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…

Emotional Equations – Chip Conley

They say “you are what you measure”, and to add to that I have also posited that we are not simply rational beings, but driven far more by emotion and energy (or e-motion, if you will, energy in motion), as I wrote in “sentio ergo sum“. I also attended the wonderful Kilkenomics festival in November 2017 and observed a theme of the inadequacy and incompleteness of classical economic models that effectively try to boil down everything of “utility” into monetary terms.

So, in coming posts, I will look at various equations that focus on what one of my business heroes wrote about several years ago in looking take meaning from his own suffering. I’m not only inspired by Chip Conley and his idea of Emotional Equations, but also the  fact that he was inspired by the book that, above all others, has most meaning to me.

The story of this starts with :

Despair = Suffering – Meaning (more…)

Movies with Meaning – Christmas and Alan Rickman Edition

Our weekly series. Please send in your movies via email, twitter etc. Our format  :

  • Three movies with meaning
  • One sentence on the core meaning you take from it
  • Send a link to a YouTube clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning

WARNING : Spoilers often included, so if you haven’t seen the movies…

This week as we all look to take some quite time, a relaxed post with movies to watch at Christmas, with catchphrases and memes rather than meanings… just for fun.. inspired by my son’s Home Alone inspired Christmas sweater this year (photo is a model from a website, not my lad!) :

 

filthy animal sweater

Oh, and more so, each of the last three clips have a catchphrase and a clip as an hoage to the late, great Alan Rickman, who features in three of these four Christmas classics. (more…)

Writing I love – Silence in the Age of Noise

Silence in the age of noise

Silence in the Age of Noise (2017)

(originally featured October 28, 2017, reposted here for new readers)

The author once spent fifty days walking solo across Antarctica with no radio and I’m fascinated by his observations on silence.

To me it is far deeper than being in nature, it is about silence within silence. We all have the ability to be silent, be still at any time, to be totally present to each moment. Within such silence there is real power.

So, why don’t we seek silence as the gift that it is ? (more…)

Father Christmas asks – What’s your Centre ?

what is your center

Once upon a time, I was part of creating an amazing peer group of leaders who chose to work together for a year intensively for their own growth and development, spread over six intensive retreats each led by world class practitioners.

In the very first retreat, as the dynamics of the group formed and shaped, it seemed clear that one of the group was a little more skeptical and challenging than others.

During that first retreat, we also spend quite some time examining and exploring the power of knowing our purpose in the world, our intent. Knowing with clarity why we are here in this lifetime on this planet.. is the rocket fuel that can power us !

So, the evening after this retreat, the group was perhaps a little surprised to get an email from our “resident skeptic”, where they shared this video. Under their sometimes rough exterior, they wanted us to know that, at their centre.. is a heart that is full of WONDER.

I was reminded of this moment just this week, and, led as the conversation from Rise of the Guardians is by Father Christmas… I felt it a perfect share for Christmas Day.

My gift to you.. as someone who’s intent is #MakingPotentialPossible…

What’s your centre ?

With love…

 

A Trust Story – Pindrop

“We want you to trust us, so it makes sense that we choose to trust you”

Let me tell you a story around this phrase that I heard the other day.

Over the last year I had the feeling that my hearing in one ear was not great, so last month I took the plunge, googled, then found a hearing specialist in London.

That specialist was Pindrop Hearing.

Now, I’ve recently moved to the UK after living more than half my life in Cayman, an environment where medical care is broadly similar to the USA model of “pay for service”.

The service at Pindrop is exceptional, yet one thing stood out for me. After my consultation with Rony Ganguly, the founder of the practice, as I got up to leave I asked him if I was to pay at reception. In a highly relaxed way, he said, ‘oh no, we’ll email you the invoice”.

Really, I asked ? You see, I’m so used to paying at the time, if not being made to show I could pay before even receiving a consultation or treatment. Not here. I’d made the appointment online (and then received convenient confirmations by both email and text), then simply come to the consultation. No proof of insurance, no request for payment in advance, and now no requirement to pay before I left.

Refreshing and different !

Sure enough, that same day I received the email invoice, so I was energised to go to my online banking and pay it right away.

Now, a few days ago I then had a follow up with Rony’s colleague, Rakesh Patel, at their other location in London. It was a quick appointment and he didn’t have someone else waiting right away, so I felt to share my experience and ask him his thoughts on this.

As an experienced leadership coach focussed on the “being” of leaders and the presence they bring and philosophies they live, what Rakesh said next really landed.

“We want our patients to trust us, so it makes sense that we choose to trust them”

Nothing more to say here, other than I saw everything in their practice, who they are, how they show up, how they operate…. all of it radiated out from Rakesh’s simple statement.

trust ernesthemingway1

Are you Magnificent, or Quietly Fabulous ?

Quietly fabulous

So today one of the dearest (and magnificent!) people in the world to me sent me this picture, knowing I am struggling a little with a winter cold. A humorous reference to remind me that some days it is ok to slow down and practice self-care.

It got me thinking about how we show up, how we see ourselves, how others see us.

Another recent experience was meeting with someone I know well who was intrigued by my lack of proactive presence around a group and initiative. Their initial sense had been that this meant that I had negative energy and opinion around what was happening.

The key here is that rather than sit with such a judgment, they chose to make the time and effort to connect and then meet up to listen to my thoughts. It turns out they are also an absolute devotee of Stephen Covey, and his “fifth habit” speaks to :

“Listen with the intent to understand, not to reply”

We all greatly valued being listened to, and the person doing the listening heard that my approach to the situation at hand was simply to be neutral towards it (for various reasons they also understood), and that I was not negative in any way.

It was also important for them to understand my reasons for not being my normal self (let’s call it “magnificent”) and dialling that back to “quietly fabulous”.

