Napoleon Dynamite Source – Chicagonow
If you’re working in the kitchen of Anthony Bourdain, legendary chef and famed television personality, you don’t dare so much to boil hot water without attending to a ritual called: mise-en-place.
What is the first thing YOU do when you arrive at your desk?
What 20 word question can you ask yourself to distinguish between tasks that simply feel urgent from those that are truly important?
Find the answers here: How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day
Source: Headlikeanorange (Young black-tailed prairie dog)
Excerpts from a post by Michael Lopp @ Rands in Repose titled “Busy is an Addiction. The Dubious Value of Being Busy:
After decades of following this protocol, I’m certain of what I’m doing – I’m building mental momentum. I’m convincing my brain through a constant firehose of content of one thing: We are going to be super busy today – it’s going to be awesome. How about a hit of the good stuff? Now, I can rationalize this morning preparation as gathering context and mentally preparing for the day but what I’m really doing is overclocking my brain. This is why I’m drinking coffee. I want to make sure by the time I hit the office, I’m working at 112%, I’m walking fast in the hallways of the office with a smile on my face, I am ready to fully crush this day. What I am really describing is a chemical addiction to the endorphins produced by my body that are supposed to reward productivity, but I have figured out how to force their creation via my advanced state of busy…
Admit it, if you’ve been a leader for while, it’s a source of pride that you’re booked all day – you’re important – you’re so… busy.
What I am describing is how I’ve lived years of my life. I’ve replaced the concrete act of building with a vast array of abstract tasks and acts that I believe are strategically important to the team, the product, and the company, but I’ve also learned to constantly question the motivation being the busy: Am I doing this because it’s actually important? Or because I like the rush with being busy?
Don’t miss the entire post @ “Busy is an Addiction“
Image Source: RAF
Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath in Why You Hate Work:
The way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep…
…Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night…
Find the rest of the story (and the solution to the problem) here: Why You Hate Work
- Image Source: Nezartdesign
- Tony Schwartz is the co-author of the Best Selling book: The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal
A 2012 share titled “Do What You Love” garnered more likes (393) and more views (8,396) than any other post on this blog. My thinking has evolved (you were naive!) since that time with a subsequent share titled: Do What You Love? Wrong! and this NY Times article by Professor Gordon Marino titled Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’:
…But is “do what you love” wisdom or malarkey?
…the “do what you love” ethos so ubiquitous in our culture is in fact elitist because it degrades work that is not done from love. It also ignores the idea that work itself possesses an inherent value, and most importantly, severs the traditional connection between work, talent and duty.
…My father didn’t do what he loved. He labored at a job he detested so that he could send his children to college. Was he just unenlightened and mistaken to put the well-being of others above his own personal interests? It might be argued that his idea of self-fulfillment was taking care of his family, but again, like so many other less than fortunate ones, he hated his work but gritted his teeth and did it well.
…Our desires should not be the ultimate arbiters of vocation. Sometimes we should do what we hate, or what most needs doing, and do it as best we can.
Read full article: Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’
Image Source: daiquiri-kisses (modified)
It’s Saturday morning. I’m flicking through Netflix and there it was – “Recommended for me: The Legend of Bagger Vance.” It was ten, maybe eleven years ago. The Executive Coach assigned to me recommended the book. An Executive Coach from Little Rock, Arkansas. Hired and paid for by the Firm. “Good for my career,” they said. (Good for my career? I didn’t need help with my career. My team’s results were exceptional. Employee Survey scores ranked my team’s morale #1, with no one remotely close. Little Rock, Arkansas? Come on. You’ve got to be kidding.)
The first meeting was scheduled. Big Cat was tired, wary and his fur was up. (Last thing I need is some corporate shrink dishing out pablum that I wouldn’t eat and then reporting back to management that I was a head-case. What can he possibly teach me? “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”)
He outlined the program. Clinical. To-the-point. No wasted words. No wasted movement. He explained that he wanted to conduct a 360-survey with my direct reports, colleagues and key partners. Get me the names, and we’ll get started. He was in and out.
Session 3, the survey feedback comes in. Big 4-inch ringed binder. I’m flipping through the pages. I skip the strengths. I know what they are. Eyes scan the charts, and land on the categories hitting the low points. (Memory is hazy…but I remember thinking Holy Sh*t as a read through the color commentary: “Ambitious. Would roll me if I missed. Aggressive. Relentless. Tough. Standards unrealistically high. ‘Always on.’ Don’t really know him. An enigma, can be hard and soft, therefore difficult to read. And Trust.” I gently closed the binder to trap the words in – dropping my head and tasting the bitters of stomach acid.) [Read more...]
