Behaviours that can help or harm


I’ve been fascinated by the concept ever since I read about the Kaizen movement in the mid-80s.

It encapsulates the well-known saying,” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

The core underpinning concept emphasizes continuous improvement through small, incremental changes.

It’s been five plus decades of doing life, raising a family, building a business, being a husband, father, brother, friend and neighbour.

Working at “doing it better”  has always been a a part of my process.

Admittedly, I haven’t always nailed it.

The business world strives for improvement in terms of ” lean ” and “agile” business practices.

It’s equally applicable in manufacturing to enhance efficiency and quality.

The concept also applies to anyone seeking personal growth in various aspects of life.

Some examples would be personal goals for saving money, getting fit, or losing weight.

By adopting this mindset, we learn how minor adjustments in our daily habits and attitudes can lead to significant change.

Here Are Five Subtle Shifts I’ve Used In My Own Life

Find Ways To Add Value

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world,” Howard Zinn

Leadership is all about looking for small yet meaningful ways to contribute.

These could be simple gestures of support during tough times or creative solutions to minor workplace issues.

They must be done responsibly and within your capacity to deliver.

Each effort deepens relationships, enhances perspective, and strengthens leadership abilities.

Focusing on adding value, even in small ways, creates a ripple effect.

It leads to substantial positive changes in your organization and personal life.

Committing To Being Fully Present

Distractions are everywhere. Focusing and being fully present is a rare and valuable skill.

Cal Newport, author of ‘Deep Work,’ emphasizes the power of concentrated attention.

This commitment involves actively minimizing distractions to enhance effectiveness in both professional settings and personal interactions.

For example, at crucial meetings, I make it a point to turn off device notifications to engage more deeply with the discussion.

This simple practice contributes to more thoughtful contributions, decisions, and outcomes.

Similarly, dedicated time for family, friends or even personal projects can convey, “Hey, I’m here for you !”

Practicing presence means being physically, mentally, and emotionally invested.

This is an essential key for effective leadership and personal fulfillment.

Maintaining Focus on Ultimate Goals

“Begin with the end in mind,” – Stephen Covey.

This principle is central to Kaizen, emphasizing the importance of clarity in your goals and objectives.

My hobby foray into film-making and videography sharpened my storytelling skills.

Every good movie you’ve ever watched has a central plot, a good script that drives it toward a conclusion, – at least it should.

Each scene has been crafted in advance with storyboards, shot lists and well-acted scripts that effectively tell the story.

Even Shakespeare knew that it was not enough just to set goals; every good writer/producer must create a system to review and adjust goals regularly.

This might involve setting aside time each week to reflect on where you’re at in your story and make necessary adjustments.

Keeping your long-term objectives in clear view ensures that your daily actions align with your ultimate aims.

Continuous goal mindfulness and realignment keep you on track toward significant results in your career and personal life.

P.S. That’s what “My Three Words” is all about.

Actively Seeking Constructive Feedback

 “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve,” -Bill Gates.

This highlights the importance of seeking out and valuing feedback.

Bill’s openness to others’ perspectives was a cornerstone of continuous improvement and relevant to his leadership.

Holding an open and welcoming posture for feedback from colleagues, mentors, or even friends and family can provide valuable insights into your strengths and areas for improvement.

Good feedback comes in various forms, such as performance reviews, casual conversations, or structured mentoring sessions.

By actively seeking and reflecting on this feedback, you can identify areas for minor adjustments that can lead to significant improvements in your leadership style and personal life.

I know this was true for me.

Cultivating Self-Discipline in Small Ways

Admiral William H. McRaven had a distinguished 37-year career in the U.S. Navy. That was followed by a 3-year stint as Chancellor of The University of Texas.

His advice: “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.”

For him, this simple daily habit set the tone for a day of achievement and order, essential for tackling more significant challenges in life and work.

Similarly, implementing small, disciplined actions like regular exercise, mindful spending, or dedicated learning time each day can accumulate substantial personal and professional growth over time.

These small, consistent acts of discipline lay the foundation for more significant achievements and resilience, demonstrating the power of Kaizen in everyday life.

My challenge this month?

Explore the principles of Kaizen and how small changes can lead to significant results for you.

 I invite you to reflect on your own experiences.

What small steps have you taken in your leadership journey or personal life that led to substantial changes?

Please D.M. me your stories and comments.

Let’s inspire each other through our continuous journeys of improvement.

Until next time.

Recently we watched the people of the United Kingdom and others from around the world mourn the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Both the funeral service and the procession that followed were tremendously moving.

As a very young boy, I saw the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) pass by while I was perched on my father’s shoulders. It was her very first trip to our country. The palpable joy of the enthusiastic crowd that day left an indelible impression.

A short time later, I watched her Coronation speech on a very grainy early 50s TV broadcast.

“I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.    Queen Elizabeth II June 02, 1953— London, England

  Each year that followed, she would address the world with her annual Christmas message. She would talk candidly about hard things going on in the world and sometimes in her own family.

Yet, her message was always one of wisdom, courage and gratitude.

She always built trust and inspired hope!

Even in her departure, there was a measure of grace and elegance.

Today she is being remembered as a world leader who consistently served the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth with grace and dignity. The crowds lined the streets, and millions more watched online to pay homage and respect. It says a great deal about her legacy and how she will be remembered.

We can only imagine the volume of change and turmoil she witnessed in her seven decades of leadership!

It might be my understatement of all time, but we live in uncertain times.

We’re witnessing one of the most rapidly evolving business and social environments ever seen.

There’s never really has been a time when people could be sure how things would play out. But now, with new powerful forces in motion, it’s dicier than ever.

What’s different now is that the volume and the pace of change have increased dramatically.

Well huh!! There it is.

In the midst of it all, people are looking to leaders for help and hope.

And that takes grace.

Much like authenticity, art, or love, -grace is hard to define.

But we sure recognize it when we see it.

Rocker/philosopher Bono (U2) says it this way:

Grace, she takes the blame

She covers the shame

Removes the stain

It could be her name

Grace, it’s the name for a girl

It’s also a thought that changed the world

 

In a recent book, The Five Graces of Life and Leadership, author Gary Burnison delivers a meaningful and thought-provoking exploration of leadership.

He emphasizes the five kinds of grace that leaders absolutely must have to lead their teams in today’s rapidly evolving world. He also happens to be the CEO of the iconic consulting firm Korn Ferry.

That fact alone grabbed my attention.

In today’s world, leadership is all about establishing community and connectivity.

