Author: Colin Nanka

Question of the Decade

Saying 2020 has been a strange year is an understatement. When you are looking back from the eve of 2030, how do you want to look back on how you showed up in 2020? I will take it one step further for those who have kids. When your son or daughter while studying this strange year in school asks you, what did you do to secure my future in 2020, what will you say? It’s never been a more important time to think ahead into the future while standing firmly with both feet planted in the present moment. Wishing you a great week ahead. Defeating Average. Colin

What Tess taught me about persuasion

My 28-month-old daughter Tess taught me a beautiful lesson about life recently. It reminded me of a fable I learned when I was a young boy. The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak. “Let us agree,” said the Sun, “that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak.” “Very well,” growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler. With the first gust of wind, the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler’s body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain. Then the Sun began to shine. At first, his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the …

How to build trust in meetings

Don’t waste people’s time. You will lose trust and it impacts your brand.  In the last month, I have been talking to a number of leaders on how to run productive meetings. One thing they all agreed on was it’s never been more important to use people’s time well.  People are stressed. They have less time. They need to focus on family and mental health.  What is the criteria for good meeting management: Set clear meeting agendas  Be clear on why you are holding the meeting and why people are there (include in the meeting invite) Tell people what you will talk about ahead of time and what the outcome of the meeting should be  Run the meeting on time and have a call to action in the last 5 minutes  Respect people’s time and do not run over. If you make people late for their next meeting they will blame you. 🙂 Defeating Average in meetings.  Colin

Returning to the present moment

I was presenting my Defeating Average conversation to our Melbourne, Australia office last week. It was special to connect with some people we visited on our paternity leave in 2018 when we took Tess on a road trip for a month through New Zealand and Australia, including Melbourne. As we talked about being present in moments of conflict and crisis, we talked about how we can calmly breathe and think through any situation life throws at us. Many of us have taken on journaling to get ideas or angst down on paper and out of our heads. There is an opportunity in this crisis. Getting your thoughts down on paper in COVID not only serves as a mental release but will provide you with a rich perspective when you are able to read and look back from the safer shores of 2021. We are all in this together. Defeating Average.  


(Image from Time Magazine) There has been a flood of support honoring Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Especially in this time of divide, she was a shining example of courage, truth, and serving others. In addition to that, she has been fighting for women’s rights and equality for decades. She has inspired millions of people. Crisis creates opportunity. It was never going to be easy to get this country back on track.  In passing, she has left us a north star to aspire to. A responsibility to act. To vote. Obstacles were coming in the next 60 days. There are more coming. How can you meet them as an unbreakable force? With her example, what action will you take today and in the coming weeks to overcome obstacles and defeat average? Like all the kind accolades for RBG in her passing, you deserve them to when you pass. How do you want people to remember you when you die? What would you like them to say about you? Are you honoring those words and the path to get …

Doing what you hate to do, but do it like you love it

(Image by Glenn Francis) “Doing what you hate to do, but do it like you love it” – Mike Tyson  Coming back to box at age 54 and he hasn’t sparred in 15 years. When asked on the Joe Rogan podcast about the experience of coming back to box and why he’s doing it he said (my summary): I was out of shape and wanted to feel better. Getting back in shape was the first step that leads to the next. More energy and more fire inside. Once the fire was lit I wanted to see how far I could push myself.  When asked how it’s felt: Painful, humbling, exhilarating! In order to train at that level you need to do what you hate to do, but do it like you love it! Wise words What is in your way that you hate to do but know it’s necessary to get to your big hairy audacious goal? Defeating Average. Colin

You are your own obstacle

The Biggest obstacle I ever faced was my own limited perception of myself.- RuPaul My wife and I were watching Queer Eye Season 5 about the “anxiety activist.” It was about a young 18-year-old girl in college leading a climate change group called sunrise and the episode focused on anxiety. There is always an uplifting ending and in this time of division, we enjoy watching something positive. I think we all limit our own potential at times comparing ourselves to others. How can we widen our lens? A few questions I have found helpful: 1. What’s possible? 2. What brings me energy? 3. What brings me life? 4. What advice would my (add 20 years to age) self tell me to focus on? Just like Abby in this episode, we all have HUGE potential and sometimes need others to help us see it. Colin

A Centering Question that Drives Value 

What does this person value above all else?   I was listening to a great podcast from linked in founder Reid Hoffman on Masters of Scale.    The conversation was with the Peloton founder John Foley and the original challenge getting funding.    When approaching venture funds and angel investors Reid recommended asking yourself this question:   What does this person value above all else?   Then look at your plan and answer, am I offering something that provides that value?   Great advice for life.  Colin

Do this one thing to be effective

Don’t multi-task. Focus on one thing at a time and move to the next. I was in a training class a couple of years ago on how our company uses an agile method to build software. The trainer had us do an exercise where we took sticky notes and write out everything we needed to get done for a sample project on the board. Then we put all the sticky’s above a line (and the rest below) for the piece of the project that had to be complete in week 1. Finally, he taped a square 4 x 4-inch box on the whiteboard and we put the most important thing to get done first in that box. Once that was done we removed it put it on the table and put the 2nd most. As he described “I use this in my regular work life as well. What is above the line is what you will do during the day. What is below you are saying no too. It feels good to be clear and …

What’s in your confidence jar?

We all waiver in our confidence.  Leverage when you are at your best! I was listening to an Olympic athlete last year talking about her confidence. In two separate Olympic games, they were at completely different levels. As she transitioned from one to the next she did two things. 1. Create a confidence jar 2. Create a confidence highlight reel She wrote down moments that she was at her best and revisited them prior to big events. Second, she created a short 3-minute video reel of her best games and also watched that before big events. How are you leveraging your confidence? Defeating Average. Colin