Book recommendation ..:: The psychology of Money ::..

I found the book Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel boring at first, boring in the sense that I did not find new information, but I persevered in listening to it (I do love my audible) thinking that 3 milion people cannot be wrong (Yes, it sold 3 mil copies!).

Now I can say it is worth it and below I will share with you my takeaways. I did expect it to be more finance oriented, but in the end it was more about mindset and systems and I love both.

So here are my 10 takeaways:

1 No One’s Crazy

Your personal experiences with money make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world, but maybe 80% of how you think the world works.“

You can read what it was like to lose everything during, say, The Great Recession, but you will never bear the emotional scars of those who survived it and are now afraid to invest again. It’s important to remember, then, that until you’ve lived through a financial crisis and felt its consequences, you will never understand why people behave the way they do.  “The challenge for us is that no amount of studying or open-mindedness can genuinely recreate the power of fear and uncertainty. Some lessons have to be experienced before they can be understood.”

Understanding one’s own values and priorities is crucial for making wise financial decisions.

2 Respect the power of luck and risk

Nothing is as good or bad as it seems.

Every outcome is guided by forces other than individual effort. Bill Gates had a competitive advantage over millions of other students because he attended one of the only high schools in the world that had the cash and foresight to buy a computer. In finance, luck is as much a force as risk. “It’s hard to quantify luck and rude to suggest people’s success is owed to it, the default stance is often to implicitly ignore luck as a factor of success.”  But almost no one thinks that luck doesn’t play a role in financial success.

Manage your money in a way that helps you sleep well at night and ask yourself ” does this help me sleep well tonight?”.

More about risk and regret in an article here.

3 Never enough

There is no reason to risk what you have and need for what you don’t have and don’t need.

The concept of “enough” involves recognizing that there is a point beyond which more money does not necessarily lead to greater happiness or satisfaction.

“At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history. Heller responds, “Yes, but I have something he will never have … enough.” The only way to know how much you can eat is to eat until the point you are sick. Know what is enough and when to stop. “The ceiling of social comparison is so high that virtually no one will ever hit it.” You compare to person A who is earning higher than you, you reach there and compare to person B earning even higher.

“Modern capitalism is a pro at two things: generating wealth and generating envy. ” But life isn’t happy when ambition is faster than satisfaction.

Photo by Joslyn Pickens.

4 Just Save

The only factor you can control generates one of the only things that matter. How wonderful!

The highest form of wealth is the ability to wake up every morning and say, “I can do whatever I want, when I want, with who I want, for as long as I want.” This, more than your salary, more than the size of your hours, more than the prestige of your job, more than anything, is the highest dividend money pays. 

“Wealth is created by suppressing what you could buy today in order to have more options in the future.” “Having a strong sense of controlling one’s life is a more dependable predictor of positive feelings of wellbeing than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered.” It is a way to buy yourself freedom to be and to act.

Saving is the gap between your ego and your income.

5 Man in the car paradox

No-one is impressed with your possessions as much as you are.

If you drive an expensive car, people will be looking at the car driving by, not admiring you. Being rich and being wealthy — it’s not just semantics. Rich is your current income, the wealth you accumulate, and create. Wealth is what you don t see. Building wealth is not just about earning a high income or making savvy investments, but also about living below one’s means and saving diligently.

Be nicer and less flashy, you might think you want a nice car or a fancy watch, but what you really want is more respect and admiration and you re more likely to gain those things through kindness and humility, than horsepower and chrome.

6 Reasonable vs rational

Aiming to be mostly reasonable works better than being coldly rational.

“A rational investor makes decisions based on numeric facts. A reasonable investor makes them in a conference room surrounded by co-workers you want to think highly of you, with a spouse you don’t want to let down or judged against the silly but realistic competitors that are your brother-in-law, your neighbor, and your own personal doubts. Investing has a social component that’s often ignored when viewed through a strictly financial lens”

Reasonable is more realistic, and you have a better chance of sticking with it for the long run, which is what matters most when managing money. You’re not a spreadsheet, remember. You’re a person.

7 Surprise

History is the study of change ironically used as a map of the future.

“It is smart to have a deep appreciation for economic and investing history. History helps us calibrate our expectations, study where people tend to go wrong, and offers a rough guide of what tends to work. But it is not, in any way, a map of the future.”

“investing is not hard science. It’s a massive group of people making imperfect decisions with limited information about things that will have a massive impact on their wellbeing, which can make even smart people nervous, greedy, and paranoid.”

