Every once in a while I need to pick my head up and take a pause, survey the landscape and make the next move. In these moments finding ways of keeping myself on the right path and in the right frame of mind is essential.
I’ve always been a quote collector. I wanted to take a bit of that accumulated thinking and create a set of working principles that had meaning to me.
Version one of my directions card was born.
I wanted to spend a little time sharing what these statements mean to me.
start at curious, beginner’s mind
One part more questions than answers, one part zen. This takes me back to a time I walked into most situations thinking I already knew the right answer. Everything has a why, and the why buried “five whys” deep might surprise you. It’s a reminder there is no need to walk in and play the “expert.” An open mind knowing enough to ask the right questions will say it all.
build momentum, compounding energy
Momentum always wins even if it’s not moving in the “perfect” direction. Crashing something that has momentum into another only creates more energy. You can correct the direction as you roll.
reach out, beyond the edge of what you’ve been told is possible
Don’t be limited by a job title, an org chart, your age, a town or some other “fact.” Ignore the artificial boundary of “experts” and “industry leaders.” I learned by example from a close mentor you can walk up to anyone or into anything if you are honestly interested, humble and open. Show your energy and passion and you’ll blow right through.
follow-up, don’t follow; ignore the inessential
Don’t blindly follow someone else’s checklist but always show up, take action and follow-up on what matters. If you do that you’ll already be ahead of most.
A simple reminder that there is more to be gained from listening than droning on about what you already know.
Bias toward high optionality, and taking a first step. Win or lose taking a path that has no chance for failure has little chance of creating learning or growth.
strong opinions, weakly held
Take a position and have a clear point of view. Be ready to adapt when new information comes your way.
growth is a result not a strategy
Strategy defines what you won’t do inside a story of what you will. Only the fit and execution deliver growth.
Quote from Steve Jobs
Last but far from least is the quote by Steve Jobs.
”…everything around you that you call life was made up by people no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that you’ll never be the same again.” - Steve Jobs
This is an essential thought for me. Walls erected around you, things you must do, areas you shouldn’t go… these were all put in place by someone’s best guess at the time.
Go where you need to go, change what you need to change.
Always be ready to iterate and change course but don’t slow down for that wall ahead, it may just be in your head.