Q: Dear Tristan, about 18 months ago we had 68 staff, we now have 171 and I have a further 66 vacancies I am currently recruiting for! I am the entire HR department (recruitment, training, oh&s etc) and was wondering if you were in my position, what would be the #1 thing you would concentrate on to ensure a great culture within the organisation? Something with maximum benefit but minimal time allocation. - NF
A: Dear NF, what an awesome question! Thanks for asking and congrats on being focussed on creating a great culture when you have so much on you plate. I’m impressed :)
Now, in my experience, a strong culture starts with a clear vision. Team members want to be a part of a growing business that’s achieving it’s vision. But, unless you very clearly document and share that vision with everyone it can be forgotten.
At The Physio Co, our Painted Picture of 2012 vision that we created and shared in 2009 has been the most powerful thing we ever did to build a strong culture. That vision includes measurable goals that we have been tracking for over 3 years now. For example, we have a goal to deliver 100,000 unique and memorable physiotherapy consultations in 2012. Every month since that vision was shared we have been tracking our ‘TPC Tally’ progress and have grown from delivering 40,000 consultations in 2009 to being on track to hit our 100,000 consultation goal by 31 December 2012.
A clear vision with measurable goals is just as powerful for attracting new recruits as it is for engaging and retaining existing team members. Therefore, if I were you, I’d find a way to clearly, concisely and simply share your vision with everyone as often as possible. I’d also do my very best to make sure my CEO and leadership team was onboard with the strategy and telling stories around bringing our vision to life too.
**Btw, this post is part of the ‘Ask Tristan’ series. If you have a question, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
How often do you publicly admit that you’ve made a mistake at work?
Three weeks ago I sat with one of The Physio Co’s leaders and apologised. Â I’d made a big mistake, so, from the bottom of my heart I apologised and asked if he would forgive me. Â Luckily, my apology was accepted and we started working on a solution. Â The reason I said I was sorry is because I was wrong. Â I didn’t mean it, but, I’d got it wrong. Â I’d been expecting him to achieve something that, based on the skills & resources I’d allocated, was simplyÂ unachievable. What I’d been asking from him was completely unfair.
Every week, I publicly admit to making a mistake at work.Â I admit the mistake, share the failure and genuinely apologise to anyone that my mistake has affected. As CEO of The Physio Co, I have a promise, or KPI, Â that I will publicly admit a failure every single week. And someone holds me accountable to it.
Mistakes or failures happen. Â I don’t know anyone who sets out to fail, but, I do admire people who are willing to risk failure to try something new. Â The reason I try new things is because I think I might find a better way. Â When I succeed, it feels awesome and I’m usually excited to share my success with anyone that will listen. I find that most of the people I know are the same with their successes. Â But it’s not always the case when we fail.
One of the risks of trying new things is that it might not work out. Â It might fail. Â And failing is ok. As long as we learn from the failure and move a step closer to getting it right in the future then the failure was probably worth it.
Open and honest communication that includes sharing failures is critical to building a strong culture. Â Why? Because it shows vulnerability. Â It shows humility and it shows a commitment to constantly improving. Â New mistakes are a sure sign that progress is being made and authentic sharing of those mistakes will build a stronger culture.
If you’re looking for a moreÂ measurable benefit of sharing failures, try this:Â by sharing a failure, one person can save all the other people in your team from making that same mistake. Â Imagine the time you could save if every mistake in your business was only ever made once!
Every failure is one step closer to success. Â Please keep making new mistakes and sharing what you learn with the rest of us.
How are mistakes and failures managed in your team? Please share your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
Why is it that some people always seem to exceed expectations while others seem to forever fall short?
Let’s investigate this some more. Can you think of someone who always exceeds your expectations? Can you see them in your mind’s eye? Can you hear them? Can you feel the happiness you get every time they inspire you with kindness or great work? Now, what about the opposite: can you think of someone who consistently falls short of what you’d prefer? Can you see them right now asking for more time or giving you something that you really don’t like? Can you feel the same sense of disappointment that you’ve felt time and time again with this same person?
Why does this happen? Why is it that the people you call friends and workmates treat you so differently when you treat them all so consistently?
