“Approach every task as though it were the moment that will define you.”

“Approach every task as though it were the moment that will define you.”

—Jol Dantzig, one of the founders of Hamer Guitars

Image from dantzig.com

What’s your brand?  How do you represent yourself to the world through your various efforts?

Jol Dantzig designs and build guitars. Over the course of his career, he has designed instruments for many of the biggest names in music including John Lennon and George Harrison of The Beatles, three of the Rolling Stones, and members of the Pretenders, Def Leppard, and the Police.

His famous orange five-neck guitar—built in 1981 for Rick Nielsen of the band Cheap Trick—was exhibited at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, and some of his other designs have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institute.

EXERCISE:

What are some of your most important tasks? How can and will you more fully express your very best work at this moment to make the impact you desire?

A place to start may be to examine how pleased you are with your efforts. Seeking constructive feedback from trusted friends, colleagues, and family before you deliver can also help you stay on brand and provide remarkable, defining work.

“Could this life be one level in a larger game?”

“Could this life be one level in a larger game?”

—Mo Gawday, Solve for Happy

Image from Unsplash by Leslie Lopez Holder

In physics, work is the energy to or from an object via the application of force along a displacement. For the sake of simplicity:

Work = Force x Displacement

How hard do you work? How much force do you put into your personal and professional activities? Where are you headed in your intended direction through your efforts?

How happy are you pursuing and pulling on the levers and ropes of your life?

EXERCISE:

What are your thoughts on Mo’s question regarding life being part of a larger game? Please consider replying to share your perspective.

“Works, not Words.”

“Works, not Words.”

—Seneca, ancient Roman Stoic philosopher

Image from BBC radio

Talk is cheap.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
After all is said and done, more is said than done.

What other cliches do you know that make a similar point?

How about alternative phrases such as:

Put up or shut up.
Actions speak louder than words.
Do something about it.
What is your body of work?
Take a massive baby step.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you embrace Seneca’s three words and turn them into works today?

“Work is the natural expression of human life.”

“Work is the natural expression of human life.”

—The Rebbe, Menachem Mender Schneerson

Image from nationalgeographic.com

Who are Chip and Agnes Hailstone? What do they have in common with Sue Aikens, Andy Basic, Rico DeWild, and Jessie Holmes?

They’re the primary cast members of the National Geographic documentary series, Life Below Zero.

These hardy, hard-working people living in remote areas of Alaska find tremendous satisfaction through their challenging lifestyle, which often tests them to their limits.

How do you feel after a good day’s work or when you see the fruits of your labor after a job well done?

Alternatively, how do you feel when life includes too much down time and leisure?

EXERCISE:

Pick up a copy of Michael Bungay Stainer’s book, Do More Great Work.

Toward A Meaningful Life by Simon Jacobson includes much more wisdom from the Rebbe’s long, hard working life. Please check it out.

“They are happy men whose natures sort with their vocations.”

“They are happy men whose natures sort with their vocations.”

—Sir Francis Bacon, 15th century British philosopher and statesman

Image from Unsplash by Marten Bjork

If time is the coin of life, how are you currently investing yours? A frequent coaching exercise for individuals who wish to master this elusive resource is a Time Log.

It begins by tracking professional and personal chunks of time in a log. The next step is evaluating not only where that time is spent, but also the level of satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness experienced.

Sadly, statistics point to well over 50% and up to almost 70% of people experiencing reluctance and significant dissatisfaction in their vocational efforts. Perhaps we need to shift from the idea of “that’s why it’s called work,” to a far more enjoyable and engaging perspective.

EXERCISE:

To what extent do you wake up with an “I don’t want to ____” view of your current job or career? How would pursuing a vocation that far better suites your nature provide a stronger foundation for a richer and happier life?

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry, and be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry, and be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

—Walter Hagen, 20th Century American professional golfer

Image from thememorialtournament.com

Walter Hagen was considered by many to be golf’s greatest showman. People referred to him as a flamboyant, princely, romantic fellow who captivated fellow players and the public with sheer panache.

He was the most colorful golfer of his time, but Sir Walter also had the game to back it up. He won 11 major titles and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame for many other achievements.

His coaching in today’s quote is good council for golf as well as life. Patience, a positive attitude, and enjoying every moment as we travel the fairways of life can lead us all to greater success and happiness.

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional life would a don’t hurry, don’t worry approach serve you best?

Taking note of the flowers you see and smell along the way will be a wonderful bonus.

“Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.”

“Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.”

—Frank Ocean, American singer/songwriter

Image from Unsplash by Glenn Carstens-Peters

I hope you love your life. I hope all your personal and professional efforts are rewarding in themselves, and that there is no need to brag or boast to call attention to your successes. After all, tooting your own horn can often backfire in our world of considerable judgement.

Ask yourself the following questions regarding your current work efforts:

  • How much impact, influence, and say do I have in my work?
  • How much am I learning, growing, and bettering myself through my work?
  • What difference, contribution, and purpose does my work provide to others in my various communities?

EXERCISE:

Take one minute tonight after you brush your teeth to look in a mirror and reflect on all your silent successes. You may notice how others in your world often toot your horn for you.

“Ask yourself: Does the job touch my heart and feed my soul?”

“Ask yourself: Does the job touch my heart and feed my soul? You will never be what you were meant to be if you aren’t having fun.”

—Suzy Welch, American Author, television commentator, and business journalist

Image from Unsplash by Atlas Green

If you light up on Friday and dread Monday, today’s quote is meant for you. Take heart in that 65-75% of the working world is in the same boat.

For dramatic purposes, that form of regret or stress can represent about 25 years of life, if you include a bit of traffic on your daily commute.

To what degree is this way too high a price to pay?

Beyond family and friends, how we spend our days and who we spend them with makes up far too much of our lives to have it not touch our hearts and feed our souls.

EXERCISE:

What significant, courageous, and of course, fun changes can and will you take to more fully realize that time is the coin of life?

Tweak the balance between your dance and your march

“Tweak the balance between your dance and your march.”

—Michael Bungay Stainer, Founder of BoxofCrayons

Image from Unspash by Sarah X Sharp

What comes to mind when you consider the word dance? For me, it’s playful, fun-loving, and self-expressed.

Now what about the word march? Perhaps thoughts of the military, or simply disciplined work not necessarily of your choice come to mind.

As a young boy in grade school, the though that I could or should not play until all the work was done was prominent.

EXERCISE:

Given that for most of us the work never seems to be done, where would tweaking your own dance/march ratios make the biggest difference?

How might you bring more play to your work, or dance into a more enjoyable and productive life?