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…

My religion is kindness

my-religion-is-very-simple-my-religion-is-kindness-35

Yesterday I wrote “Kindness as Leadership” showing the power of kindness and how Fred Rogers brought the chairman of a congressional committee to tears through his calm grace, single-handedly saving funding for public television.

This reminded me of the phrase that the Dalai Lama uses often:

My religion is kindness (more…)

Kindness as Leadership

fred rogers

Yesterday I published “Be Nice“, talking about Jeffrey Sachs and his advice for changing the world. As a leader he has certainly changed the world through his thoughts, actions and choices.

November 13th, two days ago, was “World Kindness Day”, and at one stage that day I sat and read the Sunday Times review of “Won’t you be my neighbour”, a documentary just released about Fred Rogers, one of the kindest humans I’ve ever come across.

Today let me share my thoughts around Mr Rogers and kindness, closing with one of the most powerful appearances at a congressional subcommittee you will ever see.

He exemplified kindness as leadership. (more…)

Be nice

Jeff sachs david mcwilliams2018

“Be nice”

These were the two most powerful words in a one-hour interview last weekend at Kilkenomics where David McWilliams brought Jeffrey Sachs to illuminate and inspire. (more…)

Do work that you’re proud of

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“Do work that you’re proud of – work that matters for people who care. It’s all about connection, empathy and making a difference.” ~ Seth Godin

Seth Godin inspired me to post daily. With well over 7,000 daily posts already he has moved way beyond the “marketing guru” identity and his curiosity and vision has taken him into some powerful directions.

My personal favourite book of his is an example of powerful new directions and is called “The Icarus Deception”. Read my piece here for thoughts on the power of getting out of your comfort zone and why, in fact, you simply have to in our world.

Today though, I found that phrase above in a magazine article last week, so let me talk about it a little. (more…)

Diversity of Thought – how much is too much?

Kilkenny 2018

This weekend the annual Kilkenomics economics and comedy festival in the gorgeous tiny city of Kilkenny.

I write this on a Sunday morning musing on diversity of thought and “how much is too much?”.

We learned that Andy Haldane (Chief Economist of the Bank of England) has found that Economist talk and listen less to those outside their profession than any other social science. My own experience is that the lens of traditional economic models places quite some limits on their thinking, though that is the ‘sandbox’ they play in, so I have openly been keen to see different thinkers at the festival.

Yesterday, though (again, as I write this on Sunday morning though), an episode occurred with one show where one person was so, so offensive to many that people got up an left. It has me musing on “how much is too much”, as one particular panellist showed up and expressed extreme views so distasteful that some people got up and left. I stayed, and these are my thoughts and reflections.

(more…)

Conscious mental exercise

Feldenkrais-image-1

I’ve been carrying an Achilles injury for some time now. Recently I had my first Feldenkrais session.  Since then, my level of consciousness around how I move has elevated to new levels, such that I feel energised as I sense that this will both accelerate the healing of that injury and also build flexibility and strength.

I’ve been a Pilates aficionado for years, as well as done a reasonable amount of Yoga. Both of these inform my posture and movement at all times, ie not only during Pilates training or Yoga classes. Feldenkrais, I sense, will take that to a new level and I look forward to learning more.

So, from that, today my mind turns not only to how we can be conscious as we exercise our body but also how we can choose to run conscious exercises with our mind to stretch and grow that “muscle” too.

Let me start with a story about conscious mental exercise that links to physical exercise, then shift to a purely mental exercise that I feel can then link to asking questions of you the reader as to where you may apply this for yourself.

(more…)

Not my circus, not my monkey

not my circus not my monkey

Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy

A Polish idiom. Literally, “not my circus, not my monkey”.

At the simplest level, this could be expressed as “not my problem”, which for me can be of value but can also be an abdication of responsibility.

So, let me today give two other layers of depth which may be supportive for leadership and in a responsible fashion. (more…)

Making a positive impact

UK Train Travel

Ed Percival told me once that he actively looked to make a positive impact in every interaction with others.

