Category: Balance

Input and Output

I spent some time recently chatting with the wonderfully perceptive Sonia Gonzalez. In our conversation she touched on the difference between – and importance of – having both ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’. ‘Inputs’ include the experiences we have, the courses we take, the books we read – the time we spend learning and growing. ‘Outputs’ are the chair we make, the logo we design, the customer service we deliver – the value we bring to the

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Do I want to write a book? Or be a famous author?

Do I want to:Lead a business? Or be a ‘successful entrepreneur’?Write a book? Or be a ‘famous author’?Run a marathon? Or be a ‘race winner’? In each example, doing the first part is hard. The second is what we might become when we do the first thing. When we chase being the successful-famous-winner without doing the work, we are on a path to disappointment. At the same time, focusing only on doing the leading-writing-running can

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I’m A Hypocrite. [And That’s OK].

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, has just given his company away. As he says, “instead of ‘going public’, you could say we’re ‘going purpose’.” Transferring the entire billion-dollar business to a trust “dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature” is the latest example of how they are reimagining capitalism. Patagonia are a company I have long admired. They openly confront the tension of both being a clothing company and thereby contributing to the

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Discipline and Motivation

Recently, I’ve found motivation hard to come by. I’ve been thinking hard about what I do, and why I do it. Should I change direction, or go all in? Stay here, or move on? As part of the figuring out process, I am re-reading Stephen Covey’s ‘7 Habits’. Among all the other brilliant insights is this nugget:“A satisfied need no longer motivates.” Ah. That makes sense. Fundamentally, my ‘needs’ are met. I am in the

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Good Enough

Sometimes, only our best is good enough … but the idea we can [or should] always be at our best is not only impossible, it’s unhealthy. We’re humans. We have good days and bad days. Sometimes we’re on top form … and at other times – not so much. Now, if we’re having a stinker, that doesn’t mean we inflict our bad day on everyone around us, but pretending we’re always at our best is

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Resolutions v Habits

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit Will 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

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It’s Never Black and White

In 1999, I took part in a cycling trip across Cuba. 26 year old me was 100% certain of himself – convinced he knew everything, and that anyone who saw things differently simply needed to be ‘educated’ with the ‘facts’ [as I saw them], and that if those ‘facts’ didn’t change your mind, then you must be an idiot. [Yeah – 26 year old me was a dick.] Anyway – on the bike tour, about

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Reaction v Response

After surviving Nazi concentration camps, Viktor Frankl famously talked about the gap between stimulus and response. What he called “the last of the human freedoms” is our ability to choose our response to any given situation. I recently came across a variation of this idea in an interview with Harvard professor Sheila Heen, an expert on communication and negotiation. She spoke about how the key to managing difficult conversations is understanding that our reaction to

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There’s No Such Thing As A Shortcut

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a huge fan of Tim Ferriss. Tim calls himself a human guinea pig, and is constantly looking for hacks in every area of life, from work to health to learning. If you’re unfamiliar with Tim’s work, a book like ‘The 4-Hour Body’ contains advice on everything from medical tourism to running ultra marathons. Throughout, his aim is to find the most efficient and effective way

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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

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