The short answer: It’s not them. It’s you.
One of the most important questions a mentor once asked me when we were discussing this very topic was “Do you need to take a look in the mirror?” and the answer was a resounding “YES”. Despite the fact that I think I am consistent in the way I communicate with everyone, everyday. I’m not.
Wayne Dyer described this phenomenon so succinctly in hismaxim for life: ”You get treated in life the way you teach people to treat you.” By only accepting inspiring work, honest communication and kindness we teach people to treat us that way. By accepting mediocrity, we become a magnet for mediocrity.
In my experience, Wayne Dyer’s maxim is spot on. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the idea that “you get treated in life the way you teach people to treat you”? If you have an opinion, please leave a comment down below.
Every job in the entire world can be boring if we let it. Similarly, any job can be an absolute winner, if we choose it. The attitude we bring to work each day has a massive impact on happiness at work.
Employee engagement or staff motivation is one of the biggest challenges in business today. But whose problem is it: the employee or the employer? I tend to think it’s the responsibility of both.
Whether a job is tedious or exciting is entirely in the eyes of the individual. Traditionally, working as a physiotherapist with elderly clients in aged care homes has long been perceived as one of the ugly ducklings of the health world. According to many in the physio profession, there are much more exciting jobs than hanging out with old people. Of course, that’s only if you choose that view! Along with 1000’s of others, I happen to work in the aged care industry, the so-called ugly duckling, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
“When I start feeling bored at work I know that it’s my problem and not anyone else’s”. This was the fascinating response I heard from a workmate at The Physio Co when I asked her how she keeps herself motivated at work. These words are from an experienced physio with more than 20 years clinical experience. Her job that involves treating elderly clients suffering from chronic pain, poor mobility and a huge variety of other conditions is a positive, meaningful and fun part of her life. The fact that she sometimes hears the same stories and laughs at the same jokes with the same people four times a week is all part of the appeal!
She continued, “I love my job and if ever it feels monotonous I just set myself a new challenge.” Despite the perception from others that aged care work and chronic pain management treatments can become mundane, she loves her job of working with oldies and is grateful for the opportunity she gets everyday. She knows that any moments of distraction or lack of motivation at work is not the fault of the 80, 90 & 100 year old clients she gets to spend her time listening to, learning from and caring for. It’s her responsibility.
I love this! I love that she takes responsibility to re-energise & re-motivate herself when she needs to. I love that she acknowledges boredom as a choice and that she sees it as an opportunity to find a new way to challenge and engage herself at work. She is living proof that personal happiness comes from taking responsibility for your own experience.
Whatever the industry, the job, the environment, or the culture we all have the option to choose our attitude. That applies to employers and employees; managers & team members. I choose work to be a positive, meaningful and fun part of life. How about you?
Â ”When the sun comes up you’d better be learning” is a quote from Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, one of the 3 small business books that have changed my life. Â As a business owner, learning is one of the most important jobs I have. Â Â I’m obsessed by learning new things that will help me do my job better in the future. Â So every week I read, attend learning events and focus on improving something that will help me in the future.
Over the past few months, usually when I’m speaking at an event, I’ve been asked what are my 3 favourite business books. I find that favourites can change over time, but lessons learned last forever.Â So instead of answering the question about favourite books I answer with the 3 books that have had the biggest impact on my business and life so far.
The way I like to work is to figure out the plan and then execute relentlessly. Sticking to the basics has been most successful for me over the past 8 years and I really believe that keeping things simple is usually the best strategy. Â With that in mind, it’s probably no surprise that the 3 small business books that have changed my life are all quite famous and all quite short (2 of the 3 are only about 100 pages!)
So here goes…
The One Minute Manager
Leading people and building a strong culture is my passion. It’s what drives me.
What I learnt from this book is the importance of keeping things simple when leading a team. Â The one minute manger taught me three things:
- The importance of setting clear, measurable goals that are easy to understand
- How and when to praise if milestones are hit
- How and when to reprimand if milestones aren’t hit.
