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All posts from October 2019

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680: What Nobody Can Take Away From You

These things can’t be taken away from you, if you remember what lies beneath:

What’s worse than losing lots of money? Losing the ability to produce it. If money is just energy, consider how we all waste energy every day. But another day comes and yet more energy to fuel it is produced. We only stop producing when we’re dead.

What’s worse than losing your campaign to create change? Losing the will to try again. Campaigns and missions are usually hard, against the odds, audacious. We can’t – and won’t – win every one. It’s the act of trying again and again that changes the culture.

What’s worse than losing those you love? Losing who you are. Whether it’s team members who move onto other things, or those in our family, you love and lavish upon people once again because that’s who you are. Unless you forget who you are and stop.

The power in a meaningful company doing work that matters is in the people’s will to sustain the pursuit of being better. Nobody can take that away from you besides you.

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679: Getting More Done Without Hacks

Ever find yourself reading about “life hacks”?

Those moreish articles and videos that claim to help you get more done, in less time, with less effort?

I’ve only ever found one life hack worth following.

The discipline of practice:

That blog post that used to take you 4 hours to write will only take you 1, with practice. Not because you found the right ‘swipe file’ online, or ‘template hack’, or because you spent more hours reading about new organizational tools. The way to write faster is to write more often. This is post 679 of this daily post, it’s not the only content I produce, I’ve never missed a day, and it barely makes a dent in my day. Practice is what made that happen.

That sales process that used to return 10% close rate will return 80%, with practice. Not because you listened to more podcasts or read more posts. Any great sales team will tell you the magic is in the role-play, or ‘practice’ as we’re calling it here. Scripts melted into your mind, rebuttal a natural part of you, allowing your conscious to focus on engaging people with a fiduciary responsibility to listen and lead people. Practice makes that happen.

Those live talks you deliver that make you want to cancel or throw up, will become effortless, with practice. Not because you watched more TED talks or went to more events. But because you practiced your material to the point you can deliver it at a second’s notice. And because you practiced being live in front of others without a safety net.

Time spent looking for “life hacks” could have been spent doing the hard work most “life hack” websites exist to distract and excuse you from: the discipline of practice.

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678: Getting What You Ordered

We always – only – get what we order:

If you order a specific scope of work be built for you, but you change your mind, don’t lose sight of the fact you got exactly what you ordered.

If you called in a pepperoni but wanted four-cheese, you can’t complain to the delivery man for bringing you the pizza you asked for.

If you want to stand out and serve your market better than anyone else, but spend all of your time agonizing over trying to make yourself look good instead of them, you can’t complain when they don’t pay attention to you or do business with you.

If you want to make a difference in the world, but spend your resources on toys for your own pleasure, you’ve no business whining in your final days when you only got what you ordered.

We get what we order. Sometimes we don’t order well, sometimes we don’t order specifically enough. Sometimes we’re not brave enough to send it back if it was genuinely wrong. But we always get what we order.

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677: Anticomfort

Doing the right thing isn’t usually very comfortable.

Anticomfort is about taking yourself out of the picture:

Taking yourself out of your marketing gives you room to make it all about those you wish to serve. Marketing isn’t about you. Prospects move forward when they clearly see their journey represented in your words and a clear path from problem to solution. All of that is about them, not about you. Are you brave enough to tell their story rather than your own?

Taking yourself out of the center of your world gives you room to put others and their needs in the center. What does your team, or your family, or your industry need from you that only you can bring? Is there a cause in need of support that your team could commit a percentage of profits toward? These things won’t happen if you’re focused on yourself.

Taking yourself out of familiar territory gives you opportunity to test your skills in new ways. Expert at writing PHP? Spin up Rails and give that a whirl; its opinionated nature could help refine your code. Comfortable on camera? Try talking to a live audience; the inability to “take 2” helps you get your words right the first time around.

Taking yourself out of a negative environment gives you room to grow into your best self. If each time you find the energy to create something new and exciting, you’re shot down with negativity and skepticism, you’ll train yourself to not create new and exciting things. Does your team – and family – both build you up? If not, changes are required.

Anticomfort may not be comfortable, but there’s comfort to be found in the knowledge that you’re building a better future.

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676: We Need You To Do It

There are some things you can delegate.

Others, though, we need you to do:

Perhaps it’s that video. We need your face on that video, your voice, your energy. Those other things, you can delegate those, we need you to do this. Were it to be somebody else, we wouldn’t connect with that audience in quite the same way.

Perhaps it’s that client conversation. We need your voice on that call, because it’s you the client turns to when they need someone. We need you there, representing all of us. Were it to be somebody else, that client wouldn’t feel as amazing as they would were you had been there to nurture them.

Perhaps it’s that piece of code. We need your hands in that codebase, because nobody knows it quite like you do. The other pieces you can delegate, this piece needs your touch. Maybe it needs to be updated so that others can touch it too, but when things get down to it, you’re the last line of defense, the single best person on earth to do this, right here.

Delegation and systemization is really important for growing teams. Those activities should help reveal what we need you to do more than anybody else.

What does your team need you – and only you – to do?

Do that today. We’re relying on you.

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675: Mediocrity vs Creativity

Creativity might not work.

Social media posts that routinely share awards and team members favorite coffee won’t get you any attention. Nobody cares. But it’s safe and easy. You can pay anybody to make these.

Social media posts that share vulnerability, that reveal your secrets, that do something different, may not work. People may or may not respond. But at least they may actually respond, right?

Mediocre is safe. It’s buying Google Ads not because it’s the best fit for you, but because your boss understands where the budget went. Bravely investing in sending small toys to prospects because they tell your story might not work. The boss will wonder why you’re buying toys when their competitors are buying Google Ads.

But what if it worked, what if it delighted those you wish to serve? When we’re you last delighted by a Google Ad?

Mediocrity is job security. Creativity is the risky act of trying to make change happen.