My journey at Redefine Us officially began on the 21st of August 2015. It was then that we had worked out the agreement under which we would collaborate. It immediately struck me that this was not a contract, but an agreement between two people. This was not about being held responsible by a piece of paper, but an agreement to the way things will be done to achieve a common purpose.

 

Noam prepared the first draft of this agreement, and I was asked to be an active participant in creating this agreement.

Find below the main clauses, with a brief explanation of what they meant:

 

1.    We will build the ship as we sail

We agree that we’ll have to figure things out as we work together. We will make mistakes and we will resolve them through fearless honesty. We will get things done with the resources we have and find creative solutions to be effective and efficient.

 

What I did:

I’ve always been comfortable with ambiguity and so this was very exciting for me. A good example of this is our use of online tools. At the start of me working with Noam, we chose Trello - a website that allows for companies to organize and collaborate on projects. At first, it was a mess, we created many sections and subsections and for a while we even stopped using it. Eventually, we simplified our use of it, Noam discovered a way to use it for clients, and it became effective again.

What I suggest:

Just start. Many people like to plan out think and are consumed by the idea that everything needs to be planned out perfectly. Think about how you plan on doing something ONCE, then start. Things will build up from there.

 

2.      We are building for the future:

We agree that we will keep track of everything we do, the mistakes we made and the learning we gained. We will record processes and create guidelines so that others can walk in our steps.

  

What I did:

At first I respected this agreement. I kept a record of my activities and time spent on It in my quantified self (See Dictionary). It was very useful. Keeping a record like that makes you REALLY aware of what you’re actually doing. It keeps you on your toes. It was so effective in keeping on my toes that eventually I stopped doing it because it was just too stressful.

While I may not have kept that record, I always kept a different kind of record: my every week fearless conversations with Noam. I never shied away from telling the truth, and the intensity of those conversations have kept them etched in my memory.

What I suggest:

If you decide to get into a race with yourself to see how much you can do, this is a GREAT tool. Also, while the quantified self is quite useful, you might want a different way to record: a diary, drawing maps of the day, whatever suits you.

Experiment with the methods for a month. Choose one, then choose how many times a week you want to do it, and at what time of day and STICK with it. There will be times when you’ll stop seeing the point, when you’ll think it’s not essential. That is when you simply have to trust your initial decision, and do it.

 

3.      We are both 100% responsible:

We agree that we are both 100% responsible for our actions. It is by showing up with 100% that we create together more than we create alone. Noam will increase the intensity when he believes Dan can do more, but Noam cannot read Dan’s mind: ultimately, Dan holds the power of intensity of work.

 

What I did: Read this guide, it’s essentially about this.

 

4.      We will focus on our purpose:

Focus on purpose.jpg

We agree that before taking action, we will ask ourselves in order: why we’re doing this? how we’re doing it? and only then what we’re going to do? We focus our attention on creating the most impact. We enable people to create masterpieces and to make their lives more magical.

 

 What I did:

I did this all the time, constantly, about everything. I did this at two levels:

1. General - I looked at the grand picture. Why am I working at RU? What purpose will this particular piece of work serve in the grand scheme of RU and my life?

2. Local - I looked at the purpose of the particular piece of work I was doing. For example, when writing an article I would ask: Why am I writing this? - to transmit X message to Y audience. How am I doing it? - With clear, simple, powerful language. What am I doing? - A simple, powerful coaching article which aims to transmit X message to Y.

What I suggest:

1. For every situation, find the right questions and remember them. So, if you’re writing an article, dont ask yourself ‘why am I working at Redefine Us?’ - it may sound stupid but I did it. Repeatedly. Create a record of questions for the right situations, so that you can always fall back on them, rather than having to think about it too much.

2. Take a limited time to do this. It’s very easy to get drawn into this questioning process. If you’re writing an article, take 10 minutes to ask yourself the questions, then START.

 

5.   We Walk the Talk:

We agree that we believe in a healthy mind in a healthy body, therefore we practice meditation and physical exercise (isometric, cardio, flexibility and coordination), we have a balanced and healthy diet, we learn, we make time for silence, to slow down, to enjoy the moment, we give ourselves pleasures and time alone. We are fearless in our honesty and in our actions.

 

What I did:

For the most part I have walked that talk. In terms of meditation and exercise, I tried two different approaches:

1. All out - I attempted to do hard exercise and long meditation every morning and evening. I succeeded for two weeks with this approach and then I fell out of it.

2. 10 minutes approach: At some point, I decided I’ll do just 10 minutes of exercise, and 10 minutes of meditation every morning and evening. This has worked really well and I’ve now kept it up for over two months.

What I suggest:

I think the small steps approach works best with any new habit you want to ingrain in your routine. This is because life is busy, and you have limited energy and will-power. Often, all it takes is missing one day of your routine and it can shatter your confidence in it. I’ve seen this in many people. It’s simply hard to do A LOT every day. But 10 minutes. 10 minutes is easy, it’s more like: ‘So what if I’m tired? It’s just 10 minutes’

 

6.      We are building a profitable business

We agree that high profitability enables us to create more. Therefore we focus our attention on creating high level clients and on creating products accessible to a wide audience. We build smartly, efficiently and we add more value than we ask for. By creating the best products and services (ie. that have the most impact), we create financial wealth.

 

What I did:

I did not pay so much attention to this area of the business. I did create a product accessible to a wide audience - The Invitation, but I didn’t focus on spreading and marketing that product. Why? One factor is my relationship with money, which is detailed in this guide. The other is my lack of marketing skills and knowledge.

What I suggest:

Understand that your presence in the company needs to bring money. And understand that you can’t do everything. Get good at something/a few things and stick with them. Otherwise you are fated to be a ‘Jack of all trades but master of none.’

 

7.      There are no lower tasks

We agree that everything can be made important: from cleaning the toilets to speaking on TV. No task is below us, and we approach every task with the same passion and purpose.

    

What I did:

I generally upheld this with one exception: I didn’t want to write certain articles because I felt they were too ‘markety’. Was this wrong? In itself no, but I made an agreement and I didn’t stick to it - and that was wrong in my view.

What I suggest:

Understand the agreements you want to make. Don’t agree to something you’re not willing to do.

Seek to learn something from anything you’re doing. You may not see it immediately, but there is a lesson there. I mean this in a very practical sense. For example, if you clean toilets don’t necessarily look for lessons like ‘All tasks in this world can be noble and fun.’ Or general things like that. But rather ‘Oh, if I scrub with the cleaner, I get things done more effectively! - practical.

 

8.      We part ways under two conditions:

We agree that for this relation to be successful, it has to work at two levels: head and heart. At the heart level, we both have to enjoy working and being with each other, we both have to nurture our passion for the job, it has to feel good. At the head level, we both have to make it work financially by bringing more cash than we cost and we have to ship on time, and on budget.

 

Retrospect:

 

I was taken aback at the time by the different nature of this agreement. I was excited by how Noam did things. But I did not yet fully appreciate what it means to agree to something. When you agree to something, especially on a journey of creation, it is important to keep those things in mind.

Life threw many things at me and it was easy to forget. Many parts of this agreement I held up marvellously, but others I broke at times.

Look behind on the way you’ve lived your life and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Afterwards, ask yourself:

 

What agreement do I want to make?

How will it play with my strengths?

How will it test my weaknesses?

How will it help me discover new strengths and weaknesses?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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