Two things popped into my radar the past 20 hours, related to “values”.
Saw this video by fitness influencer Eugene Yeo in the morning.
I “understood” all these but it still hits different when someone said what I needed to hear (again).
I don’t have the muscle size I had 10 years ago. But I don’t want it. I want everything else I’ve nurtured since then in business, relationships and other styles of training. That might change in the future but as long as it’s in alignment with my values, it’s all good.
Life isn’t a race against others. Or a race against yourself. It’s a journey with yourself — so you better enjoy it.
TLDR; You have not “gone backwards”. The real Q is: are you living according to your values?
I relate hard to this one as I finally decided to say goodbye to this body in February 2020, a long 3 years after I first lost my period in March 2017.
Living without your period is superbly convenient, as expected. But I ultimately decided it’s not something worth sacrificing the health of my bone, heart, and skin in the long run for, amongst other things. Being food obsessed for 6 years is also not fun.
I ate more and I stopped exercising. I suppose stress management and several other factors helped too.
Work in progress:
And a month ago this year (2023):
And I’m glad to report back that the mission has been completed successfully! It worked.
I finally got my period back after 6 years and 2 months. I have reversed (and upsized) the body composition that gave me amenorrhea. I am now 7 kg heavier than my leanest point in 2017 at 39kg with all the muscle mass.
I lost lots of strength, I gained visible tummy, I look chubby. But I’m glad to be here.
Hope to be able to not relapse and sustain this healthy cycle while I rebuild some of the strength I’ve lost as I cut down on exercises.
Apparently you can FEEL and look good while still be fundamentally “unhealthy”.
Anyway, this idea of value.
I see how having a “why” or set of values can help someone deal with any how necessary. Now I don’t mind being fat(ter than I had been but I know this is not fat by anyone’s standards) purely because it’s what I believed I need to do to get my period back.
And this reminds me of something I heard yesterday from an interview The Verge did with James Daunt.
James is the CEO of Barnes and Noble since 2019. He managed to turn around the 100+ year-old enterprise amidst seemingly dying business of offline-book-selling through a leadership overhaul by implementing decentralisation management — giving back the power to the book sellers — understanding that books and cultures are local and bottom up.
He was asked whether he thinks the changes that he has brought is something that will last. I love the way he phrased the answer:
What you really have to do is lock in a culture which holds these values central to it and everything that pivots around those values. I think that is what booksellers want. If you ensure that your central direction doesn’t become corrupted in any way and holds to the same values, then yes, you have something extremely powerful and enduring.
Another thing I found so refreshing was the clarity of his vision when speaking about how their online stores and e-book readers sit within the B&N’s larger strategy:
B&N is in the business of encouraging reading and engagement with books and the thoughts that are attached to them
I can imagine this useful for anyone in the company to help guide their decisions and to work out a How to achieve that vision. Once you are able to help your people answer “why am I doing this, how should I do this, what does good look like”, you dispense autonomy.
Culture is the OS of your organisation. And at the kernel are these values. I’ve experienced the difference between well-internalised set of values vs lip service (or sometimes, iteration #1 in the journey of self discovery). Some mission statements felt empty and vague. Some values felt templated.
Like people, organisations who has good self awareness and those with personality are the best kinds to be with. You can’t fully articulate it but you can feel it.
I am rarely enamored by corporate execs but James seems like someone who is not only a brilliant businessman but someone who really cared about and understood the essence of the craft of his industry.
If you are interested in getting a pulse of the landscape of book publishing I highly recommend checking out the full interview, fortunately fully transcribed here for convenient skimming and absorbing.
I took lots of notes from that interview and I need to talk about some of them in separate posts. One of them is this insight that has become my favorite this week: one of the JTBD of physical book stores are curation and discovery. Bookstores serve as effective curators and rich port of discovery — something that no one, not even Amazon, has managed to replicate online.