I’ve been deep in the woods on my annual summer retreat, thinking deeply about you, me and where this relationship is going. I’ve been advocating that you take more time to think, and a whole bunch of you agree with me. Below is a list of the top 10 most common ideas/suggestions I’ve been sharing with people via email this last couple of weeks who have written in. Enjoy, and take them to heart.
- Stop paying too much attention to social media. This one is hard because social media is really fun, and when it’s good, it’s so really good. But when it’s bad, it’s worse. There is no denying that the current news cycle is a series of dumpster fires raging right outside your window, each one more shocking and sad than the last, and if that isn’t depressing enough there is the comment section. You have heard this a million times already, so just unplug and stop incessantly looking at your phone. You look ridiculous.
- Be amazing as an act of resistance. Whatever everyone else wouldn’t do, do. Put yourself right out there, on the edge of weird. End of story.
- Work like an artist. Look around at all the drones (the other people that do what you do for a living) who are also smart, hard-working and striving to be perfect. Notice there are dozens of them? The truth is there are thousands of them, in every walk of life. Instead of fitting in, stand out (see suggestion 2). Be more human, be willing to try some things that won’t work.
- Take care of yourself. Sleep more, eat less, eat more things that are green, drink less (except water) and find something fun that you are willing to do 3 times a week. Take vacations and also plan some very slow quiet time where you go get real with yourself.
- Shun the non-believers. They don’t get it. Why are you trying to convince them? Work for people who deserve you and your effort. Everyone else can beat it.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. My two dear friends, Ken and Oscar, just left my cabin and when they drove off, I felt their absence immediately. In two days, they did more for my soul than I could do for myself in a month. Don’t spend time with people who take, only with people who give.
- Remain optimistic. Optimism is really hard. I should know; I have been promoting the practice for about 35 years now. Just being an optimist is an act of rebellion so stand tall. Most everyone else is looking for something to hang their mood on. Optimism, so long as it’s not blind and naïve, has value and it inspires others to be optimistic too. Optimism coupled with just enough realism and a side order of grit can accomplish a serious shift.
- Quit doing dumb stuff. Where do I even start? Let’s limit this to work – 80% of your results will come from only 20% of the things you do. Which means that 80% of the things you do are not in your business’ best interest. Figure out what you do (hint: it’s not limited to your job title), figure out how you do it, then figure out how can you do those 20% activities as well as you possibly can (see suggestion #2).
- An inch an hour, two feet a day. The very best time to start was before now. The next very best time to start is now, not tomorrow or in September.
- Stop telling them what you do, tell them who you are. Nobody cares about the technical nature of what you do (which is too bad because it’s usually what you think makes you great). You are essentially a mechanic, and while we all have one (or two), we all know that we can find another one a moment after we turn our smart phone back on (see suggestion 1). So quit telling everyone how amazing you are for knowing how to change a tire. Nobody cares. Instead, tell them who you are, and why you’re a mechanic (or whatever it is you do) and how you find meaning in what you do. Be a human.
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