Little Twenty a simple manifesto for change and inspiration
Ian is a do-er, ideas guy, author and marketing advisor. He loves to take ideas from ‘lightbulb’ to ‘launch’. He’s also rather fond of coffee. Twitter @iansanders iansanders.com
by Ian and Zoe Sanders Zoe is a hypnotherapist, doodler and busy mum. Her guilty pleasure is listening to Queen.
#1 WORK IS A MIN D S ET; N O T A P L A CE YOU G O Increasingly, work is not about walking into an office and sitting behind a desk anymore. It’s about what makes you productive, what delivers results. Time and location are less important. You could be anywhere... You *are* your office.
#2 WHAT HA P P EN ED T O ‘ T HA N K YOU ? ’ Just because you can connect with people in the blink of an eye doesn’t mean you can forget the basics. A reader emailed us agonising over a decision asking for career advice. We gave her some ideas. And never heard back (even an email, saying our advice was useless would be better than nothing).
#3 D OIN G B EATS P LAN N IN G Do you get overwhelmed trying to guess the future, planning out everything in life? Sometimes it’s better to just do stuff rather than talk about or plan it. We had an idea for this manifesto. We could have planned how to approach it; instead we just dived in and made a start. That way we made it happen rather than get stuck in planning. This may not be the world’s best little manifesto, but we did it. Better to have done something than nothing!
#4 G ET SOME HYG G E In Denmark they have cold dark winters. So people try to make their houses cosy to bring them winter happiness. We loved that idea: how the Danes stay optimistic, using candles and cosy furnishings to brighten a dull, dreary day. So unless you live in California or parts of the world with year round sunshine - put some hygge in to your life to keep your spirits high when it’s not so sunny.
#5 FREE D OESN ’ T MEAN B E TTE R I was meeting a friend for a lunchtime stroll in the park. I said to him let’s go and grab coffee. He said, “meet me at my office, we’ve got a free coffee machine in the building, it tastes better when it’s free”. It didn’t, it tasted awful.
#6 MAKE STUFF YOU’ D WAN T The successful entrepreneurs we’ve met are people who designed and made products they themselves would want to buy. So make something you’d want, sell a service you’d need, invent something that would help you. Don’t set up a florist if you hate flowers.
#7 D ON ’ T LET T OXICI T Y IN Okay, it’s hard to be pleasant all the time. Often we’ll get someone on the other end of the ‘phone who is rude, a colleague who is having a bad day or a moody partner. Some people aren’t as nice as you. The result is you’ll get an earful of attitude. It makes you want to get aggressive back right? Don’t. Rise above it. Don’t let the toxicity in.
#8 EN J OY SIMP LE P LEASU RES There’s this Turkish phrase we like - ‘keyfli’. It means getting pleasure from the small things in life. Walking on autumnal leaves, that first espresso of the day, a glass of chilled white wine on a summer’s afternoon, opening a brand new notepad. In our busy lives we might be guilty of not noticing these things, small things that provide immense pleasure. Take time to pause and acknowledge these moments.
#9 WRI TE I T D O WN A no-brainer. Don’t try to remember everything, write it down. Carry a notebook to scribble down actions, inspiration and thoughts. As David Allen said, ‘your mind is for having ideas, not keeping them’. Who knows what amazing ideas have been lost by not writing them down.
#1 0 B E KIN D T O YOU RS ELF Sometimes you’ve just got to look after number one. If you’re stressed, overworked, tired or feeling ill it’s about knowing when to quit, or when to press pause. Not indulgence everyday, just acknowledge when something’s not right with you. Accept it and take time to heal your mind or body. Once you’re back on track you’ll notice how much more productive - and ultimately successful - you’ll be.
#1 1 D O WORK WI TH P EOP L E YOU LO VE They say don’t work with family members; and certainly never work with your husband or wife. Crap. We think it’s a good idea to work together as you get a better idea of each other outside of the family context. Sharing ideas, projects and business ventures can help relationships. Or it could just give you more to disagree about!
#12 WH ERE’ S YOU R ‘ WHAT D O YOU THIN K ?’ P E RS ON It’s very important to have someone you can turn to for that fresh perspective. To ask advice. To help you make that difficult decision. However well-tuned your instinct is, it’s good to have a sounding board, another pair of eyes. So you need a ‘what do you think?’ person. It might be your boyfriend, a friend, the guy in the coffee shop.
#1 3 IF YOU HATE YOU R J O B S O MUC H, I T ’ S T IM E T O Q UI T Ian was in the back of a cab. The driver was telling him how much he hated his job. Not just today, always. He didn’t like it at all. Hated the traffic, the hours. It wasn’t him. He would have rather been a builder. If it really gets that bad, it’s probably time to hang up the car keys....
#1 4 D ON ’ T CH EA P EN YOU R B RA N D Don’t have a beautiful shop, and a cheap plastic bin in the corner. Don’t have a wonderful website but a horrible logo. Make sure the brand experience is consistent. We went in a shop where a poor quality hifi was balanced on top of a fridge. It sounded awful and cheapened the whole experience.
#1 5 D ON ’ T EAT LUN CH AT YOU R D E S K Sure, we’re all busy. But do yourself (and your work) a favour - don’t eat your lunch at your desk. The crumbs will only get in your keyboard. Go to the park, sit on the sofa, eat in at the cafe.
#16 ‘S ELL’ IS N O T AN E XP L E T IVE Lots of us get precious about the concept of ‘sales’ - we think it’s a dirty word. Especially for creatives and artists, we think Sales is something you do in a suit with a powerpoint presentation. It’s not. We all sell. We all need to sell. It’s about finding your own way, expressing your truths and engaging with your audience.
#1 7 SWI TCH OFF TH E TV OK, no brainer idea #2. If you’re looking to find more time and space in your life, turn off the TV. So ok you might miss that amazing drama but you will reclaim your evenings to get stuff done (this project came about in the evenings. If we’d slumped in front of the TV, it wouldn’t have happened).
#1 8 TH E B EAUT Y OF B RE VI T Y If you can say it in 2 minutes, not 20; write in in 300 words not 3000, or 1 page not 20: do it. If it fits on the back of a postage stamp, even better.
#19 CHAN G E YOU R SCEN ERY Burning the midnight oil trying to come up with that idea for your presentation? Trying to devise that wow strap-line for your website? Writing that application letter for your dream job? And where do too many of us attempt these tasks? At the office, our desks at home, in meeting rooms. Inspiration strikes when we’re not actually in ‘work’ mode so try changing your scenery. To a coffee shop, a train carriage, the beach, a park bench. And watch ideas flow.
#2 0 IG N ORE AN YON E WHO S AYS ‘N O ’ T O YOU R D R E A M When he was at school, Ian’s dream was to work in broadcasting. His headmaster told him to forget that idea: it was too competitive. Ian ignored him. 6 months later he was presenting the gig guide on local radio, 18 months later he was studying for a media degree, 6 years later he was back at the school running a workshop on careers in the media, MD of a media business. Why do people in authority think they are right? Ignore ‘em.
A simple manifesto for change and inspiration by Ian and Zoe Sanders.