367: “Our selected charity” ​

This morning while exiting a plane, the speaker announced support for “our selected charity”. So close:

  • Businesses are the change: It’s up to businesses to take ownership of problems, directly or directly. So far so good.
  • Impersonal breeds inattention: The title’s phrasing suggests a disconnection – commoditizing the charity to just “a charity”.
  • Business must get personal: If buyers are to care, the sellers need to care enough to integrate more intimately with the causes they exist to solve.

Having a selected charity is a good start. Now we need to go deeper.

366: Stop trying new things ​

It may be unpopular advice, but there comes a point where we should stop trying new things.

“Do the external things that fall upon you distract you?” – Marcus Aurelius

  • Master your craft, and apply it to your cause. Don’t be like the wind, ever-changing, unable to truly contribute to any one vision.
  • Passion for life beats passion for passion. Honoring your disciplined pursuit leaves you with less regret at the end than fleeting fancies will.
  • You don’t have the time a child has to play and change course many times. But you have the time needed to make an impact with your skills.

Will you use it?

365: 365 days ​

One post per day, one year later:

  • Every day, you’re not sure: 8 pm is blog-o’clock. You’re never sure if the right idea will come to you.
  • Every day, you notice: The ideas were there all along, you just hadn’t yet made the habit to notice them.
  • Discipline breeds growth: And growth makes us better versions of ourselves. One year in, I never want it to end.

Alas, all things must come to an end eventually. But today’s not that day.

364: 3 things to stop over-doing ​

Following yesterday’s notes on over-achievers overdoing things, here are 3 things to stop over-doing:

  • Practice: If practice makes perfect, and perfect doesn’t exist, why overdo practice? Maybe it’s time to stop practicing (or researching) and take action.
  • Risk-assessment: Over-doing this makes a case for the safer, neutral, conservative option. What if it’s time to make a difference?
  • Worry: This is mental-training for worst-case scenarios. Might it be better to replace it with experience, where that training is all for naught?

Over-achievers like to go fast. Try slowing down around the 3 corners above and see how it affects your lap time.

363: 3 things to start over-doing ​

Over-achievers like to overdo things, for better or worse. Here are 3 things worth over-doing:

  • Communication: If you think you’re communicating enough, you’re probably under-communicating. When you feel you’re being redundant, that’s often about right.
  • Service: If you think you’re serving enough, you’re probably nothing special. When you feel you’re being overly-generous, that’s often when you’re recognized for your contribution.
  • Honor: If you’re showing honor as much as is deserved, you’re probably not showing enough. Respect is about the recipient, honor is about the giver. Give more.

It’s often the over-achievers who forget to overdo these things. Take note and let your nature do the rest.

362: What you’re best at ​

You think your work is the best. Best at what?

  • Best at making you proud of having done it: This is an important factor. But remember not to confuse it with ‘best’ for the buyer.
  • Best at making a certain outcome happen: This an important factor, too. But who decides the desired outcome, you or the buyer?
  • Best for the buyer: This is an important factor. But remember to pursue it only if you’re able to combine it with #1.

While pursuing what you’re best at, remember to define ‘best’.

361: Brand mood ​

We think about logos, letterheads, and websites. What about ‘mood’?

  • How we feel when we experience a brand is normally left to chance. We don’t tend to give it a moments thought.
  • How we expect to feel when we experience a brand is something we can control. If there’s expectation, there’s likely intention.
  • How we want to feel when we seek out a brand is, if conscious and predictable, something we’ve been taught to find there.

Gritty. Melancholic. Inspiring. Fun. Whatever you’re going for, if an audience turns to you when they want to feel it, you’ve achieved brand mood mastery.

360: New kind of team culture ​

Being an entrepreneur has been glamorized.

Why hasn’t belonging to a great team?

  • Thriving: Some cultures install ceilings disguised as job titles. Others recruit people to let them thrive, together.
  • Compensating: Some cultures dictate potential upside. Others encourage people to find new ways to be compensated, together.
  • Opportunity: Some cultures ask you to sit and do as you’re told. Others ask that you stand up and rewrite the rules, together.

Entrepreneurs are known for getting things started and moving. Why aren’t great teams known for that, too? We need a new kind of culture that celebrates great teams, not the individuals that started them.

359: You are 80 years old ​

A day may come where this will be true. These words will still be here. What will you regret?

  • Not trying: Too scary? Too big? Too challenging? Too risky? But is it, really? Is not trying worth the regret?
  • Not being: Kinder? Nicer? More committed? More invested? Present? Is not being worth the regret?
  • Not avoiding: Distractions? Bad habits? Bad decisions? Is avoiding it worth the regret?

There’s meaningful, important work to be done. You can choose to act now, or you can choose to regret not doing so, later. It’s your choice.

358: Which type of tree are you? ​

You should know the answer before your next strenuous team project.

  • Maple: Pretty but brittle. They grow quickly, but that pace leads them to be fragile and easily breakable when asked to bend a little.
  • Willow: Pretty but shapeless. Fine when things are calm but their weak, bendy branches have no form of their own–the winds determine the shape.
  • Bamboo: Flexible but also strong. Always returns to its original form, yet higher tensile strength than cold-pressed steel. Happy to bend, but doesn’t break.

Many of us fall into the Maple or Willow categories. It takes real self-awareness to know how to be the Bamboo. Which are you?

357: The world got smaller ​

Technology changed again. Are our teams changing with it?

  • The giants are focused on mobile: Apple, Microsoft, and Google are focused primarily on two things: iPhone (with iPad by extension) and Android. Not Windows, or even macOS.
  • The next generation is focused on mobile: What do Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp all have in common? They only really work on mobile.

The world sees the world through pocket-sized glass rectangles. Is your team operating in light of that reality?

356: What kids can teach us about marketing ​

We often think of kids as anti-social screen-zombies who don’t know how to make eye contact with other humans anymore.

  • Kids are more social than we are. They just don’t do it the way we did. At their age, our social circles were small and determined by whether or not we were allowed to have a friend over for dinner.
  • We’re following their lead. They were on Facebook first. Instagram, too. And Snapchat. They broadcast and network with hundreds of people and brands, daily. At their age, we had 5-10 friends we’d speak to, weekly.

As teams, we should recognize this pattern. What’s next for our team and our marketing? Ask your kids.

355: Underpriced platforms ​

We like email. We like Google. We like saturated platforms. Unsaturated platforms? Not so much:

  • Underpriced and under-appreciated: We complain when Instagram changes its design or its advertising rules, despite being a platform we never had to pay for. Or about how much influencers “sell out”, despite having no idea how to price themselves. Opportunities snubbed.
  • Overpriced and well-loved: Running Google Ads after the big money moved in. Sending email blasts at full inboxes. We like these things because they feel safe and proven. It’s harder to compete, and that makes us comfortable.

Things change when they’re figuring themselves out. That spells ‘opportunity’. We should like that, right?