I have an orange and yellow spiral bound notebook I’ve been using for a variety of writing topics. Not long musings, but short, spur of the moment inspiration I want to save and come back to later.
If an idea from a book or a conversation catches my attention, it goes in the notebook. A really profound quote, put it in the notebook. Really random stuff ends up in here, but all of it has sparked something in me one way or another. I also started a page of what I am missing back home. My idea with this was to write these ideas down and get them out of my head. I am already looking forward to getting into this list when I come back home, but it’s going to get a lot bigger by then. All to often in life we take for granted that which we should appreciate so much more. Life gets in the way – the weather isn’t right, you’re hungry, tired, in a bad mood, and so on. I cannot wait to pull out these lists, ideas and thoughts and start enjoying all of them while making sure the monotony that finds it’s way into daily life does not interfer with them.
In his book Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl writes about how his life’s work, his writing and research, was taken from him as he was put in a concentration camp. I read that and thought to myself how unbelievably detrimental that must have been, amidst, obviously, everything else he was going through. Just losing your life’s work, how do you even restart after that? This note book is a small fraction of one percent of what he had been working on. There is no comparison – to his writing or his situation.
That’s why I was really bummed when I couldn’t find it last Sunday. All of my possessions here are in a locker that’s about 36″ wide and 50″ tall. So after searching it 3 times, the later 2 being unecessary, I sort of resigned myself to relegating all those ideas to the past. I figured I would come up with new ones nonetheless, but there were some real gems in there. I thought of making a “lost yellow notebook – please find Laney” sign. Clearly that would have gone well. It was still early Sunday morning so I walked around the unit. More so to process this while walking instead of ruminating on it in my bunk. I saw a couple notebooks in the card room – wrong color. On the way out I saw one more. It was upside down and the last page had been used to keep score in a spades game. I flipped it over and it was MINE! I couldn’t believe it. Somehow, this journal had fallen into someone else’s hands, was used Saturday night to keep score in a cards game, and here we were reunited. Needless to say my name is written all over it right now and I am even hesitant to remove it from my room!
I guess another way to describe Intensity is as a Single-Mindedness to achieve the business outcomes and goals. It means making clear commitments and doing what it takes, with Integrity, to meet those commitments. And sometimes in business, things happen which prevent you from acheiving those commitments. And that is perfectly OK – nothing wrong with it. It is business and stuff happens. The measure of success is how you deal with it. It is how you evaluate the new conditions and how you form you new commitments with the new information or conditions in mind. You can still be successful. You maintain your Intensity and help the organization understand that some new variable or condition occured and now we changed our goal accordingly.
In sports, sometimes you can’t execute the game plan you brought in because of an unexpected injury, or some unforseen weather, or something else. But you stay calm, maintain your Intensity, and adjust. The business world is the same.