The Middle Way
The Middle Way
🎬Why We Always Want to Lead with Action 🎬

🎬Why We Always Want to Lead with Action 🎬


🔥Welcome to Volume #00100!🔥

I’m Christian Champ. This is ☯️The Middle Way Newsletter ☯️. It is a place where I write, explore, share, and invite you along for the journey.

If you enjoy the newsletter, please share it with your friends.

🎬Why We Always Want to Lead with Action 🎬

Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” – Benjamin Disraeli

The above quote floated in the air in front of me. 

The words were seared into my memory bank when I read them. 

Uncomfortably sitting in an office building in downtown Pittsburgh, as an 18-year-old high school student, in a room full of professionals, the words strengthened me. 

As we kicked off the Dale Carnegie course, I raised my hand and blurted out an answer with a quivering voice. 

Taking the initiative grew my confidence, and I felt like part of the group. 

Action is essential to happiness.

Writing The Middle Way can feel like sitting in that office in downtown Pittsburgh. 

All 100 episodes involve moments of feeling the fear and second-guessing hitting send. I remind myself that sending an uninteresting newsletter is the worst thing that can happen. 

The best thing that can happen is the weekly interactions with friends and readers who get inspired and take action from an idea I share.

Seven Reasons We Want to Be Action Oriented 

#1 Action Creates Momentum 

The odds of us staying in motion increase when we get into action. Every time we start, we increase the time we do something. 

It’s why we always want to go to the gym and start to exercise. It’s why we want to create systems to put us in the position to start the things we want to do even when we feel resistance. 

It’s writing the first words. It’s raising our hand. It’s starting the conversation. 

#2 Action Increases Our Courage 

When we do it once, we know we can do it again. The more times we do it, the easier it becomes. 

Our courage muscles grow with each repetition.

#3 Action Introduces Possibilities 

Once we begin, like a tree, we see branches of different possibilities. Each road leads to different experiences and outcomes. 

We only find these roads by taking steps to get to them.

#4  Action Fosters Discipline

The easiest way to create a routine is to do an action repeatedly. 

When doing that, we create discipline around the process. When doing that, we wire and fire our neurons repeatedly—each time, making it easier to do it the next time. 

#5 Action Leads to Reflection 

When we act, we notice what happens. We create additional knowledge that we didn’t have before. 

We get to reflect on this knowledge and use it to plan our future actions. 

#6 Action Necessitates Strategy

The first time we surf a wave, we are blind to what to do. The second time, we start to put together an approach. Each additional repetition and action helps us construct a strategy around our process. 

The more action we take, the more strategic we get to be.

#7 Action Connects

When we do, we connect. We connect with ourselves, we connect with the world, and we connect with each other.  

We need to have a conversation to connect. We need to interact and struggle together to figure things out to connect. 

Our ultimate goal is Action + Strategy + Reflection + Connection.

We want to act strategically, notice what happens, adjust accordingly and ultimately do it with others.

The time for action is always now. 

Or, to quote Redman, “It’s time for some action.”

🧠Things to Think About🧠

Axios on a Simplicity Audit

Axios recommends doing the audit every six months, asking the questions below.

  • Do you really need this — or use this often enough to justify it?

  • Is there a faster, easier way to do things?

They additionally shared.

  1. More is often less. There's an inverse relationship between the number of people involved and the quality/velocity of products. Most managers think the opposite: The instinct is to think about adding to fix things, instead of eliminating things you have.

  2. Simplicity works everywhere. One of the smartest things we did six years ago was adopt a principle we call "elegant efficiency" for all our visual & product designs. Readers yearn for clarity — so you need hard guardrails to block complexity. The same with our Smart Brevity™ writing architecture. It's all about making life simpler and more intuitive.

  3. A simplicity czar. If I were designing the company from scratch, I'd have a CSO — chief simplicity officer — whose job was to make sure everything we did was constantly reviewed for ease and essentialism. This mandate falls on Axios' new head of operations. But everyone needs this role in title or focus.

  4. Back to basics. Constantly revisiting what your team or consumers need is the key. Would this exist if we started from scratch today? If no, kill it — or simplify it.

Derek Thompson shares, “Your Career is Just One-Eight of Your Life”

Derek offers five powerful big ideas.

  1. Your career is not your life

  2. Explore, then exploit

  3. Do the job you want, not the one you want to talk about to other people

  4. Be honest about what you value

  5. Flow needs challenging and meaningful work

Work is too big a thing to not take seriously. But it is too small a thing to take too seriously. Your work is one-sixth of your waking existence. Your career is not your life. Behave accordingly.

