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On lifechngr.com I post a ton of business articles, productivity articles and other pertinent information around life in the business world and changes that are occurring right before our very eyes.  Well, this post is about something that changed me personally.  Organization.

 

I’m not a very organized person. I like to think I am by saying I keep everything in stacks.  I work on organization by reading books like Getting Things Done or other books about building a system around completing tasks.  I am a task oriented person and I am a doer so this is why I humbly submit to you today that I signed up for @alejandradottv’s blog and spent 3 days organizing as she asked me to.

 

Day One, we cleaned the bathroom counter before bed.

Day Two, we cleaned the counter + picked up 5 things.

Day three, we did one and two and added washing the dishes before bed.

 

Simply. Best. Experience. Ever.

 

 

I tell you what, this changed my life.  After day one, I went to my wife and asked for forgiveness for my frustration around organization and cleaning around the house. After Alejandra’s lessons it totally opened my eyes to where I am missing in my organization at my desk, in my bathroom, at the kitchen sink and places that I could really take ground in improving there.

I feel so much more organized on a daily basis by doing these few things and have a new appreciation for organization.  Now I need to find someone who organizes desks and garages.  :)

Looks like she’s already got a system for that!

Thank you Alejandra, preciate your help.

Link to the site here.

Alejandra.tv | How to Get Organized with Alejandra’s Home Organization Tips!.

Great article about how to improve your storytelling by @doktorspinn.  Best part of that article is something I’ve seen before, but never hurts to be reminded.  The three parts discussed in the article are: Find your Storyline, Purpose, and Business Values.  It’s worth a view if you click the link at the bottom of the screen.

The Pixar Pitch: Find Your Storyline

3 Powerful Ways To Improve Your Storytelling (And Business!) In Less Than 15 MinutesThis is pretty cool. Emma Coats, story artist at Pixar, has broken down the key elements of great storytelling in a very elegant way.

The Pixar Pitch, lately made very popular by Dan Pink in his book To Sell Is Human, is a great way for you to find a narrative, a storyline, in your business.

Here’s the script for you to try:

Once upon a time there was _________. Every day _________. One day _________. Because of that _________. Because of that _________. Until finally _________.

Jay Connor of Working Differently gives this example of a plot for Finding Nemo:

1. Once upon a time there was a widowed fish, named Marlin, who was extremely protective of his only son, Nemo.
2. Every day Marlin warned Nemo of the ocean’s dangers and implored him not to swim far away.
3. One day in an act of defiance, Nemo ignores his father’s warnings and swims into the open water.
4. Because of that he is captured by a diver and ends up in the fish tank of a dentist in Sydney.
5. Because of that Marlin sets off on a journey to recover Nemo, enlisting the help of other sea creatures along the way.
6. Until finally Marlin and Nemo find each other, reunite and learn that love depends on trust.

via Improve Your Storytelling In 15 Minutes – Doktor Spinn.

Pretty cool article below about how Tim Ferriss mentored a business and helped them get started.  The best thing from the whole article though is what Tim coined the “Quad Bomb” in order to get a response to email.  I’ve shared the email he wrote for the wholesale businesses and his quad bomb technique below.  Enjoy!

And here’s the email for online retail stores:

Subject line: Best person to talk with for new climbing gear?

Hey John <store owner>,

Fan of your store and the fact your founder and I both do jewelry making :)

Noticed you didn’t have any belay glasses, which are becoming super popular with climbers.

Love to see if this makes sense for your store. Other climbing stores are seeing promising results with it.

How’s this Thursday 4pm CST for a quick 7-minute call to see if this makes sense for your store?

Belay on,

Daniel Bliss

http://www.belayshades.com

 

To actually get a response, I had Daniel use what I call the quad-bomb:

1. Search their name on LinkedIn. Send them a connect request as a friend with a CUSTOM message. “Hey <first-name>, Huge fan of your business and wanted to talk about some cool products for your customers.”

2. Email them.

I wait a day here as to NOT annoy them. If they don’t respond, then proceed to 3 and 4.

3. Facebook message them with: “Hey, just wanted to make sure my message got through”.

4. Tweet them. “Hey @twitter-handle. Love to see if we make some magic together. What’s best email for you?”

Why so many channels?

