Lessons

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A series of work/life lessons from the walk, as posted on my LinkedIn page each week.

#1: Checklists work, but they take real discipline to use.

I’ve walked for over 80 days. I’ve forgotten something on over 20 days. The map, the sunscreen, my cap, the battery charger. Usually only one thing. Nothing devastating, but it was awkward. After a long walk I returned to the car park to pick up the camper van and…it wasn’t there. Two car parks half a mile apart, and I’d picked the wrong one. The day I didn't check the bus times, I missed the last service by 15 minutes. Solution: a 25 pound taxi ride. One day I only turned on Strava two miles into the walk. At the end of the leg, my friend insisted that we walk the missed section again.

 

If only I’d written down the 12-15 items... But I was sure I’d naturally remember them. Atul Gawande's "The Checklist Manifesto" describes how aviation and health have been transformed by simple checklists. But many opposed, feeling it was demeaning.

 

I’ve had a lesson in humility. I knew a checklist would be useful. But I didn’t write one out and use it. And I suffered the consequences.

 

#3500toendit

Lesson #1: Checklists work, but they take real discipline to use.
Lesson #2: Acts of kindness are twice blessed. (Apologies to Shakespeare.)
Lesson #3: Social changes are happening fast.
Lesson #4: Walking begets thinking. But walking and thinking need to be accompanied by talking.
Lesson #5: Targets focus attention, create incentives and work. But they also distort. So…don’t discard targets, but think hard…
Lesson #6: Quiet time really works. Make time for it.
Lesson #7: Persuasion takes investment in time, stories and relationships.
Lesson #8: Don’t waste emotional energy on irritations which will seem minor in hindsight.
Lesson #9: Connect, listen and embrace coincidences. (Fate?)
Lesson #10: Acknowledge our predecessors.
Lesson #11: Persuasion works better after listening.
Lesson #12: Inspiration is everywhere, if we look.
Lesson #13: All three matter: what we do, which organization we work in and who we work for/with.
Lesson #14: Criticism is everywhere. Genuine, heartfelt appreciation is rarer – and highly motivational. Use it more.
Lesson #15: Community matters.
Lesson #16: Suggestion for New Year’s resolution list: Take a long walk in 2019.
Lesson #17: Sometimes all that’s needed is just to listen. No action necessary.
Lesson #18: Vision, plus steps to attain it, is inspiring and practical.
Lesson #19: Encourage and respond to contrary views.
Lesson #20: Our actions and attitudes really do make a difference.
Lesson #21: February is a good month to cement positive habits.
Lesson #22: Small kindnesses can have large impacts. Including creating relationships.
Lesson #23: We can recover (and sometimes do extraordinary things) from facing real adversity.
Lesson #24: The personal touch really matters. The difference between neutrality/slight negativity and warm positive feelings.
Lesson #25: Enthusiasm plus competence is infectious and motivating.
Lesson #26: Life’s short. The potential satisfaction of change is greater than the disappointment of inaction.
Lesson #27: The unusual happens unexpectedly. Relish it.
Lesson #28: Use imagination when building a constituency for change.
Lesson #29: Acts of kindness can have a long tail.
Lesson #30: Strive, but remember to be kind to yourself.
Lesson #31: Look and think before speaking.
Lesson #32: Contemplation and branding are a powerful combination.
Lesson #33: Tragedy can strengthen institutions – but it always takes personal leadership.
Lesson #34: Make a mistake? Own, move on, learn…
Lesson #35: Extraordinary kindness occurs more than we expect…
Lesson #36: Optimistic, positive “followership” makes a huge difference.
Lesson #37: Not worth fretting over minor “disasters”. They’re often not.
Lesson #38: Ecosystems make a huge difference. Great organizations help make good ecosystems.
Lesson #39: Reaching out works wonders.
Lesson #40: Purpose is everything. And it's infectious.