1, If you find something that you want to change, you have two options. One, is to talk about the change you are going to make. Or, two, stop talking. And begin.
2, Avoid easy deadlines. Deadlines serve you best when they are short, hard and, at first glance, impossible. Urgency gets things done.
3, All teams want to be part of history. Have something big that you want to change. Your strength of purpose multiplies the teams stubbornness to get this thing done.
4, Focus on the task. If you are doing something that isn’t pushing the task forward, that is called a distraction. Distractions are plentiful. But distractions stop you from doing.
5, Obstacles will come your way. Guaranteed. Think of them as a gift. They will make you stronger. They will make you more creative. Rather than break you, they will define you.
6, Ideas change things. But ideas by themselves change nothing. An idea needs effort to make it happen. Do the work.
7, Leverage your energy. You can’t increase the number of hours in a day, but you can multiply their impact. Understand the power of the influencers: The few influence the many. Find your multiplier. The person, the organisation, the companies who can accelerate the change you want to make.
8, What you are doing is hard, but not impossible. Practice optimism.
9, What is your priority today? Ask yourself that each day. It’s your job to keep the main thing the main thing.
10, The energy available to get this done is directly proportional to how much it matters to you. Only commit to things that matter.
11, Perfection comes over time. Not at the beginning. Start where you are. But start.
12, Sprint. Rest. Sprint. Rest. Human’s get more done in bursts followed by rest. Getting things done isn’t about who does the longest hours, but who does the smartest hours.
13, 80% of your time is spent on things that you are not good at. 20% of your time is spent on the things you are very good at. In order to get more done, flip that.
14, Teams multiply change. Teams with a clear purpose, and a clear sense of the change they can make, get the most done.
15, Keep your energy for pushing forward. The past is done. Things out of your control cannot be changed. Energy spent being angry, jealous, or cynical is negative energy. Stay positive.
16, Make a plan. Then accept it can and will change. Making something happen is about being nimble and adaptable.
17, Say no. And say it often. You can do anything, but, alas, not everything. Focus.
18, Making things happen is fun. Making things happen that matter with a team as crazy as you is the best fun of all.
19, Little actions repeated relentlessly result in big change. Don’t underestimate the importance of ‘small’ multiplied by ‘often’.
20, Make a pact with failure early on. Respect it. But don’t fear it. If it occupies your mind whilst doing, it can stop you from winning. Trust yourself.
21, Even though you’re busy, make time to help others who are at the start of their journey. Give back. It will help you too.
22, Follow through. On the big things. On the small things. Create a habit of always following through. As habits go, it’s a good one.
23, If you are going to make change happen, make it a good one. This planet needs as many friends as it can get.
At the Do Lectures this year was a guy called Rohan Anderson. He is a grower, hunter and gatherer. He wrote the very successful book and blog: Whole Larder Love. He did an amazing talk at The Do and silenced everyone listening, which doesn’t happen too often.
After speaking to him I could tell he was on the edge of doing something that was incredibly important to him. But like all dreams that we keep to ourselves, sharing them with others is scary. Because we are vulnerable then, we can be judged and criticised. And we can fall flat on our face.
So it was so good to see that last week he had taken the big bold step of sharing that dream.
He wants Australia to eat healthier. It’s a good dream.
Here's his Do Talk.
I know, he will make it happen. He is a force of nature.
Here’s to the dreamers of the world. Because nothing changes without them.
But there is a danger that by doing just that, we are ignoring the tried and trusted tools right under our noses that, well, just work.
Take the simple newsletter. It is one of the best ways I know to build the community and culture of your brand. Like a tree needs roots, a brand needs to build its roots too.
A great newsletter can do that. And yet most people ignore it, dismiss it, or if they use it, use it poorly. Yet, this tool, in the right hands, is as powerful as they come.
Here are some tips I have learnt from doing lots of newsletters.
10 tips for a great newsletter.
1, Share. Don’t just sell.
No one likes a friend who only talks about himself. And no one invites them back to their dinner parties. Sure, you’re doing interesting things. Sure you’re amazing. Sure the world needs to know you exist. But, a great newsletter works by you sharing how you think about the world, and not just what you have to sell in this world. It’s not all about you.
2, The job of the editor is to edit.
This is one busy world. Attention is what you are after. But time is what no one seems to have. If you want people to spend time, their precious limited time, reading your darn newsletter, it’d better be good. So you need to spend a ton of time on it. Find new things. Find old things. Find amazing things. Put the hours in. Get known for finding great likeminded stuff. As their trusted editor, it is your job to find ‘the gold’ on their behalf. So they don’t have to.