1. So many people are lazy and don’t put the effort in. You get out what you put in.

2. Sometimes people get busy, so your email may just get buried at the bottom of their inbox.

One of the key things that I drilled into Daniel’s head is to have a follow-up time with ANY person you are trying to work with. I use the line, “I have my calendar open, how’s X time to check in?”

Also I use followup.cc as a great free service to get reminders via email.

via How to Create a $4,000 Per Month Muse in 5 Days Plus: How to Get Me As Your Mentor.

Note that some of these tips and tricks will vary depending on which exact iteration of OS X you have.

1. Use Command + Shift + V to paste text without formatting.

Use Command + Shift + V to paste text without formatting.

If you’ve ever copied and pasted text from a website into an email, you’ve experienced the frustration. All of a sudden your email has this chunk of mismatched text, and it takes you at least a minute fiddling with the font options to make it all conform.

For some programs (like Word), the shortcut is Command + Shift + Option + V.

2. If you need to type a special character, the easiest way is to hold down the letter and a character menu will pop up.

If you need to type a special character, the easiest way is to hold down the letter and a character menu will pop up.

From there, you can select the special character you want to use. This will especially come in handy if you’re fond of typing words like resumè, Beyoncè, naïf.

3. Place your mouse cursor over any text and press Command + Control + D to get an informative pop-up menu.

Place your mouse cursor over any text and press Command + Control + D to get an informative pop-up menu.

It includes the dictionary definition, the thesaurus entry, and the Wikipedia entry.

4. Use Command + Delete to delete a file instead of dragging it into the trash can.

Use Command + Delete to delete a file instead of dragging it into the trash can.

No more repetitive wrist ache when you’re mass deleting files from the finder.

5. Invert the colors of your screen to make it easier to read if you’re sitting outside in the sun.

Invert the colors of your screen to make it easier to read if you're sitting outside in the sun.

Just press Command + Option + Control + 8 again to switch it back.

Note that this feature is by default disabled on Mountain Lion, so you’ll have to go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Accessibility to turn on the feature (just check the box that says “Invert Colors”).

6. The “Purge” command will free up memory when your computer starts to feel sluggish.

The "Purge" command will free up memory when your computer starts to feel sluggish.

It’s less complicated than you think! You simply open the Terminal application and type “purge” into the command line. Keep Activity Monitor open in the background so you can see exactly what’s going on. The first time you do this, you’ll free up 500MB+ of memory. You’ll need OS 10.7+ in order to do this. Watch this video if you need more exact instructions.

7. Get the date to show up in the menubar with just a simple checkbox embedded in your System Preferences.

Get the date to show up in the menubar with just a simple checkbox embedded in your System Preferences.

Open up System Preferences, go to “Date and Time,” click on the “Clock” tab, and check the option “Show Date” under “Date Options.” Now you’ll always know what the date is with a simple glance.

8. If you have a couple different audio output sources that you toggle between, click Option + Volume Icon to get an input/output menu.

If you have a couple different audio output sources that you toggle between, click Option + Volume Icon to get an input/output menu.

Maybe you frequently toggle between using headphones and speakers. This is an easy way to access those audio settings without having to go into the System Preferences.

9. To get the volume or brightness to your exact preference, you can fine tune the settings in smaller increments by adding Shift + Option.

To get the volume or brightness to your exact preference, you can fine tune the settings in smaller increments by adding Shift + Option.

10. When restarting your computer, keep it from making that notorious startup sound by holding down the mute button.

When restarting your computer, keep it from making that notorious startup sound by holding down the mute button.

If you’re in the middle of class, or just work in a super-quiet office, this trick will save you from ruining everyone else’s concentration.

11. Along the same lines, press Shift + the volume button to turn the volume up or down without making noise.

Along the same lines, press Shift + the volume button to turn the volume up or down without making noise.

12. Did you know that the Preview application provides a handy way to sign forms from your computer? No fax or scanner needed.

Did you know that the Preview application provides a handy way to sign forms from your computer? No fax or scanner needed.

Just open the PDF document you want to sign, click “Annotate” in the toolbar, and then click the Signature drop-down menu. Choose the first option. Sign a piece of paper and hold it up to your iSight/Facetime camera while Preview snaps a photo. It’ll then detect the signature and allow you to add it to your document.

