My book is just 1/2 way there. I write about habits, goals, planning and the like …and I missed my own August 2014 deadline. It wasn’t for lack of trying or regular writing. The ideas just needed to get clearer, the “killing the darlings” process is mentally tiring, and overcoming the lizard brain (quoting Seth Godin – “the part of you that controls you, makes you afraid, and pushes you because it says you’re a failure”) was surprisingly difficult. After all, who would want to read what I write?
As a non-writer person (lots of ideas and stories, but not great at explaining them), this is quite the process!
I’m worried about deleting all of these thoughts and ideas. What if I leave out something that was the main point? What if the life changing phrase is mistakenly deleted?
This is where the beauty of “tracking changes” comes in to play. I can save the tracked changes daily and start the next day with a new draft called “accepted changes.” Sure, I’ve now got 35 files stacking up in the My Documents folder, but it is a relief to track this mental and physical process of re-arranging, refining, and refreshing the content.
Aren’t we lucky that we can change? And, that we can track it? The use of apps to track calories, bike riding, running, and debt reduction is a major signal to the power of tracking the changes we make in our lives. We get to see where we were, where we are going and get excited about where we may end up. It’s about growth, adventure, and new horizons while capturing the junky-ness of the journey.
Also helpful, is a morgue file of sorts – a document that I can copy/paste my unused quotes and notes just in case I need them later or …for another book. If anything, it provides mental relief to my non-writer soul. The thought is preserved.
There are quite a few writing gurus out there that have a lot to share about the writing process – what tools to use, what process to go through, and how to become a millionaire eBook creator. I’ll learn what I can from them more in due time.
For now, I’ve got to write, to change, to modify and to morph. And, I’m going to track it!
I’m not supposed to be looking at work email today. I took it off as a staycation, but curiosity gets the best of me and I just had to keep a pulse on what was going on in my email.
A slew of emails had come through and about 20 of them had the same heading. Yikes. Must be some kind of emergency. In our case (since we deal with training and development) that would be categorized as a “learning emergency.”
But, it wasn’t an emergency. Not a real one. Sometimes we go into a reactive mode when we want a question answered instead of thoughtfully responding. So, we go back and forth creating a flurry of communications that cannot be resolved because the person to resolve it is ….on a staycation.
Reacting and responding are not one in the same. Even so, when these conversations take place in an email setting, we feel compelled to jump in and correct it as much as possible before it goes beyond our control. I couldn’t help myself and I intervened. It was intended to spare them extra work and further conversation, but it didn’t and rarely does. Even though I’m the person to resolve it, I am only half here (see “staycation” comment). It reminds unresolved. A waste of precious time and stirring up feelings of “faux frantic” and dis-trust the next time it occurs. After all, some people make this a habit.
Ah well. My way of stepping away from it was writing this blogpost on a different computer.
Today I led a meeting where I facilitated a discussion about some key issues, lessons learned and proposed action plan to move forward on improvements.
Usually I have a pretty good read on how the meetings turn out, but I’m a bit tired and it felt a bit more serious than normal. I wondered if I had been too bold, taken the right approach, or perhaps not bold enough on a few items. One of the key leaders expressed concern that he didn’t know a certain area had as many issues as I had pointed out.
Later in the day I went to him and said I wanted to know how he felt about the discussion. He said it went well, but he was still bothered about some of the items that had been discussed. He was making it a priority to go and address them.
Sometimes we have to lead the hard conversations. Sometimes the people we share the truth with will take it hard. In the process, we might need to re-iterate what is going right, but still come back to the fact that something needs to change or improve.
At first I wasn’t sure how to feel about his reaction. Had I gone to far?
As I think about it a bit more, I’m actually pleased. He’s going to make some changes and support us in an effort to improve.
Sometimes the truth is hard to take. But, discomfort can lead to necessary changes that will improve our business, our families, our friendships, or our idea.
We used to have a little corner in the dining room where we kept the cheap record player. My younger brothers and sisters would sit in that corner and listen to records while the rest of us became fans or foes of the music from a distance.
