It was a beautiful Spring afternoon and rather than sit in a coffee shop I decided to pack afternoon tea and do my Mojo MBA session at a quiet park bench. I took a thermos of hot water, packed tea bags, mineral water and a selection of non alcoholic beers, Corona, Heinekin and Great Northern on ice. When I asked the guy I was consulting with, would you like a non-alcoholic beer, he said no, it's too early in the afternoon for a beer. Curious. The non alcoholic beer is essentially just a favoured drink that tastes like what we know to be a beer in a can that makes it look or seem like a beer. Is it the alcohol in a drink that makes it a beer? Is it because it was in a can that looks like a real beer? Is it the perception of people walking past the park and seeing you with what appears to be a beer but is in actual fact of non-alcoholic beer in your hand ? Is it because you are so used to having a beer at the very end of the day, and this feels for all purposes to be a beer, it will be wrong to have it at 2 o'clock in the afternoon in a park? The non-alcoholic beer category is fascinating but this highlights to me exactly what marketing and brand is about and is being forgotten today. Marketing and brand is not the reality...it is the perception. It's just a flavoured drink in what looks like a can branded like a beer. Is it really a beer? That's in the eye of the beholder, and that's the value of the brand.
What's going to happen this year... by December 2023, what can you see happening? Where do you think you'll be in 3 years? Where do you think your industry will be in 3 years? What do you think your company would look like in 5 years? Everyone of us has a desire to see a compelling vision for the future. When we don't have that vision for ourselves or the company we work for, we lose our mojo. As Major General John Gronski said on The Mojo Sessions, a leader must have a clear vision for the future and also a vision of the steps that need to be taken in order to get there. Most leaders struggle with putting a definitive vision or dream down on paper. Instead, try talking in terms of your hypotheses. This is something Dorie Clark author of The Long Game said recently on the Sessions (details below). As a leader, try saying "my hypothesis is that in 3 years this is what I think will happen to our industry or category, and order for us to take advantage, I can see what it is going to take and I believe we can do it.".. it's a hypothesis, your best guess, but lay out a vision. I would also add, you can/should have a hypothesis of what will happen in all areas of your life - family, learning, wellness, health, community, mission.
No hypothesis, no direction, no control , no mojo.
Imagine a coach, looking at their players coming back from their off-season break, overweight, out of condition, tired, distracted, no Mojo, and just not in the game. How would that be? Those players are going into a brand-new season in deficit ....before they even start. The idea is that players come back fresh. Physically and mentally in shape, ready for the hard competition in the season ahead.
When you consider that you are a corporate athlete, most come back from the Christmas New Year break in deficit, tired, no Mojo, unhealthy, no motivation, going into more of the same. Why? We eat badly, never put down the sword (your phone), always on, lack sleep, don't move enough, not really switching off, not stretching our minds with new learnings. Sadly because of this ongoing deficit it's why after a few years of doing this, we are... well... truely exhausted.
So this Christmas, be one of the few who just relax and do a little bit of NOTHING! It's ok, it's your OFF season... switch off....come back..truely refreshed, juiced, mojo firing, healthy, clear headed.... it's all a choice. Life is not going to let up next season. My advice - GET BORED!
Matthew Dicks is a champion Moth Storyteller. The Moth is a New York based global storytelling community and he's a 50 time winner as the best storyteller. He's a great storyteller. He's written a number of best selling books ....yet he is a school teacher. Although he doesn't have to, he still chooses to be a school teacher. Recently I interviewed him for The Mojo Sessions. I asked Matthew, with all he knows about storytelling, his writing, his incredible life story as a teacher standing in front of kids every day, what piece of advice do you think you could pass on to parents. He said "I know what my students would say...."My parents look at their phone more than they look at me.""
Enough said. The conversation with Matthew Dicks closes out Season 3 of The Mojo Sessions and what a beautiful profound conversation it is to wrap up a big season.
It's a trap in construction. You quote, then just add this in, then add that in, ahh can we just do this... and before you know it....budgets, timelines, bandwidth, stress... have all blown out. The scope of what was, has now crept and blown out.... they call it Scope Creep.
The same thing is happening with our nutrition, our exercise, our learning, our attention. We have good intentions, then we miss a session, then that becomes two, then 3, then 4 and then before you know it, it's a creep, it's a month, 2 months... no exercise, no reading, constantly distracted, mojo lost....scope creep.. You set the scope for yourself and before you know it, you finally stop, do an audit and it's been months, scope creep. Great term.