A trap many investors fall into is what Housel calls, “historians as prophets” fallacy: an overreliance on past data as a signal to future conditions in a field where innovation and change are the lifeblood of progress. Past performance is not indicative of future results—the world changes.

Moreover, you will also change. And long-term planning is harder than it seems because people’s goals and desires change over time.

8 Room for error

The most important part of every plan is planning on your plan, not going according to plan.

Increase the gap between what you think will happen and what could happen. “The purpose of the margin of safety is to render the forecast unnecessary.”

We cannot predict what will happen. Look at it as a gray area, pursue things that are possible outcomes. Be both risk loving and risk-averse. But when you take the risk, have this safety net that will not wipe you out and avoid a single point of failure.

Become ok with a lot of things going wrong and remember the 80/20 Pareto, that states that only 20% of the effort amounts to 80% of results.

Reasonable is more realistic. You’re not a spreadsheet, remember. You’re a person.

Photo by Pixabay.

9 The seduction of pessimism

Optimism sounds like a sales pitch. Pessimism sounds like someone trying to help you.

“Real optimists don’t believe that everything will be great. That’s complacency. Optimism is a belief that the odds of a good outcome are in your favor over time, even when there will be setbacks along the way.”

People believe pessimism more than they buy optimism.

In finance, pessimism is paid more attention than optimism, and is, therefore, more persuasive. “It’s easier to create a narrative around pessimism because the story pieces tend to be fresher and more recent,” writes Housel. “Optimistic narratives require looking at a long stretch of history and developments, which people tend to forget and take more effort to piece together.” True financial optimism, Housel posits, is to expect things to be bad and be surprised when they’re not.

2 more articles about optimism and pessimism.

10 Nothing is free

Everything has a price, but not all prices appear on labels.

Everything has a price, and the key to a lot of things with money is just figuring out what that price is and being willing to pay it. The problem is that the price of many things is not obvious until you’ve experienced it.

“Hold stocks for the long run,” you’ll hear. It’s good advice. But do you know how hard it is to maintain a long-term outlook when stocks are collapsing? Like everything else worthwhile, successful investing demands a price. But its currency is not dollars and cents. It’s volatility, fear, doubt, uncertainty, and regret—all of which are easy to overlook until you’re dealing with them in real-time.

Like a nice car, you can pay this price, accepting volatility and upheaval. Or you can find an asset with less uncertainty and a lower payoff, the equivalent of a used car. Or you can attempt the equivalent of grand theft auto: Try to get the return while avoiding the volatility that comes along with it.

A last food for thought:

Ask yourself what do you own and why? What do you do with your own money? What makes sense and what feels right to you?

If I picked your curiosity, give it a try, it also has more technical details about compounding and other investing tips.

If you want to discover more books I am passionate about, here are a few examples:

9 ways to make people wonder

It’s been 12 months since I formally started my coaching journey and have now accounted for hundreds of coaching and mentoring hours with tens of clients. One of the assignment I had to do for my final exam was to write my coaching model (which will be subject for another article) and this offered me the nudge to analyze my practice.

Looking back at my clients, my evolution and our work together, I see one red thread spreading throughout the sessions and that is the fact that they started to question their surroundings, their situation, they started to see new opportunities, new perspectives. They started thinking about what could become possible, they started to wonder.

Photo by Bruno Scramgnon

“I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.”


This is socratic questioning. Socratic questioning involves asking a series of open-ended questions to explore a concept or idea in depth and to challenge assumptions and beliefs. This method is often used in education, as it helps students to think critically, examine their own beliefs and better understand complex concepts. Socratic questioning can also be used in everyday life to encourage meaningful conversations, to facilitate personal growth and self-discovery and to gain a deeper understanding of different perspectives. The key to Socratic questioning is to ask questions that challenge assumptions and encourage reflection, rather than simply seeking answers.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt like no matter what you did, you couldn’t quite seem to get people to understand you or your perspective? It can be frustrating, to say the least. But perhaps, instead of trying so hard to make people understand, we could focus on making them wonder.

When we make people wonder, we open up the possibility for them to come to their own conclusions and understand things in their own way. We give them the space to think critically and to ask questions. This can be especially important in situations where there is disagreement or conflict.

So how do we make people wonder?

