Chris graduated from University on May 1st, 2013 and decided to turn down corporate offers to start an experiment ayearofproductivity.com:
“For exactly one year, (…) I will devour everything I can get my hands on about productivity, and then write every day about what I’m learning.” – Chris
Great mission! Chris took the time to sit down with me and to tell us a bit more about his project:
3 Reasons why I love ayearofproductivity.com
1) Walking the talk
When Chris wants to prove a point, he goes all the way. To write about TED Talks, he decided to watch 70 hours of Talks. Another time, he meditated for 35 hours within a week. Few people actually do what they say. Running “full scale” experiments helps building Chris’ expertise, and it shows through his articles.
2) Actionable take aways
OK, Chris does crazy things that you might not have time to replicate. That’s why he blogs about it through short articles designed to dive deeper into each topic and make them actionable, such as The 7 characteristics of highly effective people who give TED talks.
3) Going the extra mile
Yes, he runs a blog about productivity, yet he knows that accomplishing more won’t make you happier. Productivity is one of many aspects of life, and needs to be balanced. I completely agree with him on this one too:
“If you expect to become happier because you make more money, lose weight, get a promotion, or get more work done, research has shown that you’re looking for happiness in the wrong place.”
One more thing
Chris is running an ongoing experiment, if you like what you see don’t forget to pitch in a few bucks and help him sustain it!
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Have you ever made a decision that “felt right?”
Two weeks ago, I was reading articles by Derek Sivers, a famous entrepreneur/TED Speaker. I read – and loved – most of his work, and really wanted to get in touch with Derek for my blog. I decided to reach out by email to initiate contact: it just felt right. He kindly replied to my email, saying he is happy to set up an interview after Christmas!
So, I got to wonder: How can you make more decisions that “feel right” ?
Understanding how people make decision is huge, you get to understand yourself and others better, creating value for everyone! Our friend Heidi Grant Halvorson (great motivational psychologist, I talked about her work in another article) is interviewing top scientists about what she calls The Science of Thriving.
For our topic, Heidi interviewed her pal E. Tory Higgins, Professor of Psychology at Columbia. He worked on a something called “Regulatory Focus Theory”.
So, Mr Higgings identified two motivational states: Promotion vs Prevention
Promotion state: When you are in a situation where want to achieve more, go from 0 to 1. When you succeed: very happy, when you fail: sad. Really care about making progress, and on things getting even better. Don’t mind taking chances/making mistakes: All they care about is getting better, to the +1. To them, states 0 or -1 are about same.
Prevention state: When you want to be conservative, stay at 0, better than -1. When you succeed: relaxed, relieved, calmer, when you fail: anxious, also use defensive mechanism (prepare for the worse, seeing all ways things could go wrong). Would emphasize security and safety.
Those two states can alter depending on situations, we all have both sides: it’s not a personality difference. We regulate ourselves in terms of ideas, and how we deal with the world. So, our entire emotional life ( based on our education and the way we do things) always involve one of those two systems.
Interestingly, patterns can change depending on environments (work/home), they also vary with age. Here are a three examples:
Example 1: Relationships
> For promotion focused, love is accomplishing things together and grow together, a dream that will get better and better.
> For prevention focused, love is about being together, safe and secure, fulfilling obligations and maintaining what you have, love is a safe heaven.
In early relationship, those visions can be in conflict. Always best to understand the other party’s picture, then: How do we go about reaching goals together? It’s easier for couple to reach goals when balanced, both sides are required: eager and vigilant.
Example 2: Business
> Leadership: Business partners can also balance each others. Some job description have special needs, you might find more promotion focused Chief Marketing Officers and more prevention focused Chief Financial Officers.
> Sales: Priorities can differ. Promotion focused might chase new business (aka “Hunters”) whereas Prevention focused might prefer working on consumer retention (aka “Farmers”). Those two types can and will argue: Promoters can come across as too eager, Preventers as too vigilants .
Knowing yourself better helps creating a suitable environment: it’s a motivational fit.
Example 3: How to Get Customers to Value Your Product More (HBR article)
Fun fact: scientists ran experiments with consumers and recreated situations
> “When consumers were allowed to evaluate bike helmets in a way that created motivational fit, they were willing to pay about 20% more for one”.
> “Consumers offered to pay more than 40% more for the same reading booklight if the way they made their choice created motivational fit.”
> “Consumers who choose products while experiencing motivational fit are later significantly more satisfied with their selections. So you aren’t just tricking people into paying more — by taking into account your audience’s promotion or prevention focus, you are giving them the opportunity to experience of a genuinely better product. It just all depends on how you ask.”
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I’ve always been fascinated by Public Speaking, mainly because I use to be very bad at it. For the last ten years, I made it my duty to practice as often as I could.
My previous companies were kind enough to provide me with training, face-to-face time with clients and presentations, I could practice many times a week.
