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How to stay happy, sane and productive while working in the business of changing the world

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I gave this presentation to social entrepreneurs at The Mensch Network in Cape Town on 27 February 2019. It was a very engaging discussion. I learned as much from the participants as they did from me.

This presentation contains 10 pieces of Unconventional Advice that have served me well in my career, and which have helped to accelerate my progress. It explores how careers have changed and how adopting this advice will put you in good stead for the future.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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How to stay happy, sane and productive while working in the business of changing the world

  1. 1. How to stay happy, sane and productive while working in the business of changing the world Presented at The Mensch Network, 27 February 2019 in Cape Town Marcus Coetzee
  2. 2. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za About this presentation • This presentation was primarily developed for young social entrepreneurs who are part of The Mensch Network in Cape Town in February 2019. • It contains 10 pieces of Unconventional Advice that have served me (and my colleagues) very well in our careers – advice that I am still learning to fully embrace.
  3. 3. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Introducing Marcus Coetzee • Marcus helps leaders and organizations to cultivate Strategic Clarity. • He only works with those that are trying to improve the world. • Worked under the brands of: o Imani Development o Social Enterprise Academy o Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship o Business Sculptors o Citizen Surveys • Served over 130 formal clients since 1996.
  4. 4. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Recommendation 1: Use values as your compass • Use your values as your compass or radar for determining what is right for you and which opportunities to accept. • To find your values, interrogate the question: “why is this important to me”? • Career values are something you must experience every day to be fulfilled in your work.
  5. 5. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Recommendation 2: Pay attention to synchronicity • Make use of coincidence (i.e. luck) or synchronicity (i.e. deeper intelligence or patterns) as it occurs in your life and see where it leads with an open mind. • It is always present and cannot predicted, but creates massive opportunities for you.
  6. 6. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Recommendation 3: Navigate your path into the future • It is no longer possible to plot a clear path into your future.Aspiring to do so will just make you anxious and depressed. • Have a general game-plan but don’t hold it too tightly. Rather navigate from opportunity to opportunity. • Looking back, you would have travelled a distinctive path, and you’ll be able to tell a story that ties it all together.
  7. 7. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Recommendation 4: Cultivate a positive view of humanity • Strive to cultivate a positive view of the future and learn to notice goodness in humanity wherever you can. • This is very difficult and rare skill nowadays, with the media focusing on the negative and dividing people. • A positive view will help you cope and be a better leader.
  8. 8. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Recommendation 5: Learn to see systems everywhere • Learn to adopt a meta view and see the complex systems in: o the problems your organization is solving o your organization o your own personal habits. • Learn how to map, deconstruct and improve systems, and persuade others to adopt the new approach. • Become a “systems engineer”.
  9. 9. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Recommendation 6: Learn to rapidly test strategic ideas • Learn how to rapidly calculate the feasibility and viability of business models and strategic ideas. • Fail fast rather than slowly. • Strategies for the future will be leaner and more adaptable, existing in a constant state of work-in-progress and hypothesis testing.
  10. 10. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Recommendation 7: Develop a productivity system • Develop a philosophy, approach and toolkit for managing hundreds of tasks and many projects, and for clearing your mind and helping you to focus. • Without it you’ll be adrift in other people’s priorities and will struggle to do meaningful deep work.
  11. 11. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Recommendation 8: Adopt habits to keep you sane • Learn a set of habits or practices to keep you sane amidst overwhelming demands, crises, drama and other pressures. • The ability to maintain a clear mind under these conditions is a strategic asset, and something which is increasingly rare.
  12. 12. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Recommendation 9: Develop constructive relationships • Develop long-term relationships with people you resonate with –who make you feel “lighter”. • Conversely, avoid people who bring you down. • Remember that all good work nowadays in done in partnership; not alone. • Cultivate an attitude of openness and generosity; it will win in the long- term.
  13. 13. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Recommendation 10: Surround yourself with positive stimuli • Get connected to constructive emotional and mental stimuli to help you move forward amidst negativity and deterministic viewpoints. • Embrace books, podcasts, videos, online courses etc. that can challenge you, support you and accelerate your growth. • Strive also to find and appreciate some good mentors.
  14. 14. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Summary of recommendations 1. Use values as your compass 2. Pay attention to synchronicity 3. Navigate your path into the future 4. Cultivate a positive view of humanity 5. Learn to see systems everywhere 6. Learn to rapidly test strategic ideas 7. Develop a productivity system 8. Adopt habits to keep you sane 9. Develop constructive relationships 10. Surround yourself with positive stimuli
  15. 15. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Your thoughts? Anything I missed?
  16. 16. www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Some resources to help you think differently Podcasts: • Lead to Win (leadership) • Letters from a Hopeful Creative (creative enterprise, values- driven business) • Hurry Slowly (pacing and creativity) • Wandering Aimfully (entrepreneurship) • Art of Manliness (mixed interviews) • The Minimalists (minimalism) • The Podcast (mixed discussions) Books: • Eat that Frog (productivity) • Getting Things Done (productivity) • Atomic Habits (personal systems) • It does not have to be Crazy at Work (organizational systems) • Work the System (organizational systems) • Luck is no Accident (careers) • Essentialism (focus) • The One Thing (focus) • Procrastinate on Purpose (focus) • Everything I Know (business) • Goodbye Things (minimalism) • Necessary Endings (growth and letting go) Newsletters: • Paul Jarvis • Jen Carrington • Rosie Leizrowice
  17. 17. Website: www.MarcusCoetzee.co.za Linked-in: www.linkedin.com/in/coetzeemarcus Twitter: @MarcusCoetzee Thank you 17

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