13. You can select any text, right-click on it, and TWEET IT with one click.

You can select any text, right-click on it, and TWEET IT with one click.

It’ll even open the app for you if you don’t have it open.

14. If you just converted to PC from Mac, this little shortcut will let you keep using the delete button the way you’re used to.

If you just converted to PC from Mac, this little shortcut will let you keep using the delete button the way you're used to.

Use the fn + Delete shortcut to delete the letter in front of your cursor instead of behind. Another handy tip: use option + delete to delete the last word typed. You’ll get the hang of it eventually.

source: Buzzfeed - 14 Mac Hacks That Will Change The Way You Use Your Computer.

LINKEDIN CEO JEFF WEINER ON THE VALUE OF UNDER-SCHEDULING

STRATEGIC THINKING DOESN’T FIND ITSELF. IT NEEDS TIME–ABOUT 30 TO 90 MINUTES–AND SPACE. LINKEDIN’S JEFF WEINER SHOWS US WHY.

BY: DRAKE BAER

Jeff Weiner is a busy dude.

As the CEO of LinkedIn, he has a constant pull of to-dos, and as leaders often do, he has days of meeting after meeting after meeting. Realizing he had little time to think, he opted for what first felt like an “indulgence”: he started scheduling nothing.

Writing on his LinkedIn page (naturally), Weiner explains that his scheduling nothing are his “buffers,” that is, 30- to 90-minute blocks of time without meetings. And rather than a kind of indulgence, Weiner realized the free spaces were “absolutely necessary” for him to do his job–as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett would agree.

CREATING THE TIME FOR STRATEGY

We talk a lot about how busyness gets in the way of good business here at Fast Company: that if we’re going to solve any of the problems that are in front of us, it will require actually attending to them (rather than our phones). Echoing what we once learned from Einstein, Weiner explains that one of the responsibilities of leadership is to create the time-space to strategize:

“As the company grows larger … you will require more time than ever before to just think: Think about what the company will look like in three to five years; think about the best way to improve an already popular product or address an unmet customer need; think about how you can widen a competitive advantage or close a competitive gap, etc.”

He then goes on to deconstruct the elements of such horizon-seeking. To

do it well, Weiner says, you require:

Uninterrupted focus

Thoroughly developing and questioning assumptions

Synthesizing all of the data, information, and knowledge that’s incessantly coming your way

Connecting dots

Bouncing ideas off of trusted colleagues

Iterating through multiple scenarios

And to do all that conceiving and re-conceiving, Weiner says, you need time, which requires stepping away from tactical execution to make room for strategic planning. This will only happen if you create the situation, he says.

“If you don’t take the time to think proactively you will increasingly find yourself reacting to your environment rather than influencing it,” Weiner continues. “The resulting situation will inevitably require far more time (and meetings) than thinking strategically would have to begin with.”

In other words, if we don’t schedule time to think, we start to build up innovation debt. And while the costs of constant busyness are not immediately apparent, from what Weiner says, they most certainly accrue.

[Hat tip: LinkedIn]

[Calendar: Marijus Auruskevicius via Shutterstock]

via LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner On The Value Of Under-Scheduling | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

Big fan of Do the Work by Pressfield // Five Manifestos for the Creative Life | Brain Pickings http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/04/08/five-manifestos-for-life/ via @brainpicker

 

Five Manifestos for the Creative Life

by 

How a numbered list can start a personal revolution.

Some days everyone needs a little extra encouragement. The words or lines or colors don’t want to come, or worse, we don’t even want to sit down to create. That’s when we turn to these inspiring manifestos, any one of which is guaranteed to give our uncooperative creativity a sharp kick in the pants. Here are five of our favorite contemporary manifestos that nudge ideas out of your head and into the hands of the world.

RIGHT BRAIN TERRAIN

We’ve long been fans of the amazing work of Frederick Terral, the creative visionary behind design studio Right Brain Terrain. His “Alternative Motivational Posters” have in fact adorned our walls and desktop wallpapers for some time. But the love affair really began at the words behind his whole operation:

You may not be a Picasso or Mozart but you don’t have to be. Just create to create. Create to remind yourself you’re still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself.”