People instinctively long to be part of something bigger than themselves. But, to have the grace to create this kind of leadership, we need greater self-awareness and a genuine connection to others.

To Burnison, G.R.A.C.E. is an acronym for what great leaders convey.

He calls us to be “radically human leaders with greater self-awareness and genuine connection to others.”

I love that “radically human” part.

The best leaders make their teams feel accepted, safe and secure that they’re headed in the right direction.

It includes insightful discussions on each of the five indispensable graces, including:

Gratitude–the mindset that elevates our spirits, boosts morale and lifts our hearts. It recognizes we’re not in this on our own. We need the help and contribution of others to succeed.

Resilience—that quality that allows us to weather the ups and downs and helps us achieve beyond our wildest dreams.

Aspiration–the knowledge that we can make tomorrow better than today. It elevates everyone’s vision around us of what’s possible.

Courage–the ability to understand and move beyond our fears. This requires us to ask hard questions of ourselves and sometimes others.

 Empathy–the understanding needed to connect with others from their perspectives and meet them where they’re at.

Like the late Queen, we all have a limited shelf life with an expiration date. It was only three days before her passing that she was swearing Great Britain’s new Prime Minister.

Like her, we also don’t have any control over when our time is up.

It begs the question …….. – How do you measure a life lived in grace?

Can you say you’ve lived a life of grace?

For me, it’s never been easy. I can’t pretend that I’ve been successful at it in any consistent way.

(just ask my wife)

Have you given yourself grace?

Giving yourself permission to forgive your mistakes, lapses in judgment, or hurtful behaviour is probably the most important of the Graces.

Extending that same grace of forgiveness to others is equally important!

Let’s face it, no one is perfect.

We all have to come to a point where we recognize our fragility and mortality and that we cannot always control outcomes.

Leadership and Grace

“A leader’s higher calling is to surround the organization with purpose.” – Gary Burnison

All of these qualities overlap and intertwine. For example, it’s difficult to be resilient without gratitude and courage.

Approaching each day with gratitude fosters a mindset of humility. You know you can’t achieve success on your own. Humility opens us to greater awareness and the ability to empathize with others.

Then add in aspirations. – That’s truly powerful!

As the leader, it’s your job to see the vision, be the vision and articulate what the vision looks like for everyone in the organization.

In Conclusion

 Here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it.

(This is a powerful exercise that I encourage my coaching clients to do)

Find some quiet time and space and write a letter to your future self.

In your letter, I want you to consider these questions:

What do you want to be known for?

 What accomplishments do you want to have achieved?

How do you want others to remember you? 

Be as wordy and as eloquent as you like. Then, when you’re done writing your first draft, set it aside.

Give it some marinade time and come back to it.

When it’s done, keep it close by and refer to it often.

This powerful tool helps you become the change that you want to see.

Until next time.

 

You got to know when to hold ’em,


Know when to fold ’em,


Know when to walk away,


And know when to run.

 

Kenny Rogers – The Gambler

 

Quitting, all too often, is cast in a negative light.

How many times have you heard something like:

“Winners never quit” and “quitters never win.”

Like many motivational aphorisms, there’s an element of truth in there somewhere, but it’s not the whole picture.

Most leaders I look up to as “winners” know how to read people, situations, and themselves so well that they know precisely when, why, and how to quit.

It’s what keeps them consistently in the win column!

Leaders who cast themselves as beacons of perpetual positivity and persistence sometimes get trapped by that mindset and find themselves unable to course-correct.

My favourite example of unbridled optomism and not knowing when to quit is the Black Knight  fight scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail

The overconfident Black Knight denies King Arthur crossing his bridge. A sword battle erupts. He loses all of his limbs in the process

“Tis but a scratch!” – Black Knight

“A scratch? your arm’s off!” – King Arthur.



“No, it isn’t!” – Black Knight,.

“Well, what’s that then?” – King Arthur

 (Black Knight pauses and looks down at his severed arm on the ground)

 

”I’ve had worse.”  
 


As the battle ensues, the Black Knight is reduced to a trash-talking torso 
hollering

“I’m invincible” and “Come back here. I’ll bite your legs off!”  

 

It’s a humorous (slightly gross) illustration of being overly optimistic, persistent, and not knowing when to quit.

 

While my worldview is generally upbeat, I try to ensure it’s tempered with pragmatism and a healthy serving of self-awareness.

Here are five scenarios that may serve as prime indicators that It’s time to quit.

Your Task becomes All-Consuming and Takes Over Your Entire Life

If there is any task or goal that has become so all-consuming it takes over all other areas of your life, then you might consider moving on from it. If you are devoting massive amounts of your energy, and the rest of your life is suffering, is it really worth continuing?

You Feel Stuck or Stagnant

Do you feel like you are stuck in a rut?

It’s been said that “a rut is just a shallow grave with the ends kicked out!”

Maybe your career or specific goals seem to have stagnated.

If so, this could be a cue that it is time to quit. Life moves fast, and if all you are doing is standing still, you could get left behind. Sometimes quitting a job or goal that keeps you stuck allows you to move forward in the long run.

There is an Obviously Better Opportunity

Some people are naturally very loyal. Whether it is a job, your own business, or just a goal you have been working on, it can be hard to give it up.

However, if there is a better opportunity around the corner, why not take it?

You aren’t giving up if you quit your job to take on a better role. You are levelling up.

You Feel Perpetually Restless and Unhappy

Do you find that you are miserable more than you are not?

Are feelings of regret, anger, or disappointment taking up a great deal of real estate in your brain?

This could be a signal that there is likely something in your life you need to quit.

It could be an unfulfilling goal, career, or relationship.

Once you figure out what it is, you will likely feel instantly better once you give it up.

Figure out what it is. Then, once you do, don’t be afraid to quit it and move on to something else.

Your Goals No Longer Align With Your Values

Things change, people change, and you change!

It may be time if your goals, career, or business don’t align with your values.

You can fool yourself for a little while (even a long while), but your actions not matching your values will catch up with you.

Your results will suffer, and you will never feel fulfilled. So if your goals don’t match your values, consider dropping them and setting a new version that aligns with who you are.

Choosing to quit and what to let go of looks different to each of us. It may mean letting go of stuff and clutter, a horrible job situation, or a previously valued relationship. Each case has different levels of difficulty, but you and your well-being will enjoy the benefits of healthy quitting:

You regain emotional energy.

Finally, arriving at a decision and deciding on a new course of action stops the energy suck. Trust me on this. I know.

You regain your identity.

