Top Takeaways from World Business Forum NYC 2018

“The principles of incrementalism and linear thinking, once the foundations of our approach to strategy and business, are being replaced by new principles of exponentialism: speed > certainty, abundance > scarcity, networks > hierarchy, empowerment > control.

If embraced by business leaders, this mindset shift can create new opportunities to drive unprecedented growth; to empower radical innovation; to liberate true potential; to engage in incredible speed and scale; and to execute against increasingly more ambitious visions.” – WOBI

Arianna Huffington answers audience questions at WBFNYC 2018

Arianna Huffington answers audience questions at WBFNYC 2018  (Image credit: World of Business Ideas)                    

Leading in the age of exponentialism – the theme for the 2018 World Business Forum in NYC, organized by World of Business Ideas (WOBI), brought hundreds of business leaders from around the world together to learn about how to navigate this new landscape from some of the most influential figures in the fields of business, economics, psychology, science, art, and innovation.

Here’s a recap of the top takeaways from the incredibly powerful #WBFNYC 2018, with speakers including Seth Godin, Juan Enriquez, Whitney Johnson, Sarah Lewis, Daniel Kahneman, Daniel Goleman, Susan David, Todd Davis, Jeff Immelt, and Arianna Huffington.

TL;DR

In case you don’t have time to read the full article, here’s a high-level recap of the top conference takeaways:

  1. Target the smallest viable market, not the largest. — Seth Godin
  2. Invent a culture on purpose to thrive in the connection economy. — Seth Godin
  3. We can only make change happen when we make art. — Seth Godin
  4. Intelligent design is the next industrial revolution. — Juan Enriquez
  5. Time + competence = boredom…and bored people don’t innovate. Optimize your organization’s learning curve to build an innovative team. — Whitney Johnson
  6. Creativity = (honoring the development process + pursuing mastery — groupthink) x grit. — Sarah Lewis
  7. Improve decision-making by delaying intuition and developing a systematic, objective approach to the decision-making process. — Daniel Kahneman
  8. Emotional intelligence and cognitive control are essential to high-performance learning, leadership, and career success. — Daniel Goleman
  9. A key task of leadership is to help people achieve a state of ‘flow’ for optimal cognitive efficiency and productivity — Daniel Goleman
  10. Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life. Developing emotional agility helps us persevere through tough situations to achieve goals, resilience, and well-being. — Susan David
  11. What we see determines what we do, and what we do determines what we get — so wear glasses that work. — Todd Davis
  12. In volatile times, good leaders have to have a point of view, see new strategic patterns, take decisive action, absorb fear, connect with the team, and own your narrative. — Jeff Immelt
  13. In today’s always-on, technologically-connected world, we have to remember that the human operating system is different. Disconnected downtime is essential to our well-being and success. — Arianna Huffington

1. Target the smallest viable market, not the largest.

Seth Godin had this to say on the age of the internet, “The good news – everyone on earth can now be your customer. The bad news – everyone on earth can also now be your competitor.” With customers now knowing more than we do, we have to work harder to earn their trust and their business through personal connection.  

To do this, Seth taught us about the Zulu word ‘Sowubana,’ which means “I see you” and asked, “Is there anything people want more than to be seen, to be understood, and for there to be empathy and dignity?” In other words, people have a deep desire to feel understood and to be a part of something.

Seth’s answer to this need? “What we have is an opportunity to show up for the few who care, rather than interrupting the masses who don’t. What you need to do is pick a small group of people who desperately want and need and care about you. If you show up for someone who’s on the edge, they will choose to listen to you – going to the edges is how we build things that work.”

2. Invent a culture on purpose to thrive in the connection economy.

Seth explained to us that tribes are groups of people who are connected by a culture, by an idea, or by a way of thinking. Historically, humanity has had 3 main tribes: spiritual, work, and community. But there are now an exponential number of tribes for every interest and idea.

Seth urged us “invent a culture on purpose,” because “there are so many disconnected people who are eager for you to lead them.”  

According to Seth, we create the most value when we come together (“all of us are smarter than any of us”). This has led to the rise of the “connection economy,” which is based on:

  • Coordination
  • Trust
  • Permission
  • Exchange of ideas

3. We can only make change happen when we make art.

Seth also shared this observation with us, “Industrialists come out ahead when they can ignore you. Marketers come out ahead when everyone acts the same… All of us have been brainwashed to fly too low. To play it safe. But you know who doesn’t hold back? Artists don’t hold back.”