Consistency beats intensity. Rituals, routines, accountability partners, daily check ins with yourself and your plans, daily audits the night before your day begins to check your wagon wheel, all work....but nothing beats the moment when you close the door on creep and make the decision to be disciplined.
Ep 214 The Mojo Sessions with JP Dinnell "Discipline is rooted in the truth you tell yourself"
When Roger Federer finishes Wimbledon, he has a break. He doesn't take his tennis racquet on his break. When Cameron Smith finishes the Open he has a break. He doesn't take his clubs with him. When AFL footballers finish their season, they have a break. They don't take a footy away with them in their bag. Yet, as corporate athletes, corporate warriors, we will go on our break at Christmas and take our phones. Our phone is our club, our racket, our sword, our football. It's funny how we work tirelessly to the point of exhaustion all year for this break, yet we take with us the one thing that causes the greatest distraction, and takes us away from quiet, attention, intention, focus, and recovery. Athletes finish a season and have a proper break before the next tournament, competition or season begins. Yet we kinda go on a break. We take our sword with us just in case. We glance at it. We take it out of our bags and find a use for it. This keeps us from recovery. It's one of the things I have talked about a lot during The Mojo Reset Keynote. Over the last few months teams, team members, leadership teams and boards have recognised the need to reset for 2023. At the end of the season take a break. Don't take the greatest source of your exhaustion with you. Set your sword away.... your partner, your children and your own self will thank you. GB
Navy Ace pilot and TOPGUN instructor Bill Driscoll flew 170 combat missions, has 3,300 hours of jet fighter time, more than 5,200 jet dogfights, 500 aircraft carrier landings and was a TOPGUN instructor for four years, with more than 250 air combat tactics lectures. Yet, what is a complete standout about Bill is his humility. I asked him about humility, and whether that was a commonality amongst great leaders. During our conversation (details below) he referenced the Commander of an aircraft carrier with 5500 crew. He said any member of the crew could look at their captain and ask ... 1. Sir, do you know me? 2. Sir, do you care about me? 3. Sir will you help me become better?
In a work environment where globally people are just not happy at work, any leader who can honestly say that people could ask these three questions and answer in the affirmative would be in the few. Most would not be able to answer yes to these questions. It's a profound interview with Top Gun Ace Bill Driscoll, and one that every leader should take the time to sit with a pen and paper, and take notes from a guy who, as the title of his book outlined, has delivered high-performance under pressure.
So many of us fail to be decisive. It's often someday, I should, I know I must, yeah, I'll think about that. When you don't make a decision you are in fact....making a decision. Many years back, I worked with the leader of a not for profit. He could not make a decision. Every time a true decision was to be made, it was, "let's set up a committee." We all know where that ends up. World Series of Poker Champion Annie Duke has a new book "Quit". I interviewed her recently on The Mojo Sessions. What really struck me about Annie's conversation is the notion that so often leaders put off making a decision till later, but that is in effect making a decision. There is so much power in being decisive. Are you going to read more? Yes or no. Are you getting up early in the morning each day this week? Yes or no. Are you going to turn off your phone at the dinner table with the family? Yes or no. Are you going to quit sugar? Yes or no... not I'll try, or I'll start in December, or I should.
Once you close the door and make a decision, see what happens. When you leave that door slightly cracked open with the possibility, then you're saying to your brain "I'm not truly committed. I'm only considering it. It's ok if I don't." CLOSE THE DOOR.
One night at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Garth Brooks sat in an audience along with a crowd of 10 people. He was watching a songwriter called Tony Arata. Tony played a song called The Dance. Unknown at the time, Brooks walked up to Tony after the performance and said "If I ever get a record contract I wanna cut that song." Tony, a guy who was himself loading trucks, thought sure.... That song went on to be one of the biggest selling songs in country music history and Garth Brooks became one of the world's greatest country superstars. Tony Arata made the comment in Brooks' documentary The Road I'm On... "You never know who's listening and what the impact could be on your life." You never know who is listening in your day. Children, teammates, a friend, a supplier, a customer. Often we don't consider our words, actions, or the signals we give off and as Tony said, you just never know who is listening, or watching. A particularly important point for parents - children are always listening and children are always watching.
Eddie Jaku spent time in two concentration camps during the Holocaust before escaping a "death march" in 1945. His amazing story is told in the book The Happiest Man on Earth, the true story of a Holocaust survivor who shares what he's learnt from the camps about gratitude, tolerance and kindness. ABC recently gave Whoopi Goldberg a 2 week suspension from her role as co-host of The View after she made controversial statements about the Holocaust. It made me think of the Holocaust and the many, many decendants of Holocaust survivors I have had as guests on The Mojo Sessions who recount the impact it had on their family and their own lives. This book is a raw account of what happened in those camps. Brutal. It's a wake up call when we think or perceive hard times. It's a point of reference. It's all relative. Many of the guests will share times when they will ask themselves "how does this compare to the Holocaust and what my Grandfather went through?"
