Writing to learn, learning to write. With practice comes clarity of purpose. #100days
55,250 words
www.enablehuman.com @mali_finally

Day 157 - Do it anyway

I've been missing a few days, and recently added a few post titles as a placeholder for posts. I assumed then that I'd remember what I wanted to write about. Clearly I was mistaken, I can't remember what I was supposed to do anyway?

Day 156 - I need shoes

There was a pair of shoes my brother once gifted me. They were Nike Roches. They were slip on shoes, and I ended up using 3 pairs over 5 years. They were discontinued.

I've not been able to find a shoe that hugs my feet the same way that pair did. Every once in a while, I walk into a flagship store and ask, 'Is there anything like the Roche', I get a pitying look every single time from the assistants, 'No, they've been discontinued, there's nothing here we can recommend'.

That's how good those shoes were, they don't want to up sell anything, they understand my pain, and I respect them, and I leave.

Day 155 - Grow up

There's an assumption that most everyone has that's correlated with age. The older we get, the more likely we end up assuming people have their shit together.

And surprise! They don't! Not by a long shot. Not by a 'the earth is really flat', 'climate change is a ruse', 'fossil fuels are fine' kind of long shot.

What aging allows people to do, is play a game of chicken with a train called accountability. When it hits, It's going to hit hard. Whether the hit is to their ego, their reputation, or the illusion of self importance that they created. It all comes apart.

I'm done assuming people have their shit together.

Day 154 - People wrangling

We did it! We got some strangers to sit through our prototype. It didn't happen in a lab, we kept it contextual to what the prototype was trying to address. So we met people as they completed their transactions, and asked them how their experience was, and if they'd be interested in exploring a different way of completing this task. Also, we have a gift for your troubles.

We'd conducted some telephonic surveys as well, but found the information they were willing to share, weeks after they completed their transaction, lacking.

We'll be continuing the prototype exploration with customers this week. Fun fun fun!

Day 153 - Pocket in time

I had the chance to be with lil dude for 24 hours by my lonesome. Our plan to have some help while my wife travels didn't pan out.

When I had a chance to get past the reality that I was alone with him, time was no longer present. Sure, there was sunlight and the cadence of his rhythm, but messages were left unanswered, pending work became immaterial, and by the end of his day, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

I'm now sat on the laptop, with a sense of dawning realization, that I'm no longer in that serene pocket in time. That so long as he sleeps, a cacophony of things that need get done will continue to assault and overload my capacity to give a shit.

Also, I had cereal for lunch.

Day 152 - I do declare

I told my friend that once I complete 365 days of writing. I'm going to write a book.

That's definitely not how goals work. Nor how books are written. There is a story that I think wants to be written. I'll let the story percolate a little.

Now you know.

Day 151 - Poetry Exercise

I received an email from an old friend. It was titled poetry exercise. The concept is simple. Here's the email in it's entirety

Dear friends,
We're starting a collective, constructive, and hopefully uplifting exchange.
It's a one-time thing and we hope you will participate.

We have picked those we think would be willing and make it fun.
Please send a poem to the person whose name is in position 1 below
(even if you don't know them).
It should be a favourite text/verse/meditation that has affected you in difficult times. Don't agonize over it.

1. Person name
Persona email

2. Person name
Persona email

After you've sent the short poem/verse/quote/etc. to the person in position 1, and only that person, copy this letter into a new email.

Move my name to position 1, and put your name in position 2.
Only my name and your name should show in the new email.
Send it to 20 friends BCC (blind copy).

If you cannot do this in five days, let us know so it will be fair to
those participating. It’s fun to see where they come from.

Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new pleasures. The
turnaround is fast, as there are only two names on the list, and you
only have to do it once.

Thanks for considering this!

