Lessons for and from J: an #otherie

This morning I had to get an early cab to the airport. My driver’s name began with J and he is a 29 year old looking to make a living and a better place for himself in the world. J and I spoke all the way to the airport. We exchanged otheries. There is no photo so you will need to settle for a thousand words of what I learned. Remember this all came about because in my otherie, I concentrated on what I can give.

J showed interest in me first. He wanted to know what I did. When I said I was a consultant, he wanted to know my history, goals and how I built my consulting business.

In return, I asked what he was trying to achieve over the next 5 years. J drives a cab to make some money but want to do more. He already runs a truck and driver for furniture deliveries and wants to build that business. He’s had success with online advertising on Gumtree and wants to do more. His customers are a great source of referrals. J wants to have paid off his house by age 45.

We ended up in a wide ranging conversation about entrepreneurship, learning, hard work and creating your own luck. We both saw the value of a simple approach to building business:
– focus on finding and talking to customers
– build networks to generate additional connection to customers and to referrals
– recognise that ‘doing the same thing and expecting a different result’ is the definition of insanity. Be prepared to make changes.
– Focus your changes on small simple steps that are tests of new ways of working.
– Do more of what works. Change what doesn’t
– Ask yourself ‘what can I do more, better or different?’ Keep trying new things.
– Most of all, recognise that luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Be alert and be prepared.

That advice might be simple but we often need to be reminded to focus on the basics. I need that reminder often. J liked the focus on seeing simple steps as a way to do more and do different.

J is excited. He had a few new ideas to try. I was excited because I was reminded of the power of coaching and simple practical advice.

That’s the power of the #otherie.

2015 is the Year of the #Otherie

Photo: Very happy with myself in my selfie to end 2014.

#Selfies ruled 2014

2014 was the Year of the Selfie. We took photographing ourselves to new lengths during the year. Selfies were taken around the world.  Many were taken with and by celebrities. Selfies were photobombed by royalty. Some even chose some of the year’s worst disasters as a moment to share their image. We even created the selfie stick to take better photos of ourselves.

We love our own image. We know it well from our relationships with cameras and mirrors. Our self-image helps us shape our relationship with the world and the selfie was undoubtedly part of that relationship. One has only to look at all the photos of people holding smartphones before mirrors on Instagram to reflect on the significance we invest in sharing a good self-image. These images are as carefully curated illusions as the pages of most lifestyle magazines.  The competition of selfies invites me to remember the useful adage about self-image: “Never compare someone else’s showreel to your cutting room floor”.

Sadly, we often forget to invest the same time and effort in others around us.

The Year of The #Otherie

What if we made 2015 the Year of the Otherie? Instead of focusing our attention and sharing on ourselves, an otherie would focus our sights on the other relationships in our life. I am inspired by the ongoing focus on the person-to-person economy of Jonathan Anthony.  Jonathan is a great proponent of the selfie but he also stressed the opportunity to engage with others deeply. We are who we are not just because of our self-image but also because of those around us.  

Understanding others help us to be more human and better leverage the new opportunities of our network economy.  It also helps us to improve our own self-image.  Internal thoughts are no match for the creative and energising potential of purposeful and personal dialogue with another. We see ourselves better through the lens of another person’s eyes.

What would change if we started to take a good hard look at the others around us? What if we focused on their self-image, their worldview, their experiences and their goals? A selfie is an momentary blast of image. An otherie will be the foundation for a growing dialogue and relationship between two people.

Go out and take an otherie, a photo of someone else. Make it a basis for a conversation about their worldview, their goals and their self-image.  Share what you learn, add your #otherie tag and step by step we will turn 2015 into the Year of the Otherie.

I look forward to sharing an #otherie or several here as the year progresses.