I was in front of twenty-odd people last Wednesday and the Wednesday before that in an august establishment in Merseyside. I mean approximately twenty people. They weren’t odd. They were mostly business owners. Seven hours on my feet, each day. And my knees were hurting due to too much biking.
I don’t do PowerPoint anymore. So it was me, a flip chart and them. They seemed happy with what I delivered over the two days.
At the end we did the usual feedback form/happy-sheet thing. I don’t read these things anymore because a) they are always very good (yeah!) and b) the outlying data points dwell in my head for longer than they should.
Take late last year for example. In Birmingham, I was doing a speaking thing and someone asked me how much I got paid. I laughed more out of surprise than anything else and said, light heartedly, “you’re cheeky” before answering her.
There were 150 people in the room and I got an average nine out of ten on the happy sheets. She gave me a 5 and scrawled “I am NOT cheeky.”
Madam, I think I’ll be the judge of that.
Anyway back to Liverpool – at the end of the standing-up-for-two-days event someone said “you’ve got a lot of good stuff.”
This had been on my mind. I do have a lot of stuff (good or otherwise) and I have become aware of the fact that sometimes I forget some of it and then I remember it and kick myself for having forgotten it. Especially if it’s good.
So I decided I would do an “inventory” of my stuff. An example of this stuff would be “brilliant goal setting” or “how to triple your productivity” or “how to be confident” etc – you know, a fair-sized module with a decent amount of insight and all practical and implementable.
Sensing a matrix or a database (hurrah!) I fired up a spreadsheet and started bashing the keyboard.
First pass – I got to 121 things. I was impressed. I should write a book. I haven’t done a second pass yet but I think I’ll get to around 150 implementable modules – all around the topic of high performance.
Where did all this stuff come from?
Well, the vast majority of it came from experience. But that’s not the whole story.
It was the experience that put it in me.
But it has been the reflection that’s brought it out of me.
What I mean by reflection is that it has been all the reading (research), talking, thinking, writing and editing that has brought it out of me in a form that is useful to others.
This is important.
You see there are a lot of good managers and leaders who, if you asked them “how do you empower your team” or something similar, would waffle and be unconvincing. That’s not because they’re BS-ing you. It’s because they just haven’t got straight in their heads a lot of what they do intuitively.
We all know much more than we actually use. There are a host of reasons for this but one is the damn stuff just isn’t packaged up in the right way in our brains. It hasn’t been picked over, sorted, purified and concentrated.
It’s worth spending some time reflecting on what you know, which parts of it are the most useful to you in your particular journey and taking the time to reflect so that you can turn your own personal jumble of brain-stuff into your very own vault of expertise – crisp, clear, valuable and implementable.
This is yet another form of playing to your strengths, which we don’t always do, despite the alternative being daft.