Happy new(ish) year
Today will be the quickest possible version of an update on what's happened since I last wrote here, and I'm going to leave a bunch out. And if I manage to stick to my current routine, you'll hear from me a little more frequently this year...
I'm someone who leaves the Christmas tree up and writes her holiday cards in January then fails to mail most of them
so I'm just going to start where I am today
which is mid-February, wishing you all a happy new year.
Today will be the quickest possible version of an update on what's happened since I last wrote here, and I'm going to leave a bunch out. And if I manage to stick to my current routine, you'll hear from me a little more frequently this year since (with help) I'm making progress on building a rhythm for my writing and creating time even with it spread across a few projects.
For the folks who are new here, welcome. What you can expect is an intermittent email from me – sometimes stream of consciousness, sometimes more formal and polished – that blurs the lines between my work and life and delves a bit deeper into the very perfectly-imperfectly human stuff. By day, I'm the founder and principal consultant of Red Currant Collective, a strategy consultancy that exists to help changemakers transform our workplaces and world. If you know me, you know: I’m at the rebellious, activist end of the business-wonk spectrum. I work mostly with organizations rejecting or shifting away from traditional top-down power-based leadership and management ops to more equitable (and impactful) ways of working.
It's pretty rad. I love what I do, and the clients I get to do it with.
And then when I'm not doing that, my life revolves around a wacky Venn diagram of motorcycles, creativity, well-being (including mental health and sleep) and human behavior. It turns out, my brain is wired a little differently so my experience of the world is as a forever-student: observing human behavior as neutral facts and information, puzzling to understand it, and then dreaming up how the puzzle pieces may fit together and how the dots connect. And because so much of my cognitive processing is spent on all of the above, I learn in public since over the years I've discovered
I'm not alone
and other people tell me that my writing (and teaching, and content) helps them
so I keep doing it.
Tomorrow, I'm going to send another email with an ask: we're in our pre-season community-and-fundraising-building phase for the race team, and just in case there are folks here with businesses who are looking for a high-value, low-cost way to increase brand love who would like to work with me and our team in 2022 in a sports marketing and/or content collab capacity, I'd love to connect. (Also, if you're a fan and would like to support the team I'll include a few notes about the benefits of doing so tomorrow, too.)
Today, I wanted to just send a recap of some of what you may have missed since November while I've been thinking in this direction but not actually sitting down at the keyboard for you all.
Hello, fellow ThinkyDoers
First, the ThinkyDoers podcast is now live. The first episode link, embedded player and full transcript are online here, and ThinkyDoers should now be available wherever you like to listen to podcasts (let me know, if it isn't). Each month I'll post one long-form episode (but by long-form, I'm aiming for 20-30 min, max) about a topic I'm currently fixated on building thinking and doing around. That first episode dives into why – with Q1 over 30% complete – we may find ourselves having made no (or little) progress on the big, bold goals we likely set for ourselves at the turn of the new year. No shame: it's just human behavior. Achieving goals means changing our behavior, and we are literally wired to resist change. Episode one dives into why that is, some simple steps to overcome the resistance to change, and then how to scaffold a plan for behavior change that actually makes sense and will help YOU.
The next episode is going to be spicy. It's in the works now, and I'm taking on the subject of "managing up." I started with a particular point of view on the subject, and after diving into the rabbithole of where that concept came from and how it evolved, I'm absolutely on fire about why and how we need to replace "managing up" with a more accessible and universal approach to self-management. Episode 2, later this month, will cover the highlights and I'm working on a longread that dives deeper that I'll share on my website as a follow-up.
Update on The RCCO Beta Reader Community
I was shocked by how many of you opted in to read my early drafts of the two books I have in progress, and then doubly-shocked by how awful the community platform I trusted to host that community actually worked (or rather, did not work at all). So for those of you feeling left out, since you joined and then haven't heard a peep from the Beta Reader Community other than a couple of emails with broken links in them, you have not missed a thing.
I'm going to shift that community to another platform that will actually work, so my apologies for the inconvenience and delay. (You also don't need to re-add yourself; when I shift to the new platform, I'll add the folks who already opted in.) If you are new here and missed this whole debacle, and would like to join when we get onto the new platform, I've got a waiting list going right here.
Book writing is so hard, you guys. I've been a writer my whole life, and I honestly had no idea. I am endlessly grateful to my editor, Julie B, who is not currently available for projects but I'm dropping her link here so you can bookmark it and/or follow her on social because she's absolutely freaking amazing. Having an "accountability buddy" means that more has gotten written (and rewritten, multiple times) than would have happened otherwise, and her steady, helpful feedback and structural help has made me very aware of how different an animal book writing is than the stream of consciousness I've written in for 40mumble years now. There have been many points in the last few months where I almost threw in the towel on the idea of writing books, but it's also been a place of profound experimentation and learning for me in terms of asking for help, and also, puzzling out how to activate to do the things that I want to do that are hard.
The angels at HireRunner also matched me with Morgan, who my friend / professional collaborator Sarah Moon (can I call you that, Sarah? How would you describe us?) calls "The Magic Person," who joined my team to provide operational assistance and has turned into my "get the eff out of your own way" coach. Thanks to Morgan, I'm practicing and learning how to remove my barriers to activating to sit down and just write, and how to handle my internal resistance to do so by adding a few pre-steps that don't involve sitting at my keyboard effortfully trying to extract meaning from the piles of disassembled LEGOs in my brain. Those learnings have lead to me doing more contexting – looking at the past to learn where what I do today descends from, as a warm-up step – and holy cow
I forgot how awesome it is to get that kind of curious and then see what dots I can connect. It's making the work so much better. And now I find myself increasingly doing those prep steps and feeling inspired to sit down and start writing because it would be easier than my preparation – and that feeling, of – oh gosh, I've organized myself enough that I can now write with ease
that's a feeling I can't even describe. It's life-changing.
Morgan also came in from the outside, has patiently worked to help me externalize the disorganization that I spend most of my life working hard to mask (there's a reason I'm a professional thinker, planner and goal expert who learns in public: it's all adaptive, and developing ways for me to exist in the work world with joy has been extremely difficult for me to learn, so my personal mission is to reduce suffering in our collective work-lives so we can ALL feel more joy and satisfaction in our work). She's stuck with me through both of our cognitive gremlins on a rather difficult learning journey, and one day a few weeks ago she looked at me across the video call line and said: "More people need to hear what you're saying."
And that one simple statement from a person who came in from the outside and has been invited into the messiest middle of it all
may be responsible for me doing the work to figure out how to get out of my own way to keep my book projects moving forward.
(Morgan is in school right now, she's up to her eyeballs in designing and building a "second brain" for me and Red Currant Collective, and she's building out her own reproduceable processes and what works with me as an (I'd say especially difficult) test subject, so I'm not linking to her as a referral yet, but you better bet I'll shout from the rooftops when she has availability and is ready for referrals.)
Long story short: thanks to Julie, Morgan, and the occasional pings I get from those of you who opted in asking "Where are my beta chapters?" the books are both moving forward. So stay tuned for the community platform shift, and to chapters becoming available as soon as I can make that technology swap.
And I'm being goofy, daily, on TikTok
We started a TikTok for the race team mid-season last year and there are all sorts of dark sides to TikTok and I have to admit: creating content for TikTok reminds me of why I got into the internet in the mid-90s in the first place. I had actual fun creating content for the race team, and I have to be honest: I haven't had fun with social media in years. I've worked in the space for my entire career even when social wasn't my job title, and I have not loved the pay-to-play, capitalistic, democracy-smashing evil platform era of social. TikTok is all of the above, so it's not a "good actor" (social platforms are like cell phone manufacturers – it's a place where I am suspicious of anyone who claims to be a good actor
with one notable exception: OwnTrail – which I adore, and use myself, and I'm loving seeing OwnTrail grow and evolve).
And, it's a really fun place to make content. I have to set timers to manage my consumption because the algorithm is SCARY GOOD so it can be a profound source of revenge bedtime procrastination and/or infinite scroll time-loss
but actually making content for the platform is really fun. And I haven't used the word "fun" with the words "social media" since about 2008.
The race team is on there, and this month I'm doing a daily challenge on my own personal handle, @saralobkovich where I'm asking and answering questions each (most) days this month about OKRs and goal-setting and attainment. Reply here with any questions you have, and I'll answer as many as I can this month (and beyond).
(Some days I don't have the OKR-energy, so I do reserve the right to share an occasionally goofy Gibson update.)
I'm unfiltered on there: full dish. In other channels I have been very careful with what I say in the space because ultimately I'm speaking to business leaders, but TikTok is the video equivalent of THIS email newsletter, where I share the real-real. The biggest surprise has been my clients' reactions: I even had one client ask if I could record a few upcoming trainings in the style I'm using on TikTok instead of as conventional 10-15 minute slideshow-based learning objects and that's a HARD YES.
So if TikTok's not your thing, I'm working on shifting copies of the ones that connect to my work life into an owned space on my website as part of the ThinkyDoers resource center (they're not there yet, but it's in the works), and if it is, you'll find me on there @saralobkovich.com.
Alright. That's enough for today, since you'll see me again tomorrow, after all.
I hope your new year is off to a healthy start, full of hope and plans for self-care to make and keep for yourself. (And given that it's February 15th, so if that new year hope and self-care plan has fallen off the radar, it's a great time to bring it back to your attention.)
See you tomorrow, friends!
P.S. In keeping with today's subject line: A New Year affirmation for artists via Giselle Buchanan on Instagram:
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