Any time I’m recommended a book I read it.

Any time I’m recommended a book I read it. The latest was 4,000

Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. Having done many deep dives into the very idea of time, I found no new ahas, but many great reminders, and thoughts generated, that will allow you to be in control of your time:

Live your life as it unfolds in time
The bane of limitless productivity, distraction, and speed
Do you ever really feel “on top of things“?
We can all feel like King Sisyphus
You will never get it all done…and that is OK!
We ARE a limited amount of time
It’s all borrowed time
Distraction is the biggest problem
The obsessive planner demands reassurances from the future. Good luck.
Be prepared for surprise endings.
Anything can happen. What will be will be. Que sera, sera.
The power of chance occurrence
Plans are not guarantees
“I don’t mind what happens”
What is the value of time spent doing…?
Give time it’s due
You can’t rush your way to peace
You will never eradicate all your problems
Who wants to be free… and alone?
Where are you too comfortable?
Where are you setting impossible standards for yourself?
Why am I myself?
Have you accepted who you are yet?
Where are you playing the when and then game?

Like I said, great reminders!

Dee Hock- Insights from a Visionary

Dee Hock is a visionary. He is most well known as the founder and head of VISA from 1970 to 1984. He is also an amazing thinker and writer. Over the last few months, I buckled down and read all his essays at Heavy stuff!

Here are points he made that most resonated for me. Which ones resonate with you?

  • Today’s immense change requires chaotic concepts of organization that can more equitably distribute power and wealth, unshackle human ingenuity, and restore harmony between societal organizations, the human spirit, and the biosphere.
  • Leader and follower imply the continual freedom and independence of judgment of both. A leader cannot be bound to lead. A true follower cannot be bound to follow. The moment they are bound, they are no longer leader and follower.
  • The best definition of lead is to “go before and show the way”.
  • The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who reports to manage is to manage one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, temperament, words, and acts. This is much more difficult than prescribing and controlling the behavior of others.
  • Without exceptional management of self, no one is fit for authority, no matter how much they acquire. In fact, the more authority they acquire the more dangerous they become.
  • We should spend 35% of our time managing ourselves. We should devote 25% of our time and ability to managing those with authority over us. We should devote 25% of our time and energy to management of peers. Of course, this leaves very little time for managing subordinates, which is how it should be.
  • Forget management. Lead yourself, lead your superiors, lead your peers, employ good people and give them the freedom to do the same. All else is trivia!
  • Don’t live how you think you “ought to live “, be authentic and lead the way.
  • The only place where there is absolute, perfect control, is in the coffin.
  • Tyranny is tyranny, no matter how well intended, cleverly rationalized, or unconsciously perpetrated.
  • Corporations want to socialize their costs and capitalize their profits.
  • To call large agglomerations of people, places and things a community, where proximity is impossible, is to rob the word of all meaning. A community requires proximity, non-material value, and non-monetary exchange of value.
  • Life is a gift that comes bearing a gift which is the art of giving.
  • All knowledge is an approximation.
  • “Taking a new step, ordering a new word, is what people fear most. “ quoting Dostoevsky
  • Giving up any part of our internal model of reality is as bad as losing a finger or an eye. Part of us no longer exists. Oh, how we hate to give it up!
  • The speed of change also means we can fix problems faster.
  • Only a few generations ago, the present stretched relatively unaltered from a distant past into a dim future. Today, the past is ever less predictable, the future ever less predictable, and the present scarcely exists at all!
  • When things are moving fast, what do you hold onto?
  • “They that reference to much the old times are but a scorn to the new.” quoting Sir Francis Bacon
  • “Come full circle to the place from which we set out and see it for the first time. “ quoting TS Elliot
  • We are not helpless victims in the grasp of some supernatural force. We are active participants in the creation of our present consciousness.

Seven Steps to Up Your Speaking Game

I am constantly trying to stay on top of my game as a public speaker. Since many of my speaking bookings were canceled due to the coronavirus, I have been using this time to catch up on some speaking books, further improve my offerings, and pivot to doing more online training. Here are seven tips I revisited going through these books. It will be a great reminder for the pro and an excellent starting point for the novice speaker.

What follows will help you whether you are doing internal presentations or speaking on the Big Stage.

  1. Be an expert who speaks – I remember the time my son asked me if I was a “motivational speaker”. I told if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be speaking for long. We somehow have this idea that you’re either somebody who is a motivational speaker or somebody who speaks on substance. The fact is, to be an excellent presenter, you must be an expert who can produce motivating information. It’s really not an either/or. In my experience, most executives, members, attendees, etc. want substance over motivation. If you are hired to be a motivational speaker, to pump the place up, then make sure that that is your expertise!
  2. Get good at telling stories- as the saying goes “facts tell, and stories sell”. Sometimes you can introduce your topic with a story to get instant engagement. Other times you use stories to emphasize a point you are making. You can also bring people into your stories. “Imagine you woke up, turned on the news, and the first thing you heard was….”
  3. Write, write, write – as I am doing now. Speaking is about getting your ideas into the marketplace. You can precede your work on the platform with well-written blogposts, articles, guides, checklists, and other forms of writing. The point is to do it consistently. One thing I have found helpful is to write in chunks and then allocate the content out over weeks.
  4. Video, video, video – there are under one-minute videos, under five-minute videos, and then those videos that go as long as you care to record. Each has its place. Video can be shot on your iPhone, a recording of a Zoom meeting, or in a studio. Anytime you are shooting a video, make sure there is good light and audio. Keep a steady hand and make sure it is well framed. You could even hire somebody to spruce up your videos like I did with this one.
  5. Stay in your lane – of all the advice given to speakers, this is, perhaps, the hardest one for me to follow. I love speaking on numerous subjects but also understand that to be a high paid and sought out speaker, I have to “stay in my lane” and pick out just a handful of topics within a narrow subject range. For example, while I am very capable to speak on legal matters or human resources, I prefer to stay focused on the power of stories and emotional intelligence, and how those apply to leadership and sales.
  6. The power of humor, exercises, and creativity – whether you are presenting for a handful of teammates or keynote in front of thousands of people, everyone wants to be entertained. Strategically placed humor and exercises can bring your presentation to life. Then step back and ask what you can do to be more creative. For example, I like using numerous props in my workshops and keynotes. I love doing creative exercises that engage people in the learning.
  7. Speak whenever and however you can. There is no substitute for practice and experience. Just get out there and speak. Toastmasters is a great place to start. The more you speak, the better you will get at it!

Having been a professional speaker for over 20 years, I have great familiarity with the above, yet I revisit them regularly. That’s because my goal is to not just be an average speaker but a great one. Which technique or strategies can you use to up your speaking game?

Don’t Let Your Story Kill Your Sales

Over the last few years, I’ve been doing a great deal of coaching and notice the power of the stories my clients tell themselves. So I whipped up this presentation for a client’s sales team… and they loved it. If you are up for it, I would love your feedback too! Brutal honesty will be appreciated. How can I make it even better?


Time to Get Creative!

This is a great time to get your creative juices flowing. Here is a link to a quick and fun book, with more than 100 questions to spur your creativity!

Enjoy and let me know what ideas you come up with.

Free download of the PDF, with no registration required!