Tag: Ikigai

Leadership: Romance, Life in Full Colour and Magical Reality

Today I’ll muse on life, art and how what I have learned links to leadership in business.

Romantic Idealism. First, I’ll look being a romantic and idealism in leadership.

Next, I’ll explore what I mean by “Life in Full Colour” and then taking risks in leadership.

Magical Reality. Finally, I’ll look at what I meant when I recently coined for myself this term, then what that means for leadership and not settling for less than your ideals

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Create Serendipity

Are you or your business lucky ? do you benefit or suffer from coincidences?

I don’t believe in luck, I believe in serendipity. Serendipity is not luck, it is not coincidence.

Serendipity is something you can choose to create for yourself and in the way you lead and structure your organisation.

You see, I hold true to the concept of “I create the whole of my reality”, and at one level, this links to Serendipity.

So, what is Serendipity ?  (more…)

Writing I Love – Self-Awareness and Rumi

The Guest House Rumi

Up until about a month ago, once a week I posted “Writing I Love”, then chose to stop setting a regular schedule for it and simply to allow #Flow, with that last post being one I wrote the day Anthony Bourdain died.

More recently I wrote “Leadership – The impact of beautiful art” which was in part inspired by one beautiful line from David Foster Wallace:

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

I love to read widely and be inspired by art and writing.

This week I read an article called “A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Awareness” and all of this lead me back to the favourite poem above by Rumi, The Guest House, which speaks to me about the bravery it takes to choose to be the truly open and vulnerable self it takes for self-awareness. (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?

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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 deciced 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.”

What would it take for you to be rich?

 

Recently Dom Monkhouse shared an article on the “FIRE” movement on LinkedIn, commenting:

“I suppose this a different version of the “f**k them fund”. I always had three months wages saved up so that if at any point I got to a point where I wanted to leave a company I could.

I do see the value in taking that a step further and saving for early retirement, but perhaps this takes it too far. I’m not sure I’d enjoy years of sleeping on a camp bed or eating beans and toast every night to save the cash!”

The article is about the FIRE movement, which stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early”. Case studies include people who retire as early as 30, through intense frugality allied with downshifting their lifestyle expectations.

I then posted a comment, a stream of consciousness riff on this, which I share below, unfiltered. (more…)

Ikigai and Bacon Rolls

In the middle of October last year I went for my last bike ride of the season around Richmond Park and after that, I was inspired to write about Ikigai and Bacon rolls.

I’m going to simply repeat the core of that post below. Please scroll down and read that first, then come back to additional thoughts added today, as last weekend I went back for my first bacon roll there for seven months (I am a “fair weather” cyclist!).

So much has happened, so much changed in the last seven months, yet when I went back to Pen Ponds cafe, everything was the same as in my October post excerpted below.

In those seven months, I have continued my lifelong search for the best bacon roll in the world, so when I went to order one at Pen Ponds café, I noted to the cook that he still held the title of “best bacon roll ever” for me, as since being there last October I had not found a bacon roll better yet !

His eyes glinted, and he poured out a story that explained everything… (more…)

Ben Hogan : Deliberate Practice

ben hogan five lessons.jpeg

The summer I was 15, the weather in the Scottish Borders was beautiful (so my memory tells me !). That year I got the “bug” to play golf. Junior membership was almost free and I rode my bike to the club with an old “half set” of clubs and spent all day there most of the summer. All that time I had with me a very old copy of this book by Ben Hogan, first published back in 1957.

Ben Hogan was one of the greatest golfers of all time and was known to practice more than any of his contemporary golfers. He is said to have “invented practice”. Hogan himself said, “You hear stories about me beating my brains out practicing, but… I was enjoying myself. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning so I could hit balls. When I’m hitting the ball where I want, hard and crisply, it’s a joy that very few people experience.”

Hogan believed anybody, through “deliberate practice”, could “break 80”, which in plain English means to become a good golfer. So what do we mean by deliberate practice(more…)

Ikigai, Presence.. Bucket Lists

Today the word “Bucket list” comes to me, through a recent experience best told by a video.

Before you watch the 21 second long video clip, please let me set the scene.

I’ll tell that story, then reflect a little on bucket lists, presence and Ikigai a little (as recurring themes around leadership on this site.).

I’m a big movie fan (hence “Movies with Meaning” posts every Wednesday on this site, and one of my favourite movies is “2001 – A Space Odyssey”

That movie was released in 1968, and for the 50th anniversary, in the amazing Royal Festival Hall, it was accompanied live by the Philharmonia orchestra and voices.

