LYWCA Cohort – Week 6
LYWCA Cohort – Week 5
Work is not a source of joy or fulfillment for way too many people.
Pod2 works to solve this problem from three different angles:
1. Helping companies become better places to work
2. Helping leaders do a better job for their people
3. Helping individuals find the work that’s right for them
We do not care what form this help comes in. We are not a software company, a consulting company, a training company, or a media company.
We are a purpose-driven company that will do whatever is needed to have the biggest impact on solving this problem. There are tons of things that make work suck. From inefficient processes to egotistical leaders to people that are in an industry that doesn’t suit them. From shitty excel sheets to systemic discrimination. From archaic software to bad data to suffocating bureaucracy.
These things are our enemies. We don’t care how we defeat them. All that matters is that that we win.
This is not just about making people feel good. This is about hyper-practical solutions that maximize both financial success AND job satisfaction. People AND profit. Getting what you want AND being able to sleep at night.
We’ve started with management consulting, then training on self-leadership and professional intentionality. We are starting to build software products. We will write books. We will build digital products. We might add other service businesses.
The popular advice right now is to niche down as far as possible, stay in that lane, then maybe branch out later.
That advice works extremely well if the goal is to maximize growth and profit in the near-term, but that’s not what this is.
This isn’t a #startup that we want to rocketship emoji for 3-5 years and hit the Rule of 40 so that we can sell for the best multiple. This isn’t a “play.”
Our purpose is a big one. It will not be completed in our lifetime. But we will progress this mission as far as we possibly can.
This is our life’s work. We don’t think in terms of months and quarters. We think in terms of decades and lifetimes.
We don’t care how we win. All that matters is that we do. Winning means killing things that make work suck. Making the work-world a better place.
Because of this, we’ll be playing in diverse spaces. But we’ll be transparent about our maturity in each one. We’ll have offerings that we are proven to be the best at. We’ll have spaces where we’re innovating and experimenting. Then we’ll have others where we’re exploring and researching.
Regardless of what space we interact with you in and regardless of how well versed we are in it, there are two things you should know:
1. We will never intentionally bullshit you. If we’re experimenting, we’ll tell you. If there’s someone more experienced you should consider, we’ll tell you. If we screw up, we’ll tell you. If you screw up, we’ll tell you.
2. We will not tolerate anyone who prioritizes personal gain over our company’s purpose. If they don’t aggressively care about our purpose, they won’t be here.
Things will change. We’ll learn as we go and adapt as we need to. But if we’re going to make the impact that we want on the world, we’ve got to have a direction. A vision.
And for us, this is it.
Join the Mission
There’s a movement happening. People are no longer satisfied with happiness and work being separate.
If you want to join the growing community to solve this, subscribe and follow us on social below.
If you have a problem that makes your job harder, your day worse, or that adds too many L’s to your P&L, email us at email@example.com and we’ll find a way to help.
Matt and Josh
Welcome to the Newsletter
I’m Matt Harriman from Pod2. You’re getting this email because you signed up to hear from my company, maybe on our site, maybe through one of the events we’ve run, maybe through LinkedIn or Twitter. I’m going to start sending emails with things that I think are valuable to you, but I want you to make an informed decision as to whether you want them.
TLDR: I’m on a mission to help people enjoy work. Work shouldn’t suck. Spending 1/3 of your life doing something unfulfilling is tragic and it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m planning to send you a weekly-ish email with the most interesting ideas, most valuable resources, biggest breakthroughs, and critical updates as I help companies and managers get better, and help individuals find clarity and direction. Hit me on Twitter or LinkedIn if email isn’t your thing.
For those of you that want to know more about my company and what I’m planning, keep on reading.
First, I’ll explain why I’m here.
I started this company because I believe that work shouldn’t suck. It should be a source of joy, pride, and fulfillment in our lives. Not a burden.
There are lots of reasons that work might be a burden. Too many meetings. Toxic culture. Managers that don’t care about the people. Managers that don’t know what they’re doing. People in jobs that they hate. Companies that view people as their first cost to cut.
Pod2 is being built to combat this. It doesn’t have to be this way, and we’re spending every day proving it. Breaking up the archaic mindsets that cause these problems. Finding, creating, and sharing ways to approach work and business that are good for both the people and the business.
