Avoid Drama

Avoid drama. Walk away in silence from anything that doesn’t improve your life. Calmness amongst chaos is a sign of emotional maturity. – Vex King (via SwissMiss)

For a friend involved in drama.


On keeping a diary

Since the start of the year, I have been trying to blog every day, and two months in I’m succeeding.  I also started a personal habit of capturing details of my weekends and being thankful for the great memories I create with my family and friends.

However, a couple of events recently have made me reflect that maybe I need to step that habit up a bit and so this week, after reading some interesting articles I’ve decided to start keeping a diary and journalling events.

My reasons – in no order of priority:

  1. Slow down for a few minutes each day, remember the good things, try and be mindful.
  2. Capture the thoughts that otherwise might just be lost in the day.
  3. Explore/test ideas that might end up as blog posts.
  4. Capture some information on new things I am adding to my routine (I already use a sort of bullet journal to track blog posts and exercise/diet)
  5. Augment my memory.

So – I purchased a Moleskine Diary (page per day) and transferred my weekend and personal journals from the beginning of 2018, out of my existing notebook, and I’m ready to go.

This morning I sat with my journal and added some thoughts from a tricky day yesterday, the stillness of that exercise was positive and I can feel that this could be a useful process for me.


Seen: Mute

This is a review of the film ‘Mute’ starring Alexsander Skarsgard and Paul Rudd. None of my reviews contain spoilers and only broad comments on the plot of a film.

Moon, directed by Dylan Jones in 2009 is one of my favourite sci-fi films, so I was really keen to watch Mute and see if the director could keep up the high quality.

Mute is set in a dystopian Berlin of the future, looking in places like Bladerunner or the more recent Altered Carbon.  It tells the story of Leo, played by Skarsgard, a mute Amish bartender who is in love with Naadirah, a waitress in the same nightclub.

After Naadirah goes missing, Leo goes on a mission to find and rescue her. This brings him into contact with a variety of underworld gangsters, pimps and prostitutes – including a pair of mercenary doctors, Cactus and Duck,  played by Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux, one of whom seems to be particularly deviant.  They spend much of their time acting like bad guys, bowling and watching girls, in between fixing up gangsters with random wounds.


The story dials back the cyberpunk setting, and focuses on the bizarre and unsettling characters – and I found the story a little bit confusing along the way.  The central story is workable, but some of the side stories (the doctors, the gangsters, a vintage car) just seem unfinished and almost incidental.

I really liked the look of the film, and particularly enjoyed some of the future technology which felt like it was properly thought through.  Instantaneous translation, drone delivery of food that tracks cell phones and medical advances, that even when used for ill, seemed to make sense.   Of course, any futuristic Berlin is going to have flying cars and giant holographic advertising – but keeping the personal tech within the realms of possibility made Mute feel sensible.

Overall, the movie could do with about 20 minutes taken out of it and a more focused approach to the central story, which despite the weird Amish thing, was actually an engaging plotline.  I was a bit disappointed that the promise of Moon was not followed up here, or in the other Dylan Jones movies.

Overall. 6/10. IMDb


A sign of ambition

“Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.” – W.H. Auden


Working Out Loud Circle – Week Six

This is part of a series of posts documenting my journey with a Working Out Loud circle, as defined in John Stepper’s book; Working Out Loud: For a better Career and Life.  You can read the rest of the series here.

I work from home on Fridays, and after morning admin the first part of my day is given over to WOL and meeting my circle online.  I find it a positive and energising way to end the week.

So what did we do this week?


Our usual check-in is a great way to start the meeting with updates on progress and a general chit-chat, one of our number was missing this week – but we still had a wide-ranging catchup on increasing our networks, the technology we were using to connect with each other, and the good connections inside & outside the group.

We talked for a while about some of the connection work feeling ‘manipulative’, but referred ourselves to the blog post by John Stepper during the week which seemed to address this quite well.

We also shared a common experience this week – all of us had spent a lot of time cleaning & decluttering, one person online and two people (including me) in the physical world.  All completely by coincidence, we had invested time in ‘clearing the decks’ and collectively we found it quite cathartic.   I’m not sure whether this need was connected to the activities of our circle over the past few weeks, and I’d be interested to see if any other circle members had this experience.  We discussed various strategies for the tidying up – and I was reminded of the excellent work of Marie Kondo.

Onto the exercises, and we all performed vanity searches of ourselves and discussed the results.  I have to admit to feeling a bit of a fraud here as I have done these before and deliberately cultivated my presence online to make sure I got this right.  I’m also behind two better known Matt Rutherfords – but I cannot do much about that.