One of the coolest records was Mary Poppins. It actually had a photo from the musical underneath the plastic and so it was this amazing visual effect for us at the time. Of course, the real joy came from the music. Mary Poppins songs were often heard mingled with songs from other musicals as we busied ourselves around the house with chores, homework and practicing our instruments.
I don’t remember the movie that much, but I will be checking on NetFlix to see if I can pull it up as a reminder. It seems like the necessary action after seeing Saving Mr. Banks at the theater this afternoon. It wasn’t really in our plans, but sometimes you just need to get out of the house and experience something completely different than the daily to do list and other chores that await. Plus, it is COLD outside.
Most movies kind of slip by me. Those I want to remember, I need to come home and write about before all inspiration is lost.
So, here I am on a Saturday night thinking it out by writing.
P.L. Travers – pursuit of excellence
P.L. Travers. She is quite the character. The author of Mary Poppins. Adamant in her idea of how her characters should be portrayed in a movie. Yes, she came off as overly picky and a bit standoffish really. She made life a bit difficult for the production team. But, we could learn a lot from her as we pursue our big hopes, dreams and ideas.
She expected authenticity and quality. It forced the people that worked with her out of their comfort zones. They had to think differently and push their personal boundaries. And, that different thinking created a masterpiece.
P.L. Travers had a picture in her mind of how this content was to be portrayed on the screen. It wasn’t just about her despising animation, hating the mustache on Mr. Banks, and keeping the color red out of the film. It was because these things detracted from all of the emotions and characters that she knew had to be portrayed. We find out in Saving Mr. Banks that some of these things were associated with experiences in her past. But, if it is a story of her past, wouldn’t she best know how to convey it? It was real to her, not just an imaginary tale.
She expected the songwriters, scriptwriters and other team members to listen to her feedback every step of the way. Sure, it was annoying. Yes, they had to re-write songs and work late nights. Not sure if this is real, but she even threw the transcript they had written out the window. These are powerful experiences for those of us that work with people like P.L. Travers. There is this point where everyone realizes that the person isn’t going to change. Those working with them must change if anything is to be completed. In this case, they stepped up to the challenge. Just think if they hadn’t?
Walt Disney – recognizing & supporting the excellence
It was wonderful to see how Walt Disney was portrayed in the movie. He realized, through the process of pursuing P.L. Travers, that he would have felt the same way if someone turned his dream into something less than his imagination. This positioned him well to understand her, adjust his responses, and approach the business and personal relationship with more empathy. He recognized his own weaknesses, hopes, and expectations through his desire to turn her work into an onscreen masterpiece. The struggle he went through, the additional expectations he placed on his production team, and the unapologetic push back he received from P.L. Travers ultimately improved the quality of his work and quite possibility helped him improve other products created after Mary Poppins.
Will you join the pursuit?
I left the movie with an extra bit of inspiration. To produce better products. To expect more of myself and others. To clarify my vision. To fulfill my potential and share with others. To pursue excellence.
It is a bit discouraging watching people online lately. It feels like so many people are copying each other – the same products and services and the same marketing. When I see people throwing sales pitches all over Facebook and Twitter, I cringe. Is their content that great? Will it really help me? Is it designed in a way that it will resonate with me? Have they giveN that same blood, sweat and tears to the actual product?
Saving Mr. Banks was a great reminder to expect excellence and to go through the sometimes painful process of taking something from ordinary to extraordinary. To make something worth talking about. To make something that becomes a masterpiece.
Thank goodness for P.L. Travers. We wouldn’t have the classic Mary Poppins movie and …we wouldn’t have Saving Mr. Banks.
It’s always strange to me when someone makes a proclamation on Facebook that they’ve had enough and they are shutting down their account.
How does one connect with so many people from so many parts of life and then shut it all off?
I’m still not sure that is a good idea because ultimately, it is a place where many of us go to connect. I’m not even sure if we know the addresses (mailing or otherwise) of those that we are connected to and it would put us in a bit of an isolation situation.