Our mission is to make work be a source of joy and fulfillment in as many people’s lives as possible. We do this through teaching, consulting, coaching and providing resources to:
- help companies be better places to work
- help managers become leaders
- help individuals lead themselves
If this message resonates with you. If you’re sick of the unnecessary bureaucracy, the “corporate” feel of things, time wasted on meaningless tasks. If you’re interested in changing work for the better, then stick around and let’s work together. If not, no problem. Unsub button is in the footer and works instantly.
What you’ll get from my emails
The purpose of these emails is to spread the valuable work that we’re doing. Not to sell you stuff, but so that all the time and energy we put into doing great work can be leveraged by others. If you find that you want to work with us or pay us for something, cool. If not, we’re fine with that too because if you’re using or learning from our content, you’re contributing to mission.
This will evolve over time, and I want to hear from you as to what you might find valuable but here’s what I’ve got planned. Our paid work consists of leadership courses, effectiveness workshops, consulting, and coaching. In addition, we create content on YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter. From all of this work, we’ll extract the most interesting ideas, valuable resources, and breakthroughs that we create or find and put them in an email for you. I’ll also include updates on our other projects and events (course cohorts, webinars, product launches).
Here’s a few things to give you the flavor of our work:
- How to run meetings that don’t suck – video and thought algorithm
- “On your death bed…” – an essay on servant leadership
- Effective feedback worksheet
Again, if our mission doesn’t resonate with you, or if you just don’t want another email coming through, no problem. Unsub below. If Twitter or LinkedIn are more convenient for you, links below. You’ll get updates there too but won’t get things packaged up like you will here.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I know this is a longer email, but I wanted to help those that care understand a bit more about what we’re doing here. Every bit of feedback is gold to us. So please, if you have any thoughts, questions, ideas for what you’d like out of these emails, from our company, just email me, reach out on social, or put some time on my calendar.
I’m glad you’re here.
We’re just getting warmed up.
LYWCA Cohort – Week 4
You Work For Them
Gregg Popovich is the best coach of all time, for any sport. Don’t @ me. He’s coached the San Antonio Spurs for the last 24 years, won 5 NBA championships, and hasn’t missed the playoffs once (until 2020 but we’re going to act like that didn’t happen).
The reason that he’s the best coach, is that he coaches for his players.
When they won in 2005, they were brutally boring to watch. They played slow, great ball movement, conservative, patient basketball. That year they won 59 of 82 games and were 18th in the league in scoring, with 91 points per game.
When they won in 2014, they were fun as hell to watch. They played fast, aggressive, yeeting 3’s, driving to the basket as much as possible. That year, they won 62 of 82 games and were 5th in the league in scoring, with 105 points per game.
Completely different play styles. He reinvented himself, his playbook, his system around his people. He’s not religious about his system or process (looking at you Jason Garrett). Instead, he transforms his entire approach based on the strengths of his people, and gets the job done.
Don’t think it’s all sweet though…
“We suck on defense. Both individually and team-wise, we suck. We’re pretty consistent that way. I don’t know if I have an answer to that. If I did, we wouldn’t suck quite so bad.”
Obviously not positive feedback, but notice a couple of things:
1 – He said “we” 4 times.
2 – When he said “I” he shows humility, transparency, and takes responsibility for the problem.
He adapts himself to what the moment requires on a smaller scale too. He’ll verbally pillage referees with no regard for human life. This just happens to occur when his team is losing, and much of the time, they stage a comeback after he gets kicked out of the game.
He’s also described as one of the most kind, decent, and considerate coaches in the league. He has a mandatory rule that if a current or former player ends up in the same restaurant as him, he pays the bill. The hugs that he shares with players are of a different kind than you typically see in sports. They’re meaningful and genuine.
He’s also got sense of humor. He intentionally fouled Shaq immediately after tipoff after Shaq complained about the hack-a-shaq strategy. He wrecks reporters that ask silly questions. He once sent a team employee on an all-day errand so that he could replace his beat-up old car.
He comes off like a grumpy old bastard, but he’s full of compassion and love for you if you’re in the family.