Our general thoughts were that profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter should probably be replicated – but Facebook was more individual and open to friends and family.   We discussed ORS (Open, Random and Supportive) and how this concept is integrated into my social networking strategy.

Overall the words that kept appearing were ‘deliberate and intentional’, indicating our need to ensure that we were actively working on our profiles.

My key takeaways

  • Managing online presence is something that needs deliberate focus – it is probably worth scheduling regular time to do vanity searches and tailor your content to achieve the results you want.
  • The need to declutter arrived with all of us simultaneously, and for me, it created a feeling of well-being and clarity.   I have three or four more projects to move my life to a more clutter-free, paperless environment and I will be following up on those soon.

What did I do after this weeks meeting?

  • On request, I did searches on my other WOL Circle members and will share the results.
  • Shared a bunch of links on discussed items in our Circle Slack group.
  • Watched the Job crafting and creating meaning in your work video referenced in the circle guides.



Sunday Six Pack #4

Time to relax, pour yourself a coffee and enjoy the Sunday Six Pack, all killer, no filler, just six of the best links curated from a week of reading. Previous editions here.

Compiled whilst listening to Hans Zimmer

The Sunday Six Pack - great reading from across the web, curated for Sunday enjoyment Click To Tweet

Remember: Do Not Attempt the Ceiling

Before Email, Twitter and Instagram, people used to send postcards.   I collect these vintage postcards, for their messages as much as their pictures.

Sousse Tunisia, Vintage Postcard

Do Not attempt the ceiling. Hotel Maharba, Sousse, Tunisia - vintage postcard from 1966 Click To Tweet

This is the Hotel Maharba, in Sousse, Tunisia – from a postcard sent in May 1966.  A hotel with same name still stands.  The message inside reads:


Friday Customer Experience Pack #4

Every Friday, I’m going to round up the best Customer Experience writing I have seen during the week. Subscribe below if you’d like to receive this by email each week. Previous editions are here.

  • Over on Medium, Aytekin Tank from Jotform writes about how Customer Service is the new Marketing – I agree completely, a great customer experience is a competitive advantage.  Think of the brands you love and are loyal to – they all create great experiences and make you feel like you belong with them.
  • Richard Corps tells us that Customer Experience needs to be a board-level discussion.  The most successful companies are ensuring that the CX conversation is happening in the c-suite as they align departments and remove the silos that break the customer journey.  If your company isn’t doing this, it’s time to start influencing with strong numbers, good data and most of all insights that bring the customer to life in your boardroom.  It’s on you – the CX professional.
  • Jeanne Bliss once again drops wisdom with the three actions you need to take to prevent a CX implosion.  Reading this common sense advice is critical because I’ll bet that not all of the sense is common!
  • The ZenDesk blog is always full of wisdom, even if you aren’t a customer (I am, with no regrets) – this week that gave some great advice about how strong Knowledge Management is a key function for building high performing teams.  Using tools and processes to ensure knowledge is captured and updated is a great way to increase performance and drive good employee engagement as well.
  • Finally, at Customer Think, this article got me thinking more about the future – The Role that AI has in driving Customer Experience is really exciting. Increased speed and personalisation are goals for almost all CX professionals in 2018 – if you don’t have AI on your radar, it’s time to think about that.
The most successful companies are ensuring that the CX conversation is happening in the c-suite as they align departments and remove the silos that break the customer journey. Click To Tweet

What did I miss? Let me know the best Customer Experience writing you’ve seen this week in the comments.


Five (more) Newsletters that make you and your inbox smarter

A few weeks ago, I posted five newsletters that add something amazing to your inbox on a regular basis. Here are five more excellent, curated newsletters that I trust.

Here are five more newsletters that I would recommend a subscription to:

  • Jocelyn K Glei compiles a great newsletter on creativity and meaning – essential reading.
  • Recomendo – Six cool recommendations every week. Tech, services, books – superb content.
  • Five Bullet Friday – everyone knows Tim Ferris’ work, but this weekly email provides up to date and interesting recommendations
  • Daily Stoic – wisdom and insight from the great Stoic writers – a great read.
  • The Daily Skimm – excellent curated news from across the globel.

What newsletters have I missed, let me know your recommendations in the comments below? 


The most perfect, the most pure

Music is at once the most wonderful, the most alive of all the arts — it is the most abstract, the most perfect, the most pure — and the most sensual. I listen with my body and it is my body that aches in response to the passion and pathos embodied in this music. – Susan Sontag