"Seldom does anyone drop out" I think this phrase made it all the easier for me to complete the task.  It sat in my inbox for 3 days, but this statement intrigued me. So I sent it to a few more than 20, and 2 days later, I received 3 emails from people I've never spoken with. Here are their chosen poems/verses

    1. Verse: You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only option you have.

    2. By Emily Dickinson

    Pain has an element of blank;

      It cannot recollect
      When it began, or if there was
      A time when it was not.

      It has no future but itself,
      Its infinite realms contain
      Its past, enlightened to perceive
      New periods of pain.

      3. Worst Day Ever? By  Chanie Gorkin

      Today was the absolute worst day ever
      And don't try to convince me that
      There's something good in every day
      Because, when you take a closer look,
      This world is a pretty evil place.
      Even if
      Some goodness does shine through once in a while
      Satisfaction and happiness don't last.
      And it's not true that
      It's all in the mind and heart
      True happiness can be attained
      Only if one's surroundings are good.
      It's not true that good exists
      I'm sure you can agree that
      The reality
      My attitude
      It's all beyond my control
      And you'll never in a million years hear me say that
      Today was a very good day.

      Now read it from bottom to top, the other way,
      And see what I really feel about my day.

      Day 150 - Big number

      Another number reached.

      This time, I'm wondering, what would allow me to create similar success, but for a physically oriented habit.

      My fingers aligning with my thoughts was not easy, but achievable. I'd like to now engage my whole body, physically, in a way that I could mentally enjoy it.

      I think my major obstacle, is just that, I think. I think away the exercise. Finding many an obstacle, whether it be sugar, work, or laziness.

      I know for instance, when it comes to writing, I decided to stick to #100 days. It was finite, in essence I in a way tricked myself in to continuing. I also didn't shame myself for the nights that I couldn't. I just made up for it a day or two later.

      So then what I'm going to commit to. Is 30 minutes a day, for #100 days.

      It needs to be a block of time, where I'm intentionally active. I need to set a timer. Complete it. And then I'll note it in standard notes. So as to leverage the writing habit.

      Day 149 - My bias

      There was an event this past week, touting the benefits of designing for the employee experience. It had been luckily postponed a few times, and this time, I could actually attend.

      I walked a kilometre or two, exposed to sun, hot air, and the unfamiliar sensation of sweat. Arriving at what was an office park built with shipping containers, I saw what was the only indicator of something happening, a person scurrying in between heavy glass doors into what I imagined was an air conditioned interior.

      When I arrived, the room was filled with chairs, the type you'd find in university lecture halls, with that rotating desk attachment, that can barely fit an A4 sheet of paper.

      You see, the talk was being hosted by a design outfit. I saw the slide, and noted the name, I'd assumed the speaker was yet to join us. That the person sat up front, facing us, was our host. It turned out the person was the speaker, a director, and my mind did a shameful double take.

      I shared this with a friend, and we lamented at the stereotypes we may be perpetuating in silence, we resolved to check ourselves.

      How might that take shape? I think, for one, I'd share this example with a friend who I know has been impacted by not seeing people with a design background in directorial positions.

      One other thing I could try, is to listen for bias, and ask questions in a curious manner. So that I allow others the opportunity of doing a mental double take.

      Day 148 - The next thing

      How do you know what next you should learn?

      Day 147 - Boy anointed


      created_at: 2019-10-24 19:08:05


      Setting: Indoor play area and jungle gym for babies and toddlers. Call it Eager Elephants

      Dad! That girl is bothering me! I'm going to fight her!

      Dad looks up from phone, "it's ok, just go play somewhere else"

      Dad! She's mean! She fight me in the other place, 

      scroll, scroll, scroll "Ok, ok, it's fine, go play" scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll...

      A fork in the road, a fate sealed, a bully born. 

      Will it be the boy, or the girl?

      Day 146 - Dads don't talk


      created_at: 2019-10-23 14:08:05


      We're on episode 4 of Season 2 for Future dads club! I'm surprised it's still going, I'm publishing weekly, but a lot of the content is stuff I managed to record a few months ago.  Most recently I split the recording of my wife's birth experience into a three parter.  I also roped in, albiet willingly, a friend and recorded his future dad experience at 4 months, 8 months, and 6 weeks after the birth of his child.