We can’t imagine more sound advice. And charming, too: Terral’s manifestoappears online in its original form as scanned notebook pages, complete with sketches. Happily you can support all things Right Brain Terrain, and surround yourself with life-affirming statements, by purchasing limited edition prints from the studio’s gorgeous selection online.

THE CULT OF DONE MANIFESTO

Guidelines to get you from Point A to finished product, The Cult of Done Manifesto was written by tech guru Bre Pettis (of MakerBot fame) in collaboration with writer Kio Stark in 20 minutes, “because we only had 20 minutes to get it done.” Following that same parameter, their manifesto consists of 20 truisms borrowed from hacker culture. To wit, number four on the list:

Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.”

With iteration at the heart of its process, The Cult of Done Manifesto will banish your inner perfectionist (and its evil twin, procrastination).

HOLSTEE

We first featured the Holstee manifestoover a year ago, and our fondness for their sustainable social enterprise has only grown since then. Whether you’re raising a family or venture funds for your new business, rallying cries for creativity don’t get much stronger than this:

This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.”

You can buy these bracing words in postercard, and even bib form, so that every time your baby throws a cup of peas on the ground you’re reminded of the things that matter most in life.

WORK IS NOT A JOB

It’s no coincidence that three out of the five manifestos featured here come from design-y entrepreneurial ventures, since as a discipline design takes a “fail forward” approach to creativity. Our number-four favorite was written by Catharina Bruns, the German-born designer and illustrator behind Work Is Not A Job. Bruns’s raison d’être is effecting “a paradigm shift in how people approach ‘work’ not as your 9-5 job but how you individually contribute to the world.”

Empower yourself and realise the importance of contributing to the world by living your talent. Work on what you love. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.”

In addition to design-for-hire, Work Is Not A Job also offers products, from hoodies to fine-art prints, to keep you inspired on the daily.

DO THE WORK

We’re over the moon that author Steven Pressfield has a new release out this month. Part of Seth Godin’s e-publishing experiment The Domino Project (which we featured earlier this year), Do the Work is intended as a companion guide to Pressfield’s earlier text – and one of our all-time favorites on the creative process – The War of Art. Where that book was almost Zen-like in tone, containing koans about art and life that have had us returning to it for years, Do the Work focuses on practical methods and tools. Still, Pressfield doesn’t pull any punches, getting right to the point about what’s at stake in whether or not we create.

There is an enemy. There is an intelligent, active, malign force working against us. Step one is to recognize this. This recognition alone is enormously powerful. It saved my life, and it will save yours.”

Even better, Do the Work is free(!) until April 20th, so do yourself an enormous favor and snag a copy now.

Whatever you do, we hope this list of manifestos helps you manifest your passion; and if you have other favorite creative directives leave us a link in the comments. Now go forth and create!

Kirstin Butler is writing an adaptation of Gogol for the Google era called Dead SULs, but when not doing the work spends far, far too much time on  Twitter. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA.

 

Five Manifestos for the Creative Life | Brain Pickings.

I love asking advice.  Sometimes great, encouraging and lifegiving… other times, harsh, painful and ends in soul searching.  Check out these gold nuggets in an article for FastCo by Grace Nasri, good stuff:

8 SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS GIVE THEIR YOUNGER SELVES LESSONS THEY WISH THEY’D KNOWN THEN

 

EXECS AND INVESTORS FROM PANDORA, IDEO, ANDREESSEN HOROWITZ, SOUNDCLOUD, AND KLEINER PERKINS, AMONG OTHER MASTERS OF DISRUPTION, SHARE THE WISDOM THEY’VE GATHERED ON THE WAY TO THE TOP.

Looking at the success trajectories of today’s disruptors–from Pandora cofounder Tim Westergren to Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales–it’s easy to think that they had everything figured out from a young age. But many of today’s success stories learned lessons later in life that they wished they had known as they were beginning their careers. The eight investors and entrepreneurs below share the advice they wish they had gotten in their early twenties.

