This is a very exciting weekend – the first client sent me her idea, which she wants to take to the next step. And it landed in my inbox only one day after starting this experiment. Now, I will be able to get to work. I take it as a signal that there are many ideas and projects out there that might just need a second opinion to get going.
And what an interesting first project it is. Thank you so much Aninia for allowing me to support you in going for it.
If you have an idea, a project that you want to take to the next step look here for more information.
An exploration for those of us who don’t have money or don’t like it
Over the years, there were many people who made strongly clear to me that striving for or having money is just not their thing. They are not working to earn money. They are forced to earn money because they need to pay the bills. Money is a necessary evil. They are doing their respective jobs out of high ideals, e.g. social consciousness and artistic calling. Those are great reasons to work and they are admirable missions in life. Only why were these same people actually miserable in their jobs?
Do you feel underpaid? Do you feel that the real value of your work is not recognised? Do you think that money is “bad” and that rich people are immoral, shallow or even terrible persons? This could stand in your way of getting paid what you deserve for your work. It basically means that you will probably try to avoid getting paid well.
It happened right before my eyes: A talented physiotherapist was offered money for looking at a shoulder problem of an acquaintance of a friend of hers. She responded without thinking: “No, no, I do not want any money.” She did not know the person and was not indebted to him in any way. What happened? She lost an opportunity to get paid for the value she provides to others through her skills. Not wanting money will make you be underpaid and in the end unhappy.
As a start: Think of three financially successful people that you respect. This might be not easy because you have spent your life with a preconception that money is something no good person has. Take your time. Which one of the people that you respect earns an income that you would think is beyond your reach. Sometimes you need to actually ask or look them up on the internet because you might not know what money they earn. If you can only think of one person – go with one for now. Think about what you respect in this persons or in the persons. Find a picture, print it out and put it somewhere you can see it while you are working. You have found your financial role model(s) and maybe money is not so demonic after all?
Found this excercise in “Screw Work Let’s Play” by John Williams (p. 205/ 206).
What is your answer? Whatever side you choose it influences on a fundamental level how you look on life. It influences what you think of successful people and how you will evaluate your own success.
What if we attributed greatness and success to innate talents? From the date of our birth and by the power of our genes we would be geniuses or mere normals. It could be a wonderful world for those of us who are talented: no further effort required and success guaranteed. However, this view would also hold a lot of promise for those of us who feel that they are without special talents. It would relieve us of the responsibility to try (harder). After all we were just not born to be great in the first place. Or it could provide us with the answer for why we do not stick with something if is not an easy ride. If we are not good at something from day 1 – well, we have not found our talent yet – so let’s look for something new to try.
What if it would be the other way around and birth and genes did not determine whether we become great? It would be the world of the American Dream: any of us could be successful if we were persistent enough and believed that we could make it. However, while this view of the would offers freedom and self determination it takes away all the excuses for being mediocre. This could make the look into the mirrow quite hard for us. It puts the responsibility for becoming great squarely on our own shoulders.
Comparing the alternatives, no wonder that many of us opt for the talent answer. It provides us with a reason outside of our control, which we can use to justify our felt non-success and a lot of other perceived shortcomings in our life. Talent is a concept similar to destiny – it trades self determination for the comfort of being at the mercy of uncontrollable forces.
So what is it? Ericsson has conducted a series of ingenious studies with violinists and pianists. The outcome was clear: The level of performance was determined by the amount of practise that the musicians put in. The difference grew over time. Expert pianists had accumulated more then 10,000 hours of practice by the age of 20; amateurs only around 2,000. This difference in deliberate practise explained the difference in the quality of their performance. There is plenty more research that supports the view that deliberate practise is the only viable way to great performance (e.g. one more scientific study and a great Harvard Business Review article).
So the answer is clear: you can become a master in whatever you choose if you practise. If you want to be great: Just do it. Do what you love, do it often, find a way to do it as much as you can. It also helps if you find a coach or mentor who supports you on the way especially in the beginning.
While online and blended learning is supported by a solid business case and growing scientific evidence its adoption in major corporations is still relatively low. One of the main reasons is a very simple one. Whenever managers and stakeholders hear learning they think of their own learning experiences. For most (senior) decision makers learning equals sitting in a classroom and listening to someone talking at them.
“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” Albert Einstein
Why? Quite simply most executives went to school and to university before the internet has transformed our lives and culture. They have never experienced the power of technology enabled learning. This makes it hard for business leaders to buy into the idea that online collaboration, online classrooms, social networks, wikis, twitter and Co. will make their employees more productive and thus help their businesses succeed.
Todays executives might know of online collaboration and social networking only through having watched their kids use Facebook. They might have used Skype with their family but they have probably never experienced a high quality online classroom. Many of them have never written an entry for a wiki, constructed a website or written a blog. They might know of Twitter only that it is strange web thing for millions of youngsters to follow personal trivia by celebrities.
It is quite understandable that business leaders are still reluctant to invest into technology enabled learning. We are all driven in our decisions by our past experiences. Adopting new ways of learning is an investment into something “unknown” in an area that is not “core” to their business. Why take risks? Why deviate from the path that corporate training has been treading for the last years and years?
It takes a big leap of faith to invest into online learning. It takes a lot of trust into the learning leader proposing it. It takes a belief that learning does not equal training and can actually improve company performance.
An exploration excercise for those of us who aspire to be great in something
Draw a circle. This is your life, this circle represents how much time you have in each day, week, and month. Divide the circle into two parts: one for the thing that you aspire to be great in, e.g. acting, inventing, singing – whatever it might be. Size this part according to how much time you spend on it, e.g. 10% of your day. The other part of the circle holds the rest of your life, e.g. marriage, friends, going out, eating etc. There should be no time left between the two.
Now, highly successful people will spend up to 90% of their waking time doing what their calling is. Remember that even a “normal” job takes up more then 50% of our day. Highly successful people will learn about their art, talk about it, practise it, and just do it 90% of their daily life. Success is not about talent, it is not about luck, it is about how much you invest every day. Successful people will spend well over 5000 hours each year practising their art. Compare that to someone who practises the same less then 600h each year. Who will be more successful?
It is a great way to bring us back to the basics of practising, walking the walk. It is sobering. It is for those of us who have their heads in the clouds and hope that success will fall into our laps.
Found the original excercise in this book: Acting for love and money by Paul G. Gleason and Gavin Levy.
“Screw Work Let’s Play” – what a title. The book by John Williams is an eye catcher. Who would say no to making that transformation. Well, I picked up the book out of an impulse of “Wow, that would be just great.”
The book is great for anyone who is not happy with where they are in their working life. It challenges some of the basic assumptions a lot of us have about work – John Williams calls them the 21 myths of work: “You can’t get paid for doing what you love” or “I need an original idea to start a business.” The positive message he has for us is that anyone can get paid to have fun. He encourages people to look for what they want to do and to pursue that in their life. He inspires the reader with the belief that if you love what you are doing you will be good at it – you will be able to compete with others. If you love what you are doing and you find a way to solve problems for other people with it you will earn enough money to make a living. Individualism, market economy and the technology revolution join in a formidable union.
The book lays out ten ‘secrets’, which lead the reader through small steps to the goal of doing what one loves and making a successful business out of it. It is a hands-on guide with practical excercises, which ensure that the reader ends up with tangible results and a great start on a new path.
One warning… What John Williams does not offer is a magical solution that needs no effort. Quite on the contrary. However, he captures the imagination of the reader, he turns “working” on the new idea, the new business into “playing”. This is the true power of this book.
It made me start this blog! 🙂 What will it do for you? Screw Work Let’s Play.