Somehow I managed to get two tickets that were front and centre in the auditorium.

I invited a friend who loved the soundtrack, particularly the score. It turned out she had never watched the movie, and her review afterwards was “Epic”. She also sneaked shooting a short video of the opening of the movie, of the orchestra playing the stunnign short piece that is Strauss’ “Thus Spake Zarathustra”.

Turn it on, turn it up loud, feel the #goosebumps !

A number of years ago, the term “Bucket List” was popularised, including by a movie of that name.  Basically it is about having a whole bunch of experiences before you die.

To me, in the moment of being in that experience of the movie, orchestra, choir, concert hall etc., I felt for a moment that I could die then and be happy.

Was it a bucket list moment though ? I thought about it, then realised that I hadn’t thought of the event that way, even though it was truly a once in a lifetime memory.

Instead, I reflected on what it means to focus on “what I want to do before I die”, as, worthy though that may be, it can have the effect of taking us away from experiencing what is happening in the present moment.

At that movie screening, I was totally present, my senses absolutely stimulated, a huge smile from ear to ear and goosebumps from head to foot.

When we are present to the moment, there can be magic in unexpected places.

I’ve written often about Ikigai, one definition of which is knowing your reason for being.

is it too zen to consider “being present is reason enough for being” as my own Ikigai ? I am sensing that this is a distillation that gets close to mine.

I truly love being present to moments and being present to and for others. It is also in being truly and deeply present that the magic happens, where we see things for as they are.

Take that into business and leadership, when we step out of the busy-ness of our work lives and focus on being truly present, it is amazing how often magic happens. We see the wood for the trees, we see and support our team through them simply being seen through our presence and listening.

Be Present, find your own Ikigai. Choose those over a Bucket List, and you won’t feel the need to think of a bucket list of things you’ll do in the future before you die. Believe me, your present will be more than enough.

 

 

 

 

Leap and the net will appear

leap and the net will appear

“I have often said “Leap and the net will appear”, though the net doesn’t always look like a net” 

Maeve Gillies, brave, inspiring and creative Cultural Entrepreneur

I was inspired to write by this line from Maeve once before in : “How do you know if you could be an Entrepreneur ?“, but today I will focus on taking leaps to make a big career change, as inspired by a message from someone today feeling totally stuck where they are, yet my insight is that they simply need to follow Maeve’s advice and “leap and the net will appear”.

A story to make the point.

One of my very first coaching clients many years ago was the amazing Virginia Czarnocki, who literally walked into my office and said “help me quit my job”.

As a coach, I simply listened deeply to her, asked the right questions, and helped her see what was really true to her and what was the b*****t she was telling herself. In V’s own words from her Linked In recommendation.

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 00.00.36

Now, Virginia did quit her job as a top lawyer and embarked on a journey with no idea what the “net” would look like, yet now she is absolutely thriving.

Her brand “Moozlers” (see FB page) started out as an idea to create healthy food around the world, and has morphed and changed. Now “Coach V” is inspiring others in Cayman and around the world to be healthy and fit in so many ways, including nutrition, exercise and general wellness. She has multiple strands both on and off line through which she lives this, and here is an example video.

 

Letting the light shine in for others

your playing small does not serve the world

…..There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine….And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

~Marianne Williamson (post and full quote here)

Recently a friend and client challenged me to  :

begin a post series about YOU Letting the Light Shine in for others. No apologies. Find the light and pass it on.

They went on :

I see you as the beachcomber, cherishing the unusual discovery – ‘interesting people’, future leaders, individuals of potential cultural significance… I want to read more about how you do this…and what will it become???!!!

Phew.. amazing to receive such affirmation and acknowledgement, and also challenging.

Why challenging ? Ironically, while my passion and purpose is to support others to shine, to be unapologetic about their own unique genius and express it boldly and loudly to the world, somehow I cringe about doing this myself.

Still, I remind myself that my absolute favourite quote is from Marianne Williamson, and as I look at the excerpt above, I know writing about what I bring, what I do, how I do it,  is in service of others, so I take a deep breath and write. (more…)

Writing I Love – The Little Prince

The Little Prince

This week a beautiful story, regarded as one of the best books of the 20th century.

I believe in experiencing an eclectically wide range of experiences, and highly recommend this wondrous book.

