Monday Musings: It’s OK not to always go the extra mile

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We’ve been conditioned our whole lives to believe that with great effort comes success. Not succeeding, try harder. Not winning, do more.

But what if we could win by doing less? What if, instead of toiling each step of the way, we found an alternative path – one that was just as rewarding but took less effort?

Get your popcorn out folks – this one’s a doozy.

If you work in the travel and tourism industry right now, you’re likely working twice as hard for half the dividend (if you’re lucky). And so you work harder, giving grinding effort to run in the same place, until you reach the brink of exhaustion or burnout.

You can’t work any harder and yet your impulse is to do so because that is how you achieved success before. This is particularly true for high achievers, who believe that to over-achieve, they have to over-do, over-exert. They’ve learned that pushing hard, gets results.

But the story we’re not telling ourselves is that we oversupply to the point that it produces diminishing or negative returns. We’re not telling ourselves that not everything deserves our 100% effort, and that for those things that do, sometimes doing things the right way can actually take less effort.

Workers Day not even a distant memory, here’s my Monday Musing: The only way out, is not hard work. In fact, we should all be trying a little less hard. #dropsmike

Fans of Greg McKeown’s “Essentialism” will be delighted he’s taken his sage advice a step further, telling us all to do the right thing (prioritise) and do the right thing, the right way (simplify).

His new book “Effortless” hit the bookshelves recently, so of course he’s on every podcast from here to Kelowna. I happened upon one this past weekend where he recounted the gripping tale of Amundsen and Scott’s race to the South Pole. We all know the Last Viking won that one. What you likely didn’t know is that Amundsen’s team achieved their goal “without any particular effort”.

In addition to advocating doing the right thing the right way, Greg highlights the power of “pace”. Rain, snow or shine, Amundsen drove forward 15 miles a day – a steady, sustained pace with a focused pursuit, from which they returned home safely. Scott, on the other hand, took advantage of the good weather, driving his team forth in stops and starts to exhaustion, negativity and eventually their tragic deaths.

For Amundsen there was an upper bound – a barrier that he did not push beyond which allowed him to be consistent. That line in the sand is what helps you keep going when you least feel like it and for a lot longer. That’s the secret of pace.

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His other pearl of wisdom is one I live by every day to fight procrastination: Start with zero and identify the first step you need to take to achieve ‘done’, not perfect. Even if you’re not quite ready to take the full leap, that first step gets you going. And for Greg, that best step is a small simple thing you can sustain; the first physical step that needs to be taken to achieve the task.

Better still, can that action deliver residual results instead of just one thing, one time? How can you put effort in once and deliver a multitude of results over time?

Greg takes it a step further advising you to remove things that make things harder than they need to be, than is useful. Trying to simplify a process by simplifying the individual steps? Marie Kondo the hell out of it and remove those steps altogether if they’re not useful. Unnecessary steps are just that: unnecessary.

If this Monday, your lens is on the grind of yet another week, let the fallacy that is your story of working hard to win simmer. If you work hard on the wrong thing, or the wrong way, you’ve simply made things harder than they need to be. What would it take for this week to be effortless?

Mindful Musings

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Marketing Musings

Nando’s gets away with it again

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The Twitterverse was all abuzz last week when @cytrusdc posted a picture of a man covered in white powder with the caption: “I had 2 @NandosSA buns with no drink for breakfast today.”

Before @NandosSA could even climb into the conversation and hit back with its characteristic cheeky response, the tweet went viral, with Twitter users already predicting a burn that would rival the sizzle of the famous fast food chain’s legendary flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken. 

Of course they hit back, replying the next day with a comment that had us doubled over with laughter. “Were your glasses also hungry? They should’ve at least told you our rolls are not hair food abuthi”, to which @cytrusdc swiftly responded: “You must sell your buns with complementary wet wipes and a bottle of lotion”.

Point is, while many brands would take criticism on the chin and respond politely or apologetically, Nando’s gets away with its cheek because it’s the personality we’ve come to expect from the brand.

In fact, had Nando’s responded any other way we would likely have been just a bit put out.

Beyond having a social media team that’s hot to trot, Nando’s knows who it is and communicates its brand authentically and consistently; not in stops and starts, but at a sustained pace so that it seems almost… effortless. 

What the world was musing over this week

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Hey, hey, it’s Mother’s Day

Stumped with what to get mom this Mother’s Day? How about alcoholic whipped cream, earrings shaped like mini rolls of toilet paper or a pillow she can scream into so the neighbours won’t hear. Here are some weird and wonderful choices you could consider.

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Vaccines on your mind? How about malaria?

Since the topic of vaccination seems to be on everyone’s mind right now, we shift our focus to one that could literally save the lives of over 400,000 people a year, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa. Early trials at the University of Oxford show a malaria vaccine that has proved to be 77% effective.

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Oh no, not Mango!

News last week was filled with rumours of Mango’s apparent demise, with reports of the low-cost carrier grounding flights and literally going to ground from a communications perspective. Not good crisis comms, Mango. If Mango collapses, some 30,000 weekly seats will fall away.  

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Level 4 madness

I’ll resist the urge to get on my afro-pessimism soap box and deplore the mainstream media’s obsession with Africa, but I find it extraordinary that South Africa has been added to the CDC’s Level 4 list of countries when by its own criteria we should be Level 3. Another blow for tourism in SA.

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SA bans lion hunting

Excellent news for Destination SA and its reputation, however, was this weekend’s announcement by Environment Minister Barbara Creecy that it will ban the breeding of lions in captivity for trophy hunting or for tourists to pet, advocating a more “authentic” experience for visitors.