…For which I get up in the morning


At the heart of living the life we can is a sense of purpose. The Japanese have a typically beautiful and elegant expression. “Ikigai”, or loosely,  “for which I get up in the morning”.

Engagement is a hot topic inthe world of HR, with much research to demonstrate it’s commercial power. That’s only the tip of it, a side show, in my humble opinion.

We can be actively, passively, or dis-engaged, but even at our most engaged, it is a shadow of the power of comIkigai-EN-optimized-PNGmitment – which is engagement to the power of purpose.

An organsaition may engage you, but almost never can it give you purpose. Purpose is a pre-existing state. You may have your purpose clearly defined, or like most of, have it as a continually emerging, evolving, living thing. Finding the right community, and sometimes an organisation, can give it wings.

We live in times when managing our “signal to noise” ratio is a challenge. We check our phones 200 times a day, sleep less, and self medicate with everything from shopping to alcohol.

However, sitting there, patiently ,is your purpose. The story waitng to be told that was inside you when you were born, and that is waiting for you to stop being a bit player in other people’s stories.

When we realise that we see the world not as it is, but as we are, we gain authority over our lives. As David Bohm said, “our mind creates the world, and then says, “I’didn’t do it!”

Our purpose exists, we just need to give it the space to emerge. As it does, and we engage with what really matters and facilitates our purpose, things change.




Marginal vs Exponential


We have an option of two futures, marginal or exponential.

This was brought to mind this week by two things; absolute awe at the determination, discipline and applicati0n of all the athletes in the Olympics, and secondly, an intiative by Jamie Smart, that if you’re a coach, or are are involved in transformation in any domain, is worth checking out

If you know the game you’re in, marginal gains works. Whether it’s compound interest on your account, or mining the data for an insight to gain 1/1000th of a second on your lap time, it works. Where it doesn’t work, is where the answer doesn’t lie in the data.

When the answer doesn’t lie in the data, it will, without doubt, lie in your senses. Learning to trust your senses is a journey, and the path is one of transformation, not linear gains.

Both are vital. People, and organisations that develop fastest sit at the conjunction of the two. Sweating the data, and being open to the insanely possible.

Marginal gain is low risk, but incremental. 1% a week will double your performance in what you do in eighteen months.

Transformation is exponential.  To use an well known parable, if you were to put one grain of rice onto the first square of a 64 square chess board, two on the second, four on the fourth an so on, by the time you get to the 64th square, you have a plie of rice bigger than Everest.

There is room in our lives for both. Being clear, and mindful,  in our choices – whether are we going for safe marginal, or risky exponential, is something we can make choices on.

Every day holds the possibility of two futures.


Stormy Weather?

Drops of rain on glass , rain drops on clear window

Hill walkers have an adage – “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”.

So, maybe, with the economy. With a lot of fevered competition around as to who can create the doomiest scenarios, we are very likely to have to weather some storms even if as seems likely, they may be self induced, until such time that the weather clears.

Venturing out in stormy conditions can be exhilirating. To enjoy it requires some simple but essential precautions. Perhaps we can learn from them.

  1. Wear the right clothing. In our work life then, we can translate this into having a very clear resume that demonstrates our skills, capabilities and achievements. Keep it up to date, and make it accessible wherever people see you. On your website, social media, wherever.
  2. Carry the right kit. In periods of rapid and unpredictable change, skills and capabilities become obsolescent very quickly. We might be well enough equipped for where we are now, but what about for where we might want to go? Acquiring skills has never been easier or cheaper. There’s not a lot of excuse for allowing ourselves to become stranded on a little island of mediocrity, no matter how comfortable it might be just now.
  3. Have a map and a compass. I think it was Sun Tzu who observed “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”. In times of change, it becomes easy to follow the golden penny, and to become a bit part player in someone else’s story. Today, more than ever, we need to be clear about just who we are, and what we want to contribute while we’re here. The clearer that becomes, the easier it is to choose the paths that open up to us.
  4. Let people know where you are going. It’s easy to believe, under pressure, that we’re somehow on our own, in competition with everybody else. Easy, but not true. There are always people out there who will help us, just for sake of doing it – we just need to be in a position to let them. If you have points 1-3 right, you will be an easy person to help.

Storms don’t last. Enjoy them while you can.