The pain of not paying attention

Earlier today I almost knocked myself out on a door frame (the joys of being 6″7′).

I was shocked at first, confused about what just happened. Then annoyed at the person who designed and built the door frame this particular height.

Eventually, I came to realise I simply hadn’t been paying attention. I had been lost in thought.

That in order to avoid having a large egg-shaped lump on my cranium all I needed to do was: a) pay attention to my surroundings and b) duck my head.

Reverse engineering this unfortunate incident makes me wonder:

  1. Where are you experiencing the pain of a metaphorical lump on your head?
  2. What weren’t you paying attention to that allowed it to happen? (ie what’s the metaphorical door frame?)
  3. How might you fix it? (ie what’s the equivelant of ducking your head?)

Discomfort can often be avoided if we first pay attention.

Mood follows action

If you wait until you’re in the right mood to put the bins out you might find yourself waking to the sound of the garbage truck as you swear under your breath and your partner asks “did you remember to put the bins out last night?”

Of course you didn’t remember, you were too busy waiting to be in the right mood.

The same is true with having a difficult conversation, starting (or quitting) a project or going for a run.

It’s unlikely you’ll be in the right mood before taking action, instead we can choose to intentionally take action and then allow the mood to follow.

Put another way: waiting for the right mood is a form of hiding.

See this interview with Rich Roll for more on this idea.

Recent reads and listens – December edition

The end of the year is approaching and so here are a hand-picked selection of books and podcasts that made me think, laugh, and do some noodlin’ in December.

My hope is they do the same for you:

If you want to read something that will make you laugh until you cry:

Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld (I reread this in the spirit of trying to bring some levity to the end of a crazy and bizarre year).

If you fancy a book that will help you rethink scaling your impact:

 Who Not How – Dan Sullivan

If you’re curious about meaningful connection and the human experience:

This 3 part podcast from Brené Brown talking with her sisters about her new book.

If you’re looking for some great background music to study/work to:

This always on mix by YouTuber Lofi Girl.

That’s it for this month. Wishing you all a happy New Year!

PS. If you’re curious what some of my favourite resources for the year 2021 were, checkout this podcast with my cohost Jen.

Conflicting advice and what it teaches us

Avoid pitching, instead be so good people are lining up to work with you.

Always be pitching, it helps you be comfortable pitching and is the quickest way to find people who will say yes.

Work smarter, 4 day (or hour) work weeks and take control of your time.

Hustle harder, 7 day work weeks to get an advantage on everyone else.

Build a large team, it helps scale your vision and impact.

Avoid building a team, it complicates and distracts you.

Get everyone into the office ASAP, we work better when connected face to face.

Let your people work from wherever they want, flexibility and choice matters most.

Don’t quit your job, have creative pursuits on the side that fuel you.

Quit your job, turn your creative pursuit into your income stream.

Say yes to everything, you never know where something might lead.

Only say yes to things that are a full body yes, spend your time and energy where you want to.

Smooth peanut butter is superior, it’s easier to spread.

Crunchy peanut butter is superior, it tastes like peanut butter should.

On and on it goes.

My takeaway is that there is no one ‘right’ answer to leading and creating change.

We’re all just making it up as we go based on the resources we have, the stories we tell ourselves and, perhaps most importantly, the fears that underpin them.

Of course, if this takeaway is true then it’s unlikely the only one… #meta

What might happen if…

You asked for help?

You only checked email twice per day?

You deleted social media off your phone?

Your phone wasn’t allowed in the bedroom?

You had a whole day without meetings?

You asked more questions?

You stopped looking for the one ‘right’ answer/approach/idea and instead looked for as many answers/approaches/ideas as possible?

You treated rest and recovery as a the most important part of being at your best?

You cared a little less about what others might think of you?

You wrote a blog to your legendary readers that was basically just a note-to-self on things you might experiment with?

It’s easy to forget that we can choose to intentionally experiment, test, learn and change our behaviour.

The real kick-in-the-gut question might just be: what’s the opportunity cost if you don’t?

Who’s on your team?

Michael Jordan didn’t win all those NBA championships in the 90s based on his freakish talent, skill, and dedication alone. He had a team around him that helped set him up for success and create the most successful basketball franchise in the history of the game.

This begs the question: who’s on your team?