      Editing the episodes, was really interesting, and I realized these aural time capsules are really precious. The changes we undergo physically, and psychologically are fairly unique, whether we're birthing, adopting, or fostering children. The demands we make on ourselves, in this period of transitioning to have including one more life in our daily routines are fairly unique.  

      I'd say it's fairly similar to what one undergoes when forming a new habit, except there are a multitude of habits, patterns and change we're undertaking all at once. 

      I would like to interview more future dads, and offer them the opportunity to build their own time capsule. It's just guys don't really talk, so if you know a future dad, please send them my way!

      Or share the podcast!

      Day 145 - Is it really necessary?

      I've watched a community grow out of a person's need to overcome pain, gain courage and be vulnerable. I saw it tap into a need for connection, belonging, encouragement and growth.

      I also watched it build a fence, close the gate, and demand tribute. A part of me is sad, because what helped it grow, was the many tapping into the call for belonging.

      Creating connections, that are not pay to play, are rare. Once upon a time, the village center, was the place you could gather, reflect, and connect. Whether that happened near the fire, or by the shadows of buildings made stronger by the fire's light.

      Life now though, necessitates a pattern of survival, that doesn't make it easy, to create spaces to belong. Whether it's to belong to fully, connect with briefly, or to grow alongside.

      If it was the vanity of kings that created the pattern of hosting creative minds who were in service of pursuing truth through art, science, and math. Who in our times seeks to champion curiosity, community, and a space to belong.

      Day 144 - Captain's log, supplemental.

      Captains log, stardate 156.22. We were pushed from warp due to what the crew believe to be a form of auditory assault. We investigate carefully

      Captains log, supplemental. A tiny being was found to be the source of the signal, upon investigation, determined to be a distress call, we approach carefully

      Captains Log, supplemental. We engaged a tractor beam and the being responded favorably. A curious species, most trusting with their intimate parts which were flooded due to a lack of a mature internal regulation system. The crew believe that the distress signal was designed to engage capable ships in near by systems to seek it and provide it with supplies.

      Captains log, supplemental. The being has drained half of our Dilithium crystal supply. The being has ceased communicating.

      Day 143 - Fame and Frames

      I heard some piercing shrieks, that just kept getting louder, and I was worried they'd wake lil dude. At first, I thought it was an overzealous spin cycle instructor, it is after all fitness month, and the city is peppered with free outdoor activities encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

      Turns out there was a free Mariah Carey concert outside my balcony. I learned about it through social media, when I noticed a number of people I know, who have never met, were hanging out in the same area. Scrolling through their uploads, I recognized the shriek I'd heard earlier. I then remembered some random documentary that mentioned something about Mariah Carey being one of the few who can generate that ear piercing shriek.

      I opened the balcony, and sure enough, there was the concert, is the concert I should say. The balcony door is closed now as I type, but the noise filters in.

      Getting excited about celebrity, or famous individuals never appealed to me growing up. I thought something was wrong with me, not being capable of fully participating in a culture that pushed friends and acquaintances alike to consume materials and celebrity. I watched people consume, reject, and counter consume brands, and ideologies alike.

      I wonder how much of this for me was because my identity was rooted. It's something I need to explore and take apart. I'd like to be able to create a space for lil dude to grow strong psychologically, physically, and spiritually. I'd like that to be in spite of the challenges we'll face as individuals, as parents, as a couple. So that what may affect him, does not effect him negatively.

      Day 142 - Wonder

      Lil dude had his first birthday invites this weekend, two in a row.

      Watching him interact with other babies is interesting. A few months ago, he was content to sit in place, not move much, until we took him through some concerted development efforts. His brain has vested a lot of energy in to his muscles, and now I can hardly keep him occupied with books I read. I need to vary my language and tone to get his attention. His physical environment has grown with him, and the living room has become his play location. Once he explored it's corners, he's tried to go further afield, and explore the areas that we tend to carry him to, for example the kitchen where he watches us heat his milk and ready his food.

