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Coaching, Coding and Learning By George Evjen

Although not technical, this is a great book for managers and developers as they consider productivity of a group and themselves. In business we all want a successful outcome, but what are the best ways in getting there. I believe that it starts with your employees, not the product or the customer. Get your employees to buy in, to believe in the process to feel good about their contribution to the outcome, to feel they are appreciated and valued. This book and the notes below start to uncover some of these ideals. Getting people to simply focus on what they can do to contribute at a high level. To get them to contribute in an area or with an expertise they are passionate about. The notes from today center around choices. Making sure we are aware that with all decisions we have the ability to choose. If we don't exercise that choice, then someone else will chose for us. 

Discerning the Trivial Many from the Vital Few

  • Explore and evaluate a broad set of options before committing to any.
  • Explore more options at first to ensure you pick the right one later.


  • What do I feel deeply inspired by?
  • What am I particularly talented at?
  • What meets a significant need in the world?
  • The right thing at the right time the right way.
  • The purpose of exploration is to discern the vital few from the trivial many.



  • Cutting out the Trivial Many
  • Many of use say yes to things because we are eager to please and make a difference
  • When we forfeit our right to choose, someone else will choose for us.
  • Eliminating nonessentials, thus earning us the time necessary to achieve what is essential.



  • Removing obstacles and making execution effortless
  • Don’t force execution - essentialist invest the time they have saved into creating a system for removing obstacles and making execution as easy as possible.


An Idea Whose Time Has Come

  • We hold the key to unlock the next level of achievement in our lives.
  • What if businesses eliminated meaningless meetings and replaced them with space for people to think and work on their most important projects?
  • What if the whole world shifted from the undisciplined pursuit of more to the disciplined pursuit of less…but better?
  • Learning to better tap into more of their intelligence, capability, resourcefulness, and initiative to live more meaningful lives.
  • Applying the principles of 'less but better' to how we live our lives now and in the future. That is innovation.


Essence - What is the core mindset of an essentialist

  • Not a way of doing one thing - it is a different way of doing everything.
  • Assumptions you must conquer
    • I have to
    • It's all important
    • I can do both
  • Replace those assumptions with
    • Only a few things really matter.
    • I choose to
    • I can do anything but not everything.


Choose - The Invincible Power of Choice

  • If you could only do one thing with your life right now - what would it be.
  • I think that is when I first realized that when we surrender our ability to choose, something or someone else will step in and choose for us.
  • A choice is not a thing. Our options might be things - but a choice is an action. It is not something we have but something we do.
  • Have you ever felt the stress that comes from simultaneously holding two contradictory beliefs
    • I can't do this
    • I have to do this.


The Invincible Power of Choosing to Choose

  • The ability to choose cannot be taken away or even given away - it can only be forgotten.
  • Learned helplessness
    • Observed this in many companies and organizations.
    • When people believe their efforts at work don’t matter they respond in two ways.
      • The check out and stop trying
      • They accept every opportunity presented - they throw themselves into every assignment.
        • Compulsion to do more is a smokescreen - these people don’t believe they have a choice.
  • Essentialist - requires a heightened awareness of our ability to choose.
  • Essentialist - knows that when we surrender our right to choose - we give others not just the power but also the permission to choose for us.
  • I have to vs. I choose to
Posted on Saturday, July 2, 2016 8:39 AM Essentialism - McKeown | Back to top

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This idea will serve as a guide to fully understand how to be an effective coach. - Mark Zokle
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