There is an old anecdote about three travellers who came to Rome. They went to see the Pope and he asked the first traveller, "how long are you going to be here?" The man said for three months. The Pope said, "then you will be able to see much of Rome." The second traveller replied that he could only stay for six weeks, and the Pope said, "then you will be able to see more than the first." The third traveller said he would only be in Rome for two weeks, to which the Pope said, "you are fortunate because you will be able to see everything there is to see!" They were puzzled because they didn’t understand the mechanism of the mind. For me, the lesson is that we think we have plenty of time and consequently put off those things which are most important. We live on Someday Isle. I like this parable because it reminds us to wake up with the dawn, with a crystal clear vision of what is important that day, and the motivation to get it done. None of us knows how long we have. Rome was not built in a day, but you can be confident that every single minute of every single hour of every single day was spent contributing to what we know as Rome today. © GB
“Very few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe today that they are now qualified to be the CEO,” Howard Schultz CEO of Starbucks told the New York Times. This is the classic symptom of what is known as Imposter Syndrome, and I find the higher up the hierarchy you get, the more the imposter wants a piece of your mind. Even someone like Howard Schultz who runs a global company has to deal with the imposter. So what do we do? It’s complicated. However, my first step is to stop and recognise the imposter and ask "why would I choose to believe this voice? What rationale evidence do I have to say this is true?" Often, there will be none. Set the imposter aside and think, "what’s the one thing I can do immediately to be at the top of my game where I and everyone around me will know I deserve this gig?" Then do it! Nothing will put the imposter back in its box the way action can. © GB
A few weeks back I interviewed Benjamin’s Spall on The Mojo Radio Show about his New York Times best-selling books on morning routines. It was a super powerful show for anyone wanting to maximise their productivity and performance. However, it is essential to understand that we can fall into rituals that are negative. Rituals are not always positive. For example, some people think it’s 10 am and I always have a biscuit with my cup of tea, or it’s Friday night and I always have a few too many beers, or I'm away at a conference and I always eat badly. To improve your productivity and move toward your dreams, the first step is to be conscious of not only creating positive rituals but also be aware of the ones that take you down the wrong off-ramp. Rituals can be good and they can be bad. Breaking bad rituals by creating new, empowering rituals comes about when you make the conscious decision that change must happen. © GB
We hear the advice that we need to switch off. There is so much data and science behind the powerful effect that resting, switching off, clearing the mind, and dropping the shoulders can do for performance and productivity. Regardless of what you do, there is no question that in order to be your best you have to learn to switch off. Here’s a thought - actually switch off your phone. I’m sure many people go months without ever physically switching off the phone. It is a challenge. Find the discipline to actually switch off your phone today. Pick an amount of time and find the button to switch it off. If that’s hard for you then we need to fight the resistance. Stephen Pressfield wrote it so beautifully in the book the "War of Art." The resistance is what goes through your mind that justifies why you absolutely need to have your phone on all day every day, and in fact, you need to be on all day every day. Switch it off, fight the resistance, and feel the difference it makes when you take control of your device. Use the off button. Don't give in to it, don't let them win, have discipline. © GB
There might just be a flaw in the 10,000 hours rule. Instead, performance experts suggest purposeful practice. You execute, you review, adjust, and then execute again. Quite often what is missing in our performance and productivity rituals is time for reflection. The reflection can take the form of a simple 6o-second question like, "how did that feel for me -- that meeting, that speech, that conversation, that hole of golf, etc? " Purposeful practice is about taking time to pause for less than a minute to reflect on something that happened and to imagine how it might be done differently to improve. If you find it hard to reflect in 60 seconds, then you probably need 60 minutes. © GB
Denzel Washington is a hard-drinking, burnt-out ex-CIA operative named John Creasy who takes a job as a bodyguard to nine-year-old Pita played by Dakota Fanning. Bit by bit, Creasy begins to reclaim his soul, and it has everything to do with Pita. I watched the film on Netflix last week. There is a moment when Denzel is coaching Pita to swim in an upcoming race. He paces the side of the pool as the little girl swims laps. After weeks of training, he crouches down and says to her, "trained or untrained?" You go to the start line trained or untrained - there is no such thing as kinda. It is a great lesson for us in many areas of life. Your presentation tomorrow - will you be prepared or unprepared? Your sports match this weekend - will you go into the match prepared or unprepared? The choice is yours. You either run your rituals, do the work, and practise - or you don’t. Whenever you’re facing an opportunity in anything, think to yourself "trained or untrained?" You either are or you’re not. There is no grey area. © GB
"The One Thing" by Gary Keller is a great read and one of my favourite books of the last few years. When I read a book, I highlight things I want to remember and then I transcribe them into my journal two weeks later. It is the six times rule. Read something, highlight it, go back a week or two later, harvest the highlights, put them into a journal, use colour and drawings to illustrate, and you have taken the best parts of the book and incorporated them into your world six times. Generally, we finish a good book and put it on the shelf. What if you picked up your favourite 6-10 books and read them every year? What if you picked the books that had the most profound effect on you referenced them regularly? What if you picked a book and read it over and over and over so that you became a master of its content? I've begun doing this myself, and I'm now re-reading "The One Thing" for the third time. The ideas in the book are so valuable that it's something I want to get to know better. We plough through podcasts, magazines, blogs and writings, and in most cases, the content goes in one ear and out the other. My suggestion is to pick out the best and master them.
