Sunday, August 11, 2019

✔️ No Ironman - how I blew my dream because I was... late

Yesterday evening at 9:30pm I was rushing in my car loaded with an amazing triathlon bike and all the gear ready to put everything in the transition area before my first ever Ironman race... It was my dream come true - I was about to become an Ironman in my home town of Gdynia, right when I turned 40. It was going to be great!... I was driving fast as they’d close the area at 10 pm. “I’ll make it! I always do!” I thought. Yet again I was doing stuff at the last minute, but as a person who always gets away with this, I was fine. There was still time, right? Wrong. When I got there I realized I was too late. Yes, they were closing the transition area at 10pm and I arrived just before that... but I failed to pick up my starting number and this had to be done before 8pm. And there was nothing to be done. Without a starting number I couldn’t participate in the race. I couldn’t leave my bike in the transition area...

This time I didn’t make it. This time I was really late. This time I really blew it.

I was standing there with the bike and the gear, completely ashamed and disappointed... and was replaying the events of this day over and over in my head trying to realize what just happened. I couldn’t understand how I got to this point where the race will take place and I won’t be in it. And it all looked so promising...

No Ironman - how I blew my dream because I was... late

Today is Sunday, August 11 and it’s exactly 8 am. The race is about to start and instead of being at the starting line I’m in front of my iPad trying to figure out what I just did. And what I could have done to prevent it. Hope you’ll also learn a thing or two from my very stupid mistake.

It’s all my fault!

Just to be clear - the fact that the race is taking place without me is completely my fault. The fact that I was about to make my dream come true and blew it at the last minute - is on me. This post is not to search for someone or something to blame. The search is simple - it’s me.

Thanks for all your support!

Friends, colleagues and people who know me, listen to my podcast or read what I write were supporting me in this quest to become an Ironman and I’d like to thank you all for your encouragement. I am feeling so ashamed right now that I screwed this one up (and I will continue to feel this way for quite a long while!).

I thank you and I’m so sorry.

And yes, you can laugh. I’m laughing at myself right now for blowing it so bad... in between the moments when I feel so ashamed I wanna disappear.

Now that we’ve got this all out of the way, let’s see what happened:

Monday, May 20, 2019

😎 Michael 4.0 - redesigned and happier than ever

Today I’m turning 40. Forty. Yep, that’s four full decades of life for you right there. I can’t believe how quickly time flies. When I was a child, I used to think this was a monumental milestone... when I’ll be very very old... and yet here we are and I don’t feel that old. I feel great. Actually, I feel the best I’ve ever been. In this post I want to sum it up a little and express how grateful I am for turning forty today.

Michael 4.0 - redesigned and happier than ever

I’ve redesigned myself a little...

To honor my forty and as a result of my recent pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (about which I’m going to both blog and talk on the podcast pretty soon), I’ve grown a beard. Something my father has had all his life. It’s not definite, I still feel strange about having facial hair... but for now I think it’s a great way of celebrating this milestone.

The funny thing is, that this year, there’s more to number 4 than meets the eye....

Thursday, April 18, 2019

😎 Challenge: social media sabbatical for a month

Yesterday with Radek we recorded the 184th episode of “The Podcast” where we’ll be discussing Cal Newport’s new book - Digital Minimalism (Amazon|Audible) - and the episode will air next week... but while recording Radek challenged me to do a fully-blown social media sabbatical (Twitter/Instagram/Facebook) for the next 30 days. No Twitter. No Instagram. No Facebook. No Social Media. And I accepted it! Here are the rules:

Challenge: social media sabbatical for a month

Social Media Sabbatical Rules:

OK. Time to set up some ground rules. Here’s what I’ve done:

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

😎 Why suck at three sports, if I can suck at four? Or how I’m loving my tennis game and why you should start practicing a new sport this year, too!

As you know I’ve been competing in triathlon races for the last 4 years. I’ve done 2 sprint-distance races and 10 olympic-distance ones. And this year I’ve signed up for a half-Ironman. I’m all about swimming, biking and running... but last year I started practicing a fourth sport - tennis. Here’s how I got to it and why:

Why suck at three sports, if I can suck at four? Or how I’m loving my tennis game and why you should start practicing a new sport this year, too!