The job of marketers to make stories, to make a difference, and to make change happen. And as Seth put it, “We can only make change happen when we make art.”

“Your boss demands innovation but says, ‘Failure is not an option.’ The only correct response to that is ‘Then neither is success.’ Because all innovation is, is failing over and over again until you succeed.”

On timing, Seth told us, “It’s always too soon…There’s a huge difference between being ready and being prepared. To be ready is to be sure that it’s going to work. But art is never sure.”

4. Intelligent design is the next industrial revolution.

Juan Enriquez explained, “You can now program cells in the same way that you can program computer chips,” and that we’re now entering the age of intelligent design – the next industrial revolution, which will include:

  • Programmable life forms – you can make almost anything.
  • Scale – this software makes its own hardware. You can begin to make cells more productive at a lower cost.
  • Theoretical biology – changing the field of biology from “let’s watch what happens,” to “I think I know what will happen.”
  • Consumer empowerment – medicine is going to become more personalized. Genetics developments are moving faster than biotech and pharmaceuticals.

Some of the new developments and trends Juan shared with us:

  • You’ll be able to print cells this year.
  • Today, we’re only spending about 1% of healthcare dollars trying to improve health, rather than treating it. This is going to shift.
  • Medicine is probably going to start merging with food and nutrition to prevent disease.
  • Completely crazy that Amazon is buying Whole Foods and driving down the cost of healthy foods? Not if you consider how central health food will become to healthcare.

Juan predicted that successful companies of the future will be focused on:

  • Big data
  • Personalization
  • Life sciences
  • Health cost control
  • Cross-sector integration
  • Consumer empowerment

5. Time + competence = boredom…and bored people don’t innovate. Optimize your organization’s learning curve to build an innovative team.

Whitney Johnson shared a graph with us called an S-curve. She explained that while the S-curve graph is often used to visualize business growth and market penetration (with the base being the tipping point, the middle being the hyper-growth stage, and the top being market saturation), the S-curve can also help us understand people by looking at our individual and organizational learning curves.

On the learning S-curve, the base is when we are new to a field or a skill (learning, less productive), the middle is where we achieve competence and confidence by being challenged to learn more (engaged and most productive), and the top is where we achieve mastery (and ultimately become bored).

Whitney Johnson's learning s-curve diagram

Whitney Johnson’s learning s-curve diagram (Image source: Whitney Johnson)

According to Whitney, “Every single person in your organization is on a learning curve, including you. Your organization is a collection of learning curves. And you build a team that can innovate by optimizing these learning curves.”

For the optimal S-curve for your organization, you want 15% at the low end, 15% at the high end, and 70% in the sweet spot (the middle).

So how do you execute this learning s-curve strategy?

  1. Start by actually having people at the low end of the curve:
    • Hire for potential, not just for proficiency. Value their inexperience;
    • Once you hire someone at the low end of the curve, have a plan.
  2. Once people get to their learning sweet spot, give them:
    • More constraints;
    • More goals;
    • More friction;
    • More challenges to keep growing.
  3. The typical learning S-curve for most people is about 4 years. At the top of the curve:
    • Extend the curve:
      • Jump in place – get a coach, learn more about your industry, etc.;
      • Become a master with an apprentice;
      • Take on stretch assignments.
    • Jump to a new curve:
      • Take on an expanded role or new responsibilities;
      • Move to a new industry.

On leading with the learning S-curve in mind, Whitney advised us, “The best reward you can give people is the opportunity to learn. Be a leader who gives people the power to go where they haven’t gone and live their best lives.”

6. Creativity = (honoring the development process + pursuing mastery – groupthink) x grit.

Sarah Lewis shared three common traits for creativity she discovered after studying famous creative figures in history:

  • These individuals all focused on mastery, not just success. What that required is that they cared about the reach and the near-win.
  • These individuals created a counterintuitive style for their creative process in that they honored the embryonic stage of development. Privacy was crucial to them.
  • These individuals were incredibly gritty. But they also knew when to quit. They developed a kind of supple endurance.

On mastery, Sarah explained, “Mastery is not the same as success, but is a kind of constant pursuit.” It’s the power of the ‘near-win’ and ‘what almost was’ that drives the pursuit of mastery.

On the cultivation of creativity, Sarah advised us to “Cultivate and put the creativity in your organization to work for the problems that are worth it to achieve true innovation.” Creative, innovative solutions are often so counterintuitive that they seem wrong. ‘Groupthink’ can kill ideas. One common way for leaders to cultivate creativity is to bring in ‘disruptors’ to deliberately prevent quick consensus and encourage better problem-solving.