The first part of curiosity is obviously having the desire and inclination to ask questions, to be interested enough to think about a different way of approaching something....to think why, or in fact, why not? What if? A deep desire to want to know more. To have an inquisitive mind. But the second part of curiosity is you have to be prepared to listen to the answer. Many people say they are curious, but they assume they already know the answer before they hear, see or feel the response. They're just looking for reassurance for what they know. Their mind has already moved on to "What next? What will they say next?" To enhance your curious mind, number one is knowing that you don't know and you want to ask questions to dig deeper. Then number two is ....you gotta be prepared to listen to the answer and hold two contrarian thoughts at once. What do you believe you know, and potentially what you don't know that could be of interest or something completely different to what you thought you knew. Those two things can be held without judgement, as fuel for possibilities. That is part of the craft of having an innovative mind.
Actress Kelly Reilly plays Beth Dutton in the smash TV series Yellowstone. One of the most talked about characters of the series, in a recent podcast Kelly talked about playing Beth, "I lean into Beth with how she enters and owns a room. I don't necessarily share that quality, in fact I don't share it at all. But when I play her for a while I start to understand the strength in me that can do that, and I've limited myself to thinking I can't do that.... just by my brain. But when I play her I can do it...so it's already in me, we are all capable."
This is such a great insight from Kelly and it's also a good example of what Todd Herman wrote about in The Alter Ego Effect. Effectively Kelly is using Beth as an alter ego, that by acting like Beth she overcomes her own self imposed limitations. Create your own superhero, step into their mindset, their characteristics, attitude and if it's positive, it can take you beyond what you, in your character thinks you can't do. Act the way you want to become until you become the way you act.
Within a block of my hotel there were 10 coffee shops. All shops had someone who could work the coffee machine. But there was only one barista. There are thousands of people who work in sales but only a select number are true salesman. There are thousands of people who work in leadership but only a few true leaders. In every category there's only a few, the uncommon, that go beyond the every day to master their craft. Yes they can work a coffee machine, but do they want to be a barista? And then there's the one amongst them who wants to be a great barista. This year make the call. So you can work a machine, or hone your craft as a barista or do the extra work and run with the uncommon and become great. This only comes from disciplined hard work, reading widely, learning, true attention, operating with intention, and a deep desire to set your standards higher. Surely it's one of the greatest lessons we can teach our children. GB
During an interview actor and now author Matthew McConaughey replied to a comment with "heard". The interviewer later in the conversation made another comment and McConaughey once again said "heard". At the time it seemed awkward and a bit strange. But on reflection it was such an interesting premise. In a society where you know pretty much all the time when you're talking to somebody, they're not actually listening. They're distracted, thinking about the next thing or as Naval Ravikant would say "nexting", or they are waiting for their turn to talk. I found it kind of cool that McConaughey would acknowledge that he had heard what had been said to him so specifically, that he actually said "heard". It was almost a sign of respect and acknowledgement that yes, I actually did hear what you said, ... not just the common throw away mmm to fill the gap and make out like you are listening. Matthew McConaughey is an interesting guy and I rate his book GreenLights.
Woody Allan is to have once said "80% of success is showing up"..... there are so many people who will show up to the gym today and not see success. ... they will not see their desired results. The quote is flawed. We have books stacked by the bedside unread. 80% of success is not buying the book it's reading, taking notes, curating, sharing and then doing something wth the knowledge. 80% of success is not buying the coolest new running shoes, its putting them on your feet and going out each day and doing the miles. 80% of success is not just showing up to the meeting, it's actually participating, putting away your phone, no distractions, it's taking notes, looking people in the eye, thinking, asking questions, journalling and then doing something with what's been agreed. The problem is too many people just show up.. yet expect success. The only success many will have is wasting our own valuable time. Just showing up, well that's common. #beuncommon .
