From Friday 19th January, everyday for 40 days, I will be sharing something each day that has either (1) changed my way of thinking or perspective, (2) helped me get through a challenging period of transition, change or growth, or (3) changed my life for the better. I've called it '40 Days of Growth'. I'd love it if you followed along with me on this journey - contributing what has also helped you to learn, grow and change. And, if I can support you on your own learning journey, please do let me know :)

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Day 1 of 40 DAYS OF GROWTH:




Such a simple concept cannot be underestimated. It's often the simple things, and the consistent repetition of these simple things that makes the biggest difference.



There are 'universal fundamentals' for example: EAT, MOVE and SLEEP. I call these the building blocks of your SELF-CARE.

  1. How is your eating? (Regular? Nourishing? Curbing the hangry-ness and the 4pm slump? For me, I like an 80/20 rule - 80% nourishing and 20% whatever my body craves)
  2. Do you move every day? (Listening to your body is crucial here. Whatever it is, the key is to find some form of enjoyable exercise and to build regular movement into your day. We've all heard 'sitting is the new smoking', right? For me, I find walking to work and walking to meetings/doing walking meetings really helpful).
  3. How is your sleep? (Some people need 8-9 hours, others need slightly less or more. It's an individual thing and it's really important to develop an awareness about what works for you. I know that if I don't look after my sleep hygiene, then my body clock gets out of whack, my energy isn't great, I eat more and drink more coffee AND I have less energy to do the things I want to do after work).

Then there are our 'specific fundamentals'. What 1 or 2 things do you need every day to help you be in a good state or to get your work done?

For me, this is related to my BREATHING. Am I breathing shallowly into my lungs or deeply into my diaphragm? Am I using different breathing techniques, such as mindfulness techniques, to help me come back to the present moment and to regain focus? There is amazing power in connecting with the breath! More on this later. 

For others, this may be related to how they do their work - e.g. they need a solid block of 2-3 hours per day uninterrupted (called 'deep work') to produce high quality work and to feel good about their day.

QUESTION: What are your specific fundamental(s)?

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The key thing here is to gain some awareness of where you are at. Where are you strong? What needs work?

This does not mean beating yourself up if something is not at the 'standard' you would like it to be at or where you think it 'should' be (more on the power of words, including 'should', later). It means becoming aware of your current state, looking at it from an objective yet kind point of view and starting from there. The point is not to aim for perfection but to increase your self-awareness of what you need to function, if not at your best state, then at least at a good state.


So, two questions for you:

  1. Which 'fundamental' area(s) are you strong in?
  2. Which 'fundamental' area(s) need work?



This concept comes from Brian Johnson, the creator of Optimize (an online wisdom sharing/personal development membership platform) and "Philosopher's Notes". I cannot understate how influential this resource has been on my career and transitioning into the fields of leadership development and learning and development over the last few years.

Short story: Brian Johnson, an ex-CEO, got tired of never having time to read the books that kept being recommended to him and were piling up on his night stand. So he took a year off and went to Bali where he consumed all the books he had on his reading list and distilled the wisdom of these books into 'big ideas' he put into 6 page PDFs and 20 minute MP3 recordings. Since that year off he's turned this concept into a massively valuable resource for his subscribers and paying members (including me!). He's now summarised OVER 450 BOOKS (!!), created programmes called 'Optimal Living 101' and puts out emails every day with one small idea each day (called '+1') for his readers to read and implement into their lives. His tagline is 'more wisdom in less time'.


During the first 2 years of working I would listen to 1.5, sometimes 2 recordings each morning while I walked to work. They set me up for the day as well as giving me really useful and practical ideas to try out during my work day and in my relationships. They also helped me to really immerse myself in the leadership development field so that I could progress quickly and be able to contribute ideas during meetings about how our organisation could help our members. Invaluable!!

I would not have got to where I am without consistent work, focusing on my fundamentals and using the 'in between times' for educating myself with audio books, Philosopher's Notes and podcasts :)

I would not have got to where I am without consistent work, focusing on my fundamentals and using the 'in between times' for educating myself with audio books, Philosopher's Notes and podcasts :)