February 10, 2019

More thinking, less tasks, better business

By age four, our youngest daughter had discovered how to delay bedtime.
She would clamber on to Daddy’s back, and guide him around the garden… saying “Goodnight!” to flowers and trees.

One Summer’s evening she was very quiet.
I stood still, knowing that something wasn’t quite right.

“Daddy” she asked slowly, “Why is it Peace out here?”

What to say to such a question?

Silently calling for inspiration, I responded, “Well, Sweetheart… Because Trees Never Hurry.”

“Oh, OK Daddy.” she said brightly; perfectly satisfied.

And so was born a phrase which has become part of the fabric of our family’s story.

I regularly meet business leaders, who are overwhelmed with tasks and projects.
Or frustrated by unrealised aspirations.
So, I help them strip back all the rationalisations and excuses, to understand what’s driving them to do what they’re doing.

Usually, they’re running in the desperate belief that all of this will make them happier.

We finally reach the point where they face up to this Truth:
Much of the quality, fulfilment and happiness of our lives – inside and outside of business – depends on the quality of our thinking.

And so we integrate three principles into our work together:
1.   How to think and plan more effectively, in business (and in life);
2.   How to carve out more time and space for that inspired thinking;
3.   How to discern when Doing More is counter-productive.

Those who have acted on these three principles, invariably report that doing so has transformed both their business and their life.

Beside my screen, I have this notice which faces me each day:
“Looking back, in 5 years… Will this next task really have mattered?”

As I glance out of my garden office, most of those trees are still there.
They’ll probably still be there… long after I’ve sent my very last digital message.

And – thinking of trees generally – i imagine them looking down, and smiling wryly (and peacefully), as we go about cramming more and more into our businesses and our lives.

Or, instead, as we choose to live more thoughtfully, meaningfully and joyfully.