3, Make it feel like a place of calm.
Design your newsletter so it is simple and uncluttered. Create a calm space for them to press the pause button. Where you can have a quiet 5 minutes by yourself to be inspired. Calm also comes from having regular features. And a consistent voice. In a world of information overload, less is indeed very welcome thing. Our heads are so full of stuff; your newsletter should feel like an escape from a frantic, frenetic world. That way, people look forward to it.
4, Use the best tools.
I have tried many different newsletter tools, but I find MailChimp to be the easiest to use, the most flexible, and they are forever making it better and better. I also use Instapaper to help me save great stuff that I find. Again, super simple but incredibly powerful.
5, Don’t over use it.
It’s a great tool. Use it sparingly. The unsubscribe button will tell you if you have got it wrong.
6, Don’t under use it, either.
Social media is brutal. People forget you pretty damn quick. It’s nothing personal, everyone is just so busy. So how often should I send a newsletter? Well, that’s a tough one. You will just have to find the right balance. But like your car keys, that isn’t always the easiest thing to find.
7, Stick at it.
If you think that doing a newsletter will suddenly transform your business overnight, you may have to think again. But overtime, if you stay relevant and stay interesting, your newsletter will become an important tool for your business. Yes, it will have spurts of crazy growth. But mostly it will just grow nice and steady. The biggest thing you will have over your competition is that you just stick at it, when others have long ago given up.
8, Keep it short.
Get to the point quick. People are busy.
9, Be you.
No one else can be you. Be inspired by others, but don’t follow them. Share things you are passionate about, not what you think will get the most likes. If it matters to you, then share it. Let it come from you. When you write, make it feel like you are speaking. Warts and all. Developing your voice won’t come in just one newsletter, but it will come overtime.
10, Ignore the rules. (Including these ones.)
There are many rules for a making a newsletter, but if you listened to all of them, then you’ll just become like everyone else. The reason you are going to stand out is because you will break some of the rules. Stay true to how your saw it in the beginning. Don’t follow someone else’s formula. Create your own.
The days you will look back on will be the days that tested you. Business can be a rollercoaster ride. One minute you are up, the next you are down and out.
How well you walk through the fire to quote Charles Bukowski, will say a lot about you. If the ride isn't going as well as you want, you have remember that it is your ride. And you chose that ride.
If you can switch your mind set to think of obstacles as the thing that are going to make you different, refine your thinking and ultimately the very reason you will succeed. If you think of obstacles this way, you will change your life.
Adopt a simple life: Deal with each day one day at a time. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t live in the future. Keep working in the now. Head down. Working on the thing that matters to you. Stay in the now.
Don’t spend your time moaning. Be thankful for each day. And enjoy the ride. It’s your ride.
You are the one with the hands on the handlebars.
Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman Yvon Chouinard (Penguin, 2006)
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Simon Sinek (Penguin, 2011)
Small Giants: Companies That Choose to be Great Instead of Big Bo Burlingham (Penguin, 2007)
The Republic of Tea: The Story of the Creation of a Business, as Told Through the Personal Letters of Its Founders
Mel Ziegler, Patricia Ziegler, Bill Rosenzweig (Crown, Random House 1994)
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography - Walter Isaacson (Little Brown, 2011)
The Lean Startup
Eric Ries (Crown, Random House, 2011)
The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success Les McKeown
(Palgrave MacMillan, 2012)
Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age - Paul Graham (O’Reilly, 2004)
Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity David Allen (Piatkus, 2002)
The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less Richard Koch (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2007)
The 4-Hour Work Week,
Timothy Ferriss (Vermilion, Random House, 2011)
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
Simon Sinek (Portfolio Penguin, 2014)
The Score Takes Care of Itself:
My Philosophy of Leadership
Bill Walsh (Portfolio Penguin, 2010)
Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking the Rules
L David Marquet
(Portfolio Penguin, 2013) Wooden on Leadership: How to
Create a Winning Organization
John Wooden (McGraw-Hill, 2005)
Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life Spencer Johnson (Vermilion, Random House, 1999)
Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success
Ken Segall (Portfolio Penguin, 2012)
A Technique for Producing Ideas
James W Young (Frontal Lobe Publishing, 2011)
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield (Black Irish Entertainment, 2012)
The Tao of Warren Buffett: Warren Buffett’s Words of Wisdom Mary Buffet & David Clark (Pocket Books, 2009)
How To Stop Worrying And Start Living
Dale Carnegie (Vermilion, Random House, 1993. First published 1948)
Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work Steven Pressfield (Black Irish Entertainment, 2012)
Clarity: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results Jamie Smart (Capstone, 2013)
The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principels That Will Change Your Life
Leo Babauta (Hay House, 2009)
The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (First published 1943)
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice, Shunryu Suzuki (Shambhala, 2005. First published 1970)
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be Paul Arden (Phaidon, 2003)
Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell and Live the Best Stories Will Rule the Future
Jonah Sachs (Harvard, 2012)
‘Trust Breeds Magic.’ Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka SwissMiss
‘You can’t get to wonderful without passing through alright.’ Bill Withers
‘The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.’ Fred Wilson
‘You can do anything, but not everything.’ David Allen
‘The more classic you can make something, the longer it will last.’ Paul Arden
‘Chase the work, and not the money. And the money will come.’ Paul Arden
‘The biggest investment you can make is in yourself not a house. ‘ Warren Buffet
‘The danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it ‘ Michelangelo
‘Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.’
