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Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

  • Arthur Ashe, Tennis hall of fame player, and presidential medal of freedom recipient

I heard this quote today and it made me think of many different stages of my life.

If I could go back to my younger self and give me this advice I would have said.

Start where you can

  • Focus on learning everyday
  • Realize momentum builds over time and taking the first step is the key

Use what you have

  • Use your stubbornness and discipline and commit to one big thing to improve  every year
  • Keep it simple, life gets complex over time

Do what you can

  • Pay it forward to others and reap the benefits over the next 10 years
  • Help one person every week
  • Put your oxygen mask on first every day

Defeating Average.

 

Colin

My Stressful thoughts overtake my ability to focus

I was listening to a podcast last weekend as the guest was answering a passage stuck out.

When I am overloaded, “my stressful thoughts overtake my ability to focus” and I thought yes, that is how I feel some days!

The good news is those days are infrequent and I find it’s helpful to watch for the queues and have a plan

Queues:

  • When I feel like I have so much to do and don’t know where to start
  • When the same single keeps playing in my head about things I can’t control
  • Negative thoughts in general

Antidote:

  • Go for a walk outside and get fresh air
  • Take a breathing or meditative pause and break
  • Write down all the things I have to do, get them out of my head. Circle the Top 3 and work on the first one first.

 

Defeating Average through stress.

 

Colin

Are you missing out on opportunity?

Pull your toes on the way up, push through your quads on the way down and widen the circle.

 

Good advice from Peloton instructor Sam Yo last week on one of my regular spin classes.

He was focusing on potential range of motion, power, and output.

It made me think about how that applies to life.

 

You can look at it like 7 pieces of a pie in the wheel of life. 

Spirituality

Career

Finance

Family

Learning

Health and Wellness

Friend and Community

 

If you are not getting your full range of motion, power and output in each area, you are missing out on opportunities.

 

None of us will be hitting 10/10 in all areas and not even close.

 

When we think about how much of the pie and landscape we are covering we can put a spotlight on the areas we would like to focus on…and perhaps pull our toes up a little more.

 

Where are you doing well?

Where can you expand that circle?

 

Defeating Average.

 

Colin

Upskilling and the war for talent

We used to call education the four and 40. Go to school for four years, work for 40. What’s now is you are going to have to learn some sort of new skill every four years.

I was listening to a great episode of Masters of Scale (Rapid Response) this week with guest Rachel Carlson,  co-founder and CEO of Guild Education.

She shared “100 million Americans, over two-thirds of the workforce today in America, need re-skilling or upskilling in the next decade in order to be relevant, employable, and be able to survive in the economy of the next decade. The problem is those folks don’t know how to find what school or program they ought to go back to, let alone what they ought to study.”

“So the half-life of a skill is now about four years. So if you’re learning anything skills-based, you are probably getting about four years worth. And so the future of work, the skills are going to evolve, right?

“We call that the four and 40, right? Go to school for four years, work for 40. The four and 40 is dead. So dead. What’s now is the every four. You’re going to have to learn some sort of new skill every four years. Now, I don’t know exactly who your listeners are, but if they’re like you and me, Bob, we’re probably some of the edge cases. You and I will learn the new Slack. And if somebody ever changes and builds the next Excel, we’ll learn the next Excel. But for the vast, vast majority of Americans, literally more than two thirds, they’re going to be wholesale learning new technology every four years. And that’s the reality that we’re not totally reckoning with right now.”

We are entering a new pandemic / post pandemic (depending where you live) economy. Everything will be different.

How will you prepare for your future?

What do you need to accept to be ready?

Defeating Average.

Colin

Are you an imposter?

I think we all are at some point. This discussion has been coming up more and more recently.

Are you handling the pandemic ok? Yes, I mean nooo!

How are you handling the scope of your new role? Great, I mean, ugg flailing!

You seem to be onboarding your new team well and meeting customer expectations. Yes, I am! Noooo, I am struggling to keep up!

Does this sound like you at all?

We all have a lot on our plate right now and may feel like an imposter balancing our job, our pandemic life, and our family.

It’s ok to say, woe, it’s a lot right now and sometimes I am on the struggle bus.

People appreciate honesty.

Personally, some days I feel like I have it nailed and the next day, I don’t at all!

What is important during these times?

  • Be gentle with yourself, it’s ok to admit…even to others.
  • Partner with other people who can help you get over the hump.
  • Remember each day is a new day and with good sleep, you will wake up refreshed and be able to begin again.

If you are not struggling right now, it’s possible you are not being honest with yourself.

 

Defeating the struggle together!

 

Colin

Are you anticipating where the puck is going?

“Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been.”

I was watching Master Class last week and they have a new series with Wayne Gretzky. I was fortunate, I grew up where he played the first decade of his career in Edmonton. He is one of hockey’s greatest players, if not the greatest, depending on your view.

When asked why he was so good at the game of hockey, he famously said: “I skated to where the puck was going, not to where it had been.”

He was talking about anticipation. Perhaps his greatest asset. People used to say he had eyes in the back of his head. 

In an episode in Master Class which I highly recommend (for hockey fans this series is worth the cost alone!), he talks about how his father Walter was ahead of his time in thinking about the game.