Photo by Pixabay

  1. Ask thought-provoking questions: Asking questions that challenge the status quo or push people to think differently can inspire curiosity and spark discussion.
  2. Share obscure or little-known facts: Whether it’s a trivia tidbit or an interesting fact about a lesser-known subject, sharing obscure knowledge can get people wondering and wanting to learn more.
  3. Present an unusual perspective: By presenting an uncommon or unexpected point of view, you can challenge people’s assumptions and inspire them to see things in a new light. OR Explore different perspectives: Ask questions that help you understand different points of view, such as “What do you think the other side of this argument would say?” or “Can you see it from another perspective?”
  4. Create a sense of mystery: Whether it’s through storytelling, an intriguing image, or an cryptic message, creating a sense of mystery can spark people’s imagination and leave them wanting to know more.
  5. Showcase the impossible: Demonstrating something that defies conventional wisdom or challenges people’s understanding of the world can get them wondering and seeking answers.
  6. Encourage reflection: Ask questions that prompt people to think about their own beliefs and experiences, such as “What led you to believe that?” or “Can you explain why you feel that way?”
  7. Foster critical thinking: Ask questions that challenge assumptions and encourage problem-solving, such as “What evidence supports this?” or “How could we test that hypothesis?”
  8. Enhance communication: Use Socratic questioning to encourage meaningful conversations and to delve deeper into topics, rather than just exchanging surface-level information.
  9. Encourage self-discovery: Use Socratic questioning to explore your own thoughts and beliefs, and to better understand your values and motivations.

By making people wonder, you have the power to inspire curiosity, spark creativity and foster critical thinking. So go out there and start making people question, imagine, and ponder. The possibilities are endless.

If you want to get in touch and talk more about wonder, drop a line in the comments.

5 love languages in business

You’ve probably heard about the book and theory of the 5 love languages by Gary Chapman, that basically states that, in order for a relationship to thrive, you need to understand how your partner wants to receive love and appreciation and that we need to communicate based on how the other needs, not how we want to receive.

Given the newest stats I read here, about the influence that the relationship with the manager has on most of us:

  • 70% of employees say that their manager influences their wellbeing more than their therapist or doctor, 70% of people say their manager has more impact on their mental health, more than their therapist or their doctor
  • 71% say stress at work negatively impinges on their home life,
  • 30% of people say their manager fails to recognize their own impact on others’ wellbeing.
  • 70% of people would like their manager to do more to support mental health

I thought we can all be happier if we communicate better.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

The 5 love languages was a book of reference for me, as it gave me direct pointers on understanding others, with real, concrete actions I could take to show my appreciation.

These five languages, defined by Dr. Gary Chapman, include words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, physical touch and quality time. By understanding and speaking these love languages with coworkers and clients, you can improve communication, build stronger relationships, and ultimately drive success in your business.

  1. Words of Affirmation: For some people, words of encouragement, recognition, and praise are the most meaningful form of communication. If this is your love language in the workplace, you may appreciate hearing positive feedback from your manager, colleagues, or clients.
  2. Acts of Service: Some people value actions over words. If this is your love language in business, you may appreciate when coworkers take on tasks or responsibilities for you or go out of their way to help.
  3. Receiving Gifts: Some people appreciate receiving gifts as a sign of thoughtfulness and appreciation. In a business setting, this might mean receiving a small token of appreciation from a client or coworker, such as a gift card or personalized thank you note.
  4. Physical Touch: While physical touch may not be appropriate in the workplace, some people value physical connection and contact as a form of communication. If this is your love language in business, you may appreciate a handshake or pat on the back from a coworker or client.
  5. Quality Time: Some people value undivided attention and presence as a form of communication. In the workplace, this might mean having a one-on-one meeting with a coworker or client to discuss work and build a relationship.

Photo by fauxels.

By understanding and speaking these five love languages, you can improve communication, build stronger relationships, and ultimately drive success in your business. Whether you’re speaking words of affirmation to a coworker, offering acts of service to a client, or simply spending quality time with your team, taking the time to understand and speak the love languages can have a significant impact on your success in the workplace.

Here are some concrete examples you can apply from today:

  1. Words of Affirmation: A manager regularly provides specific, positive feedback to their employees during performance reviews. A coworker takes the time to write a personal note to a colleague, congratulating them on a job well done.
  2. Acts of Service: A team member volunteers to take on a task for a coworker who is overwhelmed with work. A client sends a basket of snacks and drinks to the office, showing appreciation for the team’s hard work.
  3. Receiving Gifts: A client sends a personalized gift to a salesperson who helped them with their purchase. A team leader gives a small token of appreciation, such as a plant or a book, to each team member for their hard work and dedication.
  4. Physical Touch: A manager gives a coworker a pat on the back after a successful presentation. A team leader gives a hug to a team member who has been working long hours.
  5. Quality Time: A manager sets aside one-on-one time with each team member to discuss their goals and provide support. A coworker takes the time to listen to a colleague’s concerns and offer advice.

