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Manage your energy not your time
Take a seat at the campfire and rest your weary feet – you deserve it.
This month we’re sharing stories that help you find ways to be less busy and get more done.
And if you’re in the mood you can even chill out around the crackle of a ‘real’ campfire and lose yourself in the dancing flames.
And my brilliant partner at Living Teams, Andy Denne shares some stories from his Hero’s Journey.
Do you like improv?
It’s a great skill set to add to how you lead – because – at the end of the day, it’s all made up!
Enjoy what we ‘made up’ for you this month and let us know how we’re doing – what are you liking about this newsletter?
Stop managing your time
Think of yourself as a skilled surfer, carving a great ride across the ocean of too much. Your job is not to control the waves of demands made of you; it is to gain a sense of mastery – read on for some great tips about how to do that.
This piece is inspired by a great book “Busy – how to thrive in a world of too much” by Tony Crabbe.
We all have too much to do, too much information and too much pressure. In the time it will take you to read this page, 300 million emails will be sent. In the last minute, three days’ worth of content has been uploaded onto YouTube. In the last 10 seconds, one hundred people have discovered the Internet and email for the first time, joining nearly 3 billion others.
You will receive even more emails next year. None of us is going to turn the technological clock back thirty years, and most organisations are unlikely to start saying “Relax! Don’t do as much work!”
How we are working isn’t working. Our strategies for coping are starting to let us down. The world has changed – and we need a different response.
How do we thrive?
The opposite of “busy” in today’s world is sustained, focused attention. It is deep engagement in activities that matter to us, or in conversations with those we care about. It is taking time to think. It is found in the way we use our attention – not how we use our time. It is found in how we think, not produce; in how we engage, not acquire.
We have to accept that we will never be in control again; there are too many demands on our time. Instead we should aim to gain a sense of mastery in our lives by letting go of our need to be in control, by making brutal choices, by managing our attention and by negotiating our life back.
Some tips from Tony Crabbe:
Stop Managing your Time
Think of yourself as a skilled surfer, carving a great ride across the ocean of too much. Your job is not to control the waves of demands made of you; it is to gain a sense of mastery.
Time Management Isn’t Helping.
Time management will not help you get in control; because there is too much to do it will only make you busier.
Time management will not make you happier; it fractures attention and destroys our moments.
Time management will not make you more effective. It reduces our ability to prioritize; it makes us more efficient, but less effective.
From Control to Mastery
It’s not your fault you can’t do it all – there is simply too much to do.
Get sloppy. Perfection is an impossible façade to maintain that masks vulnerability; the cost of perfection is too high.
You can’t control the inputs; mastery comes from your outputs. Let the inputs wash past you and focus on the outputs you choose make.
Building a Sense of Mastery.
Busyness can be a form of learned helplessness, but we don’t have to feel that way.
You can choose to feel more mastery – you can choose how to respond and how to feel in almost any set of circumstances.
Flip seriousness into playfulness – a state of busyness comes from being too serious; change your motivational state to have more fun, be more creative and engage people better.
Sit down and identify one thing you would do differently if you genuinely believed your outputs are more important than your inputs, for example leaving your email switched off for most of the day. Then do that thing, daily.
Choose Your Response
Identify one of your triggers: at what point in the day, or what activity makes you feel most overwhelmed? Think about how you currently respond and design a better response that will help you to feel more mastery.
Play with imperfection. Don’t empty your inbox, don’t tidy your desk, rip up your to-do list and leave your phone and lap-top at work or in another room. Go on. I dare you! See if the sky falls down.
Reverse Your Mood
Identify what will trigger a switch in mood from a serious to a playful mood. This might be music, environment or trigger words. Experiment with it and get good at the flip.
Take 5 around this campfire
When was the last time you sat around a real campfire and stared into the flames?
Find yourself a dark room in the house and press play on the video, enter full screen and simply allow yourself to be transported into this campfire.
You can hear the fire crackling as the wood burns.
Feel the heat – maybe a bit too much as you get close.
Allow yourself to be with the flames and enjoy this most primal of experiences.
Stare into the flames and feel the warmth of the fire.
Who might be sitting around the campfire with you?
What stories would be told?
What dreams would you share around this campfire?
It’s time to get better at making it all up – it’s time to improvise.
In this video are 10 Basic rules for Improvisation to help you make a start.
The nature of improv is that it’s all made up…in the moment…by people who have agreed to play. No one knows what’s going to happen; they are all jointly responsible for the outcome and success depends on a generosity of spirit and action.
Never before has it been more true that – it really is all made up and no one really knows what’s going to happen next!
What if you applied these 10 rules of improv to working with and in your team?
Accept ideas, build on each other by ‘yes anding’, stay focused, make others look good, don’t waffle….and so on…watch the video for all 10.
We use improv a lot in our team trainings because the skills of improv help teams be more collaborative and more creative.
And because it’s a lot of fun – we could all do with more fun in our Zoom and Team meetings – give it a try.
Meet Andy Denne – my hero’s journey
“Knock knock” – it’s your soul calling!
My hero’s journey began at the age of 28, way back in 1992. Every day I went to work, I was a rising star in the world’s leading financial information services company Reuters. Successfully selling dealing rooms on Wall St, London, Copenhagen, and Oslo. One of the company’s “top young talents”. Flying around the world for meetings in New York, or Hong Kong – it was just like the movies! And yet, and yet – I was restless. A voice deep within me was not settled…
One day, I found myself on holiday on a Greek island called Skyros. The island hosted all sorts of “alternative activities”. Meditation, voice workshops, space clearing – all a million miles away from the technology traders used to buy and sell dollars and gold.
Poets, teachers, healers, psychotherapists were not the same as the bold striped shirts with braces and ties of the dealing rooms in the City of London. And yet I felt at home.
