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What We’re Reading

I don’t know about you but I’ve found sleep to be one of those topics that gets people riled up, like politics or religion. Everyone has a loud public opinion about it, but a private admission that’s usually regretful. Personally, I spent years getting around four hours of sleep a night. Years. After reading How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Actually Need, now I’m wondering what levels of real performance I left on the table. It turns out the research is absolute. Humans require eight hours of sleep and anything else results in cognitive decline. If you repeatedly get less than eight hours, the results compound. We’re talking cognitive performance on the level of being drunk, and you’re unaware because of your own relativity.  

You would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful and thought-provoking read this week than Telling is Listening, which provides an overview of the eponymous essay from Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Wave in the Mind. Conversation is one of those everyday actions that we take for granted. But when a writer as brilliant and thoughtful as Le Guin turns her attention to the topic we suddenly realize the enormity and beauty of something we do with such unmindful regularity.

One Idea We’re Obsessed With

The tragedy of autopilot. Every action we take has an intended (or expected) outcome, whether there is recognition or not. Yet, so few people bring any sense of awareness to their actions, nor do they pause to bring curiosity to the motivations behind the actions of others. 

Here are a couple of tests you can run. First, define one general direction for your day, such as “be productive” or “be healthy”. Simplicity is key. Then, bring some awareness to each of your actions as influenced by that direction. You’ll be stunned at how pervasive such a simple direction can become throughout your day. Then consider what defining a mission statement could do for you…

Second, immerse yourself in curiosity around the actions of others. Watch your coworkers and ask yourself “What did they hope to get out of that?” or “What was their motivation to do that?” Do it for emails, exchanges in the break area, questions at meetings, all of it. You’ll end up learning much about yourself in the process – and possibly feeling a bit of shame. Also, you’ll realize just how rarely you should receive the actions of others as personal. 

One Quote We Can’t Let Go Of

Now, every time I witness a strong person, I want to know: what dark did you conquer in your story? Mountains do not rise without earthquakes. 

    – Katherine MacKenett

What We’re Working On

This week was fun. If you kept up with our work, I can only hope we brought you as much joy as we had creating it. 

On Monday we shared a short video that covered the concept of roles. It’s always an eye opening topic for our clients, and something we should all be bringing regular attention to. 

We had two articles this week. The first was Become Limitless: Conquer Your Ego, in which we defined ego and its extremes, and then outlined the ways in which it can derail your career. Next was Passion is a Unicorn, So Stop Trying to Find It. I cringe every time I hear the phrase “find your passion”. I recognize it’s said with the best of intentions, but I also know that passion is developed, not found. And research has my back. 

Topics we’re planning to discuss this next week include a how-to email guide, mentors vs. coaches, and having hard conversations. 

In Closing

I’ll be traveling this week for on-site consulting and Mason is swamped in his Master’s program with exams, so know it will take a bit longer for us to reply to questions and feedback.  

Also, keep an eye out for some new resources to roll out soon, which we’ll be sharing at no charge for our community.

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