I’m reading a fantastic book at the minute – and by fantastic, I mean terrifying! It’s called “The 100 Year Life” and as the title suggests it deals with the fact that our every increasing longevity, whilst a gift, will only be so if we seek to challenge our preconceptions about how that life is structured.
In short, and I really am paraphrasing, the authors explain
that anyone in their late teens/early twenties can expect to live to the ripe
old age of 106! This means that our current three stage “life model” of
education, work and retirement is no longer valid or realistic.
It’s a great read, and one I’d highly recommend. The
terrifying part came when I started to think about what that meant for me – and
the challenge for business and how it approaches leadership – when I think
about “my” generation and the space they inhabit.
I am publishing today with great amusement. One, because today we reach the 150th posts milestone and also because it is the first leadership journey I publish and from someone I really admire as a professional.
Despina and I met a couple of years ago when I was leading a project related to fleet monitoring. I was very impressed by her passion about the business, knowledge and also her leadership skills and gravitas very evident in every interaction we had. On a personal level, me being the father of a young lady (and I related this to my previous post – (Dreams I Dream for my Daughter. A Successful Business Woman). who aspires to be a business woman, Despina also became famous in my place because of her drive on topics related to Diversity and Inclusion and to empower women in shipping – historically a predominately male-dominated business. She’s someone who my daughter looks up to as role model.
I am glad women like Despina has taken such discussions and I can honestly see things changing in the world. This gives me peace of mind thinking that that when my lovely daughter enters in the labour market, she will be a professional measured, get paid and promoted based on her education, skills and most importantly, performance and professionalism, without gender being in any way a factor.
I’m not sure about you but I’m better at giving advice than receiving
it. My privilege as a trainer and performance coach is to be able to fall back
on “do as I say, not as I do”. This is not something I’m particularly proud of
and nor is it something I want to admit to those I work with. I console myself,
professionally at least, with the fact that my diagnostic skills lie in helping
others and not myself. It also can’t be very helpful for anyone with the unenviable
task of being my coach.
Recently, however, I was offered some advice and in spite of
my habit, I took it. Surprisingly, to me anyway, the shift in awareness it
provoked has rippled through my whole life. My own coach is a mindfulness expert
and while we don’t spend too much time on this topic she set me a related task.
I was to take an everyday activity and be fully in it as I perform it, noticing
the sensations provoked by the experience.
Now, I’m not good at doing what I’m told. I will find ingenious ways not to do the homework I’ve been set (the French “devoir” always seemed a much more appropriate name). But over the Christmas break I had little excuse not to do one of the two very simple requests made of me.
In Biblical terms, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse were Pestilence, Famine, War and Death. An American psychologist, Dr John Gottman, who researches divorce and its causation, identifies four new horse riders that he names Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling. The adverse impact of these behaviours apply in organisational leadership just as much as marital relationships.