…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.


The BREXIT fallacy?


A whole new industry seems to have born out of a referedum decision that will trigger acton over something between the next two to six years.

A quick survey of web sites, magazines and other media will soon show a wide variety of consultancies pushing expertise in BREXIT strategies. This is a great market for people who don’t know what’s happening, to sell to other people who don’t know what’s happening.

So what is BREXIT, really? In many respects, it is a classic “Black Swan” event – one of those areas that in retrospect was very likely (if you alienate enough people, for long enough, and give them a stick to beat you with…) but on the run up was seen as a foregone conclusion, and something that a fear based campaign would ensure. That didn’t work so well then.

However, BREXIT is only one facet of what is going on. It may be have been dramatic, but baby BREXITS are happening each day, and the likelihood is that there will be other large, BREXIT like events before ever this BREXIT has been realised.

This is now the way of things. Normal is not coming back, it’s aleady here.

Individuals and businesses don’t need a BREXIT strategy; they need to become what Nassim Nicholas Taleb termed “anti fragile“.

Taleb has a habit of foresight, and this view was no different. He argues that resilience (the ability to recover from the unexpected) is not enough, and that to thrive we have to be able to grow from the energy of the shock – to become “anti fragile”

This is good news, even if uncomfortable, for individuals and small businesses who can ride the energy waves of shocks, rather than be smashed by them (more difficult for big businesses, with a history of success, and the infrastructure to prove it.

There are however, some basic rules:

  1. Dont be taken hostage by things you can’t control – everything from unrealistic bank loans to eye watering mortgages. If you can’t pay them off in times of shock, you belong to the debt, not the other way round.
  2. Don’t be trapped by ego driven careers. You are you, not your career. The world doesn’t care about your career, but it does care about what you might achieve if you exercise the unique genius that you have.
  3. Have a clear awareness of your purpose, even if it’s not clear to you yet. We are all born with a story inside us, even if we dont realise it. The challenge of our life is to tell that story, not just be bit part actors in other people’s
  4. Pay attention to who you spend time with. Science increasingly backs up Jim Rohn’s line that you become the average of the five people you most spend time with. Look around you right now.
  5. Learn something new everyday, and integrate it into who you are. Build from the inside out.
  6. Even if you’re with a big, rock solid corporate, pay attention to points 1-5. The hardcore you lay beneath your foundation was rock solid once, just like Lehman, or Kodak, or…..

Most of all, don’t be distracted by those who say they have a BREXIT strategy for you. They don’t, but they do have their own, which is to sell you a BREXIT strategy.

Your dont need consultants for your strategy, maybe you just need to accept that BREXIT is just an everyday affair, and you need to be prepared for that. See point 4 above.

You already have enough. Ignore the fear that many will try to sell you. Be clear and confident in who you are, don’t get taken hostage, choose who you work with, and most of all, tell your own story, not someone else’s.