Don’t miss a day

Not because they all add up mathematically and contribute equally to the sum of your work. Because they won’t. But because showing up today makes the other days – the days when you do your best work – more likely. Think of it as giving the muse a bigger surface area on which to strike.

While the iron is hot

Of course it’s a good idea to strike while the iron is hot. If striking iron is what you do and you find some hot iron you should strike before it gets cold. It’s far better to strike than to spend time and energy re-heating the iron later. The same goes if a friend happens to heat some iron up…

Stories of deliberate practice

Outliers is an excellent place to start. It features the story of Mozart’s “genius” and the Beatle’s “overnight success” told through the lens of the 10,000 hour rule and deliberate practice. (More on Mozart here.) If you don’t feel like buying a book, this article in the New Yorker (also by Gladwell) is another great example. And if you missed…

Seth Godin on creating a (generous) monopoly

Every successful business has a monopoly—a monopoly on what it makes that someone else can’t make the way they make it. That leaves out commodity businesses—people who bring coal out of the ground. I don’t think of those businesses as particularly successful. I think of them as useful. I’m glad if I need a bag of coal someone’s doing it,…

Back-to-back

Back to back meetings are a bad idea: Unless you or the chairperson is really good, you’re almost certain to be running late at the end of the first meeting. You need time – at least half an hour – to slow down, wrap up your thoughts from the old meeting, and get your head ready for the next one.…

Hard conversations

…aren’t supposed to be easy. The person you need to have the conversation with might be a peer, a friend, a long-term colleague. The conversations are uncomfortable in the planning, in the preparation and in the aftermath – often because they highlight your own weaknesses or lay you open to charges of hypocrisy or favouritism, however hard you’ve tried. But…

The switch (2)

“What am I hoping to get?” Once we’ve admitted to ourselves that we’re doing our work (at least partly) for ourselves, we can think more clearly about our motives by asking “What am I hoping to get from doing this?” And we’re probably hoping to get several things: the knowledge that we’ve helped someone, the satisfaction of a job well…

The switch (1)

“Who is this for?” Your work is always for you. This is true whether we’re working for pay or we’re parenting, whether we’re working on something that’s very obviously for ourselves or giving up time, energy and money to serve others. Even at our best (most generous, most sacrificial) – perhaps especially at our best – we’re working for ourselves.…

Some questions for making change happen

What’s the problem? What networks of people and things underlie the problem, and what context or environment are they embedded in? Who wins if you solve the problem? Who stands to lose? What’s in it for you? What else is in it for you? What or who is keeping you honest? Who else cares about this? Can you join them?…

Seth Godin on leadership, generosity and charisma

You can say that charisma makes you a leader, but I believe that leading gives you charisma. And that changes everything: that you gain charisma through your generous acts of leadership. You don’t need authority, you don’t need to win an election. What you need is to act as if – to be this generous leader – and then over…