Last week I read the book Focus by Daniel Goldman. He talked about decluttering our minds through stillness and silence, allowing the brain time to ponder, make connections, problem solve and create. Without this space, your brain has a difficult time executing priorities in creativity. Consider this. Where were you and what were you doing when you had your most profound epiphanies? It is when you give your brain space to relax. Epiphany moments happen when you set them up. Distractions, multitasking, busyness, all steal you away from your next epiphany moment.
Phil is a corporate mentor and coach who often uses the phrase “intellectual rigour." What a great statement. What is rigour? It is being meticulous, thorough, careful, diligent, and conscientious. Imagine applying rigour to your thinking, your intellect. It means that you block out the distractions, put energy into your creative thought, say no to unnecessary things, have stimulating conversations, and be conscientious about your learning and personal development. Mastery of self and mastery of your craft comes from intellectual rigour, allowing you to be the best you can be and to be of service to others. © GB
Last week I asked the question, what is it like to be your customer? How does it feel? Here’s something else to consider. I met British entrepreneur Matt Edmundson while doing a series of speeches in New Zealand, and I liked Matt's angle on business. In his keynote address, he asked for us to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers by asking, "what would I want?” If a customer has an issue with your product or service, ask what would I want. If you have a difficult conversation with a team member, ask what I would want? It helps us to walk in the shoes of our customers or team members. By asking what would I want, you can often draw a more empathetic and satisfactory outcome. It helps with understanding, creates a moment to reflect, and bring a quality outcome to the opportunity in front of you. Leonardo Di Vinci said, "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" and this advice is exactly that. © GB
How does it feel to do business with you? What does it feel like to be your customer? What is it like to wait on hold for one of your customer service representatives? What does it feel like to have staff ignore you while they carry on personal conversations? What does it feel like to get excuses when trying to get a resolution to a problem? Last week on a Mojo One-To-One call, the head of a national organisation said he was going to spend a few days with members of his sales team, working the phones, and talking to customers. He said he wanted to remember what it felt like to be a customer of his business. I thought this was a profound question that company leaders should ask. So many leaders get caught up in to-do lists, meetings, emails, and the hustle of business, that they forget what it is like to be the customer or client. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and see how well you are doing. Be honest. The insights will come only when you are authentic and do not sugarcoat what is going on. Celebrate the good, and fix the not so good. © GB
Every business has to think about the future role of robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. You can now add bartender to the list of professions in danger of redundancy. The Nino Robotic Bartender runs a bionic bar, complete with 170 different bottles that it can use to create nearly any drink imaginable. Naturally, you can place an order from an app which provides drink recommendations. Many leaders are oblivious to these types of changes that are about to sweep through their industry like a giant wave. Will you be on the front of the wave of disruption or paddling to keep up while others ride at the front of the wave? It’s time to look out the back and see what’s coming. Don’t leave it to the last minute or you will be left in the rip.
Say you are working with someone to find out where they are in life. You ask on a scale of one to ten, where are you? Think about this cool approach. Once they give you their number, ask why didn’t they score themselves lower? By doing this, it invites people to review what is positive, what is good, and what is going well. It’s a way to start your conversation on a positive note and in a way help them express gratitude. From there you may work on what could be done to improve their score. Make it accessible and believable by suggesting an incremental improvement of one point. This is a technique shared by this week's The Mojo Radio Show guest, Michael Bungay Stanier. Michael is a coaching and training expert, and from my own experience over the last few weeks, I can testify to the power of his technique. © GB
Following a keynote in Sydney, a member of the audience asked me to name my favourite productivity apps. I thought I’d share those apps with you as well. The app Things is excellent for capturing anything that needs to be done in the future. David Allen, the author of "Getting Things Done," suggests that we dump everything into a to-do list. I like that Things allows me to create projects and set reminders; it is a valuable resource for getting things off my brain. After all, our minds are for coming up with ideas, not storing to-do items. Each night I go through Things and harvest what I need to do the following day. Evernote is another one of my favourite apps. I use Evernote for capturing ideas, photos, web pages, and emails. I can tag my items, file them away into a folder, and recall them quickly. I also use Evernote for storing warranties, receipts, letters of appreciation, and research for projects. To get the best value out of Evernote, you have to use it regularly. My third app suggestion is Pocket. Los Angeles comedian Ella James introduced me to this app. I put web pages, blogs, letters, and ideas into my Pocket app, and I can pull the stories at my leisure even when I'm off-line. Just put them into your Pocket and when you’re ready, have a Pocket day and get to reading all the great stuff you’ve saved.
