Spelling doesn't count on flip charts...

Many life times ago I was in a working session about something that literally wasn't memorable enough to remember, except for a comment about my spelling on a large flip chart. Having thought about this recently I've come to the conclusion there are two general categories of "things" that guide us —

  1. Things we are good at and things we are not good at
  2. Things we like to do and things we don't like to do.

In this context I'm not a good speller (a little better now) and I don't like to scribe on flip charts (this still holds true). Frankly I also don't like taking minutes either, but let's stay on point.

The word that was called out was "acquire" (or its misspelled cousin "aquire"). To be honest I cannot remember how I spelled it but ultimately it was considered an appropriately spelled alternative (or maybe just not that important to spend anymore time on). About two years later I found myself in yet another working session, and as the recorder picked up the marker to scribe she said in a matter of fact tone, "Spelling doesn't count on flip charts". I fell in love with her there and then, and this has been my modus operandi ever since. 

I had been given permission to continue my semi illiterate and illegible "flip charting ways" — no harm, not foul, because spelling doesn't count on flip charts.

It's probably important to mention I have always been impressed with those people who are able to capture the thoughts of the room for all to see with perfect penmanship, spelling and grammar — it's akin to a piece of business art in my mind. It does lead to the question as to why I took the easy way out with my newly acquired "flip chat rule" instead of improving my to skills to create my own business art.

My rationalization over the years has been penmanship, spelling and grammar are all secondary to the importance of capturing the idea raw, and I did not want to interrupt the flow of the conversation for the sake of style... and besides, someone has to transcribe it again to some sort of word document. This isn't a particularly robust rationalization (and slightly nonsensical) as to why I didn't raise the bar for myself, but as I've said, "I really don't like being a scribe".

Don't even get me started about the games I used to play when taking minutes in a meeting,


PS — I am well aware that there is a little bit of personal sabotage in all of this, and definitely a missed opportunity to develop some skills, but again I have to reiterate, "I don't like scribing".

PPS — I also know "not liking something" is the worst reason not to do it — particularly when you know it's good for you.

Everyone will have an opinion on "different"...


If you read anything I write (which I really appreciate by the way) you will know that I am a big advocate for "different". Different stimulates ideas, offers perspectives to better understand situations, is the champion of change, and makes things happen. It is important to realize though that different will always elicit a response, and this is actually what makes it so important.

But make no mistake about it, the response may not always be supportive. A slightly humorous case in point:

Recently I decided to adopt a whole plant based diet for health reasons (which I should point out does not necessarily mean I've adopted the vegan life style). For my efforts, some of the comments that have come my way went something like this:

  • "Where are you going to get your protein from? You are gonna bonk on the ride"
  • "You need to eat meat to get enough protein"
  • "We were talking about you becoming a vegan and just laughing"
  • "You are breaking your vegan rules because there are eggs in the bread you ate"
  • " I guess we can't eat at that restaurant anymore"

Sure I received other comments that supported my new eating habits but those mostly came from people who already support a whole plant based diet (aka vegans)... although they may not be so happy when they find out I will still be wearing my leather jackets.

As in my little case study, different will most certainly elicit responses regarding the problems that will come with what you are doing or suggesting — in fact, if you aren't experiencing this it may be an indicator of "group think" or a lack of engagement. Different is supposed to elicit a response, and with it, create discussion. It is in this discussion that better ideas are developed, situations are better understood, and change can be effectively implemented. And in knowing this there shouldn't ever be any reason to shy away from offering a different opinion, taking a different point of view, or offering up that "crazy" idea — you want to invite the pushback, as well as the discussion, because it offers a better result.

And for that opinion on my plant based diet — yes you can get all the protein you need from plants; meat is actually really hard to digest and inflammatory; I'm not a vegan; there are no eggs in the bread I eat, and restaurants are extremely helpful and flexible with what they serve.

So far, so good.


And in knowing that you know nothing...

The Internet has attributed the following quote to Socrates —

"In knowing that you know nothing, that makes you the smartest of all"


The Chinese whispers of 2400 years offers up a fair reason to suspect if Socrates actually said this, and if he did, is this actually what he said — something to be discussed over cocktails if you are so inclined. What we do know is that on the Internet (and in motivational quotes) Socrates owns these words.

It is not my intent to try to validate Socrates true ownership of this quote or really interpret the meaning(s) behind the quote. I did however want to offer a recent epiphany of recognition that this quote is a grand reminder of how to understand situations more holistically, and where applicable, solve problems more effectively (or take advantage of opportunities for that matter).

I am working under the premise that when you truly understand a situation you are able to more effectively deal with it — and to truly understand a situation you need to look at it from different perspectives ensuring a holistic understanding. I'm also working under the premise that this can be a difficult thing to do because we are built on a foundation of knowledge, experiences, culture, and philosophies, and this has shaped who we are and how we look at things. All impacting how we do what we do.

We become limited by our own knowledge.

There are two considerations with the Socrates quote —

  1. The quote reminds us that that no matter how knowledgeable, smart or successful we are, we shouldn't transfer it into believing we know everything. Because we don't. 
  2. In reminding ourselves that we know nothing, we push back all our preconceptions and are more open to understanding situations differently — we open ourselves up to considering different perspectives and other points of view. It's easier to ask more questions when we know nothing.

We are who we are and bring it all with us... these thirteen words definitely can help us do it a little better. But what do I know?