7. Improve decision-making by delaying intuition and developing a systematic, objective approach to the decision-making process.

Daniel Kahneman shared some key learnings with us from his research on intuition: “Intuition is generated automatically, with high confidence, and it’s often statistically wrong.”

“When many people make decisions, the decision comes first; then the justification comes later. When judgment is compared to algorithms, in general algorithms do better about half of the time. Why? Because algorithms are noise-free. When you give them the same problem twice, they will give you the same output. People are not like that. With people, there is inconsistency and instability in judgment.”

So how can people and organizations make better decisions? Daniel advised, “Try to make the judgments as close to algorithms as you can. Have standard procedures and ways of thinking that ensure discipline and some kind of uniformity so that you can reduce the noise from the system.”

One important decision-making principle Daniel shared is to delay intuition. “Intuitions are better and more accurate if you delay them until after you have all of the information organized. The danger in decision-making is premature intuition and conclusion. And once you have begun to reach a conclusion, the rest of the time is basically wasted, because you’ll spend it trying to justify what you’ve already decided to do.”

It’s also helpful to apply an ‘outside view’ when making business decisions. The ‘outside view’ exercise involves thinking of cases that are like the current case from the past, and look at the statistics of what happened in those cases. Then, when you’re looking at the current case, you ask “Do I have a good reason to assume that something will happen differently now than what happened in similar cases in the past? And if so, why?”

Daniel also recommended that business leaders perform a ‘pre-mortem’ as part of the final decision-making process. “The pre-mortem is an idea that at the point of the decision-making where the decision hasn’t been made 100%, but it’s pretty clear which direction the wind is blowing, then you get several people together and ask them to put a blank sheet of paper in front of them, and you perform the following exercise:

Suppose we made that decision and executed it, and now it’s a year later, and it was a disaster. Now write the history of what happened to cause that disaster.”

Basically, it’s performing a post-mortem before the decision is made to encourage better decision-making. “People tend to want to be optimistic in decision-making. This gives them an incentive to be pessimistic. This exercise may not  change the final decision, but it will encourage a more robust decision and plan that mitigates more potential risks.”

8. Emotional intelligence and cognitive control are essential to high-performance learning, leadership, and career success.

According to a survey of business professionals that Daniel Goleman referenced, 91% of top executives agree that soft skills and emotional intelligence skills are what matter most for leadership. Emotional intelligence was also rated as twice as important as IQ for all jobs at all levels – and the higher up you go on the corporate ladder, the more this gap increases.

As Daniel put it, “Leadership is the art and craft of getting work done well through other people – and you’re not going to do that just with IQ.”

Daniel shared the four elements of emotional intelligence with us:

  • Self-Awareness:
    • An emotional awareness of your own thoughts, feelings, motivations, and biases
  • Social Awareness:
    • Empathy is a key component here. There are 3 kinds of empathy:
      • Cognitive empathy – I understand how you think;
      • Emotional empathy – I understand how you feel;
      • Empathic concern – I care about you.
    • Organizational Awareness is also crucial.
      • This includes a social understanding, connection, and synchronicity with those around you.
  • Self-Management:
    • Emotional self-control is an essential element of self-management. This includes:
      • Resilience – how long it takes to return to a state of calm after reaching peak upset;
      • Adaptability – adaptability early on predicts life and career success and satisfaction;
      • Achievement orientation – a love for metrics, feedback, and keeping score on how you’re doing;   
      • Growth mindset – a positive outlook, seeking challenges, and always looking for ways to improve.
  • Relationship Management:
    • Relationship management includes:
      • Influence;
      • Conflict management;
      • Coaching and mentoring – one of the tasks of leaders is making new leaders;
      • Teamwork – high-performing teams have collective emotional intelligence.

Daniel also recommended that we aspire to develop an inspirational leadership style because of how much our leadership styles can impact cultures (for better or worse). Daniel ranked all of the most common leadership styles for us in order of most positive to most negative.

  1. Visionary – big positive impact
    • Provides long-term direction and vision
  2. Coaching – big positive impact
    • Develops employees long-term
  3. Affiliative – smaller positive impact
    • Creates harmony in work relationship
  4. Democratic – smaller positive impact
    • Builds commitment through collaboration
  5. Pacesetting – negative impact
    • Pushes to accomplish tasks
  6. Commanding – negative impact
    • Demands compliance

Finally, Daniel left us with these leadership development steps to consider as part of our leadership development journeys:

  1. Motivation
  2. Support
  3. Assessment
  4. Learning Plan
  5. Practice

9. A key task of leadership is to help people achieve a state of ‘flow’ for optimal cognitive efficiency and productivity.

