Plan for their departure.

  1. You will design a job that people want to get and want to stay (hint: it’s not just about the money).
  2. You will interview for fit instead of rushing to put bodies to work resulting in the right hire.
  3. You will be a better manager as you care about them more than manipulating them to stay.
  4. You appreciate them and their work. And people like working with those who appreciate them.
  5. Happy people make for happy co-workers which makes a happy culture.
  6. You will have a smooth operation instead of an overtime burnout workforce backfilling a missing position.

This is the opposite of a non-complete clause, a future salary bonus, or the hope of a potential promotion. These are fear-based tactics and it works.

No, not for the long run. Not for the best people doing their best work. Not for kind of people who are creative, great to work with and resourceful. They are sought after. These are people who have opportunities already lined up.

Counter-intuitively, for your employee to be with you for the long run, is to plan and celebrate their departure because the ultimate secret weapon is care.

When you get into the mindset of giving it, some of it will come back your way.

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Who were you when you were a teenager and who are you now?

Your name is probably stayed same.

But your habits, your goals and your understanding of yourself might be vastly different.

The other day, my mum came home empty-handed. She commented on the outrageous price of the food stall, double what she was used to paying. Furious, she refused to pay and walk away.

Was the cashier trying to scam her? No. The price was clearly stated on the signboard.

Could she afford it? Yes. More expensive, but by no means, out of her reach.

Was she furious? “It was a daylight robbery.”

Did my dinner arrive? No. She offered to cook but I decided it was easier to eat around the corner.

If we are lucky enough to afford more than rice and beans, money is a story. How much it is and how much we are willing to pay.

It is the difference between having a preference and having your preference grip you.

We can insist on how we want the world to be, how other people (or the food stall) to show up, or we can work to be flexible. Hence, resilient and anti-fragile.

It’s easy to figure out who is a happier person.

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It’s perhaps ineffective, or even stupid, to call someone a dishonest retard.

After that, people just want is to punch you in the face (out of defence.)

I don’t think you want to insult intentionally. We are simply defending our view of the world. We are defending what is true and right for us. We are in reaction.

So we start with truth. Can we separate our truth and our preferences from the TRUTH? Do we need to impose and demand that people act in our way, the right way, the best way? Can we hold our truth lightly?

After all that sorting, then you ask, What’s the most loving way to tell the truth?

It might sound like this.

“Sweetheart, I’m happy to give you my opinion. I just want to let you know that my opinion isn’t always right, and I’m not really attached in being right either. If you like, I’m happy to share my opinion with you and you can do what you want with it.

Here’s my opinion, red is not the best colour on you. I don’t think that particular belt at the waist accentuates your figure in the best way. But just as if you ask me, do I like Brussels sprouts or not? I don’t particularly like it, not really. I don’t particularly like this dress either. It’s not a moral thing. It’s just my preference. Look at me, I’m not any better at fashion either.”

Instead of, “I told you before. Stuff around your waist isn’t good for you” or “Red is the worst colour. Are you dumb?”

If we care more about being close than being right, perhaps it’s time to re-think our strategy.

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And doctors fall into this trap all the time. Their bais to extend life. Because after all, that’s what they are taught.

The other day when I volunteered at the hospice. A patient expressed how they have accepted death. Instead of chemotherapy, he is enjoying his last days. He is ready and this is how he want to die.

The expression is met with sadness from a nurse. In her mind, he should be more positive, more wanting to live.

But could it be that it’s entirely possible that he is happy?

The same goes for the advice-giver (I have been guilty of this). As much as you think it might be helpful, most people don’t want your advice.

The simple trick is enrolment, the prove of willingness. To ask “Would it be useful to brainstorm some ideas on this or maybe if you would prefer a hug instead?”

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Most of humanity don’t have one and they’re just fine.

Just because someone has doesn’t mean you need one.

Or because the winner has one, doesn’t mean you are playing the same game.

It’s expensive because it’s an unscalable, generous human to human act.

The cost benefit analysis don’t work out, making it a bad investment.

It’s a pain finding a good one.

An article, a book or a friend would probably be faster and cheaper.