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Fast-Growth Firm
This book is where I first learnt of creating a values-based business. Â That idea that I discovered in 2009 has been the biggest lesson that I’ve learned and implemented in my business life by miles and miles. Â It’s the reason I’m able to work from home and the basis for The Physio Co’s strong culture.
Verne’s book also taught me that ‘routine sets you free’. Â That is, that a growing business is in such a constant state of change that it needs some pillars for stability. Â Those pillars are a disciplined set of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual Â meeting rhythms with set agendas. Â The meeting rhythm concept is the very reason The Physio Co has been running it’s To The Point daily huddle since 2009.
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About it
This book actually came before both of the first two. Â The E-myth Revisited helped me understand the 3 critical responsibilities that every small business needs to succeed. Â They are:
- The technician - the person who’s job is to actually deliver a product or service
- The manager - the person who’s job it is to lead, organise and inspire the technician’s to deliver a product or service
- The entrepreneur - the person who is responsible for creating the vision and inspiring the manager to lead their team
The E-myth also taught me the importance of systemising everything.
That’s it! Â The 3 small business books that have had the biggest impact on my life so far. Â What are yours?
I was stressed. Possibly the most stressed I’ve ever been. Â It was April 2009 and I’d barely slept for two weeks. I was stressed because I had someone in our team that had to leave.Â The time had come to remove this person and it wasn’t for poor performance. Â She had contributed to our growth and given her best. Â It wasn’t her fault that she had to leave. Â But she did have to go. The Physio Co’s future depended on it. Â The reason: she didn’t fit the positive, family culture we were determined to create.
I remember the time so clearly. Â I remember the sleepless nights. Â I remember the horrible headaches. Â I remember the Friday night when I had such a headache and was feeling so sick that Â KW had to drive us to our Sandy Point getaway. I could barely think and certainly couldn’t focus on driving. Â I had never removed someone from a team for not being a culture fit before. Â I didn’t know how to do it so I’d been putting it off. Â But, that very weekend, when I was sick to the stomach I decided that it had to happen on Monday morning.
Monday morning came. I got to work early, rehearsed the short and direct conversation I was about to have and made sure we weren’t going to be interrupted. And then I got the call. Â She wasn’t coming in. Â She was sick. Â I couldn’t have the conversation I’d prepared so carefully for. Â I was going to have to live through this for another 24 hours. My lingering headache just peaked.
The next morning, I again got to work early and prepared. And when she did arrive, she was dripping wet from a huge Melbourne downpour. Again, I could’ve delayed the conversation. But I was committed. Â I gathered the courage and delivered the news. Â I managed to control my own tears as they flowed from across the desk. Â I waited patiently as she cleared her desk and collected her things. Â We said our farewells. And then there was silence.
As a 29 year-old inexperienced entrepreneur at the time, removing that person was one of the most difficult things I’d ever dealt with. Â It was also one of the most courageous. Â Since 2009, The Physio Co has grown from a team of about 20 to more than 50 and has four times been listed as on of Australia’s 50 Best Places to Work. Â That growth has only been possible from our obsession with having only people that fit our culture in the team.
The lesson I learned from that painful situation in 2009 is the importance of courageous communication. Â Building a strong culture requires an obsession with getting the right people on the bus and into the right seats. Â The lesser know part of building a strong culture is the courage required to get the wrong people off the bus.
Having the courage to face the facts and initiate challenging conversations every single day is one of the keys to building a strong culture. If someone isn’t living the values, they have to know about it. Â It’s the only way.
Since 2009, I have had countless tough conversations and I have had to ask other people to leave along the way. Â But it’s never been as tough as that very first time.
“Catching people doing something right” is one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learnt. At home, at work, even when I’m buying my lunch, wherever I am, if I can notice someone doing something special and mention it we will both feel happier.
The concept of catching people doing something right comes from one of my favourite little books: The One Minute Manager. Ever since reading the book, I’ve been using my own version of ‘one minute praisings’ & ‘one minute reprimands’. At work, I’ve always thought that a 2:1 ratio of praise to reprimand was about right. In fact, I learnt this from Cameron Herold who used to remind me that it was all about “two strokes for one poke”.
