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🎁 March wrapped: regular doses of dissatisfaction, brain borrowing, and books
A few weeks ago, I had brunch with my pal Myriam Hadnes before she headed back to the Netherlands.
Amongst many things, we talked about the need to have “regular doses of dissatisfaction” in life. The sort of moments that give you a big shake and make you realise that you need to do something radically different.
Myriam was at the end of spending three months working, living, and exploring in Australia. Around the same time, one of my good friends completed her four month adventure hiking the Te Araroa trail; a 3,000km hike along the length of Aotearoa (New Zealand). I’ve also been following Tim Duggan’s amazing travels whilst he writes his next book.
These excellent role models, along with attending Myke Dixon’s This.Now.Us event last November, have all been (big) nudges to have a reset, make some bigger plans, and be bolder in how I live.
After much lockdown existing, it’s been (shockingly) far too easy to stay stuck in a rut, make excuses for not doing things, live smaller, and generally end up pretty dissatisfied.
This is all part of reason behind my word of the year for 2023; experiment. Shifting some of my work into a different field (Futurism), adding some services (bookclub in a box), working from some new places (Sydney, and soon Lisbon), and reading differently are all small parts of the ongoing experiment.
But there’s more that needs to shift. I realised this weekend that I need hobbies again (these faded away last year), and more social rituals. It says a lot that the small act of getting the ferry to Manly for dinner with a couple of friends last week whilst I was in Sydney felt like such a radical activity. I felt complete for days as a result of that quality time.
We’re just over 25% through 2023, and it’s gone *fast*. The long weekend has been a much needed pause point for a lot of people it seems, and a good time to recalibrate on any intentions; big, medium, or tiny, that you had for the year.
This is a bit of a stream of consciousness before we get into the usual book stuff(!), but I’ve read a few things in newsletters or books lately and thought ‘YES! I needed to read that!’, so hoped to do a bit to maybe pass on that favour for someone else with my current existential musings.
Here’s to change.
The it list
Here’s a few other things I’ve been obsessing over, enjoying, or doing recently…
Podcast - Pivot: Listening to Pivot has become a twice-weekly highlight. Smart and funny conversations about tech, finance, business, politics, and society. I love the spicy dynamic between Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway, and the way they disagree with each other. It says a lot about our lost ability to disagree with each that after one recent episode, certain news outlets were (mistakenly) reporting of a ‘massive blowup’ between Kara and Scott. Spotify | Apple
Podcast - Hard Fork: I’m putting this here again in case you ignored me last time. This is my other audio highlight of the week. If you’re confused about what’s going on with tech right now, this is a must-listen. Spotify | Apple
Netflix: I finally watched Spirited Away. It’s a cult favourite, and many creatives talk about the influence that this film, and more broadly Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, has had on them. Honestly, I feel like it might be one of those films you need to be in the right place to watch. I’m glad I’ve seen it but I don’t think it’s changed my life.
Film: Air is really good, and what a cast. It’s a nice supplement to reading Shoe Dog. The only thing I didn’t like about the film was that they unnecessarily forced a bunch of 80s and Nike trivia into it.
Comedy: It’s Comedy Festival time, and it’s great to see a packed schedule (and rooms) again. Highlights so far have been Sammy J, Mark Watson, David ODoherty, and He Huang. It’s on until 23 April, get onto it!
Yoga: I flit in and out of a yoga practice, and I’m very much back ‘in’ at the moment. It’s such a great balance to everything else and there’s nothing better than a yoga class that gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.
Smells: With the seasons changing and it feeling pretty wintery and cosy here in Naarm/Melbourne, I’ve been enjoying burning this Kin North Japanese incense at home.
What have you been up to? What are you reading? Hit reply or add a comment to this post and let me know.
Waving with warm gloves on,
PS. To borrow from Austin Kleon, this newsletter and the podcast are 'free but not cheap'. You can support their ongoing creation and keep me in books by buying me a coffee (thanks to Debbie who bought me some tea last month!) as a 'thank you', or giving the podcast a (five 😉) star rating on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Thanks!
What I read last month
Each month I share what I’ve been reading and a full review on the podcast. Here’s the short version…
Write Useful Books by Rob Fitzpatrick ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Excellent (and rare) example of a book that does JUST ONE THING, and does it very well. Super practical and accessibly written. Almost made me want to write a book. Almost.
2 Hour Workshop Blueprint by Leanne Hughes (no rating as this was an early draft copy)
I love that Leanne has invited a bunch of very early readers to be involved in her writing process, and grateful that I was one of those readers! So far the book has got a heap of tips and techniques to make your workshops pop. Be gone dreary slide-heavy-snooze-fests! Can’t wait to see the final version once all the feedback has been put through.
Invisible Child by Andrea Elliott ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Outstanding journalism. Andrea immersed herself with a NY-based family for eight years and documented the experience on the children of poverty, homelessness, addiction, racism, and the dehumanising experience of ‘welfare’ systems. Heartbreaking, frustrating, funny, sad, and very respectfully done.
I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke (audiobook) ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
So. Many. Drugs. Punk poet John Cooper Clarke talks a bit about his childhood, a lot about his heroin addiction, and a bit about the ups and downs of making a life as a poet. Not my favourite memoir, plus it was over 15 hours long, but there were some interesting stories about the music and arts scene in the UK in the 70s and 80s.
PS. Want to borrow my brain? 🧠🎁
Do you sometimes wish you had a spare brain? If so, you can borrow mine. For 10 days you can bounce ideas, test new approaches, develop a plan, or find out what’s happening in the world of learning right now.
This is built for you if…
You’re a senior leader who’s seeing the dropping engagement levels and attrition due to lack of development. You want to explore ideas and get feedback on how to approach developing your people that fits what people expect right now.
You’re an L&D/P&C leader about to go into your budgeting phase. You want someone to bounce some options with on better ways of workplace learning to expand what you think might be possible.
You’re an L&D leader who has a specific idea on something new you want to do next year (eg start an internal podcast, reduce content overwhelm). You aren’t sure where to start or want to shortcut your process by asking someone questions whilst you’re planning (or doing) it.
You’re an L&D manager or leader who feels a bit stuck or dusty in what you’re doing. You want some fresh insight on what’s happening elsewhere in the world to bring the spark back.
Here’s how it works
🧠 Apply using the button below
🧠 Pick your comms platform (choose between Slack or WhatsApp)
🧠 You send questions, challenges, topics that you want to explore (you can use a mix of text, video, or audio messages)
🧠 I send responses (likely a mixture of audio, video, and text responses, links and curated resources like podcasts, articles, books, or anything else)
🧠 We keep bouncing things around for 10 working days, which gives you time to try some things, ask follow up questions, and build some momentum
What‘s not included
Live time - all of this brain sharing will be asynchronous
Outputs - I won’t ‘create’ anything for you during the 10 days
Your team - this is a 1:1 conversation
Real-time responses - responses will arrive throughout the day (or night!) so we can both make the most of the power of asynchronous communication
Unlimited access - I’ll send up to three replies per day during the 10 days\
I’m limiting this first pilot intake to a teeny tiny group of THREE people. So click apply quick quick… 🏎️💨
ICYMI, recently on the podcast…
Other places I’ve popped up…
Podcast - Workshops Work: It’s Not About the Workshop - How to Make Workplace Learning Stick