Personal Development

Another ONE thing: Nothing

In my last post, I shared finding and focusing on the ONE thing that drives successful outcomes for me more than any other – that focus has been very powerful.  What about shifting gears away from accomplishing – to enjoying times of not accomplishing anything of “importance.”

On a beautiful snowshoe outside of Breckenridge, I got a lucky shot of my Havanese “Ziggy.” It’s a great image of being in the moment.

Lots has been written lately about Covid burnout, the need for vacation, the importance of recharging.  I am just beginning to explore the question, “How can I thoughtfully accomplish nothing so that I’m recharging?”  Can I shift my thinking about time off to believe that thoughtfully accomplishing “nothing” has value?  Don’t get me wrong – I screw around plenty, but I often feel guilty when I do.  I’m exploring how I can authentically, deep down, value being completely devoid of thoughts of the normal day-to-day to recharge. I’m finding it harder for me than work.  I must be doing it wrong.

New Year, The ONE Resolution

I made a New Year’s Resolution and have been trying it out. It is based on principles from two sources:

The foundation of my resolution is from The One Thing, and it’s related to work.  The One Thing’s main premise (my words) is that while we all strive to do many, many things (again, I’m talking work here) there is ONE THING, one activity, that if done well, drives successful results more than all the other things that we think we need to do – including things we want to do, maybe things we think only we can do… The ONE THING acts like the proverbial “first domino” in the sequence to results.  I have found that ONE THING for me, and am doing my best to apply discipline every day toward accomplishing it.

And this is where the second principle comes into play – the idea that Ego is the Enemy.

In order to focus on the ONE THING, I have to put my ego aside because my ego is happiest doing MANY things.  My ego reminds me that I am good at more than just the ONE THING, and my ego (all of me really) feels stimulated when I do many things.  Plus, my ego loves demonstrating to others my wide range of expertise and wisdom – when I do, my body is flooded with pleasant hits of dopamine!

So, the second principle requires that I put my ego’s desires on hold until I’ve accomplished enough of the ONE THING.

This seems to be working.  Of course, it’s just January 20th.

Flipping a Finger Injury

During a nice family walk on Christmas Day, I was tossing a miniature football with my sons and it hit a fingertip causing something called “mallet finger.”  It’s a condition in which the tendon detaches from the bone. REALLY?? This was a TOY football!  Anyway, it’s supposed to be painful, but in my case it’s just aggravating. The finger must be splinted for six weeks.

I acknowledge that this is a very minor injury and in the grand scheme of medical problems and life inconveniences, it’s is pretty small.

I’m writing about it because at first I found it strangely demotivating.  I would try to be productive but as I sat at my keyboard I couldn’t focus and I couldn’t get going. There was no rhythm to my work. I found that all very frustrating and quite strange, and then I compared myself (very unfavorably) to people who have truly life changing injuries and conditions.

This simple, minor process of reflection drove me to get a grip. I remembered that I had Dragon software installed on my computers and began dictating. That’s what I’m doing now. The rhythm is coming back to my work, and when this splint comes off, I expect I’ll still be dictating most of what I write.

Between Courage and Ego

I’m deeply thinking about a complex personal dilemma, the details of which are not important here.  I decided to turn for ideas to Ryan Holiday’s newest book, Courage is Calling.  If you ever wanted to be brave about something and need to be pumped up to act, this book is for you.  I want to be brave BUT asked myself, “Is my desire to be brave being driven by my EGO?”  I decided to revisit the ideas in an earlier book of Holiday’s called Ego is the Enemy.

I encourage reading both books – then perhaps what I’m about to say will make more sense.,..

If ego is my enemy, then can the brave thing my ego is calling me to do be courageous, or even smart?  If courage is a virtue, is courage still a virtue when called on by ego?

So confusing, until…

Holiday’s books seemed in conflict until I concluded this: if courageous behavior is stimulated by ego, then it’s not courage – it’s something else – somewhere on a continuum between vanity and foolhardiness.  I’ve decided that true courage is not ego centric – it’s bravery centered in rational thought and humility.

The Greatest Shift in Power I’ve Ever Seen is Right Now

We’re all seeing it: the tectonic shift in power from employer over employee, to employee over employer.

Workers from laborers to craftsmen to salespeople and software coders are increasingly in control, forcing wages up (I think way more than the federal government is stating) and forcing employers to change how they recruit and retain employees.  Simon Sinek’s, The Infinite Game (see What Dave’s Listening To) talks about the critical interconnectedness between an “infinite mindset” and employee engagement.

Recently the CEO of a small Colorado contractor with 30 employees told me, “I’ve adapted in the last couple of years – now I work for my employees.”  He was OK with that, feeling that he’s become a better leader.  In fact, 95% of the Colorado CEOs I’ve spoken with tell me that they’ve become more employee focused.  This is an amazing time for employees – and a time for employers to authentically lean into culture and creating meaningful work.


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