All posts written by Johnflurry

Yourself removed

As a continuation on this topic of not taking ourselves too seriously a great practice is removing ourselves completely from something we have deemed extremely important.

rocketFor example, that team project, mission, initiative that you have worked so hard on has an important word in it.Team. What would happen if you were removed suddenly?

If it all goes off well, even better than you imagined, then you can bet you did not take your role too seriously. Now I am not saying your role wasn’t critical. If you lead well, the critical part was built in already. I am sure the team would have missed you but a well trained team who has been given permission to break things, make the big decisions, cut things, innovate, will easily fill the gaps.

It s a great test of both the team and the leader.

Go ahead, call in sick and see what happens.

Over the next month some of my daily posts (including this one) will be assignments from a leadership class I am taking from Seth Godin.

Too seriously

I had just left the stage. It was the first time I had spoken in front of a large group of people. I had shared a rather hard part of my story. A five minute talk had taken me weeks to prepare. I felt that I had delivered an honest and truthful story. People connected with it. They even came up and told me so.

But then a close friend pointed out a few “speaking flaws” I had delivered. I turned red with embarrassment. Then I was angry. “How dare he” I thought. I had poured my heart into this.

Was he right though? Yes. Was I listening? No.

You see I had taken myself too seriously. It blinded me to any feedback or correction.

It is also easy to do this in a crisis when we panic or overreact.
Things go wrong every day. And things will get better.
We take a breath and handle it. We “work the problem” and continue on with the mission and task.

Then the journey can continue.

Over the next month some of my daily posts (including this one) will be assignments from a leadership class I am taking from Seth Godin.

Who shall we invite?

Who shall we invite?

At the beginning of fundraising or recruiting for a new start up, a kickstarter, non-profit or short or long term mission it is helpful to namestorm. Setting aside some time and to think of everyone that you are connected with surfaces often hundreds of names.

writeOne shortfall that is easy to fall prey to is discounting people due to preconceived assumptions. Their name comes to mind and we think “they are not in a place to give, support, join in” or “they would’t be interested or passionate about ____”. We are in error here because we know very little about what they would actually do if asked. .

Lives change and often rapidly. They may be very interested or their financial situation may have radically changed since the last time your assumptions were based on. They may be the next partner in helping you change the world

Most of all we are missing out on the most important piece. You have the opportunity to invite them into something big, something outside their smaller story and into something much larger. You may have a gateway for something they have been hoping to be a part of for a long time.

So back to the original question: Who shall we invite?

Stories that fit

Our dreams and stories have weightiness. Each time we share with them they have the power to inspire others that follow us to leave their mediocrity and embark on their own path.

Somewhere along the path of life everyone gets discouraged and gives something up. I have a friend who went to school to become a communications professional. Even with a degree she chose at the time to give up that dream for another noble one. After successfully raising and sending beautiful children out into the world she then chose to once again pick up that other dream. And she is rocking it! Along that path were many inspiring leaders and people that told their stories, challenged her and kept believing in her.

Also, not everyone is going to resonate with you. And that is perfectly ok too. In fact the sooner they stop reading your posts, buying your books and watching your Vlogs the better off we are. They need to go find the right ones for them. Round pegs don’t fit into square hole, on purpose. But the ones that do fit need to be energized, inspired, challenged and sometimes even pushed.

In organizations this concept is critical. Once that someone who fits is involved in the story, they make great changes. And we get to applauded for it. Even the mistakes! They take the risks and move an organization forward. They break a lot of things but finding the huge wins along the way.

So here is a call. First, really understand the story you are living in. Once you know that story be radically transparent. Expose it someplace people can find you. If you lead in an organization, (by the way, you already are even if you are in the mail room) the success of the organizations depends on it.

And the really cool part about this is that once you do this you will have no problem finding people to support you, encourage you and help you accomplish the big audacious dreams. In fact you will have to get out of their way so they can do even more to help you get there.

Over the next month some of my daily posts (including this one) will be assignments from a leadership class I am taking from Seth Godin.

Tech to connect or isolate

Social media has been revolutionizing how we connect with each other for the past 15 years (my own journey began with connecting with other fly-fishermen online in 1994)

tabletThe struggle between true connectedness and isolation marches on as well as tech betters the ways we are finding each other and deepening our virtual connectedness. As the advancement of the virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence, and location based abilities among other developments surface, all these tools must be balanced with the question; will they connect or isolate us? We run the risk of tech both falling prey to misuse (so well illustrated in this VR themed futuristic mini-film by Argentina’s Federico Heller called The Uncanny Valley).