A couple of years ago, Tim Duncan, a Hall of Fame NBA player that used to play for the Spurs, took a job as an assistant coach under Popovich. This is what “Pop” had to say:
“It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan’s assistant, that he returns the favor.”
This is servant leadership.
Your job is to make your people successful.
Think about people’s time on your team as if it were a university. Stats show you’ll probably only have them for 2-4 years anyway.
Another example from Coach Pop. In 2017, Kawhi Leonard was one of the best basketball players in the league. He got injured and spent some time away from the Spurs and for lots of reasons, they had a big falling out. It was nasty. He demanded a trade, lots of media drama, and eventually he was traded. We don’t know what all went down, but we do know that Pop and Kawhi are still in close contact. And we can see how they interacted after the fact, here:
After he talks to Kawhi and Kawhi’s new shooting coach, you’ll see Pop hug another player not on the Spurs. That’s Danny Green. Another player who won championships with Pop.
Yes there is a lot that you need your employees to do while they work for you, but the ultimate goal is for them to ‘graduate.’ Do your job in a way that develops them. That helps them grow. That improves their life, both at the time and in the future. And when the time comes for them, or you, to move on – don’t stop loving them. How sad is a life where job titles dictate importance of relationships?
On your death bed, you will not remember whether you made or missed a target. You will remember how you helped people.
And how you didn’t.
You Don’t Know Sh*t, and That’s Okay
Impostor Syndrome and why we should stop trying to be in control.
Think about your experience, what you’ve done, where you’ve been, who you’ve worked with, books you’ve read. You have decades of knowledge in your head. Every day, your brain is taking in millions of data points (34 Gigabytes, actually) that have come together to form your cognition.
If you’re 30 years old, that’s 372 Terabytes of information. You’re an expert. On simple things like driving, cooking, using the internet. You’re probably an expert on more technical things as well, software development, customer service, engineering. You know so much stuff.
But you actually hardly know anything. You use the internet everyday – do you know what packet loss is? You been driving most days for 10-20 years, do you know what the carburetor does? You know your piece, but that is such a tiny part of the whole.
Everyone thinks they’re smart until they try to use someone else’s shower.
We cannot trust our judgement blindly, especially in two areas:
The perspective of others
How frustrating are the following for you: scissors, writing in a spiral notebook or binder, using a handheld can opener, using the number pad on your keyboard, using a measuring tape, writing with pencil, reading coffee mugs and text on pens, using an ice cream scoop, swiping a credit card.
If these don’t trigger much frustration for you, you’re probably right-handed.
65% of people think their intelligence is above average…
So we come to a paradox. We know a lot. We don’t know much at all. Getting comfortable living in this paradoxical situation is key. We should fully appreciate our vast knowledge and capabilities while recognizing that we are completely clueless in the scope of the world.
This should motivate us do two things:
- strive to learn more, gain perspective, about ourselves, others and the world
- accept errors with kindness, both ours and those of others
If we come to terms with the fact that we are ignorant of so much, and realize that everyone else is too, then mistakes get quite a bit more forgivable.
Most of us feel generally capable most of the time. We feel like we have a good handle on most things, but are completely ignorant in many others. When that ignorance gets highlighted, we can develop issues like the Imposter Syndrome.
Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Impostors’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.
This is extremely common with high achievers and especially newer managers. The added pressure of being in a leadership position raises our expectations and makes us feel even worse about what we don’t know. This can lead to burnout, stress, sleepless nights, depression, overcompensation and in extreme cases, has resulted in suicide.
Let’s paint a picture.
Imagine that you’ve just gotten your first management position. You have everyone looking to you for answers. Your employees, your boss, your peers, all expect you to have your shit together. To have everything under control. To have all the answers.
But you don’t.
You scramble to figure it all out. You get frustrated when things don’t go like you said they would. You make up answers to questions you don’t know the answer to. You feel like a complete fraud. Like you’re letting everyone down and you have no one to turn to. Weeks, months go by like this. You’re doing everything you can to make it work, but you know it’s not working. It’s affecting you at home. Can’t sleep. Haven’t exercised.
