Noticing and improving

In order to improve anything, one must first notice.

For example:

I used to sit at a desk all day until I noticed back and shoulder pain and a posture that resembled a Disney Character from Notre Dame.

I thought about it and went and got a wireless keyboard, mouse and monitor.

That worked well for a while until I noticed that doing so much sitting made me tired and lethargic.

So I made a standing desk.

This has been a game-changer until one day I noticed standing all day was starting to give me sore feet.

Now I rotate between sitting and standing.

On and on it goes.

Enhancements, improvements and iterations are available for us to make things better.

The key is to first observe and notice.

Consider this question fork (that’s right I’m bringing back the cutlery post):

  • What’s not working for me right now?
  • Where are my pain points?
  • Where do I experience friction?

Then: Which of these are worth improving?

Shipping

Is most commonly thought of as the act of sending something to at least one other person via mail or courier.

Maybe it’s sending thank you cards to multiple loved ones, some lego to your niece for her birthday or, on the flip side, receiving the overpriced stainless steel Japanese pouring kettle that you convinced yourself you needed in lockdown.

In all cases someone intentionally (and usually generously) sends something to another person.

This posture of generous shipping is also true of great leaders, changemakers and creatives. They make a habit of sharing something they’ve created.

It could be a blog post, podcast episode or new business.

It might be an email, website or a song.

Perhaps it’s a video, an idea or some feedback.

This kind of shipping can be hard.

It’s hard because it invites feedback and puts us on the hook. It requires us to have thought “I’m sharing this with you because…”

It’s also the only way to create change.

All the planning, preparation, tinkering and perfecting can only get you so far. At some point, you have to ship.

Knowing that, it might be worth making shipping part of our daily routine.

Consider: what you might ship in the next 24 hours?

PS. I can go first.

The brilliant Jen Waldman and I just shipped The Big Ideas Lab.

It’s an intensive 6-week workshop for people with changemaking ideas to learn the skills, tools, and techniques for creating and delivering high-impact content.

Check it out as it might just be for you. Yeah, you.

Indoor plants and humans

Have a lot in common.

Just ask my favourite instagram account @poorlydrawnlines.

Taking this a step further, each house plant is unique depending on type, size, shape, location and access to water and light.

The same is true with humans.

We each have a unique worldview based on our own environment, set of circumstances, lived experiences and stories.

Knowing this, we can approach one another with curiosity.

For your plants, consider: How much water and light might one plant need, compared with another?

For your work, consider: How much context and time might one leader need, compared with another?

For your life, consider: How much quiet and space might your partner need, compared to you?

Hats and priorities

Just because we have a hat, doesn’t mean we must wear it.

We get to decide.

For many of us, the same is true of the way we spend our time.

Just because we’re good at managing a project, editing a podcast or designing a logo, doesn’t mean we must do it.

Moreover, attempting to do everything ourselves will all but guarantee overwhelm. Our time is finite while the list of things we “could” do is infinite.

Instead we might consider:

  • What skills do I want to practice?
  • What problems would I like to solve?
  • Where do I enjoy spending energy?

The question fork

There is usually more than one way to ask the same thing.

Enter: the question fork.

Three different questions all pointing in the same direction.

For example:

  • What do you want?
  • What do you care about?
  • What’s important to you?

One of these will feel easier to answer than others and all are asking a similar thing.

Knowing this, there are two prompts:

  1. If asking someone a question and they’re not able to answer it, ask an adjacent question
  2. If prompting yourself with a question and you’re feeling stuck, seek an adjacent question

That’s it. A little cutlery related noodle for your Wednesday.

Showing up

This week Jen Waldman and I released the 100th episode of our Podcast, The Long and The Short Of It.

100 weeks in a row we have recorded a conversation at least one of us believes is worth sharing.

100 weeks in a row we have felt the doubt, insecurity and fear that comes with releasing something to the world for others to consume.

100 weeks in a row we have shown up.

At times it’s felt easy as if we’re running downhill with the wind behind us.

Other times it’s felt painstakingly hard like when you put too much peanut butter in your mouth and wonder if you’ll ever be able to breathe again (an almost daily occurrence in my house).

We’ve learned that people love height jokes, contrasting accents and a really juicy question.

Most importantly we’ve learned that showing up consistently builds connection, trust and momentum.

It’s also one of the few things we actually have control over.

Knowing that it’s worth considering: how and where am I showing up?

This is The Long and The Short Of It. Thanks to everyone who’s tuned in.

Two times

What if today we were twice as generous as we were yesterday?

Or we listened twice as actively? Cared twice as much? Showed up twice as hard?

What if we dared to make ourselves twice as uncomfortable? Or raised the bar twice as high?

I’ll go first.

Starting today you can expect a noddle on this blog two times a week instead of one.

If nothing else it’s the perfect excuse to throwback to this tune from Ann Lee.