In the last few weeks I’ve been re-thinking this ratio of praise to reprimand. What got me thinking was a presentation from Irene Lee of e-web Marketing (4th Best Place to Work in Australia for 2012) at the National Employer of Choice Conference. According to Irene, the very best results at work are achieved when we use a 5:1 ratio of praise to reprimand. That’s five praises for every reprimand. The reason for a higher ratio is that most people remember reprimands much longer than they remember praise. Therefore, to create a positive environment where everyone feels productive and appreciated there needs to be five times as much praise.
What do you think your current ratio of praise to reprimand is?
I reckon my ratio is probably around 3-4:1 at the moment. But, despite the research, maybe I should shoot for a 10:1 ratio? I do really love praising people! With a 10:1 ratio, when I did reprimand, perhaps it would be a much stronger message than at 5:1?
Whatever the research reveals, it’s important to choose a ratio that works for you and your team. I’d love to know how you go about praise and reprimand. Share your thoughts in the comments below?
On Monday night, I’d planned to go for a run. I love running and I always feel so much better afterwards. But on Monday I felt pretty unmotivated and questioned whether I’d even go.Â I did everything I could to put it off. I stayed at work later than I’d planned. Â When I got home I took my time getting into my running gear. Â Â I played with little Alex for a while and was doing everything I could to delay my run. Â As I slowly got ready I was trying to convince myself of how good it would feel once I started running. Â But I wasn’t buying it.
I eventually got out the door and it was freezing! The wind was blowing and I felt like it might start raining any second. Â Again I reminded myself how much I love running, but, I still considered going back inside and missing my run. Â I told myself that maybe I should miss the run because I’d been at work all day, I hadn’t seen my family much recently and Alex woud go to bed soon. Â I wouldn’t want to miss giving her a kiss good night now would I? Â They were just excuses. I slowly walked out onto the street and turned my stopwatch on as I felt like I could freeze. Â I waited for a few seconds as the watch tried to find where I was via GPS (for some reason, since having a GPS stopwatch, I feel compelled to track my speed and distance every single run.) Â On Monday, the watch seemed to take longer than usual to ‘locate the satellites’. Â I used the delay as another opportunity to think about missing the run and heading back inside. Â Finally, without locating the satellites, and barely thinking about it, I started running.
I ran down the street looking at my watch to see if the GPS had found me. Â It hadn’t. Â I turned the corner. Â Still no GPS. Finally, about a minute into the run, still without the GPS working, Â I hit ‘start’ on the watch and focussed on the road ahead. Â I was running and it felt brilliant! Â I couldn’t believe that I’d considered missing this run. Â It was awesome. Â ”Who needs GPS or even a watch at all?” I thought to myself. Â 25 minutes later I arrived home with plenty of time to shower, have one last play with Alex and then kiss her good night before she went off to bed. Â I was happier than I ever would’ve been had I stayed inside and missed the run.
How much motivation did I need to start running. Â About 3 seconds worth. Â I only needed to be motivated enough to start. Â The moment when I stopped thinking and started running was the critical step. Â And I barely remember it!
Our minds try to play so many tricks on us, but by realising that we only need motivation in 3 second bouts, getting more done seems so much easier. Â Â You see, even the people who seem incredibly motivated and appear as if they could get ten times more done than you or I aren’t motivated all the time. Â The only motivation that most of need is the motivation to get started. Â And that takes about 3 seconds.
Being motivated in 3 second bouts seems so much moreÂ achievableÂ than being motivated all the time. What do you think? Â Instead of trying to be motivated all the time, try breaking it down into 3 second chunks and see if that makes any difference. Â I’d love to know how it works out for you or any other ways you use get moving. Â Please share in the comments below.
I made a mistake. In the end, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. But, by not paying attention I did something silly and embarrassing that cost me about $200 and made me miss an important board meeting. And I know better.
You see on Wednesday of last week, after some early morning meetings in Melbourne I was driving out of town to attend another meeting. I planned the trip to make sure I’d arrive with enough time to re-read some of the board papers before kick off. I also had a list of people to call from the car (handsfree of course!) during the 2+ hour drive.
