Tag: Self-Knowledge

Be an editor

dundee banner editor

Chip Conley, in his focus upon Modern Elder, talks about how in the first half of our lives we focus on accumulating, but in the second half, we can turn our focus to editing.

From a place of awareness, we can choose to “edit” our lives. Stop trying to acquire more “stuff”, more assets, more wealth, more, more, more.

Instead, we can look to edit. Give stuff away, use only what we need.

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Less is more

less is more

Today is a consciously quiet day for me, with absolutely nothing planned, a day out to rest in the middle of a busy period.

So, a reminder today that sometimes less is more.

I’ll model that by making this one of my shortest daily posts ever.

What could you do less of this Sunday morning?

Too hot to think

too hot

Today at 8 am it is 27c in London and forecast to hit 39c by mid-afternoon.

That is simply too hot. No air conditioning. I can’t think in this heat.

I could make up all kinds of cool metaphors for business and leadership, the beginning of one coming around the combined gas law, that (Pressure * Volume) / Temperature is always constant. I could draw parallels around we could apply terms like Pressure, Volume and Temperature at work to work.

Sorry, I can’t. Too hot.

Today I’ll take the client calls I have overseas (where they aren’t so hot), and otherwise drink lots of water and sit with a fan blasting on me.

Apparently, it will cool off to a balmy 27c tomorrow.

Stay cool, stay hydrated.

Want to magically increase your performance? Sleep

eat sleep swim repeat

“Sleep is a natural performance enhancing drug. Tragic how many people think they can get by on 7 hours or less.”  @DHH

My two oldest sons were elite swimmers. As teenagers then university students, it may have seemed to outside observers that they were lazy, as when they weren’t swimming or at lectures they were mostly eating and sleeping.

What may not have been obvious was that eating and sleeping were consciously planned and part of their training regime. Eating and sleeping weren’t what they did when they weren’t training, it was part of the training. When you train well over twenty hours per week and also maintain a high academic workload, fueling and resting are essential.

The younger of these two boys seemed to take this to all new levels. Not only did he typically eat well over 8000 calories per day (that is about 4 times the average adult requirement!), he could also easily sleep 12 or more hours per day. If sleeping were an Olympic sport, he may well have won Cayman’s first medal!

Perhaps inspired by my boys and my own experience as an athlete in the past, I’ve always focussed on human performance and support leaders around this as part of my 1:1 work with clients.

When someone appears tired, unfocussed, demotivated, scattered, very often I’ll ask them (or pick up without having to ask) that they don’t sleep well.

Sleeping is critical for performance, addressing sleep issues is not optional, it is paramount. Perhaps you don’t think you have an issue with sleep, but do you sleep at least 7 hours per night and wake up without an alarm each morning? If not, then I’d say there is real room for improvement.

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Would you rather be a Specialist or a Generalist?

How a generalist triumphs in a specialized world

Summer is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, so many will be looking for books to read. So, I just found out that David Epstein, author of “The Sports Gene”, which spun the “10,000 hours” theory on its head, has now come out with a brand new book:

Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

I haven’t read it as yet, but am clear that I still recommend this book because:

  1. If it by David Epstein it will be valuable to read
  2. I’m definitely a generalist, so I’m biased!

For years I used to say “my specialism is that I’m a generalist”, so I’m intrigued by what Epstein has come up with.

I also seem to have developed a niche in developing senior leaders in central government. Civil Servants are indeed specialists at being generalists, so I hope to pick up some great new learnings to support such clients in the future.

How far is far enough?

pci-slide-chiltern-way

So this past weekend a friend had asked me to join him for a charity ride in the countryside.

“140km”, he said, “it’ll be no problem”, he said, “not too many hills”, he said.

The longest ride I’d done in several years was less than 45km, but hey, I go to spin class twice a week and do Pilates, so “yes” was my answer. (more…)

Manage your energy, not just your time

Manage Energy, Not Time

So, I sit here at 7pm on Thursday to write the daily blog for Friday at 8am, feeling quite tired after a really active day full of a variety of meetings.

As I am about to write, I get an email reply from someone I’d messaged about a meeting with them for next week that I thought I had confirmed but didn’t see in my diary. They had replied to say that my wonderful EA, Katie, had noted to them that my diary was a little packed that day and that, as it was the day before I go away on a trip, they agreed together to move the call to after that trip.

Perfect timing as a reminder to manage my energy.

If Katie had only focussed on managing my time, she would have put that meeting in the diary, but as she has a higher context of managing my energy, not my time, she didn’t.

Katie’s key role for me is to manage my diary. With that context of managing energy and not time, we took time from the outset and on an ongoing basis for her to understand what works for me in terms of when what and how many meetings to book for me so that I can always have the energy and the right kind of energy for the people I am meeting and talking to.

Hey, I often coach leaders on managing their own energy for their optimum performance and wellbeing, so I do always do the same for myself.

So, today I give thanks to Katie for managing my energy through her awareness and understanding, also for bringing me a reminder that sometimes we don’t know what we need, we need other to see it for us. We can’t see the goldfish bowl we are swimming in!

With all of this pointed out to me, and with it being 7pm at night as I write this, that’s it for today’s post, I’m tired, I need to recharge for tomorrow.

Too much is never enough

too much is never enough

So recently I met a highly successful businessperson in their late 40s. As they told their story as an entrepreneur, they had earned amazing wealth by their late 20s, then moved continents and made 10x that much again within a few years, only to find they had reached such a high profile that politics stepped in and they had the feeling of losing it all. This individual is quite brilliant at business and so has gone on since then to once again be highly successful.

However, what do we mean by the word “success”? Is it all about making money and using that money to buy material things? Or, as this person explained, for them they do love to build businesses and so that means they make money, but since their tough experience with their first success, they look at success differently now. (more…)

Travel and Shifting Context

A one hour flight, thirty-five minutes drive, a converted shipping container on a farm overlooking a view for miles and miles of peace and tranquillity.

I live in the centre of London, an amazing bustling world city of something like 10 million people. Often it seems like most of them hustle through my local railway station, one of the busiest in Europe.

So, last weekend felt really different, spending two nights in this exquisite “tiny house”.

It got me thinking about the power of travel to shift our context, as well as the power of shifting context, of looking at things in different ways. (more…)

Who are you?

Identity: 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

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?

fight-it-or-accept-it-fear-it-or-control-it-40276863

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…)

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