‘Efficiency only matters if you don’t like what you’re doing.’
Adam Shand on building his own house
Do Book Company
Do Birth - A gentle guide to labour and childbirth - Caroline Flint
Do Disrupt -Change the status quo. Or become it - Mark Shayler
Do Grow - Start with 10 simple vegetables -Alice Holden
Do Improvise - Less push. More Pause. Better results A new approach to work (and life) Robert Poynton
Do Lead - Share your vision. Inspire others. Achieve the impossible - Les McKeown
Do Protect - Legal advice for startups -Johnathan Rees
Do Purpose - Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more -David Hieatt
Do Sourdough - Slow bread for busy lives - Andrew Whitley
Do Story - How to tell your story so the world listens - Bobette Buster
That is why sport is important. Whatever you do, take time out. Whether it’s a run, a walk, a bike ride, or daily meditation. The brain needs some rest. Work the body, and while the body is so busy doing its stuff, the brain switches off. You feel fresher physically and mentally. Feel the burn of sport.
There are no emails to send, no bills to pay, no awkward people conversations. You are free*. Sport takes the stress of the day away and leaves it far behind.
*Free with every run, every bike ride, every swim: You.
When you are involved in a startup, life can quickly go out of control. If you allow it to. Yes, there will be times when a deadline means burning the midnight oil. And yes, adrenaline is the fuel of startups but mostly because it is cheap. But not because it is the best fuel to build a long-term business.
So your job is to look after the team because they look after the business. So you have to make sure that those crazy times do not become the norm. You have to create a culture where people take their holidays, where late nights are the exception, where people eat well, sleep well, and use their time well. (Read David Allen’s Getting Things Done book. It is a secret weapon.)
Your team are more creative, think better, and much more fun to be around too,if you can create a culture of balance.
Great businesses are built on huge amounts of energy. Even more important than huge amounts of funding.
You can burn the candle at both ends for a while, but there comes a point where you get diminishing returns.
You job is to lead. Your job is to make decisions. Your job is to be a bundle of energy and enthusiasm.
It may sound boring, but if you are going to give your company its best chance of success, you need to get the amount of sleep that your body requires. There is no badge of honour for who is the most tired.
The problem with your business is that it matters to you.
And, oh boy, it can and will consume you. Every waking hour. Every sleeping hour. At home. At work. And the journey between the two.
That’s the deal. But you have to find ways to look after yourself. Because you look after lots of other people, who depend on you. Accept that working through the night is a rite of passage, and working weekends goes with the territory. But also accept that these can’t become the norm.
Tired? Go home. Come in fresh. Businesses are very good at running you. Don’t let it.
They do it while their day-dreaming out of the window of a more fun job. Once they find one, they take the more conventional way of leaving a company - the door.
People don’t leave companies for money. They say they do. But they don’t.
They leave emotionally long before they leave physically. They leave because they are not valued, they are not being challenged or feel part of something that matters to them. A central plank to all this discontent is they have stopped learning.
It’s your job to create a learning culture that will keep them emotionally connected. You have to keep their hearts in the business. Training is the best way I know to do that.
And it isn’t just training to do their job better. That’s standard stuff. But you will need to go beyond that to get people engaged.
You will need to send them on courses, even if that course is unrelated to what they do with you. The best companies see the whole person, and not just the little segment that they do for you.