I’ve always wanted to learn to play tennis, but I never did.

When I was young my parents wanted me to learn tennis but because they themselves didn’t play, they didn’t push me enough to get lessons. When I was in collage one year I created a tennis group with a fellow friend and we would play every other week... but we both were amateurs and we were just basically passing ball from one side of the net to the other... and I still enjoyed it... but never properly learned it.

Fast forward 18 years... and even though I was doing triathlons I started learning tennis!

Completely by accident. Together with a neighbor I organized a tennis class for one of my daughters and after a few classes she lost interest... and I asked the coach to teach me... and I got hooked! Here’s how it went down:

Monday, January 21, 2019

😎 Nobody’s perfect from the beginning

As mentioned on our last episode of The Podcast, recently in Nozbe team we introduced “salary formula” - a way to calculate salaries for all of our team members. In one of the future episodes we’ll discuss the formula in more depth, but today I want to focus on one aspect of it - level of growth - and why this ingredient of the salary is supposed to stimulate our team members to keep growing and developing themselves - just like the BMW 5 series... and unlike Lada:

Nobody’s perfect from the beginning

Nobody is perfect from the beginning - we all need to keep growing

When you’re leading a team of people, it’s important to let everyone know that you don’t want “Ladas” on your team - meaning people who think are perfect and they don’t need to grow.

The above meme is really cool as you can see how BMW 5 series kept evolving over the years, kept iterating, kept improving... while still remaining a mid-size sedan that it’s always been.

Now, how this translates to personal growth? Glad you asked:

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

😢 How tolerance of hate and extremism leads to the lowest point in the modern history of Poland

Today was one of the saddest day in the history of my country of Poland - the president of Gdansk - Paweł Adamowicz - was stabbed to death by someone for political reasons. Turns out that the divide that ruling government of Poland is creating among my countrymen has its first spectacular victim. This is the low point of Polish democracy. Will we go lower? Yes, we will if we don’t stop the to tolerate the hate speech:

How tolerance of hate and extremism leads to the lowest point in the modern history of Poland

Hate speech are not just meaningless words - they can turn into actions!

I try to avoid very controversial subjects like politics on my personal blog, but sometimes I write about things that I can no longer be quiet about - just like I did with guns - now let’s talk about the tolerance of hate speech and what it leads to.

Words can really hurt people. Literally.

That’s why the words we use are so important. And when the same words are repeated many times over, they begin to be the “new norm”. And when they come from “above” like a government official, they become the “new policy”.

So when a politician is saying “this person should be dead”, they can pretend all they want that they didn’t literally mean “dead” but what they are really doing is promoting violence and showing their supporters and followers that it’s OK to say things like that. It’s OK to wish someone dead...

And when this happens, a crazy person who takes these kinds of calls in a literal way can always be found in a nation of close to 40 Million people...

Even if it’s “just a figure of speech”, well, it shouldn't be!

One recent example was very scary. In Poland the current government led by the Law and Justice party for the last three years was supporting nationalistic movements, neo-nazi and far-right groups and letting them issue death certificates to politicians of opposition parties...

Yes. Death certificates. And when these were brought to the courts, public prosecutors discarded these death certificates as ”a way to express lack of approval of these politicians”.

Well, there are different ways to express your approval or lack thereof.

Here’s what the late Paweł Adamowicz had to say about these certificates just a few days before his assassination (in Polish):

How tolerance of hate and extremism leads to the lowest point in the modern history of Poland

Same goes to gestures, like burning a the EU flag, a doll symbolizing a Jew, and many other hate gestures that the current government just lets happen in Poland and the authorities do nothing about them.

This kind of rhetoric shouldn’t be tolerated because it leads to violence and ...intolerance.

We conclude with the Paradox of Tolerance...

Now, what about the freedom of speech and being tolerant to everyone?

Well, apparently the problem with that is that there’s such a thing as the Paradox of Tolerance, which basically means:

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

Yes, it turns out that you can be “too kind” to someone who doesn’t want to be kind to you... and it’ll be turned against you. So no, freedom of speech is great and all, but not if you let hate take over.

