5 for 5 – “I can’t do this.”

8 Sep



Photo Sep 07, 10 49 59 PM


Good morning everyone!

This past week, as I was preparing to write this week’s post, I happened to be going back through one of my favorite books on my Kindle by the name of “End Malaria”. Don’t get confused by the name. It is actually a collection of authors each of whom contributed a story in one of the three main themes: Focus, Courage, and Resilience. The proceeds go to benefit a renowned non-profit that provides malaria nets in all regions of the world.

As I was going through one of the early chapters I noted an article by Pamela Slim which really caught my interest called “The Voice in Your Head”. The reason to share in this blog is that she touches on a topic that is very relevant: “Can I really do this work?” It is our own selves, questioning our abilities…perhaps questioning our passion….posing a ton of reasons not to pursue a great idea that most often are our biggest obstacle to starting on a new idea.

As she describes in the entry “That kind of doubt, played out a thousand times a day in the minds of smart people, stops a lot of great work from happening.” Certainly there will be plenty of people that will also try to sway you that a project can’t be done, or it’s too big…too ambitious. But it is getting past ourselves that can be the biggest hurdle.

The author offers four great ways to “reclaim your authority” as she puts it and refocus your confidence:

  • Find your root – To me this absolutely sounds like knowing your WHY. Know why you came to this project or idea in the first place…9 time out of 10 it was an incredibly impactful reason or way to make a difference for others. The author says, “Without a deep root of meaning to anchor you, you will never survive the raging storm of what it takes to make great work happen.”
  • Clarify your definition of success – The key here is not to be a slave of someone else’s definition of success. Ask yourself “What are the conditions that allow me to bring out my strengths, do my best work, and enjoy what I am doing while I do it?”
  • Assemble your crew – Not only will you need people to do the work, but ultimately you need to find your tribe. People who believe what you believe. People to hold you up when you hit some of those doubtful and scary moments.
  • Gather your reminders – As the author says “You will wake up one morning and forget everything (your root, definition of success, and your crew). All you will feel is loneliness and fear.” That is when you need the solid reminders of WHY you are doing what you are doing. Perhaps it is a picture, or a story you’ve read. Whatever it is, keep it close and use it as your fuel when you hit those tough moments.

Your friends, your family, your business, and many more….we need to see your work. It is okay to have doubts. I believe many successful people from entrepreneurs to CEO’s would be lying to tell you they don’t feel exactly the same thing you do……the difference is in how you keep moving forward despite those doubts and bring your work to life.

If you are interested in finding out more about End Malaria, I would encourage you to be an e-book or hard book. A significant donation from each book goes toward the fight to combat malaria by sending malaria nets to families in need around the world: http://www.amazon.com/End-Malaria-Michael-Bungay-Stanier/dp/1936719282


Here’s this week’s 5 for 5:

Strategies for Negotiating More Rationally – by Max Bazerman – via Harvard Program on Negotiation


SO WHAT: Is your tendency to rely on intuition in a negotiation? Or to rely on deep thinking? We often are not aware of our biases, despite time in preparation. See the author’s four recommended strategies for more rational negotiations.

Tags: Negotiation


End the Tyranny of 24/7 Email – by Clive Thompson – via the New York Time


SO WHAT: Email is a crutch. Read this article and then challenge your self on your own email habits. Could you resist sending emails after hours? If you are a boos, modeling that could be pivotal for your team’s morale and productivity.

Tags: Productivity


Make a Lasting Impression in Under 5 Minutes: 14 Ideas – by the Young Entrepreneurs Council – via Inc.


SO WHAT: Great recommendations on how to be engaging in a short amount of time. NOTE: Extroverts, likely have no problems here. Fellow invotrverts….this is great advice for those crucial situations when we need to make an introduction or establish a conversation.

Tags: Behaviors


How Taking A 20-Minute Walk Every Day Transformed My Approach To Work – by Rachel Gillett – via Fast Company


SO WHAT: Don’t laugh…..this article will change your mind about getting off your duff and getting out for a relatively quick walk. I can agree with all of the points mentioned by the author: increased energy, better focus, expanded creativity. Give it s try this week….I think you will be surprised.

Tags: Focus, Health


Curiosity Is as Important as Intelligence – by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic – via Harvard Business Review


SO WHAT: The author asks a key question: “Why are some people more able to manage complexity?” Solid background is given on IQ, EQ (Emotional Quotient – soft skills) and CQ (Curiosity Quotient). Read the section on CQ carefully……..are you open to new experiences? (Remember my post on the difference between a rut and a groove).

Tags: Leadership


Until next week….all the best,