Corrosive situations may leave you questioning who you are. Quitting and course-correcting allow you to rediscover who you are and dream about what you’d like to do with your future.

You open the opportunity for change.

Keeping yourself tied to the same situation because of limiting beliefs or fear prevents you from jumping on opportunities to get that new career or start a business. Let go of the fear and embrace the possibilities.

You rediscover your focus and joy.

Quitting and letting go clears a path to rediscovering what matters most to you and what brings you joy.

Moving forward to reach your goals often requires some quitting and letting go.

It’s vital to your success, so why not start today?

 

Until next time,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Focus  Marc Kleen (Unsplash)

“Guess we’ll have to wait and see” has become a running joke at my house.

My wife and I will be discussing something we plan to do in the future. First, one of us will abruptly stop. Then we’ll start laughing, and in unison, recite, “Guess we’ll have to wait and see!”

It’s been one of those years when extreme circumstances put everything in a state of flux and uncertainty.

At least in my part of the world.

First, there was extreme heat. B.C. Heat Wave Shatters Canadian Record

Then extreme wildfires. BC Wildfires 2021

Then extreme flooding. B.C Flooding  

If all of the above isn’t enough,-There’s been a spike of existential angst due to a resurgent pandemic.  Pandemic Heading into 2022 

No wonder many of us feel like we’re muddling through day by day and looking at life in slow motion through a foggy windshield.

We don’t fully understand the impact of what we’re going through right now, but at some point, there’ll be ramifications from kids losing gobs of in-school time and access to peers. Adults are becoming more insular while grappling with the stress of long-term uncertainty. Close-knit families are being torn apart by the fierce vax/anti-vax personal politics of COVID.

I’m happy to report that I’m still standing and in relatively good spirits despite all of the above.

I sincerely hope I’m confident enough to keep on trying and humble enough to keep on learning.

With this brief prologue, I’m once again diving into some of my aspirational hopes, dreams and goals with “my three words” focus exercise for the year ahead.

What Are My 3 Words About?

Well, it’s simple but never easy. My challenge every January is to come up with three words that represent the strategic directions for the year. Two isn’t enough, and four’s too many, so three’s about right.

There’s nothing magic or weird here. It’s just a way to incorporate a small success habit by bringing consistent intent, focus, and clarity to my decisions and actions in 2022

That’s why I’ve been taking the time to thoughtfully select three words that will serve as keys to my year. If you’re unfamiliar with this exercise, business writer and consultant Chris Brogan started this in 2006.

A lot of other folks are doing this. Just check out #my3words.

My Process

I spend time reflecting on the past year, what’s worked, what has not. Also, what was unclear and what was missing. But more importantly, I try to understand what I want the coming year to look like.

Sometimes, the words come out of my goals, so I’ll jot down words that capture my attention and accurately reflect my intention.

I usually talk through my goals and my three words with my wife and several close friends.

That’s always helpful.

It shaped my ideas into something more tangible. It also reaffirmed that we’re in this together, and no matter what goals I have or the words I choose, they are meaningless without mutual support.

My Approach

I try to interact with my three words each day. For example, I’ll jot them at the top of my planner page or on top of my workout calendar. Doing this keeps them front and center, not only pointing me in the direction of my goals but grounding me in the interim work that needs doing to achieve them.

Here Goes

 

I’ve come to think of my words as three keys that unlock potential in the coming year.

So far, I’ve settled on:

1. GUIDE

2. CO-CREATE

3. DEMONSTRATE

Guide: It’s a noun and a verb that packs some intention into what I do. A guide fits my role as a coach and consultant. My job is to move ahead of my colleagues and clients, survey the landscape, assess risks, recommend paths of action, and communicate a cohesive plan. In my profession, that makes sense. The most famous guides in the real world were also very physically vibrant, so I’m piggy-backing my intention to stay strong and healthy into this word. It has to carry a lot.

Co-Create: This idea is a lot more simple than a guide: what do I intend to co-create with other people in any given situation? For example, when I work with the Executive Leaders and their teams, I survey and test ideas before meetings. When I talk to stakeholders or fellow board directors, I co-create a very different experience. Sometimes, with my grandkids, I get a bit lost in the actual intentions of the moment and just plain have fun, so this relates to me there as well. My job is to co-create scenarios where those around me can grow and thrive.

Demonstrate: This one’s the hardest for me to explain to you because I’m still working on it.

Recently I was helping my granddaughter sell her handmade toques at a Christmas Farmer’s market. When someone looked interested in a particular toque, we’d demonstrate by getting them to hold it, feel it, try it on and then take a phone pic to show them how good it looked. Most of the time, it resulted in a sale. (The kid cleaned up)

I know it’s marketing basics 101, but I’m learning how to scale up and maintain an online marketing presence to showcase and demonstrate my products and services. The enemies to this kind of intention are many: procrastination, fear of rejection, unrealistic negative self-talk, and on and on.

This idea, roughly, is to seek out small marketing wins in everyday opportunities. If I hit a wall or a roadblock, waste NO time, but instead go around, switch tasks, move to the next effort. If something unforeseen happens, shrug it off and find the next win.

This one will be the hardest of all 3, but it’ll make for an exciting year if I pull it off.

Review Them Daily

The more you review your 3 words, the better. I have mine scribbled into my daily planning guides and workout calendar. They help me decide stuff. For example, “Should I say yes to this project?” or “Well, how does this align with my three words?”

What Are your Words for 2022?

It’s your turn:

  1. Please shoot me a note or share it wherever you like to share.
  2. Use the hashtag #my3words to find other people’s shared experiences, and if you’re a last-minute person, don’t worry.
  3. Start when you’re ready.

I look forward to seeing what this next year has in store.

Until next time.

                                                      Photo by Author 

Recent times have given us the opportunity to pause, reflect, perhaps change direction, or clarify what matters.

Pandemic restrictions have fostered an imposed simplicity of life and lifestyle that many were never previously accustomed to.

One outcome has been a resurgence of Minimalism. This countercultural movement has been around for centuries.

Minimalism has influenced art, music, design, architecture, science, business systems, and personal lifestyles.

I love it when an ancient concept comes roaring back with new relevance.

Wholesale changes in our lifestyle include spending less, saving more, working more simply from home, and rediscovering the great outdoors.

Me?  I loved it and lived it long before Marie Kondo started cleaning up, Elon Musk decided to sell all his houses, or some guys made a Netflix movie about it.

The recent past has allowed us some head-space to evaluate everything. I mean everything from how we “do life” and how we do “do business.”

