Reach Out With Your Thanks

Reach Out With Your Thanks

“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”— Gertrude Stein

Ten years ago, I was at my annual physical.  My family doctor was chatting with me while leaning in to listen to my heart.  She placed the stethoscope, stopped talking, looked completely startled, looked up at me, and said, “They can fix it!”

Of course, I wondered what needed fixing.  It turned out that I had a leaky valve in my heart.  It was the loudest leak she, and others who listened later, had ever heard. I had been enjoying robust health and had just used that same heart a few weeks earlier to run a marathon.

If I had chosen not to fix the valve, or if I had lived in a time and place where the fix was not possible, I would not be writing this newsletter today.  Be assured that it was fixed. My heart was checked recently, and all my valves are working perfectly.

This week in the United States, we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. I use this holiday as a time to reflect on the multitude of things I am grateful for.

This Thanksgiving marks my 10 year surgery anniversary.  I am grateful for what one of my friends calls a second-life.  I’ll be reaching out to thank the many people who supported me.

I encourage you to take the time to reach out and thank those who have made your life richer.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.

Learning Is the Journey

Learning Is the Journey

“When you know yourself–your characteristics, core values, core needs, strengths, and dreams–you begin to understand your greatness and living in that potential.”

 

— Elizabeth Teliz-McQuarrie, speaker, coach, and entrepreneur with Decode Greatness

When I was first starting in my career, it startled me to find my mentors reading books about something they were already great at.  What more could they learn?

Since then, I have learned that no matter how much we already know, the amount we don’t know is vast. The joy of learning is always there for those of us who have a thirst for greater understanding.

I am delighted that Elizabeth Teliz-McQuarrie invited me to speak at the “X-Factor Leadership Summit” on November 17th. Not only because I’m excited about the opportunity to speak, but also so that I can learn from all the great speakers she has organized for this fantastic event.

I have a complimentary ticket for you to attend and join me at the summit. You can use this link: https://thexfactorsummit.ca/AlanWillett

Elizabeth has gathered speakers worldwide to deliver to you a unique leadership experience and learning opportunity. 

I am one of the speakers that Elizabeth has handpicked for this Leadership Summit, which focuses on empowering your team and confidently leading through difficult situations. 

Many leaders are dealing with a combination of the following:

  • How do you balance work and life while working at home?
  • How do you help those you lead achieve that balance? 
  • How do you help others feel safe in challenging times?
  • How do you lead organizations which have significant age gaps?
  • How do you find a balance when some have to work from home and others can’t?
  • How do you keep them all motivated? 

These reasons and many others are why this summit was put together. 

I thank Elizabeth for this opportunity to speak and to learn. She has years of business, political, and even emergency response experience. She consistently gives back to her community and builds better leaders for tomorrow. I hope you can join us.

I will be speaking at 11:40 EST.

Here is the link once again. 
https://thexfactorsummit.ca/AlanWillett

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.

Consider the More Cosmic View of the Problem

Consider the More Cosmic View of the Problem

“This is the time of no regret
In a forward momentum race
We leave in our wake
What is broken and forgotten”
— Dark Tranquility (Swedish metal band)

My client was struggling with a significant decision. 

The key question was a choice between A and B.

A) Should we keep adding new features and fixing the base system that has significant technical debt?

B) Should we invest in a new design and build a clean system?

This is a choice many companies and individuals struggle with.  This even happens with cars, refrigerators, and really any type of technology you may own.  Eventually, the repairs of things become more expensive than the cost of replacing them.

But it is always a tough decision, especially when considering the very expensive replacement of a codebase.

I suggest that leaders consider the following two factors when making this decision.

  • How much do the engineers love or hate working in the system? If they hate it, it is likely because it is so slow to make changes. The best engineers will leave this situation.
  • How much slower is it to make changes in the old system than it will be in the new approach? This can often be measured. Many of my clients have gained speed improvements from 10 times faster to 22 times faster. 

Now go into the future 10 years.  Get a telescope and look backward.  Consider the larger and longer-term perspective.

When looking through the telescope of a decade, most of my clients have made the hard choice of picking option B and investing in the future.

Try this exercise with the decisions you are making.  

Which decision made the “you” ten years in the future happier?

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

Photo by Ken Cheung on Unsplash

You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.

Be Curious about the “Why” Behind Success and Failure

Be Curious about the “Why” Behind Success and Failure

“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.”  — Anonymous

I was asked, “What are the elements that lead to being the best at a particular discipline?”

It’s a great question and one I have often thought about. I have worked with many organizations and leaders from around the world. I am intensely curious about how they have achieved their personal levels of excellence. Their specific answers to how they achieved their successes vary greatly, but there is a pattern to those answers.

Collect experiences.  
This means getting experience from diverse projects and from working with many people. It means being brave enough to fail. It also means having the bravery to succeed at something difficult and bold.

Learn from experiences.
I have heard from many people who have taken my training that they suddenly realized that 20 years of work had not given them 20 years of experience. Instead, they had had 1 experience repeated 20 times. Years of experience alone is not enough. To turn the experience into learning, be diligent about exploring the why of failure and success. 

Be intensely curious.  
Collecting just your own experiences is also not enough. Be curious about the people you meet. Learn from them about their experiences. Ask them about their best success. Ask them about their worst failure. Ask them the “why did it work or not” question.

Be intensely curious about the theories you develop to explain success. Try them out. If you succeed, don’t assume that all the reasons for your success are obvious. Keep exploring.  Bring that curiosity to the fore and try to push the envelope on the next opportunity.

There is one more part of the question of how to “be the best” at something.

You do not have to compete with others.

The more important thing is simply this: are you getting better than the you of two weeks ago?

If you keep doing that, you will find satisfaction and pride in your own achievements.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.

Participation Improves Community

Participation Improves Community

“Voting is not only our right—it is our power.”— Loung Ung

It’s voting season in the USA, and on Sunday, our family went together to vote. 

We stood in line for about an hour, which was not nearly as long as people have waited in New York City and elsewhere. I was glad to see the large turnout.  I was happy for my youngest, voting for the first time, to experience the energy of this line of people exercising their right to vote.

The time in line gave us a chance to pause and reflect.  

I thought about how more participation, along with more listening, leads to better governance. I have served as the president of our small village of 100 households for over a decade.  I have learned a great deal from this level of local work. I learned more about governance from practical experience than from any book I have ever read.  

Our village community operates by consensus rather than majority rule. The experience I have had has shown me that working to reach consensus through listening and merging ideas leads to better decisions.  The best decisions are based on principles, values, and the earnest desire to make the community’s decisions work for the whole.

As I stood in line, I realized three important things about voting for us to consider.

  • Vote for the direction you personally believe is better for our governance.
  • Regardless of how others in your community voted, listen to them.  Specifically, listen to their values and ideas.
  • If others have a hard time making it out to vote or a difficult time believing that their input matters, see if you can lend a hand.

These thoughts can apply whenever you have the opportunity to make choices that affect your community. Remember that there is much more that joins us than separates us. Let’s work together.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.

Pin It on Pinterest