Investing in Your Life: Your Biggest Investment Opportunities are Not Necessarily Financial
June 2009, Wrightbooks
In this book, businessman and executive coach Dr Ian Pollard will take you on a thought-provoking journey that will encourage you to view your conversations, relationships, opportunities and decisions in a whole new light.
Pollard's multi-disciplinary approach will help you discover how to:
- improve your conversation and decision-making skills
- understand and manage your strengths and weaknesses
- build relationships and expand your networks
- change negative behaviour patterns
- learn from success and failure
- make uncertainty work better for you
- achieve a better work/life balance.
By inspiring you to view your own development through the eyes of an investor, Investing in Your Life will help you appreciate the size of the opportunities available to you. This book will empower you to maximise your potential by actively investing in the best opportunities, and will make your life more meaningful, satisfying and rewarding.
About the author.
Part I: Convincing you to invest in your Life Capital.
Principle 1: Engaged strategic conversation.
1.1 What is a conversation?
1.2 Opportunity loss from efficient but narrow or disengaged communication.
1.3 Good timing maximises engagement and opportunity.
1.4 Conversation has many rewards.
1.5 Conversation is vital for you and those around you.
Principle 2: The impediments and disincentives to strategic conversation.
2.1 Choosing not to talk.
2.2 The underdeveloped and underutilised skill of conversation.
2.3 You need a compelling ‘Why?' to really capitalise on your conversational skills.
Principle 3: seeing the size of the rewards.
3.1 The compelling ‘Why?', and lessons from the principles of wealth accumulation.
3.2 Receiving constructive performance feedback.
3.3 Virtuous and vicious circles.
3.4 Giving feedback.
3.5 Size matters.
Part II: Empowering you to invest in your Life Capital.
Principle 4: Stacking the odds of behavioural change.
4.1 The odds seem stacked against behavioural change.
4.2 Restacking the odds in your favour.
4.3 Stopping to ask ‘What of it?'
Principle 5: Your life is your responsibility.
5.1 It's all about you and your preferences so it's your responsibility.
5.2 Your personal mission, your rules, your values.
5.3 Your framework of mental models for building your Life Capital.
5.4 Your process.
5.5 Your stories.
5.6 Your labels and your language.
5.7 Your commitment and persistence.
5.8 Your learning strategy.
5.9 ‘Life-enriching conversations' as your catalyst.
Part III: The application of your Life Capital to your career.
Principle 6: Understanding life assets and liabilities.
6.1 Opportunities for and from self-discovery.
6.2 Understanding career assets and liabilities enhances performance.
6.3 A major life or career asset is the ability to make good decisions.
6.4 The diminishing lives and real values of knowledge assets.
6.5 Life assets need to be refreshed, updated and nourished.
Principle 7: A more satisfying life.
7.1 Buying a share in someone's career income.
7.2 If your career were a stock, what kind of stock would it be?
7.3 A world where annual income is the only measure.
7.4 Climbing the ranks in a world of inequality of income.
7.5 A far more satisfying world - where you choose your unit of measure and you're building those units.
Principle 8: Morphing assets and liabilities.
8.1 Asset or liability?
8.2 Your greatest weakness may be the foundation of your career.
8.3 Your employer - career asset or liability?
8.4 Born into a successful family business - asset or liability?
8.5 The people you surround yourself with - assets or liabilities?
8.6 Your generosity with your time, energy and attention - asset or liability?
Part IV: Opportunities.
Principle 9: Opportunity losses and blind spots.
9.1 Opportunity loss is often much greater than actual loss.
9.2 Comfort zones and some bad habits cause recurring opportunity loss.
9.3 Blind spots.
9.4 Minimising opportunity loss.
Principle 10: Elementary maths but big opportunities.
10.1 Use of your time.
10.2 Managing your energy and your attention to the moment.
10.3 The 80/20 rule.
10.5 Rates of change - differentials.
10.6 Growth curves.
Principle 11: Manage your assets and your liabilities.