Daniel also explained the connection between brain activity and performance.

According to Daniel, if brain activity is too low (boredom) or too high (stress), performance is low. If brain activity is in the middle, performance is optimal – this is known as optimal cognitive efficiency or more commonly referred to as ‘flow’.  

“Whatever skill you have, you’re operating that skill at its peak. This is where everyone wants to be. A task of leadership is to help people get into and stay in that optimal state.”

On helping your team achieve ‘flow’, Daniel shared these actionable tips:

  1. Give very clear goals;
  2. Leave that person free to get there in their own way – don’t micromanage;
  3. Give immediate performance feedback;
  4. Challenge people’s skill sets.

10. Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life. Developing emotional agility helps us persevere through tough situations to achieve goals, resilience, and well-being.

Like Seth Godin, Susan David also opened her session on emotional agility with a definition of Sowubana (a popular theme at the conference), which means “I see you,” and is how they say hello in South Africa, where’s Susan’s from.

Susan then posed the question, “What does it take to see ourselves? Every aspect of how we love, live, parent, and lead – we think of everything we either do as good or bad, positive or negative. This rigidity is toxic.”

According to Susan, “People’s tendency is to lock down into rigidity about our feelings and emotions – all the time clenching into ourselves rather than breathing into the world…When we try to repress our emotions, they grow stronger….When we push aside the normal, natural human experience, we fail to develop the skills to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.”  

“…We rationalize our way out of our feelings. But we can’t simply analyze and rationalize and judge our way out of some of the most difficult situations in our lives…When we see ourselves, we are more likely and more able to see others too.”

Susan explained that emotional agility is associated with higher levels of goal achievement, resilience, and well-being. “The radical acceptance of our emotions is the cornerstone for true change. When we move beyond the idea of good and bad emotions, and instead start to embrace the idea that people need to bring the fullness of their humanity to the workplace, that is when we achieve agility.”

According to Susan, we can follow these steps to develop emotional agility:

  1. Show up.
  2. Acceptance and accuracy.
    1. Doing away with a perception of how people should feel and embrace how people do feel.
  3. Practice self-compassion.
    1. Learn from thoughts & emotions.
  4. Step out.
    1. Emotions are data – not directives.
  5. Notice with curiosity and courage.
    1. a.      ‘I see you’ isn’t the same as ‘I agree with you’
  6. Let go.
  7. Walk your why.
    1. Move away from “have to” goals and instead think about our values and what we “want to” do.
  8. Move on.

Susan closed her session by sharing, “Values are not mutually exclusive. We can value our careers and our family. What’s most often in conflict are not our values but our goals. And when our goals are in conflict, we can start weighing out the pros and cons of a specific situation…We have the opportunity to think about who we want to be, and this allows us to elevate the why of who we are.”

11. What we see determines what we do, and what we do determines what we get – so wear glasses that work.

According to Todd Davis, “We depend on others to achieve our own personal success, but we can’t control others…So the most important competency leaders can develop is our ability to influence – and this is most effective when you start with yourself.”

Todd’s top piece of advice for developing your leadership ability and influence was this: wear glasses that work. “What we see determines everything we do. And what we do gives us the results we get.” ‘Wearing glasses that work’ is about seeing things as they really are vs. how we’ve convinced ourselves they are.

He explained that this all comes down to our own individual paradigms that we each see the world through – and that can distort the way we experience life. But context matters. “Once you see things the way they are, you’ll act differently and see different results.”

To highlight how our paradigms can impact results, Todd shared a story about a marathon he trained for with his daughter. Todd’s daughter is deaf and was trying to fit in at school. He had completed his first marathon and was about to start training for his second, so he asked his daughter to join him.

The first week she did okay, but the second week she said it was too hard and she dropped out. Internally, he thought this was a good thing so he could focus on his own training. That year, he missed his marathon time goal, and his daughter was still struggling.

The next marathon came along, and he asked her to join him again. This time, she lasted a little longer, but after a few weeks she quite again. That next marathon came and went, and he missed his goal again, and his daughter was still struggling.

When the next marathon came along, Todd noticed the same results were happening for both of them over and over again. So he stepped back and realized that he had been viewing his daughter through the wrong glasses. In the past, because he was trying to motivate her but also focus on his own time, he would run circles around her. That wasn’t really motivating her.

