When the big picture feels overwhelming I find it useful to break things down into more manageable pieces. By using a ‘1 Inch Frame’ as author Anne Lamott puts it, I’m able to focus on one small section at a time. My practical interpretation and method to maximise this concept is by living each day as if it was your last. Approach each day through a ‘1 Inch Frame’. 

This week we’ve been packing up the factory and breaking it down into bite size pieces is the only way we can get the mammoth job done. Everyone understands how shitty moving is. Moving a factory is no different except everything is scaled up and we need crane trucks and forklifts to do anything. Only 2 weeks ago, the idea of packing up a whole factory was outrageous but chipping away at it, section by section, has meant we should be ready to move on Monday.

We should hopefully be moving on Monday. We got the green light on factory number two, if you’ve been following along (the big one but with no crane and shitty offices) and now everything is being held up because of paperwork. With any luck we’ll get the lease today and move next week. 

The chaos and uncertainty around this whole factory move has given me (well, forced me) to reflect on how I respond to stressful situations. How do I respond to tough situations that I have no control over? I honestly think a few years ago, before I had my summer of stoicism, I wouldn't have handled the last few months very well at all. I’m certainly not saying we’ve breezed through the last few weeks despite the stress, far from it. There have been tears and waves of self-doubt (me not Matt) but they have been relatively fleeting and I’m quick to recover from such spells.

What has happened over the last few years is that I’ve changed my self-story. This is the story I believe to be true of myself. The narrative that informs my thoughts and feelings which in turn influences my reactions to life events has changed because I’ve changed. 

I noticed this change when I started to genuinely treat each day as if it was our last. The reason I was able to do this so authentically was because there have been many days when it could have been our last. It's the nature of growing a business, especially one as ambitious as ours. 

Actually having to treat each day as if it’s our last sends the gratitude levels through the roof. Simple tasks like doing the supermarket shopping can be a complete joy. Picking the kids up from school is a treat. With gratitude you can turn any event into a positive. 

This is the story I’ve been telling myself about myself. 

I’m a grateful person. 

Once I believed this and began leaning into it wholeheartedly my life began to change. This is when the self-story becomes so powerful. Being a truly grateful person I’m more capable of looking at events in my life through that lens. It’s changed how I react to situations or at least given me more perspective. My attitude then influences my actions and I find myself being less reactive. Since I haven't wasted all my energy getting upset about something I have no control over (thanks stoicism) I have more space to take positive action. That action then becomes evidence of being a grateful person and the cycle continues. 

Steven Bartlett in The Diary of a CEO has a neat diagram that shows the self-story loop. 

The most important part of this diagram is the influence of the self-story on our thoughts and feelings. At the end of the day we’re basically a fleshy bag of thoughts and feelings. Our thoughts and feelings are where the quality of our life is determined, despite the hand you’ve been dealt. When I was making up this graphic I found another one from an old blog. I think it sums up life perfectly.

Video of the week
Doja Cat - Paint The Town Red (Official Video)
Podcast of the week
The Blindboy Podcast: Valentines Cards…
Font of the week
Umiak: Font of the week by East of Rome

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