I remember when I was growing up in the 80s the major technology every kid wanted was the little orange coloured hand held game called Donkey Kong. If you were lucky enough to have it, you’d be glued to it at every opportunity.
I remember being dragged along to parties, to dinners, going on trips; but it didn’t matter where I was, if I had Donkey Kong, I would be blissfully occupied. I would zone in on jumping rolling barrels and eating bananas. It also ensured I was disconnected from the world around me.
Fast forward 30 years and I am on the way to work, and the bus was full with grown adults playing Donkey Kong. Well, that’s what it looked like. These days we’ve replaced our kid game consoles for grown up smart phones. And while they do keep us entertained, they are also keeping us disconnected.
I was recently chatting with Joanne Woo, VP of Communications for GE Australia, who commented that, “We’ve fallen in...
One day a young man was walking down a busy side street in the middle of town when he noticed a small new shop. It was unusual because it was the only shop with no customers inside. To either side people were busy purchasing shirts and watches and the latest gizmos. The empty shop was selling none of these modern items; instead, it was selling values.
The young man wandered inside and discovered to his amazement that indeed the shop was selling values. He approached the counter, asking, “Can I purchase any value I wish?”
The shopkeeper nodded, “Of course. Which one would you like, Sir?”
The young man fidgeted on the spot, then spoke up, stating, “Well, lately I've been thinking a lot about authenticity. I would like to be authentic in my job, but I feel I often end up playing the corporate game and wearing a kind of mask instead. I have tried to be authentic myself, but haven't succeeded.” He looked up and smiled, “But if I can simply...
It's not meant to be this hard, right? Building a business should happen faster than this, right? Getting clients to sign up should go faster, right?
These were some of the thoughts rattling around in my head as I sat in a room full of the world's leading thought leaders. I'm a member of the Thought Leaders Business School, and a key part of the program is that we come together and meet quarterly for three days to work on our businesses, plan out our next 90 days, network and help each other out, and learn from some of the best teachers and trainers in Australia.
The CEO and Dean of the school, Peter Cook, took the stage on day one and began sharing about his recent accomplishment: He had just been ordained as a monk. Yes, that's right, a monk (a non-religious order). He had just spent a full month on a meditation course in Spain, had just taken his vows in time to return and join us all. He didn't just put his toe in the water, he committed fully. The vows are for life.
I'm a father of two little champions, aged 5 and 2. I love parenting, and I love being a student of my children. I mean that honestly. I've learned a lot from them, and continue to learn from them. In fact, nearly every great tip and insight about living a great life as an adult, in business and in life, my kids seem to already instinctively know.
My job as their parent (that I've come to believe) is resist the opportunity to knock this instinct out of them so they have to go through the hard task of relearning them as an adult. Here's some of the the things my kids know, that I need to remember are not just good things, but the essence of life.
Why does it take 30 minutes to walk home from the playground with my kids, when it would take 3 minutes without them? Because my kids treat experiencing the journey with the same enthusiasm as reaching the destination. I try to remember, but often get stuck in the 'destination' focus.
There’s a power certain leaders have, a kind of magic, that is hard to quantify. Their staff are super achievers. Their businesses flourish and grow regardless of the economic climate. They have buy-in to their vision from not only their team, but the marketplace too.
I dare to say that more than anything else, it’s their habitual practice of gratitude.
Here’s three practical ways gratitude can build your business faster than defaulting to tracking tasks and crunching numbers.
As leaders, we naturally do a lot of thinking in business, but if all that thinking is about tasks, not people, we’ll always miss the forest for the trees. Task are important. They need to get done. But your team are human. They have a world of insights, passions, and abilities that stretch far beyond the tasks they may be responsible for.
Taking the time to think of them with...
What would happen if for the next five days you asked for more?
More of everything. More assistance. More business. More clarity. More patience. More help. More referrals.
Asking is the opposite of assuming. For some reason, we find it far easier to make assumptions, than to make requests. But there is power in asking. Jesus once gave a simple math talk on the topic, explaining how the equation works: “Ask, and you shall receive.”
It’s simple math, right? You don’t have to listen to Jesus to accept the logic of it. It’s common sense, and it’s been proven by every successful entrepreneur in the game of business. To increase your opportunities to exchange value in the marketplace and in your personal relationships, you have to get comfortable with asking for more, more often. (The flip side to this, is the more you ask, the more open you become to giving when others ask, too. It’s a win, win for everyone.)
So if the...
A whale, after getting some air at the surface, submerges back to the depths of the ocean. He passes by two fish and says, “Morning boys, how’s the water?” The two fish look at each other and say, “What the hell is water?”
In the story above (paraphrased version from David Foster Wallace’s speech) it is because the fish were always in water, and had nothing to contrast that reality, that, to them, there was no water. Because it was everywhere and inescapable, it ironically became invisible and unknown to them.
Just as fish don’t realise they are in water, because it’s all they have ever known. Humans don’t realise they are in a miracle.
Life, every element of it, is miraculous. Just because you are always immersed in it, to the point you don’t realise it, doesn’t change the reality.