About an hour into the drive, as I was about to pull into a service station, I quickly called KW to ask how her day was going and to let her know what time I’d be home. I ended the call as I stopped at the petrol pump and got out of the car to fuel up. I don’t know what happened in the next 2 minutes, but I do remember the moment I realised that I’d pumped about 20 litres of unleaded fuel into my tank. Here’s the mistake: since November of last year, I’ve been driving a diesel car!
At the very moment that I realised my mistake I was disappointed, embarrassed and angry all at once. What a goose! How could I be so distracted to put the wrong bloody fuel in the tank?
After paying for the fuel (that I didn’t need!), I called roadside assist and they told me it was a good thing I hadn’t started the engine with the wrong fuel, but, the car did have to be towed. Two long hours later a truck arrived and my car was towed to a nearby dealership. By then, it was after 5pm, the mechanics had gone home and my car and I had to part company. I walked to the bus stop, waited in the cold for 30 minutes before catching the 6:05pm bus towards home at the same time the board meeting was about to start. I missed the meeting and needed KW to pick me up from the bus stop long after little Alex should’ve been tucked up in bed. I was reunited with my car two days later and close to $200 out of pocket.
Why I know better than being distracted.
Tristan’s CEO Spotlight..
“TPCers, this morning I want to start by sharing some research. Did you know that:
- IQ drops by about 10% when you’re distracted by incoming emails, calls and interruptions? And,
- A 10% decrease in IQ has a similar effect as losing a full night of sleep & twice the effect of smoking marijuana?
Doing a few things at once is a trick we play on ourselves, thinking we’re getting more done.
In reality, compared with focusing on just one task, our productivity can drop by 40% because we don’t and can’t multi-task. We switch task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, continually interrupting ourselves and losing time in the process.
You might think you’re good at it, practice makes perfect and all that, but, you’d be wrong. Research tells us that heavy multitaskers are less competent at it than light multitaskers. In contrast to almost everything else in your life, the more you multitask, the worse you get at it.
On the other hand, when you focus on only one thing at a time four things happen:
- You’ll be happier. You’ll find you enjoy the tasks you’re doing and feel much more into it. (Like when you’re so focused on something you lose track of time)
- You’ll get more done. Multitasking slows us down by 40% remember
- You’ll be less stressed. Multitasking increases stress because it takes much longer to get things done. Single tasking reduces stress
- You’ll miss nothing. Single-tasking does not cause you to miss out on anything. Our lives are much better with focus.
Based on this research, the only reasons I can think of that any of us might choose to multitask is when we want to feel stressed, sad and unproductive!
If you’d like to ease out of multitasking and start being happier, here are some tips:
- Notifications suck! In a few minutes, when you go back to your computer, turn off every notification that tells you when you have new email. I know some of you guys have the notifications turned on and I know you’re addicted to email. I suspect it’s making you unhappy and stressed. Turn off the notifications and then book a time to check your email. Once a day, once an hour, whenever you choose. But be in control of your email, don’t let your email be in control of you.
- Book some quiet time. Everyone in the TPC Support office has permission to be unavailable for periods of the day when you’re focussing. Choose a 45- minute period, book it in to your calendar, tell people that you’re not available, and then focus. If you do it properly, this will be the best 45 minutes of your entire day.
- Slash your timeframes. If you’d normally allow an hour to do something, only give yourself 30 mins, set a timer and commit to getting it done in 30 mins. With the clock ticking, you won’t allow those interruptions to stop you and you’ll feel so satisfied when the work is done in half the time. (I use E.gg Timer)
One phrase wrap up: Let’s get focused to get more done and have more fun!
The evidence is pretty clear. Focus is the key to happiness, getting more done and avoiding silly mistakes like putting the wrong fuel in your car. Along with the tips above, I’ve just started a ‘single-tab browsing’ approach to hel me stay on track.
Do you have any thoughts, ideas or tips on focus? I’d love to hear how you avoid the temptation to multitask that we all face everyday. Please share in the comments below.
