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Articles filed in: Success

On Failure

I don’t know, are three of the hardest words for fallible human beings to say.

We avoid them at all costs and at every turn.

Because in our eyes, giving the wrong answer is worse than having none at all.

But mistakes are not failings, they are data we can learn from.

Every failure inches us closer to progress.

A wrong turn is simply a sign that you’re still on the journey.

Image by Marcel

Building A Reputation

When you and I were at school, many students had a reputation. We can recall the smart and funny ones. The artistic or athletic ones. The introverts and the extroverts.

Those reputations were not bestowed—they were built.

People’s opinions about you are based not just on what you say, but on what you do.

You can begin to build your reputation with intention by answering three questions:

Who do you want to be known to?
What do you want them to know you for?
What do you need to do to build this reputation?

Actions speak louder than words.

Image by Anna Samoylova

The Way To Lead

A few years back, my son was leaving the train station in Perth when someone asked him for directions. He began to explain the route but stopped halfway. ‘I’m going that direction, why don’t I take you there,’ he said, leading the way.

One of the best definitions of leadership I’ve read, explains that it’s the act of showing someone the way to a destination by going in front of or beside them.

That implies if we intend to lead, we not only need to know the destination but also who we’re leading and whether we’re committed enough to walk in front or beside them.

Leadership is a journey that we take the responsibility for making together.

Image by several seconds

The Unremarkable

Lately, we have come to recognise the remarkable contribution of the people many considered unremarkable.

The people who stack our food on the supermarket shelves through the night. The truck drivers who get behind the wheel every day ensuring deliveries reach us. Those who wake early to clean our hospital wards. The workers who once felt disposable, now suddenly seen as essential.

We’d begun to equate remarkability with visibility.
It turns out the two are not the same at all.

Sometimes it’s the thing we do that gets the least applause that makes the biggest impact.

Image by Martijn Baudoin

On Helping

We like to be helpful. We’re physiologically wired for it.

The *science shows that helping others helps us to help ourselves.

Helping makes us happy.

So when people ask for advice or an opinion, we gladly offer it.

But before we can help, there’s a question we need to answer.

How exactly am I helping?

Sometimes the most helpful thing we can do is help people to help themselves.

*In helping others, you help yourself.

Image by Aaron Brinker

Ideas Worth Keeping

Sometimes our best ideas come to us when we’re working with constraints. We’ve all seen hundreds of brilliant ideas and initiatives come into being as a result of communities being in isolation around the globe.

Local councils in London are calling at-risk elderly to ask if they need groceries or medicines delivered.

Villages have started newsletters to keep communities informed and together.

Neighbours are dropping care packages at the doors of vulnerable neighbours.

Supermarkets have changed store layouts, putting essential items at the front to cut down on shopping time.

Legoland is hosting live workshops to inspire children who are now home-schooled.

What ideas, routines and rituals have you started in the past few weeks that are worth keeping?

Image by Kelly Sikkema

One Way Or Another

When I got my first job, I cycled to work and back every day. On a fine summer day in Dublin, cycling is a joy, it’s a different story in winter. The worst part was always that last hill on the way home. I’d try to stay on the bike for as long as possible, not wanting the gradient to beat me. But when the frost was thick and the road slick with ice, there was nothing for it but to get off and walk up the hill alongside the bike.

As my progress up the hill slowed, I’d curse the wasted momentum, calculating how much earlier I would have arrived if I’d managed to stay on the bike. And yet, I still got home anyway. Maybe a few minutes later, with a bit less patience, I reached my destination all the same.

Whenever I feel like I’m not moving fast enough, I remember that hill and that I arrived one way or another. If you’re feeling like you’re not moving fast enough today, feel free to borrow my hill if it helps you to keep moving.

Image By Paolo Chiabrando

In Answer To Your Question

We like to ask for advice. It’s human to investigate all the angles—to seek the opinions of others. And yet in doing so, we can forget to reflect on our insights and assumptions.

We often forget to check in with our beliefs before considering what someone else thinks.

What if before sought advice, we reflected on our thoughts first?

What wisdom might we find in our own hearts?

What do I think? How do I feel? These are powerful questions.

Image by Pablo Andrés Rivero

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