Tim Westergren: Avoid the risk of not trying and the regret of wishing you had.
Tim Westergren, the founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Pandora, said if he could offer his younger self one piece of advice, it would be to realize from an early age that it’s far more haunting to live with the regret of having not followed your instincts–even when those instincts required a diversion from the beaten path–than to have followed your gut and failed. Luckily for Westergren, he was one of the few who did follow his passions and that pursuit led him to found a company with a market cap of $2.5 billion.

“Be sure to ‘notice’ ideas when you have them. Stop. Take the time to consider them seriously. And if your gut tells you they’re compelling, be fearless in their pursuit,” Westergren said. “For most people, the idea of chasing a personal passion or being entrepreneurial is simply something they don’t think of themselves doing. We’re so programmed to walk well-trodden paths. But, we live life only once. So, rather than avoiding the risk of trying, avoid the risk of not trying. Nothing is more haunting than thinking, ‘I wish I had…’.”

Jimmy Wales: Spend wisely early in life so you can achieve the financial independence to follow your dreams.
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia–which according to its own Wikipedia page is a collaboratively edited online encyclopedia–said the advice he would share with the younger generation is to be strategic and thoughtful with expenses at an early age so that you can afford to pursue your passions.

“I think one of the things that most 21-year-old people should do is to recognize now that you can make life choices which control your expenses, and that controlling your expenses is one of the most crucial steps toward the kind of financial independence that you need in order to follow your dreams in the future. Whether it is a change of job, or an entrepreneurial dream, the less you NEED to spend each month, the easier it is to follow those dreams. There are several rules of thumb that can help with this, but one of my favorites is to never go into debt to finance any kind of luxurious consumption. Only go into debt if necessary for some kind of investment, like student loans, for example.”

Bill Ready: Surround yourself with great people and be fearless in pursuit of game-changing ideas.
Bill Ready, the CEO of Braintree–the mobile payments platform for online and mobile commerce that counts companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Fab as clients–shared two key pieces of advice that he wish he had known when he was younger.

“There are two main things I wish I had known when I was 21,” Ready said. “Back in the late 1990s when I was a 19-year-old engineer at Netzee–much like other bright, young, ‘hot-shot’ engineers today–I had this sense that I knew everything, and I didn’t realize the importance of really listening to those who were more experienced. What I have realized since then, is that one of the most important things you can do is to surround yourself with great people, and to listen to them. The second piece of advice I would give is to be fearless. Don’t be afraid to pursue revolutionary ideas, and don’t hold back simply because you’re going up against seemingly unconquerable competitors in your market space. At Braintree, many of our competitors are huge, established companies in the market with market caps in the billions–but we’re not afraid of going after them.”

Alexander Ljung: Realize the power of simplicity.
Alexander Ljung, the cofounder and CEO of SoundCloud–the popular audio platform that has raised more than $63 million in venture funding, according to CrunchBase–shared the importance of learning the power of simplicity in today’s complex world.

“In recent years, T.S. Eliot’s reported quote–‘If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter’–has stuck with me when making numerous decisions specifically around leadership, design, and product. The advice I would offer my 21-year-old self is to remember that it takes more mental (and sometimes physical) bandwidth to create something simple or communicate something complicated in basic terms, but ultimately, that’s a lot nicer for the user experience,” Ljung said. “It’s not about building every feature or understanding everything the first time around. It’s about creating the best, tailored experience for your community and company. I’d remind myself of the importance to leverage design as a decisive advantage and to not be afraid to challenge people to break down their knowledge into easily digestible, clearer statements.”

Philippe Courtot: Focus on what makes you truly happy.
Philippe Courtot, the CEO and Chairman of Qualys–the enterprise cloud security firm that went public last year–emphasized the importance of doing what makes you happy; pursuing what actually makes you happy ensures that you’ll put the needed energy, time, and resources behind your work.

“If I had one piece of advice to give my younger self it would be to stop doing what makes you unhappy and focus on what makes you truly happy,” Courtot shared. “This philosophy, strongly advocated by the Dalai Lama, seems simplistic but its power lies in the fact that it forces you to reflect on what is really important to you and not be distracted by what other people think. If I could give myself one more advice it would be to not be afraid of trying. This builds on the first piece of advice, as we can only learn what makes us happy or unhappy through our own experiences.”

