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I visualized being at the top for three years 

I visualized being at the top of Everest for three years until I was.”

  • Ricky Singh (Indian / American Entrepreneur)

We sat around the dinner table talking about our first day on the expedition and someone ask Ricky “we heard you climbed Everest in 2019, tell us about the experience.”

He said “I climbed for 6 weeks every spring in Nepal with the team I assembled over three years. We practiced our skills and build trust constantly. When back in the US I spent a little time each night visualizing success. I saw myself at the top. I saw through any obstacles. Skills will only get you so far in Everest. You need belief in yourself, confidence you can handle anything that comes your way.”

As we hiked Death Valley this week he got me thinking about my values.

Trust, learning, exploration.

Trust and learning have always been my top two. For me part of exploration is courage.

Ricky exemplifies courage and learning.

To be different, think differently, challenge boundaries. He was one of the most curious people about life I have ever met.

Ricky had the courage to believe he could make the highest point on earth.  He planned for it meticulously. Three of four people on his expedition made it to the top. All made it off safely.  Ricky lost two fingers to frostbite on the way down.  A simple mistake taking a glove off at the wrong time. Other mistakes could have been much more consequential.

Part of what I love about these adventures, are who you meet and what you learn about them and about yourself.

What do you want?

How can you meticulously plan to make it so? Visualize its completion.

How can you be a little more curious learning from others.

Defeating Average.

Colin

Welcome Unanticipated Problems

“Anticipate and welcome the unanticipated problems and permit an exercise into transcendence vs. tragedy. Take out the negative energy and turn it into action.”

 

I have been listening to Ken Burns interviews as he prepares to launch his PBS 4 part series on Muhammad Ali!  I can’t wait.

 

From a legendary documentary filmmaker, words of wisdom on how he prepares for films for life.

 

Defeating Average.

 

Colin

Are you a leader of tomorrow?

What is life? 

 

What’s it for?

 

There is a lot of ambiguity in the world right now. We are coming out of lock down. Life is getting back to normal. There is a new virus variant, we may be retracting, putting more strict measures back in place?

 

One thing is certain. Nothing is certain right now.

 

How does that make you feel?

 

Uneasy, confused, despondent.

 

I think we have all felt these emotions. I certainly have.

 

We are entering a new uncertain future.

 

The leaders of tomorrow (and this includes leading yourself and your family), are people who can adapt, pivot, grow, learn.

 

Attitude can lead you through ambiguity.

Recovery for mind and body can lead you to the right results.

Living (and showing others how) through your values leads to victory.

Understanding and empathy helps lead you over the mountain pass of uncertainty.

 

We are all in it together.

Help one another.

 

I will be on PTO for the rest of the week and taking a break from writing to spend time with my family.

 

Have a great week.

 

Defeating Average Together.

 

Colin

How do you retain top talent

25-40% of people are thinking of quitting their job in the next 6-12 months! Are you one of them?

In a recent article published in Axios titled the Great Resignation Wave, surveys show anywhere from 25% to upwards of 40% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs. Similarly, a UK and Ireland survey found that 38% of employees were planning to leave their jobs in the next six months to a year.

Why is that?

I’ve read and heard from many people:

 

  • The pandemic has really spurred people to think deeply about what is important to them and how they prioritize that
  • They want to be aligned to a company or organization that meets their values
  • They want to be inspired on the mission of what their company does
  • The job market is very hot right now and will no longer will tolerate working for a bad boss

 

If you are a leader of a team or an aspiring leader, here are some things to think about:

  • People want to know where they stand in their career. Have you had this conversation with your employee and are you both very clear on their long term opportunity and approach?
  • Have you created an environment, especially in this new virtual world where they feel like they belong? Have you helped create their internal company network?
  • Have you created a safe space for them to share their values with you and their peers? Do they align to the company’s values?
  • Are you clear on what they are trying to achieve personally outside the job? Who and what’s important to their family, including kids? 

 

People are making family decisions more than ever before in this pandemic.

 

We need to be closer than ever before to our people when we (currently) lack the ability to see most of them in person.

 

Lead and treat people how you want to be treated.

 

Defeating Average in growing your team and family.

 

Colin

I used to collect stickers…business stickers

Passion, joy and something to look forward to is an anecdote to anxiety.

When I was 8 years old, a couple friends and I would call up local businesses and ask if they could send us a few of their business stickers.

We got a lot of – what? Pardon? You want what?

When I think of it now, it sounds a little absurd.

On the other hand, we were very committed. We repeated exactly what we were up to and why we wanted the stickers with no apologies.

