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All posts in the Mindset category

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797: House Rules

Our teams, like yours I’m sure, meet regularly to discuss how to make the client experience even more accommodating, delightful and memorable.

But those discussions must always remember “house rules”. I’ll paint a picture of this using an airline flight as an example:

When you board the plane, you don’t get to skip the safety briefing. House rules say it’s going to happen, and you’re expected to pay attention. Even if you don’t, you can’t say you didn’t get that briefing, no excuses. The experience is better when passengers feel the trappings if safety all around them, so it is enforced.

When you’re on the flight, you don’t get to eat what’s not on that plane. House rules prepared several options for you, which you can choose from at the appointed time. The options and time were both selected to make you as happy as possible. But the experience is better when the plane doesn’t serve 100 options at any point you like in the flight.

When you’re on the flight, you don’t get to stop by your house on the way to the airport. The flight sets off and lands on the appointed runways at the appointed times. The experience is better when ATC control your flight (and every other flight around yours) because it’s far safer that way.

The web design firm that enforces certain communication channels never misses a beat and crosses every ‘t’. The consultant who always books calls using his scheduling software never misses an appointment and protects its clients time. The SaaS company that enforces 2-factor authentication protects its data and its users.

Please, make the experience of doing business with your company as accommodating, delightful and memorable as you can. But for the benefit of everyone you serve, don’t sacrifice your “house rules”. They’re important for you and for those in your care.

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796: Play Your Game

Those doing meaningful work are usually high achievers.

Which often breeds comparison. Comparison weakens your ability to create change.

Someone else made a bigger impact in their chosen field than you? Unless your mission is the same as theirs – unless you’re playing the exact same game – comparison makes no sense. Play your game.

Someone else made more dollars in their industry than you? Unless your mission is measured exclusively by dollars – unless you’re playing by those rules rather than your own – comparison makes no sense. Play your game.

Comparison forces you to abandon your game in favor of playing somebody else’s.

Play your game, make your impact.

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795: How Valuable Is One Hour?

One hour isn’t a very long time.

Yet it could be so much longer if we let it.

You don’t need maniacal working hours to make a difference with your meaningful work.

Most of us don’t get one hour of productive hour dedicated toward meaningful work all that often. More often, we get:

Half an hour plus distractions and switches. That’s 30mins of work wrapped in 15mins of getting in the right headspace, 15mins of distractions. It’s an hour, but not really.

Fifteen minutes on four different things. That’s a couple of things that could have done with an hour of our time on their own, reduced to a fraction of that because we wanted to “productivity hack” the day. Plus a distractions and frustrations between them. It’s an hour, but not really.

If you’re doing important work – work the world needs – let an hour be an hour by giving your work the distraction-free time it deserves. Then close the laptop.

One hour isn’t a very long time. But if you use an hour wisely, you can do so much more than you think.

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794: No More War In Business

Why does the business world – cause-driven or otherwise – have so much war-talk in its vocabulary?

Don’t ‘kill’ competitors or ‘target’ prospects. Our teams simply serve those they can serve best. Never found any benefit in trying to “take over the world” when improving the right lives is so much more effective. No need for war-talk or war-practices.

Serving outperforms conquests. Our teams serve our clients well, happily. Those clients serve us well, happily. Make a difference with the profit. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t that the point?

Our language has a huge effect on our actions. Consider yours: are you at war, or would you be better off simply better serving those you’re best equipped to serve?

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793: In Defense of the Empty Boxes in Your Calendar

When you have lots to do, a good idea might be to use a calendar to help visualize your time.

“Great, now I can see all the time I actually have available to do things in!” we might say to ourselves.

The danger then becomes attempting to resist the urge to fill in the empty boxes.

“I’m doing nothing from 2:40 until 2:50, I’ll add another task there.”

This post is in defense of the empty boxes. Consider this:

#1 If it’s not a Priority, it’s a Distraction. Adding things to the day that didn’t need doing distracts you from doing the important work. The margin you could have had to prepare your mind to do your best work was shattered in exchange for what…checking your email again?

#2 What does [this] need from [me] [today]? This, Me and Today are the three things to pay attention to. Anything outside of these parameters does not belong in that calendar day, no matter how many empty boxes you have in the calendar. Why? See #1.

You do better work when you focus on what matters, instead of maximizing and optimizing your way to mediocrity.

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791: Fortune Factory

Can you manufacture good fortune?

Rotor fortunare – the capricious symbol of fate – spins as it pleases, doesn’t it?

“That was lucky.” Was it? Or did you just show up fully and regularly enough to tip the scales on your favor?

”Life’s not fair.” Maybe. But doesn’t it often become a little more fair for some who show up fully and regularly enough to tip the scales in their favor?

“They’re to blame for this.” Probably. But don’t many problems get solved not from assigning blame but taking responsibility for making a difference?

Maybe the marketplace is down, your industry is tough and you seem down on your luck at the moment.

But maybe, the solution is to simply show up fully and regularly enough to tip the scales in your favor.

See you tomorrow.