Tag: Self-Knowledge

Who are you?

who are you

Who are you?

Simple question, but identity can have many elements.

Imagine you lead a business where lack of collaboration and trust is a constant struggle.

“Who are you?” is a great question to ask and answer to support trust and collaboration. (more…)

Taking time to recharge


Swans and cygnets in a London park this weekend

The last two weeks have been pretty intense for me, both with lots of work and also with the death of someone close then their funeral.

I thought this weekend I’d balance it between doing a little work and a little relaxation each day. However, yesterday (Saturday) morning, decided instead to take 24 hours completely away from the norm. No work, no regular routine. Instead to be outdoors and in nature as much as possible.

So, central to this was to go for a walk. Quite a long walk with a companion across commons and parks in London. Nearly 15 miles in the end, with a few stops, taking much of the day.

I then followed this up this morning with a strong ride with my usual riding buddy, so now I sit here, a little late for posting my daily musing, yet all the more refreshed for it.

So, sometimes we can recharge in a few minutes or hours, sometimes we need weeks or even months. Sometimes a day in nature is what it takes.

I guess what I did yesterday was tune in to myself and listen to what I needed. A long walk in nature was just the ticket.


You waste years by not being able to waste hours

michael lewis undoing project

The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours. 

~ Amos Tversky

Michael Lewis, author of such books as Moneyball, Liar’s Poker, The Big Short and more, wrote “The Undoing Project” about the friendship of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahnemann, two academics of massive influence to the field of Behavioural Economics.

In his book David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell talked of the Tversky Intelligence Test, a joke among academics about the intelligence of Tversky. The test?: “The faster you realized Tversky was smarter than you, the smarter you were”.

So, with all of that intelligence, I love this quote, one of a series of thoughts noted by Michael Lewis in his book that Tversky kept to hand as reminders to himself.

As I wrote yesterday referencing Warren Buffett, “Busy is the new stupid“.

As I often advise clients who are CEOs, Business Owners etc: “the less you do, the more valuable you are to your business”.

Do Less. Create Space. Pause. All themes I’ve written about here in past posts.

Don’t take my word for it that this is of value to leaders, listen to Amos Tversky and Warren Buffett.

Golf Trips and Collaborative Leadership

Iceberg principle

Collaborative Leadership:

“the process of engaging collective intelligence to deliver results across organisational boundaries when ordinary mechanisms of control are absent”

Oxford Leadership – Collaborative Leadership White Paper, 2011

The other day a dear friend of mine, a top elite sports coach and voracious learner and networker around leadership and behaviour, sent me this white paper.

Within it are some powerful learnings for leading collaboratively, yet, as so often, I wonder why corporate leaders and their consultants need to speak in such overly complicated ways.

Today let me endeavour to use Oxford Leadership’s version of the iceberg principle (ie the image above, captured from their white paper), to make a few simple points for leaders to anchor upon if they choose to lead collaboratively. (more…)

When to fight, when to accept?


I recently learned a powerful lesson from someone close to me who has a disease that they are choosing how to address.

They shared with me that they learned from their doctor that this was not something you “fight”, as to approach it from a “fight” mindset means that you are not giving your body permission and highest capability to heal. Instead, adopting a level of acceptance of “what is” can allow that healing to be strong, thus giving the highest chance for the body to be strong and so allow the medical team to take on the disease to the fullest extent.

Today some thoughts on when to fight and when to accept, whether when one has a disease, or in terms of learnings from martial arts, then around leading at times of crisis. (more…)

Both, And


Again and again, I work with leaders seeking to find the perfect way to address a challenge, take advantage of an opportunity.

All too often leaders feel they have to choose one solution and discard another, what I would call an “Either, Or” choice.

Now, more often than not, when I coach/advise/counsel people, the answer they eventually choose is more of a “Both, And” where they take the best from more than one potential solution to address what is typically a complex problem where no one solution is the right one.

At a philosophical level, I am also an advocate of “Both, And” as it is from a place of abundance and choice and such energy is where ideas, motivation and empowerment come from. “Either, Or” is more from a place of scarcity and control, hence tends not to energise or motivate.

So, consider for yourself next time you are looking to make a decision, can you approach it from a “Both, And” approach or are you locked into “Either, Or” mindset?

What might you find hidden under your nose?

bioluminescence cayman

Last night was my last evening on this trip to Cayman.

I took my boys on a Bioluminescent Bay tour with Cayman Kayaks.