Photo by Panos Sakalakis

In conclusion, the 5 love languages are a powerful tool for improving communication and building stronger relationships in business. By understanding and speaking the love languages of your coworkers, clients, and team members, you can create a positive and productive work environment and drive success for your business.

Moreover, when you start practicing this way of communication, you will automatically change the way you communicate with your loved ones, thus improving your overall state of wellbeing.

If you want to discover more books I am passionate about, here are a few examples, but the articles are in Romanian language:

1 word, 2 exercises, 1 life changing perspective

The title of the article was originally “Good is in the details” and it started from the idiom saying “devil is in the details” but the message you will find below has nothing to do with the devil or anything bad, for that matter so I switched to “God is in the details”. Since it has nothing to do with God, religion, spirituality or any magic, but the change it provoques is a positive one, “good is in the details” was born.

I had a funny relationship with details throughout my life. For years I consumed a lot of energy trying to control every detail, that I often lost sight of the big picture. Later I became a graphic designer and the eye for details was an advantage in my work, but still not that much in the personal life, where one has to overlook details they don t like about a spouse, maintaining the focus on the big picture of the happy family, for example.

At one point in my journey I realized how tired I was of paying that much attention to details, so I started looking at the bigger picture, applying a “got enough” mindset sometimes, instead of blocking things due of imperfect details.

Photo by Ravi Kant

Last year, when I officially became a coach, a calling where I feel at home within myself, I learned that this is what I was actually preparing for. Being a coach is about paying attention to the small details that can have a big impact on someone’s well-being and happiness. This means being attentive to a client’s body language, tone of voice and word choice, as well as their goals, values and belief systems.

The words we use with ourselves and with others, when we are in a safe and trusting environment, say a lot about us, our beliefs and offer insights into what we can improve.

Is it my “job” to mirror these details to the client and to support him in trully hearing what stands behind his words.

Here are 2 exercises you can do starting today, one physical and one cognitive, that you can do whenever you have an issue to solve, be it small like “what to have for lunch” or big like “is it ok to leave my job”.

1 Start with your body

I invite you to sit on a comfortable chair or sofa, with back rest, place you back against the sofa and open your arms straight to the left and right, from your shoulder, parallel to the ground. Rest your arms if you can on the sofa, opened at maximum arm span, feel your chest opening, breathe and enjoy this feeling. You COULD do everything you are afraid to even try. This is a posture that is an instant smile for me, please do share how it feels for you.

Photo by Andre Furtado.

2 Back to your mind

Instead of asking yourself “what SHOULD I do?” or “what CAN I do?” in a certain situation, ask yourself “what COULD I do?”.

While SHOULD keeps us blocked in social constructs and other people’s expectations, CAN keeps us blocked in the limitations of the immediate environment, COULD feels like a deep breath on top of the mountain on a clear blue sky kind of day. COULD opens the chest, the heart, the mind.

The word “COULD” is a powerful tool that gives us the ability to imagine and visualize different outcomes and possibilities. It opens up the door for us to explore new ideas and take on new challenges. The power of “could” lies in its versatility, as it can be used to express potential, possibility, and permission. By saying “I could,” we give ourselves the permission to try, to experiment, and to fail without fear of judgment. This simple word has the power to unlock our potential and help us overcome obstacles, making it a valuable tool in personal growth and self-improvement.

Whether it’s in our personal lives or our careers, the power of “could” can be a transformative force, helping us to turn our aspirations into realities. Could is a new found freedom.

And there is also science behind COULD, here is a study called “Does Could Lead to Good? On the Road to Moral Insight” by Ting Zhang, from Harvard University.

So now, what COULD you do, if you believed you are enough, if you allowed yourself to try? What becomes possible now?

If you want to explore more, drop a message and let’s schedule a 30′ chemistry session.

How to delegate from a growth mindset

One of my interview questions for a job was about dealing with many projects simultaneously and multitasking and my first suggestion was delegation. Interesting enough, I did not know how hard that was at that time, how delegation is a lot about giving up control, about trust and about growing another person, and not simply just handing over assignments and receiving them completed, more about personal relations and less about reporting templates, monitoring and control.

I see that today and, often, I do find myself in situations where I would do things faster than I can delegate them. Delegation is an investment, it is more than clearing up your to-do list and more about creating space in your schedule for complex tasks and new opportunities.

