How Are YOU Doing?

Books Growth mindset Respect

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Key Point: I want this just to be about YOU. Are you happy with yourself right now? It’s getting towards the first half of the calendar year, and it might be worth a personal “check in.”   I certainly know you and I are are far from perfect. With that caveat, are we generally happy? I’m not asking exclusively whether we are satisfied with the advancement of our skills and relationships, just an honest reflection of our happiness. One reason I’m writing about this, is that lately I’ve heard wonderful people being very hard on themselves. I wonder if they are out of balance by focusing too much on future accomplishments versus gratitude for what they already have and who they are. Are YOU good enough?

Tim Ferriss, well known author, podcaster, etc., has a great new book entitled Tools of Titans. He notes from studying people he highly regards, that there are two parts to self-improvement. However, too many people may define self-improvement and happiness solely by goal achievement. But, Ferriss believes that this is only 50 percent of it. He says, “The other 50 percent is gratitude and appreciating what you already have, not focusing solely on future accomplishments.” There are so many highly successful people who are never satisfied with what they’ve accomplished and it’s unfortunate. Canadian sports psychologist and author Dr. Peter Jensen, tells the country’s Olympians, “if you weren’t good enough before an Olympic medal, you won’t be good enough after.”

Moving forward is always fraught with failure and mistakes. In this context, Ferriss focuses on two things: Skills and relationships. The question he asks himself is, “Even if this fails, are there skills and relationships that I can develop that will carry over into other things?” Ferriss’ philosophy is “failure isn’t failure if you can gain new skills and develop relationships…” This is such a great way to think about life and what we do. Are we always advancing our skills and relationships? If we are doing both, then the concept of failure can be reframed. The people that I see as “stuck” honestly find that they have done little on both fronts. They repeat the same work over and over and hence gain little true/new experience. They essentially repeat the same experience. This concept applies to relationships too. Advancing and growing people are continuously expanding the depth and width of relationships in and outside of work. 

Character Moves:

  1. Implement a daily gratitude journal. I’ve suggested this many times because it works. It fills us up with appreciation and it changes how we feel, creating more self-awareness and hence more happiness.
  2. Based on the wisdom of Adam Grant in Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book, Option B, I  highlighted the importance of also doing contribution journals. Combine 1 and 2 everyday, and I promise you it will increase your happiness and sense of well being. 
  3. Every six months or so, reflect on the new/enhanced skills you’ve added and define the relationships you’ve advanced. Being intentional about both will keep you moving forward.

Being Well in the Triangle,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I think Ferriss has a great point, and he’s a guy who has a lot figured out. The journals may also seem like an extra bit of “homework,” but even typing them out in the “notes” app on your smartphone before bed is probably a great exercise. If you’re networking, learning new skills, and strengthening your relationships, that’s the antithesis of failure. But it takes work. Especially as Millennials, we have to be careful… It’s easy to wake up one day and it’s already June, we put things in cruise control back in January and wait, are we even considered Millennials anymore?

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

‘I’m Burying My Husband Today’

Books Gratitude Respect

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Key Point: Contribution awareness and action builds and rebuilds self-confidence! The title of this blog refers to a journal entry by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, four days after her husband suddenly died. She and one of my favorite academics, Wharton’s Adam Grant, have just published a book titled, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Sandberg tragically lost her husband, Dave Goldberg, while they were celebrating a friend’s birthday at a resort in Mexico. Goldberg went to the gym, had a cardiac arrhythmia, and died.  Option B, with superb guidance and contribution from Grant, is Sandberg’s journey through the sadness and anger, to her choice to find happiness again. 

I’m just starting the book and flipped to Chapter 4 on “Self Compassion and Self-Confidence.” I was immediately captured by a very important insight regarding that condition and characteristic we all deserve: SELF-CONFIDENCE. Sandberg was struggling to regain confidence upon returning to Facebook after this shattering experience of suddenly losing her husband. While she was challenged to appreciate what to be grateful for, she was stymied even more in regaining confidence. Adam Grant and a colleague, Jane Dutton, pointed out to Sandberg, that gratitude lists were helpful but served a different purpose. What she really needed to do to rebuild confidence was the act of daily journaling “contribution lists.” Gratitude lists make us thankful, yet are primarily passive in nature. Contribution journaling on the other hand, refers to how we are active and make a difference in our daily lives. Sandberg now encourages friends and teammates to regularly write down contribution lists every day, and the overwhelming feedback from people who take her advice is: “I wish I would have started this sooner.” As Sandberg notes, empathy and compassion are important and from her perspective, encouragement is even better… Especially when it starts within. 

