I like labels. They help us organize our ideas; like curating our experience and knowledge with neural hashtags. If we’re lucky, the labels stick. We can recall and apply them as part of a conditioned process of improving the quality of our work.

Today I adopted a new label: first degree. It came to me during a morning coffee with longtime friend Tania Carriere. First degree perfectly summarized for me a theme we were discussing — restricting the size of our respective companies to ensure we maintain a direct connection with our clients and the work we do for them. First degree. We and our clients must know each other directly, be able to reach one another directly and speak directly about the work and issues we’re dealing with even when our notes are not in front of us.

I applied first degree to another theme that came up later in our conversation. We’d landed on life experiences and how they inform us in our personal and professional development. Tania and I agreed that while there are many things we have experienced we would not have given the choice, adversity has played an important part in shaping our skills and instincts. First degree. Like the proverbial hot stove, we can only truly make the first degree connection if we touch the element.

I immediately made a mental note of some life experiences which have informed some of my decisions. Those experiences were already catalogued in my mind. It took the label to help me organize and associate them in a new and meaningful way.


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