Minimalist Manager Challenge Part 3: Leftie Day

For today’s #MinimalistManager Challenge, my task was to spend an entire day using my non-dominant hand.

Which, since my natural preference is right-handedness, means that it is…

Leftie Day.

Find out how it went, what I learned, and a few insights I was not expecting.

A Little Background…

The Minimalist Management philosophy based on a belief that we can reducing our reliance on unneeded things, and increase our appreciation of the world around us.

I believe there are 4 essential areas to succeed in adopting this:

  • Care for Self
  • Organize Surroundings
  • Prioritize Time
  • Help Others

In this analysis, I will provide a Post-Mortem Evaluation of the task to help me determine the root causes of actions to avoid as a business owner, which includes:

  1. what happened
  2. what went well
  3. what didn’t go well, and
  4. how we can adjust for the future

Check out my first post to hear why I decided to start this challenge.


View this post on Instagram

Autumn is here, and it’s time for a new #minimalistmanager challenge! I’ll be experiencing tasks that get me closer to business goals, even if it’s uncomfortable… like eating #nosugar (tomorrow’s objective) 🍭🛑. Want to join me? Here’s how: . . . Pick 9 activities that feel slightly uncomfortable but move you toward your goals in four areas: • Care for Self • Organize Surroundings • Prioritize Time • Help Others If you own a business, consider ways to stretch yourself as an owner. Set aside a period of time to work on your challenge (I recommend 9 to 15 days). Write down your challenge tasks. Each day, pick one card out of a hat 🎩. [I scheduled 15 days with 9 activities; the extra days are to recognize and celebrate growth, or consider why it didn’t go so well.] I’ll be posting updates about my challenge here: https://laconteconsulting.com/blog Join me, and let me know what you learn about yourself!

A post shared by Grace LaConte (@lacontestrategy) on

The full list

You can watch a brief vlog here:

All About the Lefties

Left-handed dominance is rare. Only 10% of people around the world are born with primary use of their left hand.

And while I believe innate abilities should be celebrated, unfortunately much of the world is designed for Righties.

My son is left-handed, and last year I asked him if he thought it would be useful for me to switch dominant hands, so I could share in his experience.

He was very supportive.

I was overly confident.

How hard could it be? I thought.

When I was 20 years old and chipped my right elbow in a rollerblading accident, I had to take college notes using my left hand while the bone healed. It was ridiculous; my penmanship was so atrocious that I couldn’t recognize half the words. Writing a single word took 4 times longer than with my dominant hand.

But come on, I reasoned. Other than writing, everything else should come easy.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.


So what happened on this 3rd task? Let’s find out!

Part 3 of My Challenge: Leftie Day

Essential Area

This task fits into two categories:

  • Care for Self
  • Organize Surroundings
  • Prioritize Time
  • Help Others

Using my non-dominant hand was both a journey of personal self-discovery and a total-immersion experience that allowed me to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

Post-Mortem Evaluation

Today’s task was focused on seeing the world through a new lens.

1. What happened

By random selection, this task fell on a Saturday, so I was able to:

  • do household chores such as cleaning windows left-handed,
  • commiserate with my left-handed son (who chose to be right-handed for the day),
  • use my smartphone and type texts left-handed,
  • call a friend and write 6 pages of notes left-handed (as you’ll see below),
  • wash dishes left-handed (which is really hard when the dishwasher is on the RIGHT), and
  • take food waste to the compost pile in our garden left-handed.

I even dug up some fresh red potatoes… with my left hand, of course!

2. What went well

Turning the tables on my handedness, so to speak, caused me to make a huge mental shift.

I felt a difference in the way my body was positioned. The simple act of holding a cup, opening a door, and turning the car key felt foreign and unusual.

I also began to notice details I hadn’t seen before, like the sweet Daddy Long Legs spider who crawled across my path as I was digging in the garden.

3. What didn’t go well

Creating an artificial limit like this one is not always fun.

I found it really difficult to do a lot of simple tasks, like applying makeup.

My biggest challenge was written communication. I’ve always enjoyed writing and find it to be a therapeutic task, as well as my primary learning method (which is a combination of Linguistic-Verbal, Visual-Spatial, and Bodily-Kinesthetic learning styles).

