INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
A reader’s LinkedIn post reminded me of this potent tale:
A father offered a car to his daughter for graduating with honors, an old car he’d stored away for the occasion. He told his daughter to take it to the used car lot downtown to see how much they’d offer if she sold it to them. The daughter did so and returned, telling her father they offered just $1,000 because the car looked pretty worn out. The father then asked her to take it to a pawn shop, which she did. She returned, telling her father the pawn shop only offered $100 because of the car’s age. Finally, the father asked the daughter to take the car to a car club, which she did, returning to excitedly report they offered $100,000 because the car is a Holden Torana, an iconic car sought by many collectors. Dad’s response? “The right place values you the right way. If you’re someplace you’re not valued, don’t be angry, it just means you’re in the wrong place.”
I’ve learned this lesson repeatedly in my career. Never stay in a place where you’re not valued. Your unique contributions just need to find the right light to fully illuminate them.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
You simply must avoid the exponential tragedy of spending too much time working on the wrong thing. It’s the double-whammy of productivity. Recognize when you’re in a pattern of mindlessly, habitually laboring at something. Spend that extra time you put into something that’s outlived its usefulness by introspectively lasering in on what you should be spending your time on. How do you know what that is? Ask yourself, “Will working on this move the needle on what really matters to me in the end?” That which matters to you, that gives you meaning, is what to return to over and over again, especially when you feel lost.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
I’ve been told I’m “prolific” in my creative output (speaking, writing, course creation, etc.) and am often asked for my secret. That’s not a brag – I guess being hyper-productive is just part of who I am. One of my favorite productivity tricks is the Pomodoro Technique. The full exercise is explained here, but I use just the simplest core of it. Set a timer for 25 minutes. In that span, work, uninterrupted, being brutal about not allowing distractions. Then, take a short break. Follow it up with another 25 minutes of uninterrupted work, and so on. Over time, I’ve expanded that 25 minutes to much longer doses of deeply focused work, followed by brief breaks. It’s amazing what the combination of working under a “forced” time constraint, in doses, along with stepping away to let your brain to reset, can do for your level of output.