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Meaning?

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Leading, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 1 min.

Is there an ultimate answer to the question, “Why?” Are life, the universe, and everything teeming with meaning? Or is it all particles and waves that randomly bash about guided by a few basic rules? Do our answers these questions do anything practical for our work, life, and happiness?

Yup.

Regardless of which way we see things, we all ache for meaning. Without it, we suffer distractions and loss. When we have it, we thrive. And our organizations thrive when there is a clear, compelling meaning in our work. As leaders, part of our job is to steward this clear, compelling meaning.

The very good news is that we, as people and in organizations, get to choose. It turns out that whatever we say is meaningful is meaningful.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Even if we think life is random particles and waves, we are choosing meaning. When we declare, “There is no meaning,” we make “no meaning” our clear, compelling meaning. And it can be just as fulfilling as choosing love, capitalism, unicorns, wealth, health, service, or cheesecake to be our meaning.

 

Today’s photo credit: Sharon Drummond via photopin cc

boat

No Need for Enduring Legacies

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career
Reading time: 1 min.

When we consider our careers and what makes them meaningful, let’s beware the wish for creating something that will last. Instead of enduring, let’s go for impactful. What problem can we solve? What condition can we change? Who would benefit? Enduring misses the mark. Once the impact is made, the thing doing the impact can melt away.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Grant MacDonald via photopin cc

to-do list

The To-Do List is Dead…

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 2 min.

Long live the to-do list!

Even people who are good at making lists of their tasks get overwhelmed. Despite having up-to-date lists, they find it impossible to prioritize, delegate, or know when to say, “no.”

Yes, to-do lists are great for holding all our tasks in one place. Yes, they give us a sense of being at least a little more in control. But they can’t tell us which, of the hundreds of tasks on our list, we should do now.

That’s because our standard to-do list is flat, meaningless, just a list.

We need a to-do list system that would capture why each task is important to us. It would remind us which tasks are part of larger projects. It would help us group similar tasks (e.g. “Show me all the calls I could make right now.”) so we can be efficient. It would tell us what tasks we have promised to someone else by a certain time and date. And this system would track reference material and the tasks we don’t need to do now but may someday do.

With a system like this at our fingertips, we have all we need to prioritize, focus on what’s most important, and step away from overwhelm.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Learn more about this system of lists, the habits you can build to run this system, the quick start option, and the barebone edition.

 

Today’s photo credit: koalazymonkey via photopin cc

Can We Have Everything?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Success, Sweetspot, What=Compelling Focus
Reading time: 2 min.

The cars, the houses, the career, the family, the vacations, the meaningful experiences, the titles, the accolades, the bucket list, the prestige, the money, the cottage, the degrees and certifications, the friends, the love, the fame, the good life, the perfect swing, the next iPhone? (I could go on.)

Can we have everything? No. There is simply too much. As the comedian, Stephen Wright, says, “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”

And having everything is so not the point. Life constantly presents us with rich possibilities…so many that we could never possibly choose them all. Our job is to choose then pursue the options that honestly feel best. And, though we may seek guidance and insight from others, only we can ever know what’s best for us to choose for ourselves.

Then we have a very full, meaningful life. All the satisfaction we want is in this choosing.

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Of course, knowing what feels good is the trick. We feel it in our bodies. We know when something truly feels good vs. when we merely think it should. We each have one or two feelings that tell us we are on the right track. For me, it’s a tingling up my back and neck.

PPS: We can even choose to have all those things listed above or not, as long as it feels good.

PPPS: Two useful, related measures of success in life: 1) What percentage of my life is chosen?  2) Is that percentage increasing over time?

Money or Meaning?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Good: Your Good Work
Reading time: 1 min.

Making all the money or doing meaningful work?

Wait. Who says that we cannot have both? They are not mutually exclusive. They do not depend on position, status, or luck. They don’t even require what most of us know as “hard work and sacrifice.”

They do require constant, conscious choice, clarity of purpose, being guided by what feels good, a commitment to win-win, and an effective, natural flow of actions.

I say go for it.

In your corner,

Mike

Purpose, meaning, significance, satisfaction

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Sweetspot
Reading time: 1 min.

