Whilst I was in Melbourne last week, I met an intriguing lady during a creative session. During our conversation I learned that she was an Italian soprano. Naturally curious we spent some time talking about how one becomes an Italian soprano and how that skill is used. I was fascinated. It turns out that this young lady loved drama and it wasn’t until a drama teacher, who thought she may have some talent, suggested she try some singing as a soprano. Prior to this suggestion, she had never even entertained the thought. She cleverly decided to go with the opinion of her teacher and give it a go and the rest is history.
During the week I saw a paragraph written by genius Stephen Hawkings. He said "At school, I was never more than about halfway up the class. It was a very bright class. My classwork was very untidy, and my handwriting was the despair of my teachers. But my classmates gave me the nickname Einstein, so presumably they saw signs of something better. When I was twelve, one of my friends bet another friend a bag of sweets that I would never come to anything. I don't know if this bet was ever settled, and if so, which way it was decided.”
If you’re unsure about your passion in life, ask your closest friends, teachers, family members, and confidants and undoubtedly they will see something you don’t. The trick is to listen, think about it, and if something piques your interest, take action. Our immediate default is to disregard compliments, wipe them, and move on. Instead, listen, ponder, sleep on it, and if there is any interest at all, get after it. At least get out there and give it a go.
This edition of the Espresso is coming to you from the Olsen hotel in Melbourne Australia, a hotel part of the Art Series of hotels. What’s unique about the Arts Series Hotels is that each hotel is themed on a famous Australian artist. Every room, corridor, conference room, and public area is covered in art by John Olsen. Each day I read stories published by many business experts talking about having a point of difference (mind you many of them have no POD themselves). It’s become wallpaper. What’s your unique proposition, your point of difference, what will stand you apart from the rest?
Most leaders read this, acknowledge it, but then do nothing about it. 90% of the websites you visit today have no clear point of difference articulated beneath their logo or in the first part of their copy, let alone having staff who can clearly articulate what makes their company different and/or famous. Everyone talks about it, but so few can do it.
I was setting up for my speech in the conference room of the Olsen when I said to one of the staff ‘what’s the story with this hotel?’. He told me about the arts series of hotels and I believe is one of the few hotels that clearly has a point of difference to any other hotel I have visited in Australia. It’s a clear point of difference, demonstrated in every room, and articulated in both its back story and execution.
Everyone knows you need a point of difference but sadly so few companies have a brand that stands out. Audit yourself! Go to your website - check out the front page, look at your business card, email signature or the front door of your office and ask yourself ‘Am I telling my customer why I am different? Your customer needs to know why? Why you?’
After a speech I gave recently in Sydney one of the attendees approached me and said, as of tomorrow I am going to approach my day with intention and consciousness, I feel like I just got through my day, but I did not really control it, I did what everyone else wanted me to do, in their time. I was not consciously focused on my day, my steps towards my dreams, my essential tasks to take me to the dreams and aspirations I have?
This is a common issue facing many of us. We roll into our days with a to-do list, only to have our day interrupted by other people and their agendas. We never really focus on the most important tasks in each area of our lives in and out of work, in order to realise our dreams.
Remember, to win the day, it starts the night before. Tonight, plan out tomorrow: What’s the one thing that I must get nailed in my health, community, business, family, and write them onto your page with the action you will take regarding each of those items. To roll into a day with a massive to-do list and no clear focus as to the one most important thing in each area of your day, is to live by other people’s agendas and not to live with true consciousness and intention.
If you are not sure where you are with your dreams, go back through your journals and see what you were thinking some years back. What you aspired to be, what you wanted in your world, and what you saw as a compelling future. This is where journals are so powerful. It’s a trusted companion that stores your great ideas and dreams for decades.
As an example, imagine how many ideas will never see the light of day in the corporate world from brainstorms conducted over the last number of years. There would be hundreds of thousands of action plans, ideas, and the social charts which never saw the light of day because once everybody left the creative session and went back to their normal lives, the ideas were never stored, reviewed, or executed upon on a regular basis.
It’s something I see all the time. People pay good money for expensive venues, food, facilitators, and entertainment only to have the actions never come to life due to the fact that they never clearly articulated, what’s next, who’s doing it, and by when? Instead of 27 page documents outlining every step over the next six months my belief is that we need to clearly articulate the idea and just worry about the next stage, the next step.
The other issue is, it’s never stored in a format or a place where it the can be reviewed on a consistent basis. It needs to sit in a place where those who have committed to action or be involved the idea consider the plan regularly, have it in front of them often, and the progress be openly shared to create momentum.
In your own personal world try to use journal for this reason. Have a dream, write it down, then just work out what’s my next step, prioritise it, and then execute upon it. Your journal keeps it front of mind, safe, and given you always have it with you, you can continually refer back and refine your dreams and plans.