If you hold vague negative feelings about things like consumerism, clutter, debt, and all forms of distraction, you’re well on the way toward a minimalist lifestyle.

Don’t freak out. It doesn’t mean you have to toss it all and adopt a monastic existence.

The basic tenets are to combat the chaotic excesses of modern-day living.

History abounds with minimalists who adopted a simple living lifestyle in support of a greater life mission.

JESUS OF NAZARETH   Rabbi | Prophet | Healer

“What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul.”

CONFUCIUS  Philosopher | Chinese Mystic

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

 

LEONARDO DA VINCI – Inventor | Painter | Sculptor

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

More recent examples include:

 HENRY DAVID THOREAU – Writer | Philosopher

“Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify, simplify! … Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.”

LEO TOLSTOY – Author | Essayist | Educational Reformer

“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity.”

ALBERT EINSTEIN – Physicist | Nuclear Scientist | Scholar

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

More importantly, Minimalism has become a viable antidote to what I’ll call the info-demic. Never before have we been carpet-bombed with so much information. So often, the data is conflicting and confusing.

Like guard rails on a mountain road, or radar in the fog, there’s a measure of wisdom in functional Simplicity.

There’s really no manual or rulebook for adopting Minimalism.

Here’s my take on how it works in real life.

Desires and Expectations; Deliberately expecting less from those around me and the world, in general, allows me to appreciate what I have. That doesn’t mean I stop striving for better. I can only do the best I can, and others can only give what they’ve got. Often that leaves gaps of unmet expectations. Approaching those gaps with a measure of grace and understanding smooths the bumps. Sometimes you find pockets of joy along the way.

Possessions; This means being intentional about owning only what you really need. I’ve started ditching stuff that no longer serves a purpose and stopped buying things for the sake of ownership.  This frees up resources for me to be generous with the people and the causes that I love.

Relationships;  Minimalism in this realm is brutal to explain but here goes.

Relationships have different degrees of value. I think of them as relationship “buckets.”

Some are purely transactional– like the guy who cuts my hair. We have some friendly chit-chat about family and life, but that’s about it.

Then there’s the relational bucket. Here’s where I relate and stay in touch with many folks, but it’s more at the “acquaintance” level.

My standard Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram Disclaimer:

Hi Ray! Great to hear from you, and I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for your Invitation to connect, but it was probably an algorithm suggestion – right?  Fair warning – I’m a minimalist FaceBook contributor. I do enjoy staying in touch with what’s going on for others (minus cute cats and what so and so had for breakfast)  So – just so you know – my FB “friend” bar is pretty low. You don’t have to loan me money, bail me out of jail, or visit when I’m in “The Home” or anything.

This usually gets a good response and opens the door for further conversations.

Thirdly, there’s the transformational bucket. These are my “spark” people who inspire me with their intellect, wisdom, care, love, and humor. Time together is always an energizing, uplifting, and nourishing experience. Hopefully, I do the same for them.

In the end, it’s about discerning which relationships add genuine value and making enough time for those who mean the most to you.

Thought Life;  Thought life minimalism involves confidence to not over-think (worry), underthink (neglect), or race ahead to check off as many boxes as possible. It’s being present and engaged while keeping the bigger picture in mind. Each day is a chance to engage fully in the joys, triumphs, sorrows, fears, faults, and near misses that make up a life.  Each day is a chance to do better and make a difference for yourself and others.

A Myriad of Benefits

Go ahead. Google “Benefits of Minimalism,” and you’ll quickly get the picture.

Personally, I enjoy the less stress, more freedom aspect of Minimalism. The additional freedom allows me more time to be productive. It leaves more room for people and causes I care about. Decision making becomes much easier because either it fits my value system or it doesn’t

Wrap Up

You see, simplifying, and removing clutter, whether it’s figurative or literal, isn’t the end result – it’s merely the first step. Understanding why you’re doing this gives you the traction to keep going.

Until next time,

Lorne

 

 

“WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING IN 2020?”

I’ve always had this love-hate relationship with motorcycles,

I love the steady feel of the throbbing engine. The rush of wind that pushes on my face. The freedom of the open road that stretches endlessly into the horizon.

I hate it when mishaps happen. Something inevitably goes wrong. An unaware motorist suddenly pulls out. They don’t see you. A random patch of gravel suddenly becomes ball-bearings beneath the wheels. An eighteen-wheel trucker decides to have a bit of fun at the bike boy’s expense and starts crowding my lane. Yeah, it happens.

I get it that there’s something primal and thrilling about testing your mortality in different ways. (I never totally got why people actually enjoy sky diving or scuba diving)

My biking friends admit their wheels represent a suppressed alter ego. Often the bike sits dormant, gathering dust for months or years.

Just having that stylin’ ride sit there represents the ultimate freedom and adventure (Motorcycle Diaries).https://youtu.be/u6jz_b80V5g

It may reinforce a latent rebellious streak. (Easy Rider/Born to be Wild) https://youtu.be/egMWlD3fLJ8

Maybe a bit of both.

One fateful day, I had three very close calls riding my bike around town.
All of them were other drivers doing something incredibly stupid. The cosmos was trying to tell me something. I wanted to see my kid graduate. The bike got sold shortly thereafter

Years later, a bit older and wiser, I got re-inspired by reading the Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Promising myself and my wife I’d be as safe as I could be, I signed up for a hardcore Motorcycle Survival Course. Recommend!

I got gutsy little dual-sport and explored a lot of high country in the wilds of Northern British Columbia.

WHAT’S ALL THIS GOT TO DO WITH THE START OF 2020?

Life lessons learned on the bike have served me well. The lessons are readily transferrable. They’ll carry me into 2020 and beyond.

Number One 

“YOU ALWAYS GO WHERE YOU LOOK!”

This holds true literally, figuratively, and metaphorically. If you’re cruising a bike or cruising through your daily life, (or a decade), exactly where set your sight is critically important. In biking, this is an immutable law. It means the difference between life and death. At very least, a massive fail video and a whole lot of hurt.

This rider was admiring an oncoming Corvette. Fortunately, both parties were OK. See https://youtu.be/-2R4D1vBOM8

Having your sights set on things that are important and meaningful for you personally, at work, and in the community has a drawing effect. Setting waypoints and having a personal GPS system helps get you there.

See this month’s Winning Habits Challenge.

Number Two 

“COUNTER INTUITION IS YOUR FRIEND!”

Once you hit a certain speed, the laws of science and physics dictate that you push left to turn right. This is another immutable law of successful riding.