One day, your boss asks you how you’re doing. This time you don’t say ‘pretty good.’ This time you tell her the truth, that you’re struggling to get things under control and you’re not sure if you belong in leadership.
“Ha…if I quit whenever I felt that way, I would’ve quit 1000 times.”
The weight is lifted a bit. You’re confused, because she always seems to be in control. To be calm.
The goal should not, cannot, be to be “in control.” That’s impossible. The goal should be to have clarity. Clarity into what you know vs what you don’t know. Clarity into what you can control vs what you can’t. Clarity into what you should do vs what you should delegate.
Through that clarity, we find three things:
- acceptance of the current situation, including our (lack of) capabilities
- direction toward what we want the situation to be
- peace of mind, that we’re figuring it out just like everyone else.
That is why great leaders seem in control. They’re not actually in control. They’re at peace.
Lean Into Discomfort
How to apply courage.
When I asked my role models about the most important principles or values of leadership, things like honesty, ethics, loyalty, and quality came up several times. While I absolutely agree, I’ve seen a lot of people that live those values fall desperately short of what I’d call leadership. The downfall to anyone with ambition, especially a leader, especially in an organization is a lack of courage.
A beautiful definition from one of the best people I’ve ever met:
Courageous leadership. Courage – from the French – often used in English as shorthand for macho (which it is not) or bravery – which it requires, but is not the thing. Courage – is of or from the heart.
I’m going to define heart in the next essay. First, let’s talk more about courage. Courage, to me, is the ability to do what you know is right in the face of backlash, consequence, and pain. Pushing through discomfort to the place you know you should be.
At the moment that we encounter discomfort, as we face that instant where we decide whether to push on or back away, we flinch. It could be the wince before stepping into a cold shower. It’s the deep breath before we knock on the boss’s door to give bad news. It’s the hesitation to start the sentence “we have to let you go.”
It’s these tiny little moments that determine whether we actually live the way that we know we should. Everyone can sit down and write out principles to live by that would make them an amazing person. Not very many can consistently live them.
Pushing through this flinch, and sometimes eliminating it completely, is a trainable skill. If you don’t believe me, consider professional boxers. Over time they’ve trained themselves to not flinch, but to react, when someone is trying to PUNCH THEM IN THE FUCKING HEAD. The most evolutionary instinct of self-preservation is managed through practice. (Julien Smith talks more about this in his book, The Flinch)
Could the discomfort be a sign that I’m about to make a mistake?
Maybe, but that’s usually a different kind of discomfort. Thinking hard about where it’s coming from can give you that answer. When we’re about to do something and we feel discomfort, it usually comes from one of two places:
The first is that sinking feeling that we’re unprepared or haven’t thought this through.
We should absolutely listen to this one. Many times, we know if we’ve half-assed our preparation. It’s feels quite a bit like guilt. Depending on the stakes, and whether we have a tendency to over-prepare or behave like a perfectionist, we might have to push on before we’re comfortable. This feeling is usually a bit weaker than the second one.
The second one is fear. Either that we’ll fail or that we’ll be judged harshly because we’re not going along with what everyone else is doing.
This type of discomfort is pure gold.
We should seek this discomfort as often as possible and when we find it, we should go after it with everything we’ve got. Why? Because this is where growth happens. This is where innovation happens. This is where making real changes to the shitty status quo happens.
“You’ll know you’ve opened the right door when you feel a strong, irresistible impulse to do something else, anything else.” – Julien Smith
When we find things that elicit this strong of an emotional response, we know we’re on to something. The thing that you most want to avoid is probably the one thing that you actually should do. Let’s talk about how to deal with that fear.
Dealing with the fear of failure
When we develop attachment to expectations, we overweight results and spend an inordinate amount of time thinking things like: will I hit the target, will I miss it, will I fail, idk if this is working, shit I missed it, I did my best but fell short, yayy I hit it, yes! it worked. In most settings, we should measure things. Progress, problems, performance, etc… But when the measurement becomes the goal, we’re missing the point. What is much more useful, what will actually help us, is the learning mindset.
Use performance against metrics as feedback to help you learn, not as judge, jury, and executioner. If you ask my 4 year-old daughter what happens when we fall, she’ll say “we learn.” But if we don’t look at our successes in the same way, learning about what works and what to double-down on, we leave a lot on the table.
