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There are Years that Ask Questions, and Years That Answer

Here’s some of my favorite reading and listening to help reflect on meaningful words and ideas that can help shape who we are. All pieces offer varied and thoughtful points of view on an array of topics, which we hope you find as helpful and engaging as I have.

Articles

Why Are We Here? Purpose is the key to motivation—and motivated employees are the key to realizing your purpose. Get this symbiotic relationship right, and your organization will thrive.”

How Will You Measure Your Life? “I think that’s the way it will work for us all. Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people. This is my final recommendation: Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.”

The Crossroads of Should and Must. “This is a story about two roads — Should and Must. It’s a pep talk for anyone who’s chosen Should for far too long — months, years, maybe a lifetime — and feels like it’s about time they gave Must a shot.”

This I Believe: A Manifesto for a Magnificent Career. “I’ve developed an overall macro-philosophy that guides my career choices. I’ve also collected a cluster of personal philosophies and core values that guide my day-to-day work. My hope is that you’ll find my lessons to be of value as you think about your own professional career, both from a macro context, in terms of what you are solving for, and in a micro context, in your day-to-day work.”

The Making of a Corporate Athlete. “In a corporate environment that is changing at warp speed, performing consistently at high levels is more difficult and more necessary than ever…On the playing field or in the boardroom, high performance depends as much on how people renew and recover energy as on how they expend it, on how they manage their lives as much as on how they manage their work. When people feel strong and re-silent—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—they perform better, with more passion, for longer. They win, their families win, and the corporations that employ them win.”

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time. “…We envision a new and explicit contract that benefits all parties: Organizations invest in their people across all dimensions of their lives to help them build and sustain their value. Individuals respond by bringing all their multidimensional energy wholeheartedly to work every day. Both grow in value as a result.”

What Happens When Your Career Becomes Your Whole Identity. “While identifying closely with your career isn’t necessarily bad, it makes you vulnerable to a painful identity crisis if you burn out, get laid off, or retire. Individuals in these situations frequently suffer anxiety, depression, and despair. By claiming back some time for yourself and diversifying your activities and relationships, you can build a more balanced and robust identity in line with your values.”

Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think: Here’s how to make the most of it. “The secret to bearing my [professional] decline—to enjoying it—is to become more conscious of the roots linking me to others. If I have properly developed the bonds of love among my family and friends, my own withering will be more than offset by blooming in others.”

“Dear White Boss…” “We asked Caver and Livers, faculty and coaches at the Center for Creative Leadership, to write a fictional letter from a black manager to a white boss describing the miasma and what it’s like to be different in the workplace…Their letter portrays the nature of corporate life once black managers are established—the feeling that they leave some part of their identity at home and the sometimes subtle and often systemic racial biases that inhibit and alienate African-Americans.”

Books

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. “Discover the twelve breakthrough practices for bringing creativity and a sense of possibility into all of your endeavors.”

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, by Michael Watkins. “In this updated and expanded version of the international bestseller The First 90 Days, Michael D. Watkins offers proven strategies for conquering the challenges of transitions—no matter where you are in your career. Watkins, a noted expert on leadership transitions and adviser to senior leaders in all types of organizations, also addresses today’s increasingly demanding professional landscape, where managers face not only more frequent transitions but also steeper expectations once they step into their new jobs.”

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, by Liz Wiseman. “A revised and updated edition of the acclaimed Wall Street Journal bestseller that explores why some leaders drain capability and intelligence from their teams while others amplify it to produce better results…In this engaging and highly practical book, leadership expert Liz Wiseman explores these two leadership styles, persuasively showing how Multipliers can have a resoundingly positive and profitable effect on organizations—getting more done with fewer resources, developing and attracting talent, and cultivating new ideas and energy to drive organizational change and innovation.”