      We tend to encourage him to grab our faces, or items on the floor in his living room kingdom, if it's dangerous we'll do some sleight of hand and replace it with something else that's shiny. One of the birthdays was at a kids playground, we took him to a ball pit and he didn't understand where or what he was experiencing. It's come at a time where we felt that our make shift living room play area was reaching it's limit. He tried to make friends by grabbing at the other children, but they were not as excited by his overtures. Luckily, my sister will be arriving in the coming weeks, so he can practice being social with his cousin.

      Day 141 - Via character?

      Have you used the via character test?
      The IS group is starting to explore it. I'd placed it in my bookmarks a few times, but never got a round to it. The coming week's prompts will be strengths based, and they recommended we complete the character test.

      1: Kindness
      Doing favours and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.

      2: Creativity
      Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it.

      3: Prudence
      Being careful about one's choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.

      4: Curiosity
      Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering.

      5: Fairness
      Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance.

      6: Social intelligence
      Being aware of the motives/feelings of others and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick.

      7: Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence
      Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.

      8: Forgiveness
      Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting others’ shortcomings; giving people
      a second chance; not being vengeful.

      9: Teamwork
      Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group; doing one's share.

      10: Love of learning
      Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one's own or formally; related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows.

      Day 140 - Frame yourself

      Using models and frameworks for businesses and organizations is a given

      Thinking of ones life as a cycle, with themes and plans, with a narrative arc for oneself is not unheard of but rare.

      We tend to enjoy characters that have depth, that strive to grow, we enjoy seeing their journey unfold. We know the impact of writing your own obituary. Why can't we acknowledge that we would benefit from a similar exercise, one that would chart our life similar to a story book.

      What kind of story character do we want to become, what would be the arc of our existence like? How many life experiences would we need, before we could begin conceptualizing this as a possibility.

      For instance, I'd after much pain set out to change my career, became open to exploring, to being curious, to trying to understand the world that could be, as much as the world that is. Three years have passed, and I've achieved an image of what I set out to do. Knowing what I know now, I could chart the coming 7 years, after taking some considered time to reflect on the patterns in my life.

      So really, my question to myself is, how might I frame my story that I'd like to unfold over the coming 7 years.

      Day 139 - We get there

      Folks, we made it, two years later in Dubai and the first LeadIN cohort is on it's way.

      One of the participants, had found my creative bunch card, the one featured on Instagram. We'd made it way back when I first got here. For the field that asks "I'm working on" I'd stated that I was establishing a gym for leadership. Unbeknownst to the LeadIN participant, I was referring to LeadIN, they were excited that my card stated something that resonated with their mission.

      I found it ironic, that two years on from when I'd posted that card, this person had already applied to LeadIN, and then found my card. I'm aware that I'm not clearly communicating this bit of serendipity.

      Suffice to say, the kick-off went well. Some of the people were aware of each other, some were bunchies, some knew they were bunchies, others didn't. Some were new, but by the end of the experience, they were all a part of the new cohort.

      I think they need a name, maybe I'll ask them half way through the cohort what name they'd like to use to refer to themselves. I've found that bunchie as a moniker caught on for people, I'd like to see if something similar could evolve from this cohort.

      I also felt strongly the challenge of organizing a cohort single-handed. I had a hard go of it trying to facilitate, and imparting aspects of the experience to look forward to.

      Let talk about what worked well.

      I used the tried and tested method of connect cards, however, I kept people outside of the space we were using, instructed them to come half an hour early, then let them roam around, grabbing drinks, coffee, etc, and instructed them to come in at 6.30. Having an open space that allowed for this was helpful, they were able to relax, take a minute while I setup the room.

