May 3 2022

Book Short: Intentionality in Life

I haven’t done short book summaries in a LONG time, but I’ll try to start adding that back into the mix as I read interesting and relevant books. Here’s one to add to your list: One Life to Lead, by Russell Benaroya. I was recently connected to Russell by a mutual friend, TA McCann at Pioneer Square Labs. TA had a sense Russell and I would hit it off, and we did. Russell is a multi-time founder/CEO, a Coach, and an author, so we have a lot in common.

One Life to Lead is an excellent book. First, it is short and easy to get through. Unlike a lot of business books, it doesn’t go on too long or contain anything extraneous. It’s to the point!

Second, the book is a business book that’s not really about business. It’s about life and what Russell calls Life Design, which is a great framing of how to be intentional about leading your life. While I have become less and less of a life planner as I’ve gotten older under the headline of “man plans, God laughs,” I am a huge believer in being intentional about everything, which I talk about in Startup CEO quite a bit in the nuts and bolts context of building your business.

Finally, Russell’s framework is easy to understand and full of concrete exercises you can to. Here are his five steps, but you’ll have to read the book to get the details:

  • Ground stories with facts. This reminds me a lot of the principles we have taught team members over the years in our Action/Design (and related) trainings. First, start with absolute concrete facts that everyone will agree are facts.
  • Establish your principles. This is brilliant. Your company has documented values or operating principles. Why don’t you?
  • Harness energy from the environment. Figuring out what makes you tick, and what drains your energy, is so important.
  • Get in and stay in your genius zone. Shouldn’t we all focus our time on the things we do best and love the most?
  • Take action. How to put it together and make it all happen.

If you don’t get out in front of life, it will happen to you, and Russell’s framework is about how to make sure you are in the driver’s seat of your own life. Here’s to that.