Bing Gordon: Work as hard as you can, and then work harder.
Bing Gordon, a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers–who counts Twitter, Spotify, and Path in his portfolio of investments–was frank in his advice. Ultimately, hard work is what is going to make you successful. That, and the added benefit of having an influential mentor to help guide you on the path to success, is the combination that will get you to where you want to go.


“I’ve always regretted that I didn’t start working in business until I was 28 years old,” Gordon shared. “After decades of hiring college grads, I’ve learned that the people who get the most opportunities also start fast. They overachieve from the very beginning. They ask the best questions and always seem to have good ideas. As one Hollywood producer once said, ‘Work as hard as you can and then work harder.’ But the number one piece of advice I would share is to recruit a mentor. Find someone you admire who is at least one generation older, and has no direct authority over you. Lack of context and perspective can cost you months and years–with a bad career choice, an unwise relocation, short-term negotiating posture, and, generally speaking, sophomoric thinking. Jeff Brenzel, Dean of Admissions at Yale, has the best advice on how to recruit a mentor: ‘All professors desire acolytes; so carry their favorite book of theirs under your arm, and go introduce yourself with a question about their book.’”

Paul Bennett: Take the time to listen.
Paul Bennett, the Chief Creative Officer at IDEO–the highly creative global design consultancy that has done work for clients from Samsung to GE–said the one piece of advice he wished he had known in his early twenties, was to focus on listening rather than rushing to come up with a quick, yet uninformed, response.

“Listen more,” Bennett advised. “For most of my twenties I assumed that the world was more interested in me than I was in it, so I spent most of my time talking, usually in a quite uninformed way, about whatever I thought, rushing to be clever, thinking about what I was going to say to someone rather than listening to what they were saying to me. Slowing oneself down, engaging rather than endlessly debating and really taking the time to hear and learn is the greatest luxury of becoming older.”

Scott Weiss: Surround yourself with leaders in your field.
Scott Weiss, a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz–who counts Platfora, Quirky, and Skout in his portfolio–emphasized the importance of learning in the workplace, and pointed out that smaller companies are great places to learn and grow.

 


“Whatever vocation you decide on, track down the best people in the world at doing it and surround yourself with them. Aim high and be ridiculously persistent. Your happiness is at the intersection of your passions and learning from great people. Working at a big company sucks–avoid it. Smaller companies are 10 times better for learning. Be generous with your time and money–it has an amazingly fast payback. Be in the moment with everyone you love–and this frequently means tuning out work completely. And drive slow in parking lots.”

Grace Nasri received her MA in international relations from New York University. After graduating, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as an assistant editor at an international Iranian newspaper and later moved back to NYC, where she worked as the managing editor of FindTheBest.com. Grace currently lives in San Francisco, where she works as a Senior Associate at the Bateman Group, is a member of Women 2.0, freelance writes for Digital Trends and contributes to Fast Company.

8 Successful Entrepreneurs Give Their Younger Selves Lessons They Wish Theyd Known Then | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

But a recent in-depth study of long-term performance suggests an alternative point of view about business strategy. When the measure of performance is profitability, a few large companies in every industry consistently outperform their peers over extended periods. And they maintain this performance edge even in the face of significant business change in their competitive environments. The one factor they seem to have in common is agility. They adapt to business change more quickly and reliably than their competitors; they have found a way to turn as quickly as speedboats when necessary.

via The Agility Factor.

mast2

Scott Young writes about creating under there’s-no-turning-back constraints by forcing himself to only focus on one project every 30 days:

“The triggering point for a change in me was realizing that the thing I lacked wasn’t a good idea—but the ability to finish. So I changed my aim: for my next project, I would set tight constraints and finish it, no matter what.”

We’ve seen example of this in folklore, Young points out. Like when Ulysses tied himself to his ship’s mast to prevent himself from succumbing to the Siren’s Song. Sometimes the “mast” is your desk and the “siren” is Twitter. Those who employ this strategy often say they are “burning the boats” – a reference to Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortes burning his boats so his men weren’t tempted to turn back. It’s an extreme measure, but one that produces results.

Among the subscribers to this mindset, Louis C.K. prefers to do away with his previously existing material every year (NSFW). “Get rid of all your best weapons,” he says, “then you have to get good.”

via Burn the Boats. – 99U.

