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The Digital Toolbox | Part 1

Everyone has a toolbox. Some are more filled than others, but everyone has one.

The contents of this toolbox might include things like wit, charm and charisma. Or it could be a proficiency in Excel, a C++ certification and working knowledge of Quickbooks.

My point is that we all have tactics and qualities that we have acquired over the span of our lifetime that has allowed us to be who we are and do what we do. An examination of the tools in our toolbox will give us further insight into where our limitations are and where we are successfully competent. That being said, how could we go about adding tools to this toolbox and is there a limit to how many tools a single person can have?

I started reading when I was 25. Not literally, but I didn’t really care to read anything other than an ESPN article before I was 25. I was good at a few things and that was good enough for me. It was working and I didn’t see a need to change it. When I was 25 I got a job at a church and the staff there were all readers. They devoured books like I had never seen before. Being around that kind of staff culture began to rub off on me. I started asking them what they were reading. I started signing up for email lists of people who constantly gave out book suggestions. This new addition to my life began to shift and change me.

For me, this change was where I began to see my life move. I had a very short list of tools, as sharp as they were, in my toolbox and that toolbox was expanding. There were things like theology, philosophy and sociology that began to come on to the horizon. So I pursued them. I continued to read and gather other people’s tools and other people’s ideas into my own collection. Then I realized something pretty profound.

These books, and almost every other book is available to anyone and everyone.

Ok. Not that profound, but my point is that there is a vast array of knowledge and proverbial tools available to all of us, yet most of us continue to try to sharpen the few existing tools in our toolbox.

If you will, allow me two points and I’ll let you get outta here:

  1. Don’t settle. There is statistical evidence that says that you will not change. Our brains are neurologically wired to repeat the familiar. We have confirmation biases that point us back to what we already hold to be true. If you are looking to change yourself or your organization, you can’t settle. It is going to be a lot of hard work, and there will be many failures between you and your success. Keep pushing.
  2. Do the math. There is an equation that each of us must wrestle with that involves the two forms of currency: Time and Money. Some people have no money and lots of time. Others have lots of money and no time. And the richest of all of us have lots of money and lots of time. The goal is not one over the other. Math is objective. It does not care for right or wrong. My point is that you have to find where your pain point is and what you are lacking and where you have excess. If you have excess time, you might need to add some tools to your toolbox. If you have excess money, you may need to hire someone or buy some digital tools to help you find some more balance. Everyone has an equation that they must work through, and the resulting data will be extremely helpful in making more informed decisions.

This is the first part of looking at your toolbox, assessing and making changes. Part 2 is up next week, stick around!