“KNOCK KNOCK”: “You’re a healer” they said to this young 28-year-old.
“No, I jolly well AM NOT” I replied immediately – too afraid to even look at the possibility – quickly rushing back to the busy safety of the world I knew – dealing rooms, beer, and parties! And yet the voice within me wouldn’t settle.
I discovered a little secret in the heart of London called Neal’s Yard full of fascinating courses. On one such course, an assistant gave me a flier whispering to me “you might like this”. “Diploma in Healing” by the College of Healing. “Yikes!” I screamed internally “Here is that word again – Healer”. I tried to bury the flyer at the back of my sock drawer in denial. And of course, one day the flier found its way into my hand as I looked for socks.
I gave up and gave in. I phoned the college and discovered “as if by accident” that this very weekend they were having an introduction course in London. “Why not come along?” they said, “you’ve got nothing to lose!” And so began a fascinating lifelong adventure on the road less traveled. (Great book by M Scott Peck by the way!)
My life began to expand with new journeys of discovering: mindfulness, meditation and rich conversation about spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Simultaneously the corporate world kept promoting me. I enjoyed the success. And yet, something was not quite right. My soul wouldn’t settle.
By the time I was 33 – I knew I had to leap. The inner voice within me just would not calm down. There is a an old saying “You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”. And so I jumped!
I left the world of sales and marketing and became the manager of one of the UK’s leading alternative centers for health and well-being. This was 1997. I believed my “calling” was to bring hard won business skills to the fledgling industry of growing alternative health practitioners. And I was wrong!
In fact, I started to bring alternative methods of thought and creativity back into the corporate world. I began running team workshops stimulating executives with Shakespeare and drumming. But it was frustrating. The executives’ old habits were always waiting for them at their desk once they got back to the office. And it was in the search of how to help people “stay” on the path to growth that I came across co-active coaching as a skill set. I began the chapter of becoming a coach in 1999.
By 2000 “KA-BOOOOOOM!” the door of my comfort zone exploded.
My wife, Isabelle, and I were expecting our first baby and my wife being French – wanted to have the children in France.
So we left the UK to find a home in France and build a coaching practice up from nothing. Holy Moly – it was terrifying and glorious all at the same time!
I had a coach. The best I could afford. His name was Phil Sandahl. For half an hour every week I spoke with someone who believed in me more than I could believe in myself.
Amelia was born. I had so many months of not having a clue how I would pay the rent, I was terrified. And yet I faced the “inner dragon” of my fears. I learnt how to “feel the fear and do it anyway”. One day at a time; one conversation at a time; one person at a time; one team at a time – I was able to “make a difference to that one”.
No time for a business card or a web site, the path unfolded by word of mouth.
My second daughter, Angelike, was born and as a family we discovered the joys of walking in the wilderness of the Pyrenees with donkeys carrying our supplies for days. The years passed, business and impact grew, as I took what I learnt from my own personal journey directly to serve corporate executives and their personal journeys of self-mastery.
I became a senior coach in a leadership training community. And still my soul was calling “knock knock – focus on teams”. And so, once again, 5 years ago, I set off “to lose sight of the shore” and create a new business model.
I choose this adventure because I love teams. It is in the teams we work in that we find true, inevitable lessons of life waiting for us.
Finally, in the summer of 2020: “KNOCK KNOCK” I could hear it again.
“If you are to really have the impact you are here to have in this lifetime – you need to build a team”. No more “solopreneur”, become the “entrepreneur” you are here to become (gulp! cue music!). Now I know the way to engage with these signals is 100%.
And because of that, since summer 2020 I started to build the team “Living Teams”. Once again onto the road that is only built by “doing it anyway”. With joy, courage and passion for purpose, my teammates Tony, Pippa, Miyuki, Kathy, Nick, Roxane, Dori, Vassilis and I are collectively discovering what does it take to build a business with soul. We are in year 1, and it’s going great. And I know there are adventures ahead.
And the moral of my story seems to be our personal hero’s journey begins when we “feel the fear and do it anyway”. If you want to discover new oceans, you have to lose sight of the shore. Overcome inner resistance and procrastination and believe in yourself. Everything that comes at you in life is here to build your competence and capacity to bring your best self to the dance floor.
By now I know the sound of the knock. By now – after 29 years of answering the call of my soul again and again – now I know the best way to embrace the unknown is to LEAP into the future with joy! Of course, there are STILL lots of four-letter Saxon swear words that accompany the leap – and yet LEAP we must.
As the whole world faces the question together “What will the future of work look like?” Imagine… What if… this is the soul of humanity calling? Who will leap into the future with us with courage and creativity? Who will we meet on the path? How much fun can you stand?
After all – as the Spanish Poet Antonio Machado wrote: “Pilgrim, there is no path, the path is made by walking” (Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar).
See you on the path….
Living Teams Rock Moments
How many rock and roll heroes can you squeeze into one band?
What I love about “The Travelling Wilburys” is that it’s a band of megastars but they work so incredibly well as a team.
Big ego’s are left behind for the sake of making great music and having fun together.
Can you say the same about your team?
Take 5 and enjoy “Handle with care”
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime”
Thanks for joining us around the campfire.
This pandemic is still shaking up our worlds, we needed to shake things up, especially when it comes to how we go about our working lives.
We’re noticing more humanity creeping into the workplace – in so many ways – and that has to be a good thing.
We’re all sentient beings afterall – there’s nothing wrong with more caring and kindness towards each other at work – ‘touchy feely’ is good for the bottom line as well!
Take good care of yourselves and each other and remember…it’s all made up…so you might as well have some fun in the process.
If you know someone who would like to join us to share stories please use the forward button below – the more the merrier on this wonderful journey!
Tony, Andy and Pip