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 #430 – Trust

What is trust?

According to the dictionary, it is a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something“.

For the same dictionary, a belief is “an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof“.

I grew up learning that trust must be earned. That I have to prove to others that I’m worth of their trust. Though, according to the dictionary trust is the belief that something is true. And a belief doesn’t require proof.

Proofs are all about the past. When we use them to define our future, we are limiting our options to what is probable and predictable.

Trust is all about the future. It’s about what is possible beyond what it’s probable. It is about accepting that we don’t know what lies ahead and yet, we move forward. That we are not in control of anything but our choices.

Trust is a choice.

How would our lives change if we start with trust?

How would our relationships change if we choose to give trust instead of asking for proofs?

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.

One Apple A Day #428 – Celebrating who we are

It’s that time of the year when we look back, and we measure how far we’ve gone in the last 12 months.

What questions do you ask yourself? How do you assess your year?
I use to count my our successes and failures, to check if I have reached the goals I set at the beginning of the year, to evaluate my performances.

Isn’t this what most of us do? In particular, in a professional or business context, this is how we decide if there is something to celebrate or not.

Don’t get me wrong, measuring performances is essential for a sustainable business. And it’s important to celebrate achievements.

But what would happen if we also ask some other powerful questions?

What have we discovered about ourselves this year?
How much have we been true to who we are?
How many times our choices have we been aligned to our vision?

How great would it be, at the end of the year, to celebrate all the times when we have been true to who we are?

One Apple A Day #427 – Words create Worlds

How much attention do you put on the words you use?

A few days ago, while I was checking the news online, a headline captured my attention. It was about UN chief António Guterres who, during an of the year press event, called all countries in the world for a renewed commitment to a “rules-based global order“.

Words create worlds.

They have this power.

This is why it is so important to choose wisely the words that you use.

In your own life but it’s even more critical when you are a leader. As leaders, the language we use helps shape the cultures we lead.

So, what does a “rules-based global order” says about the world the leader of UN envision? To me, it talks about a world based on fear and lack of trust. It talks about protecting the status-quo instead of moving towards the future.

Is this the world that you want?

I know for sure it’s not the world that I want.

I’m ready to commit to a “values-inspired global vision“. One driven by trust, love, compassion, forward thinking.

What about your words?

Are they reflecting the world that you want to create in your life?

One Apple A Day #426 – Giving and receiving

It’s Christmas time.
That period of the year in which we buy presents for the people we love.
And it makes me think about the power of giving and the struggle of receiving.

At an emotional level, I’m used to exchange.
You give me something, and I feel the need to provide you with something in return. Or I give you something, and I expect for you to have something for me.

To give without attachment is more complicated.
Being able to just give without expecting anything in return, not even a thank you.
I observed that It’s easier when I am giving to someone in need or when I’m making a donation to a cause.
It’s easier because it makes me feel a better person. But also because when I give to someone in need, I put myself on higher ground.
As a giver, I have the power. The energy flows from me down to the other person.

As I learned last summer, the real challenge it ’s to receive without attachment.
I grew up knowing that everything as a price.
You don’t just accept something, you have to give something back.
It’s a matter of pride.
To accept something without giving nothing in exchange, that’s the big challenge.

One Apple A Day #425 – Collect vs Connect

Yesterday, during a lovely conversation about wisdom with two fabulous ladies, I was gifted with this insights; knowledge is about collecting dots, wisdom is about connecting them.

We live in an era of big data, sensors and deep learning.

We can measure almost everything.

We can know a lot.

But does all this knowledge make us wise?

I believe that real wisdom doesn’t come from having more dots but from finding ways to connect them.

With this idea in mind, I was reflecting about the way we talk with each other. Most of the time we enter a conversation to collect dots. Collecting is a one-way process from others to us. Yes, we may have to give something in exchange to obtain what we want, but all our focus is on what we get and not on what we offer.

Connecting, on the other side, is a two-way process. It’s not about the “what”, it’s all about the “how” and the “why”. When we enter a conversation to connect with others we must open up, we have to listen to a deeper level so we can open a new channel where things flow in both direction.

So, I have an invitation for you.

Next time you join a conversation, ask yourself this simple question: “Am I here to collect or to connect?”

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 #423 – The silence within

I don’t know how long I’ve been staring at this empty page.
My process to write these short posts is very simple.
I start a 15 minutes timer, and I open an empty document.
That’s it.
Whatever comes out of my head ends up here.
There are morning when it’s easy.
The words were already there, waiting for this moment.
Other mornings, like this one, my mind is empty: no ideas, no thoughts, no words.
It’s funny because most of the time I can’t stop my mind from thinking no matter how hard I try. I usually struggle to slow down my thoughts, to take a pause and be present in the moment.
And now that I need my mind to work, I got only silence.

Though, there is incredible power in not thinking. We may discover that we have other sources of intelligence; some within us like the physical one and the emotional one. Others are unlocked when we connect to something bigger.

When we pause our inner voice, we can source the words from the universe.

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.