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Creativity requires structure. Rest takes work.

Last week we had a 3 day team retreat, and it was amazing and inspiring and difficult and challenging and we did things wrong and we did things right. As a team, we read the book Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar. (Side note: one of the best business books I’ve ever read, and reading it together as a team gave us amazing insights into running a creative business.)One of the things they instituted at Pixar is a day they call “Notes Day”, which is really like a big ...

February 20, 2021

Listen to your gut...and dig deeper

“I just trust my gut”, you think. You hire someone you feel right about, and reject to the ones you don’t. A new prospect says and does a few things which feel dodgy, but seems like a nice guy (LINK), so you take him on as a client anyway. Many weeks or months later something happens which removes all doubt, and you end up letting him go, and you think, “I knew it. I KNEW IT. My gut told me he was going to be a problem client.”Your gut helps you with many (if not all) busines...

February 12, 2021

"They're a really nice person, but...."

When you hear yourself (or someone else) say this phrase, it’s actually all over.  The supplier. The company you hired. The employee. The strategic partner. The accountant. The client. The advisor. The minister. The author. The influencer. The lecturer. The date. The....whoever.  I have heard this phrase used by so many people for so long, that when I hear it now, it’s like a red warning flag, waving wildly.  Because what comes after this statement is the real problem, th...

February 6, 2021

No self sabotage: Go all the way to the end

This image is me. In every major achievement in my life, I’ve gotten cold feet or slowed down or hesitated or got sick or something, right before the end. Depending on how significant the achievement is, it might be a day or a week before I get there, or it might be a few months. But last year for the first time I really noticed how significant it is. I had several major milestones I either hit (or didn’t), and I saw the pattern for the first time. One milestone was ...

January 30, 2021

100 days, no shortcuts

Want to get better at something?  Do it every day for 100 days.  That’s it, that’s the Note.  Okay...you know me, that’s not completely it. Naturally I have more to say. But if you read nothing else, grasp that. If you’re going to get better at something - writing or recording video or posting on social or sending emails or preparing presentations or sketching or home DIY work or anything at all…. ...you will absolutely do better when you practice at it. Every day.&...

January 23, 2021

Red lights, greenlights

When I was younger, in America, we used to play a game called “red light green light”. Everyone would line up at one end of the field, or the room, or a wide open space.  One person would stand at the front, staring ahead and not able to see those behind them, and shout “green light!” That was our signal to run forward as fast as we could. When they shouted “red light!” and whirled around, we had to stop instantly, and if we were still moving when they spotted us we were ‘out...

January 14, 2021

Are you off, or "off off"?

You’re exhausted. Some of you have literally taken only a few days’ holiday in the entire year (or since March anyway).  It’s time for a rest - a real one. An honest to goodness, don’t check emails or Slack or messages or even social media or your phone, rest.  It’s the difference between being “off”... ...and being “off off”.  Really and truly off. Not working. Not even thinking about work. Not connecting to work things. Not even casually checking emails to “m...

December 18, 2020

The creative child within (and the fears that go with them)

When you tap into the creativity within, you tap into the child you….and sometimes the fears and resistances which come along with them.  I was a guest on a podcast recently called “What’s your ‘and’?”. Everyone has an ‘and’, something they do or enjoy or create when they’re not working, and the podcast host, John Garrett, talks to people from all different walks of life about their ‘and’. He mentioned it’s been even more successful during 2020, a year in which ...

December 5, 2020

Choose to give thanks. Always

This week is the American holiday of Thanksgiving. As a dual British-American citizen, it’s still a holiday I celebrate here in Scotland, and it really is one of my favourite holidays of all.  Because the premise is: things are (or have been) very hard, so you gather together with family, eat good food and lots of it, and you give thanks for it all. For the food, the family and friends and tribe, and all the good things you’ve received or experienced even through the hard times.  T...

November 28, 2020

Accountants, you are creative too.

I believe all humans are creative.  It’s a quality we all have - innately from being humans - no matter what our role or job or how we perceive our fit into society. I believe a creative God created humans, and we reflect that creativity and have these creative qualities from long before we even know anything about ourselves. And as a qualified accountant myself, who then set up a creative agency to support and help accountants, it took me many years to realise those two things were the b...

November 7, 2020

The story I'm telling myself (and how easily it can be the wrong story)

We have to make sense of things. Somehow.  And if things don’t make sense, or don’t fit, our brain will work on putting together the reason, the intentions, the story.  We will literally make up a story in our own head to help us understand. We’ll say “oh, I see, they wrote that email in that way because they’re tired of me asking them for help”, or “ah, I get it, that prospect never replied because they don’t want to work with us”, or “they didn’t invite me to th...

October 22, 2020

Hard things and good things work together

I’ve been thinking this week about the good things we receive through an experience of hard things.  No matter how good the good thing is we receive through what’s hard...it doesn’t magically make the hard things good. Or transform them. Sometimes (most times) they’re bad in and of themselves.  Things like Covid. And lockdown. And back pain. And deaths of people we care about. And depression and addictions and abuse and trauma.  Those are bad, bad things. In themselves the...

