Collaboration

A Rocket Scientist’s Advice On How To Do Impossible Things

Have you ever been at a cocktail party, had someone ask you what you do for a living, and wished you could come up with something impressive-sounding to wow them? Adam Stelztner probably never experiences that. He's an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who has worked on flight missions including Galileo, Cassini, and Mars Pathfinder, and the Mars Exploration Rover project. He has a lot to say about innovation and leadership.

Process

Three Tactics From Getting Things Done That Transformed My Productivity

GTD is a system for organizing and acting on the work that matters most. There are a lot of nuances to the system, and as a result many people get lost in the weeds and intricate details and get off track and stop utilizing it altogether. That's unfortunate, because there are many principles that can be borrowed from GTD and acted upon, even if you don't use the entire system.

Collaboration

Why No One Is Listening To Your Great Idea

The ugly truth is that great work isn’t enough. No one tells you this early in your career; It’s something you learn over time. Cream doesn’t automatically rise to the top, and we don’t live in a meritocracy. If you want your idea to be heard, you have to go the extra mile to ensure that it’s framed to resonate with the right audience.

Process

Why Authenticity Is The Key To Making Your Work Resonate

It’s noisy. Not physically noisy, but culturally noisy.

Everyone is clamoring for attention, and clanging their gongs trying to win a few seconds of your precious time. Clickbait, shock tactics, and distractions are so commonplace that they are now used even by previously “credible” institutions. It’s tempting to follow suit and fall into these tactics with your own work. Don't do it.

Leadership

Aim For Influence, Not Control

Controlling behavior never leads to results beyond your own grasp. However, when you are able to achieve influence, you multiply your efforts and reproduce your values and principles in the lives of others.

Process

The Power of No

Many people allow their life to become cluttered with passive yes's, not active ones. They are living with a decision they made months or years ago, and are not making the effort to re-visit whether it's still the right decision. Sometimes you have to say "no" in order to re-focus your efforts.

Process

The Value Of Connectional Intelligence

Last week, I had the chance to chat with Erica Dhawan, who is co-author of the new book Get Big Things Done. The book is about the age of connectedness, and how we can now accomplish things previously unattainable if we leverage "connectional intelligence".

Mindset

Are You Stealing From Yourself?

Don’t rob yourself, and stop trying to will yourself to do better. Instead, recognize that small actions of focus and discipline today is the best way to love your future self. Make investments today so that you can reap a return tomorrow.

Collaboration

Don’t Settle For The First Idea

In the effort to "ship fast" we often fail to lay a sturdy foundation for our work, and the results can be disastrous. Shipping early shouldn't be equivalent to thoughtlessness. You need to ensure that you are respecting the work by giving it your best mental effort.

Mindset

Why Does Criticism Sting?

It’s often not the circumstances we learn from, but our response to them. Identifying limiting narratives or patterns of self-destruction can help us spot them when they crop up, then nip them before they cause us to implode or obsess needlessly over critique.

Process

A Simple Question That Will Keep You Inspired

If you want to remain productive, and you want to have ideas when you need them most, then the kinds of stimuli you allow into your mind are important. Because creativity is essentially the combining of existing pieces of inspiration in your environment into something new, the quality and relevance of inputs will often directly affect your creative output, thus either propelling you forward or impeding your progress.

Process

Use Time Chunks To Master Distraction

Many of us lack the kind of latitude over our schedule that we’d like to have, but all of us have some discretion about how we spend our time. The best way to prevent distractions and make steady progress on your most important work is to dedicate predictable time to it.

Mindset

How To Receive Negative Feedback

There's no delicate way to say this: many of us carry weapons. Not literal weapons (most likely), but figurative ones, and we get trigger happy the moment we experience something we don't like.

Process

Slow and Steady Does NOT Win The Race

Don’t be lulled into the idea that being busy and making progress is necessarily going to net you a win. You have to be intentional and deliberate about your activity, and you have to be willing to sprint when the occasion calls for it.