“We collect business stickers. We have a big album. We have them from all over Alberta.” (My home province in Canada).

Shiny ones were the best. Often long haul trucking companies had sparkly ones, even better.

Some people would take our address and pop them in the mail. Others would ask us to send them an envelope with return postage. Either was good.  We ended up getting a surprise in the mail and split the stickers.

Maybe I am thinking about it more as Tess starts to grow up and has all sorts of hobbies.

She loves stickers, bracelets, magna tiles (hours of fun).

Whether it’s kids, nieces, nephews or for yourself, passion, joy and something to look forward to can be a critical part of a challenging year.

Defeating Average with sparkly stickers.

Colin

Rock Tumbler

I had a rock tumbler when I was younger.

For those who have not heard of it, it’s a small cylinder that spins or tumbles. You put stones in it with some small pebbles that wear down and smooth your stones.  

You leave it running for a few days.

When it’s done you have some beautiful smooth stones and you add to your rock collection.

I was thinking of this lately and why I enjoyed it.

  1. Taking something from rough form
  2. Investing in it over time
  3. The anxiety and excitement of what will result
  4. The reveal and pride in what you produced

 

It made me think of how people invested in me and now transitioning to how I invest in other people.

  1. You have a valuable rough young resource you are responsible for
  2. You listen, you coach, you advise 
  3. You ride the emotional coaster of some success, failure and growth
  4. You graduate someone you manage or mentor into the next state of their career

 

The stone continues to tumble, get smoother and shine.

 

Defeating Average one tumble at a time.

 

Colin

I’m back from PTO and I slowed down!

“Pay attention in the present moment. Drink your tea slowly and revelry, as if it’s the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly without rushing towards the future. Live the actual moment, only this moment is life.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

 

It took me three days on a week-long vacation to SLOW down, rest and restore. 

I had naps in the afternoon instead of writing.

I meditated longer in the morning instead of rushing to get a workout in.

I played in the ocean longer with my daughter Tess, instead of heading to the beach and chunking through the book I was reading.

I was less achievement oriented and I feel like I am coming back more rested!

I lived more in the moment. I did less, and went deeper.

 

In the end, what’s it all for?

This is one of my daily questions I answer.

I spent some time documenting good moments during the days. Something I can refer back to.

Hopefully I can bring at least 2%+ more of this theme back into my work world and find synchronicity between work, family and life.

Defeating Average by taking all your PTO.  

 

That means you!

 

Colin

Here’s the rarest type of employee—and why they outperform everyone else

It was after two years of really great success for me and then two years of failure that had me look in the mirror and reevaluate how I approached business. My secret sauce of being a great hardware seller hit a wall in 2008 when every purchase by customers was scrutinized to the nth degree. I realized I need to learn more…myself, from my peers and other people in the industry.

I had some solid skills and was not sharing what I knew freely with other people. One day I decided I was going to give away my best ideas to my peers (and who I somewhat saw as competitors), pay it forward, and ask for help in the process.

What I quickly realized is my two hot pieces of secret sauce were dwarfed in a good way by the 10 nuggets of wisdom I quickly got back. From that day forward #growthmindset was my number one focus.

I believe we are at this inflection point again. The world is too complex and companies are matrixed so that you cannot do it alone.

Summarizing from a recent Adam Grant article on CNBC I think he covers it beautifully.

“Takers see the world as a hyper-competitive rat race. Since they assume that no one else will look out for them, they place their own interests first and last. They may choose to help others strategically, but only when the benefit seems to exceed the cost.

Matchers operate tit for tat. When people do them a favor, they repay in a capacity that is no more, no less. And when they help someone, they expect the same in return.

Givers focus on others more than on themselves. They pay close attention to what people need from them, whether it’s time or ideas or mentorship. A rarity in the workplace, according to Grant, their style is more typical of the way we treat family and friends.

Givers pay it forward

In any given field, you’ll find givers near the top of their career ladder. As they pay it forward, according to a number of studies, givers make for more efficient engineers or higher-grossing salespeople than takers or matchers.

Grant proposes that these high performers are strategic in the choices they make and the limits they set. This, of course, is what also makes them more appealing and desirable to employers.

Most of all, they’ve learned how to get help when they need it, and they’re skilled at receiving as well as giving. “Successful givers are every bit as ambitious as takers and matchers,” Grant writes in his book. “They simply have a different way of pursuing their goals.”

Highly recommend reading the rest of the article and reading any of Adam Grant’s books!

Defeating Average.

Colin

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