I’m rumbling down I-95.
Dave Matthews is blaring through the speakers. And has been joining me on the morning ride all week.
You’ve been off. Haven’t found your rhythm. It’s back. You’re burning it from both ends. The adrenaline – – it’s pumpin’.
I look down at the gas gauge. And then to the estimate of the mileage remaining. Annoyed at the interruption. Need to stop. Better stop. I pull over to the Mobile station.
I’m listening to the clicks on the pump. And find myself drifting off. There’s mist coming from my nose, rising up, and then disappearing into the darkness. I breathe in deeply. Exhale through the nose. And watch the show again. Magic. A Miracle. My morning moment of meditation. And like the wisp of air, Pessoa’s disquiet rushes to fill the stillness.
You’re more comfortable moving. You find peace in motion. Yet, you know it ain’t peace.
It’s hanging on my bulletin board in the office: “business is the art of getting people to where they need to be faster than they would get there without you.” A Hugh McLeod illustration. A Big red hand with index finger pointing up – #1. There it is. Your strength. Your core competence. The transference of your disquiet to others. Pushing the pace. Injecting your adrenaline. More. Better. FASTER.
- Post inspired by Steve Layman‘s Share of Sippican Cottage’s: “Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men: “#4: Does he finish what he starts? Geniuses almost never do.“
- Image Source: The Sensual Starfish.
Excerpts from the Joseph McCormack’s Book Brief: The Brevity Mandate
“Here are the daunting challenges we all face every day to be heard: Attention spans are in a tailspin. In 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds and now it’s only eight. Professionals are interrupted 6-7 times an hour, often unable to get back to the task at hand. More than 43% abandon complicated or lengthy emails in the first 30 seconds. And the majority of people admit ignoring half the e-mails they get every day.”
“The more you say, the less people hear”
“The business world today is full of information overload and there is not enough time to sift through it. If you cannot capture people’s attention and deliver your message with brevity, you’ll lose them.”
“The discipline to capture and manage elusive mindshare now shapes and defines professional success. Shorter emails, better organized updates, and tighter and more engaging presentations are immediate indicators that you’ve got what it takes to succeed in an attention economy.”
“Getting to the point is a non-negotiable standard.”
Find book on Amazon here.
“The strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control….
It’s odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure. Yet it’s precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself. Add impulse control — the ability to resist temptation — and the result is people who systematically sacrifice present gratification in pursuit of future attainment.
But this success comes at a price. Each of the three traits has its own pathologies. Impulse control can undercut the ability to experience beauty, tranquillity and spontaneous joy. Insecure people feel like they’re never good enough…A superiority complex can be even more invidious. Group supremacy claims have been a source of oppression, war and genocide throughout history.”
~ Amy Chua & Jed Rubenfeld, What Drives Success?
Read entire article in NY Times: What Drives Success? Worthy…
And, January, 2014 is over next week.
Image Source: TheTimBurtonWorld
“Sixteen thousand—that’s how many words we speak, on average, each day. So imagine how many unspoken ones course through our minds. Most of them are not facts but evaluations and judgments entwined with emotions—some positive and helpful…others negative and less so (He’s purposely ignoring me; I’m going to make a fool of myself; I’m a fake).
The prevailing wisdom says that difficult thoughts and feelings have no place at the office: …leaders, should be either stoic or cheerful; they must project confidence and damp down any negativity bubbling up inside them. But that goes against basic biology. All healthy human beings have an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that include criticism, doubt, and fear. That’s just our minds doing the job they were designed to do: trying to anticipate and solve problems and avoid potential pitfalls.
…Leaders stumble not because they have undesirable thoughts and feelings—that’s inevitable—but because they get hooked by them, like fish caught on a line. This happens in one of two ways. They buy into the thoughts, treating them like facts (It was the same in my last job…I’ve been a failure my whole career), and avoid situations that evoke them (I’m not going to take on that new challenge). Or, usually at the behest of their supporters, they challenge the existence of the thoughts and try to rationalize them away (I shouldn’t have thoughts like this…I know I’m not a total failure), and perhaps force themselves into similar situations, even when those go against their core values and goals (Take on that new assignment—you’ve got to get over this). In either case, they are paying too much attention to their internal chatter and allowing it to sap important resources that could be put to better use. [Read more...]
Take a new route to work.
Invite a colleague to breakfast.
