Episode 355: J. Andrew McKee – How to Get Better at What You Do
February 18, 2021
In a weekly email to Unleashed subscribers in the fall of 2019, I asked, “What you are doing this fall to get better at what you do?” Umbrex member J. Andrew McKee sent me the following extraordinary response, and I asked him to be a guest on the show to discuss.
To learn more about Andrew’s consulting practice (which we don’t discuss), visit: HeadlandStrategy.com.
Here is Andrew’s answer on what he is doing to get better at what he does:
- Resumed saxophone practice 2-4 times a week, with a goal to resume performing in a narrow (muse-inspired) set of genres by 2021. I may also get a teacher if I can sustain through Q1 (9 months ongoing!)
- Hired a change coach with psychology and spiritual training to help me vision an inspiring growth trajectory for my consulting business while balancing writing and family priorities
- Teaching more private webinars and a university course (one 3-hour module) (me and my staff)
- Teaching more lunch and learns to our growing staff
- Doing Zoom hip hop dance classes with my daughters (Michael Peele!)
- Sending more emotionally vulnerable emails to my close guy friends about the ups and downs of life, and having more 1:1 phone calls where I stop beating around the bush
- Protecting occasional afternoons for 3-4 hour hikes with masks with longtime friends
- Calling my father more regularly (Q2 weeks)
- Resuming a meditation practice after I intentionally let it lapse on behalf of first protecting a full night of sleep, and now that our youngest child is out of diapers and I can manage 10-20 minutes per day.
- Planning to hire an HR consultant to help us build behaviors to learn new knowledge and skills into a broader sense of “performance review” than is typically done. I would also like to align this with peer-encouraged deliberate practice. We are also noodling on hiring an expert for certain skills (e.g., market research interviews), and having them work with us like a coach (pre- and post-game feedback).
- Added volunteer programs to mentor students at a historically black university, including mock interview practice, career advice, help with career connections, and so on.
- Writing literary fiction 2-3 hours per day
- Journaling daily about anything and everything (“Morning pages” in the spirit of Julia Cameron)
- No alcohol since 2013 (or other drugs)
- No caffeine since summer 2019 (except 1-2 cups decaf coffee or 1 cup of green tea)
- Intermitted fasting when I feel like it
- Protecting 7.5 to 8.0 hours of sleep per night, helped by reminders from my Oura Ring
- Protecting time for the family each day (AM and dinner time) and every weekend, including supporting them in music and sports
- Reading almost zero business books, which I find very low yield in general
- Reading widely and muse-inspired, drawing from a long list of books I’d love to read and reading them when I feel inspired, across nonfiction and fiction in a 1:1 mix
- Listening broadly to music that inspires and moves me