Bright eyed

An executive and former entrepreneur shared a trait he looked for when hiring people – bright eyed. To him, bright eyed stood for the desire to seek and welcome new experiences. It pointed to people who were eager to put learning above all else.

Benjamin Zander calls this shining eyes. He describes the goal of leadership to make sure you surround yourself with people who have shining eyes. He asks – how can we as leaders improve ourselves to inspire those around us?

Similarly, a friend once described himself as someone who enjoyed working with obsessive people who loved learning. He said he always learnt a ton when he worked with obsessive people because they cared so much. It didn’t really matter what they worked on.

The most beautiful part of these descriptions is that they don’t refer to some innate talent. After all, this just means caring tremendously about learning because you realize that it’s a very uplifting way to live this life. Learning enables us all to rise above the small things, focus on our growth and, in the process, help others grow to become the best version of themselves.

Bright eyed is a choice. And, with it, we don’t just choose a better path in our careers (we do that as well), we choose a better life.

Obsessive people doing their thing

A good friend once said that his passion was working with obsessive people.

It is a line that has stuck with me. I absolutely love watching obsessive people doing their thing. Here’s why – the easy problems can be solved with a little bit of effort. But, the gnarly, hard problems require you to be consumed by them. This is along the lines of Albert Einstein saying that he wasn’t the smartest person alive, but that he just stayed with problems longer.

Here are a couple of examples of obsessiveness that I observed last month –

A teammate created a transition folder for an initiative we’d completed with every marketing email numbered chronologically. This folder, then, had one accompanying slide which explained the overall thought process and strategy. One look at both and you have everything you need to do it again, better.

For a workshop we led, we made sure we had asked the attendees for their favorite sweet and salty snacks. Then, a group within the team made sure we had 50 welcome packages with a sweet or salty snack matched to each attendee.
Another created a workbook on leadership where none existed and thoughtfully pieced together some of the best resources available to do so. She then personalized these workbooks with each attendees name to go with the welcome package and had every member of the team sign it.

Work examples aside, we had a friend decide to organize a night out at a a cabin after a hike. Every detail was worked out for us. And, I really mean every detail. All we did was show up and feel incredibly cared for.

These are just a selection of examples from the last 4-5 weeks. I have so many more.

The one true sign of leadership is deep care. And, I think deep care is best demonstrated by small things done with extraordinary love. And, I’ve found it hard to pour extraordinary love to those small things without having a certain amount of obsessiveness.

I don’t think I can ever say this enough – I am really grateful for the obsessive people in my life. I just love hanging out with them, learning from them and watching them do their thing.