It’s OK to tolerate a different opinion but it’s not OK to tolerate all the ways how people express it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

😎 What I’ve learned from my IG #2018bestnine photos

Today is the first day of 2019 and I’d like to kick it off with my best 9 Instagram photos of 2018 and what I’ve learned from them:

How my IG #bestnine photos summarize my 2018

Selfies still work sometimes... especially with someone :-)

Out of 9 photos, 5 are selfies. Three of them are with someone else - two with my wife and one with a friend who drew an outline of my Infoshare presentation.

The 15th anniversary photo with my wife (top left corner) got more than 100 likes - people wish us well, which is nice :-)

Two other selfies were also important - I completed my 10th olympic-distance triathlon and my home country of Poland celebrated 100th anniversary of independence.

Turns out selfies are popular when they represent something meaningful. A milestone. An important celebration... a deep feeling. Not when you just want to show off how cool you are.

The best nine photos also highlighted the significant themes of my last year, like speaking, sports and travel...

This year I had three significant speaking engagements and the most prominent one was indeed Infoshare (second was mobiconf) and I love the photo at the bottom right corner - looking at this amazing audience which fills out the whole auditorium is always a treat for a speaker.

As for sports, I’m really proud of this shot in the center - of my two biking buddies Nick and Dan climbing our favorite climb to the “red house”, which is an abandoned building in the mountains. The former of them last year completed a climb like this every week. I want to be like him when I grow up :-)

Travel was a vital part of 2018 for me. The shot of my youngest girl in Apple store in England is really cool... and the shot of the 420 park avenue building in the clouds in New York City reminds me of my sabbatical.

It’s really amazing how a few photos can really highlight the theme of last year for you. That’s what they did to me.

68 photos in 2018 vs 97 in 2017

This past year I tried to limit my usage (aka addiction) to Instagram and it worked. I posted 30% fewer photos and I’m hoping to continue down this path by posting maximum 1 photo per week this year, or around 50 photos per year.

I have mixed feelings about Instagram. On one hand it gives me lots of joy and value browsing through the photos... but on the other hand it’s increasingly littered with ads and the parent company of Facebook is an anti-example of a socially responsible company...

So I’m setting some limits for Instagram this year. One photo per week and opening instagram app max one time per day.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed my photos and if you did, make sure to follow me there and let me know how your best nine photos reflect on your last year.

What have you learned? How was the year and do these photos really represent it as much as they did for me?

Friday, December 28, 2018

✔️ Time to start your annual review!

The year of 2018 is coming to an end. It’s time to take a moment to reflect on it, learn from it... and plan 2019. Recently on The Podcast we gave you our definitive guide to an annual review so let me motivate you to start yours now by breaking down this process into 10 simple steps (see what I did there?):

Time to start your annual review!

Step 1 - believe it’s worth it - yes, you have to be motivated to do an annual review so make sure you know it’s important to your goal of living an intentional life.

Step 2 - dedicate time for it - it’s going to take you quite a few hours, schedule them in the first week of January. 1-2 hours a day.

Step 3 - check your last year’s goals (or New Year’s Resolutions if you have them written down) and see what you managed to (or did’t) achieve.

Step 4 - review your calendar and journal entries from this passing year and jot down trends, ideas or feelings you had about things that happened.

Step 5 - close the year - give yourself permission to start your new year with a blank slate. Don’t automatically move incomplete goals or projects to the New Year.

Step 6 - recognize your values - write down what works for you, what’s important to you... and what you don’t care about. Know thyself.

Step 7 - create projects for each of your New Year’s goals. Don’t generate resolutions, be practical and put a project for each of your goals in your tool of choice (like Nozbe)

Step 8 - come up with habits or skills you need to acquire to get your goals done. Goals are hit-or-miss, but skills or habits will stay with you for much longer.

Step 9 - add timeframes and measures to track your goals - make sure to focus on one goal at a time and postpone other goals for later in a year. Work on your skills and habits in the meantime.

