Monthly Archives February 2020

Lovingkindness, a way to let go of hesitation and fear

Lovingkindness, a way to let go of hesitation and fear

February 29, 2020
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Three days a week, there’s a prompt in The Creative’s Workshop. Something to ponder, to reflect and act upon, to respond to. Prompt number 8 called for action, and as much as it scared me, at first, once done, I’d shed a ton of anxiety and hesitation. 

This sentence hit’s the bullseye. Spot on. Hurtfully so:
It’s not that you can’t organize and ship a minimum lovable product. It’s simply that you’re hesitating.

You see, I want to do more with #tankespjärn than I have been doing so far, and yes I am afraid. I am hesitant. I fear failure.

Deep inhalation!
Letting it out.

Lovingkindness.
Breathe in love. Breathe out fear.
Breathe in strength. Breathe out hesitation.
Breathe in determination. Breathe out fear of failure.
Breathe in courage. Breathe out poor excuses.
Breathe in words from the Angel’s advocate. Breathe out words from the Devil’s advocate.
Breathe in just do it. Breathe out procrastination.

That’s what I wrote. To get myself ready to do the work the prompt actually called for, which was to make a list of steps that will take me (closer) to what it is I want to create, and then list what I need to do to make each step a reality. 

After spending 15-20 minutes on it, there I was, with a list of five steps with a number of actionable to-dos for each one. And all of a sudden, anxiety and hesitation are replaced with a sensation informing me that This is doable!

 

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Prove my worth?

February 28, 2020
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Noticing myself getting wound up. In a meeting. Where my professionalism is being questioned, albeit subtly so. Or at least, that is my perception. That’s the tone of my inner dialogue.

Do I need to prove my worth?
Do I need to prove my professionalism?
Do I need to prove the questioner wrong? 

In the moment, that’s sure what it feels like. 

But after a few deep breaths…

I land.
I am grounded.
And the answer is No.

I know.
My worth. My professionalism.
That there is no Right or Wrong in this instance (how seldom there are!), and hence, I need not prove anything. It is enough for me to simply show up and respond to what shows up.

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The power of small steps

February 27, 2020
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Today I hit a(nother) milestone in Seven, the app I use for my daily (minimum) seven-minute-workouts, as today was my 2020th day of doing a daily workout. A milestone on account of it being the year 2020 right now.

2020. Days. In. A. Row.

That’s quite a lot.
And yet. Doing a seven-minute daily workout only requires seven minutes a day.

It sure does point to the power of small steps.

Just imagine.
What else is made possible if I start to take action?
If I stop procrastinating?
If I stop making excuses?
If I stop postponing to another day that which I can start right away?

Imagine what is possible if I Do?
Today. Tomorrow. The day after, and the day after that, and…

On and on, step by step.
Over time it adds up.

Do you have any area in your life where you’d like to start to take a step? What stops you? Do it. Now. Drop what you are doing, and Do. Now.

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Approaching the event horizon from the unknown

February 25, 2020
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There’s that blank stare… from me. Looking out. At nothing. Past everything, into the void beyond, the unknown, into the depths of that which contains multitudes…. but it’s as if I simply cannot see. As if I am blind. As if I am unhooked, uncoupled, unconnected. A single entity floating around in space, all alone, with nothing to latch onto.

What to write about?

Writer’s block doesn’t exist.

Nah.
True.

And yet… sometimes I have to prompt myself with precisely what I do now. Not knowing what to write, having no clear sense of purpose, no ideas popping, eagerly awaiting being put down on paper… so I just start typing. Seeing what comes out.

Sometimes utter rubbish.
Sometimes surprising myself, with content or form.
Sometimes publishing it.
Sometimes not.

But many times, just the simple fact of putting pen to paper (finger to keyboard. I have to come up with a more poetic and beautiful analogy to the pen to paper-one, can you help?) eases me out of that void, into the world of the living, pulling me back from the depths of despair (slight exaggeration, but it’s a lovely alliteration!) and having me stumble onto the event horizon, from the other way, as it were. Normally I come onto it from the known, slowly, gently, softly, inch by inch getting closer to it. Not so now. Now, it’s more as if I am hurled around in space, and there it is, the event horizon, the semblance of things I do no visible beyond the edge, I’d better grab a hold of it. Tossing out my arm, making contact with the event horizon, getting my breath beaten out of me from the impact.

There.
Breathing. Gently. In. Out. In. Out.

