“Even the losers get lucky sometimes.” — Tom Petty
Every week I get to feel the satisfaction of publishing it.
Too often we see only the work involved in a recurring task and forget it can also deliver recurring joy.
It’s as much an opportunity as it is a responsibility.
Like so many things, it’s a matter of perspective.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
“If you hate networking it’s probably in part because you dread the idea of pursuing people. But that’s not the only way to network. You can invert the process and create something to attract people to you instead of needing to initiate every relationship yourself.”
I don’t love networking, but somehow I’ve managed to build a strong network of people in a wide variety of fields over the years.
In this post I suggest nine ways to grow your network when you hate networking, including to create something that draws people to you, surround yourself with great networkers, and expand your network beyond your niche.
“Getting rid of wasteful items and decisions is relatively easy. It’s eliminating things you care about that is difficult. The tasks that have the greatest likelihood of derailing your progress are the ones you care about, but that aren’t truly important.”
Here’s a productivity tip that’s simple, but not easy.
Start with a list of your top 25 goals. Then, from that list, choose the five most important and put them on a second list. The list of five become your top priority.
But here’s the twist — the other list becomes your “Avoid At All Costs List” because those goals are of secondary importance and yet will be the ones that tempt you the most.
They’re the ones you have to fight hardest to prevent from distracting you from the five that matter most.
“Am I doing my job? It’s important to remember that we can be very busy — exhaustingly busy — and still not be doing our job. We can be caught up in the things that don’t matter, we can be interfering and encroaching on someone else’s job, we can be just plain procrastinating. All these things keep us working — but not on the job that actually matters.”
This one’s going to give you a lot to think about.
The questions include “What am I missing by choosing to worry or be afraid?,” “What does your ideal day look like?,” and “Who is this for?”
“Our environment dictates what we choose to do, as opposed to what we want to do. If you have choices around you that are distracting or lead to undesirable outcomes, then it becomes hard to make the right choices. On the flip side, having an environment that only has desirable choices constricts you to do what’s important for yourself.”
If you want to change something about your life, the best way to start is to change your environment.
Melissa Chu explains how to use your environment to help you achieve your goals and points out the degree to which your environment impacts you and your behavior.
She suggests even small changes like removing distractions when you want to focus on work or putting healthy food within reach when you want to eat healthier can have dramatic effects.
“You probably have no idea that it’s happening. But when you open your mouth, or let your fingers dance across the keyboard, you may be killing your own credibility in the ears and eyes of whomever you are trying to impress.”
Words matter. Especially when you use words that undermine the message you want to communicate.
For more tips on how to improve your communication, check out my simple tips to improve your writing forever.
“What we need is to take that kindergarten approach of learning through designing, creating, experimenting, exploring and extending it throughout all of school and throughout all of life.”
Mitchel Resnick heads up the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab and believes a key to creativity is to approach it the way kindergartners do.
In this 8-minute video he explains what a lifelong kindergarten approach to creativity is, why so few people do it, and how it can be powerful.
“If you’re a creator or a maker of any kind, the creation is almost never going to feel perfect. Dwelling on the minor tweaks before sharing that work will eat up way more time than the yield of the potential improvements is worth. It’s far smarter to let go before you’re ready, and then iterate and improve based on the feedback.”
There are reasons why Amazon’s Jeff Bezos makes so many smart decisions and this article breaks them down.
Zat Rana explores three things you can learn from Jeff Bezos about making smart decisionsincluding to distinguish between high and low impact choices, to avoid using proxies as a default, and to release ideas at 70% and then iterate.
“For years, new hires at Nordstrom famously received a copy of the company’s employee ‘handbook.’ It was a single 5-by-8 card that read, ‘Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.’”
If your company’s policies seem to be a little deflating, it’s probably because they are.
Researchers also found that more general contracts increase people’s sense of autonomy over their work, which in turn increases motivation, creativity, and cooperation.
“Genius is empowering ourselves. Genius is when I let myself be so purely me — where I’ve chipped off the rest, where I’ve ripped off the dust and the mounds of hate and doubt that have stacked on me to remember that my spirit and your spirit is made of pure gold.”
If you’re looking for the confidence to share your true self in your work, art, or life, then watch this 8-minute video.
“A good interview is a conversation, where both sides are engaged. The purpose is to discover if the position is a match. If the candidate asks no questions, it’s a red flag. It appears that either they aren’t interested, or believe they already know everything to know about the position.”
Every job interview is unique, but the mistakes that cost people those opportunities are often the same.
Quartz shares a recruiter’s thoughts about the five things that ruin job interviews including when candidates brag about other offers they have, are too aggressive, and ask no questions.