Taking this learning mindset, as opposed to a hyper-focus on whether or not we’ve met (often) arbitrary targets. Many “goals” set by organizations are either unreasonably high in the name of motivation, or unreasonably low in the name of predictability.
Don’t let them dictate your self-worth.
Dealing with the fear of being judged harshly.
Going against the grain, interfering, is scary for good reason. It used to kill us. Literally.
“Homo sapiens is a communal species that delves in groups. … That fear of ostracism, which is engraved in our DNA, is the reason why social situations can induce anxiety in some people. Public speaking is specially anxiety inducing because the situation itself makes us feel threatened.” – Julia Pardo
In hunter-gatherer days, if you went against what every one else was doing you probably got kicked out of the group and had to fend for yourself. And you probably didn’t last long. Our DNA hasn’t caught up to the modern world. If you screw up socially, you won’t die.
You might be laughed at, or get fired, or you might trend on twitter for a day if you really screw up, but you’ll be fine. The worst case scenario is no longer getting eaten by a lion, and that’s a good thing.
So I should just YOLO against everything that I think is wrong?
It’s not that simple. Meet King Pyrrhus of Epirus.
His army defeated the Romans at both the Battle of Heraclea and the Battle of Asculum, in 280 & 279 BC respectively, during the Pyrrhic war.
In both victories, lots more Romans were killed than Pyrrhus’ soldiers, but the Romans had replacements and Pyrrhus did not. So the report read:
“If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.” and “Another such victory and I come back to Epirus alone.”
This is the origin of the term Pyrrhic victory, a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the winner that it negates any true sense of achievement.
If your purpose is to shift the culture of your current company, you won’t be able to do that if you’re not allowed in the building.
So we come, again, to finding the Middle Way between courage and self-preservation. You can’t be so bold, so rigid, that you give up your position of influence to win a small battle. Focusing on your purpose, i.e. the war, will allow you to know when to push and how hard. And when a tactical retreat is the best move.
That’s why the principle is to lean into discomfort, and not to burst through it like the kool-aid man.
For most, pushing too hard isn’t the problem. It’s having the courage to find that discomfort and lean into it.
Courage is foundational
Without courage, every other leadership principle, every other core value, is softened. Made weak by a lack of fortitude to push past obstacles to do what we know we should.
This is another concept that is misunderstood to be a personality trait, but it’s a practice. The goal is not to eliminate fear. But to understand it, throw it in your backpack, and go on doing what you know you should.
Top 3 Causes of Failed Software Implementation
Hint: it’s not the software
This stat is repeated to the point of exhaustion, but it’s still true that 85% of digital transformation projects fail.
Maybe they outright blow up, but more often, and more insidiously, they just don’t stick. The company ends up backsliding to their old ways, diminishing the improvement to nothing more than a slightly faster horse that they overpaid for.
This is avoidable.
I’ve been in and around at least 100 of these projects over the last 10 years. Many succeeded. Way too many died off way after the project was deemed a success. There were a few proper disasters that shouldn’t have even started. I took 4-letter words to the face a time or two. One year, I named my fantasy football team after a certain person that made a lot of days very difficult… Let’s just say that stuff is more indicative of an unhealthy relationship than anything else. It should be a partnership, not a sh*t-slinging contest.
I’ll save the war stories for a happy hour someday. For now, here are the most common and most damaging mistakes that I see.
Losing the Balance of Power
Whenever there’s a disruption to the status quo, there’s a power shift. The impact of this will depend on how political your organization is. So when there’s a larger change, there can be infighting and power grabbing. Be aware of that.
But the more avoidable and more common issue is the imbalance of power between the company and whoever they’re working with on the implementation, consultants and/or software providers. Let’s look at what happens when any of the 3 might have too much power.