The annual BRW Best Places to Work list was revealed last week and I’m rapt to say that, for 2012, The Physio Co is the 8th Best Place to Work in Australia (the 4th year we’ve been on the list in our 8 year history. Awesome work team!). What I’m much less rapt about is the concept that a strong workplace culture can be built by spending up big on entitlements for employees.
A strong workplace culture is created by a group of people that choose to work with a business that they trust. A business that inspires and challenges them. A business that treats them fairly and with respect but doesn’t take itself too seriously. A business that celebrates their successes and supports them in the tough times. A business that exists to make a difference in the world and have some fun along the way. A strong workplace culture is created when people share a common purpose and support each other to bring that purpose to life.
The strongest workplace cultures can survive the tough times. Because tough times happen. GFC’s arrive. Economies slow down. Floods and earthquakes hit. Clients can be lost. And, hopefully not in my business or yours, but, sometimes people die at work. When bad stuff happens, do you want a group of people on your team that only know the good times? A culture that’s only been created since you started giving away more perks than the competition? I certainly don’t. It’s in the tough times that the people who choose to be part of a strong culture individually ask “what can I do to help?” and they show that together “we can do it”.
But, according to BRW’s article 10 ways to be a Best Place to Work, the way to a great workplace is offering as many perks as possible. Now, don’t get me wrong, offering benefits to team members is important, but, I don’t agree it’s what builds the trust required to be a great place to work. You see perks create a culture of entitlement. A ‘what’s in it for me’ culture where employees can always be expecting more. And, unless you have an unlimited amount of money, you can always be ‘out-perked’. Any victory is short lived because a competitor can always offer more. For example, it’s popular to give employees a free day off for their birthday right now. That sounds nice but what happens when someone offers 2 days or a whole week off? This approach to building a great workplace via a ‘perk-off’ with the competition is a never-ending and very slippery slope.
Honestly, do you really want people in your team that only joined because of the perks? When the going gets tough, I reckon the motto of people attracted to a business with a culture of entitlement built on perks is “I’m outta here”. Like it or not, a black swan event will hit. Not if, but when. Will perks matter then?
The Physio Co only offers 2 of BRW’s so-called 10 ways to be a best place to work, but we’re still in the top 10 companies to work for in Australia. How could that be? What do you think: is it perks or purpose that create a great place to work?
I started 2012 with a promise to blog five times a week. I created the plan, shared it here and made a start in January. I stuck to the rhythm with lots of enthusiasm for most of January & about half of February. And then I started missing posts. Slowly but surely I missed sharing an episode of Culture is Everything TV here or responding to an Ask Tristan question there. My rhythm was quickly becoming ancient history. And it worried me. But it didn’t worry me enough to regain the lost momentum.
For the last 3 weeks I’ve taken a deliberate break from blogging to understand why I lost that blogging momentum. Why did I slowly let myself become less and less disciplined until I was only posting once or twice a week? Why did I dread the thought of sitting down to write? Why did I let it bother me?
Well, the answer to the question “why did I let it bother me?” was easy: I was compromising one of my personal values. Respecting everyone by always doing what I say I’ll do is not only a core value of The Physio Co, it’s one of my own values. I’d promised to post 5 times per week and I wasn’t living up to my own expectations. I’d let myself down and I’d let you, the reader down. For that, I’m truly sorry. I hope you can forgive me.
The other questions were much harder to answer. I asked myself whether I really liked writing. Maybe I didn’t want to write any more? I asked myself if I was happier when writing or not writing. I asked myself whether I’d be happy never writing another post again. And then I figured it out: I really didn’t like the rhythm I’d created! My loss of momentum was because of that structured, blog-five-times-a-week plan. The plan just wasn’t fun for me.
You see, I first started blogging on 1 January 2011 with a goal to blog about one thing that I learnt or found interesting every day for a year. And I loved it! In my first year, I wrote over 200 posts and even won a blogging award (thanks SmartCompany!). And then, in 2012, for some reason, I decided to create a different rhythm, a more complex one. And this complex rhythm was where my loss of enthusiasm started. I’ve only posted 51 times in almost 6 months!
So, from now on, it’s back to what I love: writing and speaking about what I learn and what fascinates me. I promise to post at least a few times every week. And I promise to write from my heart . It’s back to basics for me. Stay tuned..