Schedule 5 minute breaks.
Whisper Good Enough.
Then let it go.
Let your emails pile up.
Just let them go.
Take a walk.
Leave your smartphone behind.
Steal 10 minutes to read.
Call a friend.
Send a thank you note.
Interrupt the pace.
Stop the frenzy.
Push your chair away from your desk.
Close your eyes.
You are now walking barefoot.
Surf and sand rushing between your toes.
Say the words:
Peace be with you.
Break the chain.
Do one thing.
Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.
Circle of Life (Lion King)
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life
I’m on a conference call.
A long conference call.
The discussion is stretching and swirling in a loop.
I can feel my patience growing thin.
Is this normal brainstorming?
Or part of the creative process?
Or is this a complete mess?
Or is my lack of sleep clouding my judgment?
My mind drifts.
I call up one of my favorite management books: QBQ by John Miller.
John would suggest that I ask the Question Behind the Question?
Why am I amped up?
What have I done to contribute to the rudderless direction of this call?
I think about that for a moment.
Nah, can’t be me. Of course not.
I let the debate go on. I listen in silently hoping the solve is coming.
I turn to gnawing on a finger nail.
Aren’t you too old to be biting your finger nails? Disgusting habit. [Read more...]
- Be strategic. Be Tactical. Be a firefighter.
- Push for productivity. For excellence. Pull. Pull with PURPOSE.
- Set pace. Drive. Pause. Stop. Change. BALANCE.
- Build Relationships. CARE. Keep adequate distance.
- Learn. Coach. Nurture. Correct.
- Hire. Upgrade. Right-size. Fire. (sigh)
- Lead. Manage. Own. Delegate. Follow. Release.
- Show Strength. Be Resilient. Be Tough. Be Fair. Be compassionate. Admit weakness.
- Cheer. Rally. Celebrate. Recognize. Recover. Regroup. INSPIRE.
- Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. BE ON.
I’m walking down 51st Street to catch the 6:22 train home.
A migraine has been throbbing since 11 am.
It’s progressively clawing at my attention.
And sawing at my patience.
3:30 am insomnia?
This diet is going to kill me.
I find an open seat.
I grab my ticket from my bag.
And set my coat and bag overhead.
I slump into the window seat and rest my head against the window.
I close my eyes.
Give me 10 minutes. Please. Just 10. And, let this pain evaporate.
The train pulls out of Grand Central.
I drift away with the clickety clack of the train.
I awake to the conductor calling for tickets.
I hand my ticket to her.
She smiles, and hands it back.
She tells me she’ll be back and moves on to the other passengers.
I look down. It’s the receipt instead of the ticket.
Flustered. I apologize to my seatmate.
I stand up to reach for my bag.
I open the zipper to get at my wallet. [Read more...]
I get a late jump. Need to drive to the City. I look down at my gas gauge. It’s bobbing on the wrong side of 1/4. Storm expected by mid-afternoon. I can’t be caught on freeway without petrol. I cuss. I should have filled up on the ride home last night. I clench my teeth: WHY do I repeat this scenario? Again and again. I glance down at my watch, and hope for light traffic. I can’t be late. Not today. I pull into a Mobil Service Station.
A late edition Ford Explorer pulls up. Mid-30’s? Pharma Sales? Office Manager? Her make-up, black dress and heels…all poorly camouflaging weariness. Her shoulders are slumped.
Today’s Look: Fatigue. Single Mom? Poor night’s sleep? Did you need to drop Jimmy off at daycare?
$’s whirring on the pump meter. $4.47 a gallon. “Come and listen to a story ’bout a man named Jed. Poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shooting for some food, and up through the ground come a bubblin’ crude (Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.)” I digress. $63.47 and still guzzling. Beast is insatiable.
She puts the pump back in the holster, gives the gas cap an extra twist and trudges back into her car, heels clopping on the asphalt.
You couldn’t have put more than $15 in the tank. Money tight? Stretched into big house, one size too large?
Traffic is flowing. GPS flashing a clear runway to Triborough Bridge. Making good time.
You picked out the dress with your Mother. Your Father cried as he walked you down the aisle. Bridesmaids, flower girls, quaint church. Pachelbel’s Canon in D. A beautiful spring day in May. Church Bells singing. Hope springs eternal. [Read more...]