Purpose, meaning, significance, and satisfaction. These are what we all long for in our jobs. Yet most of us hold ourselves away from purpose, meaning, etc. because we think we can’t afford it, don’t deserve it, or can’t find it.

You can find a job or business that is chock full of meaning, purpose, etc. Start by finding your SweetSpot.

You can also afford it. Your SweetSpot includes an accurate picture of your non-negotiable income needs. Commit to your SweetSpot and build a plan (which may contain more than one significant steps to reach your ultimate goal).

And you deserve it. C’mon! We are talking about the magnificent you, aren’t we?

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Thought so.

What Does It All Mean-Examples

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Yesterday we saw how we get to define the meaning of things and how liberating it is to do so. Here are some examples to illustrate. The alternate meanings I have listed are not the “right” meanings; there’s no such animal as “right meaning” except the one that you choose for yourself.

What is the meaning of the European public debt situation?

  • You can say, “It means that Europe is in for another rude awakening and the resulting drag on world economies will materially affect me, my income, and my family next year.”
  • You can also say, “It means that people are getting much clearer about the way they want to organize and finance society. I can help others and myself benefit from this situation.”

What is meaningful in my career?

  • You can say, “Not much. I flog products no one needs.”
  • You can also say, “Everything. I get to use my talents, engage my interests, meet my own needs, and help others.”

What is the meaning of the challenge that showed up on our doorstep today?

  • You can say, “More work. More stress. More things to go wrong. More proof that the people around me don’t get it.”
  • You can also say, “It means nothing. This will pass.”
  • You can also say, “This challenge is a gift. I will use this challenge to evolve the way we do business.”

Try it for yourself. What would you like to change the meaning of today? How will this new meaning help?

 

In your corner,

Mike

What Does It All Mean?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Sweetspot, What=Compelling Focus, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Life, eh?

What does it all mean? Why are we here? What’s the purpose? Who am I? Where do I fit in the world, in the galaxy? What is meaningful work? What is success? What makes sense for me, my family, my business/career?

These questions just start to scratch the surface of something profound. They seem to be huge and daunting questions. They are so huge that we alternately search for the answers or distract ourselves with the busyness of life so we won’t have to face it all. If you hadn’t noticed, we burn a lot of time, energy, and effort seeking answers to or avoiding  questions of meaning. The good news is that Meaning is neither huge nor daunting.

In fact, it is simple. The hard and fast rule is: “It means whatever you say it means.”

Scary? Maybe. Liberating? You bet.

When you see yourself as the one who gets to decide the meaning of things for you, it takes the pressure off. Your job now is to choose meanings that work for you. (Advance to Go and collect $200 when notice how others must be the authorities who decide meaning in their lives.)

We’ll anchor this idea in some examples tomorrow. In the meantime, I wish you a week of meaningfulness.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

PS: “What does this have to do with my business or my career?” Everything, my friend. Absolutely everything.

PPS: It has been within you the whole time. How about that?!

Emptying Your Email Inbox

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 2 min.

How full is your inbox? Email messages will collect (and multiply, it seems!) there if you think that moving or deleting emails means you will forget to follow up. Without a trusted way to handle incoming emails, you will constantly battle a bulging inbox.

To keep your inbox clean,  get good at

  1. Deciding what each email means to you. Ask yourself what each email implies. Is there something to do or is this just FYI? If it is something to do, willyou do it now or later? If it is FYI, do you need to file it or trash it when you’re done? You can use the “one touch” rule here: strive to open, read, and decide the meaning of each email just once instead of letting it linger.
  2. Recording your tasks. If an email implies a task, capture that task in your system of lists.
  3. Moving or deleting inbox emails. Once you’ve decided what each email means, move it to an archive folder or delete it as appropriate.
  4. Reviewing your lists. Read through your lists of tasks at least daily so you can trust that your system will help you follow up on important things.

Apply this consistently and soon you will have tamed your inbox.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Sweetspot, What=Compelling Focus, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
–Margaret Mead

 

If you ever find yourself despairing for the state of the world, remember two things:

  1. There are lots of people out there doing amazing things to make our world better. I am honored to have spent a day with about 100 of them yesterday: Canada’s Clean 50.
  2. You can so absolutely, 100%-no-doubt make a difference, too.

 

In your corner,

Mike