If you want to see into the future, to truly innovate and disrupt your industry, to unlock the imagination for your and your team, then watch futuristic sci-fi movies. In the 90s I helped promote the film Demolition Man with Sylvester Stallone, Sandra Bullock and Wesley Snipes. That movie predicted the following - video calling, iPad type tablets, self driving cars, zoom, voice activated tech and even that Wesley would be a criminal! Screenwriters, directors and producers of these movies are letting their imaginations run. Their imaginations can run wild, there are no boundaries, there are no constructs, because it's fiction. We get stuck in a world of non-fiction based on the constructs of trying to adapt now, rather than truly projecting into the future to consider a world which does not yet exist. A world with no boundaries, no budgets, no Board to satisfy or rules to follow. Watch more movies, and see what these imaginative free thinking people can see that we are unable to see because of our own perceived barriers. It's a really interesting tool to use when imagining the world that is ahead of us. Movie writers play by different rules and perhaps Elon Musk watches a lot of movies.
During a recent virtual keynote, a participant said "I know I want to be more present in conversations, but I don't know how." What? I asked her "Just say you did know how, what do you think you would do?" She said "Well, I guess I could turn off my phone." Good ...what else do you think you could do? "Well, I guess I could look my friend in the eye and actually listen and concentrate on what they are saying". Good, and what else? "I guess I could ask questions about what they're telling me to find out more information."
You see we use "I don't know" as an excuse when we really mean I'm not prepared to, this is too hard, or I don't care, or I don't want to. Or, it's just an easy way to deflect when you want to sidestep a difficult or uncomfortable question. "I don't know" has become such an important part of our vocabulary - it means we won't do the hard work, won't check ourselves and consequently fail to actually think. Do the work. When do you find yourself saying "I don't know", be honest with yourself. More often than not you do you know, you just need to go to work. It doesn't have to be perfect, you just have to do the work. GB
Do yourself a favour in the words of the great Molly Meldrum, and watch "Strokes of Genius" the story of Federer versus Nadal on Netflix. It's gold. The film intertwines Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's lives with their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship - an epic match so close and so reflective of their competitive balance that, in the end, the true winner was the sport itself. One line that stuck with me was that true masters control time. They control their time, that is how they use every minute. Their rituals, their routines, what they say yes to and what they say no to, the intensity of their training, the focus, what they focus on, is all controlled. Their rituals and routines are so dialled in, it allows them to make better choices about their time and how they will use it. Time is our most precious commodity yet we will waste it on distractions, then complain because we're not heading to work or achieving personal goals. These two champions are so ritualised and disciplined and there's so many great lessons not just for us, but for our children. Once children decide what it is that they truly love, teaching them to make better choices about what they commit to and give away their time to, is certainly a hallmark of the greats. Watch this documentary with a journal... lessons a plenty.
So many of us feel as though we've lost our Mojo. Many Exec teams are exhausted, feel flat, confused, on the hamster wheel and definitely feel as though their team have lost their Mojo. At some point we, you, the team will have to reset. I've been asked to deliver a keynote with teams who know at some point they're going to get back at it, and want the mindset, the structure, and the tools required to reset after this trying time. They want to know how the individual or the team can reset, reimagine the future, and re-engage with their work, clients, their customers and their personal lives in the new era ahead of us. The Mojo Reset gets to the heart of the thinking we need to employ to get ourselves ready to embrace and thrive in what might be some semblance of the world ahead. Most will wait to reset, and then react. The uncommon will prepare, reset and hit the ground running.... energised, planned, strategic and well... ready!
The Mojo Reset,
Reset, Reimagine, and Re-engage - the virtual keynote.... good to go.
We all know the feeling of sitting in front of somebody that you know is not listening to you. They say they hear you but they're really not listening. Whether it's on a telephone call, in a meeting, during a presentation or sitting in front of a great friend over coffee, it's a sinking feeling when you know you're not being heard or listened to. It's evident that this is a core fundamental that is leading us to a lack of connection with ourselves and others. We don't listen to our own intuition and we don't listen to others in conversation. We don't listen to customers and clients although we say we hear them, and we don't listen to the signals that tell us to make a change or make a better decision. This week I recorded a conversation for The Mojo Sessions with Ximena Vengoechea which caused me to think about listening, conversation, connection and intentionally being in the room. This is one of the most important topics for us to consider as parents, partners, leaders, teammates and or as friends. The greatest gift and greatest courtesy we can give somebody is to not just hear them but actually listen to what is being said or not being said. You can listen to this critically important conversation on The Mojo Sessions with Ximena at https://apple.co/3fYpQ5n
The commentators on 7 praise the culture of the Australian Olympic swimming team. It's all smiles. It's interesting when you look not that long ago, the headlines read that the culture of the Australian swimming team was toxic. The media scrutinised the teams' culture and described it as toxic... for many different reasons. But when you win... it's all positive and what a great team we have. Anyone can have a great culture when they're winning. Success is not measured just when things are good and you are winning. It's also about the storm and how you perform when you don't win. It's when your back is against the wall, the storm is closing in, and things start to go pear-shaped, your plans and hard work don't work out....,that's when you can really describe what your culture is all about.
