Infinite Blog

Book Group, Resources, Review

Bite-Sized Book Review: Rework

Finally! A business book that I didn’t abandon at the 40% mark. There are three main reasons for that:

  1. It’s too short to abandon. Technically 288 pages, it’s served up as bite-sized essays with lots of illustrations and a lot of white space, so I moved through it in a breeze.
  2. It’s really well written. The authors use simple, conversational language and they don’t mince words or hide behind corporate-speak.
  3. It’s full of great advice. In challenging conventional thinking about what makes copmanies successful, the authors systematically tick through (almost) everything that has struck me as backwards about business.

Intrigued? I’m talking about Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

While the target audience seems to be entrepreneurs (or “starters,” as they prefer to think of them), leaders in every organization that aspires to be innovative or agile would benefit from giving this a read. It might not contain many wildly new ideas, but serves as  a kick in the pants to think about unproductive habits, beliefs and behaviors that govern most organizations, including the assumptions that bigger is always better and growth is always the goal.

This will likely join Radical Candor as a book I recommend to every leader I coach. And I can’t wait to read their next release (coming this fall), which – based on title alone – should have a pretty immediate fan base: It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work.

Nutshell: Read it. You’re welcome.

Career/Life Tips, Reflections & Questions, Resources

One habit to launch a great new year: pause and reflect.

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I’ll admit: I’m a bit of a reflection nut. For me, life seems most meaningful when – rather than just floating through tackling the day-to-day – I make time to step back and reflect on my path. While I’m not as extreme as Socrates (“the unexamined life is not worth living”), I do tend to think that an examined life is more likely to be a fulfilling life.

As a result, I love taking the week between Christmas and New Year to pause and reflect – both looking back at the past year and ahead at the coming one. Along the same lines, I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions (why would I want to limit myself to something I can only do annually?!), yet it’s still a nice time to revisit my ongoing list of goals and decide what to focus on over the course of the year.

If you have a bit of down-time during the holidays, consider giving yourself the gift of reflection. Below are some prompts to get you started. (I recommend journaling on these rather than just thinking them through. The act of writing adds a bit of heft to the project, and it’s fun to go back and look at your list the following year to see what’s remained the same and what has changed.)


LOOKING BACK

  • The best thing about this year…
  • The worst thing about this year…
  • This year I am most grateful for…
  • What I would do differently this year…
  • What I’m proudest of this year…
  • What was most challenging this year…
  • Time I wish I had spent differently…
  • What brought me the most joy this year…
  • One thing I’m glad I did for myself…
  • One thing I’m glad I did for someone else…
  • One difficult conversation I’m glad I had…
  • One difficult conversation I wish I had had…
  • Biggest lessons learned:

LOOKING AHEAD

  • How do I want to feel this year?
  • What do I want to accomplish this year?
  • Who do I want to help this year?
  • Who do I want to see this year?
  • How do I want to spend my time this year?
  • How do I NOT want to spend my time this year?
  • What do I want to learn this year?
  • What will I contribute to my community this year?
  • What’s one thing that – if I’ve done it by Dec 31, 2018, will have made this a great year?

PLANNING

If you’re someone who isn’t content with simply reflecting and you’d like to move to action, check out this brief Ted Talk by Laura Vanderkam (one of my favorites for busy clients) and consider how you might be able to apply her points to move your reflection into action.

Regardless of how you ring it in, I hope your new year is immensely fulfilling! 

Career/Life Tips, Reflections & Questions

Thanksgiving: a practice, not just a holiday.

pumpkin

There’s a lot to love about Thanksgiving: the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, the endless meal and its leftovers, football, pumpkin pie, and – in my book – the act of giving thanks. I love that there’s an entire holiday dedicated to this idea!

There are many forms a gratitude practice can take. For me, it’s as simple as listing five things I’m grateful for before going to bed each night. They can be big (the health of my family and friends) or small (getting to turn off my alarm clock the next morning). Either way, it’s a nice way to bookend a day and jar myself out of simple mindless contentment. I highly recommend it.

Now if you really want to get bang for your buck, though, don’t stop there. Move past gratitude to truly giving thanks. What’s the difference, you might ask? A gratitude practice does a wonderful job reminding you how full and fortunate your life is. Giving thanks provides expression to that gratitude. It’s one thing for me to end my day grateful to have a supportive partner, an amazing mentor, generous friends and lovely clients. It’s another thing entirely to share this with them.

It reminds me of that folk song we were taught as children: Love is something if you give it away… you end up having more! The same goes for gratitude. Sure, it can make your life rich to reflect on what you have – and it can make MULTIPLE lives rich by sharing it.

This Thanksgiving, I’m going to focus on truly giving thanks. And I’ll start with you: THANK YOU for reading my posts, for sharing them with friends, and for generally supporting my journey. It means the world to me to know that other people are chewing on the same ideas I am – and are listening to what I have to say. You get me, and I dig it.

What to play along, but not sure where to start? Here we go: 

  • Who makes your life easier?
  • Who always brings a smile to your face?
  • Who handles the details you miss?
  • Who helps pull you out of the weeds?
  • Who challenges you to be your best self?
  • Whose shoulder do you know you can cry on?
  • Who has seen you at your worst – and stayed?
  • Who tells you the truth – even when it hurts?
  • Who changed the trajectory of your life?
  • Who helps care for your children/pet/parents? 

You get the idea. Now go tell them. And Happy Thanksgiving!