This is #8 in the series, “50 Ideas Worth Fighting For.”
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes,
– Anne Lamott
If you are reading this on Sunday afternoon, I hope it’s from an easy chair or the sofa. I hope you’ve just returned from a hike, or even a walk around the neighborhood with your pup. Or maybe you just popped in from the garden for a glass of water (a cold beer?!) and took a quick peek at your phone.
I hope you are taking some time today to reconnect to activities you love and to recharge by taking some time to read for pleasure, to call a friend, to watch a great movie. You need that time. We all do.
If you struggle to slow down, you’re not alone. Dividing up a two-day weekend between activities, commitments and relaxation can be tough. The truth is that we are pretty lousy at giving ourselves permission to step away from the grind of our responsibilities. A quick search reveals that in 2018, the US workforce allowed 768 million vacation days to go unused. Approximately 70% of employees did not use all of the time they had coming to them.
That’s both a waste and a shame especially when it’s a safe bet that you aren’t going to be sitting around in 10 years telling stories about how great it was to do more work when you could have used that time to do anything but.
For our sanity, for our health, for our families, and just for fun, we have to do better. You can start this weekend. There’s just enough time.
This is #5 in the series, “50 Ideas Worth Fighting For”
Declaring what you want requires courage.
It takes a lot of vulnerability to name a goal, especially a big one. Once you do so, you’re on the hook to follow through, and that is the moment that separates fantasy from reality.
And no one can help you until you do.
And the thing it took me a very long time to learn is that people want to help. People will and do help once they know what you are hoping/trying to accomplish.
Do you aspire to write a book? You can suffer in silence or you can spread the word. Telling people about it doesn’t free you from the responsibility to sit down and write, but it may unlock a community of support, a wealth of resources, a path through the maze of a difficult process.
And it’s the same for starting a company, turning pro, leading a team, running a marathon, inventing a product. The courage to name a goal like that is the courage to trust that once you do so, “mighty forces will come to your aid.” (Basil King)
But what if you let them down? What if you fail? What if change your mind? I can only offer what experience has taught me about that: you pick yourself up and move on.
You name your next aspiration, tell the world about it, and get to work.
Please look at the upper left section of this photograph. Please notice that the branch you see in the foreground is the same branch that has not quite snapped off of the tree. Please also notice that this broken limb is sprouting many healthy shoots, new branches well on their way.
This branch is not whole but it remains connected. And the connection that remains is enough to provide the nutrients necessary for new growth.
You are broken in places, and I am too. Our breaks do not define us unless we choose to let them. Our breaks, if we let them teach us, make us more resilient and more committed to find a way to grow, to make life happen in ways we could not have otherwise imagined.
Do not lose heart in the presence of your brokenness. Take comfort; this is your moment to shine.
I’m very interested in public speaking. I enjoy doing it and I enjoy listening to a great speaker. It’s a wonderful, even essential skill to develop for anyone who wants to have more influence, for those who wish to lead.
To that end, for those aspiring to increase their influence through public speaking, I’d like to suggest that you develop three talks of differing lengths; 10, 25 and 45 minutes.
Your 10-minute talk is one big idea supported by one story.
Your 25-minute talk is one big idea supported by two stories.
Your 45-minute talk is one big idea supported by two stories plus 5-7 minutes of audience conversation about how they feel about what you’ve been saying (because no one wants to sit for 45 minutes without a chance to talk…about themselves) and 5-7 more minutes devoted to their sharing of what they just said.
Two takeaways: first, you deliver one big idea, and only one big idea. Second, your talk isn’t about you, it’s about them. The longer you have to speak the more space you should create for your audience to do so.
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.