One Apple A Day #435 – To be heard, start listening

“The desire to be heard is as deeply seeded as the desire to be loved. For some people, it doesn’t matter who’s on the other end.” ― David Levithan

The longing to be heard and seen is part of our human nature. It is a manifestation of our need to belong, to be loved.

In a world that is more and more crowded, in which we are flooded with data and information, and in which everything moves and changes at ludicrous speed, being heard seems a nearly impossible challenge.

People are desperately trying to be seen.
In this desperate effort to be heard they shout louder and louder.
At the point that we can’t hear anything else than our own voices.

Isn’t it ironic?
The yearning to be heard and seen is making us deaf and blind to others.

What if, the only way to be seen and heard is to stop talking so we can start observing and listening to others?

One Apple A Day #434 – An easy win

Today may be the most important day of your year.

It’s the 2nd day of this new year, but for most of us, it’s the first one of the chase of the new dreams, goals and aspirations we established for ourselves.

Dreaming and setting goals is an exciting exercise. It got us all pumped up. Yesterday our phone was flooded by wishes and inspiring messages.

Then, this morning reality comes knocking at the door, and suddenly those goals seem so big and so far away.

The first doubts pop up in our mind.

Where do we start?

What can we do today?

We have these big dreams, but we don’t know what to do, Today.

My wise friend Karen once told me “If you don’t know what to do, do something“.

The first step is the most important of them all. It’s the one stating to yourself and the universe that you are 200% committed to this journey.

So, doing something and start is more important than what you actually do.

But you need to start Today. You need to set things in motion.

Here’s a simple trick that my mentor Rossella taught me in one of our conversations.

Start with an easy win. Something so small and so easy you can not succeed.

Think about your goal and ask yourself: What is the tiniest and easiest thing that I am sure I can do Today and can take me an iota closer to my goal? 


This post was inspired by the Be The Change card I picked this morning. It says “Step forward, make yourself available. Commit.

One Apple A Day #433 – The last page

Here you are, at the beginning of the last day of 2018.
There won’t be any other day so this is a goodbye for good.

I don’t know you, but I’ve always been better at starting things.
I love the excitement of a new beginning so, I was quick to jump on new things to avoid the experience of closing the old ones.
It wasn’t important if the old things were a success or a failure. I didn’t want to leave behind the pleasure of the firsts, and I was eager to run away from the laters.

And over time, all those unclosed things started weighing on my shoulders. Like chains, they were dragging me back making my steps heavier and slower. Until I couldn’t move forward anymore.

So I had to pause and take the time to say goodbye, keep the lessons learned and then let them go for good.

When you get to the last page of the book, you need to close it to leave space for a new story. No matter how good or how bad the book was. If you don’t close it and put it away, after a while, it will clutter your desk, and you won’t be able to read anything new.

I don’t know how your 2018 has been. Maybe it was the best year of your life so far. Or perhaps it was of those shitty years you want to forget as soon as possible. However it was, you are on the last page.

Take some time to take your learnings and close the book.  So, tomorrow you will be able to start a new story without any chain holding you back.

One Apple A Day #431 – Being present amidst change

Have you already wrote your new year resolutions?

What do you want to achieve next year?  Do you have goals or aspirations? Are there new things you want to get or old ones to leave behind?

When I reviewed my last twelve months, I realised that most of the things that happened were unexpected. They weren’t in my plan for the year.

In hindsight, I wouldn’t even be able to think about some of them one year ago. They were entirely outside of my awareness.

This realisation left me with a big question; if everything changes in life, is it worth it to plan my next months?

General Dwight D. Eisenhower said that “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable“.

You should look at planning not as a way to draw a clear and detailed path forward but as a way to gain awareness about where you are, where you want to go, and why you want to go there.

About who you are and who you want to grow into.

Everything will change, you can be sure about that.  So, don’t be attached to your plan but anchor yourself to who you are and your values. This way you’ll be able to present and thrive amidst change.

One Apple A Day #429 – Be the spark

Think about a relationship of yours.
One that is not working as you wish.
It may be with your lover, or with a member of your family.
Or maybe it’s a friendship or a professional relationship.

It doesn’t matter. Just pick one and reflect on the following question.

In percentage, how much the status of this relationship is your responsibility?

Zero? Fifty?

I believe the only possible answer is 100%.
Yes, you are fully responsible.
I know, you can’t change the other person.
And often you can’t improve the situation in which you are.
But as Viktor Frankl wrote, “when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.

It’s only when you take full responsibility for something that you can become the spark that ignites the change.
And this is when the magic happens.
When you become the spark, something beautiful and surprising manifests.
New possibilities to which you were totally blind.

So, go all in, take full responsibility and be the spark in your relationships.

