The truth about great teachers

They can change your life in 30 seconds.

It could be by asking a great question, challenging you to step up or installing a magic blue table.

The good news is there are a myriad of ways teachers open doors and turn on lights for others, so it’s worth pondering:

  1. What would it look like to thank the great teachers in my life?
  2. How might I seek to be a great teacher for others?

Thanks to Jim Collins’ 2016 blog for the reminder and the brilliant Robbie Wood for sharing it with me.

Worldviews and chocolate frogs

A couple of weeks ago I received the following message from my brother:

“If you are what you eat, then you think what you read.”

These last five words struck me as profoundly true.

That is: that our thoughts, beliefs, dreams, fears, doubts and insecurities are shaped by the things we consume. Be it books, news articles, social media, TV shows, movies, podcasts, advertisements and anything in between.

With this in mind, I see two things worth noodling on:

  1. What am I reading and consuming?
  2. How is it serving me?

Also, full credit to my sister who, within minutes of receiving the same message, replied:

“I guess that makes me a chocolate frog.”

Humility is a superpower

Practicing humility can allow us to:

  • Be open to feedback
  • Uncover blindspots
  • Hear solutions we might not have thought of
  • Empower others to speak up and lead
  • Learn things we wouldn’t otherwise know
  • Expand our worldview
  • Foster self-awareness
  • Create meaningful connections with others

Put another away: When we realise we don’t know everything (nor do we have to) and neither does our boss, then we open the door to possibility and connection.

Nobody knows everything but together we know a lot.

Recent reads (and listens) – July edition

A small selection of books and podcasts that made me lean back in my chair, puff my imaginary pipe and scratch my noodle in July:

For those wanting to develop a writing practice:

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

For those wondering just how irrational we humans are:

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.

For those wanting to understand how to cultivate, build and maintain trust in their work:

The Future Is Trust by Rick Kitagawa and Lisa Lambert.

For those wondering how to think about relationships during, and in the wake of, a pandemic

Esther Perel on Armchair Expert.

PS. Are you the kind of person who loves sharing noodle-worthy resources with others, so that they too can puff their imaginary pipes and gaze out the window in deep thought? Then simply forward this blog to some friends, have them subscribe, and get back to watching the Olympics. You’re welcome.

Find and Replace

One of my favourite functions when writing or editing documents is the ol’ ‘find and replace’ (clearly I live a pretty exciting life).

As the name suggests, it allows you to search an entire document for a word or phrase and then replace it with another. Genius.

It’s also a useful strategy for those of us looking to develop skills and habits.

For example, I am working on:

Finding moments where I mindlessly scroll social media and replacing them with moments where I write ideas for blogs.

Finding moments where I attempt to multitask and replacing them with moments where I am deliberately focussed on one thing at a time.

Finding moments where I complain and replacing them with moments where I am grateful.

It’s not as easy as it is in a word document, but intentionally changing our behaviour rarely is.

What about you? What might you find and replace?

The myth of the right way

There’s no right way to…

  • Be a leader
  • Make change
  • Start a business
  • Run a workshop
  • Record a podcast
  • Write a book
  • Read a blog
  • Be a friend
  • Exercise
  • Manage stress
  • Get promoted
  • Write a blog about how there’s no right way (meta)

If someone tells you otherwise, proceed with caution.

Personal preferences, anecdotes, and opinions are not the same as indisputable truths.

Experiment, learn, tweak and repeat.

Back and across

In cricket, the ‘cut shot’ is played by a batsman off the back foot and across the body.

It requires timing, patience and skill.

As a kid I loved this shot.

So much so that each night I’d pester my dad to step onto the pitch (the vacant block next door) and bowl to me so I could practice. I mean, what else could he possibly want to do after spending 10 hours at school teaching adolescent kids maths and science?

“Back and across” he’d say.

“Back and across” I’d repeat out loud, and then to myself over and over “back and across, back and across, back and across”.

Ball after ball, minute after minute, hour after hour, until it was too dark for us to even see one another, let alone the red cricket ball hurtling towards me.

25 years later I find myself wondering: what skills are we repeatedly practicing each night with the same enthusiasm?

The skill of checking Insta every 17 seconds? Or the skill of actively listening to a story from a loved one?

The skill of binging 6 episodes of Schitt’s Creek on Netflix? Or the skill of reading a book?

The skill of doom scrolling Twitter? Or the skill of mindful meditation and yoga?

Each day we get to decide the skills we practice. What if we were more intentional about it?

Back and across.

PS. Rhymes with this post from March 2020 which feels like a global pandemic ago.

Recent reads (and listens) – June edition

A small selection of books and podcasts that made me pause, look out the window and scratch my noodle in June:

For a comprehensive, insightful and actionable understanding of book publishing:

How to Write a Book Proposal by Jody Rein

For a masterclass in storytelling and living life:

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

For some real talk between two celebrated thought leaders:

This chat between Brenè Brown and Angela Duckworth

For a hilarious, reflective, brilliant and somewhat tragic commentary on the last 15 months:

Not quite a read or a listen, but a must watch. Inside from Bo Burnham

PS. Do you enjoy sharing noodle-worthy resources with others? Then simply forward this blog to some friends and get back to enjoying your Sunday. You deserve it.


Have you ever met a human who wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and says to themselves “Today, I’m going to behave totally irrationally”?

Me neither.

Put another way: most people behave in a way they believe to be rational, based on their experience of the world.

And yet, what happens when you think about someone who disagrees with you on any given topic?

It could be the sports team they follow, what time they go to bed or the way they fold/scrunch their toilet paper.

Do you attribute their perspective to something that’s a reasonable result of their experience? Or do you think of them as irrational? Wrong? Ridiculous?

Do you approach them with curiosity and intrigue? Or judgement and shame?

What would it look like to lean more towards the former, and less towards the latter?

So you read lots of books…


What are you doing with the learnings from said books?

How are you putting them into action?

Have you summarised the ideas that stood out? Taken note of the things that confused you? Told the author what you liked about it?

Me neither.

If you’re anything like me and feeling called out by this post, it might be time to slow down and read for quality not quantity.