Every single year I waffle back and forth about the company Holiday party. Should I go? Should I keep that time for myself since it’s such a crazy time of year? Will anyone care if I go? Will anyone notice if I don’t?
Maybe you can relate? I feel like the Holidays are full of these kinds of questions and people generally treat them as though they have “right” and “wrong” answers. But the truth, in my opinion, is that most decisions have the same answer.
Here it is:
It’s December and because I am not a power shopper (did you know there are people who are DONE shopping at Thanksgiving? Big props.) that means it’s time to get serious about shopping for the Holidays. I shop about once a year, and because I’m out of practice I’m pretty bad at it. Here’s a short list of what goes wrong during my holiday shopping:
About once a month I do a workshop about change at the Brooklyn Brainery. One of the most common questions I get at the end of every workshop is “How can I learn more about this?” I suggest these books because they were pivotal to my own thinking about change:
Today I am 39 years old. My daughter woke up at 5:30 am, leapt out of bed and tore into my room. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” She said. She had brought her blanket and was settling in for a good long snuggle. When we heard her brother wake up at around 7 (“Mommy wake me up!” he hollers from the other room) she leapt out of bed to inform him of the important news and then they both came and snuggled.
Life is good at 39.
I’m lucky to have these rascals as my kids, and inexpressibly lucky to have my husband for my husband… but as I stop here at the end my 39th year, I realize that I’ve been lucky for a long time. My luck began about 70 years ago when my Grandmother and Grandfather met and fell in love. They were both incredibly lucky. My Grandfather was a brilliant and hilarious man. He had no equal and he had a lot of ardent admirers. But I actually think that he was the luckier one, because he got to be married to my Grandmother.
All over the internet you can find people touting how their morning rituals are helping them to be more productive and feel saner. I agree! A morning routine can set you up for success and really lay the groundwork for a day that goes exactly according to plan.
I’m a pretty productive person- I have a full time job educating teacher candidates for urban public schools, consulting contracts, and I run this here business that is just starting to take off (hooray!).
Do I have a morning routine?
In my full time role, I am a professor in a school of education, which, by the way is an industry obsessed with “outcomes.” There are outcomes for students (Are you College and Career Ready?) and outcomes for teachers (Are you Highly Effective?). And then, just to ensure that everyone feels the pressure every single day, we benchmark those outcomes over time, so that we all know whether you are ON TRACK.
There are lots of really good (and some bad) reasons for this but this post is not about whether the “Era of Accountability” is good or bad for the education community. This post is about a fundamental underpinning* of this obsession with outcomes. There is an assumption that these labels (like “highly effective” for teachers or “college and career ready” for students) represent accomplishments that are straightforward and permanent once attained.
Here’s a truth that we’ve somehow completely lost as a society: if you knew how to do something already it wouldn’t be a risk. It wouldn’t be new. It wouldn’t be innovative or creative or fascinating or fun!
When we think about creative geniuses like Steve Jobs, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jim Henson, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, even Amelia Earhart we have this image of someone whose talent is so extreme that they triumph over the competitive odds of their industry with ease. We think that their great ideas hit them like lightening, fully formed and ready for commercial release. Perfect pitch, delivered at birth! Crazy coding skills, learned overnight!
This just isn’t how it goes. People who are very successful (including very successful entrepreneurs) need all three of these traits:
Do you see how talent, or God-given ability, isn’t on the list? That’s because everyone has some kind of God-given ability, but not everyone is very successful. A lot of very successful people claim to trade blood, sweat and tears for every iota of progress they make.
I find the whole question of how much impact talent plays in one’s likelihood of success to be mostly irrelevant. We are who we are and worrying about where other people started feels like an excuse to stay stuck. Instead, let’s start where we are, use what we have and do what we can.
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.
The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.
I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.
Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
Anytime you write something, you go through so many phases. You go through the ‘I’m a Fraud’ phase. You go through the ‘I’ll Never Finish’ phase. And every once in a while you think, ‘What if I actually have created what I set out to create, and it’s received as such?
“If you care about what you do and work hard at it, there isn’t anything you can’t do if you want to.”
“The only way the magic works is by hard work. But hard work can be fun.”
Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment.
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve faiI’led over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Jim Henson, the iconic creator of The Muppets, was known for three big personal traits:
Jim Henson learned at an early age that time is fleeting. When Jim was only 20 years old his brother and good friend, Paul, was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 23. According to his family and friends, this fundamentally changed Jim’s time frame.
Please get in touch and let me know how I can help you!
There are a few cornerstones of my methodology for change.
That last one is really important.