Step 10 - regularly review your goals. Preferably every Friday when doing your weekly review. This way you’ll be always on track with your goals.

Now it’s time to begin!

I’m starting my annual review this week and I’m hoping to finish it by January 6. I’ll also started drafting my “review of 2018” blog post and hope to post it in the first week of January, too - so stay tuned!

Once you’ve started your annual review, make sure to let me know on Twitter and let me know how it’s going. I’ll be posting my updates there, too! Good luck!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

🎄 Two organizations that do a great job of helping those in need

Charitable work is very important to me and that’s why all these years of running Nozbe I’ve been putting aside 3% of our monthly profits to charity and also I donate $1 of each copy sold of my new book 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity and 5 PLN of each copy sold of the Polish edition of this book... but one thing is to have the money to give... and another is to really use this money for a good cause.

This year I supported two charitable organizations from my home country of Poland during the Christmas time because I’m really impressed how they’re going about using the funds to support those in need.

Two organizations I supported this time of year

One is “Polska Akcja Humanitarna (PAH)” and their “Pajacyk” program which basically caters to make sure children in dire situations get at least one warm meal a day. Very focused and simple cause, yet neglected by many. It’s not a Christmas-specific action - it’s all year long, but at Christmas I felt like I wanted to support them more this time of year. One of their key supporters is my dear friend, Michal Szafranski and he was the one to bring this program to my attention.

The other one is “Szlachetna Paczka” and their work is really focused on Christmas time - they’re helping regular Polish families help other families in very dire circumstances.

This program is really brilliant, because not only do they actively seek out the families in need, but they also really do some serious due-diligence to make sure these families are not pretending to require help, that they really list things they desperately need and that they won’t go off and sell what they received to buy alcohol or other things. I’m really impressed how they operate and how many dedicated volunteers they have that perform this hard job of finding the families and getting the gifts (packages) to them delivered.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

✔️ Essentialism is easier when you’re forced to choose what’s really important

I’m a big fan of Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism - the pursuit of less but better - I’ve read the book three times, took lots of notes and keep trying (and failing) to follow Greg’s advice... and today unexpectedly I had a tough day that taught me a lesson or two on essentialism.

A personal situation changed my day completely...

When I was doing my weekly review last Friday I had a very solid plan for this week, including a strong to-do list for today - for Monday. After all, it’s the last week before Christmas and there’s so much to be done!

And then something happened on Sunday. A family situation required my attention... and I had to deal with it also today...

When my back was against the wall... I knew exactly what to do.

So today I knew I had to tend to my family and in between I had only maybe 3 hours of work max... so I quickly looked at my to-do list and refocused everything.

I knew what was essential. I knew what I should do today... and what can be left for later.

And that’s what I did.

And I had a great day. I managed to move important things forward at the company in the limited time I had... and later could completely focus on the family matter at hand.

There must be a lesson right here...

A lesson in constraints... in evaluating what’s important...

When facing this important situation I somehow knew what to do.... so why when I’m not in a predicament like this, I’m trying to do everything possible and more?

My life is important. There’s only one life I have. Maybe I should be more mindful about creating this sense of urgency and importance all of the time... not only when I’m being forced to do it by external situations?

Maybe I just need to be better at editing my life... and when I have a plan, practice trimming it down by answering this simple question:

“Great plan for next week, but what would I do, if I only had half that time next week? What would I focus on? What would be essential to move forward?”

Yes, that’s what I have to ask myself at the end of my each weekly review... and edit the plan again. Let’s try to do it this Friday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

😎 So in the end I want to become an Ironman...

I really like doing sports. 4 years ago I started doing triathlons to stay in shape. After 10 Olympic-distance triathlons I decided to get out of my comfort zone and celebrate being fit by doing an Ironman 70.3 next year. Here’s why:

So in the end I want to become an Ironman...

Forty and fabulous - I’m going to turn 40 next year so I want to celebrate it big time! By being in ultimate shape at this milestone age :-)

Yes, I’m going to turn 40 next year. Time flies so fast. But the cool thing is that in the last 4 years I managed to get into the best shape of my life and I want to keep it that way... and celebrate my supposedly upcoming “mid-life crisis” with a bang!

