Sometimes being young and ignorant is the best state of mind to start a business, emigrate, quit your job, sail around the world. If you knew all the risks and peril ahead of you, then you probably wouldn’t start.
The upside of age and experience is that you skip the upfront thrash of mistakes and false starts.
The downside is that you know where all the problems are, so you don’t leap until there’s limited downside. Unfortunately those risk free moments are scarce.
People say they want to change things, but what they mean is that they want things to change.
If you want to learn something new, then start.
Want to learn to surf? Drive to the beach, borrow a wetsuit and a surfboard, and get wet. On some days you’ll get out of the water, and your hands will be so cold that you won’t be able to unzip your suit or hold your keys. Everyone sitting on their boards just beyond the shore break did the same thing at some point. You won’t learn by watching Instagram videos of big wave surfing. The answer is in the water.
Want to learn to write? Start writing, publish something every day. Get used to feedback, good and bad. The stuff will only start to resonate when you turn up in your writing. People can spot authenticity a mile away, and they’ll connect with you through your book.
Don’t take the act of starting something for granted. Most people give up before they even begin. If you’ve started and come back the next day, then you are in the one percent already.
If you want to change something, then you’ve got to change yourself.
Sometimes the best way to start writing the next chapter of a book is to sit down and write. That sounds obvious, but it’s scarier to do when nothing is waiting to pour out on the page. Sitting down, creating space and time is sometimes the only activation energy required to break through the writer’s block.
It’s the same with exercise or getting some long overdue work project completed. Upfront activation energy is sometimes all you need to break through. A run around the block turns into a couple of blocks. Composing a response to one email you’ve been ignoring frees up energy for other things that need your attention.
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.
Escape the empty obligations, fulfill the real ones with presence and passion and use the rest of your time to learn, laugh and love.
Work with clever people who are kind. Look for them, stay close to them, and learn from them.
Be weary of clever people who are unkind. Keep your distance and handle with caution.
Clever and kind people nurture and grow powerful communities of trusted friends who in turn connect and amplify those connections. Be part of that community. It’s powered by kindness and it’s evergreen.
As we enter the first days of Spring, there’s an urge to make big decisions about the upcoming season. It’s anything from career, family, finances and personal growth. Before we make a big decision, we get physically and mentally fit.
When we are fit we have less stress and are more present. Our muscles and brain are oxygenated and we think more clearly. Worries and fears are less magnified and we have a good sense of what is real vs. imaginary (most of it’s imaginary, by the way).
Going for a walk, meditating, taking deep diaphragm inhales and exhales…as well as toe breathing, where we feel the inhalations inflate our toes – are fun exercises we enjoy to breath more deeply.
When fit, we find decisions emerge from a more grounded and present place.
Work with people who have the same values and expectations around outcomes. When you are out of alignment with your investors, employees and partners it’s like having a bad back that’s in need of a chiropractor. Every movement, whether big or small is painful because the vertebrae are moving in different directions and wasting energy.
Think about it for a second…misalignment is a serious waste of energy when getting from point A to point B. At every turn & blockage you are losing energy, it’s painful and you build up scar tissue.
If you are thinking long term and your partners are thinking short term then why would you ever agree on anything. Apply the same rule to how you treat your customers and vendors. It’ll save you so much time down the line.
Before you pitch an idea make sure you all agree on the definition of a successful outcome. If that’s out of whack then even the brightest idea won’t win. It’s a lot harder to get this right once you’ve agreed to work together, so spending more time upfront picking the right partners will save you a lot of brain damage over the long term.
Simple questions like this will help:
1. Investment horizon timing? (Long term or Short term). How do you define Long Term and Short Term?
2. Define success
3. Is this a one time partnership or do you want to work together again?
During my school years I played in a tennis league on Saturday afternoons. I remember being paired up against a 60 year old opponent. As a 15 year old with youth, energy and infinite wisdom on my side I thought this would be an easy match. The game plan was simple…out power and run him ragged. An easy match…and I’d be walking home in no time.
From the very first game things didn’t go according to plan. The old fox was all about small chop shots to my backhand and drop shots that died on impact. He hardly moved around the court and every time I increased the power he responded with a sliced lob that took the power out of the rally.
Frustrated and four games down in the first set I needed a change in strategy. I made the decision to beat him at his own game. My game changed from hard serve and top spin forehands to unfamiliar sliced back hands and top spin lobs. The whole game slowed down and I ended up getting thrashed love and love.
My mistake was changing my game to match my opponent’s strengths. In hindsight I should have raised my own game and gone back to core principles that worked for me. The old fox was playing to his survival strengths of low tempo, precision shots and unforced errors…not the best style for a 15 year old opponent.
Next time you are confronted with an opponent or competitor in your space, try raising your game first. Resist the urge to morph into and replicate what is beating you. Work harder and focus on your strengths.