Welcome to the Deploy Yourself Newsletter, where I share what impactful leadership looks like to show your own power. I also share the most insightful lessons and stories I encountered in the last two weeks. You can also read this issue online.
Create (or change) your definition of “hard work” and “success”
What is your definition of “hard work”? Does it just mean doing more of what you have been doing? Does it just mean slogging and working more hours and “trying” harder?
What is your definition of “success”? Does it just mean accumulating more money, titles, and possessions? Does it just mean chasing milestone after milestone, even when you feel empty on the inside and have no idea what you are running after?
I have found that most people have an inherited definition of “hard work” and “success” – from their parents, peers, and mentors. They have rarely taken time to define what hard work means to them, and what all does it include or exclude. Read the below statement as you make your own definition of hard work.
- Does your definition of hard work include REFLECTION, REST, and HARD THINKING instead of just doing more?
- Does your definition of success include being VULNERABLE and HONEST rather than projecting fake confidence?
- Does your definition of hard work include SLOWING DOWN to see what others can’t see?
- Does your definition of success include CREATING THE FUTURE instead of living into a future handed down to you by your manager, education, or experiences?
- Does your definition of hard work allow you to see your own limitations (SELF-AWARENESS)?
- Does your definition of success include taking RESPONSIBILITY without blame when you mess up?
- Does your definition of hard work include living in UNANSWERED QUESTIONS, instead of having the right answers?
The above is very simple when you understand it fully, but not easy. How do you want to define hard work and success? What all can it change in your life?
Reply back to share what you think. I read and respond to every reply.
Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me
Tone of voice when it comes to writing
This is Monzo’s tone of voice guide, which is a (fairly) brief overview of how they write. Some important points from the guide are :
- Every word matters. Every word is a chance for us to make a connection with someone, go beyond what they’d expect from a bank and brighten their day.
- Swap formal words for normal ones. Example – Use help instead of assistance, and start instead of commence.
- Use more verbs and fewer nouns
- Put yourself in your reader’s shoes when you’re writing; what are they going to be most interested in?
- Always be clear about who’s doing what
- Shorter sentences are easier for people to scan and quickly get the information they need. Plus, they’re more accessible for people who struggle with reading or have a cognitive disability, like dyslexia.
- Use emojis to add context, not replace words
From the Tone of Voice guide by Monzo
The Role of Language in Shaping Our World
Researchers at Stanford University have proved that the way we use language shape how we see the world.
It is often said that what you say is what you get. Saying that you are tired will actually make you feel tired and you will have all the symptoms to prove that. But we don’t realize that it was our word that caused it in the first place.
So the next time you speak, be aware of the words that come out of your mouth. Be aware of how others’ negative words make you speak out negative words too, and vice versa. Try to catch yourself when in negative emotion and speak powerful words instead.
Make your words work for you, not make it difficult for you to work. How? See examples below:-
- Declare a Commitment.
- I commit to exercising 30 minutes daily.
- Let us commit together to make this company the best place to work for.
- Make a Promise
- I promise to finish this report in two days.
- I promise to never drink and drive again.
- Make a Specific Request
- Can you finish this report before Friday or not?
- If you like it, can you share this article on Facebook today?
- Offer Support
- Is there anything I can do to help you with this task?
- I am just a phone call away if you need me.
- Offer Hope
- You will make it through it. You are stronger than you think.
- Believe in yourself, not the critics. I know you will prove them wrong.
From an article from my desk – Don’t Allow Yourself to Use the Word TIRED
The power of making personal preferences and working styles explicit
When working with a new team, everyone experiences a steep learning curve—not just in terms of the work itself, but in how the team operates.
How do people prefer to communicate? What are their goals? What does collaboration look like? Usually, you learn the particulars and quirks of each individual over time, through trial and error.
Being proactive about sharing personal working styles is especially important in a remote era, given that virtual communication limits our ability to read tone or body language, while the lack of informal interactions or 1:1 time slows down the development of personal relationships.
For leaders, your User Manual can give the team insight into your leadership style, while your team’s manuals can help you better guide group dynamics and coach individuals in the manner that’s most helpful to them.
From an article on NOBL Academy – How User Manuals Foster Team Development
Quality of Life, Science, and Religion
Social scientists are researching what humans can do to improve their quality of life. Their findings echo what religious practices perfected centuries ago.
Certain religious practices, even when removed from a spiritual context, are able to influence people’s minds in the measurable ways psychologists often seek.
For example, having people practice Buddhist meditation for a short time makes them kinder. And when we studied the act of giving thanks (gratitude), even in a secular context, we found it made people more virtuous.
We see synchrony in almost every religion the world over: Buddhists and Hindus often chant together in prayer; Christians and Muslims regularly kneel and stand in unison during worship; Jews often sway, or shuckle, when reciting prayers together. These actions belie a deep purpose: creating connection.
Regularly taking part in religious practices lessens anxiety and depression, increases physical health, and even reduces the risk of early death. The ways these practices leverage mechanisms of our bodies and minds can enhance the joys and reduce the pains of life.
Like any good scientist, I’m simply following the data without prejudice. And it’s humbling. Doing this doesn’t require accepting a given theology—just an open mind and an attitude of respect.
From an article on WIRED – Psychologists Are Learning What Religion Has Known for Years
That’s it for now. If you have any questions or feedback, or just want to introduce yourself, hit reply. I read and respond to every reply. All the best,