So when I tried to take notes during a phone call with my friend Khalil, who had supported my original Minimalist Manager challenge 3 years ago, it got increasingly frustrating to keep up my note-taking during the conversation.

Here’s what the pages look like:

View this post on Instagram

Task 3 of my #MinimalistManager Challenge: #LeftieDay! This morning I got to catch up with my friend @khalilpatwa, who lives in the UK. We share several #strategicthinking strengths. I learned a lot about #medicinalmushrooms, fruiting bodies, spore plugs, and the #mycelialnetwork… and how we are all connected by a human network of emotion, experience, and shared generational trauma. Deep stuff. All my notes were written with my left hand 😲 . . . . . #minimalism #leftie #lefties #leftieproblems #leftieforaday #nondominanthand #dosomethinguncomfortabletoday #discomfortzone #sharedexperiences #growthfrompain #trauma #generationaltrauma #emotionalstrength #storytelling Read my updates here: https://laconteconsulting.com/blog

A post shared by Grace LaConte (@lacontestrategy) on

4. How I can adjust for the future

After spending 24 hours as a leftie, I learned a lot about myself and what I’m able to accomplish even when looking (and feeling) totally inadequate.

I also learned a lot about how objects are designed. It seems like every object, entryway, electronic device, and process was created for right-handed people.

Navigating in a world designed for people other than you takes a lot of mental gymnastics. It became obvious that, unless you fit into a very particular consumer category, the world is a much less hospitable place.

We are surrounded by products and services that are designed to make things easier for certain types of people. Most of these reward people with…

  • a specific personality type (I’m looking at you, Extroverts!)
  • certain ability levels (intellectual, mechanical, interpersonal)
  • the ability to easily adapt to change
  • the personality to build and keep relationships effortlessly
  • few or no limitations physically, mentally, or emotionally

You may not struggle to make conversation, to solve complex problems, to hand in assignments quickly, or to network with hundreds of people; but many of us do.

We all have limitations. However, the modern world is primarily designed for people who fit a very specific consumer avatar. It doesn’t leave much room for diversity.

Because of our tendency to accept the world as we experience, we are often blissfully unaware of the philosophy behind that design.

I believe that establishing purposeful limits can broaden our understanding. It can allow us to begin recognizing the bias that is built into our culture and core beliefs. As that recognition expands our awareness, we can truly understand what others experience.

Stepping Into Discomfort

This topic is especially important to me because I have experienced bias as both an employee and as a manager. As a result, I consciously stepped into the role of my staff by spending several days in their jobs.

You can read more about it here:

What Happened When I Became an “Employee For a Day”

Employee for a Day, Employee, Staff, Foundational Staff, Management, Managers

“Employee For a Day”: How to Start

employee, employee for a day, foundational staff, management, start

 

Summary

For me, “Leftie Day” is a great reminder to recognize and respect everyone’s experience. It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when we’re surrounded by familiar people, places, and things.

By entering an uncomfortable role for just 24 hours, it forces us to confront a perception that may contradict a long-held belief.

If you’re interested in seeing more “stepping into someone else’s shoes” content, take a look at Morgan Spurlock’s excellent series 30 Days. Morgan is famous for his popular movie Super Size Me, exposing the dangerous of overeating McDonalds’ food.

Morgan Spurlock, 30 Days, Supersize Me, Super Size Me, documentary, Morgan Spurlock director

In 30 Days, he where takes a look at what it’s like to experience daily life for someone who is struggling with Minimum Wage, living as a Muslim in America, Illegal Immigration, Jail, and confined to a Wheelchair. I highly recommend it.

 


Follow my #MinimalistManager journey:

Stay tuned for the next installment, where I discuss the ups and downs of facing a mountain of papers and books when I… organize my office.


Grace LaConte is a Strategic Risk Expert who helps service business owners find and fix hidden risks that keep them from achieving long-term success. Using her experience as a Risk Officer in the healthcare and technology fields, Grace shares a refreshingly honest approach to uncovering hidden risks and opportunities. Learn more at http://laconteconsulting.com, or connect with her on Twitter @lacontestrategy.

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