11.1 Seligman's positive psychology.
11.2 Your Life Capital is a big A = B - C opportunity.
11.3 Turning your liabilities into assets or your problems into opportunities.
11.4 Strengths and weaknesses demand different approaches.
11.5 Rationing your energy.
11.6 High-impact changes that also demand high energy.
11.7 Reinventing yourself.
Principle 12: Conversations and opportunities.
12.1 Leveraging conversations.
12.2 Leveraged conversations and job search.
12.3 Negotiating a new job in a new company.
12.4 Return on your investment.
Principle 13: Free options.
13.1 Ideas options.
13.2 People options.
13.3 People options already on your team.
13.4 Self-awareness options.
13.5 Inspiration or motivation options.
13.6 The value of options.
13.7 The tradeability of options.
Part V: Your relationships.
Principle 14: Networks and networking.
14.2 Social networks.
14.3 Business and professional networks.
14.4 Online networks.
14.5 Value of networks.
Principle 15: Conversations and relationships.
15.1 Knowing who and what you are.
15.2 First impressions.
15.3 Building and enhancing a relationship.
15.4 Redefining relationships.
15.5 Informed mutual champions.
15.6 Lessons in relationship-building from customer or client service.
15.7 Returns from investment in relationships.
Part VI: Your learning.
Principle 16: Learning methods and strategy.
16.1 Learning journeys.
16.2 The engagement gap.
16.3 Personal mastery and accessing the subconscious.
16.4 The 10-year rule and deliberate practice.
16.5 Learning methods.
16.6 Learning accelerators and inhibitors.
16.7 Learning to manage your health.
Principle 17: Learning from success and failure.
17.1 An empowering perspective on success and failure.
17.2 Long-term success and failure.
17.3 Disciplines for learning from success and failure.
Principle 18: Collaboration.
18.1 The characteristics of great groups.
18.2 Team learning - dialogue and discussion.
18.3 Team learning - individual and organisational defensiveness.
18.4 Team communication and learning.
18.5 Collaboration and cross-fertilisation in research, innovation and problem solving.
18.6 Building bridges between people.
Part VII: Your decision-making.
Principle 19: Big points.
19.1 Identifying the big points in life.
19.2 Decisions where all your eggs will be in one basket.
Principle 20: Success maximisation.
20.1 One life-enriching conversation per month.
20.2 Maximising the big increments.
20.3 Focus on your plans.
Principle 21: Minimise the negative impact of your failures.
21.1 Setting yourself up for good decisions.
21.2 Keeping an eye out for an emerging failure.
21.3 Minimising the downside of failure through resilience.
21.4 Above all, don't dig a deeper hole.
Principle 22: Making uncertainty work better for you.
22.1 Decisions where you have no idea of the probabilities of alternative outcomes.
22.2 Probability-based decision-making.
22.3 Assessments of risk.
22.4 Refinements in decision-making theory.
22.5 Game theory.
22.6 Returns for risk.
22.7 Making serendipity work for you.
22.8 The importance of ‘Yes'.
Principle 23: Conversations, information and decision-making.
23.1 The wisdom of crowds.
23.3 Scuttlebutt and your big decisions.
23.4 Accessing information and developing knowledge.
23.5 Objectivity, scepticism and the assessment of information.
23.6 The final test: tell the story and examine it through multiple lenses.
Appendix A: Some life assets.
Appendix B: Sizing of benefits from selected opportunities to invest in your Life Capital.
Since his youth, Ian has been interested in the development of people’s capabilities and relationships, their identification of opportunities and the magnitude of what some people achieve and contribute in their lives. He especially admires those who have done this despite disadvantage and material adversity. Ian is particularly interested in the personal qualities and the events and processes which make these remarkable achievements possible. Ian has written a number of books on corporate finance. Investing in Your Life is Ian’s first book on the building of people’s capabilities.