Great article from HBR regarding three changes you need to be making or you’re being left behind.  Self Branding, Entrepreneurship, and HyperConnectivity.  Thanks @minervaco for posting on facebook.  Dig in here:

Economic and technological changes are reshaping the nature of work. Having a great job does not guarantee your career success; your competence no longer depends on what you know; and being an affluent consumer matters less than becoming a sought-after product. Welcome to a new era of work, where your future depends on being a signal in the noisy universe of human capital. In order to achieve this, you will need to master three things: self-branding, entrepreneurship, and hyperconnectivity.

Self-branding is about being a signal in the noise of human capital. The stronger your brand, the stronger that signal. In today’s world, self-branding matters more than any other form of talent, not least because the mass market is unable (or unwilling) to distinguish between branding and talent.

We are all individuals, but unless we are also a brand, our individuality will be invisible. Being a brand means showcasing that which makes you special, in a way that is distinctive (recognizable), predictable (consistent), and meaningful (it allows others to understand what you do and why). This is why David Beckham and Lady Gaga are much more successful than their more talented competitors — they understood that being a marketing phenomenon is more important than displaying outstanding soccer skills or musical talent, and focused more on self-branding than their counterparts did.

Successful brands are polarizing (they generate strong reactions) and simple. Strong self-branding means removing all non-essentials from your public reputation or, as Antoine Saint-Exupery put it, “perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Entrepreneurship is about adding value to society by disrupting it and improving the order of things: it is turning the present into the past by creating a better future.

We are all busy, but the only activity that really matters is enterprising activity or entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is the difference between being busy and being a business, and the reason why some are able to stay in business.

Everything that isn’t already optimized or automatized depends on people, and every transaction between people is a business transaction. The most important commodity in human capital today is people who can grow a business, that is, work on the business rather than in a business.

Today’s war for talent is the war for identifying, developing, and retaining true change-agents. Change-agents are hard to find, hard to manage, and hard to retain. Entrepreneurship is about being a change-agent; change-agents are signals, everyone else is noise. If you are not bringing growth, you are replaceable and recyclable.

Whether you are self-employed or employed by others, whether you work in a big business or own a small business, your career success depends on your ability to offer something new: new solutions for existing problems; new services and products; new ideas; etc. Everything that isn’t new is old, and if you are doing old you are stuck in the past. In the age entrepreneurship, the future of you is new, and your value depends on your ability to do things differently. As the great Alan Kay pointed out, “a change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.”

Hyperconnectivity is about being a signal in the sea of data and making and shaping the waves of social knowledge.

We are all online, but what matters is being a relevant connector. Hyperconnectivity is not about being online 24/7; it’s about optimizing the online experience for others.

Unless you are a hyperconnector, only Netflix cares about what movies you watch, and only your friends care about where you went for brunch. But when you are a hyperconnector, thousands of people will watch the movies you like and your brunch recommendations will shape reviewers’ comments on TripAdvisor. In the era of information overload, being a trustworthy source of information is a rare commodity — it is the digital equivalent of being an intellectual and the latest state in the evolution of marketing.

The world’s knowledge is too large to be stored anywhere; Wikipedia and Google aren’t enough; the Library of Congress isn’t enough. Hyperconnectors point us in the right direction. Anybody can upload a video on YouTube or tweet, but only a few can direct us to the videos or tweets we want to see.

The most important form of knowledge today is knowing where to find stuff. In fact, the ability to find stuff is now almost as important as the ability to create stuff. Hyperconnectors are the creative of the digital era because in the age of information overload, where everybody creates online content, effectively curating content is what really matters.

In short, the future of you depends on your ability to be a brand, a change agent, and a link to useful information. Paying attention to your personality and managing your reputation (how others see you) will turn you into a successful brand; paying attention to your ideas and defying the status quo will help you become a change agent; and bridging the gap between social knowledge and collective interests will turn you into a hyperconnector.

More blog posts by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
More on: Career planning
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC

Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is an international authority in personality profiling and psychometric testing. He is a Professor of Business Psychology at University College London (UCL), Visiting Professor at New York University, and has previously taught at the London School of Economics. He is co-founder of metaprofiling.com.

 

The Future of You – Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic – Harvard Business Review.