UNCANNY VALLEY (2015) from 3DAR on Vimeo.

Continued delights exist even with all the sci-fi nightmares seemingly around the corner. One is the way simple tools allow portals into each others hearts and minds, asking questions way beyond Facebook’s probing questions of “How are you feeling?” or “What’s on your mind?. Take Nintindo’s bold foray this month into the mobile app space with Miitomo.

Through a series of questions the app takes the user and her friends through a series of missions based on answers to simple life questions. What results is a conversation both in and and hopefully out of meatspace.

Where will this take relationships though? We need to continue asking this as our lives not only become more connected but more technical.

Oh, I ordered my first VR device, Google Cardboard. I have plans to use it to share, connect and delight across thousands of miles. More on that in the coming weeks.

Discipline and freedom

Schedules, regimens, limits, saying no (and yes) all are disciplines that help us have freedom to create and connect. Margins are not the only contributing factor. If we don’t have structure and discipline to guide us we we default to busyness and distraction

In Jim Collin’s book Great by Choice he outlines how the the 10x companies (those who have increased 10 times greater than their equivalent) were so successful. One of the greatest contributors he highlighted was discipline in order create freedom for innovation and creativity.

It is a simple equation discipline equals freedom. That freedom allows margin to connect. It allows freedom to be generous with your time.

What one thing could you be more disciplined in today that will allow more freedom?

Risking to share your story

The real risk begins when it is your turn to share, post, or speak.

When is that? Really it comes more often than you think. The more we show up daily to work, friendships, family and life the more chances we have to share our real stories. Everyone is clamoring these days to shout out an un-invited story, product or service. But that is not what I am writing about here. Instead, this is the moment when someone says “what about you?”, “I am reading your posts daily and enjoying them”, “I love your drawings. I can’t wait to see the next one”. This is when the stage is yours. This is when you are handed the mic.

And the risk is to share more of yourself. The more we share the more we connect.

So what will you share today?

Connection decisions

True connection calls for decisions to be made.

Here are some good places to start (questions to ask).

audience-Where am I hiding hiding?
While social media is an incredible place to connect with groups, brands and, yes even people, it is also an incredible good place to hide. Think about it. Look around the room at your next gathering. How many people are looking at their phone or tablet and not interacting with the people in the room.

-How am I risking?
Making a new connection or deepening an old one costs us. Social capital is something that includes time, effort and vulnerability. It is risky business.

More on hiding and the alternative:

Why are you hiding

Cultural anti-chameleons

Striking a pose

First in line

Are you failing?

Solicited vs unsolicited

I did this yesterday. I offered unsolicited advice. As soon as it left my lips I knew I risked alienating a good friend. Why do we do it? There are plenty of reasons.

But the reasons are irrelevant.

padlockUnsolicited means one thing. We did not have permission. No one asked. Advice, is valuable only if the receiver is willing to first hear it. All the wisdom in the world is worthless if the receiver does not have ears for it. Worse yet, when we give it and it causes a rift in our relationships and jeopardizes trust.

Think back on the last time you offered some advice or a tip.

In most cases it was after someone shared something important.

So, what do we do?

First we listen. Many times it is all they really need.

Next, if you have something to offer, wait.

Pause and see if it is really something useful or just you wanting to tell a story.

Last, ask. It is so easy.

“Can I offer some advice?”

“Do you mind if I give an observation?”

Luckily my friend was forgiving and no damage was done.

For some listening tools check out:

Three part series on listening

If you were paying attention

Straight to the heart

It takes tact

Shut up: Stop talking and really listen

Where we meet

Have you ever thought about the places you connect?

“Let’s grab coffee?”

“Meet me for a beer.”

Our living rooms, conference rooms, dens, churches and conference halls all bring us together in some way.

Space is important, like our actions, listening and other aspects of connection.

If we are investing in those, we can certainly enhance our time spent with others by being intentional and mindful of space.

A good place to start is outcomes.

What do both of you (or the group) want as fruit from the time together?

Is it to know more about each other’s stories?

Maybe it is to console someone or dig into their search for a change.

As an organization maybe it is to create culture or learn together.

I am currently in the midst of that kind of creation. John Saddington’s thoughts on creating a common work space were helpful.

The simplest attention given to space can change the whole outcome.

Space matters.

Oh and here are some thoughts on meeting in physical space vs virtual space.

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