INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
It’s too easy to have a busy week that blends into an overwhelming month, and then another, and before you know it, a year has gone by. And despite all the activity, there’s a sense of stasis – that life is…well…it just is. You’ve fallen into a pattern of busyness, and routine, and just, living. But you don’t feel alive.
If you’ve ever felt this, especially these past few years, you’re far from alone. But, (and I know this is a big thing to say), I believe science journalist Catherine Price has pinpointed (in her TED talk) how to break this pattern, that is, the key to feeling alive again.
It’s having fun.
Think about it. Have you had a lot of fun the last few years? Likely, no. The pandemic has taken so much from us: time, attention, adventure, sense of comfort, to name a few things. And along the way we’re only falling deeper into our devices and string of zoom calls. It’s entirely possible that you’ve forgotten how to have fun.
But you need more of it in your life to truly feel life (fun is a feeling after all, not just an activity). Fun energizes – sorely needed in times that are draining. Fun forces you to be present (you simply can’t have fun if you’re not) – a gift in times of profound distraction. Fun unites us – a godsend in times when we’ve never been more divided. Fun makes you happier and healthier – a boon in times when you feel neither.
So how do you have more fun, then?
Schedule it. Make it a habit to schedule events or experiences (especially shared experiences). The kind where you let your lightheartedness radiate and could care less about the outcome. The kind where you lose track of time because you’re lost in enjoyment.
In other words, that calendar that’s held you prisoner, can set you free – as long as you’ve carved out time on it for feeling alive.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
I recently saw a woman by the name of Danielle Ponder perform in a Los Angeles theater. She’s a black singer/songwriter, who, on a momentous December 31st, after years of deliberation, at the age of 40, made a New Year’s resolution of sorts by quitting her job as a public defender in Rochester, New York, in hopes of “making it” in her new profession.
It’s a story of making a big change in life. But, as she told us from stage, while it was scary as hell, she was now living her purpose and her passion.
Danielle understands an important truth.
You can’t get to what you yearn to be, by remaining what you are.
Change is the conduit, the pivot that gets you there. I’m not saying you have to change everything about yourself, and be inauthentic, to get where you want to go (in fact, in Danielle’s case, she became even more of who she already was). I’m saying that most of us can identify changes we need to make in our lives to get to a better version of ourselves.
And yet too many never muster the courage to make those changes.
I’m asking you to begin resolution season early this year.
What’s that big change you’ve been deliberating and what’s holding you back from making it? What will it take to make the move in the new year? Doing so might have a bigger positive impact than you ever imagined. Just ask Danielle, pictured below.
Why can’t you see her too well in this pic? Because I took it from the back of a jam-packed, sold out theater, where, by the way, she was opening for Marcus Mumford, of Mumford & Sons – arguably the biggest band in the world.
From public defender to big time opening act.
A change that helped her go from being…to becoming.
Make that change, whatever that change is for you, and watch what you become.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
Want to give a good talk?
Follow the Netflix Rule.
The streaming giant has shown that audiences subconsciously decide if they’ll watch a show in the first 5 seconds. It sounded like an exaggeration to me until I started paying attention to opening scenes – sweeping vistas that set the tone of the show, a compelling visual of a lead character, and so on.
Apply this spirit by opening your talk with a hook. Give a startling fact, question, or challenge that sets up your talk, or open with an interesting story.
For example, in one of my most popular talks, I don’t start with, “Hi, so great to be here, how y’all doing?” I open with, “It was a surprisingly chilly day.” Then I launch right into a compelling story that sets up the entire premise of the talk. You get the idea. Hook em’ up front, have ‘em riveted throughout.