I feel self-confidence is so very important, yet so elusive for far too many people. Finding and expanding confidence is so much more in our control when we think in terms of acknowledging small, valued contributions every day!

Character Moves:

  1. Every night before you wrap things up and close your eyes, write down and/or recount to yourself what contributions you made that day, however small. Over time, you will build a wonderful summary of how you make a positive difference. This builds well-recognized and earned self-confidence.  Please do this!!
  1. And then write down a few things you are grateful for. Doing both will make a difference to the most important person in your life… YOU. And you are so worth it. 

More self-confidence in The Triangle,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I think most Millennials learn that confidence is one of the most important things we can possess. Whether it’s job interviews, presentations, proposals, or even socializing outside of the office: Confidence is key. I guess, if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? Hey, I might even try journaling a daily “contribution list.” 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Spiders, Pain and Happiness

Accountability Books Happiness

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Key Point: We can learn so much from spiders. Our chief economist, Todd Hirsch, wrote a new book entitled “Spiders in Space,” (which will officially be released at the end of April). The author tells a story about NASA taking spiders into space to see how they would react to zero gravity. Of course, spinning a web is based on gravity and spiders have been doing that the same way for more than 200,000 years! So, these unsuspecting spiders now find their home on the international space station and there is NO gravity. Now THAT’S disruption. For a while, they are disoriented and have a heck of time. The webs are a mess and the spiders are struggling. Then, one day they seem to regroup and amazingly learn to spin their webs in zero gravity. As Todd tells the story, they teach themselves to web from the corners out in windshield wiper fashion. They transform and invent a new web spinning process. Todd points out under similar circumstances, we humans would have likely formed a task force, eventually insisting the astronauts take us back home. 

I am really enjoying Mark Manson‘s book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k.” He points out that “happiness” is a verb more than a state of being. I agree with that. It comes essentially from the satisfaction of moving forward by solving problems. His view includes the premise that instead of asking ourselves what we want in life, we might be better off asking ourselves the question: “What pain are you willing to experience in your life?” “What are you willing to struggle for?” That will tell you more about what you really care about, and are willing to do. Happiness comes from struggling and resolving challenges or problems. Many of us desire all kinds of things, and frankly have no real commitment to do what it takes to get there. Our hopeful “what if?” eventually becomes “what else?” In the end, we really don’t want the “what if?” very much. Joy comes from the continual struggle to get to some desired future state and so do results. How much pain do you want to sustain? Really? Then do something about it NOW. 

Manson has another very practical tenet I really like. He calls it the “Do Something” principle. If you’re stuck or in a rut, do something; almost anything. That will often propel you. Start moving. If you wait for inspiration and motivation to act, inertia may very well win out. Forward action leads to inspiration, and then motivation. The spiders did not wait to be inspired or motivated. They just started spinning, one failure after another, and then one time – bingo, real progress! That’s inspirational and the motivation to keep acting. Spin!

Character Moves: 

  1. If you feel like you’re entering “zero gravity,” stop hoping to return to the past. It will not happen. Go forward and enjoy fighting through it. Why would you rob yourself of happiness? 
  1. Do something… Keep spinning… One day, voila! And you get to do it again. How fortunate we are to have these problems? Like the lesson from the Pixar movie “Inside Out,” joy and sad go together. So do problems and happiness. 

Spinning happy webs in The Triangle, 

Lorne

One Millennial View: Ha, when people say they’re afraid of spiders, the last thing you’d think they’d be most intimidated of is their tenacity… But unfortunately for many, forcing oneself to actually “do something” is scarier than eight legs and a little venom. If you’re stuck, I bet your “spidey senses” are already tingling and you already know that you need to figure out how to spin that web again.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

All Shook Up!

Accountability Books Transformation

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Key Point: “Are things just getting too damned fast and complex?” That’s a question I hear from people everywhere. Combined with the supernova of exploding technology (underpinned by Moore’s Law), increasingly fast-paced globalization (financial goods and services, information, ideas, innovation) and the unprecedented tremors in our planet’s natural system (climate change, bio-diversity loss, deforestation, geochemical flows), we’ve entered into what Pulitzer Prize winner and NYT best selling author, Thomas Friedman, describes as an “age of accelerations.”

