Questions To Ask In Challenging Times

Questions To Ask In Challenging Times

All businesses face challenges, and when they catch us by surprise, or are especially large, it can be hard to figure out what action to take. When crisis hits, we usually have to be reactive. We adapt to a new situation, perhaps a new world view – potentially even a new normal. Then as the dust settles, we can shift back into being proactive. When that time comes, it can help to ask ourselves three questions: What am I spreading?What do I want to look back on?What am I looking forward to? 1 :: What am I spreading? Almost everything spreads – viruses, great ideas, fake news, cat pictures. Emotions. […]

Saying No Is Generous

Saying No Is Generous

It’s hard to say no to things … Invitations. Opportunities. Cake. Most of us know we should decline more often than we do, so why do we keep saying Yes? Leaving the cake to one side, we say Yes in business for a variety of reasons – we don’t want to let people down, we’re worried about losing a potential customer, or perhaps we could simply do with the income this month. Our intentions are good – we convince ourselves we can deliver what they need, but when we say Yes to something that doesn’t align with our experience and expertise, we end up having the opposite effect. We don’t […]

Planning » Preparation » Progress

Planning » Preparation » Progress

First, you make a plan.Then you prepare to execute.Then you take the action needed to progress. It’s a fairly obvious sequence. Ready … Aim … Fire I’ve done things where I tried to move too fast. Ready … Ai -FIRE! Fire again! FIIIIIRREE! It didn’t end well. I tried to learn from that. Ready … Aim … OK, left a bit – now up a bit … yeah, I think that’s it … Fi – no, wait – I think it’s down a bit … And so on. That didn’t get me very far, either. Ready … Aim … Fire Like so many things, it sounds simple – but simple […]

Resolutions v Habits

Resolutions v Habits

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habitWill Durant, American author It’s that time of year when many of us start to feel guilty because we’ve already given up on our New Year’s Resolutions. If that sounds like you, then I have a suggestion – try thinking about establishing new habits, rather than setting bold resolutions. Almost everything we do is a habit. Some of them do us good, like brushing our teeth, and some of them are maybe not so helpful – like having biscuits with every cup of tea you drink (guilty as charged!). Our brain is an incredible thing. Every […]

Think Big … Act Small

Think Big … Act Small

I seem to have been getting the same message from a few different places this week! I’ve been reading ‘The One Thing’, a practical book about getting things done by focusing on one single task at a time. In order to work out which task we should be doing, authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan suggest that we need to start by thinking big – good advice that you will hear in virtually every goal setting book and blog post out there. What I like about their approach is how they go on to argue that we then need to start working on the smallest possible task that will move […]

4-minute miles and 2-hour marathons

4-minute miles and 2-hour marathons

Last weekend in Berlin, Eliud Kipchoge set a new world record for the marathon of 2:01:39. He averaged 4:38 per mile, and took an astonishing 78 seconds off the previous record. Kipchoge has trained for years in order to set that world record. For decades he has monitored his diet and sleeping habits, has run hundreds of miles a week and spent countless hours in the gym, all to get his body into the best condition possible. Without that physical preparation, he couldn’t run the way he does. But there’s another side to the story. Back in 1954, Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile barrier. Before Bannister’s run, most people […]

Letting Go v Holding On

Letting Go v Holding On

I have been interested in Chinese martial arts for as long as I can remember – and whether I was watching the ‘Kung Fu’ TV series, or Bruce Lee in ‘Enter the Dragon’, it was always the philosophy that caught my attention more than the physical side. I’ve been re-reading “The Shaolin Grandmaster’s Text”, and there’s an interesting point in there about how if you ever find yourself in a confrontation, in their view this is regarded as a ‘failure’. The idea is that you should be able to anticipate potential issues, and deal with them long before they become problems. One of the ways to do this is to […]

What Can You Do With 10 Minutes A Day?

What Can You Do With 10 Minutes A Day?

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to learn? Maybe a language? A musical instrument? Or how to build a website? One of the things that holds most of us back is the idea that the thing we want to learn is too big – when you’re just starting out, it can seem overwhelming. You’re probably familiar with the old joke about how to eat an elephant … the answer is ‘one bite at a time’. I think we all know this, but it can be something that’s difficult to apply in real life. Taking that one bite – especially the first one – seems a bit pointless. It doesn’t feel […]

We Can Always Do Better

We Can Always Do Better

When we work on something that we care about, knowing when to stop can be hard. You tell yourself to keep editing … You care enough to keep making those infinitesimal changes that only you can see, because you want it to be absolutely perfect before anyone else reads/hears/sees your work. But of course nothing is ever perfect – everything can be improved … And the most frustrating thing is that you usually notice the improvements the very moment it’s too late to do something about it. And you use that as an excuse to tell yourself to work harder – to be even more careful next time. But next […]

Setting Goals v Acquiring Skills

Setting Goals v Acquiring Skills

“Man is a goal setting machine,” said Aristotle, more than 2000 years ago. That message has been echoed time and again by lots of very smart people in the intervening years by everyone from Seneca through to Benjamin E. Mays. I’ve had some success with goal setting, but the simple fact is that none of us achieve every goal we set ourselves. Using the idea that goals are set in stone but that deadlines are flexible is one way to deal with the ‘disappointment’ of not hitting a goal as quickly as you’d hoped, but I recently came across another way of thinking about goals that has really helped me, […]