However, over the past few weeks I have needed a break from the constant bombardment. True, it is the new year and so there is an extra amount of entrepreneurs peddling their solutions to New Year’s Resolutions. But, it may just be that it is time for a break.
There are so many voices telling us what to do – think bigger, create more goals, don’t create goals, start a business, become a consultant, get into Internet marketing, create your own blog, and accumulate Twitter followers.
The problem is we often don’t know from what perspective the voices are coming from and if their advice will fit us.
This year I’ve had moments where I was just plain listening to the wrong voices. Voices of inexperience. Voices of hype. Voices of people creating sales pitches that really hadn’t been through some of the experiences that I’ve been through. Listening to these voices can cause confusion and sometimes the wrong focus. It can even cost you money!
So, once in a while it is time to turn off the computer (or at least the social sites), take a walk, pray, and find out what your own inner voice is telling you to do. It might be for an hour. It might take an afternoon. It might be longer.
Deep within we are entitled to know what is best for us. But, when we surround ourselves with too many voices our inner voice can’t get a word in edgewise. It has to wait and hope that we’ll take the time to calm down, separate ourselves from the world and take the time to listen.
I’ve done that over the past few weeks. It was kind of forced because I was sick and the computer monitor hurt my eyes. I was forced to listen to inspiration with no one to comment, give an opinion or sway me. I was forced to see where my actions were heading. I was forced to determine what I wanted to be known for and sought after for in the world of work. “Forced” probably isn’t the best word, but something within me was forcing me to take this time to reflect.
At the end of the day, are you doing what you were meant to do in this life?Are you adding value in the way that best utilizes your talents and enables you to serve others? Are you pursuing a sustainable path that keeps your personal values and vision intact?
To find out, it is time to take a step away from the maddening crowd. They’ll have opinions. They won’t like that you step away. But, you must.
Your inner voice must be heard if you want to keep heading in the right direction for you.
Go ahead – there is power in listening to your inner voice. We’ll welcome you back when you are ready.
Ok, this week I felt like I received some personal nudges that were a bit negative.
One was actually negative – a one star review on one of my online courses. I already wrote a blogpost about that one.
The other wasn’t actually negative, but it did force to get to clearer on my purpose for Nudge Village. Come to think of it, I actually wrote a blogpost about that one as well. You know, the post about “burning the ships?” Obviously, those “negative” nudges ended up being pretty powerful for me.
Embarrassment – They embarrassed me just a bit. After all, I’m a “Chief Nudger,” and a “Nudge Strategist.” I want to do good work and make a difference.
Lead by Example – Most of my day job involves leadership, management and mentoring. Yet, I couldn’t get my own website and products to clearly meet the needs of my audience? Practicing what I preach would be a first good step toward leading by example.
Prioritize It – I’ve been incredibly busy. Too busy. But, I have so many ideas. Why not follow them all at once? Right? Wrong. Instead of starting multiple disparate projects, it is time to get clear on 1-2 and …finish them.
Focus – What will the 1-2 ideas be? I’ve got to push aside what all the voices are saying (no, not in my head – all the social network voices) and decide what fits me and what fits my audience. Who is my audience anyway? Exactly. Focus.
Thank you shout out to the Negative Nudgers
So, I must say thank you to the negative nudgers today. They embarrassed me. I’m now back to leading by example. I’m prioritizing. I’m focusing. I re-arranged my website. I burned some ships (in the form of confusing webpages). I’ve included some new tips in my Authenticity on Twitter course. I’ve had new ideas about what to offer within my more focused website.
p class=”impact-text”>Don’t disregard them in the future
They may embarrass you. They may make you angry. But, emotion can be good. It can lead to self-improvement. It can lead to more insights and reflection. It can lead to more blogposts on your blog about how the negative nudge changed you. Ha.
I’d say “bring ’em on,” but I have a feeling there will be more negative nudges that will come all too naturally.
For now, I’m going to use them as turning points that keep me on a growth path.