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Articles filed in: Meaningful Work

If I Were You

If I were you.

Four words it’s tempting to use when someone shares a problem.

Four words I’m trying to avoid using—because I am not you.

I don’t know what it’s like to sit with what you’re experiencing or feeling at this moment.

You have the wisdom of past experiences to draw on.

Ideas you haven’t yet articulated, even to yourself.

How many solutions could you generate if you reflected on what you want and what your next right step might be? Many more than if someone just told you exactly what to do.

Image by Burst

Balancing Wants And Needs


On a normal day, our local supermarket stocks fifty different kinds of pasta. Right now they’re stocking two. On a normal day, customers would complain bitterly about the lack of choice. Today they’re grateful to leave the shop with two boxes of a brand of penne they’ve never tried.

What we’re witnessing in real-time as we work together to keep ourselves and our communities safe, is a shift in priorities, for our customers, clients and us. We’re adapting. And as we do, there’s an opportunity to pay attention to what the people we serve want and need in this moment.

These skills we’re learning today will help us to be better innovators and creators, teachers and marketers, tomorrow.

What do the people you serve need now? What will they want in the future?

Image by Soroush Karimi

What Did You Do?


A walk down my local café strip shows just how resourceful we can be when we’re in a tough spot. Because of world events and government guidelines around group gatherings, restaurants and cafes can no longer welcome diners into their premises. But they are quickly adapting.

Every café has come up with a solution. Many have changed to a takeaway menu, offering local delivery. Smith & Daughters partnered with their organic vegetable wholesaler to sell fresh produce. Ish, the local Indian restaurant has started a meal kit service.

And Kere Kere launched Essential Soup, to provide jobs to unemployed hospitality workers and nourishment to those in self-isolation.

Now is a time of uncertainty for many of us. A time when our plans and our usual routines have been upended and some of us have extra hours on our hands.

When this moment passes, we will look back at how we adapted. We’ll remember how we became more creative, resourceful and resilient. We’ll remind ourselves, and each other about what we did, how we pushed through and how we helped.

This time next year, how will you answer the question: What did you do?

Influence Vs. Impact


In a world where attention has become both currency and commodity, it’s tempting to believe there’s a direct correlation between influence and impact.

The modern definition of an influencer is someone who can persuade people with their recommendations. But it turns out, the people who have the greatest impact are not necessarily the people with the most influence.

Our impact isn’t only measured in crude metrics like attention.

Think about the people who have had the most impact on your life—a patient teacher, a caring friend or a wise mentor. These people likely made a difference, with something they continually did, not just something they once told you to do.

Change happens when more people seek to be less influential and more impactful.
We get to choose which matters most.

*We’ve opened The Story Skills Workshop again this week.
If you’re ready to increase your impact, I hope you’ll join us.

Image by Monika Kosub

The Efficiency Paradox


The young woman got off the tram, carried along amid the throng on their way to the various law firms along Collins Street. She walked briskly, heels clacking, her big Beats headphones clamped over her ears. Two bags were slung across her body. One leather contained her laptop, the other made of cloth held a ball of the bright yellow wool trailing from the needles she held in her hands.

Her hands worked furiously as she walked—one plain, one purl, one plain, one purl. The needles continued to click in and out through the yellow wool as she knitted, listened and walked, walked, knitted and listened—without ever needing to stop or look down. She’d have a podcast and half a scarf under her belt before she reached the office.

This woman was making efficient use of her time, but I’m not sure that’s the same as making the most of it. Just because it’s possible to do two or three things at once doesn’t mean we should.

What are we trading for efficiency? What’s the cost to us?

Image by Ross Sneddon

Promises Worth Keeping


While I was out walking this weekend I came across a sign on a shop door detailing the opening times. It read:

MONDAYS—probably
TUESDAYS-probably
WEDNESDAYS—probably not sure Not SURE!
THURSDAYS—OPEN
FRIDAYS—OPEN
SATURDAYS—OPEN
SUNDAYS—OPEN

MAY BE LATER FOR OPENING (SORRY! LIFELONG HABIT)
BUT TRYING FOR 3 PM-9 PM

It’s easy for a sometimes probably, to become a maybe never.

What promises are you making to yourself and others that are worth keeping?

This is a photo of the sign.

Image by Richard Balog

The Sliding Scale Of Ambition

There are many ways Leanne could leverage the success of her popular hair salon.

She could extend her opening hours or enter national competitions. She could hire more stylists and open more branches. She could create a line of hair products or franchise her business process and ideas.

But Leanne chooses to do none of these things—not because she isn’t ambitious, but because success for her is delivering the best experience in one exceptional salon, to earn the trust and loyalty of delighted customers.

We sometimes fall into the trap of shooting for someone else’s vision of success. We seize every opportunity because we can, and not because it’s what we really want.

Ambition is always on a sliding scale.

What does being successful mean to you? What do you want?

Image by Aw Creative

On Strengths

If a friend or colleague asked you to list their strengths, I’m guessing you’d have no trouble coming up several of their attributes.

But if they asked you to share a list of your strengths you’d likely hesitate.

Why is that?

We don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on our skills and talents, because we’ve been conditioned to be humble.

We largely focus on our ‘areas for improvement—the things we lack confidence and competence in, to the detriment of our gifts and our genius.

Of course, we can improve our weakness. But we can also amplify our strengths.

What do you already bring to the world and how can you do more of that?

Image by Annie Spratt

Opportunity Knocks


There was a talent show on television when I was a child called, Opportunity Knocks. It wasn’t unlike some of the reality talent shows broadcast on TV today. It was lower budget and had a lot less glitz and glamour.

Prospective contestants wrote to the show’s producers via snail mail pitching to audition. I doubt anybody knew the criteria for being picked to appear on the show. I know I didn’t have a clue how to improve my chances when I sent off a letter to the address that flashed across the screen at the end of the show. Luckily my pitch wasn’t successful because I was equally clueless about what my winning act would be if I were chosen.

Opportunity is defined as—a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.

It’s believed to be that fortuitous moment when the stars align. Conventional wisdom reminds us that the chance of success occurs when opportunity knocks. This implies that opportunity is a happening that’s out of our control.

The truth is we don’t simply wait for opportunity to arrive at our door, we invite it in. We start walking down the road to greet it, one foot in front of the other.

Image by Kelan Chad

Say It Like You Mean It


Empathy is an essential skill for anyone who wants to make a living by serving others.
A big part of our job is to show those people that we see, hear and can help them.

But there’s a fine line between fake intimacy and genuine sincerity in a sales conversation. We’ve all been subjected to both.

The good news is we each get to choose which posture to adopt.

You can say it like you mean it, or better—you can mean it before you say it.

The integrity of sincerity wins in the long run.

Image by Adam Jang