I'm currently on a jag to ask people about their formative or crucible moments. Maybe you’ve noticed that question popping up on my podcast.
What is the defining moment that makes people who they are? I first got interested when we talked about it with Bernie Swain, founder of the Washington Speakers Bureau and author of What Made Me Who I Am.
Last year, when we interviewed Robert Glazer, he shared his two most formative moments. The first was a trip he took to Prague. Subsequently, after he had started his business, he participated in a five-day intensive workshop that required inner work. You can listen to that podcast episode here.
Those two experiences were game-changers for Robert. They changed the trajectory of his life’s accomplishments by changing what he believed he could accomplish. They were big events that moved him from being what observers might have called an ‘underachiever’ in his 20s to a determined achiever in his 30s.
I wonder about you. What have been your most life-changing, personally disruptive moments?
There are also micro-disruptions––small events that over time energize a groundswell of change.
One of those for Robert was initiating the writing of a highly popular newsletter called Friday Forward. He talks in his book, Elevate, about how he writes this newsletter every week. It has become a keystone habit for him, one that has motivated and reinforced other habits. A few other keystone habits, like waking up early, have allowed him to accomplish many important goals over the past few years, including writing his book.
I’m re-reading Elevate and have noticed that I’m establishing a keystone habit around tennis.
Last week I played (using the phrase very loosely). What I really did was go hit with a recent college graduate who fed me tennis balls and gave me a workout. My backhand had improved since I last hit six months ago.
Maybe I got lucky, but I think it's because I committed to pick up my racket everyday this month, if only for ten seconds. The act of practicing my backhand made me think about tennis. I was visualizing myself hitting, and thinking of myself as a tennis player.
We have major life-altering experiences. But I am equally curious about the small, simple things that lead in time, to seismic shifts.
What could you do for ten seconds today that will be a micro-disruption? Seize the moment! But really–––seize this second. This next ten seconds.
This week on the podcast we interview Ellen Bennett, founder of Hedley & Bennett. Her formative event came while working as a line cook. Her boss wanted her to order new aprons and she volunteered to make those aprons instead. That was a formative event. She had previously only imagined herself making aprons. The ‘second' arrived. She raised her hand. A decade later, she is the CEO and Founder of Hedley & Bennett, with more than $20 million in annual revenue, selling to over 4,000 restaurants, and clients like Martha Stewart, Mario Batali, and Alton Brown. She also wrote a delightful book, Dream First, Details Later.
Ellen raised her hand to make forty aprons. Robert started writing a newsletter.
What micro-disruption will you make today?
Truly, I'd like to know.