Further, they also gained clarity in another way. The reason they had initially felt potential negativity was that their prior experience of me was of someone highly proactive in supporting others and initiatives, hence to see me not being that way felt different.

Of course (they also noted), there were others involved who were equally neutral as I at this time who they had not sensed were being negative. Why so ? Simply because relative to their normal behaviour, being neutral (as opposed to highly proactive and supportive) is their norm, so as long as keep showing up neutral, there is nothing different.

So, from all of this, it reinforced to me that we may not see others the way they see themselves, so where there is a disconnect from what we expect, there is always value in talking to that person and listening with the intent to understand their perspective.

If they are being quietly fabulous rather than magnificent, look to listen to them to understand why and what is happening for them.

People love to be listened to. I know I do.

 

Smashing Paradigms – Mark Beaumont

{latest in a developing series on Smashing Paradigms}

For my story-telling explanation of the definition of a Paradigm, see “What is a Paradigm“. 

One way of defining a paradigm is “an unconsciously held belief that limits us from fresh thinking” or “we’ve always done it this way”

Smasher_logo_cracked+black

(c) smasherofficial.com

“On 18 September 2017, Mark Beaumont arrived in Paris having completed a circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle in 78 days 14 hours, and 40 minutes. This beat his previous unsupported attempt by 115 days and beat the previous world record by 44 days and 10 hours.”

“The Guinness World Record (GWR) for fastest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle is awarded for completing a continuous journey around the globe by bicycle and other means, consisting of a minimum 29,000 km in total distance cycled.”

~Wikipedia

Take that in for a moment. Now imagine doing this. 18000 miles. 78 days. 240 miles a day. 4 hours sleep a day for 78 days. Unthinkable ? Paradigms Smashed !? I’d say so ! To break the existing record by over a third, by 44 days….one could even say “Unbelievable” ? (more…)

Humble Leadership and the Chaos of Creating

Recently I wrote about the power of humility in leadership, how the role of a leader is to be “Keeper of the Vision” then simply create a space for those in the business to pose puzzles and ask questions, then to solve the puzzles and answer the questions.

In that article I noted Satya Nadella of Microsoft saying

“Make it Happen, You have full permission”

So, when I talk about these and other ideas in #OpenLeadership as being the leadership we need for today, one could imagine that I am saying they are new concepts.

Absolutely not, simply that such thinking is not currently mainstream.

(more…)

Movies with Meaning – with a difference

This week a “Movies with Meaning” weekly post with a difference. As I sat down to write the weekly post, a friend sent me the Tim Minchin speech below with the words : “Passing this on to be a “Teacher”.

This week, then, I feel inspired to pass on three commencement/graduation speeches. I’ve watched each of them multiple times and so sharing them for others.

(Side note. In America they call it a commencement speech, looking forwards to a graduands future, whereas in the UK they call it a graduation speech, which therefore is celebrating their past achievements up to that point. Different language, different emphasis.)

Anyway, I’ll stick to the movies with meaning format below, simply that this week these are three speeches.

(more…)

Books I Love – The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

the alchemist

The Alchemist (2006)

Of all the books I recommend to others, top of the list are Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, which I wrote about here in the Unthinkable series I wrote on Linked In), and next on the list is The Alchemist.

I tend to pick up this book at least once a year and read it again, and every time I read it I find new learnings and meaning.

“when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Yes, this sounds like an inspirational quote theme, and perhaps so, yet within the context of Coelho’s poetic writing, this and many other thoughts create much meaning for the reader.

The plot ? Almost irrelevant.

Trust me, pick up this short novel and dive in. Everyone takes multiple meanings and lessons from it.

 

 

 

Humble Leadership and Trust

humble

This week I met with a top executive coach who, in an earlier phase of life, was a famous sporting leader. In that phase of life, one example of their leadership created a famous day that will live on for many years. That moment was created by an example of leadership in the sporting arena that was silent, resolute, calm and quietly strong.

When I asked them last week about core attributes of successful leaders, their first word was “humility“.

As you can see, I am not disclosing the individual or their example of sporting leadership. After all, they are humble!

So, let’s look at humility in leadership and then how that links in to trust.

(more…)

What makes Scots different ?

Last week in Scotland I was involved with a panel discussion where some guidance was sought for what makes Scotland stand out on the world stage when it comes to business.  In that moment it came to me to state something that perhaps could have been obvious.

Scots are known the world over, and for centuries, for being of Integrity, having a high standard of Ethics, and, to summarise, being people you can TRUST.

Now, over the years I have supported clients around their brand, positioning, vision, purpose, values and more, Many times when they have stated such values, I have encouraged them to look less generically and more uniquely.

This time, however, in a world where so much is uncertain, change happens so fast, and where we have so much “fake news” and distrust of media and institutions, perhaps this “back to basics” approach is more than enough to help Scotland stand out in the crowd ?

You can trust a Scot !

Now, where did that insight come to me from to say just that in that moment ? How do I know what I know ?

(more…)

Smashing Paradigms – Growth Mindset and Pole Vaulting

{latest in a developing series on Smashing Paradigms}

For my story-telling explanation of the definition of a Paradigm, see “What is a Paradigm“. 

One way of defining a paradigm is “an unconsciously held belief that limits us from fresh thinking” or “we’ve always done it this way”

pole vaulter

So, what do you see ?

A perhaps apocryphal story has Sir Bill Gammell (leading Scots entrepreneur and international athlete) taking a group of Scottish businessmen on a trade mission to visit the Australian Institute for Sport, around which are many statues representing sports and athletes.

Bill asks the group what they see when they look at this particular statue (more…)

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People are my library, my daily writing a way to discover what’s in it: ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little fun. As your humble librarian, I invite you to subscribe to check out a digest of daily emails emailed twice each week. No late fees, ever.