“It’s a mistake to dislike what you’re reaping when you haven’t evaluated what you’ve sown.” (Attribution: Mark Cotter)
Last week I wrote Failure IS an Option and introduced some reflections on the past 12 months along with the three following big ideas as an introduction.
- Being wise is more important than being right.
- Leadership is far more paradox than it is perfection.
- A leaders goal is to be authentic, not perfect.
Leadership mantras are everywhere, it’s the ones that resonate with you most deeply and personally, that become part of who you are. This meme comes from much higher up than me but I believe that “you reap what you sow” is a truth of the universe. What you have got right now is the sum total of what you have or haven’t done. The only real way to change the output is to change the input. I have reflected on five inputs that I have focused on this past twelve months that I believe are disciplines that will serve the next twelve months, and well after that too. Like an art project in progress, each additional stroke adds to the fullness and completion of the design and vision.
The consistent inputs I have enjoyed include:
I prioritised my wife and children and had the best year ever in my business.
I’m a Canteen Dad and proud of it. Once every ten weeks for 3.5 hours I serve as a volunteer in my kid’s school canteen. King of the Dad jokes, eating cookies and ordering party pies are some of the highlights. Every bit of that fun can’t hold a candle to the look on my daughter and sons’ face when we lock eyes at recess and lunch. The deep highlight to have Dad on canteen has no words adequate and no cost equivalent to my kid’s. Sum total investment of 14 hours a year. ROI? Priceless.
Our daughter asked us in October 2017 “Why do I have to wait until I’m an adult to change the world?” My wife Megan and I looked at each other and didn’t have a good enough answer. So The Zarriah Project was established. In the year that she has had the business, she has imported and created hair accessory packs for School Girl’s, paid for a lean water well in Cambodia and spoken at her first conference alongside two Olympians. Her next project is greeting cards. Our kid’s are born Australian, they are by world standards outrageously privileged. The opportunity to help her do something that is both “for profit and for good” is too good a life lesson to pass up.
Megan’s primary love language is quality time. My definition of that is “just being together not having to be doing anything” (Do I need to repeat that for people like me who are the complete opposite?) We have developed a little big thing where we start the day with coffee or finish it with a wine, in our parents retreat, or on the back deck, just us talking, sharing, catching up. From time to time Megan would say almost like a throwaway line “It’s the best part of my day.” We have made the rhythm of time, attention, and being present a priority and it’s pure gold. Thank you for being patient Megan while I worked out how important this was to you.
I clarified what I want to be known for.
I made a significant and much more difficult than expected change at the end of 2016. It created a disturbance for me like I wasn’t expecting. Who was I now I wasn’t doing that role? What was I without that community? What did meaningful contribution and leadership look like without that precious part of my life? On some levels, I’m still searching for those answers. In another sense, it is what it is and today is a new day. That wasn’t really the point, the point was it left me feeling rudderless in terms of what and where my contribution will be in the future and my confidence took a deep dive. Reconfiguring what I wanted to be known for, gave me both the resolve and the patience to stand up for myself in the past period of time; holding both a mirror to myself and equally looking out the window for what future possibilities there are.
In that time I also had some profound learnings. I clarified that I wanted to be known as someone who was #forleaders – I am for leaders and I am for leadership. Leaders then CAN (Self Mastery), Cultures that CARE (Team Mastery), and Messages that MATTER (Message Mastery) are my three superpowers and I love helping individuals and teams become the best possible version of themselves. More recently I added in a niche around “helping technical experts become people leaders.” For more than a decade I have helped people with ambition and aspiration become the leader that gets things done, gets noticed and becomes promotable.
The power in knowing what you want to be known for is less for others at the beginning and more for you. It gives you a laser-like focus to say yes and no more strategically, to invest resources more wisely and to measure progress more effectively. It’s a game changer! It then becomes more for others and less for you as you seek to serve, add value, solve problems and help people become the leaders they truly can be.
I completed 202 F45 Sessions.
Charles Duhigg in his book “The Power of Habit” talks about keystone habits and that one of those is regular exercise. In the last decade, I have joined the ranks of the MAMIL’S (Middle Aged Men in Lycra, sorry for the word picture, and the middle aged bit.) Also, like every Dad I know, I have had the margins of time and consistency squeezed at every angle. Riding with my group just wasn’t enough when due to weather, travel and it being really cold in winter made my rides more like fortnightly and then that meant working all week and then disappearing for several hours on a weekend morning which was peak family time. None of it was wrong, just executing was harder than it needed to be. I needed to find a different rhythm.
In August 2017 I wasn’t sleeping well. Some nights I’d sleep, then be awake for more than three hours at a time, that makes for a long night and an even longer day. I needed to shift the dial so I was doing three or four of the most important habits regularly and let the rest take care of itself. So I dragged myself out of bed at 5 am and went to a month-long trial at F45 The result? I loved it. It was brutal for the first 4-6 weeks but after that I clicked into a pattern of rising early, training, heading home to prepare for my day, spend time with Megan and run headlong into work with new energy. And I slept at night. I’ve worked a way to train my body, prepare for work and be present with my family all before 7 am. It’s working beautifully and has paid off magnificently.
I wrote and published 34,075 words.
Somewhat counter-intuitive to last weeks post about my insecurities and fear of criticism (don’t worry, they haven’t gone too far in a week 🙂 ) I have blogged almost every week this year. I don’t yet consider myself a natural writer, I’m a talker, not a typer. And yet, every mentoring experience I’ve had with writing says the same thing. Just write. Write and publish. Write and publish, write and publish. So I did. Nested in the context of #forleaders I am thinking, writing and delivering as much as possible in this area. Helping ambitious and talented leaders be uber-effective, get noticed and become promotable. Writing for that has an energy of its own and then at years end, we have all these words.
That said, I have colleagues who have written a book a year for the last six years (That’s you @lynnecazaly.) Bestsellers, niched thinking and some really elegant, groundbreaking thought leadership that I love digesting. So, the writing bar is high and I’m going to keep jumping over it. On that note, thanks for reading.
I sharpened my clarity and deepened my conviction for the next season.
Purpose gives hope and hope is fuel for the soul. When you know you’re investing your days doing what you were created to do it puts energy in you that can come from nowhere else. Knowing your superpower, that is your best contribution, doing it to the best of your ability and helping others succeed, that’s the beauty of leadership. Work and life with purpose. It’s magical.
Megan and I are so excited by the next season. By season I mean the next three years. Our daughter starts High School in 2022 and we are looking forward to thriving and serving with you (and beyond) until that natural break in family life presents us with the opportunity to assess and work out what we deepen, what we leverage, what we start, what we stop and where we live. To that end, I believe we all have the opportunity to learn, grow, adapt, change, give and serve to the best of our ability. My hope for you is, you know the purpose behind your work, maximise your potential and add massive value to others.
Your inputs have to be greater than your outputs (Attribution: Greg Attwells) When you grow with purpose and conviction you make strong the roots that may well be hidden now but will flourish in the future. My hope for you is a future where you thrive and succeed, serve and grow in ways that bless you and benefit others. May your next year be your best year.
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.