If the company keeps all the power, keeping the service companies in a completely subservient role, the outcome:
- misses out on good ideas from elsewhere in the industry
- focuses on speeding up what is already done, not whether what is already done is actually useful or if there is something missing completely
- is totally dependent on the buyer‘s ability to manage bias, perception, change, and battle the status quo
If the consultant gains too much power, the project:
- includes too many nice-to-haves prior to the core objective being complete
- diminishes the importance of the company’s unique situation and the software’s true capability
- sets up for additional phases, not for a finished solution
If the software provider gains too much power, the project:
- becomes about implementing software, not solving problems
- solves any problem encountered with more usage, more features of the software providers tool(s)
- ignores work needed beyond the software like process work, reporting, visualization, roles/responsibilities
None of these are good. They all lead to less than ideal results, if not failure. This is why building a strong partnership with real trust and aligned incentives is critical to driving a successful project.
Underestimating the Status Quo
Companies become the way that they are for a good reason. Inertia. Whether it’s a year or 100 years. 10 people or 10,000 people. The events, emotions, personalities, and problems that have shaped the current state are more complex and more powerful than we realize.
It may not be a good reason, but there’s a perfectly logical reason for the way things are. Maybe it’s an insecure, over-protective VP that doesn’t want the transparency that integration would require. Maybe it’s a mad scientist in finance that got wayyy too excited about finally getting that excel sheet to work.
Whatever it is, we have to respect it. And do our best to understand it.
The most common occurrence here is a failure of communication and stakeholder management. You and your team are fired up, believe in the vision, see the path, and LOVE the solution you’ve found. You go about the project, on time, under budget. Then you have a hard time getting data from that other team. Then the manager that you need to build a report for won’t show up to a meeting. Finally you’re left with a cool new tool that your team loves, no one else cares about, and you have a hard time justifying it at renewal time.
This disrespect of organizational inertia usually drives the next mistake…
Claiming Victory too Early
Culture = behavior, so process changes are cultural shifts. It can take 2 to 5 YEARS for a change like this to be so ingrained in the company that it just continues without intentional effort. This is about habit change, and that takes time. Especially for groups of people that need to change at the same time.
If there is any real change management work done (there probably isn’t), it’s usually slapped on to the end of the project and is nothing more than making sure that Rick and Karen’s spreadsheets have some time in hospice before passing away.
When we make a change, it should be in line with a grander vision of where the organization is trying to go. Along the way to a successful project, there are barriers to change (see status quo) that made the project harder.
After the implementation, all of those barriers remain as forces that will be trying to push you backward. Turnover, bad data, changing business requirements, etc…
That bad data. That stubborn spreadsheet. That adjacent system that made actual integration impossible (duct tape, bubble gum, and excel macros don’t count). That information that lies in 4 peoples heads and no where else.
This project being finished doesn’t make these problems go away. They’ll still be there, continuing to make it harder to stick to the new way of doing things, long after you send the consultants on their way.
Just because you’ve finished the last step on the project manager’s task list, does not mean that you’re safe.
If the new way of doing things isn’t on solid footing with systems in place to sustain it, it will fall.
Avoiding the Fate of Failure
When working through any kind of organizational change (process improvement, software implementation, culture building, whatever…) these are the things that are top of my mind. It’s especially easy to miss the human risks when it’s “just a technical project.”
But it always come down to people.
The teams that systemize against these issues are the ones who succeed in making lasting change. Change that builds momentum. Change that is not just an improvement, but a catalyst.
It’s very easy to forget about these problems when the project status report is all green and shows 90% complete. This is why strong change leadership, not just change management, is so critical.
Instead of becoming another statistic on a long list of flops, ask yourself 3 questions:
- Are those that are driving the change actually incentivized to make the project as successful as possible?
- What is our process for understanding, mitigating, and eventually resolving the existing conditions that are working against us?
- What is the difference between project completion and project success
Trust me, you don’t need a million bucks and a dozen new grad MBAs to answer those questions.
How I Gain Clarity
Besides the increasingly hot and not-so-helpful takes on COVID-19, I’m hearing two things from people:
- Extreme uncertainty, anxiety, having no idea what to do
- Messages that now is a great time to reflect
I think that #2 is the key to sorting out #1.The problem is that the definition of reflect is to think deeply or carefully about. Pretty vague…Without defining what to reflect on, you’ll just end up staring out the window thinking about the same things that are distracting you from your day-to-day life.