Coming from that place, the unknown, the void within (without?), the event horizon has a surprisingly solid feel to it, in contrast to when I ease onto it from the known.

Shifting perspectives (and this is what #tankespjärn is for me) provides that opportunity.
Opening up for an exploration of new vistas, new experiences, new possibilities.

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Change is hard.

February 22, 2020
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Change is hard.

Truth?

Nah. I don’t think so.

But I did think so until I fully embodied the concept of #tankespjärn and applied it to this so-called truth.

Hard? No.
Something you are unused to so it requires some extra effort? Yes.

Change might require more or less effort of me, but it’s not necessarily hard. It might be, learning quantum physics or… I don’t know.
But inherently hard? Nah.

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My real job?

February 21, 2020
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I tell my students, ’When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’
– Toni Morrison

Now and again I read, or hear, something that provides me with #tankespjärn. Like this quote from Toni Morrison. The thought that the real job is something other than that which I (we) have trained for is one. The question then arises as to what I am/have. Freedom? Yes. Power? Some. Energy? Yes. What else? Are those just the obvious choices? Are there other, more profound, hidden underneath layers of… what? Self-doubt? The Law of Jante?

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Who do you want to put more focus on?

February 17, 2020
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Invited to an all-ladies dinner party, with a total of 16 ladies, of whom I knew two beforehand. To open up for sharing amongst many newcomers, the two hostesses passed around a deck of Vertellis cards, and mine read: Looking forward, who do you want to put more focus on?

My answer to that prompt was, a bit surprising to many, was me.

I have been self-employed since 2007, and the past 4-5 years up until a year ago, I had a lot of time working from home, in the company of me. In a sense, [I’ve gotten used to, or even, spoiled with having ample time and opportunity to hang with myself and for the better part of the past year, I have had so many assignments where I spend my days at my customer’s sites, so that time for me, just me, has diminished. Not even weekends are unscheduled enough to give me my daily – or at least weekly – dose of solitude. 

And I need it. I want it. I crave it.
It’s when I create. It’s when I blog. It’s when I connect dots.
It’s when I honor myself and rediscover even more of my Self.

So I vow to make room for me, to put more focus on me and ensure there is me-time in my life. 

Who do you want to put more focus on in the upcoming year? And why?

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Critical chain (book 2 of 12)

February 16, 2020
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My guess is this book has been standing unread in my bookshelf for the better part of 12-13 years or so. Possibly even longer, who knows. (Imagine if books could tell their stories? I mean, the individual book: Oh yeah, I remember the day she picked me up at the bookstore and brought me home, I was so thrilled, but honestly, I’ve been feeling extremely neglected for the better part of 1,5 decade…) The book in question is Critical chain by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.

Being involved in a project building a manufacturing site for pharma, the book called out to me when it was time to pick my 12 + 12 books. Had I not had this current project top of mind, it would likely have stayed on the bookshelf for another decade or so.

Reading it, I’ve underlined several passages directly relating to my project managing quandaries du jour, but none of that is especially interesting outside the scope of project management. However, there’s this one passage that directly relates to another one of my current ventures, the most-likely-or-at-least-hopefully-soon-to-be-released-podcast-adventure I am on with Caspian and Dominic.

“Presenting a problem as a conflict between two necessary conditions makes a lot of sense. But I was almost programmed to proceed to find a compromise. In academia we don’t call it compromise, we call it optimize. Three-quarters of my articles are optimization models of some kind. You can imagine how difficult it was for me to accept that a much better solution, or even solutions, emerge by refusing to attempt to find a compromise, and instead concentrating on exposing the underlying assumptions.”

The I of the quote is Johnny Fisher, a professor at a university, in this fictionalized business/project management-skills book. If you’ve read The monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma, you know the type of book this is. If you haven’t, well, basically it’s a novel teaching a specific project management skill.

Concentrating on exposing the underlying assumptions.

That sentence jumps out at me, almost punching me in the nose with its insistent underlying message. For many years, and many times, I’ve said that assumptions are the mother of all fuck-ups, and so far I’ve yet to be proven wrong. And at the same time, assumptions can be so sly, so cunning, undercover bordering on stealth-like, elusive as a unicorn, because what they point to is my personal truths. And those just are. I don’t question them. I am rarely aware of them, they just are. So how, then, to expose them? Perhaps in different words, but still, that’s one thing we are looking at in the podcast-adventure.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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Hacks, amateurs and pro’s!