If he went to a coffee shop he’d look at the name tag of the barista and call them by name as they asked for his name for his coffee cup.

If someone used the typical “how are you?” greeting or to open a conversation, he’d open up the energy of his 6’5″ frame and say something such as “wonderful! If I was any better I’d be you!” and unleash his megawatt smile!

Now the thing about being positive and making a positive difference in every interaction is that it physically changes you. I won’t bore you with the science, please simply trust me on this. Being positive creates physical and other changes linked to exchange of positive energy created by such interactions.

Now, why did I choose that photo above? As a relatively new Londoner, let me explain and bring awareness to our choices in how we act in everyday interactions. (more…)

There I stood on the burning deck

burning deck

“There I stood on the burning deck”. Imagine someone starting a story with those words, would it get your attention?

Stories are so powerful, I encourage all of us to continually develop our story-telling skills. In leadership, the ability to connect to people with stories is one of the most powerful tools and skills we can have.

Today I share learnings from my friend Bob Keiller through reposting a recent article he wrote on story structure, as well as then a nuance to that from my late mentor and guide Ed Percival.

(more…)

Beautiful Leadership

Alan Moore

Alan Moore of Beautiful Business is a visionary of deep thought, care, intent and passion who is often way ahead of others in his ideas and direction.

I have the great privilege of being at the beginning of supporting him as the “Keeper of the Vision”, a vision of a world of Beautiful Leadership, of Beautiful Business.

A month or two ago I sent someone an email with the subject line “Beautiful Leadership”. They replied right away with:

“Think this is my favourite email title in ages…..X”

I hope this theme of Beautiful Leadership resonates for you too and has you curious to learn more. If so, read on, I’ll share today some of Alan’s recent thoughts as well as to let you how we are beginning this journey. (more…)

Facing the blank page

facing the blank page

Monday morning. My first calls and meetings start in an hour and will continue until late, so I sit here with one task at hand, to write the daily post to go out tomorrow morning.

Normally that feels great, except today, there is a problem.

I have no idea what to write about, I am facing the blank page.

So what to do, not only as a writer but also as a leader when momentum has stalled, when your team is stuck, when you don’t know what to do next?

Join me as I explore these two questions. (more…)

All work and no play…

all-work-and-no-play-makes-jack-a-dull-boy-florian-rodarte

(c) Florian Radarte

“all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”

also goes along with

“a change is as good as a rest”

I wrote some time ago in “Stop the “Busyness”“:

“Put simply, for leaders, less is more. Simple, yes? But how many of you just skipped over this and then skipped to thinking: “I get that, but I have so much to do, I’m so BUSY !””

Make time to do things outside of your busy work life, it will pay dividends across all areas of life.

I sit writing this early afternoon on a Sunday, as often up against a deadline of meeting my commitment to post daily, as this will go out Monday 8am.

Today a reflection on making time for not only play but commitments outside work, after a fourteen hour day yesterday of work of a different kind. (more…)

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow

the prophet

“And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow”

The last line of “On Marriage” in “The Prophet”

I first heard parts of this masterpiece spoken at the funeral of a friend taken by cancer. I was deeply moved, so later asked the reader who wrote it, then bought the book and have gone back to it often since.

Last week I was in conversation with a friend who leads a business providing truly transformative training to organisations globally around ways for teams to work with ease and flow and so be successful in ways that, once they learn this work they can’t imagine being without it.

One high-level conversation we had about one of their models made me think of this Gibran passage in the context of team performance. (more…)

Patience – Don’t swing at every pitch

Aaron Judge

This is the look of a batter striking out swinging.

williams_strike_zone

This is a picture from the book, “The Science of Hitting” by Ted Williams, where Ted broke the strike zone into 77 baseball-sized circles, colour-coding each one based on where he had the best chance to hit the ball.

He knew his sweet spot and waited patiently.

Ted Williams did not swing at every pitch.

Ted Williams was the last player to bat .400 for a season.

77 years ago.

Today, lessons from Ted Williams and Warren Buffett on patience. (more…)

Thank you for visiting my website

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.