It’s Showtime! Richard Butterfield’s Power of Persuasion, by Richard Butterfield. “The playbook for professionals who understand that effective communication is the key to success…This indispensable guide combines Richard’s dual experience as an actor and as the man behind the curtain for high-profile leaders across the globe. His tactics for the spoken word apply to every facet of the organization, from the ultra-concise elevator speech to the magnificent keynote address. He punctuates his lessons with anecdotes borrowed from sessions with clients like Linked In, Microsoft and the Cleveland Clinic, and then provides exercises to help you inject key concepts into your own public speaking engagements.”

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. “In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.”

TED Talks/Podcasts

On Being with Krista Tippett: “What does a good day look like?” “That question — when asked of both terminally-ill and healthy people — has transformed Atul Gawande’s practice of medicine. A citizen physician and writer, Gawande is on the frontiers of human agency and meaning in light of what modern medicine makes possible. For the millions of people who have read his book ‘Being Mortal,’ he’s also opened new conversations about the ancient human question of death and what it might have to do with life.” [An outstanding podcast that transcends medicine and terminal illness.]

This Is Water: David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. A thoughtful and thought-provoking meditation on the power of learning, presence and what it can mean to live more consciously in our always-on society.

TED 2019: Marc Bamuthi Joseph – “You Have the Rite.” “In a breathtaking, jazz-inflected spoken-word performance, TED Fellow Marc Bamuthi Joseph shares a Black father’s tender and wrenching internal reflection on the pride and terror of seeing his son enter adulthood.” [Marc, an Oakland native, delivers an outstanding and thoughtful meditation. I saw him a few years ago as part of Pop-Up magazine in San Francisco (think TED Talk meets a variety magazine only it’s all done live and nothing is recorded as the show moves from city to city.)]

TED 2017: Tim Ferriss – Fear-Setting: The Most Valuable Exercise I Do Every Month.Fear-setting has produced my biggest business and personal successes, as well as repeatedly helped me to avoid catastrophic mistakes.”

Blog Posts

Ryan Holiday: Every Situation Has Two Handles. Which One Will You Grab? “How are you going to look at things? Will you choose to be miserable or awed? Will you choose to sit around and wait for things to get back to normal or make the most of every second of every day?…Will you choose to step back and look at all the things you still have and still can do?”

Seth Godin: Justice and dignity, too often in short supply. “But today, value isn’t created by filling a slot, it’s created by connection. By the combinations created by people. By the magic that comes from diversity of opinion, background and motivation. Connection leads to ideas, to solutions, to breakthroughs.”

Paul Graham: Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule. “…Maybe eventually, if the conflict between the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule starts to be more widely understood, it will become less of a problem.”

Arts, Music & Culture Corner

Sounds of the Eighties. “Do you miss the sounds of the nineteen-eighties? Would you do anything to get them back? Now you can have them delivered straight to your home. They’re all here in the incredible compilation album ‘Sounds of the Eighties.'”

TV style icons of 2020: Schitt’s Creek’s absolutely fabulous fashion overload. “From sequins and ruched lamé to neoprene, kilts to drop-crotch trousers, we can all learn from mother and son fashionistas Moira and David, clinging to their glory days through more-is-more outfits.”

Reflection

History
by Rowan Ricardo Phillips

The Paris Poetry Review,Issue no. 223 (Winter 2017)

It’s late. History promises you a kiss
When she comes to bed. So you say good night.
You’re tired and can’t keep your eyes open,
So you called it surprisingly early.
She, like every night this summer, stays up
To watch her shows. Later, she woke you,
Accidentally, with a light you thought was
Dawn but was just the white haze of her cell.
You stayed half awake in the lit darkness
Thinking she owed you something, a mere kiss,
Waiting, one eye half open, like the flesh
In a shell sensing a swimmer pass by.
The light turned off like it never happened.
And nothing came to you because you were
Owed absolutely nothing. Not even
The growing indifference in her voice.

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan a senior advisor for Consultants Collective. He is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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