Every human instinct screams “wrong” but it’s actually “right”. If you ignore the science of this and attempt to swerve to avoid an obstacle at speed, you’ll actually be steering right into it.

This has happened to more than one newbie rider. See https://youtu.be/VVE79XT8-Mg
The silver lining here? He hit a fire truck full of trained paramedics.

Countersteering varies by speed, size of bike and geometry of the turn, etc. but if you ignore it, seriously bad things happen.

Navigating life in the 20th century at speed can be perilous.

Going with only your feelings and gut instinct when a preponderance of data dictates otherwise, leads to schmuck-ups.

Knowledge is a great equalizer. We have more knowledge available to us than ever before. In exchange for effort, the person with insight has an extraordinary advantage over the one who doesn’t.

Learn to read, research and interpret the road signs of life and respond with your head and your heart.

Number Three

“GOING FAST IS OVER-RATED!”

Yup, it’s a thrill. Gaining top speed is easy to measure and a lot of fun.
Getting there first and fast has an allure for a lot of folks.

I had an early brush with the effects of high speed. It left an indelible impression. I wrote about it here.https://lorneepp.com/whats-in-your-backpack/

There are times when celerity is exactly what’s needed.

Here’s the thing.

In today’s hyper-fast world, I’m convinced that “slow down to go fast” is the only way to go.
It may sound counterintuitive, but when every instinct is telling us to run faster, it’s time to slow down and check to see if we’re running in the right direction.

You’ll always need time to master the basics and context of any endeavor. Then and only then can you scale up and gain momentum.

The other new 21st-century wrinkle?

With all this new knowledge coming at us, we need to regularly call a “time out” to stop and evaluate.
You see, there’s hard data based on solid tangible facts and soft data that only appears that way.
Soft data leads to making assumptions that may or may not be true. Hard data leads to asking the right questions.

Unlike Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we can’t just click our heels and magically return to a simpler, slower time. However, we can pause, look at the data, and assess what the latest change means to our personal or corporate world.

For most people I work with, there are dozens of factors that matter way more than functioning at break-neck speed.

We usually look at culture, systems, and processes first. Beyond that, there’s trust, accountability, teamwork, bravery, empathy and a whole lot of other skills that matter way more than horsepower.

Yours truly exploring on Vancouver island

 

I don’t ride much these days.

That said, it wouldn’t take much if the right opportunity presented itself.

You see, a part of my brain got stuck at 18.

I still have trouble acting my age.

Until next time.


Where are you looking in 2020?
Got your three words figured out?
I’d love to hear about it.

Drop me a line.
I personally read and respond to all my emails.

Lorne                       
                                      SHARE WITH A FRIEND

If you’re enjoying this monthly article and the Winning Habits Challenge, feel free to forward it to a friend.

You might just win a referral Taco on me. It’s been known to happen.

January Winning Habit Challenge:

Three Words For The Year?

Simple But Never Easy!

My challenge every January is to come up with three words that represent the strategic directions for the year. Two isn’t enough and four’s too many so three’s about right.

There’s nothing magic or weird here. It’s just a way to incorporate a small success habit by bringing consistent intent, focus, and clarity to my decisions and actions in 2020.

That’s why I’ve been taking the time to thoughtfully select three words that will serve as keys to my year. If you’re unfamiliar with this exercise, business writer and consultant Chris Brogan started this in 2006.

A lot of other folks are doing this. Just check out #my3words.

My Process

I spend time reflecting on the past year, what’s worked, what has not, what was unclear and what was missing. More importantly, I try to gain a clear picture of what I want my next year to look like.

Sometimes the words come out of the goals I have set, other times I will jot down words that capture my attention and accurately reflect my intention.

I usually take time to talk through my goals and my three words with my wife Margaret and several close friends. That’s always helpful.

It shaped my ideas into something more tangible. It also reaffirmed that we’re in this together and no matter what goals I have or words I choose, they are meaningless without mutual support.

My Approach

I try to interact with my three words each day. For example, I’ll jot them at the top of my planner page or on top of my workout calendar. Doing this keeps them front and center, not only pointing me in the direction of my goals but grounding me in the interim work that needs to be done to achieve them.

Here Goes 

I’ve come to think of my words as three keys that unlock potential in the coming year.

So far I’ve settled on  1. NETWORK  2. ENHANCE 3. SIMPLIFY 

Stay tuned. I’ll expand on this more next month.

BTW    

It’s WAY more fun if you actually share your three words once you’ve got them figured out. 

I love hearing people’s three words every year. It’s truly one of the best parts of every year for me.

Use the hashtag #my3words so that others (like me) can find what you’ve got to share.
 

 

 

What’s Your Authenticity Quotient?

 Ok I made that up, but I’m pretty sure it’s a thing.

It has to do with your personal leadership credibility.

We all know about IQ. It’s your Intelligence quotient score derived from some standardized tests.

So if we can quantify that, it’s not too big a leap to apply “quotient” to other important things 

Like FQ – Frustration Quotient. How frustrated am I ?
Or TQ – What’s the level of Truth in this situation?
Or B.S.Q -What’s the level of …well you know.

There are many other Q’s and I could go on, but will resist.

I’m Talking AboutAuthenticity Quotient”

It’s like your personal credibility rating, or integrity score but so much more.

I’m surprised at how many leaders have a specific work persona and a whole different person shows up elsewhere. And it surprises me when these same leaders seem shocked or confused when their employees don’t trust them, don’t like them, and can’t really wait to work elsewhere.

Authenticity in leadership is one of those things everybody declares to be super important.  Many groups and organizations I work with have an “authenticity lingo” baked in to their core values (I.E. authentic culture, authentic relationships etc.)

To me, when someone self-references the word in anything other than an aspirational context, they’ve broken some sort of spell. The moment you have to self -declare a trait like this, you’re probably not a representative of that trait.  It’s something you either are or you ain’t. At its essence, it’s one of those rare know-it-when-you-see-it qualities that if you have to spend a lot of time talking about it or trying to analyze it, it simply evaporates.  Like wind, you can’t see it, but you’re highly aware when you see its effects.

Before diving in, I’ll offer a soft disclaimer. Nobody’s appointed me official spokesperson on “authenticity”.  But if that job existed– how cool would that be? I can speak for myself and offer some good examples of authenticity that I’ve observed.

I firmly believe that leadership is more important than ever before, yet true leaders are in short supply. There’s also a huge crisis of confidence in leaders.