(And of course, if you’ve got a question or comment, please drop me a line down below!)
In short, here’s what’s happening this week May 21-27. I’m…
Taking the train - Tomorrow, after almost a week in New York, I head to Boston. I’m taking the Amtrak train and looking forward to checking out some views of the coast on the way.
Heading back to school- From Weds to Saturday I’ll be in class with 64 other entrepreneurs from around the globe. This is the main reason I’m here in the US: to attend year 1 of the Entrepreneurial Masters Program in Boston. This EO event is 4 days of intense classroom learning at MIT each year for the next three years. Writing - The Culture is Everything book is taking shape! My first attempt at writing a book is a challenging journey but I’m well on the way. Stay tuned, as soon as there is something to share, I’ll let you know where to find it. And yes, like nearly everything I create, there will be a way to get your hands on a copy of the Culture is Everything book for free. I’m writing it to be shared…
Loving - the thought that this time next week I’ll be back home with KW & Little Alex :)
Why do you exist? Why do I exist? What is the purpose of our lives? Big questions, hey! Well over the last few days, without meaning it, I’ve drafted and re-drafted a personal core purpose. What I mean by a personal core purpose is the reason that I exist.
How did I come to ‘fall’ into working on my core purpose?! Well I’ve been feverishly writing the Culture is Everything book and part of that process involved writing about the concept of a core purpose (you know, the short sharp statement that describes why an organisation exists).
Discovering the ‘why’, the core reason that a business exists is the starting point for any great organisation. As I wrote about this concept and reflected on how we discovered The Physio Co’s core purpose, I started thinking about my own purpose. What drives me? What inspires me to continually get out of bed, set goals and then passionately work towards achieving them? Then all of a sudden I started to feel really silly. I thought to myself why on earth do I do what I do? Why do I set these seemingly random goals without a core purpose that guides my direction and aligns me to the reason that I exist? So I got to it and started working on discovering my own core purpose.
I spent quite a while thinking, drafting and working towards why I exist. I had many drafts and thoughts, but not one that I felt really nailed it. So I decided to try something different. I started thinking about my professional life. My job as founder and CEO of The Physio Co. What drives me in that part of my life? Again, I had lots of drafts until finally I discovered something that felt right.
What I discovered was that the work I do everyday, and have done for the last 8 years and what I think will drive me for years to come, has just one focus. My personal purpose at The Physio Co is: “to create a business that feels like a family and inspires me to improve myself every single day.” The reason this felt right is because it has a higher purpose, a meaning greater than myself. Because, if I improve myself every day, I’ll become better at my job and contribute to an even better family at The Physio Co tomorrow.
Now, this is still just a draft. I know there is more work to do on it and I would prefer to have a personal rather than a work-related purpose. But, it’s a start and I promise to share any updates as my purpose becomes clearer.
Ever considered why you exist? Do you have a core purpose already? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this idea. If you have a minute, please leave a comment or question below :)
In short, here’s what’s happened May 6-13 & happening May 14-20. I’m…
Nursing - two really sore toes from the IM marathon (I haven’t worn shoes for a week!)
Moving around - I’ve been in Vancouver from May 9-12, Atlanta May 14-16 & right now I’m in the air on the way to New York.
LearningÂ 1Â - Global Leadership Conference in Vancouver. Â This EO event was 2 days of training for my new role as Board Member of EO Melbourne. Â I was there with 750 other EO leaders (& 10 of the Melbourne Board) to learn what’s required for my year ahead as Communications Chair.
Learning 2 - Fortune Leadership Summit in Atlanta. Â This 2-day Gazelles / Fortune event was brilliant. Verne Harnish always puts on a brilliant group of thought leading speakers. Â This year was no exception with Jim Collins the headline act.
CommentingÂ - on what makes for a short, sharp & productive meeting. Click here for a 30-second read from LeadingCompany
WritingÂ - the next 5 days in New York have a focus: draft 5 chapters of the Culture is Everything book. Â I’ll have my head down at the Ace Workspace creating the content! (Don’t worry I’ll make time to see the sights, run around the park and eat some pizza too!)