Think of great leaders in business, the community, or in life. One of the traits of truly inspiring leadership is the ability to envision a world that does not exist. It is a trait we can all cultivate if we have the courage. Take the time, find stillness, and dream of 'what if.' Regardless of what you do - running a footy club, small business, the marketing for a large brand, or a charity - what can you envision for the future? What can you see beyond the horizon that currently does not exist? No limits, just possibilities. Think of Oprah, Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Elon Musk or Fred Hollows, all leaders who could see beyond what currently existed. It is a powerful question: what can you envision that currently does not exist? We don’t need more to-do lists, committees, meetings, and emails; we need more dreamers who can envision the future and then the steps to make it happen. © GB
Look at your plan for tomorrow. Is it full of all the things you have to do? Is there anything on your list that you want to do or feel grateful to do? Many of us plan all the things we have to get done and forget that life is sometimes about doing things that make us happy. Each night schedule not just what you have to do, but what you want to do. When we lose our mojo, it is a sure sign that we are doing things that we have to do in the absence of things that we want to do. Don’t get me wrong - it should be a combination of both. Each night, make sure there is something to look forward to the next day; something that brings some mojo to your world and those around you. © GB
Our memories are fading as we rely on our digital devices to keep track of our lives. Many brand custodians have forgotten the fundamentals. Why should I buy from you? Last week at our Listener Dinner, brand expert Darryn Altclass commented that we need to keep convincing ourselves of what we believe. We need to convince ourselves of our story. Many people go through a strategy session, write up a nice presentation and document that summarises the outcomes, only to forget that marketing and branding are a game of repetition and consistency. It’s important to convince yourself, convince your staff, and convince your customer or client. Every day, every week - go long! This is as important for individuals when many of us struggle to find our authentic self. Journaling is a wonderful way to convince yourself of your story, your worth, your value to society, and what makes you unique as an individual. Continue to sell your story, your dream and your values to yourself daily, in what every form works for you.© GB
Too often we pile through our to-do lists, never taking the time to "attack" ourselves. Or in other words, never asking how we can disrupt ourselves and our industry. Take for example Monopoly; 50% of people cheat at Monopoly. So much so that it was a running joke at corporate headquarters. During one creative thinking session, someone asked what would corrupt Monopoly? They talked and pondered with curiosity. Curiosity and disruptive thinking led to a Monopoly concept called the Cheater's Edition. The new edition includes things like identity theft, squatters rule, and price gouging. It looks like a fun take on the traditional game with the influence of today’s society. The top hat covers a pile of money, the arm of the T-rex is a robot arm, and the car trunk is loaded with cash. If you get caught cheating, not only do you have to go to jail, you have to wear handcuffs that lock you to the board. There are lots to learn from this idea.
Before your brain starts finding rubbish excuses not to pick up your paintbrush or grab your guitar from under the bed or find a pencil and write in your journal - do it. Don't give your brain an opportunity to see the reasons not to. Move your body, take action, and your mind will follow. If you don't move your body, your brain gets the chance to talk you out of it. Try it. Act on your hobby first, and do it before your brain knows you are doing it. That is one of the keys to FLOW. © GB
From the moment Steve entered the room he represented his expertise as a sales trainer. When I introduced myself, he said "thank you for accepting my invitation to connect on LinkedIn,” and when I thanked him for the opportunity he said, “never miss an opportunity right!” It struck me just how many opportunities we miss. Steve knew what the speech was about, he knew who he would be spending his time with, and he believed that it was a worthwhile investment of time that could turn into an opportunity…so why not prepare. Certainly, people turn up to meetings, conferences, keynotes, and training sessions with no clue about who is presenting or the topic, let alone the anticipated outcomes that you want from being in that room and investing your most precious commodity of time. I believe that if you give someone your time, then you need to make sure that that opportunity is paid for in some way, such as great conversation, the opportunity to be of service, learning, personal development, mastering your craft, etc. By doing the work before the opportunity presents you are creating a greater opportunity due to your effort, discipline, and desire to make that moment account.
