BL&T No. 008: Creating a Model for Lasting Change

Borrowed, Learned, & Thought (or BL&T) is a weekly newsletter sent on Mondays. In every edition, I share a borrowed idea (quote, excerpt), a lesson learned from the previous week, and a thought starter heading into the new week. Learn more and subscribe here.


"I don’t think [people] can truly change for the better in a lasting, meaningful way unless [they are] driven by self-acceptance."

Brené Brown on The Tim Ferriss Show (#409)


When we're feeling inundated by our day or week, we tend to point at whatfeels intrusive and default to the same scripts: "too many meetings,""there's not enough time." When we dig deeper, we can often uncover alack of foresight and planning.

Simply agreeing to our daily commitments doesn't mean we are in control. Weplay Tetris with our calendars, but if we haven't created the space forourselves to determine how it will all work together on an on-goingbasis, we become the co-pilot to our commitments.

This is a topic I've revisited frequently with the designers (at Barrel). If it's an area of feedback, I share the habits I've adopted for keepingcontrol of my day and offer suggestions on how they might do the same.I've found that this leaves too much by chance and what people need is a place to start. Last Thursday, I tried something new by giving the team just that.

In our weekly discipline meeting, we all took 5 minutes to answer aprompt: "By next Friday, what do I hope to have accomplished?" We listed everything out. We then opened our calendars. We took another 5 minutes to answer 5 questions:

  1. What days will be most productive for me?
  2. Do I need clarity on any of my meetings?
  3. Are there any meetings I could skip?
  4. Is there anything in my way of everything from my Friday list?
  5. What can I do to remove these roadblocks?

We ended the activity by hearing about each other's experiences. How didtheir perception of next week change? What did they learn? The responses ranged from finding double-booked meetings or others they didn'trealize were optional to rethinking how and where they should spendtheir time. There was one thing that everyone agreed on: they felt moreconfident and in control.

Lesson? As children, we learn by observation, mimicking our parents and thoseclose to us. We later develop our own interpretations. This doesn'tchange as we grow older. Leadership is developing models that will helpthe team experience the possibilities and find their way.

Thought Starter

Where am I repeatedly providing the same feedback or advice when I know I should be exploring a new approach?