it’s all about the people

What makes a company worthwhile? Is it their goal? Is it their software?

Those are part of it, but they’re never enough. Yes, “the dream” can help, but at the end of the day what makes a company truly worthwhile is the people you interact with.

Their empathy, their ability to connect, to feel your pain, to compromise to help you.
They might not always be able to help you, but they’ll surely try their best.

A business like that is worthwhile, no matter the goal. If you’re surrounded by good, competent people, that have empathy and care for you, then you’re headed to a success, even though success might not look like everyone’s imagine.

green cleanup

You see it everywhere. Brands now advertise themselves as environmentally conscious, green, caring for the planet.

Years ago only few brands stood out because of these attributes, but nowadays it seems every company cares about the carbon footprint, being environment friendly, create less plastic and so on.

How much of this is true?
Well, for one we’re seeing how the green economy impacts the market.
Some brands were already on that train, they simply didn’t declare it. Others didn’t feel like it was good pursuing and, last but not less important: Some are using it to clean their image.

It’s obvious why, but what strikes me even more is that the green bandwagon is not simply a choice. It can (and often is) a strategy with a well definite goal that _isn’t_ caring for the planet.

What’s even worse is that this marketing tactic is used also as a strategy to clean up politicians in a very similar way.
Let’s say you have a politician that’s too authoritarian or so on, we’re having election in some months and people started losing trust in this man because his action weren’t so good as they declared.

What they could do is to make him do some good for the homeless and so on, more often than usual. This would help him have the imaged cleaned up, exactly like a brand might do to erase some past behaviors.

Why this happens? We have faith in things (which is good) and we don’t take into consideration the past enough (which is not good).
We should always measure how much of these actions are selfish by checking out the history of those brands and people.
The more they betrayed the trust, the less they will change for the planet’s good.

“Oh well, but they’re still doing good for the planet, right?”
That’s the dilemma.
Now, if we’re talking about companies, yes. They are doing some good, and that good might even be here to stay, until the green trend will fade out.
What will happen when it’ll fade? Will they keep up or not? That’s the other dilemma.

The same is true for the politician. Once their image has been cleaned up, what will they do?

We can choose to trust those people who put the planet first from the beginning, who cared for the people from the beginning.

That’s a choice we can always make, and while it’s interesting to see brands and people try to change, it’s always good to wait a little and see how that change will last through time.

say thanks more often

We should thank more often. Take a moment to realize who are the people that influenced us, that shaped our lives and thank them.

Think about all the friends, all the coworker, all the people that have been an inspiration for you, that helped you get through the rough times, that supported you when nobody would.

Thank them. Thank them not with a physical gift, but with the most valuable gift of all: Your time.

Spend some time with time, write them something, tell them how critical were for your story, show them that you care.

Help them when they need it and ask them how they are doing. Not the superficial question, the deep one. How’s it really going.

Listen to them, listen to them even if their story is seemingly boring, because they showed you a way in the past, and might as well do that again in the future.

identity of work

I’m not attached to work titles. Sure, they are tied to how much you earn at the end of the month, but I always felt they were an unnecessary weight to your decisions.

The first problem is the main problem of any job. We’re tied to money.
Unless we reach financial freedom we’re at stake, so we will always think that, if we make a bad choice, we’ll lose money and thus put at risk our personal life.

There’s also this misconception that money equals success.
While money is indeed often correlated, is not what success means, it’s not success “per se”. Money is a by product of success.

That’s why we’re tricked into thinking that if we get more money, we’re better. To some extend it might seems true but we should also consider the trade-offs, the sacrifices, how we improved life around us, not only for us.

If, during our growth, we improved the world around us, then by all means that is extremely good, a good sign that the work we do resonates and creates wealth.

If we’re the only one that benefits from our actions, then we’re probably sacrificing other people, stealing part of their light. That should not be confused with success. At least for me that is a failure.

When we talk about money, the stakes are high, and it’s hard to say no. But that’s what defines you as a human. It’s easy to say no if your values are written in the stone, if they are clear, if they are pure, if they include the world around you.

Titles mean we’re afraid to lose power, to get to a lower level, to lose recognition.
This leads us to the second issue: We identify ourselves with our work.

Work is important, work can change the world.
But we’re not our work.
We are what we do after work. We are our family, our circle of friends, our hobbies.
We are what we don’t share publicly, we are that intimacy.

Yet, we often think that our work is what we are. That if we lose a title, we will be worse.
We’re not. But it’s all about discovering again that work is a small part of our life, an important one, but one that doesn’t and maybe shouldn’t define us entirely.

it always takes time but it’s not about time

My wife had some necklaces that became all intertwined, and she needed to untie them.

I offered to lend a hand and help her, not because she couldn’t do it, but because it was a good chance to recall two good things I learned in life: Untying and doing useless things.

