Being Fulfilled One Task At A Time

For more than 10 years, I have been a crew member at Tony Robbins events around the US, as a volunteer in various positions and helping out with whatever was needed. But my favorite part is being a member of the fire team in charge of the logistics of the fire walk experience for participants.

Creating the physical part of a fire walk involves an enormous amount of hard labor that takes place over two days–outside in whatever weather is happening at the moment. I  put together wheelbarrows in the snow, carried water-soaked mats of grass in the rain, and swept parking lots for hours in the sun.

No matter where or when I’ve been a part of fire team over the last decade, I’ve never heard anyone complain or criticize about the amount of work. In fact, there are always more people wanting to do that work as a team member than there are spots available.

Why?

As a fire team member, why are we so fulfilled, so happy, and so energized by whatever is being asked of us? During one particularly great reflection session with the team after cleanup, we started to uncover why.

Yes, there is a sense of mission that happens being a part of such a great overall experience for thousands of participants, but it’s much simpler than that.

People feel immersed and elated in their work because they’re singularly focused, and not multi-tasking.

When you’re putting together a wheelbarrow, that’s all you’re thinking about in that moment.  When you’re unrolling mats of grass to form a part of a fire walk line, you’re immersed in that grass on that lane. When you’re in charge of ensuring there’s no debris that can stab someone’s foot in a parking lot, you’re sweeping and not worried about doing anything else.

Single-tasking is not only more efficient, more effective and more productive, it’s also more fun and fulfilling.

Allow yourself to become happily lost in the sensation of being focused. 

Developing Great Teams With Small Investments

Recently I was at a meeting where they brought in various teams from around our Company to showcase the work that they were performing.

Unexpectedly, I recognized someone who I hadn’t worked with or seen in 13 years running one of the booths. We immediately hugged hello and fell back into an old level of comfort with each other, laughing while talking about past stories, catching up on what we’re doing currently and what’s happened over the last few years.

After processing that encounter, I found myself wondering why I seemed to have a better and more authentic connection with a person I hadn’t seen in 13 years and only worked with for a shorter time compared to many others I have worked with either longer periods of time or more recently.

Many pieces play into group dynamics and connections, but looking at the traditional factors didn’t seem to uncover the answer. There had to be more. I really wanted to be able to find the answer so I could try and use that to continue to build great relationships with the teams I work on and people I work with.

That’s when I realized the difference between the strong bonds that had been formed more than 13 years ago versus some of the more tenuous bonds today.

When we were working together years ago, there were many more offsite and not-directly-work-related interactions. Our teams and colleagues spent more time doing things out of the office together and we had more support for little things like team lunches and offsite dinners.

Great relationships build great teams and great teams accomplish great things easier.

Since that’s the case, why do budget cuts first target the very things, like off sites and team meals, that can help build great teams?

So, the next time you hear about a startup or some smaller company hosting happy hours or buying everyone lunch realize that it’s not only a nice perk, it’s a strategic investment in accomplishing great things.

The next time someone asks you for budget for what may seem like fun vs. work related activities, realize it will pay off much more in terms of the work.

Failure Awards

Very similar to Beg Forgiveness Cards

How about creating an awards program in your group specifically to highlight failure.

Celebrating success is great, but celebrating failure could just lead to better success.

What else do you need to celebrate in your group to help entice more of that behavior?

 

Hackathons for People

I love Hackathons and think they should be used for everything from IRS forms to anti-bullying solutions.

So how can hackathons work for people themselves?

A hackathon for people is to find help amplify or find solutions for one person’s work, because it’s great and you want to help spread or deliver their idea.

The idea of a Hackathon for People took shape as a friend and I were talking about someone in our community that has done a ton of good for other people but always let his needs or desires take a back seat.

What if we could get all kinds of people together from different expertise areas where he might be able to benefit and work to create outcomes for his long-term benefit?

This isn’t fundraising or anything – this is helping him do what he might not know how to do (build a website, edit a video) help him build momentum.  It’s also about teaching throughout the process so it isn’t just fishing for someone, but teaching to fish also.

It’s almost like Extreme Home Makeover, YC, TechStars, Trading Spaces, the Apprentice and Shark Tank all combine in service of helping someone that deserves it.

Who would you help, who else might want to help them?  Get to it.