Here are the 3 most often road blocks in the way of efficient delegation and the growth mindset shifts which will help you be a better delegator:

1 “Only I can do it” > turns into > “Don’t put limitations on people’s intelligence

Intelligence is not fixed. Our mind is like a muscle and, just like any other muscle, we can exercise it and develop it over time. Although your brain might not grow physically, you develop new neural networks when you challenge yourself or learn something new.

So, although you already have the skills to do the task and the delegate does not (yet), it does not mean that they cannot do it or learn how to do it.

2 “It is faster if I do it” > turns into > “Embrace challenges

On the short term, you are probably right. On the long term though, you could be clearing your schedule for new opportunities and thus gaining a lot of time. Moreover, a growth mindset means embracing challenges, not avoiding them. This way not only you help the growth of the delegate, but you grow yourself, cause it takes a special kind of skill to be able to teach someone to do what you do.

3 “The delegate has to do it the exact same way” > turns into > “Learn from criticism

Once you have moved passed the first 2 steps and delegated the task, you need to communicate the desired outcome, if needed help the delegate form a plan, but stay out of the process.

The first reason for which we fear people doing things differently than we do, is that we see it as a criticism to our way of doing it, it’s like they are saying “you were doing it wrong”.

I challenge you to be curious and see this as an opportunity to learn, to discover new ways, maybe better ways. Usually people are not out to get us, they just think in a different manner, and that is ok as long as we get the objective done. So start by giving the delegate the outcome, starting with the end in mind, and let them build the way up.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

General Patton

Delegation is never an easy process. When you get to the point of having to delegate, you already built your way up, so this exercise of giving up control could mean shaking up your core. If you still struggle with the questions above, start the process consciously and intentionally and ask yourself “what am I unwilling to delegate? Make a list of tasks and identify the best person in your organization – not you – to take on this project or task and delegate the task”.

We usually get to delegation when we are no longer able to complete the tasks on time. Start the process before you have to, before you have pressure of deadlines, thus when you do have to do it, you are more prepared internally.

And always keep in mind that the only point to delegating something is if it frees you for things that create greater value for your company.

How do you delegate? Do you feel fear in doing it? Do you still avoid it or do you embrace the opportunity?

Entrepreneurship, between skill and mindset

I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I remember being a kid and dreaming of having my own company. At that time, it meant being my own boss, having control over my schedule, it meant independence and freedom. I know, I was a naive kid as I later learned, but a kid with aspirations.

I put off starting a company year after year.

At first I stopped as I had read I should start with a business plan. And I started drafting a business plan … several times, but I lacked the skill. So I learned more.

The second stop was due to the ever changing legislation, which never felt supportive of an entrepreneur. Basically, it simply stated that no matter if you earn an income or not, you have to pay taxes for having a company. This also happened a few times. I see now my error here as well.

Third time, something had changed. I realized that it is not about feeling prepared, about the right moment, about the perfect business plan, about an investor giving you free money, it was about taking the first step, jumping and building your wings on the way down.

It was not about skill, cause no matter how much you develop your skills, how much you learn, how early you get an MBA, if you don’t have or grow an entrepreneurial mindset, you’ll never start.

So what do I mean by entrepreneurial mindset:

  1. just do it – there are no secret recipes and the best school is the fail first and use that advantage school.
  2. problems are solutions yet to be unfolded – too often when faced with a problem, we start thinking in terms of guilt or blame and this keeps us from seeing the solutions.
  3. take a step back – sometimes we are too much in the middle of the problem to be able to see a solution. Take a step back and look at the problem from all sides, like a 6 thinking hats exercise.
  4. put yourself in challenging situations – I’ve always done stuff like that to see if I can take it, to see my weaknesses, to find my strengths, to prove myself that I can move past any obstacle. It was always a deliberate choice to expose myself vulnerable when I was afraid, vulnerable in front of crowds, I broke the ice and volunteered first before I knew what had to be done, I went to events outside my comfort zone and shared rooms with strangers during my residential weekends in the MBA training.
  5. vision first – don’t get caught up in competition and selling. Try to build and learn from others and offer support. Try to focus on the HARD objectives instead of immediate sales, cause immediate sales will only make you do (almost) anything to sell on the spot and this will determine an involuntary shift in your course, until one day you will wake up and not recognize what you built.

After 20 years of being an employee, an entrepreneur, a manager working with entrepreneurs, developing entrepreneurial programs, after winning millions of euros for entrepreneurs and monitoring how entrepreneurs develop their business, I believe that the thing that kills most businesses is not failure, a bad idea, the crisis or the economy. It’s doubt – in ourselves, our surroundings, our abilities.