For those of you who love specific instructions and details over noodly questions:

  1. Open a blank spreadsheet.
  2. Write “My team” at the top.
  3. In one column: list who’s on your team. These are the kind of people who you can go to and rely on to help with specific things. It might be coaches, teachers, therapists, friends, colleagues, leaders and/or mentors
  4. In another column: list the skills and expertise they can help you with. Are they financial experts? Strength coaches? Feedback givers? Write that down.
  5. Review said list and marvel at all the awesome people you have in your life.
  6. Consider: Where are the gaps?
  7. Get annoyed that I just asked you another noodly question.
  8. Realise that’s why you signed up for this blog in the first place, grab yourself a snack and get curious about how you might fill said gaps.

Go go go.

Recent reads and listens – November edition

December has somehow snuck up on us and shown all her festive promise which means it’s time to share a hand-picked selection of books and podcasts that made me think, laugh, and do some noodlin’ in November. My hope is they do the same for you:

To hear 6min of audio that might just change your life:

Read the transcript and listen to this clip of Debbie Millman sharing her ’10 year plan for a Remarkable Life’ exercise.

To read a compelling Australian fiction novel on identity, life, and everything in between:

Honeybee – Craig Silvey

To begin wrapping your head around Web3, NFTs and how they might change the world:

Listen to Chris Dixon and Naval Ravikant on this podcast.

To learn from one of the most thoughtful trailblazing CEO’s of our time on improving the future of work:

Indra Nooyi being interviewed on this podcast.

PS. Do you like being generous? Then send this blog to a friend or three and have them join legends just like you who receive it in their inbox twice per week.

The trap of anticipation

Earlier today I noticed that when getting a massage it’s easy to spend the whole time anticipating the next stage of the massage.

The therapist was massaging my calves and I found myself thinking “I can’t wait until they get to my back, I’m really tight in my back.”

Then they got to my back and I immediately thought “yep, this is going to feel GREAT when they get to my tight shoulders.”

When they got to the shoulders I started thinking about the stiffness in my neck and when they get to the neck I wondered if they’d finish with a head massage.

All of a sudden the massage was over and I realised I spent the entire time anticipating some future event, distracting myself from the present one.

I tricked myself into thinking the next stage of the massage would be the one that finally solves all my muscle tension and in doing so robbed myself of simply enjoying the process of getting a massage.

Of course, this provides a metaphor and an annoying noodley question for the rest of our lives too:

What outcome are you currently anticipating that is preventing you from enjoying the process of getting there?

A collection of stories I told myself on Thursday

“This might be the best idea I’ve ever had.”

“This is undoubtedly the worst idea I’ve ever had.”

“I totally got this.”

“I am a complete fraud and imposter.”

“I am lazy and not working hard enough.”

“I am working smart.”

“I am working way too hard and deserve a break and an almond croissant.”

“I probably didn’t need that almond croissant.”

“Maybe I should give this project up.”

“I love this project.”

“That workshop went great.”

“That workshop wasn’t your best.”

“I’m so energised.”

“I’m so tired.”

All that in just one day.

Reflecting on the ridiculousness of this made me think of two things, that build on one another:

  1. The stories we tell ourselves are temporary and often subject to contradiction in just a matter of minutes. Treat them as such and don’t take yourself too seriously.
  2. Don’t believe everything you think.

Two easy (and confronting) ways to reveal what you value

  1. Look at your bank statement from the last month and consider: what did I spend most of my money on?
  2. Look at your calendar from the last month and consider: what did I spend most of my time doing?

As the brilliant Kirsty Stark reminded me this week: how we spend our money and time is a direct reflection of what we value.

Once I recovered from that metaphorical punch in the throat, it proved a worthy reminder to noodle on.

Attitude is a skill

One parent looks out the window on a rainy day and says to their kids dreerily “it’s bad weather today, we can’t go outside.”

Another parent looks out the window on a rainy day and says to their kids excitedly “look at all those puddles, grab your gumboots and let’s go jump in them!”

The way we respond to circumstances shapes the way we, and others, view the world.

Put another way: attitude is a learned skill.

Expanded some more: the way we show up for our kids, partners, co-workers, friends, family and for ourselves is something we can always practice and improve.

So what would it look like to do so?