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.

The choice to be generous

Is always available to us.

It’s an ongoing, always open, inclusive invitation to all.

It costs nothing, makes others feel seen and begets more generosity.

So when faced with a decision, point of tension or feeling of stuck consider asking:

What’s the generous thing to do?

PS. Thanks to the generosity of Seth Godin I have some new friends reading these posts. If that’s you and you’re wondering what Seth was talking about, this noodle on noodles might help. Thanks for being here you legend.

Note to self

Many best selling books are authors writing the book they wish they had access to.

Many popular blogs are writers reminding themselves of learned wisdom.

Many top rating podcasts are journalists seeking answers to their own questions.

I call this method of creation: note to self.

  1. What have you observed? What have you learned? What are you curious about?
  2. Write/record/create/capture based on this.
  3. Share it generously with those you think it will resonate.

Observe, create and share.

A timeless strategy for a noisy world

Have you seen the tweet?

Did you watch the press conference?

Read that article?

Share the Facebook post?

View the TikTok video?

Regram the Insta story?

Listen to that podcast?

On and on it goes.

A non-stop, always-on stream of information intentionally designed to be addictive and grab our attention.

Worth considering: how is it serving us?

Worth remembering the underrated, timeless strategy that’s been around for centuries:

When in doubt, read a book.

Another lesson from maths class

In maths, we’re told to show the workings that lead to our answer.

To map them out step by step so that we can easily go back and iterate, should things turn out differently than expected.

At the time these instructions felt laborious, unnecessary and like Ms Salter was out to get you. Yet it turns out to be a great philosophy for leaders, creatives and changemakers.

That is to say, whenever we seek to better our work we should remember to share our process not just the outcome.

Firstly, it makes it easier to revise should we need to.

Secondly, and more importantly, it invites creative, generous and generative feedback we might not have considered.

“I made this widget, what do you think?” is much less effective than “here’s the problem, here’s the change that I think needs to be made and this is how I propose to get there, what do you think?”

Often we’re scared to go with the latter because our processes can be messy and imperfect.

That, of course, is what makes it so effective. The mess is where the magic is.

(See also: what we can learn from maths teachers).

Noodling like a chef

Think about the chef at your favourite restaurant.

How many times do you think they’ve prepared and cooked your favourite dish?

100? 200? More?

No wonder they’re good at it. Chefs are masters of honing their skills.

Undoubtedly they make mistakes (see: Homer) and have days where they feel uninspired. Chefs are human, after all, just like you and me.

Despite this, they show up, they practice and they serve. Again and again and again.

What if we gave the same level of attention to the human skills of listening, empathy, generosity and care?

What might be possible if we showed up to practice them every single day?

How might that change the work we do, the posture we carry and the connections we make?

More lessons from improv

I’ve written before there’s much to learn from improv and I recently stumbled across more wisdom:

“If an improviser is stuck for an idea, she shouldn’t search for one, she should trigger her partner’s ability to give ‘unthought’ answers…”

“If you don’t know what to do in a scene, just say something like “Oh my god! What’s that?”

Keith Johnstone

For you leaders and change makers reading this post, it’s a welcome reminder that we don’t need to have all the answers.

That is to say: when we feel stuck, we can relinquish the need to be right or seen as smart and instead, embrace our curiosity.

We can ask questions of those around us.

“What do you think?” and “what am I missing?” are good places to start.

When giving feedback

Remember it should be generous and generative.

Adopt a posture of curiosity, possibility and wonder.

You might structure it as:

  1. Here’s what I observe and;
  2. Here’s what I’m curious about

In action: Pete, I notice you scatter various blogs with references to peanut butter and it makes me wonder: what’s the intention behind this?