And the thing that makes the difference between a succesfull entrepreneur and a business fail is your mindset, knowing that you always have a choice. Even when you are stuck and feel that you cannot make a decision, you actually choose to stay.

The second you start choosing differently and working on your mindset, there will be no going back!

If you’re not gonna work for your dreams, you’re gonna work in somebody else’s dreams!

Without dismissing entrepreneurship programs, I do believe that they are not enough. They give you the tools and mechanics of a business but you need to be the fuel.

New goal setting, going beyond S.M.A.R.T.

SMART objectives have been around the block for some decades now, they are in all business manuals, project management trainings, any training for that matter where you need to accomplish something. Pretty much since 1981 everything started with SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based goals).

They were catchy, simple to understand, remember and use and they just seemed … smart and became the ABC of planning.

  • Specific (Goals must be clear and unambiguous)
  • Measurable (Results must be able to be measured in some way, for example, the number of products sold each week, or the percent completion)
  • Attainable (Goals must be realistic and attainable by the average employee)
  • Relevant (Goals must relate to your organization’s vision and mission)
  • Time-bound (Goals must have definite starting and ending points, and a fixed duration)

The first step beyond SMART goals was for, of course, SMARTER goals. The last E and R stand for evaluate and review.

This was indeed a great add on, as the world started to understand that, for learning to happen, we need to evaluate and draw conclusions and that objectives are dynamic, not fixed, static, and thus objectives need evaluation and review, when necessary.

Later, SMARTEST goals came in:

  • Educational (What will you learn working toward this goal?)
  • Significant (Why do you care about this goal?)
  • Toward (Does the goal describe something you want? Don’t make goals about something you want to avoid!)

Although they are still used at large scale around the world, new acronyms started appearing – HARD, CLEAR … I wonder if the trend is to invent your own acronym? I’m kidding right now, because although I do appreciate the new insights, I believe that a common language is useful.

This being said, here are other goal setting strategies:

CLEAR Goals by Adam Kreek

  • Collaborative (Goals should encourage employees to work together collaboratively and in teams)
  • Limited (Goals should be limited in both scope and duration)
  • Emotional (Goals should make an emotional connection to employees, tapping into their energy and passion)
  • Appreciable (Large goals should be broken down into smaller goals so they can be accomplished more quickly and easily for long-term gain)
  • Refinable (Set goals with a headstrong and steadfast objective, but as new situations or information arise, give yourself permission to refine and modify your goals)

HARD Goals

  • HEARTFELT Looking at why you care about your goal allows team members to build an emotional attachment to it. This step helps identify what motivates you and your team and then to explain your goal in those terms.
  • ANIMATED This step involves visualizing what it will look like if you achieve your goal. Team members use imagination to help create a picture of the desired results. Teams are encouraged to incorporate size, color, shape, setting, background, lighting, emotion, and movement in their vision.
  • REQUIRED Defining why your goal is necessary now is an important step in process, helping to create a sense of urgency through a clearly stated case.
  • DIFFICULT The goal should require you and your team to use all talents and then some. The goal should push team members to learn something new. Goals should be challenging but not impossible.

What they all have in common is the daring, the audacity, the push to think unreasonable, the emotional involvement and the accent on what moves you.

The problem with SMART goals is one of human nature: “it is so satisfying to complete goals that people will write down trivial goals that are easily accomplished.” People become obsessed with achievable but inconsequential goals, and focus on unimportant short-term objectives rather than more ambitious plans. Moreover, SMART goals are limited by our current state and situation and don’t support vision, ideals, ambition, aspiration.

My new way is the HARD way, because I believe in going outside my comfort zone and I believe that if I don’t do something that makes me get out of bed in the morning, it is not worth while.

How do you set your goals nowadays?

Remote working fails

I gathered here a collection of remote working gone wrong, as seen on Twitter 🙂

WFH day 1 report: I whispered “I LOVE YOU” loudly into what turned out to be my spouse’s active meeting headset mic.

— Lindsay Crudele (@thelindsayist) March 12, 2020

Strange new WFH universe pillow talk is your partner saying “I agree with what you were saying in that meeting this afternoon”

— Emily Kager (@EmilyKager) March 18, 2020

Day 3 of WFH and my family started screaming while I was in a meeting and my coworker remarked: “Now I understand why you prefer to go into the office everyday.