Again, the point is not that professional ambition is so morally pristine. It’s a personal taste! And you should be honest with yourself if it’s a taste you want to cultivate. Being stuck in the middle is agony: to be ambitious overall but uninterested in going above and beyond at work, or to be unambitious by nature and yet feel pressured to become a full-on workist. People are happiest when their life is aligned with their identity.

The Ringer's Ten Rules for Hiring an NFL Head Coach

What interested me from this article was the quotes from Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin.

He emphasizes that coaches need to help people learn. When you say people can’t learn, you aren’t coaching; you seek comfort.

He notes that one of the most important things for a coach is listening.

In 16 NFL seasons, Tomlin won 64% of the games he coached with zero losing seasons and a Super Bowl Championship (at age 36).

Last offseason, Mike Tomlin appeared on The Pivot Podcast and gave one of the best interviews I’ve ever heard about coaching in the NFL. The standout part was when Tomlin explained how a lot of coaches don’t understand what they’re being paid to do.

“I love to hear coaches resist the responsibility of coaching,” Tomlin said. “They’ll talk negatively about a dude that can’t learn and blah, blah. Man, if everybody could learn, we’d need less coaches. Right? If the group didn’t need management, then we wouldn’t make as much.

“I love reading draft evals and somebody’s talking about anything other than pedigree, talking about how poor somebody’s hand usage is. Well, that’s coaching. I don’t run away from coaching. I run to coaching. It all is in line with not seeking comfort, because when you’re a coach that’s talking about, ‘Somebody can’t learn,’ you’re seeking comfort because your teaching is struggling.”

“I desire to create a culture and atmosphere where, first and foremost, people can be themselves,” Tomlin said on The Pivot Podcast last year. “We got a job to do. Football’s our game. Our business is winning. So we all know what the job is. But there’s latitude to be the individuals that you are in the midst of that. And it’s OK.”

“Coaches like to think we listen. Coaches don’t listen,” Tomlin said. “They wait for dudes’ mouths to stop moving. … When dudes are talking, I listen. I listen for real. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to produce action that’s in alignment with what they want, but I listen. I try to keep it real simple.”

🎧Things to Listen, See, and Watch 🎧

Alicia Eggers with the Long Now Foundation: The Unimaginable Future

Alicia created an art installation near the oldest trees in the world, the bristlecone pines in Mount Washington (5,000 years old).

💣Words of Wisdom💣

"It's an essential skill, for even during a fight the fighter needs to be able to understand-and accept-when he is losing, and change his game plan. In order to win." (Sam Sheridan, The Fighter's Mind)

"Autonomy is the condition achieved when you come to see your life script as a choice rather than a fixed destiny. Whatever you choose to do then is an act of agency." (Ian Cheng, Emissary's Guide to Worlding)

"Even if you are not a religious believer, his list rings true as the idols that attract us. They are money, power, pleasure, and honor." (Arthur C. Brooks, From Strength to Strength)

"There are three types of courage needed to live fully, face death directly, and discover true freedom: the courage of the warrior, the courage of a strong heart, and the courage of vulnerability." (Frank Ostaseski, The Five Invitations)

"My takeaway was a whole new respect for simplicity. Development required multiple steps, and every step meant one more chance for something to go wrong." (Sam Zell, Am I Being Too Subtle?)

"I read my books with diligence, and mounting skill, and gathering certainty. I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too." (Mary Oliver, Upstream)

"He knew that Resistance was strongest at the finish. He did what he had to do, no matter how nutty or unorthodox, to finish and be ready to ship." (Steven Pressfield, Do the Work)

“What do you do to nourish yourself? It’s important to discuss this subject with dear friends to find concrete ways to nourish joy and happiness." (Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus)

"There are times when you can only take the next step. And then another." (William Gibson, Pattern Recognition)

"Discipline is hard—harder than trustworthiness and skill and perhaps even than selflessness. We are not built for discipline. We are built for novelty and excitement, not for careful attention to detail. Discipline is something we have to work at." (Atul Gawande)

"Individualism says, The main activities of life are buying and selling. But you say, No, the main activity of life is giving. Human beings at their best are givers of gifts." (David Brooks, The Second Mountain)

"What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” (Austin Kleon, Keep Going)

"I would eventually learn that everything in life has something to teach you and that it is all for your growth." (Michael A. Singer, The Surrender Experiment)

"Change happens at the boundaries of things: the boundary between the known and the unknown, the familiar and the different, between the old way and the new way, the past and the future." (Dave Gray, Liminal Thinking)

🙏Thanks for Reading🙏

What actions do you need to start or continue taking?

What does your simplicity audit tell you?



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