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Brain Fuel: Five ideas for this week
Last week Kinnari welcomed her new baby girl and I was honored to become the aunt to another young feminine soul. While I give Kinnari the space and time to recover from her surgery and adjust to her role as mother to a newborn again, I thought I would share what I am reading and listening to these days. I hope these give you new perspectives.
Last year I was having a conversation with Kinnari on why I was not ready to start a business. I was just emerging from a depression episode and I couldn't seem to find a vision for the future that I was willing to put my energy into. She brought up this concept of State → Story → Strategy [as outlined by Tony Robbins in the article above] and reminded me to focus on shifting my state and bringing more energy into my life before I tried to figure out my story or strategy for next steps. A friend recently reshared this with me and it reminded me how my focus on replenishing my energy over the past few weeks through physical action - walks, yoga, cooking, moving furniture - has helped improve my mental and emotional wellbeing [fixing “state” before “story”].
[Article] Why You Never Seem to Have Enough Time
Time is a resource I hold very precious. I realize I have the privilege of owning my time and controlling how I spend it whereas this is something that Kinnari does not have these days. While she may have the same twenty four hours that we all have, it is not in her control as she caters to the demands and whims of a newborn.
To me time is not “money” (contrary to what Benjamin Franklin said in his 1748 essay - Advice to a Young Tradesman). It is a resource that I use to replenish my energy. What is important is that I get to exercise control over how I spend my time. That could be time spent on activities that spark joy or things I am passionate about or in service of those I care about.
This week rearranging my living room to create a new space for our family to gather and exploring a new trail with a friend while being a sounding board to her helped spark joy. Last week I brought home-cooked meals to Kinnari in the hospital and spent a couple of nights taking care of her and the baby to relieve her husband. Providing acts of service that are aligned with my values [example: kindness] and don't feel like an obligation on my time, served the purpose of re-energizing my state.
The article above shares some scientific insights on how you can make the distinction between real time pressure and unnecessary pressure that you might be putting on yourself.
As a parent to a special needs child, I am often drawn to reading books on child psychology and different therapies. This book from the 1960s describes how a child psychologist provided a safe and accepting environment for a withdrawn five year old to freely express himself and talk about his feelings and dreams.
“...A child gets his feelings of security from predictable and consistent and realistic limitations.
…When a child is forced to prove himself as capable, results are often disastrous. A child needs love, acceptance and understanding. He is devastated when confronted with rejection, doubts and never ending testing.
…The atmosphere around him should be relaxed, optimistic and sensitive.”
These lessons apply to all children and as parents it is a reminder on how we can all strive to help our kids feel “wanted, respected and accepted as a human being worthy of dignity”.
With kids back in their school routines, I found myself worrying about whether they were engaged in the right after-school activities. This episode was a reminder that as parents we need to cultivate independence in our kids, setting them free to explore, make mistakes and learn in the real world through free play. Lenore Skenazy is a writer, mom of two who started a movement for “free-range kids” that teaches kids [and parents] how to play without constant supervision.
As parents to two boys, we have encouraged our kids to bike as much as possible everywhere in our town and asked them to organize their own play dates with their friends after school. We have found that a little freedom goes a long way in making our kids responsible for their own decisions and consequences.
I read this book at the beginning of the year after listening to a podcast interview of Derek. This book is a quick read and can be completed in an hour. After a conversation with a friend who is considering changing directions and starting a new company, I decided to re-read this book to see if there were nuggets to share with her. I was once again impressed at how Derek was able to stay true to himself, find his own measures of success, not take in investors to build his business and focus entirely on making his customers and himself happy.
“...Please don't think you need a huge vision. Just stay focused on helping people today…Start by sharing whatever you’ve got.
…Doing it yourself is not the most efficient way…But that’s forgetting about the joy of learning and doing…the whole point of doing anything is because it makes you happy! That’s it! In the end it's about what you want to be, not what you want to have.”
Please share any content that has recently inspired you or given you a new perspective in the comments below.