— rimsha (@rimshutup) March 18, 2020

Unexpected partial nudity

Pro-tip: if you and your husband are both working from home, check to see if he’s on a four-way video call BEFORE running past the office naked to get a towel from the linen closet. #RealStory #COVID19 #WFH

— Christina Kerby (@ChristinaKerby) March 13, 2020

Big WFH learning for me today.

???? Remind Ryan to put some clothes on before he goes into the bathroom first thing in the morning.

Today he walked past my team video call BUTT naked ????????‍♀️ SOOOOOOO FUNNY ????

— Amanda Baker (@amandahustled) March 17, 2020

First day of working from home is going great. On a video call meeting with my 2 girl teammates and my brother walks into the room with only his boxers on. Happy WFH!????

— Marissa Notaro (@xoxomarissmarie) March 16, 2020

Wild animals

First WFH meeting and my dog decides to show his ass ????????‍♂️

— Quan (@QuanTarantino_) March 16, 2020

just started talking to my cat in the middle of a 68-person zoom meeting—and i wasn’t muted!!! send the meteor!!!!

— daniel taroy (@danieltaroy) March 16, 2020

Teleconferencing is hard


– join meeting
– unmute to speak
– washing machine starts spinning
– hurriedly get up to escape the noise
– not realise charger is plugged in
– proceed to loudly knock pint of water + cup of coffee all over *everything*

– …continue speaking calmly as if nothing happened

— ????????????????????????

hashtag wfh Looks (everyone including me had their cameras turned off)

— that fucking bug woman again (@taxxonomic) March 18, 2020

I’m in a WFH meeting and my Google Home just answered a question someone on the video call asked, unprompted.

I nearly jumped out of my skin.

— Ashley Casperite (@missalwayswrite) October 16, 2019

Every WFH meeting so far:

“I’m sorry, you go…” “no, sorry I-” “Well what I was sayi-” “I’m sorry, were you saying something?” “Go ahead, no sorry, you go…”

*5 voices speak at once*
*suddenly no one speaks*


— Kaleb Coleman [AR/VR] (@kalebcoleman) March 11, 2020

Don’t say “I heard email got coronavirus” in a wfh comms meeting. It does not land.

— Aaron Pobre (@aaronnotpoor) March 12, 2020

WFH Side effect:

We can no longer use “Sorry we’re getting kicked out of this room” as an excuse to end a meeting on time.

— Josh Newton (@nooneswatching) March 17, 2020

Trying to press the ‘leave meeting’ button really fast on Zoom so I don’t have to hold my awkward goodbye face for more than a second#WFH #workingfromhome

— Heather DeLand (@HeatherDeLand) March 17, 2020

Body sounds

day 1 of WFH and i already burped on a bluejeans meeting thinking i was on mute????

— kief (@grtbarrierkief) March 16, 2020

WFH Day 3: Was in a 15 person online meeting, thought I was muted, farted really loudly………. shit ????

— Yvette Chua (@yvettemc18) March 18, 2020

Challenges of interior design

If you do WFH and have a Skype meeting, always consider if the ‘art’ on the wall is:

A) In shot
B) Appropriate

— Gareth Barlow (@GarethBarlow) March 18, 2020

@MantonJen has this #WFH all sorted…..

— Ramsay Jones CBE (@Ramsay59) March 18, 2020

WFH Update: We don’t really have desk/office chairs so I’ve been using this rickety folding chair, which just gave out. I tumbled cartoonishly to the floor. Thankfully, this was just prior to my morning Zoom meeting.

— Zack Mohlis (@zmohlis) March 18, 2020

The subject of every WFH Zoom meeting is actually “oh so that’s where you live.”

— R/GA (@RGA) March 11, 2020

Kids saying the darndest things

WFH diary, day 1:

???? Power went out during recording

???? Contruction workers are extra loud today

???? Daughter walked in on a meeting singing “I like banaaaaanas” at the top of her lungs

— Howard Pinsky (@Pinsky) March 13, 2020

Day 1 of mandatory #WFH while watching a sick kid: pretty good, other than my 4-y/o running into the middle of a supervision meeting yelling “DADA, I HAVE TO POOP!” Textbook “disorienting moment” pedagogy!

— Blake Reid (@blakereid) March 11, 2020

My kid just walked into my video conference, yelled “look at my penis,” and hit the button on his fart machine. Working from home going really great!

