I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about different ways of thinking and focus, the impact potential of a particular focus, and how even the smallest change/adjustment can have a significant impact upstream. Examples which come to mind are how rowing teams all row together, optimize each row, and work as a team to balance on another out. The same can be said for cycling teams who rotate who rides in the slipstream to catch their breath.
These are all wonderful references and ideas, but how do they translate into a more generalized concept? The phrase I’ve been using is “atomic thinking”; thinking of the smallest possible independent pieces. Even the smallest adjustment can have a significant impact, without being dependent on other change to happen.
I take a great interest in exploring different schools of thought, different approaches to the same circumstances, and exploring ways to attempt to understand the mind and how we approach the world we live in. Along the same lines as an introduction to self-coaching, I’ve been exploring stoicism.
When growing a team, implementing new processes, or even when scoping a new project where you feel you have a clear outcome you’d like to see, it can be so tempting to tell yourself that you “just wish the team could read your mind”, or that the team would just “know how to follow the process” or “know what to look for during code review”. The part that’s often left off of these thoughts is “without me needing to explain it”, which is often the starting point for where our thinking falls short. Turning your team into mind readers is very possible, though. Lets unpack how. Spoilers; it starts with you.
A real revolutionary fights for what is right, but brings in love and light. A real revolutionary, is peaceful and non-violent, but strong and potent. A real revolutionary is a soul rebel, unconquerable.
The above words from Gregory G Ras have been reminding me of what’s important to remember during times like these we’re experiencing now. How to be, and how to remain strong and focused on a clear goal and desired outcome.
I find, especially in this age of information, it’s so important to focus on what information we choose to adopt and to process for ourselves. For me, this is particularly important through music, which I consume a lot of every day. With news outlets being a big focus during these complex times, a balance of what information/energy we choose to take on for ourselves is now more important than ever.
During these times where many of us are on a lockdown, with our physical movement heavily restricted, it’s very easy and tempting to fall back to feelings and messages of weakness, powerlessness, and fear. One of the byproducts of all of this restriction, naturally, is fear.
I find there are two core “rules” or “guidelines” I see myself reminding myself and those around me of regularly, which are among the longer list of what I’ll refer to as “guidelines for peaceful co-existence”. These are some base principles which, when applied, can lead to reduced internal worry/struggle, and a generally more peaceful outlook towards external stimulus. These also work hand in hand with the approach to self-coaching I shared previously.
“One cannot control another person, and other people cannot control us”
“Everyone out there, including oneself, can do anything one wishes to do”
In short, stop trying to control others, and don’t let others control you. Even though all actions have consequences, there is nothing stopping anyone from doing exactly whatever they want, whenever they want.
Coaching is something that one can spend one’s entire life trying to understand in new and different ways. Each person experiences coaching differently, whether or not they’ve ever actually been coached. Someone who says “I don’t need coaching” has experienced coaching, without actually being coached.
A coach is a person who is available to hear what’s on your mind, and to be a sounding board to help you to work through your own thoughts and feelings about something. The coach isn’t there to solve your problems for you. This, I believe, is a fundamental understanding one has to embrace when discussing coaching.
What happens when my coach isn’t available? How do I work through what’s on my mind? Enter self-coaching.
We live in a very busy world. As small as we’re perceiving our world to be in many ways (eg: communicating across the globe in an instant, being able to keep track of friends and family regardless of their location, getting instant insight into the worlds of others, and sharing insights from within our own world), the inherent busy-ness of our world is almost undeniable… yet we don’t always acknowledge this cost we’re incurring, in exchange for these “luxuries”.
A large part of this, for me, is this sense of having to “keep track” of multiple channels. These, in essence, all function the same way; “receive messages”, “process messages”, “send messages”. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, lately, and want to begin applying a stricter approach to how I deal with my various “inboxes”, and defining what my list of inboxes looks like.
I recently “took the plunge” and removed the Facebook app from my mobile phone. Frankly, I’d read simply too much about Facebook “listening in”, and decided it was time to curb this habit and see what happened. What happened next was enlightening, and sparked an interest in how to slowly curb this mindless habit.
Every so often, I hear a story which makes no sense. “We put a huge popup banner on our website, and our sales increased by 15%”, “we slowed down our website, and our sales funnel converted 2% better”. While these sentences may make technical sense, they’re odd to wrap one’s brain around, as they shouldn’t make sense. To me, this comes down to a delta between doing what works and the customer’s experience overall with your store, brand, and/or product.
I’ve heard semi-regularly that, as South Africans, we tend to not be very direct in our communications. For example, we may say something like “you may not want to do that”, when what we really mean is “don’t do that”. This sounds small, yet has a definite snowball effect. Changing this approach is something I’ve committed to changing in late 2017 and now in 2018. It’s a little trickier than I originally thought, and takes constant management, yet the rewards are significant.