I firmly believe that leadership is more important than ever before, yet true leaders are in short supply. There’s also a huge crisis of confidence in leaders. Something weird happened with the rise of the internet. Our humanness, relationships and accountability got reduced to a bunch of 0’s and 1’s, making sketchy leadership all the more possible. With multi-media bombardment and the rise of “truthiness” (thanks Stephen Colbert), we find ourselves increasingly attracted to the wrong type of charismatic leaders. 

I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.” Charles R. Swindoll

Here are some hallmark characteristics of authentic leadership at work: 

  • Genuine  leaders practice confident humility. They know themselves. They know their strengths, understand their virtues and recognize their limitations. They stand by their convictions, but are quick to admit their errors. They seek help and feedback from others. When wins happen, they share the spotlight with others and applaud their contributions.
  • Genuine  leaders embrace their own life story and share it easily. They are comfortable in their own skin and learn from their experience. Somehow they are able to connect the dots backwards in order to move forward and inspire and motivate others. Genuine leaders don’t derive pleasure or satisfaction from the opinions of others. This allows them to move unaffected by fear or favour following a direction from within that’s aligned with their principles and values.
  • Failure is an ever-present option. Genuine leaders master the ability to bounce back with resilience, turn setbacks into opportunities and convert fear into wisdom. Pragmatic, optimistic leadership  when combined with sheer grit and a positive “stick to it” mindset can be contagious at times  when the chips are down
  • Authenticity strives for  the good of others and speaks truth in kind and appropriate ways. Genuine leaders build high quality relationships and networks that are  marked by trustworthiness, empathy and relentless reliability. Ben Franklin (U.S. Founding Father, author and inventor) began his morning routine with the question ”What good shall I do this day?” He ended it with “What good have I done this day?”
  • Genuine leaders lead by example and build culture and community around shared truths and values that others can buy into. They have a knack for zeroing in on our core elements: spiritual, intellectual, physical and emotional. These four elements are the basis of all our capacity for self-improvement. This does not mean authentic leaders are “soft.” In fact leading in a forthright manner is critical to successful outcomes, but it’s done with empathy; directness without empathy can be cruel.
  • Genuine leaders lead with an eye on the future and deal with today’s problems without compromising the future. They realize that to nurture individuals and to nurture a company requires hard work and patience, but the approach pays large dividends over time.

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” ― Brene Brown

Being authentic is a work in progress and an endless process of growth.

It always starts with a critical and honest look in the mirror. Authentic leaders believe that there is always room for improvement and never stop.

Conclusion :

Building and maintaining your AQ is hard work, but it pays off in the long term. It is like exercising: While you are training, you feel tired, but you know it is good for your body. Staying authentic in leadership and life is not easy, but it can be observed, measured and learned.

Until next time!

Here for you. 

Is This You?

Your day has barely begun and already you are off track. Suddenly it’s nearly noon and the things you intended to do are totally sidelined. This wasn’t how the day was supposed to go. An urgent email came in, a client called and left you a cryptic voicemail, a panicked co-worker with a deadline is asking for your immediate assistance.

These are real life scenarios that people face every day. It can be stressful and overwhelming.

Whatever you’re doing right now there’s a good chance you’d rather be somewhere else or doing something else, even if it’s your dream job.

Maybe you work from home and are getting sidetracked by picking up around the house. There’s something that needs to get finished, but procrastination set in and you haven’t even started. You’ve got homework for a course you’re taking, a critical presentation to prepare for, or a difficult conversation with your significant other. 

This is the stuff life is made of. It’s really tempting to blow these things off. But you can’t.

Your approach to anything is your clue to how you do everything. 

My recent read through Cal Newport’s book “Deep Work:Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted Worldinspired some of my own thinking about my approach to work. I love it when someone writes about what I’ve been thing about and absolutely nails it.

His premise is that we’ve entered an era of unprecedented distractions. We’ve lost our ability to focus deeply and immerse ourselves in complex tasks.

He makes the point that this is a highly valuable lost skill and presents three concepts that help us focus more than ever before.

We’ll save those for later, o.k.?

I found it helpful to Identify, quantify, and put some healthy boundaries around these three types of work in my years as a CEO.

It creates mental accountability and peace of mind knowing I’m spending appropriate amounts of time doing the right things.

Now Onward to the Three Types of Work 

First off, it’s all work, and there’s inherent value and nobility in work that is well done.

Sometimes on the road to where we want to be, we wind up doing things not because we want to, but because circumstances dictate that we have to. Often starting out in our first jobs, we’re introduced to the shovel, the broom or other mundane chores.

“There’s nothing shameful about sweeping. It’s just another opportunity to excel- and learn.”- Andrew Carnegie 

1. The first is what I call “Sustaining Work”.  

It’s that tedious, soul-sucking, mind-numbing, eye-blear-ing, part of your job that comes with the territory. Every job description I’ve ever seen has a “not-fun” factor. In earlier times this was referred to as “toil”. The stuff that simply has to get done or there will be consequences – usually negative.

Whether you’re a parent, an entrepreneur, or a CEO, diapers need to be changed, reports need to be filed, data needs to be entered and someone else’s messes need to be cleaned up. It’s one of those self-existing facts of life that just “is”. Much like coping with weather, gravity or taxes, you don’t particularly have to like it, but having a healthy attitude with the bigger picture in mind certainly makes necessary, non-productive work more acceptable

2. Next up, there’s “Good Work”. 

This is where we should be spending the bulk of our time. Ideally, Good Work should marry your purpose with your job description. It aligns your soul with your goal. After all, this is what you signed up for, right?

“Good Work should marry your purpose with your job description, and your soul with your goal.”

It’s surprising how many people, glance at a Job Description, sign an Employment Agreement and promptly forget about it.

Lack of role clarity on the JD leads to squishy, unrealistic expectations and a lot of angst.

Fuzzy Job Descriptions are the third leading cause of employee burnout according to Gallup research. See http://bit.ly/2Y8fowY

Having a well-crafted Job Description brings focus, clarity and direction on a day-to day basis. This is where you’ll be spending the majority of your work time. This is your Good Work.

3. Thirdly, there’s “Great Work”. 

If you’re progress-oriented and visionary, like me, this is the type of work that really floats the boat. It’s where the magic happens. It’s the leading edge of moving things forward.

Great work is hard.

It requires periods of concentrated focus and extra effort with no immediate dollars attached. Just ask anyone who has ever stayed up late banging out a thesis, promoted a new idea, or helped an organization move through a crisis.

