It’s been real.
It’s been quite the year. It’s been a year of ups and down and significant change. The irony is that I am in the business of change. More precisely, I’m in the business of business transformation.
As part of the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy team, I help customers shape their business for success. This includes shaping and maturing business capabilities, as well as innovating in their process and products with technology. It’s hard-core business skills mashed with technical prowess.
But I spent the bulk of last year mostly helping customers transition to the Cloud. Talk about transformation. I was lucky enough to see how so many businesses transformed themselves to do things better, faster, and cheaper, and really figure out what they’re great at.
Most importantly, for many businesses, this meant figuring out their unique value in the world, and how they can do what they do best in a grander scale.
Gee, that sounds a lot like personal transformation. Yeah, it’s like that.
Anyway, so what did this last year mean for Sources of Insight?
It meant a lot.
At the start of the year, my traffic was about 100,000 unique visitors a month, but now it’s around 175,000 unique visitors a month. That’s just a measure of volume though, not value. What I really care about is how many people are using the insights and actions to be more effective in work and life.
That’s harder to measure, but I enjoy the notes and stories that people send me about their success. Keep sending them my way.
Top Posts of 2012
Here are my three top posts for 2012:
- 101 of the Greatest Insights and Actions for Work and Life – This is a hard-core roundup of some of the best actionable insight you can use for instant impact. What you don’t know can hurt you. What you do know can help you. This is a must read.
- How To Scale as a One Man Band – I wrote this in response to so many people being asked to do more with less. One of the worst scenarios out there is the single-mom, struggling to make ends meet. So many people are struggling to make ends meet, and survive in their job. This article boils down the keys to amplify your impact, do more with less, and rise above the noise.
- I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends — I wrote this post in response to friendship appreciation day. I think the key in this post is the types of friends who help us make our way in this world.
Key Insights for 2012
I added a few new words to my vocabulary including I added a few words to my vocabulary including entheos (The God Within), pono (that feeling of being right with the world), and ikigai (the reason for which you wake up in the morning.) In addition to some new vocabulary, I also learned some game changers and ideas I use on a daily basis:
- 3 Paths of Happiness: The Pleasant Life, The Good Life, and the Meaningful Life — This is a big deal. If you were caught up in the idea that happiness is just one path, you’re missing out. The pleasant life is feeling good in the moment, the good life is living your values, and the meaningful life is giving your best where you have your best to give for the greater good. Draw from all three. The good life and the meaningful life help you deal with the setbacks in life … they help you stay YOUR course.
- How Will You Measure Your Life? — Some people spend a lifetime trying to figure this out. Clayton Christensen gives us a great yardstick … “the people whose lives I’ve touched.”
- Ikigai: The Reason for Which You Wake Up in the Morning – Have you found your inspiring mission that helps you spring out of bed? I think it’s related to the previous point. Anything that starts with, “I help people …” is off to a great start. For example, “I help people grow their greatness.”
- The Iceberg of Conflict – What? You mean there’s more to conflict than just the tip of the iceberg? If you want to get past conflict, that don’t get stuck at the tip – dive deeper to the assumptions and aspirations.
- The Polarity Framework: Solve Problems, Manage Dilemmas – Have you ever wondered why some problems just won’t go away? Many things in life are actually dilemmas, not problems. Once you treat them as such, you can better balance how you deal with them. Most importantly, you can find a sustainable approach.
- The Value is in the Change – Value is in the eye of the beholder, or the stakeholder, and your challenge is to create a change that drives value. This is true whether you are creating value for yourself or others. Once you realize that the value is in the change, you embrace change and make the most of it. Thrive on change, and use it as a way to flow your value.
- What is Your Message? Your message is a powerful thing. It’s a verb. Nike’s is “Just do it.” It’s something that people can latch on to and run with. The stickiest messages change people’s lives or help them live better. What’s my message? “Grow your greatness” or “Live with skill” .. or, “Stand on the shoulders of giants.”
I’ve learned some additional things, and got some great reminders. For example, I never really internalized the power of cells before. I heard Tony Robbins say it long ago that the quality of our life is the quality of our cells. Now, I get it. Now it makes so much sense why circulation is key – the power of cells, circulation, and blood is vital to our life force.
Related to health, another thing I learned more deeply is the power of lean functional muscle. There’s nothing like it. And there is great inner strength that comes from growing strong.
I also underestimated the power of unique value. If there is one theme I see show up in this new digital age it’s unique value at scale. Individuals and businesses of all sizes can share their unique value at scale.