So in December 2012, I decided to start a Google+ Community about Public Speaking. Almost one year later, I’m proud to say it’s still The largest G+ community on the topic. People swap stories, videos and ask for advices (join us!)
In May 2013, I reached out to Dr. Nick Morgan. Over the last 25 years, Nick has kept busy: He worked for Princeton & Harvard, wrote two books (third one coming up!) and was a speech critic for President Obama. He now consults for Fortune 50 CEO and focuses on his writing.
Nick was kind enough to accommodate a Q&A session, we planned for 25 minutes and ended chatting for almost 40 minutes. Nick also blogged about our interview on Forbes, gathering 1,500+ consultations to date (Oct 2013), thanks Nick!
Here is the full interview:
Most of us want to have it all: Great careers, balanced family lives sparked with travels and hobbies, maybe even passions.
Since I’m currently on a gap year, it seems like a good time to reflect on a few things. Today, I do feel that Career, Passion & Karma are like three legs of a stool. Check this out:
University students are hardwired with the belief: Work hard, pay your dues, you will have a great career. But you will fail to have a great career: If you love what you do, you’ll have a passion and not a career. If you don’t, you can still have a career but I won’t be great because you will be working hard for something you don’t love.
“Like” and “Love” aren’t the same: think relationships, if you simply like it, keep looking. Hey, it’s fine not to know what your passion/calling is from day-1, my point is that you better enjoy yourself at all stages of the process of finding out.
> More on this on “Why you will fail to have a great career.”, a brilliant TED video. Very unique speaker as well, comes across as a bit socially awkward yet still manages to convey a brilliant message
We all grew up with many interests (sports, music, arts…), and we look up to those who live up to their passions (athletes, artists…): It’s well accepted that passions can be the highest expression of ourselves. Aren’t passions what you love doing everyday?
So, I’ve kept asking the same question, over and over: “What would you do if money wasn’t important”? What would you do with your life? More Flyfishing, more family time, travelling?
It’s not about winning the lottery, it’s about knowing where you want your time and energy and how you will get there.
Let’s pause at this stage, you might think “Yes, it’s easy to encourage people to quit their jobs and go play, but we all have blablabla….”.
Some commitments we have cannot be altered, but most of them can. Waiting for a promotion, or the end of the crisis, paying your dues at work, getting more experience… aren’t good excuses.
> More on this on “The 4-Hour week” blog. Tim – the author – is all about simplifying and regrouping: less work, more efficiently.
I like Karma, in and outside business: What goes around comes around. I’m reading Guy Kawasaki, Shawn Achor, Derek Sivers, Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss… They all support the “pay forward” mentality that fuel many entrepreneurs.
It’s important to make time, share and help others, if being a nice person is not enough of a reasons, the strength of your social relationships is the single characteristic that distinguishes the happiest 10% of the population from everybody else.
More on Karma with Reid Hoffman, PayPal/LinkedIn exec’, he uses Georges Clooney as an example. Georges came to Hollywood in ‘82 and landed his ER gig in… ‘94. Talent and connexions will help you, but only your attitude and persistence will help you truly accelerate what you do and seize opportunity when they arise.
Be your nice self, look into a direction you love and keep at it, good things will happen.
“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted”, Larry Smith.
-Rodolphe (initially published on dutel.fr)
Who, would you say, knows you best? Yourself, your family, your significant other, friends, colleagues?
We are all social animals and we love interacting: I’m curious and I love meeting new people. Since 2010, I’ve been lucky to travel extensively via Couchsurfing, an online community connecting millions of travelers meeting and hosting each other (for free).
Couchsurfing has a built-in system of recommendations where hosts and fellow travelers will leave a note about you, as a person. I find it truly fascinating to see how someone that you have never met before might have perceived you in the few hours or days you have spent together.
I began to wonder to thing about the correlation between how you think about yourself vs how people think about you.
So I went online and found Heidi Grant Halvorson, a popular motivational psychologist, she wrote great HBR articles such as Nine Things Successful People do Differently.
Her article “You Are (Probably) Wrong About Yourself” argues that most of what we do “is happening below our conscious awareness”. Her point is that most of the questioning we do on ourselves is doomed to fail because we fall short of identifying root causes of what we do, hence the important of feedback and external questioning. Here’s another interesting finding
“Your own ratings of your personality traits — for instance, how open-minded, conscientious, or impulsive you are — correlate with the impressions of other people (who know you well) at around .40. In other words, how you see yourself and how other people see you are only very modestly correlated.”
The gap that exists between how we see ourselves and how others see us amazes me. Over the past few years I took the MBTI, True Colors and more recently StrenghtsFinder 2.0. Those tests ask you series of questions to match you with strengths or categories that (supposedly) defines you.
That gay is truly huge, so I began to wonder: How about a test based on what others think of you? That should be interesting too.
Since, Heidi published a book, more article, and a great online conference The Science of Thriving.
-Rodolphe (initially published on dutel.fr)
I almost never give money to street fundraisers. You know, those guys making eye contact with you, waving a friendly hand and asking for “just a minute of your time”?