As you can imagine from the photo above, it is an amazing experience to see the light emanating from micro-organisms as you swish your feet, arms etc through the warm Cayman waters.

What also blew my sons and me away, though, was the location of this amazing natural spectacle in Grand Cayman.

Though these night-time tours are quite a new attraction, this natural phenomenon had been right under our noses all the time. (more…)

To see ourselves as others see us

DFW this is water quote

picture credit Sloww.co

Today I am reminded of the difficulty of seeing ourselves how others see us and the power of critical thinking both for that and to truly see and understand others.

These are universal challenges for each of us. For those who lead others, the “self-leadership” part is at the core, then the layers and dimensions simply expand, to the people in our organisation, the values, beliefs and cultures consciously and unconsciously present. The opportunities for understanding and exploring are endless as we then look at societal, systemic, structural issues.

For this reason, we often look to understand such issues through philosophy and also art, including writing.

Today I’ll share teachings from this from two great authors, David Foster Wallace and Robert Burns, I hope this supports you in looking at what you can do to see yourselves as others see you, as well as to look to understand and see others more clearly. (more…)

Do you have a pile of books?

Pile of books

Only one part of my current “pile of books” to read

Do you have a “pile of books?”

Mine never seems to get anywhere near “manageable”, as I simply keep buying more and more to read.

This pile is only the ones that are loosely to do with business and leadership, there are also more that are novels, poetry, history and and and… at least twenty books on my coffee table alone.

It is a thing, you know!

I guess I could read some of them before I buy some more, but I typically spend about an hour a day researching and writing for my daily posts, so don’t really seem to read books enough.

I guess I’ll work out a solution, but for now, I am happily sitting with this huge pile of books here.

Perhaps I’ll sign off for today now and read one!

To lead or to follow

follow or lead

To lead or to follow?

I recently took a week out at a workshop in Baja, Mexico to focus on my own professional development.

I’ve spent most of my career identifying leaders who would benefit from my support, solidifying that in the work I do now as a sounding board to leaders.

One “Baja Aha” I had was that I need to lead more, rather than focus on supporting leaders.

So, what might my epiphany in Mexico mean? (more…)

What are you risking due to your biases?

david lammy hoodie

What do you see in this picture? Two black men in hoodies, yes?

What is the first impression that makes on you?

Today I’m going to talk about biases around gender and race. Sure, everyone reading this will say, I’m aware of bias and I’m not biased.

Well, sorry, but we all are, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. It is a lifelong journey to be aware of our biases, to acknowledge them, to address them.

So, as it is a lifelong journey, I’ll also give you a motivation beyond altruism and simple human decency to keep committed to the journey. A clue to that motivation is in the title of this post. (more…)

To speak with knowledge or listen with wisdom?

rock balancing

A few days ago I wrote “Presence and asking the right questions” and used this same image of rock balancing.

Today the post title is a riff on a phrase Chip Conley uses in his book Wisdom at Work in encouraging us to listen more and talk less:

“Knowledge talks, Wisdom listens”

For me today my thoughts are around finding balance in when to talk and share knowledge, versus when to listen. (more…)

The less I am present, the more I can be present

dissolve self

I love what I do and have found, over time and practice, that I have developed a level of mastery at being a sounding board, with the key to that having little to do with knowledge and experience around leadership and business, it is far more to do with the ability to deeply listen.

As I wrote about yesterday in “Presence and asking the right questions“, I am constantly looking to deepen my practice. As with yoga, it is called practicing yoga. We are never “there”, it is a lifelong practice to grow, to improve.

Today a reflection on a particular exercise we ran at the Modern Elder Academy this week, ultimately leading me to come up with the Koan:

the less I am present, the more I can be present (more…)

Be the type of person you want to meet

be the type of person you wish to meet

My writing is around leadership and is often focussed on how business leaders can “be more”. Perhaps some may find this post title a little “woo woo” for them, but hey, to model the title, those aren’t the audience I’m seeking.

The people I want to meet, to reach, to support, they understand that beyond their skills, tools, experience, who they are and how they show up are key to who they will meet.

Take this up a level and the same is true for any business or organisation. How anybody in that organisation behaves, how they “show up”, can at any time have a major impact on what other businesses will want to connect and do business with them.

As often happens, I’m spurred to write once again about this by several recent meetings and calls that reminded me of the truth, not only of “be the type of person you want to meet”, but also that the type of person you are being will dictate the type of person you do meet.

Today then, I’ll muse a bit and then simply link back to various posts I’ve made on this theme from the archives. (more…)

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