Friday 15 March 2019

You get what you focus on

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

Material for today’s podcast is mainly drawn from the Concentration sparkenation of my Remarkable Workplaces book. Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what’s normal.

I was raised with the principle "you reap what you sow". One of my grandfathers taught me that the law of the farm is a very valuable metaphor and operating system for all of life.

For getting what you want Fertile Ground - Embrace 'essentialism', Ploughing - Choose one-thing, Seeding -Stretch your mind, Nurturing - Create and Take, Harvest - Integrate.

I’m often asked what do I focus on or how do I maintain focus. The context is usually a conversation about all the distractions, shiny objects and the myriad of choices we are all confronted with. 

My answer is always to concentrate on being better, wiser and more valuable and helping other people to do likewise in their own best way.

When I’m faced with a choice I quickly (mostly silently) ask will this lead to being better, wiser or more valuable? If the answer is no then the choice is obvious. I recommend this practice to you..

I engaged Nick Haines and Matthew Newnham from Five Institute as my mentors for about a year in 2015/16.

'Essentialism' was a book they recommended. There’s a link to this book at the companion resources web page to Remarkable Workplaces.

I have since integrated the central philosophy of "less but better" into my whole life (it's a work in progress!) in conjunction with Cal Newport’s deep work as previously referenced.

Working with Nick and Matthew also highlighted the fact that I was offering too much at once to my clients and particularly prospective clients. They suggested a "less but better" way was only offering one-thing at a time. This fitted perfectly with my use of the science of quantum leaps.

Fascinatingly I was blinded to this in my work offerings and so this became a very large FBO (flash of the bloody obvious).

The above work helped to quiet my mind and as well as stretch it. I also began to revisit some of Glenn Capelli’s thinking insights.

All of the above has been instrumental too in helping me to integrate change in my own life as well as help my clients to integrate their learnings with what is already working well for them.

3 recommended actions

1) Choose one of the 'Essentialist' ways of being every month and integrate each into your life and work.

2) Do some activity every day that will stretch your mind.

3) Fully embrace the science of quantum leaps and The Aggregation of Marginal Gains in all your becoming and all your doing.

The great thing about living your life as a series of quantum leaps and then combining them for overall improvement is that when you have missteps, make mistakes and encounter mayhem, you can move on armed with new learning literally in the next moment.

Recommended Deep work

1) Contact Glenn Capelli and get your personal copy of his book 'Thinking Caps' and work your way through each section.

In the context of pursuing daily being better, wiser and more valuable (Concentration) I recommend the concepts of kaizen and widezen, pages 81 - 89, as a great place to start.

2) Make it your personal mission to keep your mind agile. And nurture taking an agile mindset into everything you do in your life.

The ‘How Leaders Can Improve Their Thinking Agility’ article by Jesse Sostrin for Strategy + Business may help. I personally like their model used.

3) Create a process where you will always integrate new learning with what you're already doing that is working well for you.

Your use of the Plan and co-promises on a page referenced at the end of this workbook is a great tool for this. Download here.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.

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