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Skills vs planning

If you’re a gardener, planting orange trees in Ottawa, and nothing’s growing, it’s possible to beat yourself up, burn yourself out and say, “I’m a bad gardener.”

Or,

You could realize that oranges aren’t easy to grow in Ottawa. You could either move to Cuba or plant winter wheat instead.

But don’t beat yourself up just because the climate doesn’t match your seeds.

Reblogged from: here

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Too important to have a fight about

Battle lines drawn.

Positions solidified.

Arguments made.

All thrilling, perhaps fun, but unlikely to change minds.

If your cause is important enough, it’s worth taking the time and emotional energy to make your case without an argument. The opportunity is to recast your outcome in terms of the other person’s worldview, not insist that they change what they want or what they think they know.

The culture isn’t immutable. You can change it.

But not by picking a fight.

Reblogged from: here

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Work before passion

“Offer me something I’m passionate about and I’ll show up with all of my energy, effort and care.”

That’s a great way to hide.

Because nothing is good enough to earn your passion before you do it. Perhaps, in concept, it’s worthy, but as soon as you closely examine the details and the pitfalls, it’s easy to decide it’s better to wait for a better offer.

What about considering the opposite?

“Offer me a chance to contribute, and I’ll work hard on it, with focus, and once I begin to make progress, I’ll become passionate about it.”

Work before passion measures our craft in terms of contribution, not in an idealized model of perfection.

Passion comes from feeling needed, from approaching mastery, from doing work that matters.

Reblogged from: here

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Experience and variation

The only way to learn from experience is to have different experiences.

The very nature of an experiment is that there’s a chance you’re doing it wrong, or at least less ‘right’ than the way you usually do it. Which leads to the trap of no new experiences.

The only alternative is to eagerly engage with the possible.

If you follow the recipe the same way every time, you’ll get the same results every time.

Reblogged from: here

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Almost no one

Every time you talk about reaching everyone, that you imagine changing “the world,” you should fine yourself a nickel.

It’s almost impossible to reach everyone.

The most popular podcast in the world has reached one out of every 2,000 people on the planet. By a rounding error, that’s not nearly everyone, in fact, it’s essentially no one.

The same is true for the most popular salsa, the bestselling writer and the leading non-profit.

You’re going to reach virtually no one.

That’s okay.

The question is: which no one?

Your smallest viable audience holds you to account. It forces a focus and gives you nowhere to hide.

But first, you need to choose.

Reblogged from: here

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Bottlenecks

Are you a bottleneck?

Sometimes it’s a good thing. It would be impossible to guzzle a Pepsi if it were served in a saucer–the bottleneck creates the path of maximum slam.

It would be difficult to water your lawn without a nozzle. The bottleneck creates pressure that allows you to reach further.

But in an organization, a bottleneck can be a real problem.

If the project is sitting on your desk, no value is being created. The opportunity, then, is to achieve your goals by getting every single thing off your desk so that it can move forward.

A team that is sitting still waiting for you to attend the approval meeting is suffering from your bottleneck. And so are the people you set out to serve.

The trick: Figure out which parts of the approval process truly benefit from your unique judgment and skills, and which parts are merely your fear at work.

And then get it off your desk and let someone else do it.

Reblogged from: here