As a coach and consultant to visionaries, I spend a great amount of time assisting them in executing their aspirations. Visionaries are big thinkers, risk takers, and trailblazers who exhibit great amounts of faith. They seem to live and think in the future. These qualities make them admirable. Often they are the driving force behind societal changes. I personally draw inspiration from these leaders because of their courage and resilience.

The shadow side of visionary leaders, particularly those with a driven, pace-setting, or autocratic leadership style, is that they tend to burn out or blow up the people around them. The job gets done, but there’s a good chance that there’s a trail of bodies left in the wake.

How It Breaks Down Time-wise 

Being somewhat (ahem) analytical, I tracked these three categories in my own work life over a period of years.

In my setting, with some fluctuation, it usually balanced out to abou20% Sustaining Work, 70% Good Work and 10% Great Work.

Great visionary work is critical to any meaningful enterprise. A small dollop of big a vision, rolled out in a consistent way, goes a really long way to keeping your team and the organization motivated and inspired. As exhilarating as it may be to spend time with shiny new ideas and our head in the future, it can be very tempting to overdo it in this zone. It can be mentally exhausting

Often in the past, I’d catch myself getting away out ahead of my team or my board as I focused too much on the future. Not good.

Enter Mr. Newport and his “deep work” concepts.

“In almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits.”
–Cal Newport  

He wisely recommends allowing 5 hours a week for this type of work.

Here’s the How-To-Get Started Part

  1. Train your brain to be better at focusing (example: put your phone away after dinner)
  2. Set aside time for deep work (example: dedicate five hours a week for deep work)
  3. Adopt a tiny habit that signals to yourself that you take the ability to focus seriously (example: quitting a social media service)

Once you get some traction on getting started, it gets easier and you can keep it going.

A related article you may find interesting: http://bit.ly/2YqveU5
(Dealing With My Monkey Brain)

Got ideas or a different experience around this?
Shoot me a note. I read all my emails.
I’d love to hear from you.

Lorne 

 I saved this Times article, not really knowing why.
Maybe it’s because I’m a total leadership geek and try to absorb everything I can on this topic.

Ambitiously named “Project Oxygen”, the mission, as reported in the New York Times, was to build better leaders. After combing through internal performance reviews, feedback surveys, and other data-rich metrics, they distilled what makes good leadership down to 8 bullet points.
Read about it here: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/business/13hire.html


Given the massive, high profile unrest of Google employees over the last year, it raises the question “How’s that Oxygen Leadership thing going over there in Google-ville?”  Resignations and protest walkouts have taken place over a range of frustrations from particular ethical concerns over the use of artificial intelligence in drone warfare to broader worries about Google’s political decisions—and the erosion of user trust that could result from these actions. A $90m payout to a top exec. under murky circumstances didn’t help matters.


I don’t need Google. My wife (or husband) knows everything!
– Anonymous 


Historically, Google has promoted an open culture that encourages employees to challenge and debate product decisions. But some employees feel that their leadership is no longer attentive to their concerns, leaving them to face the fallout. “Over the last couple of months, I’ve been less and less impressed with the response and the way people’s concerns are being treated and listened to,” one employee who resigned said.

Below, is the comprehensive list of what Google came up with as recipe ingredients for effective leadership and management back in ’09 

1. Be a good coach
Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing the negative and the positive.Have regular one-on-ones, presenting solutions to problems tailored to your employees’ specific strengths.

2. Empower your team and don’t micromanage
Balance giving freedom to your employees, while still being available for advice. Make “stretch” assignments to help the team tackle big problems.

3. Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being
Get to know your employees as people, with lives outside of work.Make new members of your team feel welcome and help ease their transition

4. Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented
Focus on what employees want the team to achieve and how they can help achieve it.Help the team prioritize work and use seniority to remove roadblocks.

5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team
Communication is two-way: you both listen and share information.
Hold all-hands meetings and be straightforward about the messages and goals of the team. Help the team connect the dots.
Encourage open dialogue and listen to the issues and concerns of your employees.

6. Help your employees with career development

7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team

Even in the midst of turmoil, keep the team focused on goals and strategy.
Involve the team in setting and evolving the team’s vision and making progress toward it.

8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team
Roll up your sleeves and conduct work side by side with the team, when needed.
Understand the specific challenges of the work.

Really? That’s it? 
I’m having flashbacks of Steve Carell and The Office.

You’ve probably seen variations of this list before. Best-selling business tomes have been writing on these topics for years.
While I agree with all 8 points, it’s still kind of Leadership 101–ish. You know, the kind of info you can find in Leadership for Dummies. (which actually is pretty good)

Perhaps Google has reached such dizzying heights that the oxygen is running a bit thin. 
I get it that no one is asking my advice, however I can’t help but dive in with a few leadership pointers of my own. 

What about delivering on the bedrock of character? 
Deep respect, honesty, humility, being fair-minded, kind-hearted with a serving others mindset are all essential.

What about delivering on trust?
Trust is to an organization what oil is to a car engine. It keeps the moving parts from seizing up and stopping forward motion.
But trust is not something you can take for granted. It takes months—sometimes years—to build. Unfortunately, you can lose it overnight.

What about soft skills? 
There’s still a lot of buy-in on the prevailing stereotypical Type -A hard-chargers in today’s get stuff done business environment.  leadership is actually about soft skills such as empathy, listening, understanding motivation, communicating, and the like. 
Even St. Brene’, the reigning queen of touchy-feely, is weighing in on leadership with her latest offering, Dare to Lead.

What about deep listening? 
Richard Branson purportedly makes this a priority in his personal leadership style. You’d think he’d be front and center at each executive team meeting, but no, he prefers to listen quietly, making notes and contribute only when he has something to say. 

What about aspiring and inspiring?
It’s not just about getting things done. It’s about making things happen.  A great leader makes things happen by inspiring, encouraging, and enabling others to act toward a compelling common vision.
One of my most trusted resources on leadership wisdom is the business classic, the Leadership Challenge. Authors Kouzes and Posner make the point that the content of great leadership doesn’t change, however the context of leadership is constantly changing.  The increased pace of change of the 21st century with all the complexities it brings, is the new normal.

That’s one of the reasons I dubbed my monthly memo “Hey, What’s Next?”
Figuring out what needs to happen next and navigating the new normal is a deeply personal leadership challenge for myself and those I serve.

One comforting takeaway from all this?  It’s good to know that the biggest and the best wrestle with the leadership issues that you and I face on a daily basis.

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” 
― Neil Gaiman



Rock- on Google! We all use your services every day. Don’t take us for granted.


I’d be delighted if you drop me a text or a note to let me know how things are going and what’s happening for you these days.