There have been many times where I've felt comfortable - it's good when everything is going well. A few years ago, I read a quote that said, "comfort is the enemy of progress," and from that moment I've chosen to seek discomfort each day. Through work, play, community events, social activities, wellness and exercise, the question we should be asking ourselves each day is, "what can I do today to feel uncomfortable?" Psychologists, psychoanalysts, mental strength coaches and authors have all agreed on The Mojo Radio Show that resilience and grit come from continually putting yourself in an area of discomfort (regardless of how small) and recovering. Not only does it surprise you with what you are capable of, but it builds a backbone that goes a long way in handling life's difficulties. When we make things too comfortable for ourselves or our children, we need to consider whether we are in fact doing ourselves a disservice and diminishing our preparation for times when grit is required. Enjoy the comfort of being uncomfortable; I promise that you will learn and surprise yourself with how much more you are capable of doing. Lift a heavyweight, speak to a stranger, walk a big set of stairs, play with your kids until they give up, walk into a freezing cold shower, read a big book, go without your phone for a whole day, walk to work, don't eat for a day... it doesn’t have to be a big thing, just do what makes you uncomfortable each day.
"I always talk about the importance of “anchoring” our day," Johnson said. "Wherever I land, regardless of what time it is - I’ll get to the hotel, shower, eat, meditate, a shot of caffeine and hit the gym. That way I’ve anchored my day and now I’m ready to work my press tour.” This is a good example of building a routine or ritual into the day to not only ensure that the most important elements of our day take place, but to also bring peace, performance, and productivity. Whether it be a starting ritual to begin your day, closing down ritual to end your day or a ritual you go through before a performance or an event like travel, I have found that it helps to have these routines stated and in my case written down. Until they become a habit where you don’t need to think about them, articulating your ritual in writing helps to ensure the flow and efficiency of what you want to achieve. Many performance experts promote an early start to the morning before the world rises complete with a set of rituals that ensure that you start your day in the right way. I recently interviewed Craig Ballantyne, a performance and productivity thought leader, and his comment was the first 15 minutes of your day sets the tone. Rituals and routines enable you to control your first 15 minutes. An uncontrolled first 15 minutes of your day tends to lead to an uncontrolled day without intention.
What is going into your brain? What do you allow to run your thinking? Are you watching negative news or social media that is bringing you down? Or does what you let into your mind feed you new ideas, positive stimulation, and possibilities? Now and then we need to do an audit of where we are spending time and what we are allowing into our minds. So, what can we do? STAND GUARD. Keep it positive, look for uplifting inspiration, feed the mind with empowering ideas and stories that move you and enable you to be of service to your dreams and the dreams of others. Stand guard because there are a lot of expert minds working on how they can infiltrate your mind to get you to do the things they want. They are the best in the world. Take them on, and be stronger and smarter. Don't let them win, and don't let them into your mind.
“He was the first person that the customer bumped into, and he was the cleaner. He genuinely loved his job, embraced the company culture, and talked a great story about our work." We hear about culture a lot, but it is rare to find a company work culture that spreads through the whole organisation, right to the cleaners, support crew, or technicians. However, as the comment above illustrates, it is doable. The comment was made to me during a session I did with a senior executive team. The team was excited to see that their client got the perfect snapshot of what their company was all about by one of their greatest ambassadors who happened to be their cleaner. What an amazing asset this ambassador is to their organisation. Companies spend a great deal of time articulating their culture around purpose, values, and vision to describe the work of the company and its people. Not only do we need to articulate the DNA of a company, we must do it in such a way that it can be remembered and repeated, not just now, but throughout the long game. We must continuously market it at every layer of the business, so it becomes as well-known and intrinsic as the company name itself. As David Heinemeier Hansson co-founder of Base Camp and author of the bestseller Rework said recently on The Mojo Radio Show, "cultures are created by looking retrospectively but are executed during every hour of every day of every week for years to come." Culture is an action not just words. Sadly too many companies have meaningless statements that look great on a wall but are never lived, let alone believed by team members. They are designed and sound great for the first 30 days until they get swept aside by the routine and the next urgent thing on our to-do list. Rather, let's play the long game. © GB
This week I'm reading Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk, and in it he asks, “are you willing to do whatever it takes to live your life on your terms?“ Gary is writing about passion. It begs the question for all of us - are you living life on YOUR terms? Or are you living your life under the expectations of others? In the book The 5 Regrets of the Dying, author Bronnie Ware says the number one regret for those who are dying is that they did not live life on their terms. They lived life by what others thought and tried to meet those expectations. Design your perfect day, your perfect week, your perfect life. If you owned your day and were doing the exact things you dreamed of - what exactly would that be? I think the design part is just the start; the harder part is staying the course and staying true to a life on your terms. It’s hard. It takes guts, courage, GRIT, discipline and an iron will to not only design your life but not to fall into the trap of comparison and the temptation to join the status quo again. It takes resilience to play the long game on your terms.