“I remember I was watching hockey on Saturday nights and my dad would say, I want you to watch the play, and draw where the puck is going all period, but don’t look down at your paper. You need to be able to see the play and have your head up. I would then analyze where the puck had been and it was surprising. I kept doing this over and over again until it transferred onto the ice.”

Anticipation. One of Gretzky’s greatest assets.

How are you anticipating where the puck is going in your life? Are you putting in the work to be world-class?

Defeating Average.

Colin

Are you languishing AND flailing?

I was listening to a great podcast from Dr Michael Gervais on Finding Mastery and he had a great guest Dr. Katie Milkman, who’s a behavioral scientist, and wrote a book recently with her focus “that optimism comes when you have a fresh start”. 

Maybe it’s from a life event, or for something you’re striving for. Maybe it comes from pain, or you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. It can come at any time, it can be from different chapters in your life.  It can be after a rough quarter, a challenging month, a surprising week, and or sometimes daily focus.  I like to think I have fresh starts of some sort on a daily basis. 

Optimism, even if you’re not always optimistic, we all have that ability to find it.  It can be that pivot point or that first timely start. I encourage you to think about that, think about the science, and be on the lookout for the opportunity. 

Sometimes when you’re looking for it you find it or when you’re not looking for it.

Highly recommend the episode.

Defeating average with optimism.

Colin

Does your boat size fit the task at hand?

I was sitting up on the patio of our building in New York City looking at the boats going by. We are down in Battery Park which is just next to Tribeca. You can see the Statue of Liberty off in the distance and it’s amazing how many different types of boats go through the Hudson. 

In our new program at Salesforce, building out a Sales leader coaching practice, one of the things we have been talking about is you to best utilize your resources when working with a customer.

I see similarities between the size of the boat you move in and how you bring value to a customer.

Sometimes you are paddling in a two-person kayak.

Other times you may need a little bit more horsepower and have 4-6 people in a speedboat.

Sometimes and a little more rarely you see these pretty big yachts that are coming in from the islands and they are parked down by this little harbor and we walk down and check them out.

Kayak is like your account executive and solutions engineer going to help a customer who just wants to get up on one product.

The speedboat you’ve got a few more resources in there with, maybe it’s the account executive, one of your co-Prime’s it’s your Solution engineer, maybe it’s someone from the Business value team working on a Total cost of ownership analysis, and it’s focused on that midsize industry deal. 

And then there is the yacht. That’s the full power of your company.  At Salesforce, we like to provide value by holding executive briefings for our customers on key topics they care about, we host fun and creative marketing events, and we invite other customers to share how they are succeeding with Salesforce. We host really big industry events that bring the whole ecosystem together like Dreamforce (in person or virtually last year where millions of people came together).

We are a sales-focused organization and everyone helps lean in to win as a team. With 60K employees, you can think about everyone as stars in the sky that can be pulled down to join the conversation on the big boat and share some expertise that solves a challenge a customer is focused on.

It doesn’t matter what size of company or industry you are in, these three different approaches are available to you in some form.

 

Defeating Average as a team.

 

Colin

Are you outnumbered against fear?

“If you face just one opponent, and you doubt yourself, you’re out-numbered.” – Dan Millman

We all have fear. Fear of failure, fear of not being enough, fear of other people’s opinions, fear of covid.

In his book Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman talks about doubt and fear, it’s an awesome read.

After recently reading more on the fear of fear itself, I found myself preparing for a recent presentation realizing I was not being fearful of not presenting well…I was fearful of fear itself. Trippy right.

Once we realize that fear is a part of being able to perform and it will always be there, you can notice it, like a cloud passing, name it and move on.

We can all face one opponent. If we can harness and leverage fear, we will be less likely to be outnumbered. In fact, if you can talk openly about your fear with others, you can outnumber fear.

Defeating Average.

Colin.

My Nutrition was out of wack

I have been trying to get back into shape. I am getting in a good amount of outside time, riding the peloton a couple of times and a week, and slowly easing back into running.

It really hit me after a run 6 weeks ago and I felt completely out of shape when I was done. 

Is this it, I was thinking? Maybe the good running days are done.

I called a friend who has been accelerating in his 50+ year age for some advice.

He said:

  1. Stretching and a lot of it
  2. Nutrition – Are you being honest with yourself?
  3. East back into it

 

I have been on a stretching binge, my wife can attest to it. Lying on the floor all over the apartment. What has really helped is focusing on it with my trainer. Instead of stretching for time, stretching for deep breaths (that are a similar amount of time). I can report making big strides in my standing stretch and things are progressing.

Nutrition.

I started following a program with my friend and nutritionist Dr. Marc Bubbs. I needed an accountability partner, and a stronger why.

Feeling old and slow was enough to get me kick-started.

A key piece of this has been sharing my nutrition goals with my wife and without her assistance in making some amazing and delicious meals and would not be making the progress I want to be.

Finally, easing back into it.

It’s an ultra-marathon, not a sprint. I want to feel healthier, lighter, more flexible for myself and my family, and am on my way there.

Anyone else who needs an accountability partner or support, reach out!

Defeating Average as we age.

Colin