So he decided to try something new. This time around, he stayed right with her the whole time, and she pressed on through the training week after week. Finally, it was time to run together in the race. Mile after mile, his daughter started running faster and faster – much faster than the pace they had trained at. They crossed the finish line together and came in much faster than they had ever trained at before.

This embedded in Todd the value of seeing people through different lenses, and seeing what they’re really capable of – and this changed his relationships forever.

Todd asked the WBFNYC audience why we’re sometimes hesitant to consider a different paradigm. Some of the most common answers the attendees called out included:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Ego
  • Experience
  • Trust
  • Judgment
  • Comfort

Finally, Todd left us with some advice on how to apply the concept of ‘wearing glasses that work’ in our everyday lives. “Identify a situation or relationship that isn’t going as ideally as you would like it to. List out everything you think contributes to that relationship not going as well as you would like it to. Now, go back and circle everything you consider to be true facts (that others would consider a fact as well). Separate facts from beliefs.”                                            

12. In volatile times, good leaders have to have a point of view, see new strategic patterns, take decisive action, absorb fear, connect with the team, and own your narrative.

Jeff Immelt walked us through some of the leadership lessons he learned from his 16 years as CEO at General Electric through a period of global volatility. According to Jeff, in volatile times, good leaders:

  • Have to have a point of view
    • Know what you stand for. Know how you build success.
  • See new patterns
    • Systems thinking (horizontal)
      • Collision between the physical world and analytical world
        • Not – innovative digital transformation (buzzwords)
        • Rather – unlock new levels of productivity & outcomes (the next generation of innovation and productivity)
  • Build a systems-based strategy
    • Innovation
      • Technology
      • 4 As
        • Automation
        • Artificial Intelligence
        • Additive Manufacturing
        • Analytics
      • Business Model
    • Value
      • Customers (Essential)
        • Protect core customers
      • Ecosystem (Acceleration)
        • Partners
        • Supply Chain
        • Network Effects
    • Context
      • Future of work (enable/destroy)
        • Always consider the impacts of strategies on your team and company
  • Hire talent
  • See from the bottom up
  • Are comfortable with uncertainty
  • Take action & execute
    • Listen at all levels
      • Find the voices that are spread throughout your organization
    • See for yourself
      • Don’t follow conventional wisdom
    • Operate through complexity
      • Navigate political and business systems
    • Change
      • Process change – improving on what others did wrong
      • Personal change – fixing your own mistakes
  • Absorb fear
    • Take it on your shoulders and remain optimistic for the team in the face of radical change
    • Lead while getting hit and stay optimistic through the grind
  • Develop a leadership team with a diversity of thoughts, actions, and backgrounds that includes:            
    • Analysts – planning & P&Ls
    • Operators – business optimizers
    • Builders – risk takers and ground layers. These types need protection from the other two groups to do their work well.
  • Connect with the team
    • Connection is essential to culture
    • What it takes:
      • Know how people work
      • Informality & access
  • Own your narrative
    • You have to see the bad and the good and tell the story of your company truthfully and fully

13. In today’s always-on, technologically-connected world, we have to remember that the human operating system is different. Disconnected downtime is essential to our well-being and success.

Arianna Huffington opened her closing keynote session of the event by sharing a story with us about the personal toll ‘success’ had taken on her life. “Two years into building the Huffington Post and being the divorced mother of two teenage daughters, I collapsed from exhaustion and sleep deprivation, broke my cheekbone, and almost lost my right eye.”

“I went through all of these medical tests to find out what was wrong with me only to have a doctor tell me – Arianna, what you have is a civilization’s disease – burnout. There’s nothing medicine can do for you. You have to change the way you live.”

‘Right now we take better care of our smartphones than we do of ourselves. I bet, right now, everyone in this rooms knows how much battery percentage is left on your phone. But the day I collapsed, if you had asked me how I was doing, I probably would have said I was fine.”

After Arianna’s fall, she had a harrowing and urgent wake-up call. It was then that she started studying the illusion that in order to succeed, you have to burn out.

“Ever since I changed my habits, I’ve been more productive than ever. And more importantly, I’ve enjoyed my life more than ever.”

Arianna shared that when she’s exhausted and running on empty, she doesn’t really like herself or the decisions she makes. The way they’re trying to address this issue at Thrive Global, her new wellness company, is through the introduction of a series of ‘micro steps’.

