It is not the critic who counts

One of my favourite quotes are the words of Theodore Roosevelt that is an excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic” delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April 1910.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

At the time of this post, I am also reading Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” and found that we share the love for this quote. In her introduction, she eloquently describes how these words are an accurate description of the vulnerability.

Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it is engaging. It’s being all in.

Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our choice is a question of engagement.”

And then powerfully: “Rather than sitting on the sideline and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen.”

Wow.

The rest of the book continually drips with these impactful statements. And then my wife shared a talk she did on this topic.  Have a look and be blessed.

I love how she invites everybody to have a seat.

I realize I am still struggling to show up. How are you doing?

Still practicing to be seen.

H

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Reimagine the Shape of Progress

For years I understood that it is only with boundaries that we can build sustainably. In this entertaining and passionate TED talk, Kate Raworth, confirms a lot of my believes about the world economy, and she challenges me to think further.

I love her donut model.

I am touched by her challenge that we at the beginning of the 21 century are the one that has the responsibility to create a future in which everybody can thrive. And she created a beautiful new design category for me: Regenerative and distributive. I am going to play with this category in my next design.

Let me know what you think.

A Culture of Fairness in Your Business

Sometimes I wonder how much punishment a business can take. When things do not go as planned and there are severe delays in the system, we all tend to wonder. Then I am not surprised when the people in the business step up to change the situation. It confirms an old and deep-seated believe system I have: “Together, we are so much stronger than we think we are.”

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Yet, the belief in our own ability is but one of the building blocks in creating the good life we desire. It also asks that we deliberately create an environment in which we and others can flourish. In business, this flourishing environment is the underlying culture that exists.

There is always a culture present where people come together regularly. Busines owners need to know this. Culture, if not engineered intentionally, will naturally evolve. The latter, unfortunately, allows for the danger of a toxic culture to be present.

One of the essential elements to be built into any culture is fairness.

The lack of fairness is one of the contributing factors of burnout and disengagement. And as Marco Alvera highlights in his TED talk below, it is an expensive ($550 billion per year every year) oversite to not build this in your business culture.

I was impressed by how he argues that improved performance happens in an environment that is experienced as safe enough to make mistakes. This makes so much sense. If you know someone’s got your back, you are more willing to risk and grow.

He also underlines the importance of cultivating the humaneness of the business. The emotional context is as, if not more important than the systems and processes, rules and regulations. Like Maya Angelou said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

This emotional context need not be one were drama, and soppiness is tolerated. When we expect a lot of people, they usually step up to our expectation. Try to create a vacuum of excellence above a person, and they will spontaneously be sucked into it.

If you would like to create a culture in which fairness is present and do not know precisely how to start, you are welcome to contact me.

Herman

Move your boundaries

“I move boundaries” was the answer I had to give a stranger when he asked me what is a unique attribute I had.

Boundaries are important. Especially personal boundaries. They keep us safe. The keep relationships healthy. They help define us. But they also limit us and hold us back.

The challenge is to know when to keep your boundary in place and when to allow yourself or someone to step over it. Or you could move your boundary. Moving your boundary is something different than crossing it or not keeping it in place. To move your boundary is to expose yourself to an experience you have not have previously.

Stepping over a boundary implies that you can step back. That is to be assertive and keep the status quo. Not having a boundary or not keeping it in place is unhealthy. Moving your boundary is an internal stretch. It asks that you test your assumptions and replace ineffective assumptions with ones that are more in touch with  a new reality. One that includes the experience that you explored.

Kio Stark gives an inspiring talk on talking to strangers. It is good to be friendly, and it’s good to learn when not to be, but none of that means we have to be afraid.

She highlights the difference between perceptions and categories. Categories lead to bias. Perception is the use of  our senses to connect with the individual. When you connect with a stranger in this way, you move your boundary. “So, here it is. When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life and theirs.” Now you have an experience and a story to tell. You have moved your boundary.

How about it? Are you willing to explore? Tell  me how it played out for you.

Still exploring

H