“Whether it is rational or empirical, your approach to life must always be empathetic. Emotional intelligence is acquired when knowledge and empathy are combined and applied to situations regularly in everyday life.” Stewart Stafford
“Do not forget to look up to the stars every now and then. The universe has made you conscious – try to make sense of how it works & appreciate its beauty.” Paul Hildebrandt
In 2015 I came across this photo of Richard Branson lying in a hammock, on his phone, working…
He has written about it a few times, here is an article, and it’s interesting that he notes that in the UK people don’t take leave, opting instead to remain in the office. Now, for me, that would lead to an unbalanced life.
I printed that photo and stuck it up in a place that I would look at various times a day. At the time I was working in a corporate, and it represented for me a change that I wanted to make in my life.
I wanted a more balanced life, one where I could work where I wanted when I wanted.
My dissatisfaction led me to write this article, and it was not long after that that I began working for the company I am with now. I have no office I go to – I’m either at a client, or I am at home. Or travelling.
My work has taken me to Berlin, Portugal, Barcelona, beautiful parts of the country I live in, Belgium and Thailand.
So, I pretty much can work where I want (no office to go to, yay!), the first part is done with a good level of satisfaction.
What I do now is the only work I know that I can take my wax crayons to work to create posters of information that help people integrate the learning a lot faster than powerpoint slides. Like this poster I created to explain Lean Thinking:
I’m now working on the second part…the part about working when I want :-). This is proving to be a bit more challenging because it means having to let go of salary certainty and embracing uncertainty and risk.
This will come I know. I just need to stop obsessing about it and enjoy the present. In the meantime, I still have that photo up where I can look at it several times a day.
Here are 4 different ways that help me deal with uncertainty:
Meditation – it helps me focus on the present and deal with stress and anxiety. I’m not doing nearly enough meditation.
Adaptive action – taking just one move at a time while keeping a view of the big picture, much like playing chess. Just decide on what my next wise move is and focus on that because that leads me to my next wise move and so on. That way I remain adaptive to change.
Nature – being in nature grounds me and helps me keep my balance. I don’t get out to nature often enough. Sometimes just having the doors and windows open, letting the outside in and enjoying the sounds of the birds singing is enough to tide me over until I can get out into the countryside.
Journaling – writing, journaling, reflecting on my inner thoughts. This helps me see clarity, usually not in the moment of writing, but later. The act of putting thoughts down on paper is therapy in itself. Journaling doesn’t have to be long descriptive narratives. Sometimes all I have time and energy for are bullet points, and that’s ok.
Here’s to being comfortable with uncertainty, open to infinite possibilities, so that I can find a place for my hammock.
So says Winston Churchill who was himself a superb orator. His wit and turn of phrase make him, in my opinion, one of the great orators of the 20th century. He was a product of his time, a leader the world needed in those difficult years.
As many of you might remember I am a Toastmaster and one of the things I do to pay the bills is train people. Who am I kidding…I love training. I have loved it less and began to love it more when I found my voice.
One of the things I do in the Agile community in South Africa is giving back to it, by helping develop conference speakers. Up until now I’ve helped people with their conference presentations, from the slides to the story to the delivery. I’m branching out this year by starting a couple of steps before speakers get selected for conferences – at the call for papers stage – helping budding speakers craft their proposal.
I go to many conferences, and I vicariously live through many others via live tweeting. The names on the programme lines ups tend to be the same year after year and quite frankly, I’m feeling bored. I want to learn new things from new people.
There are so many wonderful members of this vibrant community that have so much to share, and perhaps they think they are not experts…but I don’t want to learn from experts all the time. I want to learn from people who are in the trenches, day to day.
So I’ve decided to do something about this. On Saturday I’m hosting a workshop to help prospective speakers refine their ideas, and help them with their proposals for the regional Scrum Gathering South Africa 2018 which this year is going to be held in Durban. In this way, I hope to play a part in helping to grow the Agile community of speakers and the Agile community in general.
The half-day workshop programme will flow in the following manner:
8:00 – 9:00: Refreshments
9:00 – 9:15: Connections
9:15 – 10:00: Talk: What makes a great conference submission
10:00 – 10.30: Go through the proposal submission format
10:30 – 10:50: Tea, muffins, coffee, and fruit
10:50 – 11:30: Group ideation
11:30 – 13:00: Draft proposal preparation, and pitching to the panel
Conference talks of all types need to be interesting and engage the audience. It starts with a tenuous idea and ends with an audience that has seen with their ears. And a satisfied and courageous presenter that has cared enough and taken the time to share her or his knowledge and experience.
Social Entrepreneur, chief wide eyed in wanderer, wonderer and bottlewasher