Practice self-awareness, self-evaluation, and self-improvement. If we are aware that our manners – language, behaviour, and actions – are measured against our values and principles, we are able to more easily embody the philosophy, leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do
– Frances Hesselbein
Good businesses have values and principles which guide them and keep them on course. These define how they want to show up in the world. And in turn, this attracts people with the same, or similar values. We’ve thought about this long and hard (as one should) and whilst there are many more, we’ve refined them down to a neat 5.
1. Build stuff that matters
Over the past 7-10 years, the content we consume on a daily basis has increased a thousand-fold – much of it down to the rise of the smartphone. News channels, free newspapers, social media posts, blogs and photos bombard us with easily-accessible content 24/7.
So, amongst all this noise, whatever you do, think about what you really value and where you can really add value. Think about what matters in this over-crowded, busy world. If you’re an entrepreneur, the time you spend thinking about your values will help you build a better company. If you work for someone else, the time you spend understanding your values will help you find the right kind of company to work for, and when you find it, to do a better job.
We have a firm belief that understanding ourselves better is the key to a brighter and better world. Our aim with each and every post, talk, travel experience, workshop and event is to provide you with quality content that will help you improve your way of thinking and being, and therefore your life. Everything we talk about or teach is what we’ve learned ourselves and we know it to be of value in enabling you to understand yourself better.
Build beautiful stuff that matters. It’s the only way.
2. Stay Curious
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
— Pablo Picasso
Staying curious as an adult requires practice. When we’re young, curiosity comes more naturally. Like an excited puppy, we delve into whatever crosses our path that day, asking our parents ‘why’ all the time and driving them mad with our drive to know more about how the world works. And in a funny sort of way, we pay more attention to life as children, than we do as adults. We’re more present, more in the moment.
You can spot grownups who have remained curious a mile off. Their boundless energy and questioning remains. Leonardo da Vinci was curious about everything. He wanted to know what a woodpecker’s tongue looked like and how long it was. He gained inspiration from both nature and the world surrounding him and to paint his subjects as accurately as possible, he performed anatomical studies which helped him understand the mechanics behind many of his machines. He was never satisfied to look at something from one single angle. He turned and rotated, disassembled and dissected to get the utmost understanding of the problems he was wrestling with. He said of his insatiable curiosity:
Learning never exhausts the mind”
And as the philosopher Alain de Botton once said “Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.”. If you’re curious enough to be pursuing a bigger future, then you’ll also need to be comfortable with failing a lot. If you’re failing a lot, then you’re learning and transforming and hopefully using what you’ve learned to help others.
3. Take Responsibility
Consciously deciding to take ownership for all that we do is not an easy step to take. Physician and Tedx speaker Alan Watkins suggests that it is “the most important transition you’ll ever make in life”.
We either choose to think of ourselves as victims or we accept responsibility for everything that happens to us and everything we do, which includes taking ownership and responsibility when we mess up. In doing so, we create powerful ways to make giant leaps forward in our lives.
In the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change Steven Covey says that people who take responsibility for themselves
They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behaviour.”
When we take ownership of our decisions, our lives are no longer left to chance. The question is – where do you want to go and what do you want to achieve?
4. “Self-made is an illusion”
We don’t get anywhere on our own and believing we can limits healthy humility and a deeper understanding of how things really work. It perpetuates an ego-based fantasy that achievement is an independent act, which it seldom, if ever, is.
It’s a beautiful thing to acknowledge the reality of our interconnectedness and interdependence. There are many, many people who play roles in our both our personal, as well as professional, lives and who we become is not only as a result of self-reflection and self-mastery, but also as a result of the influences of others. Brands and individuals who thrive knowing their purpose and living by it, understand this and acknowledge those who have helped and influenced them on the way up.
None of us have a perfect understanding of the world we live in, so seeking the help and advice of others can be a powerful exchange of gifts that benefit both the giver and the seeker.
Being grateful, always, to those who influence and help us as we go through life is actually one of life’s great pleasures.
5. Always remember the magic
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
– Albert Einstein
We heard this once and have never forgotten it.
It’s the notion that when we are born, we have all our little switches turned on. Imagine. Little lights all over our bodies with a switch to operate each one. We’re radiant, beaming with light. We have a little switch for enthusiasm, another for connection, one for love, one for adventure, one for joy, one for desire, one for fun, another for our belief in magic or the unseen, one for enthusiasm for life, one for creation. You get the idea. The list can go on and on. And in fact, these are my ideas, switches that appeal to me – but you can come up with your own.
But things change over time, as we know. Over the course of our lives, these little switches get turned off. One by one, the lights start to dim and many just, well, go out. A teacher makes fun of you, a parent puts you down, a lover abandons you. And each time a switch turns off, just a little of your radiance diminishes.
But with awareness comes change.
Think about the switches you’d like turned on each and every day. When we notice the magic that surrounds us if we only choose to look, to take notice, then those little switches begin to turn the lights back on. When we stop thinking of ourselves and instead revel in the majesty of life. The seemingly insignificant excitement of a dog – how it wags its tail at the simplest of things – brings a sense of pure joy when you choose to notice and engage with it. Or when you wake up, tune in to the birdsong – how they talk to each other high up in the trees. Or the gentle flow of a river you pass by. Where is it going, where did it come from?
Live deliberately. See the magic.