The supermarkets care about their customers. The airlines care about their customers. The banks care about their customers. But they don't care about you ...their customer. You see they care about the construct of what a customer is in their mind. They care about their target audience. The avatar they have in their business plan. They talk about the customer in boardroom meetings non-stop. But when you have an actual problem they don't care about you. Supermarkets are spending millions on television promoting contactless pick up. You order a day in advance, turn up at the appropriate time and guess what, they're still picking your order.... come back in 45 minutes. You stand in dispatch as a staffer profusely apologises. Management don't know and don't care. They don't care what you have planned, your day, your family, your week, your commitments set around your allotted pick up time, and the person apologising just feels bad about it but knows there is nothing in their control they can possibly do about it. Supermarkets, banks, big institutions, the airlines ...sure they care about customers ...they care about the construct what a customer should be... but they don't care about you. They care about the thing called a customer. So in your business, care about people, the actual person... and be uncommon!
Prior to a gig I was cruising the Brisbane CBD looking for a cafe that would give me a great brew. When I looked up I saw this sign. The sign said This is the cafe you're looking for. Challenge accepted. With that, I took a seat inside and ordered my coffee. Death Star Canteen is loosely themed around Star Wars. However what was so intriguing about the cafe was how they challenged the construct of a typical coffee shop. Typically you place an order across the counter, a staff member takes the order, tells you how much it will cost, brings up the charge, hands you the eftpos machine, you tap, your name is called out, you're given your brew. Death Star challenge that construct. As I watched, regulars would walk up, grab a coffee cup themselves, find a sharpie, on the side of the cup write their order, grab the eftpos machine, the customer would enter the amount of the coffee, push enter, tap with their card, then wait on the footpath. Your name is not called, you can't be looking at your phone and waiting for them to call you. Instead the coffee is made, put down, it's your responsibility to grab it. If you don't have a credit card and you're paying with cash, you simply put your money in a cup. None of the team checked any of this. They concentrated on what they do best... which is making a rich, earthy, well-made coffee that satisfies the brew requirement. It's such a challenge of construct. Why is it that the customer can't enter the amount? Why is it we can't write our own order, enter the amount, and tap? One reason. TRUST. The customer can do it, but we don't trust the customer. The construct is that the store owner must enter all details and process the transaction because essentially we don't trust our customer. These guys do. Once I ordered my coffee and observed what was going on, I wanted to go back the next day to follow their process to become part of the Death Star tribe. The regulars knew exactly what to do and I wanted to feel like I was a regular. I wanted to feel trusted. This is such a brilliant construct adjustment that we should all reconsider for our own business. What if you did trust your customer or client?
Anthony Bourdain was the legendary chef of Brasserie Les Halles, best-selling author, and famed television personality. If you were fortunate to work in his kitchen you wouldn’t dare so much as boil hot water without attending to a ritual that’s essential for any self-respecting chef: mise-en-place. The “Meez,” as it's known, translates into “everything in its place.” In practice, it involves studying a recipe, thinking through the tools and equipment you will need, and assembling the ingredients in the right proportion before you begin. It is the planning phase of every meal—the moment when chefs evaluate the totality of what they are trying to achieve, and create an action plan for the meal ahead. When we find ourselves in that place of frustration at work, confusion, tight chested, distracted and feeling like we're getting nothing done.. like you've lost your Mojo then perhaps think of "the meez". Focus, create a list of all that is to be done, create an action plan for the greatest priority, focus, do one thing, get the tools required, block out ALL distractions, and get to work. For the experienced chef, mise-en-place is a state of mind. “Mise-en-place is the religion of all good line cooks,” Bourdain wrote, and it should be the religion of all great strategic leaders... who have mojo!
A lady has her walking program open on her Apple Watch. She stares at the screen of the watch as it records her journey, her walk. The only thing is, she is sitting on a bus travelling across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. She's recording her walk whilst sitting on a bus. Is she doing this to make herself feel better about closing her exercise ring when she gets home or is it to impress others who she is connected to via her watch? Many busy themselves with the fallacy that when you finish your day you have achieved much. However the real question is, did you really move the dial towards your dream? Did you actually do the work or just busy yourself to make you feel like you've done the work. Feed your ego all you like, the greatest return always comes in actually putting the rubber on the road and actually doing the walk.