I love it when serendipity happens. It’s a reminder to me that we’re in a big universe that is unfolding in its own way, with many connected things I can’t see.
Last week I wrote about hopefulness. How it’s vital to progress, resilience and indeed high performance.
I remember back when I was going through a very dark time in my mid-20s, I had no hope whatsoever. I’m sure you’ve also had your moments.
But an important point in my journey of recovery was when I was introduced to a counsellor who seemed to have some answers.
My first question to him was this:
“Can you make the pain stop?”
He replied “No, but I’ll help you make the pain stop.”
That didn’t make complete sense at the time but all I heard was that it was possible to make the pain go away. And that brought hope back into my life. And that changed everything because then I was committed to putting the work in, and taking action.
“Hope is not a strategy.”
This is a phrase you hear often in the business world and I don’t agree with it completely.
If strategy was everything people think it’s cracked up to be less organisations would fail. There’s no doubt it’s important but so too is hope – or at least feeling hopeful.
In my experience, feeling hopeful is vital to progress.
“Thank you to all the players and coaches that helped me reach this amazing number, thank you to all my loyal opponents that made me work harder and harder everyday.”
– Ronaldo, Star Soccer Player for Juventus & Portugal
This quote from the soccer super-star caught my eye recently as he celebrated scoring his 750th goal in his career. An incredible achievement from one of the greatest players ever and it gives an insight into the mindset behind his incredible success.
It was with surprise and sadness that I learned yesterday of the passing of Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Zappos, after a house fire in late November in Connecticut in the US. He was only 46.
Zappos revolutionised online shopping and was one of the pioneers in the model of allowing free returns for any shoes bought through their website. They were also revolutionary in the premium they placed on excellent customer service.
“Do more than belong: participate.
Do more than care: help.
Do more than believe: practice.
Do more than be fair: be kind.
Do more than forgive: forget.
Do more than dream: work.”
William Arthur Ward – 1921-1994, Writer
Instead of me writing more words about this, I think it’s worth reflecting on the above words and considering this question:
Which one do I want to embrace this coming week?
“I guess I can do something.”
This is a phrase I heard earlier this year from a smart business owner (and it comes up with most people at some point).
It was an answer in relation to me asking what they thought was impossible but if they could do it, it would be amazing.
As it turned out, it wasn’t impossible – because they’re particular goal has been achieved by many other people. It’s just that it was impossible to them because they couldn’t see how to do it based on their circumstances.
It’s a very subtle mindset that can creep in on the best of the best.
“I’m fed up.”
This was the opener from a client a few years ago, and not an unusual one I might add.
They were a leader in a large tech company who was very capable but an interesting side to them was that they would raise their eyes and smile any time I brought up the mental side of business.
The smile was a little bit like one you might get from an experienced business head talking to a more junior one.
This guy was American and in his words:
“Shane, we invented mindset and the inner game.”
Now while that could easily be challenged, I understood his point, and so we primarily focused on what I call the ‘outer game’ challenges and made great progress on his top goals.
One of the biggest blocks to innovation in business and personal reinvention is what is called ‘perspective blindness’.
This is where you’re so ingrained in your own paradigm, your own perspective and point of view that you don’t have a willingness to listen to anyone else’s opinion or viewpoint.
I remember the first time I saw a James Bond movie.
It was watching Dr. No on TV at home in Kilkenny as a child and myself and my brother Mark became immediate fans – subsequently tormenting my parents with our antics in the home to ‘save the world’.
A key part of us buying into Ian Fleming’s world was of course Sean Connery.
Every now and then I let my ‘inner lazy guy’ out.
And today is one such day. It’s a bank holiday in Ireland and I’m feeling like limiting my writing. I watch out for poems that strike a chord and this one below by Brazilian writer, Martha Medeiros, hits the mark on many levels.
A surprising amount of leaders I know enjoy poetry and for 1 minute of your time, this particular one has a high return on investment, if you’re open.