October 9, 2020

There's more happening while we wait than waiting

I read this sentence today and needed to pause to think about it for a little while.  "There is more happening while we wait than just waiting."  The author was talking about how frustrating it is to wait. How weary we get, how cranky and frustrated and wishing it would be over - so we can get to where we're going, "go back to normal", start something new, end something old... ...but the waiting has so much in it.  It reminded me of a section of the Dr Seuss book, "Oh, the places ...

September 25, 2020

Consecutive time off > time off in pieces

Hello everyone! I’m back!  Really actually missed writing these Notes, come to think of it. I like the routine and pattern, and I love the thoughtful replies I get and the good conversations it starts.  Being off for three whole weeks, consecutively, has shown me a few things. Chief of which is that taking time off consecutively is SO much more powerful than taking the same amount of time, broken up into pieces.  Now, I know not everyone can take that much time - right now, or a...

September 18, 2020

The books you read

When ‘everything’ started back in March, I sort of naively imagined I’d get lots of reading done. I’d have all this time, I thought. I wouldn’t be traveling, I’d still get my work done at home and then I could just read and read and read. Didn’t happen that way, at all. Matter of fact for a few months I could hardly read anything. I couldn’t concentrate, had too much to think about and process, and was just trying to keep the business going and take care of the team and clie...

August 20, 2020

The movie montage (and why you can't skip it)

You know that part of a film, usually in the middle or about two thirds of the way through, where a lot of hard stuff happens really fast with music playing the whole time?  There is laughing and crying and falling and getting up again and working out and cutting hair and falling over and getting up again and giving up but not really and running and lifting weights and falling and getting up again and everything is at warp speed and then the music swirls together with a little triumph and i...

August 8, 2020

There is no normal (is there?)

I started this sketch with the words: “There is no normal. We are not going back to normal. We never had normal.” And then I thought about it, and realised making sweeping statements isn’t quite what I want to do here.  After all, some people really do want to “go back to normal”. Maybe you’ve even said or thought that in the past few weeks. But today i want to ask the question.  Do we?  Do we, do I, want to “go back to normal”? If so, what does that look like? How...

July 22, 2020

Head. Space.

On Monday, for the first time in four months I was able to go somewhere besides my local walks. Those local walking paths have served me well during lockdown. I got the fresh air, some space, daily processing of all the thoughts. But I missed the freedom to get in the car and go far away - far, far away with the silence of the everlasting hills, to get more space for my head.My head comes with me on the walks, of course, but when I get out into the vastness, it’s like all the swirling tho...

July 7, 2020

What's your thing?

A few months ago I was listening to a podcast called “Do The Thing”, and it stopped me in my tracks within the first few minutes, before she even got to the actual topic.  She did a little intro, welcomed her guest, and then said, “Before we get into it, the first question I ask all of my guests: What’s your thing?” The guest speaker started talking about how her thing was teaching people to heal….and I stopped the podcast and just sat there thinking.  What would I say...

June 27, 2020

On starting things and swearing and taking MY time

I listened to episode one of Brene Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us, yesterday.  It has taken me - literally, exactly - three months to click play. (The episode is dated 20th March.)  I knew it was going to be good. I have read several of Brene’s books (and watched her TED talks and netflix documentary) and I don’t speak lightly when I say they have contributed to changing my life. (It’s extremely rare if not impossible for any one thing to truly change our lives: it’s always th...

June 20, 2020

Distancing from my own head

Last weekend a friend came round and we just sat out on the back deck all afternoon. Talking, watching the breezes move the trees, eating lunch, listening to music.  We were talking about things we miss, and one of my greatest ones is travel. Not the constant travel - I'm getting my eyes opened to the fact I was rushing too much, going too many places too fast, more “work travel” than I had energy for. But I do miss the freedom to be able to go somewhere when I take the notion. Particul...

June 13, 2020

The comparison game: do I ever win it?

The comparison game.  Sort of the least-fun game ever.  It has become very real to me in the past few weeks and months. It’s always been real: I’ve always struggled with feeling ‘less than’ in my areas of perceived weakness. Or fear. Or confusion.  But at this time all our fears and confusions and weaknesses are being enhanced a bit. Or blown into greater proportion. Or I’m just having to face it more, since there are fewer distractions.  I’m being forced to get t...

June 6, 2020

I'll do it when I have ... time?

"I'll do it when I have time."Okay so we've all had THIS excuse blown out of the water and revealed for the excuse it always was.Because unless you're a care worker for your country's health service, the fact is we all have a little more time here and there (and some people have a lot).Even those of you with kids at home have (at least those I've been talking to) started to settle into a bit of a routine, and you're getting work done as best you can.But you're not traveling. Or going to events. ...

May 23, 2020

It may not be okay: but comfort is coming

There’s a lot of “it’s going to be okay” messages going around. In one sense, there’s truth in it. There have been crises before - of differing natures and time periods than this one, with different repercussions - and the world and its humanity are still here. So it’s very likely we - the communal, global we - will be “okay” in that we continue on. But that’s not what ‘okay’ really means, to each of us individually. It’s certainly not what it means to me. ...

May 8, 2020

the 2020 club

Dear Covid-19,  We accept the fact that we’ve had to sacrifice a whole month in lockdown for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you’re crazy for making us believe who you think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.  But what we found out, is that each one of us is a  Brain, motivated and hardworking and coming up with new business ideas Athlete,getting out for exercise and pushing ourselves to new limit...

April 24, 2020 Posts 1-25 of 38 | Page next
 

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