I went through a lot of old digital files recently in my Google Drive as part of a pruning day. I had everything from client projects from years ago to books I was working on to consulting and coaching tools for strategy.
The vast majority of information was irrelevant to what I am doing today. I would never use those files or information again, though they may have been building blocks to where I am now. What was highly relevant ten years ago had context. Furthermore, innovation has created an immense amount of new tools and ideas that make sense for me and doing business now versus before.
Relevance has to always be questioned. Otherwise, we are stale and holding on to what doesn’t matter anymore. The habit of relentlessly getting rid of the old to make room for the new keeps you in the game.
I want to focus on now and the future. And the last thing I need to clutter that pursuit is entertaining irrelevance.
It is truly refreshing to listen to candor in a world full of hype and noise. The connected world today feels like high school. We are inundated by popularity and hype continually because of the internet. And we have the sage advice of someone who has been persistent, humble and substantive on why it is important to blog and read blogs in Seth Godin.
I think it’s worth a listen on his podcast on the topic:
For a time I had blogged frequently and now seek to share on a weekly basis.
I started my blogging many years ago and my last lookup was 1,500+ articles. It’s been a pure joy.
I think I will take heed to Seth’s encouragement to blog each day to help people and make the connections from what I am experiencing inwardly to an outward, outside platform. Fantastic way to give a gift to the world and myself. It’s true, that I have seen that pattern emerge. Write to help people. It’s pretty simple.
I don’t write for SEO, popularity, likes, clicks, etc. I love hearing that a thought, strategy or idea helped in some way in business and life.
Anyways, I hope you can start the habit as well. When everyone is seeking to game some system, it’s refreshing to hear real thoughts and sincere pursuits. I want to continue to stay on that track. Much like Shakespeare said, “to thine own self be true.” aka, blog authentically.
I like closure and results. The kind of thinking that creates big movements, such as ensuring every human being has clean water, is daunting, to say the least. It’s the kind of commitment that stirs the soul to action, if we can find such a cause.
The hard part is to get above the noise of all the demands we have already committed to. I do think it’s good to periodically look up from our work and ask what direction we are headed.
We may find that we have emotionally shifted and that our priorities are misaligned.
I think modern work moves at a dizzying pace, and it’s hard to get above the fray. Purpose, meaning and vision take deep thought, and that can be challenging, especially in the grind. However, I do often sense I am likely off course most of the time when it comes to work I have committed to. It’s that hunch I feel in the back of my mind while I maintain productivity around my commitments.
So, I try to keep some simple disciplines to keep thinking broader:
Morning routines. With coffee in hand, I like to be silent and let my mind and heart think and align on what is going on and where I am headed.
Constant questioning. I always ask myself and use conversations with others to evaluate my choices. Is there something better? I’m looking for better.
Perspective. I ask myself frequently, “Knowing what I know now further down the journey, would I have started this project?”
I think at a core level, we are deeply inspired with work that has no end and provides impact and meaning. It beats year after year of subsistence thinking.
New Years always feels so fresh with anticipation. We close the books for the previous year and reconnected with friends and family over the holidays. Then there is this new outlook of opportunities. Exciting.
I am thinking about a lot of different fronts for growth, as are many people I know. Growing revenue. Growing teams. Growing myself. Growing my family.
It’s all pushing, striving and creating. However, growth is not free. There’s always cost. And I take heed before I push. Maybe it’s from experiences over the years. Perhaps my energy is not what it used to be. I suspect I’ve learned some efficiencies, and I understand how reality has trade-offs.
You may double your revenue but lower your profit. They say, “Revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity,” for good reason.
You could spend so much time on your home life that your business suffers. You may spend too much time on your business that you lose your family.
You may invest heavily in friendships that wear out their welcome or luster. Or you could be neglecting much more worthy friends by spreading your loyalty around too thin.
You could give yourself to a new project only to find it’s a dead end after months of sweat and tears.
I’m not sure we can simply choose to turn off our ambitions and desire to grow. That instinct gets us out of bed to battle the world and make life better.
But, I do think that we can always consider the costs and outcomes of our pursuits. Is it worth it necessarily? It may well be what we need to do to move us off center in some area that has been boring, unproductive or unprofitable.
I do think there are things that are better than what we have now. A little thought about what we will give ourselves to is worthwhile. I want to come out of any growth with much more upside than unintended consequences that are costly. Cheers to a New Year.
I got to see an unbelievable human being last night with my family, Alex Honnold. If you have not gotten to see some of his work climbing daunting mountain faces, including being the only person to free solo climb Yosemite’s El Capitan simply with his shoes and a chalk bag, be sure to catch his incredible feat on Youtube:
One of the reasons I love living in the mountains is the accessibility of the outdoors and spirit of mountain people. We are always doing something fun and always living with adventure.
Honnold shared his recent trips out to Kenya and climbing Mt. Poi in the North Face Speaker Series. We saw him vomiting climbing Mt. Kenya at over 17,000 feet with his friends. And he had that wonderful perspective,
You get to have a year’s worth of living in two or three weeks.
He had that intentionality and freedom which gets all of us onlookers and fans dreaming bigger. So inspiring and true to hear how he has lived his life and pushed himself.
I’m not sure any of us can get away with excuses on being stuck in the doldrums of life, not when there are people like Alex Honnold out there exploring, pushing and challenging themselves.
Playing it safe, checking off time until we die, doing the known things – these can all be comfortable. Yet there’s a crazy, alluring and adventurous life out there waiting to be opened if we simply make choices to get out of our comfort zones.
With 8 billion people on this giant earth, I’m glad we have those that push the limits and help us dream. Total respect and kudos to a young man that has done unthinkable things and lives fully. It’s got me stoked for sure.
“What man needs is not a tensionless state, but rather the striving and struggling of some goal worthy of him.” ~ Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Consider that if man were to succeed in ridding the world of all disease, poverty, pestilence, famine, and war, what, then would be the purpose of his existence?” ~ Robert Ringer
Why did you wake up? Is there some destination you are trying to arrive at, or are you merely obliged to do what you need to do?
Frankl endured Nazi concentration camps in the most inhumane experiences to give us insights into what makes us tick. We detest meaninglessness. It kills our souls. Even if we accomplish our goals, we have an inherent need to find something else to pursue.
The sheer reality that most people are simply bored or have already achieved their goals shows up in our search for something bigger. Sometimes it’s dysfunctional behaviors. Other times it’s about getting to Mars or protesting an otherwise working world in the name of something more ideal and utopic.
For many of us in business, after our goals have been met, the search for meaning still persists. We want to find that game worth playing. It’s less about the goal and more about the pursuit. Can we change the world? Can we make a difference?
Your vision may only encompass the next milestone because you are surviving. That keeps you busy and focused. After you achieve that goal, then what? Are you simply satisfied?
Maybe you have to find that game worth playing again. That doesn’t merely happen on its own. Finding that game is often a collaborative exercise to get at your deepest desires and passions. You have to brainstorm and think about what makes you tick.
You may feel this way about things that are easy for you—it’s no big deal; anyone could do it. Be careful of the wrong thinking. The things that you find are “not a big deal” are things you earned because of:
1. Hard Work: You spent the hours probing, exploring and figuring out how something works. This may be learning how to navigate your computer, mastering your camera, building gadgets, or dissecting financial statements. The repetition and frequency is something you have done over time to gain an efficiency and mastery.
2. Passion: Do you know what most people are doing this evening? They are in front of the TV. My guess is that you are doing something you are passionate about. Do you know what I am doing? I am learning. I love learning. I am passionate about it. I am not passionate about vegging for Continue reading →