These conditions are transforming every aspect of modern life. We all know this to be true at some level, yet to get a comprehensive, systemic overview, I urge all of our readers to read or listen to Friedman’s latest book: Thank You For Being Late. When you read about the transformative examples in each area, it kind of blows your mind. 

Additionally, let’s throw the following important and evolving principle into the mix: Once any object is connected, it fundamentally changes the very nature of that object. In 2016, one of the most widely read books by CEO’s was The Seventh Sense by Joshua Cooper Ramo. After reading it, I understand why. This book argues the premise that the spread of networks and constant, ever-faster connections, is creating a new kind of order everywhere. Today, power includes the paradox of being both more concentrated AND distributed than ever before (for example; Google, Facebook, Twitter).  He contends that individuals, organizations, and nations that can appreciate and master the new-networked order will flourish; those that can’t will flounder.  This author, who is on the Board of Amazon, FedEx, etc. is a highly respected advisor to elite leaders around the world, and he underscores that this is a time calling for “seventh sense” thinking—the ability to discern how things connect to other things in nodes and networks, “to look at any object and see the way in which it is changed by connection forever.”

Character Moves:

  1. Join me on a journey to better understand the implications of leading others and ourselves in this environment of transformative accelerants AND disruptive network connectivity. It requires fundamentally reimagined leadership models, new ways of working/living, and different thinking/acting.  The traditional ideas of “change leadership” are outmoded! Throughout 2017 we will explore and together be pioneers of the “new way.”
  2. If leading CEOs are reading Friedman and Ramo, you may want to as well. I certainly am. 

A changed “object” in The Triangle 

Lorne 

One Millennial View: We Millennials are lucky that we’ve never really existed in a time that wasn’t rapidly changing, and we’ve constantly been adapting to new transformative accelerants as they’ve been introduced to us over the past couple decades. This should make “change” a lot more interesting than intimidating. The principle of connectivity, however, is going to turn things on their head for Millennials as well. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Visual Intelligence: Do I Really See You?

Abundance Books

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Key Point: “Sharpen your perception, change your life.” That’s the tag line for Amy Herman‘s book, “Visual Intelligence.” As noted in my last blog, and worth repeating, she works with leading law enforcement groups around the world (e.g. NSA, CIA, Special Forces, NYPD), the medical profession and with many front running companies. The unique aspect of Amy’s work is that she uses art to teach people how to increase their visual intelligence. She has a thriving business helping people enhance observation and perception skills as well as communicate inferences more effectively through carefully observing paintings and photography. Herman teaches us to refrain from using the terms “obviously” and “clearly” in narrative, lines of questioning, and description. Those are terms that can lead us astray. There is very little if anything that is “obvious” or “clear” to all. We only need the recent American presidential election to remind us of that lesson.

Amy’s smart approach shows people how to be precise, straightforward and use the simplest possible terms to describe both unfamiliar and repeated situations in accurate ways, minimizing preconceived judgment and unconscious bias. And she reminds us to remain alert to eye contact, facial expressions, and non-verbal communication too.

Leonardo da Vinci claimed all of his scientific and artistic accomplishments came from “saper vadere,” or “knowing how to see.” Herman wants us too see more too. When she shows paintings and photos to her students, those looking at the exact same visuals see so much more or less than others. Too often, we let our biases, unconscious or otherwise, filter and make inferences that are wrong at best and dangerous at worse. Herman encourages us to be as objective as possible, look at the entire picture corner to corner for full context. And while we must appreciate our personal experiences, we must NOT to let our emotions and assumptions blind us.

At the end of Herman’s presentation, she shows her students a picture they saw for the first time a few hours before, and the observation change is startling. People see so much more with increased accuracy and less faulty judgment. Herman then asks the following: “What changed? The picture, or you?”

Character Moves:

  1. Even if we genuinely embrace Ubuntu (see last blog), what do we really see? What biases or judgment is in the way? Apply Amy’s fact based framework as noted above.
  1. Always look at the entire picture “corner to corner” and not just the standout characters in the middle of the frame.
  1. Now connect this framework to the idea of showing up and really seeing others as per the Zulu greeting. We would SEE so much more.

Really seeing you in the Triangle,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Millennials can be incredibly guilty of sharing news articles after only reading the headline, and that’s just an example that barely scratches the surface of our intolerance for time consuming detail. As much as we want all our information in 140 characters or less, Herman makes the strong point that sometimes it takes some in-depth analysis to draw a well founded perspective, and we can all use a “corner to corner” lesson if we’re being honest with ourselves.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis