So, Sprint 1. Newsletter one. The big first.
💻What I’ve been up to…
You're here for all things educational, entertaining and inspiring as promised in my … and I'm going to tell you about....admin.
What a total disappointment, unsubscribe now!
Ross you've lost me at the first newsletter...
(I watched Four Weddings and a Funeral Last week…you might get the reference)
I also had said that I'll be discovering and building in public - in fact, what I have really been doing more mobilisation - getting things ready, setup, and working so that my ideas and the subsequent execution of these is not constantly blocked by irritating administration.
So why am I telling you about this?
Well, if I'm going to be authentic about my journey then I should really tell you the boring, tedious and frustrating moments I've had too. Being in a large company and the corporate world it is easy to over glamorise 'entrepreneurship' - yet just like any job, or really anything worth having in life, the good comes with a little admin.
Just like setting up a team for a new project, processes and systems can take time to cement, particularly when you have all options at your disposal - the productivity, SaaS and project management space nowadays is pretty overwhelming to say the least.
In all honesty I didn't quite realise how used to the systems I had in place I was, and how scattered my thoughts, ideas and general notes were. For a lot of my time at Accenture I threw notes into OneNote whilst on my laptop, whilst having Google Keep for more random notes, mostly when on my phone (my endless scroll of Google Keep made me look like I was losing the plot).
On top of this much of my digital brain has been fractured across systems. I've had personal documents in OneDrive, both my personal OneDrive and what was my work one, whilst working with teams using SharePoint, which of course has essentially evolved into the backend storage of Teams. I have some docs on Google Drive, but this seemed to be a mess, others saved to my laptop, both desktop and iCloud. I have countless books covered in highlighter pen and notes, and three separate WhatsApp groups I use to talk to myself (yes...talk to myself). I also have images of walls of post-it notes I wallpapered my old bedroom in (my housemates thought I was trying to solve a murder). I think you get the point.
This all may seem obvious and some of you might be grimacing at the thought of all this confused information, but I'm sure many can relate, and have had moments of overwhelm when trying to work out where to put notes, ideas, and ‘things’.
If I’ve made you feel stressed by the chaos above, then don’t worry, all is well.
As an organisational obsessor it didn’t take long to get things straightened out, and I’m now solely using Google Docs alongside Notion, an awesome app I’ve mentioned before which really is one to start playing around with - its potential for personal project management as well as teams is huge.
I’m also excited to explore a growing trend around networked thinking facilitated through the use of apps, a great friend of mine working on something which I know has huge potential to shift the way we organise our individual and collective minds - check it out - Clarity.so. I’ll come to networked thinking another time as it ties closely into my vision for Collecting Dots.
So, a few other things.
I've also been working to figure out how best to get both my writing, through Collecting Dots, and my services as Ross Power across.
You're all here using SubStack, a great platform, however as you've probably noticed a little light on the design side of things, hard to navigate when there is more content and much more targeted at those just looking to send out a newsletter. I’m writing articles and creating other forms of content as well - so for that I need a little more.
I opted for Webflow, the coming-of-age web design tool that is fast being seen as the leader over other more well known sites such as Squarespace, WordPress and Wix. Its Webflow University 101 crash course sold it to me - some great training on the basics communicated brilliantly with some humour thrown in. It also is largely seen as one of the most open and flexible tools for what I need in the no-code space (Bubble was another option).
I’ve also joined a great challenge, #100daysnocode created by Max Henning. I'm now part of a community which get together each week to share their no code progress in a mastermind session, plus additional learning opportunities through experts AMAs. This offers a great way of learning by doing, learning from others, and importantly some accountability. It’s worth checking out if you're interested in no code.
Perhaps not so much of an art of getting started - but a good start.
✍️What I wrote…
Like this post, I've written about some of the processes and systems I'm integrating into my professional life, although this ties in closely with the personal also. Having spent much of my time in Management Consulting project managing, facilitating teams and coaching the use of Agile and Scrum I have opted to take a somewhat similar approach to my self-employed life. I wrote about this in an article I sent out earlier this week - check it out here if you missed it:
📚 What I read…
I finished I book I started in August - Life is in the transitions, by Bruce Feiler. Bruce shares his results from studying 225 people's lives and his discovery that much of life is spent in a transition of some form, whilst fundamentally there is no set route, journey or path to follow - life is non-linear. I'm working on an article which will go into this in more detail as I really believe there are some great takeaways for people of all ages in this.
My next read, Atomic Habits by James Clear, has been on my list for some time and now feels like a good time to get started. Although I’m just a few chapters in I can already see the value of his message, and the power of setting smaller, more manageable and achievable habits rather than overarching goals which seem distant.
🦋What inspired me
I said this section would be a little more random, so, it is.
- Patagonia released a brilliant watch on YouTube - Public Trust - A feature-length documentary about America’s system of public lands and the fight to protect them. It's a really brilliant documentary which touches on the need for re-wilding - something I'm finding out the power of more recently.
- On a call I joined on Monday night to launch a 'Decelerator' a poem was used to close it out - The Invitation, Oriah Mountain Dreamer - nice way so start your day if you fancy a bit of inspiration
- And finally, a playlist which I’ve been working to below (listen below or click the Spotify logo - top right - to head over to the app…
🔦Spotlight on… Max Rostron
This week, the first of my sprint newsletters, I'll be putting the spotlight on an ex-colleague and friend who has had a tremendous impact on my learning and development over the last few years.
Max Rostron joined Accenture the same time I did during an Internship in 2016. We went on to work in a group in our training week as grads and onwards to some great projects together including spending 4 months setting up an Innovation Factory within a large company which offered the opportunity to learn a huge amount about how to create a blueprint grounded in research and experimentation before taking a product to market.
Although there are numerous things I could credit Max for, a key one and fitting for my first newsletter is that he introduced me to newsletters. Newsletters to me were somewhat of an old-fashioned thing of a bygon era (little dramatic, but they at least felt dated!). In a way I thought social media had replaced them... I was very wrong.
Seeing that Max had a good routine of reviewing his newsletters each morning, whilst others perhaps had a scroll and read a few click-baity BBC headlines, I saw the power of curated, more direct content. He had actively chosen to subscribe to each newsletter he received and each had gems of insight which might otherwise be hard to find in the depths and noise of the internet.
He’s also got some pretty unique approaches to business and innovation, whether through bringing his geography background and system thinking to innovation, or his ability to research and understand a market like no one I’ve seen before.
See what Max is up to on LinkedIn.
So overall, a sprint with some good progress and achievements but not without moments of frustration. I say frustrations as well as I’m keen to demonstrate that we all have our ups and downs in our working and personal life. In a two-week period you’re bound to both love and hate your work at some points, to feel inspired and flat, to find joy and feel lack. It’s all part of being human, so its best we are honest and open about it rather than think everyone else has it all figured out.
Thanks for reading - I hope this provided a good start to your Wednesday morning. If you made it to the end then it’s probably time to do some work, but if you’re not quite ready yet do let me know any thoughts this prompted or questions you might have in the comments below.
Oh, and if you enjoyed this and fancy buying me a coffee, well - thanks 🙂
Life is in the dots collected as much as it is in the dots connected
Enjoy the rest of your week and keep collecting dots.
All the best,