Review your 2018

Here we are, almost at the end of 2018.

A few days more and also this year will be part of the past.

For some of us, these days are also an opportunity to slow down, look back, review the past year and maybe set a few goals for the new one. Wins and losses, successes and failures, the things we started and the things we closed, the people we met and the ones we lost.

How did you assess your 2018?

And how did you plan the new one?

I used to do a performance-oriented review. I measured the finishing year through the filter of the goals and intentions set 12 months before. And then I plan out some SMART goals for the next 12 months.

To be honest, it hasn’t always worked well. If you read some of my past articles, you probably already know that I’m not very good with goals.

So, this year I decided to do things differently. I decided to look at the past through the lenses of the future, and look at the future through the lenses of the past.

I’ve challenged myself to review 2018 as if the whole year was the preparation for the next one. Everything I’ve done, everything that happened, all my experiences were meant to set me up for the best year ever; the incoming 2019.

With this mindset, I shifted the focus from goals and performances to my learnings and my evolution as a human being. And it makes me feel a lot more positive about the next year. Now I have more clarity about my future direction, and I feel ready to celebrate the end of 2018 properly.

I created a document with all the questions I’ve designed for my own year-end review.

You can download it from here.

I hope it’ll help you find some insights to design you 2019 adventures!

One Apple A Day #424 – On knowledge and action

Knowing what to do it’s not the same as doing what you know.
I’m reminded of this simple truth every day.
I dedicate some time every day to nourish my knowledge.
I read, study, have conversations.
I learn new strategies and discover new perspectives.
And sometimes I write about the things I’ve learned.
However, all the knowledge of the world is meaningless if I don’t act on it.

Knowledge is not power. It’s just potential.
It’s when we act that we transform it into power.

So, the right questions we should ask every time we learn or discover something is “what do I do with this new knowledge or insight? How can I act on it?”.

And not only in that moment. We should ask those questions every day.
I should.
This morning I realised that in my burning desire to learn and acquire new knowledge, I forget to act on it.
Even worst, it’s getting in the way of habits that are important to me.

So today I’ll focus on acting on what I know before learning something new.

“I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee

One Apple A Day #422 – On self-compassion

I can see it coming.
It’s like watching myself from the outside.
I can observe the whole scene as it was a movie.
The external trigger and my internal reaction.
I can clearly see the inner pain surging and opening its way to the surface.

I can see it, but I can’t stop it.
All the work I’ve done on myself gave me the ability to see my reactions when they are happening. I learned what triggers me and I can spot all the signs.
Yet, I can’t stop all of this from happening.
Some reactions, some beliefs are wired so profoundly that it’s hard to change them.
I may, one day. Or I may not.
At some point in my self-development journey, I thought I would be able to change everything. So, it was frustrating to see some patterns surfacing without me being able to do anything to fix them.
Until I realised that I don’t have to.
There are things we can not change. Not now at least.
I’m learning to be present with what it is.
Through self-compassion, I’m finding peace.

One Apple A Day #421 – It starts with a choice

In my experience, any sustainable change in our life takes at least four stages:

  1. Becoming aware of what you want to change
  2. Choose to change
  3. Act on the choice
  4. Make it stick

They are all vital and, with different labels, you can find these steps in self-development journeys.

But this morning I woke up realising how often the second stage is overlooked.

To want a change is not enough to make it happen.

You need to make a choice. A deliberate choice.

You need to transform a desire into a clear intention and then into an objective.

This is particularly true when we talk about innovation. Innovation is a deliberate human change to something existing to create something new that has an impact.

It’s not enough to need or want to innovate.  You need to choose to innovate. To set the intention on which you can act.

So, if you want to be an innovator the first step is to choose to be one.

It’s not easy, I know.

I wrote this post to remind myself that it’s not enough to want to change.

I need to make a choice.

Now. Here.

One Apple A Day #419 – Thriving in complexity

The world has become a complicated place to live and work.
Business experts call it the VUCA world.

“Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.”

Hasn’t it always been like that? I mean, with our knowledge we can look back to a few centuries ago and say that life was much easier. But how was living for the people at that time? With their knowledge and understanding of the world?
My point is that, no matter how far we expand our knowledge and understanding, our boundaries extend with us. And the universe outside, the space of the not known, will always look volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

The other evening, I was talking to a small crowd about leadership, and this question emerged.

If the world will always be complex and uncertain, how do we thrive in this complexity?

Immediately another question popped up in my mind.

Who do we know that thrive in complexity and uncertainty?

I smiled because the answer looked so obvious at that moment.
Children. To them, this world made of and by adults must look so volatile, complex, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. With their short and unstable feet, their small hands, their limited language everything must seem so complicated.

Yet, they thrive.

What can we learn from a growing toddler?