Well, I use to do that job back in Sydney, Australia, in early 2008. I was a street fundraiser for some time, then I did quit to find another job. It’s a really hard job, kudos to everyone out there making a living through street fundraising: It’s probably one of the best Sales School you can get together with door to door selling.
But the logic behind it is not so great. In Australia, street fundraising companies will craft a deal with a non-for-profit company in order to fundraise on their behalf. We (company & employees) use to get 50 cents on the dollar fundraised. All those good folks supporting NSW Surf Live Saving where giving half of their money to the fundraising logistics.
My generation seems to be a bit reluctant to donate money the old fashion way: Street fundraising and “money in the envelope” style. Since then, I found that a model emerged that will be game changer to NGO in the years to come, I’ve name it FaaS: Fundraising as a Service.
Scott Harrisson, a former New York based party promoter, left his party lifestyle to go be an NGO photographer in Africa for two years before starting charity:water in 2006.
He had a 51-minute chat with Kevin Rose (Google Venture) about his full story, and how he got to create charity:water. Scott has had quite an eventful journey that led him to start this charity, a “from zero-to-hero” redemption story that only America (Hollywood?) can offer…
charity:water is a very interesting NGO for a couple of reasons:
– Use of social media. Most charities haven’t been successfully harnessing social media to extend their footprints. charity:water is using Kickstarter-style campaign approach to fundraising. Individuals are encouraged to join causes and fundraising through their extended networks.
For instance, you can Pledge your birthday (e.g. Ask your network to donate $30 each for your 30th birthday). They also update donors on the actual effect of their donation, using Google Maps geolocation to map wells, and Twitter to follow drilling efforts.
– Transparency is #1. When you give to charity, you are not always sure of how much goes to operations vs the cause you want to support. charity:water published its financial reports and operates two separate bank accounts: 100% of public donations fund clear water projects, while operations are funded by private donors.
I came across several platforms that let you fundraise for one-off events, such as marathons or special events. I am convinced that the traditional way of mail/street fundraising can be dramatically improved, it is impressive to see such a well rounded charity operating as a start-up.
Other start-ups, such as razoo, give you two option: you can be a donate OR a fundraise, offering a full platform to fundraise (Fundraising as a serive, FaaS ?) for a 2.9% “rate”. It’s not 100% to charity, but they still raised over $105,000,000 for charity…
How about nonprofit increase focus on fundraising enablement?
The way those startup communicate, act and expand is appealing to the Y-generation, I wish them all the best!
-Rodolphe (initially published on dutel.fr)
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
– Abraham Lincoln
For the past 4 years, I have applied and interviewed at companies with high hiring standards and I’ve also helped hiring colleagues. It seems that many Fortune 500 companies hire entry-level candidates in a similar fashion. Ever since, I made it a hobby to understand how you can apply through traditional and less traditional ways. I’ll taught those methods at University, with very promising results, I will write a full post on this soon.
Sending your CV on a corporate website is like sending a message in a bottle: It’s hoping for the best
So, in 2012, I ran seminars about it for MSc students of a leading french business school, then again in 2013 to 200+ students from 15 nationalities. Here are some of the speaking point:
1. Online identities
– All recruiters will look you up online. How much you do and share online is up to you, manage your e-footprint smartly and often since it’s here to stay.
– Not all industries value online presence the same way, yet taking ownership of yours might set you apart from competition. Pfizer reports up to 40% of its candidates come through LinkedIn.
– Connect. Be genuine in the way you make connexions, offer value to those around you. Be a resource for a go-to person, your value proposition is better than you think.
2. Recruiting has changed, it’s a machine
– In the 80’s, most of Gen-X focused on life-long careers and becoming specialists, both strategies are now broken.
– In the 10’s, most of Gen-Y is over-connected, talent is now global and job application are managed through Applicants Tracking Systems (machines). Here is how it roughly works now:
3. Stop hoping for the best
It’s hard enough to get hired by humans, let’s not get turned down by machines too. Here’s what I suggest:
People don’t hire CVs, they hire people. Stop mass-applying, start listening.
Pick your battles. Target 3 to 5 positions/companies and do your homework: online/offline research, get introduced, have casual chats with people in similar industry/position/seniority level.
Most large companies reward employees for referring new hires. Here are a few reasons why: you’re more likely to be a good cultural fit, hiring you is cheaper, faster, you are more likely to stay with the company for longer.
The employee referring you often has a ve$ted interest in your success, recruiters might experience a positive biais on your file since you come from the inside (decreasing the margin risk of a bad hire, since you’ve been vouched for.)
Gather information, get endorsed by people who matter, craft you value proposition and then reach out. Call people, if you do email them be concise, precise and have a call to action.
There’s a lot more to be said, I would like to explore other aspects of recruitment in future posts, including: Phone Interviews, Networking, Prospective Emails…
-Rodolphe (initially published on dutel.fr)