I’ve also learned the power of feedback and how better feedback helps people rapidly improve in ways they can’t predict. And it’s amazing how a lack of effective feedback can very quickly be somebody’s downfall. This is true for business, too. Data-driven decisions can really help people gain competitive advantage.
I’ve recognized the power of habit and the power of mantras, but what’s really sinking in is just how much our thought habits shape us. Our ability to break loops is a key to transformation and change. I also have a rekindled appreciation for the power of our environment to shape us, just as much as we shape our environment.
I think the most important lesson I learned is the value of making space. Like Covey says, if we don’t make space for the big rocks, we’ll never fit them in.
New Quotes Collections for 2012
I added several quotes collections. In fact, in looking back, now I’m surprised by how many quotes collections I added:
- Buddha Quotes
- Change Quotes
- Confucius Quotes
- Personal Development Quotes
- Positive Quotes
- Project Management Quotes
- Richard Branson Quotes
- Stephen Covey Quotes
- Zig Ziglar Quotes
You can access the quotes collections from the Great Quotes page.
One of the strengths behind Sources of Insight is standing on the shoulders of giants. That includes drawing from great books, great people, and great quotes. On the people side, this year I had several featured guests, many of them best-selling authors, share their best insights and actions for work and life:
- Al Ries on How to Rebrand a Brand
- Alan Shelton on Leadership is Who You Are
- Bob and Gregg Vanourek on It’s Not Just a “Team Effort”
- Carol Tuttle on How To Nurture Positive Habits with Energy Healing Tools
- Carolyn Elliot on How To Read Poetry to Expand Your Heart
- Chris Grivas on Building the Creative Habit
- Dr. Alex Lickerman on Never Be Defeated
- Dr. Matthew B. James on Pono: The State of Unwavering Congruence
- Dani Dipiroo on 10 Ways to Live Happily Ever After Now
- Eric Brun on Lessons Learned from Crucial Conversations
- Faisal Hoque on The People Factor: Six Ways to Empower Yourself with Others
- Gary Lindberg on Lessons Learned as a Bestselling Self-Published Author
- Guy Kawasaki on The Top Ten Reasons to Self-Publish
- Jason Selk on What Can the St. Louis Cardinals Teach Us about Workplace Performance?
- Jeff Goins on Lessons Learned from Pursuing My Passion as a Writer
- Jim Camp on Harnessing the Power of the Word “No” in Negotiations
- Jodi Ashbrook on Three Expectations of Servant Leadership
- Laurie Ecklund Long on Disaster Proof Your Life
- Lisa McCourt on Top 10 Ways to Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin
- Paul Enfield on The Leap of Faith
- Rob Boucher on What I’ve Learned About Love
- Tim Ferris on The 4-Hour Chef
- Walter Oelwin on Life Lessons from The Legend of Zelda and Zelda Theory
By the way, if you didn’t get a chance to read Rob’s post, What I’ve Learned About Love, you’re in for a treat. It’s deep. It’s detailed. It’s the kind of insight you wish somebody gave you when you started out in life.
What’s Ahead for 2013?
Oh, the places we’ll go. The big thing on my mind is the power of transformation. In fact, that might just be my big theme for this year – “transformation.” Like a phoenix, it’ time to embrace the change. I think what I learn around business transformation can help people with personal transformation … with skill.
Here are some additional themes on my mind:
- Back to the basics. I’m a fan of getting back to the basics. On Sources of Insight, the basics have always been helping people “stand on the shoulders of giants” and drawing from “great books,” “great people,” and “great quotes.” I haven’t done enough “Lessons Learned” series this past year. I want to do more. I think the Lessons Learned series is important to share and scale the path of greatness. You can see past lessons learned on the Great People page.
- Build better habits. First you make your habits, then your habits make you. I’m realizing just how important the little habits are. “Thought” habits can help us spiral up or down. “Thoughtless” habits can, too. I’ll be sharing some extreme insight on shaping habits for greatness.
- Meaningful mantras. Mantras are some of the best thought tools around. According to Wikipedia, “A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of creating transformation.” How sweet is that? And how perfect for a theme of transformation.
- Business skills for life. I think this is one of the best ways I can help people. Strategy skills can really change your game. I live strategy on a daily basis. This would be a great way for me to share and scale skills for work and life, with deep lessons from the world of business.
- From effectiveness to greatness. I’m a fan of greatness. Little wins add up. But there’s nothing like going for epic wins. There is nothing like going from effectiveness to greatness. (Stephen Covey wrote a book on it – The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness.) I’m going to put a lot more emphasis on greatness this year.
It’s time to get your great on.
Photo by emdot.