Really good feedback is hard to find

What’s the point of receiving feedback if all you seek to hear is what you want to hear?

And what’s the point of giving feedback if what you’re more concerned about is what people around you think?

Most feedback that is given and received is really awful.

Some important things to consider:

  • Don’t seek feedback from those who are not informed. No need to ask what people think if they haven’t done the reading.
  • People don’t know what you know. They don’t believe what you believe. Therefore, they will make different decisions than you.
  • When is the last time an email changed our mind? More effort and care must be put into effect.
  • Seek feedback from those you seek to serve. Because if it is not for them, it’s not for them.
  • If it isn’t actionable, it’s probably gossip.
  • Henry Ford was famous for saying that if he asked his customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. Most people don’t know what they actually want.
  • If feedback is hard hear, just say thank you.
  • Never ask anyone their opinion on your company name. Apple, Nike, Amazon…you don’t build your brand and then name your company, you name your company and then build your brand.
  • People might not get the joke. Which means one of two things: You delivered it wrong or it’s not a good joke.
  • When it isn’t working, make better art.

What’s your number?

The problem with always trying to attain more, you end up building a legacy of artifacts.

Expensive ones.

Big house. Fancy car. A boat or a set of jewelry.

That isn’t what life is for.

There is nothing wrong with trying to take care of yourself and your family and your friends. But if you don’t pick a number that says “I have enough,” then the default answer will always be more.

There are a number of ways to measure your life then with a set of digital bits on a screen.

Maybe the goal is to help someone raise their status. Maybe the goal is to help someone see the world as it is. Maybe your real vocation is to help move mountains.

If you are always focusing your energy to make another buck, then you are unable to put more energy into making a difference.

Bad karma

Karma, or the sum of one’s actions, is part of a story people tell themselves.

“Car won’t start, must be bad karma for not doing the dishes.”

The universe is not conspiring against you. It is not tracking your deeds with a balance sheet. The cosmic scales don’t tip with your actions.

Bad karma comes to people making both good and bad choices. Yet, the “bad” things that happen to us are for us. If handled correctly, can lead to growth. The same can be said for the “good” ones.

It’s not karma. It is part of being a person existing in a world where things happen.

Productive people make productive choices

They don’t worry about managing their frequent flyer mile points.

They don’t schedule endless amount of meetings or hide behind email.

They’re not up to date with the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

Productive people fight to clear their time to focus on the things that matter most—the things that only they can do.

Productive choices are what make productive people. The opposite is true too.

Making the most out of opportunities

If you are one of three billion people living on two dollars a day, your options are extremely limited. You don’t even get to decide what you’ll have for lunch. You just have what is available.

For those reading this blog, your options are plentiful. You can decide where you want to live, what you want to eat, what temperature you want your house to be, where you go to school, what career you want to pursue…

Options are as close to unlimited as ever before in history. And yet…

Yet, the problem isn’t options. The problem is how we manage our choices. Agency. How do you use it properly?

What we are finding is that in world with endless choices, endless possibilities, many become frozen. We’re stuck. We don’t want to make the wrong choice. We let fear get in the way.

So, we play it safe. We follow the path that got us here. We do what we did yesterday. We hesitate and hold something back.

Leaping for greatness starts with recognizing the differences between the opportunities you have and the choices you are making.

Maybe the problem hasn’t been that you don’t have enough opportunities. Maybe the problem is you haven’t been making the most of the ones you got.

How to really use a blender

What do you get when you combine magic tricks, a banjo and stand up comedy?

You get Steve Martin.

His act was so unusual. So fresh and different. Carefully crafted over the years. Little by little.

It took decades for the audience to get the joke. But it all paid off, eventually. At the height of his popularity, Steve Martin was selling out stadiums.

Too often, I am hearing too many people say that they feel locked in to their job and that they don’t have the skills or education or experience to do something else.

Really? If Steve Martin could break comedy with a banjo, maybe it is time to reevaluate our stance.

You have talents you are born with and skills that continue to grow. Take three things you are good at or enjoy doing, throw it in a blender, and go do something with it.

You can do so much more with what you got if you just start.

Waiting is a mistake, not a strategy

We spend far too much waiting.

Waiting for the right opportunity.

Waiting for a step-by-step set of instructions.

Waiting to be told what to do next.

Waiting for the timing to be perfect.

Waiting for the perfect project.

This isn’t a strategy, it’s another form of hiding.

If you are waiting for all your ducks to be in a row, you are going to wait for a very long time.

Take the duck you have and go make something out of it.