On untying: It was a bright morning in the italian sea coast. It was summer, out in the balcony there were some lemon trees. Each morning we took one lemon and make some tea, even if it was summer.
I remember the flavor of that lemon as if I ate it today.

I was at a friend’s house, spending couple of weeks off, his mom always helped us doing things and one day I had my necklace intertwined by itself.

I tried to untie it but it was useless, I only made it worse.
She came to me and told me that, for this things, you don’t have to rush it.
Take your time, do slow movements, and it’ll sort out.

From there on I always followed her advice when untying things, it always worked, never again I got stuck.

On doing useless things: Company retreat, our first one. An amazing two day settled in a hotel on a city with a nice sea in italy, early summer.

There’s one talk of a psychologist and sociologist. He’s amazing, he knows how to handle people.
For some reason at that time I feel like I’m missing some willpower, so I ask him if he has some ideas.

He told me to try to do some useless repetitive things, like emptying a cup full of toothpicks and putting them back one by one, as slow as possible, for 3 or 4 times.

It worked, but I quickly realized my problem was not about willpower.

In both cases the teaching is much bigger than the actions. We feel it all revolves about time, but time is just a distraction. It’s not time. It’s the fact that we want to rush it, to get it all, but some things to be conquered need time, need patience, need trial and error, many errors in some cases.

It seems about time, but in fact it’s about perseverance.

we should be honest on what we care about

There will be hard times, there will be a hard moment, we will fail. But if we’re honest with others about our story, about what we believe, what we hope, then we can communicate.

It’s only through communication that we can change something. It’s by playing with our cards clearly visible that others can chime in and help us.

If we hide, if we don’t show what we have, then we’ll be alone.
Our strength is not infinite, we will be tired, we’ll give up.

“Oh, but if I let them see my cards they’ll betray me”.
It’ll happen anyway. People have always betrayed, cheated. It’s not new. There will be ego, there will be someone that’ll abuse their position.

Knowing or not knowing won’t change their ego nor their interests. They will betray, but you’ll live with much more honesty, and knowing that you did your best, no shadows will be casted upon your actions.

Always choose people over processes

In a remote working world it’s easy to forget about people and think about processes.

Empathy, in a remote working world, is something much harder to express and convey, it’s easy to miss the subtle changes in body language.

That’s why it’s so important. Any process won’t be able to replace the kind of care you can put when truly talking to someone, sharing your day, creating a connection.

Nothing has more value than that.

marketing complexity

Look at nike or under armour shoes, how are they? They’re a complex composition of elements. The sole can’t be simply white, often it’s bundled with addon of any form and color to express the underlying complexity.

Or look at some of the toothbrush offerings, some are of a pantone color, other contains more than one color that mixes together, hinting that the complexity is higher.

Complexity is an interesting part of marketing and selling because it is based not on the effective function of a product, but more on the ideal that we have as humans that complex things ofter works better.

A car, a jet, we have many example of complex products that revolutionized the modern world so this kind of sentiment is well fonded.

Also, complexity can take many forms. It can be hinted by standing out of the competition with a different appeareance, it can be expressed by adding more ingredients or feature, even though they don’t contribute to the overall result.

Complexity can lead to think that a product is better than another, and it’s a marketing trick used all around us every day.

learning new types of kindness

I know: Kindness is all the same. I thought the same way, but in the end I realized that there are many varieties of kindness, ways to care about the people around us.

The simplest act of kindness is to greet people, to simply say “Hello”.

That’s the first rule, the basic foundation.

I learned about a new variety this summer, when for the first time I was asked “How’s it going?” and they truly meant it.

You know, this was a year full of changes. One of them is a newborn. And a newborn comes with a nice package full of problems, stress, sleep debt and so on.

This accounts for many of the arguing that happens in a couple, but when you see the newborn you both don’t know it nor can image.
You can imaging the sleep debt, you can imagine the stress, you can imagine all those things. But you underestimate it by a large part.

You don’t think it will affect your relationship, but it will. You naively think it’ll affect only you and that you’ll be able to handle it, but you can’t.

That’s why that phrase “How’s it going?” was a really deep question. They asked us after they went through a lot of issues, they were worried it might happen to others.

It was nice to look at that question with a new set of yes. It was also nice to learn a new variety of kindness, one I wasn’t aware of, one i’ll try to pass on.

when can you truly say “It’s a bad day”?

“It’s a bad day” a bad moment, a bad timing.

We say that a lot, implying that it’s not a perfect day that things could’ve gone better. But when “bad” is truly bad?

Maybe bad is just the result of the sums of many moments in our life.
How do we feel appreciated and loved?
How meaningful is the work we do?
What are our expectations and dreams?

And last but not least: how big is the detour of our life from what we dream and expect?

Add these questions to “Is this day going as planned?” and you got a recipe for failure unless your foundations are solid.

After all, stable means exactly that: having solid foundations.

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