Author: Colin Nanka

Trust builds better outcomes

I had the pleasure of spending some time last week with an old colleague, David Droogleever on his podcast Softer but Stronger. We shone sunlight through the magnifying glass and put the spotlight on Trust. We discussed: Leading from your values Being a trust detective Dissolving reticence to team building and mitigating trust leakage How trust build better outcomes What an example of a north star is and how to find it. We had a good conversation and recommend taking in his podcast. Defeating Average. Colin  

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Why making your bed first thing in the morning may be the one thing you are missing

My friend interviewed Admiral Bill McRaven recently. He was the 4-star seal commander in charge of the Bin Laden raid. They discussed a speech he did at a graduation ceremony at the University of Texas at Austin so I went back to listen to it. It 16 minutes and highly recommend it. You can click on the link above.  Here are his 10 recommendations on living a great life.  1. Make your bed. Doing one thing right first thing in the morning leads to doing more small things right. One success leads to more success. Life is about doing the small things right.  2. Find people to help you paddle.  Seals had to row for hours to storm the beach during one test. Only the teams rowing at the same cadence and speed would make it. You can’t accomplish anything alone.  3. Respect everyone. They had seals from all different backgrounds and diversity which made everyone better. Each person has unique skills that contribute. Respect all people.  4. Life is not fair, move forward. Upon inspection of uniforms each day, …

This is the moment for action

As Tony Prophet, our Chief Equality Officer at Salesforce, recently shared, “There is no perfect way to reach out to the black and brown community. I had a friend who called me recently and said, ‘I don’t know what to say, Tony, I just want to let you know I am thinking about you and support you.’ That was very meaningful to me.” Tony has made a huge contribution to our company and community. He also gave all of us space and permission not to overthink the perception of our support, but to lean into action and just do it.  In the last week, I’ve reached out to my black and POC friends to let them know that I’m thinking about them and their families and that I am here to support them. Each time wasn’t graceful but it was authentic.  I’ve always been a proponent that the only way to grow is through getting comfortable being uncomfortable. Talking about the systemic racism that has plagued the US (and my own country of Canada) can be awkward. …

Can you operate in chaos?

There are moments in time when we have the opportunity to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.  Stronger, smarter, and more powerful. We have never been to a more anxious moment in most of our lifetimes. It could feel like your effort and ideas don’t matter, things won’t change, and we can’t connect with the people we love.  But remember this: A community organizer, lawyer, and junior senator from south Chicago lead us through the 2008 economic crisis and is viewed as one of the most popular Presidents in history. Many of the innovative companies in the world were created in recessions including Netflix, Air BnB, Trader Joe’s, Microsoft, Disney, IBM, HP.  13 Massive Companies That Started During a Recession Special mention to Salesforce which was started the year before the dot.com bubble burst.  There is always opportunity in crisis.  Look for gaps in the market.  Partner with positive people and get around the same table to create change.  Believe in yourself and the examples of inspiring leaders past and present.  Know this: Like a Phoenix, you …

The Unknown Superpower

Be where your feet are.  I heard a professional athlete said this recently. It reminded me about what Michael Jordan’s teammates said about him in the blockbuster documentary “Last Dance.” Roughly they said, “most people think Jordan’s superpower was his drive, commitment, and competitive nature. All true. However, his true difference-maker was his ability to be present, in the moment, in the biggest moments, when things really mattered.” He was cool, calm, and collected in practice and all day for game day.  Especially in these times, being present is crucial. Not anxious about the future (although challenging I admit) and not living in the past.  Can you feel the sunlight on your shoulder? Can you hear the wind rustle the leaves? Can you taste each morsel of food? How can you be where your feet are? Colin

Patagonia – It almost didn’t happen

“I think there is so much aversion to risk-taking. I don’t think that’s the right direction we should be going. You have to take risks if you want to learn anything and expand the self-imposed walls we put around ourselves.” -Hilaree Nelson, World Class Ski Mountaineer I’ve traveled the globe adventuring, and what I love just as much as exploring is trying to share the experience with others. In 2017 I committed to training for a race I wasn’t sure I was even going to. We were trying to have a child and Zika (remember that?) was in many different parts of the world, including South America. It’s hard to train for an unknown but I knew it may be my last chance before a life change and having children. Luckily, we were successful early and Blake gave me the pass to go to a magical place I had always wanted to go.  Patagonia! Two months before the race, my film partner and I, Peter came up with a plan. He was coming to Argentina! I’ve …

If you could give the graduating class of 2020 two pieces of advice, what would it be? 

Students are graduating in unprecedented times. Without the traditional in-person closing chapter of graduating together and their right of passage. They are craving contact, are anxious about entering a workforce with 20+ % unemployment and a pandemic strangling our communities. They need our wisdom. Your wisdom.  What are your two pieces of advice you would offer them? Here is a top 10 list I created: Figure out your values and live by them. Its easier to make decisions that way. You have the ability to make small choices every day. When made well they add up exponentially over time. You will go farther as a team than you will go alone. You are a direct reflection of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Focus on your strengths and partner with others to shore up your weaknesses Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Take it one mile at a time. Everyone is struggling with something you know nothing about. Don’t judge people. Be kind. Get comfortable being in uncomfortable situations. It’s where you …

What can we learn from mountaineers?

Mountains have been here for millions of years. They are a picture of stability, calmness, shelter from the storm. At the same time, Mother Nature can make the path up a mountain slow, tedious, anxious, dangerous, even fatal. What do the best mountaineers do? They prepare relentlessly with back up plans B, C, and D They ration supplies and are prepared to wait out the storm  They take calculated risks yet may stop a couple of hundred feet from the summit to live another day  They leverage the power of the team  They take the journey, one step, hour, and day at a time.  We are going through trying times. We are all on the journey together.  Don’t go it alone. Ask for help from guides who have navigated the storm before.  Defeating Average.  Colin

What is the Silver Lining?

I have been listening to some thought leaders on podcasts and zoom talks and one thing is clear about leaders who are “leading through the crisis” – they see this crisis as an opportunity and they are finding the silver lining to the pandemic. They are traveling less and sleeping more They are spending more time with their family They are focusing more on health and wellness They are turning potentially negative situations into positives with good questions What is the silver lining for you in this environment? Defeating Average. Colin

What I learned from James Cameron

I was watching James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis at the Telluride Mountain Film Festival (on-line) this weekend. They interviewed the pair talking about climate change and the impact of meat consumption on the environment. They have a program at a school they run that is called “One meal per day” and it’s focused on people eating one vegan meal per day.  Both to lessen the environmental impact and for a healthier diet for both children and adults. It had me thinking about how “One meal per day” can help us think about morning routines and setting their “mental meal” for the day.  What’s in your 15-minute mental meal? Like a balanced meal of protein, carb, fat.  Protein 10 minutes of meditation (start with five if you are new to it) give your mental muscles that exercise it needs to get your brain prepared for the day Calm, and headspace are get apps Science shows that just 8 min per day change fiber in your brain to strengthen your resolve and increase your creativity  Carbs  Morning …