Perhaps until you run out of options, you don’t need a coach.

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Is it the act of interviewing for love or maybe a lifetime museum partner?

For the adventurers, it could mean having a grand time and sometimes that includes sex.

For some, it could be figuring out what makes you tick, learning about yourself and becoming a better partner.

One strategy could be curating a hype profile, going on fun activities and living in the moment.

Another strategy is to go a variety of dates with different people. Reviewing and taking notes. Drawing hypothesis of the characteristics that give or take energy away from you.

The temptation is to want it all. To have a grand adventure and also find the perfect prince. It might happen. But more than not, a grand adventure will leave you wanting the next adventure. You’ll get burned out meeting too many people. The prince never appears because you never ask the question of how he looks like. The kicker, he might right be in front of you.

Maybe it don’t matters what your dating goals are, just that you know what it is. For yourself and the people you date.

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Amateur artists are obsessed with freedom.

They mistakenly believe that freedom is the condition for creativity. When inspiration strikes, they act quickly and discard their routines to stoke the creative fire.

They paint their room, wear their outfit, make their food with immense creativity.

Except, that is not how great art is made.

For great art to happen, wander needs rigour.

It is to regularise the trivial, to reduce the number of decisions for the small thing. Using those energy to focus on doing art that matters, for people who care.

So, no. Great art is not created with absolute freedom. It is made by extreme discipline.

And it might be worth thinking hard about the routines and system you need to support real kind of creativity.

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Of course, you want friends that are happy, wealthy and smart. Millionaires with yachts.

After all, you are the average of the 5 people you hang out with.

One way is to get into those circles is to hustle, pitch and push, and get someone to let you in.

Because the reality of what’s on offer (you) can’t match the hype. The pitch can’t succeed on merit, so social pressure is needed. Leaning harder on someone else’s generosity. So it feels forced.

An alternative is to overwhelm others with so much care and delight. To show up with skills and resources to share, earning permission and trust. To read situations and offer things we don’t know that we need yet, without expectations.

“Kevin, I noticed that you’re launching a book soon. I have a podcast with a listener base of 5,000. I love to help you share it. We could do a 30mins interview or I can also make a list of learnings and share it with my audience. Thank you for all the work that you do.”

“Spencer, I love 12mins of your time to talk about growing my business. I do realise you are very busy and that your time is very important to you. So, I’m willing to pay you whatever you think it’s fair for that time. I just would like the opportunity to be able to get mentored by you. I’m not looking to waste it.

Sure, it might feel fake and tiring. You don’t have the energy and time. But the good news is you only need 5 people.

It’s easy to see which strategy might work for you in the long run.

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Here’s a useful tactic:

1) Empathise “God, sounds like you’re freaking out about your dad. And he’s not staying in quarantine. I imagine you’re really scared. Is that right? Is that what’s going on?”

2) Validate. “That makes perfect sense.” “I get you.” “It’s so frustrating when the people we love don’t listen to you. I get it, I really do. You’re frustrated and scared. Is that it?”

3) Support “Is there any support you want?” “Do you think it would help if we sit together for a while and breath?”

By naming the emotions at hand, it allow the other to get attention to it and externalise the emotion. And they get to feel that someone is feeling with them.

They learn that the emotions they are feeling are perfectly normal and that someone understands them.

Lastly, it’s to empower the individual to find a solution that is best for them. And you can be there to support.

Empathise, validate, support.

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If your house is on fire, I don’t think it is a difficult conversation to wake everybody up and get the hell out of the house.

So what makes something difficult? I argue a difficult conversation is difficult because we want two things, not one thing. And that’s the beginning of stress.

Let’s define stress. In physical terms, stress happens when something wants to be in two places. If we apply pressure to both ends of an iron rod, stress is created. One part wants to be here and one part wants to be there.

And for us, stress is when we want to do two incompatible things at once. We have an inability to decide what’s important. We want to relax, but we need to work. We want to fire someone, but we want them to like us. Now, we’re under stress.

When we want to get out of stress, perhaps a good place to start is asking, what are the two things I am wanting at this moment?

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