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.
You do not need to see the whole way. And It is OK!!
In 2007, I started my first company. I had no idea how to start or run a company. Yet, we ran the company for 3 years.
In 2011, I said YES to organising an anti-corruption march in Bangalore, despite having no idea about activism or doing anything like that. Yet, in 40 days, over 400 people walked over 11km, and the protest march itself was covered in all major newspapers.
From 2011 to 2012, I started and ran an NGO on the side of my full-time work. In these 2 years, I created independent and volunteer-driven teams in 6 Indian cities of 5 to 10 people – each doing their own impact making work – including everything from ideation, fundraising, on the ground activities, and so on. Once again, when I did so, I had no idea how to.
Why am I telling you this? Because when I ask people why are they not pursuing their wildest dreams and things they care most about, the answer I often get is – “Because I do not know how to.”
Most people are stopped from turning their dreams into reality because they do not know how to. That seems like a legitimate reason, but it is not.
You do not need to know or predict how everything will play out before starting. Just like we can drive at night with the car’s headlight illuminating only a small fraction of the way, we all can move towards our biggest dreams without seeing the whole way. In fact, that is how all dreams turn into reality.
As long as you continue moving in the right direction (of chasing what you care about most deeply) and keep putting one foot after another, you will be OK. In fact, you will be more than OK. That’s all there is to make any dream less intimidating – to just take the next step you need to take or to have the next conversation you need to have.
In fact, the moment you get OK with not knowing what is next, it will become more than OK. The moment you can replace the dread and anxiety of not knowing with the curiosity and wonder of not knowing (like a child), you will not only be chasing your dreams but also having a great time while at it.
When you bring a child-like curiosity and wonder and focus on the next thing to do and the next conversation to have, nothing changes on the outside, and yet, everything changes in your experience of it. And ironically, that allows you to take more assured steps and move faster and turn your dreams into reality.
This is how I established myself as a photographer after I moved to Amsterdam in 2014.
And this is how I am currently establishing myself as a leadership coach after 16 years in the software industry.
What about you? What are you waiting for? What journey lies waiting for you?
Can you start small and just take the next step or have the next conversation – right now?
Reply back and share any insights – before or after you took that next step. I read and respond to every reply.
Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me
We all know what burnout is and why it’s bad. But fewer of us have heard of ‘boreout’ – a related phenomenon that’s arguably just as pernicious.
While burnout is linked to long hours, poor work-life balance and our glamourisation of overwork, boreout happens when we are bored by our work to the point that we feel it is totally meaningless. Our job seems pointless, our tasks devoid of value.
A 2021 study showed that 186 government workers in Turkey who suffered from boreout also dealt with depression, and high rates of stress and anxiety. Studies show depression from boreout can follow workers outside the office, and lead to physical ailments from insomnia to headaches.
Preventing boreout in workers, says Harju, can boil down to “plain old good leadership”, whereby leaders take time to communicate to workers why what they’re doing is valued and valuable.
If you think boreout is seriously affecting your health (either physical or mental), it may be valuable to ask yourself how you might be able to repoint your career path toward something healthier for you. Seek the advice of mentors, career counsellors or friends and family.
Find an article on BBC titled The damaging effects of ‘boreout’ at work
A wonderful example of a “Working with Me” document
1. I’m always trying to learn
2. Experimentation beats debating
3. I’m not interested in being the smartest one in the room
4. If I ask for feedback, I actually want feedback
5. The “Who” in a project is as important as the “What”
6. I tolerate “foot faults” when we are moving at speed
7. I want to know what makes you passionate about our shared projects
8. You need to be a self-starter; I’m not going to tell you what to do…
9. …and that means you need to be very clear in what you need from me
10. Friendship is really important to me; if I can reasonably help a friend, I will
New book reviews, and Humble Inquiries on the podcast
I published three new leadership book reviews in the last month. Find them below:
- Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
- The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Blueprint (2019) by Nicholas A. Christakis
In addition, I am launching a new series called Humble Inquiries on the Choosing Leadership podcast. I will be co-hosting this series with Leslie Wireback, and the first introductory episode is just out. Listen to it, and watch out for more episodes in the coming weeks.
Why we do some tasks before their time? (Pre-Crastination)
Procrastination is a well-known and serious behavioral problem. Procrastination is the thief of time.
Pre-crastination is the inclination to complete tasks quickly just for the sake of getting things done sooner rather than later. Familiar adages also warn of the hazards of pre-crastinating: Measure twice, cut once. Marry in haste, repent at leisure.Look before you leap.
Pre-crastination clearly adds to the challenge of coping with procrastination. Not only must procrastinators start sooner to begin tasks they’d rather defer, but they must also inhibit the urge to complete small, trivial tasks that bring immediate rewards just for being completed.
The discovery of pre-crastination may suggest a way to counter the ills of procrastination. Break larger tasks into smaller ones. Such smaller tasks, when completed, will promote a sense of accomplishment, will bring one closer to the final goal, and, via trial-and-error learning, may support the discovery of even more adaptive or innovative ways of behaving.
From an article on Scientific American – Pre-Crastination: The Opposite of Procrastination
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,