Here is the latest version of my reflection process. My hope is to add some definition to “reflecting” for those that need it, and I’m betting there’s a lot of you right now.
I take myself through this type of exercise from time-to-time, usually because it’s either been too long, I’m struggling with decisions, or if I’m feeling overwhelmed. I have also helped a few close friends think through this and they’ve told me that it’s been extremely helpful to help them gain clarity.
Optional pre-work: Brain Dump
If your mind is especially noisy, get everything in your head out of it. I sit with a notebook and write out all the things that pop into my head on paper in bullet form. This usually ends up being a couple hundred things everywhere from ‘start a business’ to ‘get beer for fajita friday’.
I have to do this to quiet my mind. Knowing that I’ve captured it, and will come back to it, helps me stop carrying it around with me all day.
To think about your life’s purpose, ask yourself two questions:
- What would I do if I had 6 months to live?
- What would I do if I had all the time and money in the world?
Somewhere between the answers to those two questions lies your purpose.
Then, to start thinking about the purpose of your life’s work, two more questions:
- What are the unique talents that I have?
- How could I be the most useful to others?
Marrying your life’s purpose with your capabilities, brings you to the purpose of your life’s work. If your work is nothing more than a means for you to reach your real life’s purpose, it can be liberating to define that clearly and accept it.
Since the aim of this one is professional, I’ll just share the purpose that I came to for my life’s work:
The Purpose: What is my life’s work?
I am here to help work be a source of joy for as many people as possible.
My work is predicated on the belief that work shouldn’t suck. Disliking what you spend 1/3 of your life doing is tragic. So I started Pod2 to help companies be better places to work, to help managers become leaders, and to help individuals gain clarity, direction, and fulfillment from their life’s work.
Develop a set of rules for how you want to behave. These are the guidelines for which you should make every decision about what to do, what not to do, and how to act.
I don’t structure these much. Some are rules; some are quotes; some are memes. I know what they mean to me, they serve as great reminders for me, and that’s all that matters.
It can be two or 100. I have 37 right now. The list will change, but here are mine (edited to be SFW)
The Purpose: How will I behave
The below is a list of principles that I strive to follow. These principles should dictate every decision I make.
- Don’t be a ***k.
- Lean into discomfort
- Tip for good service.
- Preserve optionality.
- The ratio of a team’s performance to the performance of their leader remains constant.
- Fix your sh*t first.
- “Okay” is actually terrible.
- Don’t half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.
- Drive the fun bus.
- Don’t get bitter, get better.
- Hold others accountable.
- “Because that’s how we’ve done it” is never okay.
- True evil is the complacency of good people. If you see something wrong, say something.
- Strong beliefs, held loosely.
- Get enough sleep.
- Never waste anyone’s time.
- Automate, outsource and delegate as much as possible without sacrificing quality.
- Quality work means high value, not perfection.
- If it’s important enough too put in a document or presentation, no typos.
- Never meet when an email will do.
- Never email if you feel uncomfortable.
- Never use PowerPoint when thoughtful speech will do.
- Never use words when a meme will do.
- Know what you’re bad at.
- Focus on what you’re great at.
- Self-care before work.
- Procrastinating is not self-care.
- Keep shoshin.
- Brush your teeth.
- If it’s not a “f**k yes” then it’s a “no.”
- Just do the next right thing.
- Use data and intuition together; don’t overweight either.
- Don’t vaz; just take a break.
- Work is important, but it’s not life or death.
- Try to help, regardless of if there’s anything in it for you.
- Have fun.
That, to me, is reflecting.
Once I’ve got a steady view of my end-goal and guidelines for how I want to live my life, I switch into planning mode. That where I create mid- and near- term goals, and identify next steps. That’s where progress starts. Oh yeah, and I deal with that list of 243 things that were in my head…
If you’d like to see anything more on my reflection process, or if you’d like me to share how I go about my planning process, just let me know.
You may have noticed my principle, “Try to help, regardless of if there’s anything in it for you.” I mean that. If you’re reading this and think of anything I can help you with, please tell me. I get especially excited about helping people gain clarity and become more intentional in their lives. Just throw it on my calendar.
I hope you’re all able to find peace during this storm we’re in. We’re in this together.