What’s in a name

So I want to talk about smallercircle, the name and what it means to me. It’s something that’s been with me for quite a while now. I’ve carried the domain smallercircle.com through my life since 2002. Wow, it seems like yesterday and simultaneously ancient history at this point.

The idea was simple back then. I was in college again and really beginning to explore who I was in this world in the intellectual sense. The conclusion I came to was that I was at my best when I was surrounded by my smaller circle of friends as opposed to the larger circle of friends with whom I associated.

It was in this smaller circle where I was able to talk more freely, engage more intimately, and generally be the best version of me. I extrapolated that idea to the larger stage of the world, realizing that this was likely true for everyone.

I’ve always been an intent observer. When I would look at someone, especially in a large group dynamic, I could see that who they were at that moment was almost unquestionably not who they were in a more intimately sized group. Let’s be honest here, some people when they’re in a large group can be real asses. But invariably when I could find time and circumstance to get that same person in a small group of 3-4 people the facade would fall away. Their brashness would soften. The annoying jabs and jokes would attenuate. The shyness would become sincere curiosity. All those things that might make me recoil would subside, and I would see past that to a person of true value. No matter how I might judge a person in the context of a large group, I felt like and continue to feel like if I can get that person into a smaller circle then and only then would I be able to judge their character. Time and time again I’ve proven this belief.

That’s why smallercircle is important to me. It is the idea that lets me see the truth underneath. I now take that insight with me into business. When I look into an organization, I can see the whole but I also see the teams within forming their own smaller circles. I know that it’s their overlap and cohesion that make the larger entity function.

Getting shit done.

In my book it’s not about getting shit done, it’s about getting the right shit done. I may just be a procrastinator of the best sort. It’s definitely part of my DNA. Getting me to do something that in my eyes at least has little value is like pulling teeth. Yeah I can perform, but I’ll be sick to my stomach knowing that I could be doing something even more valuable.

When I’m in a professional setting, like with a client or even an employer, I don’t care what my badge says or what the contract states. If you want me to do A but what you really need is B, then go ahead and excuse me. You’re going to get B then A. OK? I don’t have to be the one doing B though. I’m not a freak like that, but I need to know that it’s in good hands. I won’t be able to effectively do A unless I know B is handled. Do you feel me? Mmmm, probably not. I don’t think a great many do. Seriously though, it’s in my DNA.

This is all a way to say that I’m a ruthless prioritizer. I’ve yet to encounter a life scenario where not doing the highest value work led to the most desirable outcome. I mean really, does that even make sense? Some people are like, “Well, this is next on my list. So this is what we’re doing.” OK, I understand your list… but fuck that. Your list may make you feel like you’re in control, but actually it’s controlling you. Adapt, evolve, recognize. JUST WAKE THE FUCK UP. Your list is wrong. And whatever you do, don’t tell me it’s not your responsibility. If that’s the way you feel, then don’t bother. Just point me to the person really in charge. If you don’t actually care about doing what’s best, then let’s just part ways here. You’re dead to me. You don’t care, so I don’t care to waste my time with you. It really is that simple.

This is why in my practice I ask so many questions. This is why I listen so intently. This is why I reread your message three times and scrutinize your request. I need to understand that the ship is afloat and on course before I reorganize the galley. I’m not the hatchet man or the plumber that only installs faucets. I’m the full meal deal.