“…It turns out that when we decide how we feel about someone, we are making not one judgment, but two. The criteria that count are what we call “strength” and “warmth.” Strength is a person’s capacity to make things happen with abilities and force of will. When people project strength, they command our respect. Warmth is the sense that a person shares our feelings, interests, and view of the world. When people project warmth, we like and support them…”
“…While each of us exhibit both strong and warm qualities, the authors found through various studies and research that we often fail to utilize the right amounts of each. This is because, although both strength and warmth are positive traits, they can become negative if not balanced for and catered to your specific situation. Awareness is key. Strength and warmth are controllable traits we use in every interaction we have—via our tone of voice, the words we use, how we stand and walk, what we wear, and even how we cut our hair…”
Read more @ 800ceoread
Find this book @ Amazon
This article evoked vivid, early teen memories. Sultry Friday and Saturday nights in August. Shad flies filling the night time sky over the Kootenay River. We would race our bikes to beat the twilight turning to dusk. We’d hide our bikes in the bushes and go searching for a grassy spot on the hill at the Sunset Drive-in. The tantalizing smell of buttered popcorn and hot dogs. The car window speakers cackling. The older high school kids cozying up to their girls.
I googled the Sunset Drive-in and was shocked to learn that it showed its last movie in 1986, over 25 years ago. The old drive-in is now a RV Park known as Kootenay River Kampground.
Italo Calvino’s words capture my recollection of these memories from where we sit today, in front of our screens, big and little, in our homes: “Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.”
Here’s a few excerpts from the BusinessWeek article titled: America’s Last, Remaining Drive-Ins Face a New Threat
Two questions: Which one of the four below are you? (Assuming you are one of the four.) Which one is optimal?
- “A” > “B” = No “C”
- “A” < “B” = No “C”
- “A” + “B” = Some “C”
- “P” = “J” = No “C”
Where ‘A’= Time Spent On What You Love to Do.
Where ‘B’= Time Spent on Your Job.
Where ‘C’= Amount of Your Free Time.
Where ‘P’= What You Love To Do.
Where ‘J’ = Your Job.
Chart Source: Great Work Done From 5 to 9 @ Indexed by Jessica Hagy
#2: Writing Effectively. My 10th Grade English teacher underscored this for me YEARS ago. And I see too much today that hurts the eyes.
Stack ‘em up and rumble. Dawn till dusk. Conference calls. One on one calls. Meetings. Emails + Texts: 175 and counting (the day isn’t over). Swinging a gas powered weed wacker. The day: A half-high-five. Many routine ground balls. No major drops. Grade? Falling forward.
I’m on the 7:15 pm MetroNorth railroad heading home. The overhead air conditioning vent is heaven; a cool shower drying sweat from the sweltering cross-town walk. I close my eyes. And drift back to the day’s highlight. A working lunch. I’m 7 minutes late. I apologize and sit. The team waited for me before digging into lunch.
We’re 10 minutes in. The racing, charging, driving of the prior four hours burns off. My heart rate slows. I’m not tapping my foot. I’m not pushing the pace. Not glancing at my watch. Not thinking ahead to the next meeting. I’m watching. And listening. I’m actually present. [Read more...]
Source: Adapted from themetapicture.com
Byron Wien grew up in Chicago during the Depression. “He was orphaned at 14 and overcame a difficult childhood to attend Harvard undergrad and business school. He recently turned 80, and in response to a request from a conference organizer moments before he was supposed to speak, Wien committed to paper some ideas which surely contributed to his success, but more important, they are lessons that shaped such a rich and remarkable life.” Here are a few excerpts:
- Network intensely. Luck plays a big role in life, and there is no better way to increase your luck than by knowing as many people as possible. Nurture your network by sending articles, books and emails to people to show you’re thinking about them. Write op-eds and thought pieces for major publications. Organize discussion groups to bring your thoughtful friends together.
- Read all the time. Don’t just do it because you’re curious about something, read actively. Have a point of view before you start a book or article and see if what you think is confirmed or refuted by the author. If you do that, you will read faster and comprehend more.
- On philanthropy my approach is to try to relieve pain rather than spread joy. Music, theatre and art museums have many affluent supporters, give the best parties and can add to your social luster in a community. They don’t need you. Social service, hospitals and educational institutions can make the world a better place and help the disadvantaged make their way toward the American dream.
- Younger people are naturally insecure and tend to overplay their accomplishments. Most people don’t become comfortable with who they are until they’re in their 40’s. By that time they can underplay their achievements and become a nicer, more likeable person. Try to get to that point as soon as you can. [Read more...]