— Jenna Weiss-Berman (@WBJenna) March 17, 2020

Okay, this is a work-from-home win

To be in active status while WFH.. ???? #workingfromhome

— Bharat (@Bharat53021017) March 18, 2020

About freedom

We now live challenging times. It’s the 8th of April 2020 and a third of the world’s population is under lock-down, due to the outbreak of Coronavirus.

In a time when freedom seems to be a luxury, what would you say if I told you I feel free?

I strongly believe that freedom is a matter of mindset. We keep talking about freedom of speech, freedom to choose a belief system, a political party, freedom to do what you like when you wish … we keep talking about freedom in connection to the outside world.

How about our inner freedom? Did you ever wonder how free we are in our thoughts? Did you ever find yourself hiding things which nobody would ever see? So thus hiding from …yourself?

We now easily blame coronavirus for locking us in our homes, when in fact we are prisoners in our train of thoughts, of our own conditioning, just like the story of the elephant rope:

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

The Elephant Rope

I believe that no matter how much outside freedom you have, you will never truly feel free in a box made of fears, limiting beliefs, shame, blame and projections.

Think outside the box is an expression that was used so much, until it lost its meaning. In fact, it encourages us to think freely, to get out from our patterns and see the world with curiosity, instead of judgement.

All the freedoms mentioned are given by someone/something – be it the government, the boss, your salary etc. But the most important freedom of all is the freedom you give yourself first of all in front of the mirror.

True freedom, inner freedom, cannot be given and taken away. It is a state of being, it is within ourselves, it is a mindset.

This being said, under lockdown, I do feel free. Do you?

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. – Viktor Frankl

Business networking in times of Covid-19

Networking is a very important tool when growing a business or a personal project. In the era before coronavirus networking was easy and accessible. In large cities, at least, there are always tens of events each week, either with a business topic or simply networking events.

In fact, an important thing I learned about organizing events was the importance of the coffee breaks, and that most people measure the success of an event by the quality of the interactions they had during lunch for example. Keynotes are important as well, of course, but nowadays we live in an ocean of information and our need is to have some brains to share it with.

Now, we are under lockdown, all events and conferences were canceled. So, how do we continue to network and make the most of the present? Is this an opportunity or a setback?

Tip no. 1

A lot of events moved online, so the first thing to do is to search for the events you were interested in and join them online. In most of them you will have the opportunity to interact with other participants through comments, at least, and this could be a private conversation starter.

You now also have a great opportunity to join even those events which were out of reach – due to travel budget or travel time availability etc. Right now they are online and available everywhere. Moreover, in order to support people through this crisis many of them are now free.

Some examples of virtual conferences:

  1. CouchCon by Wistia
  2. Automated by Drip
  4. Inside Sales Summit by
  5. Content promotion summit
  6. Conversational Marketing Summit by Drift

Tip no. 2

It’s time to start answering those connect requests pending in Linkedin and start conversations there as well. It’s finally time for that note you never got to publish, for the shared articles you did not read. Engage, publish, interact, connect.

The crisis I believe made us more open and less inclined to be susceptible of people, more curious to meet new persons, especially since we are now locked with a limited number of faces and brains. It’s nice to pick on a new brain from time to time.

Even a professional platform like linkedin is now filled with humanity, cause in the end our organizations are made of people, flesh, blood, spirit.

Tip no. 3

Get out of your comfort zone and connect with people whom you did not have the guts to approach. The crisis lights up our contribution bulbs and we are all more open to offer a helping hand. It is now a time to find a good mentor or industry specific advice etc.

Tip no. 4

Start browsing and find events and groups with topics you are interested in. Fun fact – now you can browse any location not online your offline location. I just joined a free webinar that was taking place in London this month and no, I did not have tickets to fly there.

Tip no. 5

Don’t be afraid to use social media. Social media gets a bad rap for being a time consuming black hole of distraction, negativity, and instant gratification. The key is to understand why and how you should use social media before jumping in and which are the platforms that suit your needs – where your peers are, where your customers are, etc.

Tip no. 6

Offer – help, content, connecting, contribute in any way to the community you live in, the community you wish to join.

Tip no. 7

Email introductions – ask for support from a mutual friend and get introduced via email to the contact you wish to engage.

Tip no. 8

Saving the best for last – take the first step.

In the end, networking online means that you can now have the onion in your sandwich, you don’t need to fear the awkward moments of shaking hands / hugging / nodding or searching for the table near the power outlet. It’s a more direct and intentional approach, no longer waiting to talk to the guy that is always surrounded by a crowd or avoiding / searching for an eye contact, so I think it’s a time to be open and authentic in our intentions.

How do you network these days?