It is also full of lessons for life, love and leadership. To pick just one quote :

“Make your life a dream, and a dream, a reality”

Dream big, Live big. We only have this one life.

Now, the author of this book, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is legendary himself, an aviator with a fascinating life around the time of World War II. Worth researching.

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Yūgen

yugen

Thanks to my dear friend Carrie Bedingfield for sharing this “word of the day” with me recently. I believe in surrounding myself with people smarter than me, with different interests, but who are equally passionate about learning and sharing. Carrie is all of these things and I am grateful for her !

So, Yūgen.

Earlier this week I wrote about “Writing I Love – The Little Book of Ikigai” and noted there :

“Tne other day I found myself in the centre of a large park in London, sitting in a bench talking with someone. It was a truly transcendent moment, and in fact we both remarked on the fact that we felt time was “bent” in that space, it was moving more slowly. The children and dogs playing were also calm and relaxed, more so even than usual.”

This was written with a perspective of one of the author’s five pillars of Ikigai, “Releasing Yourself”.

Feels like if one word could capture the feeling at that moment, it would be Yūgen.

 

 

Writing I Love – The Little Book of Ikigai

little book of ikigai

Last year I read this book by Ken Moji, and wrote about it in “Ikigai, Pleasure and Meaning“.

I ask you to start with that first blog, then come back to today’s. Oh, and if you simply search the term “Ikigai” in the search bar on this page you will see several articles, some of my favourites in there from my early days of writing on this site.

I’m coming back to this after several months as I find the concept of Ikigai coming up in conversation a lot, so today to recap the five pillars, as Ken Moji states them :

  1. Starting small
  2. Releasing yourself
  3. Harmony and sustainability
  4. The joy of little things
  5. Being in the here and now

In prior articles I wrote about the “joy of little things”, as well as quite a number about “being in the here and now” (or simply “Presence”), and also “Starting small”

Let me talk a little today about “releasing yourself”, which is very much related to “being in the here and now”.

When we are being in the here and now, we can start small, take joy in the small things, and then, ultimately, release ourselves from, as Moji, puts it, the burden of the self.

Tne other day I found myself in the centre of a large park in London, sitting in a bench talking with someone. It was a truly transcendent moment, and in fact we both remarked on the fact that we felt time was “bent” in that space, it was moving more slowly. The children and dogs playing were also calm and relaxed, more so even than usual.

Now, as we’d walked to that place, we’d been deeply appreciative of what Moji calls the “sensory pleasures”, of the blossom on the tree, of the crispness of the “end of winter” day, of the simple enjoyment of an engaged and lively conversation. Moji connects the “infinite universe of sensory pleasures” as deeply linked to “releasing yourself”.

How does this relate to the overarching theme of this site being Leadership, you may ask ? Well, great leaders are calm, centred, present, and also very often “in Flow”. I am fascinated by the #Flow state, and encourage you to read my post on this : “Flow – Michael Jordan and Jason Silva“, which includes a link to the legendary TED talk on flow by Mikhail Csikszentmihalyi.

Find your Ikigai, find #Flow. Enjoy the moments, stop to observe the coming of spring, as I did a few days ago in Edinburgh…..

crocuses

 

 

How do you know if you could be an Entrepreneur ?

a real entrepreneur has no choice

A real entrepreneur has no choice.

That’s it.

So many people have talked to me over the years wondering whether or not they can / could / should / will make the leap to leaving their job to start their own business.

Being an entrepreneur and working with entrepreneurs, when I ask people why they started their business, the answer always contains something like :

“I couldn’t NOT do it”

A real entrepreneur has no choice.

Sure, entrepreneurs are often inspired by seeing a gap and taking that opening (which is also a rough translation of the french roots of the word). They often see a market gap where they can make money. Taking entrepreneurialism beyond ventures that are wholly or exclusively focussed on profit, one can see an opportunity to make an impact socially, politically and more.

Also entrepreneurs have a higher “risk profile”, a higher tolerance for risk than other people. As my inspiring friend Maeve Gillies told me “I have often said “Leap and the net will appear”, though the net doesn’t always look like a net”. Another way of putting that :

entrepreneur-definition

So, entrepreneurs see openings, they are comfortable with risk, but to know if you are entrepreneurial, go back to Gary Vaynerchuk’s quote at the top. What does your heart tell you ? What drives you ? Where do you have no choice, you simply HAVE to act !?