“I don’t need time. What I need is a deadline.”
— Duke Ellington
I woke up at 3:15am on a Saturday morning, stumbled into clothing and biked 30 minutes across town from East to South London. Zombie-like and bloodshot, dodging broken glass and other remnants of a Friday night, I cursed myself.
Feedback can be hard. First, drumming up the courage to ask for it. Then actually listening to it without taking it personally. And perhaps hardest of all: sifting through conflicting feedback to know what to listen to, and what to ignore.
Here’s a song I wrote and performed over the weekend for Escape The City’s London Career Change program, about the troubles of wanting to change your career but not knowing where or how to start.
I typically only play guitar in the comfort of my own room, so this was a comfort challenge for me. But I wanted to role model acting with discomfort to the brave group of people in the room embarking on a career change.
Last Friday I facilitated a team building workshop with a small team in London. Usually I help individuals find more fulfilment at work – which occasionally involves them quitting a job or a team. Friday’s task was different: help strengthen a current team.
I loved it. I learned a lot. Including the realization that I’d like to do more of this kind of work. (Which might influence the rankings in my geeky project decision spreadsheet.) So wanted to share a few of these lessons with you.
This is a follow up post to Vision Quests & The Power of Intention.
“Now I certainly see the value in having goals and improving yourself. But I’m avoiding making a list of declarations to internally grade and beat myself up over.” — Kevin Rose in his January 2017 newsletter, The Journal
Goals are golden. New years resolutions intend well. They can serve as powerful propellers, mobilizing us toward grand achievements and new experiences.
Around this time last year I was preparing for something called a vision quest. The core element of the vision quest being a three night solo fast in the wild. My wild would be aspen forests and mountain meadows at 10,000 feet amongst the rugged San Juans of southwestern Colorado.
“You’re doing what?”
I can still hear my mother’s voice ringing inside my head.
I know, it sounds wacky. No food. No humans. No tent. Just water, some kit to sleep in, and your lonely self for three days in the wild world.
In 1994, Jeff Bezos was working at a Wall Street hedge fund, making great money in what he called a “stable career path.”
But he had a crazy idea. One that would require him to quit his job for a riskier path. He wanted to start a business selling books online.
“[I wanted] to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal.”
“Don’t start with the problem, start with the people. Start with empathy.” –Bill Burnett & Dave Evans, Designing Your Life
Last week I explored a super-nerdy approach to choosing my next project(s).
This week, I’d like to touch on another decision-making tool, one based less on personal drivers like interests, values and excitement, and more on the external factor of service.
Last week I posed the question “How do you choose what’s next?” I’m considering this in my own career, as I evaluate where to spend my time and energy, and what new projects to sink my teeth into.
Some of you responded with fantastic resources and ideas – thank you! This is a huge topic, one that books could and have been written on. And the more I dig into this…it’s a deep dark rabbit hole down here. So I’ll approach this topic Bird by Bird – one thought at a time.
In the spirit of personal growth and learning in public (what this blog is all about), I’ll also use myself as a case study to explore decision making frameworks in real time over the coming weeks.