Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Support as many of the right things as you can.

I'll begin this weeks post with an apology for my horrendous (at times) grammar eg: last weeks misspelling of primadona. I took it on the chin from a few people and notably one mate who wrote "FOR CHRIST SAKE MATT, USE SPELL CHECK" in the subject line of an email. There's no hiding the fact I'm guilty of rushing my thoughts and hitting publish before I've given articles a third & fourth re-read. The fact is I'm actually humbled (and surprised) people even read my weekly babble, designed to get my thoughts out of my head more than anything, however I will make an attempt to improve (slowly). Please accept my apologies..... and may I direct your attention to this cute new puppy. 

Next; Where's your support?
It's easy to support things when they have direct impact and meaning to/for/on us, we're all over it with passion and sizzle. Yet this is often not the case when it comes to support initiatives and endeavors of others. Why is that & how could we become better supporters? After all it would
stand to reason if we were asking people to be interested in what we were doing, we would extend the same courtesy. Here are five tips we can use to become better supporters.
  1. Support the right things vs just your things. If you read or hear of something that resonates with you, jump on it because you believe it's the right thing to do.
  2. Create a yearly budget for things you would like to support. That budget can be comprised of money, time and energy. Share that with your circles so they know where you stand.
  3. LIKE EVERYTHING your circle of friends are doing. It's the least you can do, requires very little effort but goes a long way. 
  4. Get over yourself. We're often critical of others because we're jealous ourselves. That's not team think, it's me think and that's lame. 
  5. Encourage others to be better supporters. There's nothing more powerful than a network of positive supporters who can feed off one another.
We can get burned out from being asked to support so many someone's somethings however, there will come a time when we need to make that call. Let's remember, we'll likely get what we give.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Putting the I back in TEAM.

I've got a lot of respect for NHL'r Johnathn Toews. He's a bonified champion who's achieved the highest level of hockey excellence with Olympic Medals and Stanley Cup Victories by putting the TEAM 1st. What makes JT special, is his work ethic and humility. You won't likely hear of him calling a press conference to make a decision around his contract, you will not likely see him acting like a primadona with respect to his team &  coach nor will you see his play reflecting anything other than the end goal / greater good of the team. I think many amateur and professional sports players could borrow a page from JT's playbook. Further, I think many employees / employers could borrow a page from JT's leadership as this example can & should transcend sports.

We've entered an era where many put I & ME before the team. The ideology has become so commonplace, sometimes we're not even aware it's happening. We'll do one team oriented act over here, followed by 10 Me/I acts over there and think we're square. The reality is there is no I in any team that consistently demonstrates excellence. We've been witness to two fantastic examples through the recent NBA Finals and the FIFA World Cup. In both cases, the TEAM trumped the much hyped individuals (all respect to those individuals). More than less, it's how it's meant to be which is why we're drawn to TEAM movements. Here are 5 solid suggestions on how we can make sure we practice team.
  1. Stay humble. We all started somewhere, so don't forget that when, how and who helped you get to your place of success.
  2. Attitude of Gratitude. The sooner you abandon the mindset of 'when I'm going to get mine', the sooner and more bountiful, you'll likely get yours. Be grateful for what you have in the team your on. 
  3. Keep the perspective. Don't be the loser that has to be reminded of how / where and who helped you get your start. Could you do it on your own? Well, if you didn't start on your own, you haven't really done it on your own. 
  4. Pay it forward. The world doesn't need another know it all tool who takes for him/herself without consideration of paying it forward. Across all of our tribes, we were meant to be a team.
  5. Focus on the cause. That's right, the mission of the job, team, tribe, group, etc vs your own preconceptions. The greater effort you invest in the cause, the more visible you become, not vice versa.
All of the TEAM acronyms are true. The best memories are usually memories shared with others vs. a 1 on 1 with the self. Don't do solo. TEAM it up.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

i sold a technology company

Five words I can assure you no teacher across 17 years of my education would ever associate with my name. But come on... a humblebrag 1st thing Wed morning? Not exactly. This is a quick true story being shared to inspire you to go for your gold through five 'secrets to success'.... which every one of us have access to if we chose.

Step 1. Find your passion
    My passion is sports, health & fitness. I discovered the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual & benefits at an early age and knew it was for me. I chose Kinetics in University, played varsity sport and continue to challenge myself with new physical pursuits on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Finding my passion helped shape a career that's not a job.

