Where I live In Adelaide we have had the most remarkable weather this past fortnight. The first day of spring was 30 degrees and the sun sparkled in a sky the colour of happiness. All at once everything seemed to stretch out and take up more space.
I’ve found myself right in the ‘flow’. You know that wonderful feeling where everything seems to be connected to the next thing and you marvel at the synchronicity of life ? You discover a new word and then it seems to be in everything you read. Your friend sends you a link to a blog that he just knows you will be right into, and it’s the one you just recently discovered by accident while searching for something else. Or, as happened to me, a gorgeous colleague sent me a quote because it reminded her of me and it was the same quote I had printed hours before because it reminded me of who I wanted to be.
The flow for me this last fortnight had been all about connection and synchronicity. I’ve learnt three important things this week and I’m going to share them with you in no particular order.
1. Be the person who says GO!
The world is chock full of people who will correct your typos and find your errors. You will never find it hard to get someone to to critique you, give you feedback or pop you in your place. As Seth Godin said
most people have been brainwashed into thinking their job is to copyedit the world, not to design it….finding someone to say GO is almost impossible.
When someone next tells you about their plan to step out of their comfort zone and publish that journal article, or start that blog, or take food to their neighbours, or pitch their idea to the boss, your job is to say ‘GO!’ Sure offer to let them rehearse it with you, connect them to some people who you think could help, ask them “why do you think this is important?’ and be willing to check-in 3 weeks later to see how things went.
We say ‘GO’ when we remind people of things they are ridiculously good at and encourage them to risk failing. I heard Jonathon Fields say on the Good Life Project this week that he is adopting the practice ,when things fail, of saying “how fascinating.” The joy and liberation of being able to sit comfortably with a big fat spectacular failure and say ‘ how fascinating’ and lean right into the discomfort so you can observe it from every angle. That takes courage and practice but we could start by taking a look at failure and not feeling we have to erase all memory from our hard drive.
2. No-one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.
Your are the CEO of your own life. Not everyone wants to own up to this one. If I’m really in charge of my own life then I don’t get to blame anyone. You are running this start-up, you’re in charge of this life, no point waiting till the grown-ups arrive, you’re on.
This always gets me feeling a bit anxious. I talk to people every day who work in jobs they don’t enjoy ( I think a Deloitte study put it as high as 85% of those employed) doing work they don’t believe in for people they don’t trust.
Recently I read this question in Seth Godin’s book The Icarus Deception:
Are you tired of pretending you can’t make a difference?
Wow! That made me sit up and take notice. We can make a difference. That’s why I am so taken by the idea of creating a Global Health Change Day in Australia next year. Because I know that when people take control of their space they can make things happen that we would never have predicted.
3. Connect, connect, connect
I have a little practice that I’ve been growing over the last few years. Whenever I think of someone I send them an sms. ‘Hey I was sitting here drinking my jasmine tea and I thought of you’ or ‘ just then I wondered how you were. Last time I saw you you were frantic’. People have started doing it to me now. Some people find it takes a while to accept that someone could possibly be thinking about them. But people are thinking about you even right this minute.
“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the ocean in one drop.”
The other thing I love to do is find gifts to send to people I work with. I’m always on the lookout for journal articles, images, quotes, contacts that I can email to my clients or colleagues that might help them. We all have something that someone else wants, even if it’s just our full attention.
Rule #1 – don’t read your emails on your phone while someone is speaking to you.
Scott Dinsmore has a wonderful website called Live Your Legend. You can download his free Connect with Anyone poster
KNOW: who you are; what matters to others; who you want in your life
MAKE: friends; people a priority; someone’s day
BE: unforgettable; uniquely you; genuine
Rule #2 Connect with people long before you want something from them.
Now let me share that quote with you, the one my colleague Melanie sent me :
Every once in a while – often when we least expect it – we encounter someone more courageous, someone who chose to strive for that which (to us) seemed unrealistically unattainable, even elusive. And we marvel, we swoon, we gape. Often we are in awe. I think we look at these people as lucky, when in fact, luck has nothing to do with it. It is really all about strength of their imagination; it is about how they constructed the possibilities for their life. In short, unlike me, they didn’t determine what was impossible before it was even possible. Debbie Millman Look Both Ways