Over the last week I’ve noticed a lot of family, friends, colleagues and clients reaching out and offering time and virtual space to connect and listen to anyone that wants to.
Admirable. Humbling. Necessary. Critical.
It’s just a hunch, but I sense, in that moment, that those doing the reaching seem OK.
Whether it’s their sense of role responsibility or personal circumstance it must have felt like the right thing to do for them to open their hearts and doors for the comfort of others.
Please keep doing this. Again. And again. And yet again.
I also have a hunch, that those most in need of connection might not reach out and call.
There’s something about the stress and overwhelm we’re experiencing right now that slams us straight to the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy.
Immersed in overwhelm and uncertainty the phone then gets heavier and heavier and it becomes much easier not to make the call despite desperately wanting to connect and be heard.
I’ve never been through such unprecedented, unimaginable and scary times.
Searching for comfort I was reminded of the Stockdale Paradox.
So named after Admiral Jim Stockdale who was the highest ranking officer incarcerated in the infamous Hanoi Hilton for 7 years during the Vietnam War. He endured endless torture and yet made it out, by his own admission, a stronger person.
He was never given a finish line he could aim for which he credits for saving his life.
When asked by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great which prisoners didn’t make it out he said,
“The optimists. Yes. They were the ones who always said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ Christmas would come and it would go. And there would be another Christmas. And they died of a broken heart.”
His biggest lesson?
“you have to have faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, and at the same time, must confront the most brutal...
What a crazy few days it’s been around the world.
I thought I’d share a lighter note as an example of how this whispering thing might work.
A couple of weeks ago I shared the letter I wrote to my daughter on her 18th birthday as an example of how our actions echo in eternity and we'll never know when our influence starts or ends.
Here’s the series of whispers that followed that post.
Coincidental or serendipitous? You decide.
Post the post I received some humbling comments about the impact it had on others.
I shared those comments with my daughter and she'd forgotten most of the content from the letter.
I’m not sure exactly what part of the letter whispered to her, but something did.
The next day, she decided to apply for positions with organisations that brought her head, heart, gut and soul aligned and alive. Even though nothing suggested they were looking for new employees.
She was unsure how to address her email and asked me for advice. Of...
4 years ago, this week I embarked on my solo career adventure having had a previous 17 years immersed in one organisation.
I learnt, taught, discovered, consulted, developed and consumed everything there was on building and maintaining a high-performance mindset.
How is it then that in the last 4 years I’ve experienced more self-doubt than in the previous 17 years combined?
I find it hard at times and occasionally a little incongruent - especially for someone that stands for mastery, best possible self and inspiring exceptional performance in the business of life
I’m slowly and a little reluctantly accepting that it’s part of who I am.
I like the part that drives me to do better but not the part that applies the hand brake on me. However, as Brene Brown has suggested – you can’t selectively numb emotion. So, if I’m committed to being my best possible self and fully experience the happiness, joy and abundance that’s possible then I...
Said my daughter during a recent driving lesson.
She’s learning to drive and is full of sass and commentary at the dinner table.
Not so when she’s in control of a car after only 10 hours experience.
Perhaps she’s lost a little confidence after I pushed her too far on an early occasion. Predictable for those of you that know me!
Despite her being capable and being able to drive perhaps the early experience with me pushed her too far into the anxiety zone. My bad!
Anyway, our current practice is to pick her up after school or work and take a few laps of the local car park. Easy loop, no traffic, plenty of space, nothing behind her etc.
On this occasion she reluctantly agreed to drive home from work – local roads, 7pm, still light, dry, minimal traffic etc.
It took her ages to pull out of the side road.
10 mins in having regained her confidence she said ‘It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be…”
Her confidence had been restored by...
Amongst my uni mates the only nickname I’ve had is man-with-map-in-head because I’ve got a good sense of location and direction.
In a time before GPS and Google Maps when we were exploring new towns and cities my mates would rely on me to navigate new places. It got to the point where if left them on their own they wouldn’t have a clue where they were or how to get home. They became dependent on me and gave up navigating for themselves.
A few years later I was playing with my youngest daughter. The toy was quite hard for her age, so I got tasked focused and began helping put the right pieces in the right place. I thought I was doing the helpful thing but after a couple of minutes she said “Daddy, stop helping me I want to learn”
Oops. I took that as feedback and stepped back a little to watch her experiment, make mistakes but ultimately work it out in the ways she wanted to and not the way I thought it should be. It would have been very easy for her to...
What we do in life echoes in eternity
If anything in my life was to echo in eternity, I’d hope it would be through my kids.
Five years ago, I wrote a letter to my eldest daughter on her 18th birthday. It could have been written for any of our kids or anyone for that matter.
I thought her 18th was an opportunity to share some of the quotes that have echoed for me over the years. Some are direct quotes, others a combination of the wisdom of Baz Luhrmann & Mother Theresa, others my own take on life.
With her permission I’m sharing the letter.
Maybe there’ll be a whisper in here for you.
If I could offer you a tip for the future, meditation would be it
The long-term benefits of meditation have been proved by scientists
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
Than my own meandering experience, I will dispense this advice now
I believe life whispers to us and occasionally it shouts.
Life whispers to us in many of the roles we play throughout our lives and when we hear it enough times it somehow provides the final nudge that shifts our behaviour.
Sometimes a small shift - I’d bitten my nails for years and knew I shouldn’t do it but couldn’t quite stop. A stranger made an unsolicited comment “Yuck, look at those nails” and I never bit them again.
Sometimes a serious shift - I knew I had a sweet tooth and was prone to over-eating but I couldn’t quite change my habits. My mother had a heart attack on a trip to Australia and a triple bypass 2 days later. The very next day I changed my eating habits and lost 15 kilos over the following 2 months.
Sometimes a respectful shift - As students living in rented accommodation, we knew we didn’t pay any attention to the garden despite the weeds reaching the height of the lower window. One morning we noticed our neighbours on...