What's in a book club?

The point of a book club is to read the book together and debrief thoughts, feelings, and ideas from the book. This is both a debrief as much as it is a collaboration. The groups’ members collaborate about the book and the book's story and information.

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When a book club does not need to read a book, is it still a book club anymore? Is it a club? What if the goal is for half the people in the group to read the book and the other half to not read the book? Then the group collaborates on the ideas of the book. Half the group unbiased by the book and the other half of the group biased from the perspective of the book.

Or what if the point of the book club is to hang out, make friends, drink wine, and talk about a book? Some people read the book, some people started but did not finish, and some people didn't read it at all.

How about the book club where it is two people talking on a stage or in a video or on a podcast. Nobody else has to read the book. Is this even still a book club?

Book clubs have a certain mutuality, participation, and collaboration to them. The final idea is more than the book's content. It is a meta about the book as content for consumption through conversation. Thus people are making content about content and selling it to make money. Someone could even then start a club around the content the debrief and collaborate over. Thus having a club about the book club.

How are you labeling your meetings, content, projects, products, work, and free time? Are you giving them the right labels? Is your free time actually used for work? Is that meeting you are leading actually a meeting or is it an educational session? Are you putting the right labels on your work? Are you communicating the correct expectations?

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Intention

Every day I start with a very similar routine. I work out. I go to work. I make my coffee. I take care of the same tasks. Then I start with the variable week to week day to day and random odds and ends.

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My routine is consistent and regular. I need this routine because it starts me off in a productive consistent way. I check off some tasks that are easy. I knock off some low hanging fruit and it gives me some inertia for starting the day.

Every day I start my day in such a way I can propel myself to achieve more with the momentum to succeed and get more done. For me, starting my day with some easy tasks makes it easier to do the hard tasks later.

For other people, starting their day off with the hard tasks creates inertia. This inertia is enough to get things started.

No matter which flavor of starting your day you prefer, are you starting it with intention? Are you choosing how your day starts or are you letting your day control you? Are you taking control of what you can so you can be more effective in the things you do not control? How can you start your day in a more controlled manner?

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Grownups

When I was a little kid, I always looked up to adults. Literally, I haven’t always been six feet tall. Really though, they were the grownups. They were so much taller and smarter than I was. I wanted to be just like them when I was grownup. Tall and smart, that’s what it meant to me to be a grownup, tall and smart.

Here I am all these years later and I’m still waiting for someone to give me a badge. To let me know, I am an adult. I’m 32, a father, and I still wonder when I’ll be a grownup. Reflecting on what’s so different now from that little kid who sat in the room while his parents and their friends sat around talking and chatting about adult things. Most of which in my memory sounds exactly like the adults from Charlie Brown. I think I’m about as tall as I’ll ever be, unfortunately.

The more I reflect on what a grownup is, the more I have realized, grownups are a process not a destination. I’ll never be grownup. I will continue to grow up and develop and learn and improve and become more adult. I am definitely much taller today than I was then, but that does not seem to make me an adult. It only seems to cause others to assume I am an adult. We will see how the smart part plays out, but I like to think I am smarter today than I was then.

A grownup is a participant in the process of growing up.

I have to choose to be a participant in this process, and that is all it means to be a grownup. To keep participating in the process and never stop. To believe I have arrived at the destination of being a grownup will mean, I cannot grow any more and my potential will then have peaked.

How are you participating in the process of growing up? How are you intentionally participating in the process of growing up? What would it look like fo you to stop participating? (The best way to avoid failure is to know what it looks like.) What would it look like for you to start participating? Who can help hold you to your word to participate in the process of growing up?

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Name Time

Giving your money a name or a category is nothing new. Dave Ramsey even says it is essential for budgeting. You give your money a name before you spend it so it ends up where it needs to go.

Ideally, you would prevent yourself from spending money frivolously. But there are tools like YNAB [You Need A Budget] or Mint that will automate the process helping you retroactively finding out where your money through classifications.

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But still, why stop there? What about time?

Our time is worth more than money. We have a limited number of years, months, days, and hours. Why do we only dictate the purpose of our money. We can earn more money. We only get so much time.

We cannot invent more time. We cannot rewind the clock.

How can we create categories for our time. Fill our calendars with intentional blocks of time dedicated to what we care about. Instead of letting our days be wasted by people who want to constantly steal away our time for pop up meetings and unplanned non-emergent meetings.

Where are you spending your time? How are you keeping track of your time? When you look back on what you have done this last year, month, or week, did you do what is most important to you?

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Hitting The Mark

Where is your destination? What are your goals? How do you measure progress? How do you get there?

I recently experienced a situation where I thought I was spinning my wheels barely making any progress on what I was doing. I was trying to improve the quality of product but I felt like I was ultimately failing.

Turns out, I was not only doing a good job but out performing the widely accepted metrics of the industry.

I had no metrics of my own. I was just firing my work off into the ether and it felt like everything I was doing was barely more than a success.

Where is your destination? What are your goals? How do you measure progress? How do you get there?

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Good Job

Telling someone they have done a good job is very encouraging. I like telling people they have done a good job. I like being told I have done a good job. I especially like telling someone they have done a good job after they have done a good job.

At this point in time, I am done telling people they have done a good job. I have recently discovered how pointless it is. It is the emptiest compliment I can give someone after they have done a good job. I need to tell them what makes what their work categorically, ‘good.’

Telling a friend they did a good job after they do me a favor or make me a gift, it is an empty compliment, lost in translation. Whereas, telling them they did a good job because of their timeliness in helping with a project or pointing out how their gift has value to me and showing them they did a good job because of a specific aspect, worth more than I can ever imagine. Worth more to me and others, than I could ever imagine.

I want to bring value to the people around me and telling them how they did a good job or what they did that triggers for me a reaction of ‘good job’ takes way more than just saying good job. It takes the effort of telling them what they did that was a good job.

How do you tell people they have done a good job?

Specifically,

–JT

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Filler

I was sitting on my couch wondering what to do next. So, I picked up my phone and checked twitter…nope, zero tweets behind. Popped open my email, nope, zero new emails. Popped open Clash Royale, nope, nothing to do there.

…nothing I can think of to do.

…nothing truly, needing done.

…but I am always doing something.

Literally, even when I am sitting wondering what to do next, I am doing just that. I am wondering what to do next is doing something. I will always be doing something. How well will I choose what to do? How well will I choose how to spend my time and not allow twitter, email, or Clash to choose what I do?

If I do not choose what I am doing, someone or something else will choose for me. I will be riding along on the rails of someone or something else.

I need to choose how I spend my time not let myself be told by technology or other people. I choose what fills my time and I choose to spend my time doing something that matters and adds value to me. Or I can decide to fill my time with whatever is close at hand.

Just like the food I eat. I eat what is at hand and what is easy. When all I have around me is junk food. I eat junk food. When all I have around me is quick media and cheap entertainment. I spend all my time on quick media and cheap entertainment.

How do you spend your time? When was the last time you assessed how you spend your time? Where are you choosing to spend your time? Where is someone/something else chasing for you? Who will help you use your time better?

Choosing,

–JT