February 15, 2020
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The Creative’s Workshop continues, this time with a prompt that had me struggle and shirk away from the full extent of it. Asked to identify a hack, an amateur and a professional within my given creative outlet, I had the following to say:
Hm. So. My creative outlet is, to a large extent, my blogging, the writing process is the thing. So I’d have to look there. I don’t make any money from my blogging, which I guess makes me an amateur. I certainly don’t have a vast and adoring public either, but drip by drip, it’s increasing slow but steady. But who are the glorious amateurs, the successful professionals and the hacks? That prompt sure makes me dig deep. Especially so as I am Swedish, and still want to share people writing in English here, so you might be able to discover someone new.

The glorious amateurs. My friend Anna Brix Thomsen. She’s powerful. She’s brave and courageous. She definitely doesn’t hold back from sharing generously and with huge amounts of vulnerability. And boy does she ever provide #tankespjärn! Her sharing revolves a lot around parenthood, and unschooling/learning, but the underlying theme of it all is self-discovery, I’d say. And anyone who’s a parent knows the amount of inner work that having a kid entices. She’s got a daughter at home and has had less time writing her-style-long-posts, so a lot of the sharing these past years have been done on Facebook and/or Instagram rather than on her blog, but she’s picking up blogging again from what I understand. I hope, and think, that she’s stepping into the professional arena. And I for one am cheering her on, wishing her great success, for she is definitely glorious!

The successful professionals. Well. That one’s given. Seth Godin. Daily. Definitely showing up with enormous generosity – both in the blogging, the podcasting, the course materials etc, and also live. I attended #SethinLondon in 2015 [Shiiiit, time flies!] and the generosity and warmth that Seth exuded was amazing. Tangible. I was totally star-struck upon meeting Seth in person, and with the most caring down-to-earth:edness, Seth put me right at ease. Very inspiring!

Buuuuut, it’s a bit too easy to point to Seth in The Creative’s Workship, created by Seth himself, isn’t it? However, as I’ve basically stopped reading blogs (once Google shut down their Reader, I really haven’t followed blogs, with one exception, and you know who’s blog that is…) I struggle to come up with another name.

Luckily, I do follow one more person, who blogs, and who is in my view, a successful professional, and who is inspiring also as an entrepreneur, as he’s created the life he wants to live. I am talking about David Stiernholm, known in Swedish as Struktören, which is another make-believe Swedish word (another reason I have a soft spot for him!) which basically means the person structuring things. I have followed David more or less since he started as a Struktör in 2004, and have found an endless amount of resources, ideas and hands-on-tips on structure from him. And if you think that sounds boring? Think again! David shares his knowledge with a sense of humor as well as with great simplicity and pedagogy. I follow him in Swedish, but he does work in English as well and he’s well worth checking out!

The hacks. Hm. Even more of a struggle this one, mostly because I don’t really follow people whom I experience as hacks, in any area. Nah. Nothing and no-one, comes to mind. Nada. Zilch. I’ll sit with this one though, and if I come to think of someone, I’ll revisit this prompt!

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Three dailies and two prompts later…

February 12, 2020
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The Creative’s Workshop. 

Jumped in six days ago, the dailies started three days ago, and there have been two prompts so far (Mondays – Wednesdays – Fridays. It’s Wednesday today, so…), and I am already having a blast.

The dailies are about writing something, anything, daily, for 100 days in a row. Been there, done that. Not a problem at all for me.
But never have I done it in a community like this one. Never with so many people willing to share, to encourage, to question, to cheer and hook up with on this journey of ours for the next 150 days or so.

The prompts are a thrice-weekly prompt. Intended to get me thinking, writing, creating. Answering from instinct rather than figuring things out. Putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard as it were) and letting what-ever-wants-to-come flow out of me.

My calendar is more full than I feel comfortable with. I have a huge capacity for Doing. No doubt. But in the past six-seven years, I’ve cultivated my capacity for Being as well, and with a full calendar, there’s less room for the latter, unfortunately. So I have been low on energy. I’ve been tired. Feeling drained. Putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboards, sure, yeah, of course, but it just doesn’t sound as poetic, does it?) have resulted in… naught. Nada. Zilch.

And now, three dailies and two prompts later… I am buzzing. Alive and kicking! Inspired, energized, On. And very curious to see what want’s to happen here!

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