Vampires and Silver Bullets

Vampires suck on you constantly. The more distracted you are the better it is for them.

It’s the monthly subscription you pay for but never use, the unread book that sits on your bedside table, and people with their own agendas requesting time and attention. These things drain you over time and suck up your energy. The constant pull builds up resentment in you and the result is anger and frustration.

It’s hard to say no to people when you don’t have a yes to something else. Free up space to spend time on your own goals and dreams. Once you’ve simplified and clarified “your way” then it’s easier to see the vampires because the clutter is removed.

Taking time out, sitting still and breathing is like garlic and silver bullets. Do it every day.

Actions and Aspirations 

If you feel a pang of jealousy when a friend tells you exciting news about a bold move or life event, then it’s a signal that it’s time to ask some questions.

Are you in line with your actions and aspirations? If there’s misalignment then it’s exacerbated by hearing about someone’s joy, or good fortune. The jealousy pang is an alarm bell. When you’re in alignment you won’t get activated.

Listen to the alarm bells, don’t ignore them and make the correction.

Guides

When I go for a hike in new territory I take a map or consult a guide. When I’m driving to a new location I pull out my phone and turn on navigation. It makes no sense to get in the car and start driving before I have directions.

When it comes to a spiritual journey most people do the opposite. Maybe they read a book, watch a film or speak to someone who inspires them. They make a decision to investigate and explore which is awesome, but they forget to pick a guide.

If you’ve woken up and are searching for answers, the first step is realizing that having a guide will keep you on track when you lose your way. This path has already been trodden by poets and mystics – take someone’s hand and follow. If you reach out, someone will hold your hand.

Mental travel 

Need to think through a life event decision? Travel to a new place. Break the daily rituals and well worn paths of every day. Let the decision go, don’t mull over it. Don’t worry…it won’t go far. The newness and discovery of travel will keep your mind and body occupied with new smells, sounds, tastes, and sights. When you get back, invite the decision into your mind again. I think the answer may be waiting for you at home right where you started all along. 

Activate Low Power Mode

The iPhone now has a low power mode setting. Switch it on and you disable your phone’s most higher energy features. It switches Mail from push to fetch, turns off automatic downloads and disables background app refreshes. In low power mode you get to choose where and when you expend your phone’s battery energy. It’s an underrated feature and I use it all the time, even when my battery is fully charged. Instead of calling it Low Power Mode, I call it Low Energy Suck Mode

Do the same thing with your mind and body. Activate Low Energy Suck Mode today. In this mode, you decide where and when to spend your time and energy. It turns off those coffee meet ups you should say no to and says no to people who guilt and manipulate you into giving up precious time with family and friends. Low Energy Suck Mode preserves your energy so you can decide when you choose to direct energy at someone or something. Your energy is sacred and you need protect it. When focused and at full power it’s loving and wonderful.

Activity Low Energy Suck Mode today. You’ll have more energy at the end of the day and less drag from things you don’t need.

The space to pause, breath and choose

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” – Viktor E. Frankl

This advice can be applied in any every day situations like traffic, a long security line at an airport meetings, the dinner table or interacting with colleagues and customers in a high pressure meeting. Every interaction you have with something else is an opportunity to grow and ask yourself how you would like to respond.

If you haven’t already read it. I’d highly recommend reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. It’s worth revisiting every so often for guidance into the meaning of life and why a lesson and opportunity to grow is available everywhere we look.

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Good Citizens and Mercenaries

Teddy Roosevelt said, “The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight.” A Good Citizen properly fulfills his or her role as a citizen. 

A mercenary takes part in a battle, but is not a national or a party to the conflict and is motivated to take part in the hostilities by the desire for private gain.

People, not product, will determine the success or failure of a company. You can have an excellent product and fail because you’ve assembled the wrong team. Building a business at scale is hard. It’s fraught with uncertainty, highs, lows, wins and losses. It’s an emotional roller coaster. Good citizens roll up their sleeves when there’s work to be done. They pitch up every day and are in service to each other. Mercenaries leave if it’s about anything but themselves.

The list of GC attributes I look for when building a team:

Compassionate

Collaborative

Curious

Comfortable with uncertainty and mystery. They feed off it and enjoy it

Cocky in a kind way

Gritty

Impatient

Kind

Loyal

Persistent

Pragmatic

Polite

Persuasive

Zen

Pointers for spotting a GC:

They use ‘we’ and “our” a lot when talking about solving problems

They laugh at themselves

Pedigree & degrees don’t matter. It’s about what you can offer now and in the future

They have a history of execution and getting things done

They listen more than they speak

They are self-aware

They are black belts in verbal judo. The best answer always wins the tussle

They ask for feedback, welcome it, and act on it

They have detractors. Probably a couple of bullies they’ve stood up to in the past

They respect the people they work with and are friends with them

They are rewarded and recognized by their peers

They offer up reference checks from peers and previous investors/partners

They treat interviews like a two-way street and ask questions about the team, motivations and product

They seek you out, vs. running away from their current role or company

They have hobbies outside of work

Ad hominem is not an option

They are comfortable making decisions with incomplete data

The understand the importance of luck, timing and preparedness

They are always learning, experimenting, tinkering & tweaking

Titles don’t matter

So what’s the opposite of a GC?

In my experience it’s the Mercenary. The are seductive, because they get things done, but don’t be fooled – when the going gets tough and it’s time to contribute to the greater good and sacrifice something…they leave.

Attributes that pop up time and time again:

Bully

Blamer

Bitter

Charming

“Lone wolf”

Poison dwarf

Rude

Short tenures and long stories

How to spot them:

They use “I” and “they” when describing their current role and company

They describe past and present colleagues as ninkanpoops/clueless/tone deaf/opaque/idiots/blind/wrong/lazy

They hold grudges

They “get things done” through coercion and intimidation

They stereotype people and roles

They don’t believe in luck and good timing. It’s all about talent & A players

They are “Remember whens” – “remember when” is the lowest form of conversation. They dwell on the past, live in the world of what was instead of understanding that things change and you need to move forward. (The Sopranos Season 6, Ep 15)

Listen for phrases like:

They don’t listen to me

It’s them not me

I don’t have the resources

It’s not my responsibility

You need me

I inherited that problem

My team wasn’t big enough

They wouldn’t promote me

I told them, but nobody listened

Give me people a chance to change

Everyone can change, and I’ve seen it happen many times. Sometimes Mercenaries become GCs and even inspiring presidents, but if it looks like a goat and sounds like a goat it normally is a goat.

Happy hiring!