I want to become an Ironman by completing an Ironman 70.3 race in my home town of Gdynia.

Yes, the venue is critical here - I will be swimming in my favorite Baltic Sea in Gdanska Bay. I will be riding the bike in Kaszuby which I know so well and love so much... and I will finish it up in the center of my city, running a half-marathon on Swietojanska street and on the seashore boulevard.

Now it’s all about getting in an even better shape!

The swimming part shouldn’t be that hard. I’m not a fast swimmer, but I’ve been steadily improving and in the Olympic-distance triathlon I get to swim 1500 meters and here it’s just 400 meters more... so not really a big deal.

Biking will be harder. It’s 90km after all and it’s pretty flat with occasional hills... in total 750m elevation gain... and while training I’m doing a lot more - today I just did a 55km bike ride with 850m elevation gain, so I should be able to make it pretty OK.... but unlike in the Olympic distance triathlon, here there’s no “drafting” - so I won’t be able to just join a group and follow them along - you have to bike on your own and maintain distance from the person in front of you - or overtake them. I’m hoping to do it in around 3 hours...

Running will be the hardest. After both swimming and biking I’ll be pretty tired and I’m about to run a half-marathon. I’m not used to running so much. I’ve been running 10km races and training sessions, but very rarely more than that. This will be a new thing for me - and I have to be able to run it well, because it’s only then where I’ll see my family and friends supporting me. They’ll all be there and I will have to run with grace :-)

So I’ll run relatively slowly and hopefully do it in around 2 hours...

Which gives us a total of around 6 hours for this adventure. Now that’s what I call a true birthday celebration!

The race will take place on August 11, 2019

So until then I have to train... and also I’ve got two races lined up before - a half-marathon in January and another olympic-distance triathlon in May... and then I’ll do the Ironman in August. Sounds like a plan, right?

Yes, it’s exciting... but definitely out of my comfort zone. Right where it should be.

Monday, December 3, 2018

😎 How I’m keeping my coffee ☕️ warm using the Ember mug

I normally don’t write reviews of products on this blog, but every now and then there comes a product that truly delights me and makes my life just a tiny bit more enjoyable - so I felt like writing a short review of a mug, that keeps my coffee and tea warm...

How I’m keeping my coffee ☕️ warm using the Ember mug

Solving “first world problems” with Ember mug

When I was getting a coffee in Starbucks in the USA this summer, I noticed a new type of mug in their offering. A “smart mug” that has an app... and what it does is this - it keeps your coffee warm.

That’s it. $80 bucks for a mug that keeps your coffee warm for about half an hour. As a gadget guy, I got curious, I watched a review on YouTube and realized this mug was for real... so I decided to get it to really give it a try.

When you work from home and your home office is on the top floor of your house, your drink gets cold quickly...

Yes, I have to go down to the kitchen, brew my coffee and take it up... and by the time I’m back, the coffee is already in a perfect temperature to drink... but when I start working, it gets cold pretty quickly.

Yes, I know that a “cold coffee” is a first world problem...

That’s correct, but these are the tiny details that make your life just a little better. So yes, the $80 dollar mug makes my life nicer because now I get to enjoy my coffee for about 30 minutes or even more... and each sip is perfect.

Each sip is exactly as warm as the first one...

Really enjoying my “smart mug”... and now my wife wants one, too!

My wife was looking at me strangely when I bought it... but after 3 months of having it at home, she’s very often literally stealing it from me to enjoy her coffee more.

If you can afford this gadget and really appreciate a warm cup of coffee or tea, I really recommend the Ember mug.