Planning for Post Event Hangovers

I had two of the biggests “launches” of my life in a two-week time period. The first was the ten year anniversary fundraiser for a non-profit and the second was a 2 day TEDx event called TEDxJNJ I helped put on for our Company.

Being that it was the tenth time I’ve thrown the non-profit fundraiser, that launch was much simpler, although we did go all out and make this year’s event special.  However, the scale, the intensity and the focus that we had put into throwing an amazing TEDxJNJ event left me speechless for 9 days, especially considering it was the first TEDxJNJ ever.

I’d like to go more into TEDxJNJ at another time, to the extent the TEDx and JNJ guidelines allow me, but the days after that event had me wondering:

How can you plan better for post event hangovers?

No, not the drinking type hangover.  I mean the “I’ve just totally poured my heart and soul into a project and now it’s launched and because of what happened my mind is all at once completely exhausted as well as more inspired and full of ideas and connections than ever before” type of hangover.

It’s important to continue the momentum gained from any launch and even better when you plan for the “after the launch” before the launch.  I think it’s also important to take some time to allow it all to sink in so you can reflect.  The thoughts and synapses firing after a few days away from what you’ve done help make the next stages even better.

When all else fails drink lots of water, it works for traditional hangovers.

What I Learned About Business From Steve Aoki

 

Steve Aoki is a DJ/Producer that puts on one of the greatest shows in music today.  Seeing him live is an interactive experience and his energy is infectious. By the end of the show you’re jumping up and down along with him–more than you ever have in your life–covered in champagne and cake, and you never want it to stop.

Then, when you leave the show and think you’ve seen the best of what he has, you learn more about him and realize that he’s a great role model for your business too.

Here are a few takeaways from watching a true maestro of his craft like Steve Aoki:

1. Amaze
When Steve Aoki puts on a show, he delivers.  He brings more energy to the party than anyone there and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure people are having a memorable experience.  While his main product might be the music, his live shows can make an audience member a lifelong fan.  It’s not uncommon to see floats, cake diving, champagne showers, special previews of unreleased music, and just about anything else to make sure that his shows stand above the rest.  When was the last time you thought through your product demo or meeting with the goal to amaze?


2. Hustle

If you look at his schedule you’ll see that he is putting on a show practically every night, sometimes two per day.  You’ll then notice that he’s doing this around the world.  Africa one night, UK the next, over to Spain, then off to California in four days.  Did you ever have to leave for that conference a day early for a “travel” day. Yeah, he’s been traveling and putting on a show everyday for years and I thought my fifty minute commute was bad. That being said – he still delivers at every show and will stop and connect with fans anytime they ask. What time can you carve out in schedule for that extra work? 


3. Collaboration & Partnership

Succeeding in certain businesses is about being able to find the right people to partner with and collaborating with everyone that needs to be involved.  Over the years Aoki has demonstrated this by making music with some of the best in the business, as well as up-and-comers.  Are you trying to work with the best in your field? Are you taking the time to develop newbies?


4. Engagement

I already mentioned how he’ll stop whatever he’s doing and talk to a fan along his travels or on his way to a show. Take a look at his twitter feed for some other amazing examples of fan engagement. He’ll fly into a new town, ask where the best local places are, invite people to come eat where he is, randomly pop into college classes and invite people to hang on the lawn, and is constantly reaching out and connecting. He’s on just about every major digital outlet and always providing updates to keep his fans engaged. How often and how creative are you methods of engagement? 


5. Risk Taking

It was definitely a big risk the first time he sprayed a club with champagne or got on a float to crowd surf over thirty thousand people or partnered with an unknown lyricist to make a new song.  Yet, those risk are what has allowed him to keep upping his game and bringing his art to the next level.  What risk have you taken recently?


6. Trust

Consistency builds trust and I’ve already mentioned how consistent he is with his output. His authenticity adds to that level of trust. He’s just as into the music, the show, and all the fun stuff going on around it as his fans are.  He’ll even jump into a large cake and be covered in it before he’ll go and do the same to his fans.  Are you willing to do everything you ask people on your team to do?

I was going to call this post “Everything I Know About Business I Learned from Steve Aoki” but I don’t think anyone can learn “everything” about anything from just one person.

But that’s another story.