Moments — where you are


When you are able to get away from the bright lights of the city you are given the opportunity to look up; it's a glimpse, if you're philosophical, that offers perspective. 

Surrounded by stars, you can't help but self reflect — figuratively or literally, you are drawn into contemplating where you are. Against the backdrop of a universe (that is over thirteen billion years old according to current thinking) there is an insignificance so unfathomable that your capacity to comprehend has to bring you back down to earth.

The concepts of where you've been, where you are, and where you want to go become more within your capacity to understand.

These are the perspectives that offer up a semblance of control, accomplishment, and destiny, and become the framework for the stories you tell yourself (and others). In the presence of the universe it becomes clear, if only for the briefest of moments, that where you are is the most valuable of these perspectives, and it's not about the memories of where you have been or the ambitions of where you want to go. Where you are is the benchmark and foundation for everything — and under the stars you can not hide.

You are never lost when you know where you are, and when you're not lost, you can go anywhere you want.


Pissing in your pants...


To be exact, what he used to say was, "Pissing in your own pants to give yourself a nice warm feeling".

The "he" I refer to was my first boss when I decided to get into the rough and tumble world of marketing — I learned many of my fundamentals from him and I am forever grateful. I hope he is well. The only reason I even thought of this is because I recently heard a saying cut from the same cloth, "Drinking from your own bath water". 

And if I want to round off the triad with pithy sayings there is always, "Living in your own little bubble". 

As trite (and slightly off-putting) as these sayings are, there is a crucial message that offers insight into the consequences of being internally focused, self centered, or operating in a world that is closed off (either by design or circumstances). This is one of those crucial messages to keep top of mind because in the end:

Your pants will get cold and uncomfortable very quickly

That dirty bathwater will make you sick

The bubble will burst (and that's usually complete destruction)

There is a story of a leader who was on top of the world, thought the situation was under control, and all his actions were "spot on"; that was until one day he was candidly briefed on the real situation, what was really going on, and how ineffective his activities really were.  To that he simply said, "Why didn't anyone say something?" 

As an aside, this has reminded me of the book we are reading for our up coming book club entitled Radical Candor by Kim Scott (and that I should crack open the cover and start reading it) — I suspect it will offer further insights into this. In the mean time, I beleive it's always important to ask yourself two questions: 

Am I doing this to make myself feel like I'm accomplishing something or will it tangibly make a difference?

Have I created an environment and a channel for communication to get information whether it is good, bad, or indifferent?

Not always easy but crucial for success, and besides, who wants to be stuck wearing a cold and wet pair of pants — it's uncomfortable, not to mention embarrassing.


I propose we do this...

I will go out on a limb and say that it is very rare that the first idea, first prototype, first draft, or the first of "anything" is also the last — in fact, I will be so bold to say it never happens.


The first of anything will be challenged, torn down and rebuilt, built upon to the point of being unrecognizable, or spur on something else that makes it irrelevant. It can be an uncomfortable process to be sure; both practically and emotionally. My favourite saying to illustrate this is, "Everyone who is first through the wall gets bloody; everyone", and metaphorically speaking the more different your "proposal" is from the norm, the bloodier you will get. And crazier still, it is the only way to progress in anything. 

At the very least it is a reminder that if you aren't uncomfortable you are not moving in the right direction, as well as highlighting the truism that you need to "be comfortable with being uncomfortable". Both very important reminders, but even more importantly, it is a reminder that someone needs to step up and say, "I propose we do this" — be it a new idea, a new way of thinking, or simply a first draft of the thinking around the table. Progress needs a starting point; it needs a champion. A case in point is a presentation for a strategic plan I worked on which had 27 versions in the end — not because the first version was fundamentally wrong, but because we needed a started point to challenge what we had, try to break our thinking, and initiate an iterative process of improvement.  

Anything new needs a Champion to move it forward, protect it, and foster it, as well as work through the natural challenges and pushback that come your way — not always something for the faint of heart, which I suppose, is why they call them Champions.