No, I wasn’t paid to write this. I make my living helping teams get stuff done with Nozbe and not reviewing products but if you get this mug from Amazon, I’ll get a small commission that I will use to buy more audiobooks from Audible :-)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

🎬 I’m thankful for Robert Kubica being back as racing driver for Formula 1

Wow, I’ve been waiting for this news for the last two years! This is a fairytale and a story of passion, perseverance and drive... Robert Kubica is back as a regular driver for Williams Racing in the next Formula 1 season! Here’s why it’s amazing (and here’s a short video of his career to date):

I’m thankful for Robert Kubica being back as racing driver for Formula 1

Robert Kubica is back as a driver in Formula 1

Today is “Thanksgiving” in America - something we don’t celebrate in Europe, although today is a day Formula 1 fans and people of Poland should be very thankful for - our one-and-only Formula 1 racing driver is back on the F1 grid - Robert Kubica is back and confirmed by the Williams Racing Team as a regular driver for them in the 2019 and 2020 seasons!

It’s been a long time coming. After his almost-fatal accident in 2011 where he’s almost lost an arm, nobody thought he’d be able to race again... let alone be back in the fastest racing cars on the planet. And today he’s back and I’m so really thankful for this! And so happy!

He wasn’t supposed to drive again...

This story reminds me of a story of Hermann “Herminator” Maier who also had a near-fatal accident and almost lost his leg... and wasn’t supposed to walk again, let alone ski... and he not only managed to cure his leg... he went back to skiing and won a World Cup and World Championship back!

Robert is similar - he almost lost his arm... and he wasn’t supposed to drive again... and he went back to driving and racing in Rally Championships and became a WRC2 European Champion... and last year he was already testing F1 cars at Renault and Williams... but didn’t get the place... and now he’s back!

Now here’s me hoping he’ll not only start racing again, he’ll win races again... and maybe even become a World Champion? Who knows, this guy can apparently accomplish anything!

Robert Kubica videos by his team, Williams Racing

Here’s team chief, Claire Williams announcing Robert Kubica:


And here’s another video, where Robert Kubica himself tells his amazing fairytale-like story:


P.S. Back to Thanksgiving...

And just as a side note to this post I’d like to highlight that even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe, I do practice being thankful every morning when I do my jourinaling.

And if you want to learn more about why being thankful and grateful is truly powerful, make sure to listen to the podcasts episodes by Michael Hyatt and Shawn Stephenson.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

😎 15 years ago I stopped being friends with her... only to become her best friend ever as her husband

Today is an important milestone for me and my wife, here’s what I wrote on Instagram today: 15 years ago today these two people finally decided to put their long-term friendship at risk and became a couple - they got married 1.5 year later and now they’ve got 3 beautiful daughters and still love hanging out together, traveling, watching movies, just being around each other… - yep, and here’s our story in a nutshell:

15 years ago I stopped being friends with her... and now she is my wife!

When Michael met Ewelina…

We both love movies, and “When Harry met Sally” is one of our favorites, because our story is very similar:

We met more than 20 years ago in high-school - the very first week - a common friend introduced us to each other. Throughout the school and university we were very good friends. We’d always stay in touch, sometimes more, sometimes less... but we always knew we had each other’s back.

We’d tell everyone that yes, a close friendship between a guy and a gal can exist and doesn’t have to end in a relationship!

Well, as we grew so did our friendship and affection and 15 years ago today, on Friday, 21 November 2003 we became a couple. Finally we figured out that in all these years we were not just becoming better friends, we were also falling for each other!

Our friendship makes our relationship real

We got married 1.5 years later and today we have 3 beautiful daughters and we’re still best friends!

We like doing things together, we love traveling, watching movies, doing sports, talking... and just hanging out together... and also spending time with our kids. We have much respect for our mutual careers and we support each other at work.

As in every relationship, there are ups and downs, problems, feelings… but because we’re not only lovers, but also best friends, I feel we can get through everything.

We’re an effective team.

I can have a bad day… or be in a bad mood… but I know that whatever happens, at the end of the day I get to spend time with my favorite person in the whole world.

Ewelina, thank you for sharing your life with me. Here’s to many more anniversaries like this!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

💯 100 Years of Polish Independence 🇵🇱

Today is Polish Independence Day and this one is very special! In this short post I’m going to explain why I’m proud to be Polish, European and why I’m hopeful for the future.

100 Years of Polish Independence

100 years of Poland

Today is a special day. It’s been 100 years as Poland is a free country. I’m happy to be celebrating this day as a proud Polish person. Here’s why: