Countless spiritual experts point to desire as the root of unhappiness. Find contentment in the present moment and you will be happy. They’re probably right.
And yet, I can’t help but wonder about accomplishments. What are we all capable of?
An example to compare those two approaches, what if instead of meditating to be calm, you meditated to be focused and forceful? Meditation for productivity rather than spirituality or release from pain. Meditation can build a powerful mind capable of getting more done. That’s an option. It’s just not the option most people talk about.
And so despite knowing that I could be happy right now, I can’t help but also be curious. What am I capable of? What are you capable of?
That’s my starting point.
That’s why I’m so curious about self improvement, productivity, health, exercise, habits, positive psychology, coaching. What are we all capable of?
Yeah, sure, in my best moments I can accept myself as I am right now and in most moments I can accept you for whoever you are. We’ve all done the best we could to get here, by definition. And yet, no amount of acceptance has ever cured me of this curiosity. What are we all capable of?
I asked some advisors once what they thought my personal brand was and they said shameless, and then seeing my hurt face, clarified, “self improvement without shame, without any required reason other than you’re curious to know what is possible or at least what is possible for you.”
This is a key concept for me. Curiosity is an antidote for shame and the core of how I want people to experience the tools that we build.
There’s starting to be a lot of those tools. There are three publications here on Medium: Better Humans, Better Marketing, Better Programming. And then within the Coach.me universe there is a habit tracker, habit coaching and a two sided marketplace for coaches where we also put a lot of time into helping coaches level up.
I’m not thinking about branding as some sort of manipulative marketing trick. More I’m thinking about it selfishly as a tool for my own sanity. How do I answer what the heck am I doing and why?
At work we’d identified a common theme. It’s all practical advice with a side of purpose. For example, I wrote15,000 very detailed words about how to configure your iPhone to be more productive. At a glance, that article is all tactical advice. But then I want you to consider the impact of that productivity and how it can change what you bring to the world.
A “better human” is more productive and also more of a positive force. Positive impact matters, otherwise, bleh, please don’t use my tools.
Deliberate practice is that mindset that we embody as we investigate our limits. It’s intentional. It’s hard work. It takes time. It’s paired with the psychological concept of growth mindset, which, if you think about it, is really the beautiful act of having faith in yourself.
Quick fixes, i.e. those things that give the self improvement industry such a bad name, are driven by anxiety, shame, fear. Deliberate practice is the healthy side of self improvement: honest, hopeful, optimistic, worth investing time into.
So as best as I can describe the brand right now it is about connecting with the part of you that wants to live a life of deliberate practice, focusing on real results, leading to positive impact and to do that because you are feeling a curiosity about how much you can achieve and bring to the world.
I’m saying brand here when you might be thinking I should say mission. It’s because I want the mission to be accomplished in a certain way and with a certain feel, and that feel is that the tools accept you.
We are all curious about our limits and in our best moments want to do good. So if I do my job right, then maybe I can help bring into the world a vehicle or two that helps transport you in that direction.
PS. I, I, I. Lot of I in this piece. It’s the teams and community that bring the work, inspiration and ideas. That’s a couple hundred people counting editors, trainers, coaches, authors, administration. What I think is that I need to better define the container for their work so that it’s easier for them to work.