To Reflect: Are You Trying To Be Great At Everything?
Due to a mix of philosophy, opportunity and experience - my wife and I are lucky enough to be home schooling our children. Well, this week formed the submission date for our eldest daughter’s kindergarten education plan for . As I was working through the many syllabus outcomes that we have to make sure we cover - I noticed something.
The school curriculum focuses on creating ‘generalists’ of our children (and likely necessarily so). Yet, when assessing my own little girl, it’s clear that she is already un-intentionally specialising in natural science. She is encroaching on outcomes listed for grades 3-4 in that area, but hitting all the standard areas across the rest of the curriculum. (To give you a sense here, she dissects mushrooms for explorative fun, and can name every component of a mushroom’s anatomy).
Through this, I couldn’t help but reflect on how we are so often coached to set goals - especially at this time of year.
This idea that ‘We can be awesome at everything!’. A great parent & partner, a superstar leader, unbelievably wealthy, the life of the party, a reliable friend, ‘spiritually in-tune’, attractive, wise - and all while staying healthy and with enough sleep. (…I can’t be the only one that desires all those right?.)
Now if you’ve found a way to achieve and maintain all of that, I’d love to chat with you to learn how. In the meantime, I’m going to set goals in just a few areas. Trying to be excellent at everything just leads to Goal-Guilt. (That guilt we feel when we don’t hit our own personal targets).
How are you setting goals for yourself and your organisation in the new year?
Are you tactically specific or are you trying to be super-human?
To Ponder: A Seeming Coincidence?
I’m always amused by the beautiful coincidences that occur in life. Little things like finding out that a friend has the exact same car as you - only after you bought yours. Or larger ones, like starting my own career in the exact same building that my own grandfather did 50+ years ago. (Added bonus, I was born on this same grandfather’s birthday! How’s that for a life-echo!)
But I want to share this week’s amusing coincidence with you.
I have an app that serves me up a stoic quote every morning. I am drawn to stoic philosophy, and often these little bursts of dry, direct wisdom are brilliant at keeping me going.
Well, in a week where so many of my recent client conversations have been about change resistance - this is what the app served me:
“Frightened of change? But what can exist without it? What’s closer to nature’s heart? Can you take a hot bath and leave the firewood as it was? Eat food without transforming it? Can any vital process take place without something being changed?
Can’t you see? It’s just the same with you—and just as vital to nature.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
I mean, that, in and of itself is some timely wisdom given the time of year.
Now, I love coincidences, not because I subscribe to the idea of fate, but rather because I’m amazed by the power and deception within our own minds.
Coincidences are often just the Baader Meinhof Phenomenon at play. Also known as frequency illusion - the Baader Meinhof Phenomenon is when when you see, buy or learn something new and suddenly you see it everywhere. It’s not that the frequency of that thing changed - but rather your attention to it.
Returning to the story of myself and my grandfather. There are uncountable amounts of diversion and dissimilarity between our lives - yet it’s the small overlaps that seem to stand out as ‘uncanny’.
So, here’s your stretch question to ponder over this coming end-of-year break:
How can you harness frequency illusion (aka seeming coincidence) to your benefit in your change in the new year?
Here’s a hint: it needs a degree of ‘uncanny’, ‘common ground’ and needs to feel ‘personal’.
To Action: Start Something
In discussion with friends and clients, when I mention my book for the first time, I get one of three responses:
“Where’d you find the time to write that”
“I could never do that”, and
“I’ve been thinking about writing a book”.
I’ve written about the first one before, but it’s the third that’s been more common lately.
Well, to that I want to suggest a little more stoic wisdom. Seneca this time.
“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow, and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune's control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
If not now, when?
I’m looking forward to reading what you create.
What’s Coming Up: Beyond Bureaucracy in 2022
Talking about making things happen... Earlier this week I jumped on a call with the awesome Leanne Hughes, and to use her words:
“We hit it off so well, and riffed about our ideas on change leadership, how to overcome resistance in organisations and creating powerful internal word-of-mouth So much so, that we decided to join forces in 2022 to deliver a public workshop in 2022”
Leanne is a superstar at creating change that effortlessly ripples forward. Couple that with my work in strategic change momentum and a few scientifically-backed strategies and you have:
🚀 Beyond Bureaucracy: Generating Momentum in Challenging Situations.
A couple of days of guerrilla strategies to drive momentum in even the most complex of situations.
Here are the dates!
Gold Coast: 6-7 April
Melbourne: 25-26 May
Canberra: Sometime between those two.
Pricing to be confirmed, but if you’re interested in securing early bird pricing - hit reply.
This is NOT one to be missed.
Merry Festivus & Happy New Year - However You Celebrate It
This is the last Change Leader Weekly for the year.
With sincere love and appreciation for each of you,
See you in a few weeks. Brendon