Step 2. Identify your skillset
    I think my skillset includes the ability to bring people together towards a common goal. I'd also like to think I'm able to look at complex problems and propose KISS solutions to provide the outcomes we're after minus the drama normally lobbed up as reasoning for not attaining our goals.

Step 3. Roll up your sleeves
    NOTHING is coming without solid, hard work. NOTHING is guaranteed until there's a signature on a contract. NOTHING is going to be gifted, granted or guaranteed while pursuing your passion (even with your skillset). NOTHING has an arbitrary ROI that cannot usually be predicted and normally out of your control. What's in your control is how much effort you're willing to invest each day.

Step 4. Sacrifice & stay confident.
    I remember going into a bank after University, applying for a credit card and being declined *(they give credit cards to students). Went back to another bank for a business loan and was declined. Missed the 1yr travel 'find myself' period,  post University party period and living la-vida-loca 25-30's period (though I have managed to carve out copious amounts of fun). I've invested good money in bad concepts stared criticism (just & unjust) in the face. I've been told no - can't - shouldn't - won't etc from respected business associates to know it all / know-nothing assholes who wanted to see me fail..... and kept on going. If you're not willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals, you're not going to achieve your goals. You must also remain confident when detractors try to bring you down. 

Step 5. Attract / Embrace & Empower TEAM.
    NONE of any success I've achieved has come from being 'the man'. Life is meant to be an ecosystem of collusion & collaboration and ultimate success is very difficult to achieve without the support of good & great people. We've found, empowered and aligned with good & great people throughout our journey.

So I sold a technology company. All the process reinforced was the reality that my other passions, given my skillsets, desire to work hard & smart, ability to sacrifice and surround myself with good & great people are also attainable and that means so are yours!

Don't settle, guess, wait, doubt or go it alone. Plug yourself into the formula that's worked for many and accomplish your Shi!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Power of Tribes

We've all heard "be yourself", "be authentic", "don't try to please others", and many more sentiments that go along with that.
While I agree with authenticity, self-expression, and being consistent if not the same across many different situations - it's not quite that simple.

The famous maxim 'know thyself' predates even Plato (some give Thales the credit, around the 10th century). But what does it mean to 'know thyself'? What do we even include in the definition of 'self'?
Without opening a lengthly and potentially pointless philosophical debate, I will simply put forth that very few if any environments nurture the whole self.
- Spend a week with your best friends and you can't wait to get back to your family you miss
- spend too much time with your kids and you long for adult company and a glass of wine, not neccessarily in that order.
- spend too much time in leisure fulfilling your hobbies, and you might end up in an existential funk, wondering what mark you will leave on the world
- spend too much time working, even in pursuits you are truly passionate about, and you can be quite out of balance.

Enter the notion of 'tribe'. Though the term tribe may often refer to family clans, it is most often used to define a social group. It is in that context that I am suggesting tribes can lead to greater personal fulfilment, self discovery, and perhaps even personal mastery.

Just as one person may have several roles and responsibilities (as well as diverse interests), a person who is looking to grow and fulfil each aspect of themselves that matters will likely have more than one tribe. Allow me to elaborate;

The tribe that matters the most to me is family. This is one of the tribes within which I can be most vulnerable, one in which I don't need to tread carefully to operate with my other members, and one I would defend most passionately.

Having said that, there are aspects of myself that might show up in the tribe of 'the boys' that wouldn't with my wife. There is common understanding, shared experience, and common values that aren't opposite to those I share with my wife & son, just different. I do not have to (nor should I) be a different person in this tribe, simply allow a different side of me to show.

Yet another tribe would be my coworkers. There is a common bond around our very unique work environment that very few others could possibly understand.

The same is true for other tribes;

- my former football teammates
- my leadership tribe from Royal Roads University
- my close-knit group of neighbours who are also friends and share similar parental values
- a small but close group of friends I worked with in Vancouver years ago
- volunteer groups, church groups, or any other close association

The point is, it is ok to feel like you 'change' slightly when moving from one social or family group to another. As long as you are being authentic and honest, you aren't being a chameleon; you are shifting from one tribe to another. When this happens you ebb and flow from different groups whose common bonds differ from one another, thus the discussions, common threads, perhaps even shared values change from one tribe to another.

People are complex social and emotional creatures. That being said, it should be no surprise in a world where people can have 2000+ Facebook friends that one size doesn't fit all in a social setting. If you truly do 'know thyself', then by now you've identified what tribes there are in your life, and how each one of them charges and refuels a different part of what makes you whole.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014