Here to help.

Lorne  (604 617 4707)

lorne@lorneepp.com

P.S. Do you know a friend, a colleague, or family member who would enjoy this article? If so please click on this link.

June Habit Challenge:

Start Your Morning With Intention


 
Change is hard. You’ve probably noticed that.

We all want to become better people and do better at life — live stronger and healthier, be more creative and more skilled, be a better friend or family member.

Even if we get totally inspired and start doing things better, it’s tough to actually stick to new behaviors. Odds are that this time next year you’ll be doing the same thing rather than performing a new habit with ease.

Habits are our personal travel companions in the journey of life. They can be our friend or our foe. Make us or break us.

It’s a well-document fact that people who are highly effective, do some things differently than most others. 

This month’s habit challenge. Start each day with an intentional morning and habits that inspire you. 

Me, I like to start each day early with quiet time and a gratitude meditation accompanied with some good strong coffee. I review my three words for the year and think through how to apply them to this day’s activities. Often I’ll read from sources that are personally thought-provoking, encouraging or inspiring. Finally, I’ll jot down the main things I want to accomplish this day. 

I refuse to open a device or check emails etc. until I’ve done my routine and feel good about the possibilities of each new day. That’s when I feel ready.

This is a lot of habit all rolled into one, an intentional morning.

Some people roll out of bed and start their day with a jog or a workout. Others like to spend a bit of time with their kids. There’s no “one size fits all” here.Drop me a not

For the month of June, I challenge you to design your morning. Start small, but start with intention.

How about you?
Have you ever managed to gain an inspiring morning habit—or to break an unhealthy habit? If so, how did you do it?
Drop me a note – I’d love to hear about it.

 

(Don’t Try This Alone)

“As humans, we’re hardwired to connect with others. Direct contact matters: tight bonds of friendship and love heal us, help children learn, extend our lives and make us happy. -Susan Pinker

It felt like I had won the lottery. At least what I imagined that would feel like.
An unexpected windfall of riches and resources suddenly deposited on my side of the ledger.

Work friends threw a farewell party for me and quite the party it was! The venue was stunning. The food was exceptional. The memories flowed in animated conversations.

We were major shareholders celebrating a long- term investment of time, effort and relationship that had gone well.

I had given leadership to a bunch of ordinary radicals and visionary misfits who like me were determined to make a difference in this world in the housing and healthcare sector.

While It was about me and our time together, in so many ways it wasn’t.

Most of us had worked side by side for many years. Others were newer to the scene. Through it all, we enjoyed fights, jealousies, pettiness, arguments, faith, tears and tragedy, laughter and joy. You know, – all that confounding pile of human-ness that comprises genuine community.

Some of us watched each other’s kids grow up. At times, we vexed each other beyond words, then managed to pull it from the brink, forgive, reconcile, hug it out, and refocus.

In the end, it was a celebration of compound interest in invested lives.

Here’s the Math Part 

As a kid, I disliked math. It didn’t help that I never had a good math teacher.
Besides, my active juvenile brain was saying “way too boring!”

The irony is that now I work with math every day. I appreciate the unyielding inerrancy of good math.

Whether you’re arguing a parking ticket, buying truckloads of concrete, or convincing a board of directors these budget numbers really work, you’ve got have the math right or you’re dead in the water.

Math done right doesn’t lie!

One of my favorite math formulas is the one for exponential growth:

 

Here’s the Standard Compound Interest Formula

“A” is the ending amount, “P” is the beginning amount (or “principal”), “r” is the interest rate (expressed as a decimal), “n” is the number of times compounded in a year, and “t” is the total number of years.

It’s the formula for the compound interest that savvy investors have employed for centuries. Some have called it the eighth wonder of the world.

Let me explain it this way:

There’s a picturesque pond with a small patch of lily pads. The little lily patch doubles every day.

 

If it takes forty-eight days to cover the whole pond, how many days to cover half of the pond?

Our linear way of thinking screams twenty-four. Wrong!
The answer is forty-seven days.
Compound interest is difficult to grasp because it is difficult to think exponentially. In other words, we think by 1 + 1 + 1 = 3.

The compound interest principal uses exponential thinking.   Just like the lily pad, it takes forty-seven days to cover half of the pond and BAM!

Only one more day to accomplish what was done in the previous forty-seven.

What if we applied the same mathematical law to the social currency of our relationships? 

Here’s the Relationship Part

In her 2014 book “The Village Effect” psychologist Susan Pinker provides compelling evidence of our need to invest in face to face human relationships.

From the flap: “As humans, we’re hardwired to connect with others. Direct contact matters: tight bonds of friendship and love heal us, help children learn, extend our lives and make us happy. Not just any social networks will do: we need real in-the-flesh encounters that tie human families, groups of friends, and communities together.

In one of the lengthiest longitudinal studies ever, Harvard researchers undertook a multi-generational 75-year study. The Grant and Glueck study tracked the physical and emotional well-being of two socio-economic groups: 456 poor men growing up in Boston from 1939 to 2014 (the Grant Study), and 268 male graduates from Harvard’s classes of 1939-1944 (the Glueck study). You can read all about the 1 Secret To Leading A fulfilling Life.

Bottom line?

You guessed it.

The clear message that we get from this 75-year study is this:

Good relationships matter, Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Being a world-beater in a chosen field, or having tons of money just plain doesn’t matter in the long run.

Begs the question: Can a precise law of math be applied to the social currency of relationships?

From lived experience, I’d say a resounding “yes”!

Only one minor caveat. Our flawed human nature messes the variables somewhat, but in general, the principle still works fine.

Author James Clear in his book “Atomic Habits” says

Time will multiply and compound whatever you feed it.” 

That goes for regular deposits in our portfolio of relational investments.

Something to Think About. 

What if we asked investment type questions around our relationships?

What is my investment timeline? Am I prepared to be patient?
What is my tolerance for risk here?
Does this investment pay dividends? Am I happy with the results?
Can I ride out a reversal?
Am I comfortable with the costs associated? (time, effort, emotional energy)
What is my strategy for allocation? One-time invest? Regular deposits? Both?
Do I double down, reinvest, buy and hold, or cash out?

Something to Do

Check your list.
See who matters
Do the math
Invest regularly and often

The windfall of rich benefits will astound you!

PS. A deep heartfelt thank-you to all of you who made my farewell bash such a memorable time. I’ll cherish your kindness forever. 

As usual, I’m thrilled if you check in with me.
Call, text, email, smoke signals.
Here to help.

Until next time
Lorne