Becoming essential

I have spent my working life so far as a generalist. I know a little about a lot of things, master of none. This is not conducive to a driven and purposeful career.

How do you create something essential when you are not a subject matter expert? How do you become essential to a project if you are not the central producer? I see a couple of options.

You can learn. Become a specialist with dedication. Never in the history of the world have we had so many learning resources at our fingertips. You do need the time to dedicate to learning. This gets harder with things like family and children tugging at your attention. Practice makes perfect though, So plugging away at something will make you better, and therefore more marketable.

You can become a coordinator of experts. Imagine a goal and assign roles for those with the expertise to cooperate and create something bigger than the sum of its parts. This is what I have seen in business. The energy to talk and link people with each other is priceless. Having a role in mind for all the experts and relentlessly networking, calling, meeting, discussing with them the best way to achieve that goal. This leads to success.

Interior design versus environmental management

  • In the home or office, your environment can impact your health.
  • Cursory reading online will show you how much the design of a space can impact on your own health. It can:
    • Influence your mood.  For example, research studies reveal that rooms with bright light, both natural and artificial, can improve depression and anxiety.
      Impact your behavior and motivation to act. For example, a messy hall with shoes, bags, and other stuff may invite you to drop what you are carrying right there, whereas a clean entry and adequate storage will encourage you to take the time to put the item away.
      Facilitate or discourage interactions in your family and with guests. For example, an inviting space with comfortable chairs can encourage people to sit and chat.
      Create or reduce stress, which impacts not only your emotional, but also physical health, including your longevity!
  • Presumably this is true of larger spaces and larger systems than just the office, the living room or the entry way? Presumably this is true of environmental management systems as a whole?
  • I studied environmental management at university. The course and my subsequent career focused more on the impact of human activity on the earth. Granted that is a huge topic, but I think they missed a trick. Little attention was paid to the impacts of a poorly managed environment on the individual, beyond total planetary annihilation – a concept that is scary but hard to relate to on a day to day basis.
  • I think this is a shame.
  • The promise of healthier bodies and minds as a result of environmental management would be a powerful one. I think we can use the theory and psychology of good interior design to encourage broader best practice environmental management. This might help both the planet and the individual. Not such a sacrifice. A Win-win.
  • I’d love more info or expertise on this topic/link if anyone has any.
  • Happy Monday. 🐵🎧
  • Focus snuck up on me

    Today was a good day in a good week. But I’m only realizing now after supper. Strikes me that it often goes that way.

    When you are busy, focused and enjoying yourself, almost by definition you stop noticing time pass and stop analyzing what you are doing.

    Only looking back now am I surprised at a good patch.

    Here’s hoping for more blind, ignorant, closed off, unthinking good patches 😉

    Systems thinking

    The next guest on my podcast has not one but two masters degrees.

    I worked with Dan for a couple of years in a corporate, and since then I have always been curious about his LinkedIn bio which reads as follows: “Thinking in curved lines of interdependence rather than straight lines of causality”

    I pinned Dan down recently to explain himself. We had a nice long chat which I will release on Friday as the fourth episode in my podcast series.

    The world is your ostrich – on scope

    The world is your oyster. (Or as they say in Kenya, the world is your ostrich). This is a fine saying full of hope and optimism, but how do you know what part of the world/oyster/ostrich to focus on? How do you define scope for your next project?

    Scoping your work is probably the most important part. Scope is what lets us understand where to allocate time and resources to a project. It sets the boundaries, and it is very subjective.

    How to decide on a focus and a scope of a project then? Stick with what you know. This is hard because the internet and TV can convince you that you know about all sorts of stuff. But to quote Seth Godin: “There’s a difference between being aware of the emergency of the day and having firsthand experience and firsthand empathy for different people in different places.”

    Focus then on something which you understand through first hand experience. Perhaps you can show people how to do something (check out my mate Martin’s excellent Vlog series for his art). Or perhaps you know exactly where there is a gap in the market. The point is – take the real, personal interactions you have in the world and grow the project from there.

    Setting expectations

    Every now and then you will run into conflict. At work, at home, or inside your head. These moments are normally due to expectations that have not been met. They’re best treated as an opportunity to set or reset expectations around the topic.

    Almost any destructive behaviour I can think of is the result of expectations not being met. A missed deadline is a missed expectation. An angry spouse is likely a missed expectation. A compulsive obsession is a missed expectation.

    Be clear about what you expect of yourself and others. It matters perhaps more than anything else.