RecruitingÂ - The Phyiso Co is on the lookout for physios in Melbourne, Bendigo & Geelong who love helping oldies stay mobile, safe & happy. Â If you know someone who might be interested, please ask them to get in touch :)
LovingÂ - FaceTime & iMessage! Â Seeing KW & Little Alex both live via FaceTime & in daily photos via iMessage (all for free) is just brilliant! I love Apple :)
My first Ironman is complete and it was one of the most rewarding and fun days of my life. Seriously, I loved it!! I finished in the time I had in mind, had no major problems through the day and even smiled for most of it! I’ll definitely do another one and I think you should too.
Going into race day for Ironman Australia 2012, my plan was to finish in 12-13 hours. My official time ended up at 12hrs 40mins. (The winner finished in approx 8hr 15mins while the last person crossed the line after almost 17 hours!)
Below is a quick summary of how I remember the day. It was brilliant! (I’ll share the photos too, as soon as I get them from FinisherPix)..
The swim start and turns around the buoys were crazy! So many people trying to do the same thing at the same time in a very small piece of water. I ran into people heaps of times and at one point someone even swam over the top of me! I had to keep reminding myself to relax and move forward as best I could. I guess everyone else was doing the same.
I found a good rhythm on the long sections of the two-lap course and just followed the crowd.
My swim time of 1hr 14min was an awesome result. A 1hr 20min swim was my pre-race goal. I was really pleased with the swim, especially because I had to stop and tread water for a minute or so with a calf cramp at the start of the second lap (stopping in the middle of 1400+ swimmers is difficult, I don’t recommend it!).
I caught a fleeting glance of my cheer squad (KW, Little Alex, Mum, Pete, AD & Nicole) as I headed up the red carpet, out of the water and into transition. I smiled as I ran to find my cycling gear. This is Ironman!!
The bike leg was great fun!
The hills getting into and out of Port Macquarie were challenging and cost me a bit of time, but, weren’t as tough as I’d been expecting. I had a pre-race goal of averaging 28km/h for the entire 180km for a bike split just under 6hr 30min. In the end I averaged 27km/h and took 6hr 38mins. Pretty good for the first one!
I had no major problems except needing a mechanic to tighten a loose bidon cage at the 25km mark, I was stopped for about one minute. The only other times I stopped cycling was to quickly say g’day to my support crew at the halfway mark and with 8km to go when I thought I had a flat. It was a false alarm, phew!
I felt pretty crook during the last hour of the bike. I’d had just about enough of that bloody orange Gatorade and was ready to make a start on the marathon.
The run went to plan despite some very wobbly legs when I got off the bike and some really sore toes in the last few kms. I can’t say it was fun exactly, but I did enjoy it.
My run plan was always a run/walk. I’ve had lots of calf problems in the past few years and haven’t graduated to running non-stop just yet (I will). All of my training was a combination of run/walk and I did the same in the race. In fact, the ironman marathon for me was 84 x 400m jogs with a 100m walk between each one! And it worked. I’d planned to come in at 4hrs 30mins and crossed the line at 4hrs 38.
In the lead up, I knew that I had to run/walk my way through it, my calves wouldn’t make it any other way. I thought I’d be the only one walking. Wrong!! So much walking happens in an Ironman marathon. Most people did some walking each km or two. My system fitted in without anyone noticing. For me, it worked perfectly.
I was so lucky to have my cheer squad spread out on the run course. Every few km’s I could here their bells ringing, was giving high fives and seing ‘Tristan White: run with all your might’ posters appearing to spur me on. (Thanks so much guys!)
Being cheered on for the last few hundred metres by my mate, fellow Ironman and unofficial coach, Steve Glowrey was awesome. And then running into the finishing chute, hugging my family and crossing the line to become an Ironman was everything I’d hoped it would be.
My first ironman was a brilliant day and, in hindsight, I probably could’ve gone a bit faster. But, I’m glad that I stuck with my plan. The little bit of energy that I left in the tank allowed me to take in the sights and really enjoy the experience. I’ll be faster next time :)
Inspired? Or think I’m nuts? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below..