start with why

Donna Knutt – CEO of Luxie Labs

Donna Knutt is a coder, designer, mom and CEO of Luxie Labs, these are her good things.

Good things to read.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.   Ahhh procrastination. The enemy of us all! When Mike asked me to write my 3 things I was excited to share. The professional in me said “oh that’s easy, just jot down your 3 things for each category and you’re done…easy peasy.” Two days later, no list. How could something so seemingly simple be so darn difficult to complete. Pressfield calls it Resistance. It’s that destructive force inside us that rises whenever we embark on a difficult, or lengthy task that might do for us or others something that’s actually good. Its aim is to distract us; prevent us from doing our work. Yes even with years of business and writing experience, I let fear beat me until I remembered what Pressfield said. “Resistance hates it when we turn pro.” If you’ve ever struggled with completing any creative endeavor, (starting a biz, writing a book, running a marathon, etc) read The War of Art. It’ll help you overcome those obstacles we all bump into, and develop a more disciplined version of yourself. Highly recommend it!

The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau.  You know those books that you read that make you wonder if the author was secretly spying on you or ninja-ed their way into your head? Well this is one of those books. If you’ve ever felt that there’s gotta be more to life, or that you were meant to do something great but you weren’t sure what or how, then read the AONC. Chris shows you another way to live. In his words, the overall message of the book is this: “You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and make the world a better place at the same time. Here’s how to do it.” It’s a book I recommend to all my friends and clients who are “non-conformist” like myself. And once my son learns how to read, please believe it’ll be on his reading list!

The Bible. I remember reading a story about George Buttrick, a former chaplain at Harvard University a few years ago. His students use to come to his office, plop down on his chair and say, “I don’t believe in God,” and Buttrick would give them this charming response: “Sit down and tell me what kind of God you don’t believe in, I probably don’t believe in that God either.” Most people have a distorted view of who God is, and they reject him because of past experiences, the church, family, movies, etc. But if you’re anything like me, you probably hate when people assume things about you that aren’t true. And I believe if we take the time to really read the bible for ourselves, we’ll develop a different view and better understanding of not only God but ourselves. The most challenging part though is sometimes “where do I start?” I say start anywhere. If you have to choose, I like Romans. It’s short, easy to read, and covers basically everything we need to understand and do while we’re chillin here on earth 🙂

Good things to watch.

The Good Life Project TV.  The Good Life Project TV is a weekly web show that highlights authors, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and innovators that are building meaningful things and bringing people together. Very inspiring!

Simon Sinek – Start With Why.   In this video, Sinek explains why some people or organizations are more innovative and influential, and how they are able to build and sustain large communities around their brand.

The sunset on the beach. It’s a totally magical and peaceful experience; To just sit and marvel at all that God has created.

Good things to use.

Your gut.  I can’t tell you how many times I went through something and had a gut feeling, but totally ignored it, only to find myself disappointed or stressed because I didn’t listen to myself. It’s happened too many times for me not to bring this one up. Normally we get to a point where we have to make a decision about something. It could be a job offer, a relationship, school, basically any life changing decision that will totally alter our mere existence! We dance around the options, knowing full well what we should do deep down inside. So the next time you come across a hard decision, trust your gut. It’s our internal guide or compass of sorts that directs us to exactly where we need to be.

Evernote.  This app is a lifesaver. I can jot down ideas, attach images, recordings, etc. and it syncs across all my devices. It’s a nice neat place to get all my ideas out of my head and into an organized space online (I’m actually writing this in Evernote right now).

Your muscles.  I recently did the Spartan Race in Citi Field. It was a total experience! I had never done any kind of race like it in my life, but after seeing a video about it I knew I had to do it! Everything about it was intimidating (3-4 miles of obstacles: rope climbing, crawling, lifting, you name it) but I was up for the challenge. It required mental toughness and physical strength so I had to train. Training for it showed me that if I pushed myself, I was capable of doing way more than I gave myself credit for. And the biggest thing I learned was that most obstacles we face are more mental than anything. So no matter your age, get out there and exercise. Push yourself. If it means signing up for something crazy like the Spartan Race, so be it. Just get out there.

Connect with Donna on Twitter, @DonnaKnutt.

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Paul Copcutt – personal brand builder

These are Paul Copcutt’s good things

What are some good things you’ve read?

The Brand You 50 by Tom Peters – was the first book I read on personal branding and led me to doing what I do now. Made me realise that what I had been doing in a corporate career that starting in banking and ended in biotech (I failed math and biology in school) now had a label – personal branding. Still one of the better ‘tips’ books on the subject.

Linchpin by Seth Godin – great book to make people understand and realise the importance of taking charge of their careers (and lives). Make yourself indispensible.

Drive by Dan Pink – if you need to understand what motivates and inspires anyone you work with under the age of 35 read this. Also to help understand where the world of work (and more) is heading and why traditional models need to change.

What are some good things you’ve watched?

RSA Animate of Sir Ken Robinsons TED Talk – an entertaining and fast visual way to appreciate Sir Ken’s passion for changing education and why it is so key.

RSA Animate of Dan Pink’s summary of his book Drive – if you do not want to read the book, listen to author summary and visual capture in cartoon.

Start With Why? – TED Talk by Simon Sinek -no real need to pick up the book after watching this. He captures it all on one sheet of flipchart and makes a compelling case for starting with Why. After all what use is anything else or action unless you have a burning reason to do them .

What are some good things you’ve used?

StandOut assessment by Marcus Buckingham. A leader in the idea of maximising your strengths. I have always found it hard to even remember half the time what my Myers Brigs is, let alone what they mean. With this he distills your strengths down to two.

360 Reach assessment – the first and still the best personal brand assessment. Gather others perceptions of your brand and use that information to develop your unique message.

EvalYOUation – if you do not define your core values and what they mean to you how can you make objective decisions about your career, life and personal brand.? Take the time to get very clear on these, it sets your moral compass.