting with my friend, the amazing Matt Clark, in his house in the El Cerrito hills overlooking San Francisco, and that this moment of stunning clarity came EXACTLY three years, almost to the hour and minute, from when I first learned of the passing of Ed Percival three years prior.

In that moment when I learned of Ed’s death, I had a moment of deep, deep clarity, that he had been preparing me to take forward his work in the world. I knew it, I trusted it, I didn’t know what that would mean and in what form it would take. That I found out exactly three years later… wow!

So, let’s see how some of these dots joined together.

Dot 1 : In October last year I somehow decided to start writing again after a long pause, and though I have often thought about writing a book and friends have often encouraged me to do so, I decided to write posts instead.

Dot 2 : I committed to write daily, and continue to do so nearly 300 posts later.

Dot 3 : In late December last year I wrote about Chip Conley’s book Emotional Equations.

Dot 4 :  In sharing that post on Twitter, I chose to tag Chip. I’d never had any contact with him, only being a huge fan and sharing his learnings and lessons widely. From that tag, he retweeted my post, I then took a deep breath, replied to my business hero and asked him if I could interview him for a future post.

Dot 5 : After some energising emails between us, I spoke to Chip on video in early January this year. He invited me to Baja for the beta of Modern Elder Academy in June this year for two weeks. I said I couldn’t make it, I was busy.

Dot 6 : I got off that call, then almost punched myself in the head. What? You said no? You are too busy? No way! I emailed Chip back, somehow worked out I would go and COMMITTED to it!

Dot 7 : Somehow the schedule shuffled with the Modern Elder Academy so I was reassigned to a group in mid-April, with Chip leading that week.

Dot 8 : What a week in mid-April with the 13 members of the “Sweet Corazon” cohort, and at the end, I was invited with the group to a wedding in June in California.

Dot 9 : Also in that group was the amazing husband and wife team of Matt Clark and Alison Macdondray, and I sensed their unique genius would be hugely valuable to me in getting clear on communicated my own unique offering and value to clients (as I write this, we are still working on this, the new website wording will be MUCH clearer about me and what I bring !).

Dot 10 : Alison and Matt kindly hosted me the nights before and after the wedding, and last night we did two hours of work on “me”. Quite unexpectedly, the “Deep dive” process had Matt draw out of me the core subject and frame for this book!

10 dots.. and that is only from October last year. In the two years or so prior to that since Ed passed away on June 25, 2015, there were many, many quite unexpected changes in my life and work, and at time it was very challenging, other times highly joyous and uplifting. Throughout all of this, a wonderful thought to remember from Steve Jobs, once again.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

Commitment, Boldness and Magic

Trees

I write this at 7am in a log cabin under two majestic tall pines in the redwood forests of northern California.

I came here from London this weekend to attend the wedding of one of our Modern Elder Academy cohort that came together and bonded tightly during our week in Baja only this past April.

When invited, in the words of yesterday’s post, I chose “Hell Yeah !” so here I am and wondrously majestic the entire experience has been.

As I sit here, awake before the whole house as I embrace my London body clock waking early I hear the birds chirping in an otherwise silent hillside garden.

This morning I consider the power of commitment and boldness and the magic it can bring. (more…)

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