“The way to create sustainable behavior change is through small, incremental, daily changes. Our motto when it comes to these micro-steps is ‘too small to fail’. Whenever you want to start something new, start small – so you’re not going to fail at it. If you want to start exercising, don’t say you’re going to start exercising for one hour. Say you’re going to start exercising for 5 minutes. Then later go to 10 minutes and so on.”

On the most critical micro step we could all take to help us on the path to thriving in life, Arianna said, “I want everyone here now to stop sleeping with your phone. It’s just a terrible habit…The smartphone is only 10 years old. We’re just discovering the unintended consequences of this technology.”

“Science shows that if you take even just one minute to breath, meditate, set an intention for the day – before looking at your phone – you will be much happier. Instead of responding to what the world demands of you, start by setting your own intention and agenda for the day.”

“We need to protect ourselves from our phones. Let’s face it; we are all addicted. Let’s admit that we are all phoneaholics…If you’re an alcoholic, you don’t put a bottle on your nightstand. So if you’re addicted to your phone, you can’t put your phone on your nightstand.”

My Personal Takeaways:

This was my first year attending the World Business Forum and it the experience far exceeded my expectations. The amount of solid and actionable advice coming out of this event that could be applied to both my personal life and career as a leader was almost overwhelming. Weeks later, I still find myself energized and inspired to follow up with additional research on the ideas presented by the speakers.

So far, I’ve been most impacted by Arianna Huffington’s speaking session. Like Arianna, I had my own wakeup call a few years ago. While working 70-100 hours a week running a fast-growing tech startup and dealing with intense conflicts with my business partner, I began to experience an onslaught of health issues, including migraines that would last for weeks on end and fainting from exhaustion. After an expensive series of tests, my doctor told me the same thing that Arianna’s did – stress from the way I was working and living was causing most of my health issues.

So in 2015, I sold everything I owned, bought a backpack, and set off for a year of self-discovery and growth while traveling solo around the world. That trip marked the beginning of my journey to live more intentionally, and hearing Arianna share her struggles to find balance in today’s hyper-connected world really resonated with me.

Arianna’s suggestion to start limiting screen time was especially inspiring. Following her advice, I began using the new ‘Screen Time’ feature on my iPhone to track how many hours per day and per week I was spending on my phone, and quickly realized that what I thought was just a minor problem is, in fact, a full-blown addiction.

I won’t share the number of hours I’ve been spending on my phone because, frankly, it’s embarrassing. Let’s just say it’s enough to make me want to reevaluate the way I’m spending my time – which is ultimately the way I’m spending my life. Since WBFNYC, I’ve implemented social media limits on my phone using Apple’s Screen Time feature. I’m still using my phone much more than I’d like to be, but every week I’m using it a little less. (P.S. If you’re an Android user, Arianna shared that Thrive Global launched an app with similar features to Screen Time for Android phones, available in the Google app store).

Suddenly, I’m finding myself with more time and energy on my hands to do more of the things I’ve been wanting to do but ‘never had time’ to do before. Last week alone, I joined the Young Adult Committee of the Indianapolis NAACP as the leader of their climate justice initiatives, built a comprehensive personal cash flow forecast and financial plan for all of 2019, and initiated a plan to go back to college. All of this was accomplished on top of working full time in my role as a Marketing Strategist at Stericycle Environmental Solutions and coordinating and attending several holiday get-togethers with friends and family. Who knows what else I’ll be able to direct my time and energy towards as I continue to ramp down my screen time in the coming year? The possibilities are so exciting!

I still haven’t started sleeping without my phone next to my bed (sorry, Arianna!), BUT, I fully intend to put this habit into practice in the coming weeks – along with several other ‘micro steps’ to improve my health and well-being in 2019.  

Sarah Lewis’ advice on developing creativity and Seth Godin’s advice on making change by creating art are two other areas where I can already see myself making significant changes in the way I approach my strategy and problem-solving work. I expect to see many more positive results in my work and life as I begin to implement and test the powerful advice from the rest of the amazing WBFNYC 2018 speakers in the year ahead.

Thanks so much to WOBI for inviting me to cover the conference this year and to all of the speakers for sharing their valuable experiences and wisdom. Hoping I’ll be able to attend again in 2019! To all of the lovely people I met at WBFNYC and to everyone reading this, wishing you all a year ahead of thriving, emotional agility, creativity, empathy, learning, healthy challenges, a pursuit of mastery, and sustained growth.

Sowubana, friends.

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