      When they entered the room, they saw two boxes, a small one for those who were paying the commitment fee in cash, and a bigger box to put all their electronics in. I let them know that they've got until 6.30 before the box is closed with their electronics remaining inside for the remainder of our time together. Immediately, there was a flurry of thumbs swiping at screens, hurriedly completing whatever emails they needed to complete, and when the minute struck 6.30 all were quiet.

      I asked people to pair up and handed out the connect cards, the space had cushioned seating and sofas and was comfortable, which added to the atmosphere. As pairs of people entered I invited them to deposit their electronics, handed them a connect card, and kept rotating cards until the 10 participants were all inside.

      I then invited them all into a circle, reduced the lights, had them engage in a breathing and meditation exercise for 5 minutes, to shed the weight of the world and to center themselves in this space we were in. I then led them out of the room (electronics stayed behind), into the outdoors to get some fresh air, away from the lights and under the sky, I had them introduce one other person, with the interesting fact they appreciated the most.

      With names and connecting moments aside, the next prompt, was to take a minute and think through what change they'd like to see in themselves and in the world. I let them know that the answer doesn't need to be final, they'll be iterating on it. I led them on a 10 minute walk, through which I would stop every 2 mins and request they switch with someone. In that manner they got to iterate their intention for change, and hear another persons' aspirational change.

      I led them back to the space, still in a circle, I asked them the next question, which was their intention for LeadIN. I encouraged them to support each other, and one participant became the "You can do it!" voice. I tried my best to hear what they had to say, acknowledge it by phrasing it in the words I understood and invited others to reflect briefly or support the individual. I could have done better in encouraging them to create their own ritual here, something to explore for next time, because moments like these are where group cohesiveness could start to take root and form identity.

      Meanwhile, I ran out of the space, and tried to find the food delivery, ran back to the space to find them finishing their sharing round. So I directed them to the guiding principles and I asked what they noticed after reading it. I reaffirmed what I heard by saying that I witnessed them actively behave in ways that brought those principles to life.

      I was proud of the above interactions I created, where the experience could have been stronger was in talking about LeadIN. I spoke fast, really fast, the energy was spent, the food was late, I rushed through it, emphasized that they'll experience it over the coming weeks, that the hardest part for me was bringing them together, but like they'd acknowledged, what they put in is what they'll get out of it. I reiterated that they'll have access to everything, and are encouraged to connect with anyone in the cohort. I'd shared the farmer's market meetups and the multi buddy systems that often occur. That this experience is for them to craft, that my only ask is to not talk about work, I was a bit mental about that point, and kept interjecting into conversations I felt were heading in the work direction.

      Were people excited, yes, were they hungry yes, one thing that worked really well, was that I crowded them into a small space when it was time to eat. It was so small I couldn't get in, the 10 fit perfectly into the space. I left them be for awhile to chat with their buddies and each other.

      I've sent out the notifications, the calendar invites, and now I'll wait for people to show up next week.

      Surprisingly, the whatsapp group is super quiet. We'll see what happens. Though it's a good start, knowing what I know about the region, I'm not sure how much individual follow up I'll need to do. Nor do I think I should create an expectation, for constant follow up. I'll need to strike a balance of sorts, hopefully my patience extends to believing people will be self motivating.

      Day 138 - IS: What could you simplify?


      created_at: 2019-10-15 19:08:05


      The IS coach writes 

      I am preoccupied by the question of how to live with greater simplicity in complex times. I am currently looking at my life to find aspects I could simplify either through saying no, abandoning, streamlining, or limiting. Do any of you find yourselves drawn to simplifying? Have you had any success? Do you have any plans for simplifying?

      Personally, I would like to simplify the ways in which I acknowledge the work I’ve done on, with, and for myself. I found old notebooks and somehow I need to synthesize the thoughts I captured in them and possibly digitize them, or catalogue them.

      Some of the things I set out to do I’ve achieved, and I’m not sure how to simplify this.

      Is this why people created awards for finite goals? What’s the equivalent for oneself?