We’ve heard of woman soldiers being subjected to sexual harassment, and worse. Here’s the response to a scandal in his army by the Head of Army for Australia, Chief Lieutenant General David Morrison. I can’t remember when I was so moved by a 3-minute clip. No more words. WATCH.
Source: Thank you Lori @ Donna & Diablo who shared this video clip with me. Lori, a continuous feed of inspiration to me every single day. Not sure how we connected in this blogosphere community Lori, but I am lucky and blessed.
“I do it for me and like-minded people. That’s it. That’s it. My career, I look at it in a Darwinian framework. I’m going to do exactly what I want, and I’m going to survive or I’m not. I’m not going to pander, I’m not going to change things, I’m not going to do focus groups. I’ll live and die by the sword. I don’t care. Because I couldn’t live with myself…Everything I’ve done has been existential. Everything, really. Everything is always about, ‘Am I living a good life? Am I making the most of my life?'”
Clips from GQ.com (Note “R” rated for vulgar language): Chris Heath on Gervais: “…I think there is a sense that someone who seemed like one of us, and on our side, may have slipped his moorings.” [Read more...]
Simple illustration. Various applications.
Source: Carl Richards
“She changed us all. We went from being a people who saw ourselves as eternally on the downward slide to a nation that was proud to be British again.
The UK’s first woman prime minister transformed a sclerotic British economy, all but neutered the trade unions, and endeavored to ‘roll back the frontiers of the state’ … The flip side of her courage, toughness and radicalism was an arrogance, obstinacy and remoteness that became more marked the longer she clung to office … Yet such was the force of her presence that what came after her was defined in terms of her absence.
Born in 1925 in Grantham, Lincolnshire, Margaret Hilda Roberts was the younger daughter of a corner-shop grocer, Alfred Roberts, and his wife Beatrice. He was a self-made man, a Liberal alderman and a father whose tenets of integrity, hard work and self-reliance were strong influences throughout her career. His younger daughter’s self-belief manifested itself early. Told by a teacher how lucky she was to have won a poetry-reading contest, the 10-year-old Margaret replied: “I was not lucky. I deserved it.”
~ Financial Times on Margaret Thatcher (October 13, 1925 – April 8, 2013) who died yesterday. RIP.
cab·in fe·ver: Irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms results from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.
32F yesterday with chilling winds. Spring can show up any time so we can frolic around like Dairy Cows in Holland. I’ve been around cows. I’ve never seen this before. Here’s 30 seconds of happy (very) wrapped in U2’s “It’s a Beautiful Day.”
Yet, another remarkable post from Brainpickings titled 9 Rules for Success where Maria Popova shares excerpts from an essay by British novelist Amelia E. Barr (1831-1919). Barr, despite a devastating loss of her husband and three of their six children to yellow fever in 1867, went on to become a dedicated and diligent writer, eventually reaching critical success at the age of fifty-two. I’d encourage you to read the entire post at this link as it is that good. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts:
1) Men and women succeed because they take pains to succeed. Industry and patience are almost genius; and successful people are often more distinguished for resolution and perseverance than for unusual gifts. They make determination and unity of purpose supply the place of ability.
2) Success is the reward of those who “spurn delights and live laborious days.” We learn to do things by doing them. One of the great secrets of success is “pegging away.” No disappointment must discourage, and a run back must often be allowed, in order to take a longer leap forward.
5) We have been told, for centuries, to watch for opportunities, and to strike while the iron is hot. Very good; but I think better of Oliver Cromwell’s amendment — “make the iron hot by striking it.” [Read more...]
Out the door. 6:30am.
Driving to a team meeting in Manhattan.
Freezing rain. Tap tap tapping on hood of car.
Passenger side wiper banging on an ice chunk. Curse. In a hurry. Again.
Fwap. Fwap. Tap. Tap. Fwap. (You could stop and clear it pal. You could. Or you could keep watching and listening to this show. Show plays on.)
I fan through playlist.
Dreary day. Fog. Rain. Icy conditions.
Feels like, looks like, Detroit. I rifle through playlist hunting for Bob Seger.
And, land on “Against the Wind“
Traffic slowing. Yellow caution lights frenetically flashing.
Salt truck scattering its melting magic on I-95.
I turn my attention to the lyrics.
↓ click for audio (Bob Seger – “Against the Wind”)
It seems like yesterday
But it was long ago…
We were young and strong, we were runnin’
Against the Wind
Running. To get on travel teams. To get grades. To get out of high school. To get the girl. (No one would have me!) To get to college. To get to adulthood. To get. To acquire. To, To, To, something else… [Read more...]