Friday Forward
January 30, 2021

Examples of motivating others from Friday Forward

By Paul Laughlin

Have you come across the Friday Forward movement or the success of the hashtag #FridayForward? It’s a global phenomenon of people forwarding to others motivating stories & messages, just to help lift that ‘Friday feeling‘.

It all started with entrepreneur Robert Glazer. One dull Friday in November he decided to do something about improving his morning routine & began sending others a motivational email. Using what he had already collected, he sent stories & quotes he had found motivated him.

The positive response from his colleagues & clients just grew and grew. Events, networks and the power of the social networks continued that momentum. Now, over 5 years later, he has hundreds of thousands of people subscribed to his Friday Forward email & many more continue this practice in their workplace.

I really enjoyed this book, that can be read in a single sitting (it is only 149 pages). It is a great example of motivating others by sharing stories.

How the Friday Forward book can motivate you

So, when I was approached by Rob with a copy of his book, I was keen to have a read. It is also called “Friday Forward” and is very accessible. Rob has curated 52 stories, each with a motivational quote, so you can also use each chapter as a motivational weekly reading. I recommend that approach.

But this is more than just a smorgasbord of random motivational messages. Rob has structured those stories under four key parts of the book. These are the four capacities you are encouraged to develop. Each is relevant to all leaders, including our data, analytics & customer insight leadership community.

Each of those 4 parts starts with a short introduction to explain what Rob means by that capacity. This is worth reading before you react to the naming of each capability. Many are not what you may first assume and each is important to developing a rewarding life & sustainable career.

Part 1: Spiritual Capacity

From the start, Rob makes clear that this language does not refer to religion or any search for spiritual enlightenment, although your own beliefs have a big part to play. Rather, this is your capacity to be clear on what you value most, knowing yourself & living your life based on those insights.

Another way to think about this section is you are starting with the long-term view or the big picture. How do you want to develop your capacity to both think longer-term & prioritise what really matters most? It is also about courage and being brave enough to articulate your dreams as well as seek to achieve them.

In this section you’ll hear stories from:

  • Adam Grant (author of “Originals”)
  • Philip McKernan (clarity coach)
  • Mike Sarini (personal trainer)
  • Amy Krouse Rosenthal (writer of “You may want to marry my husband“)
  • Ray Dalio (author of “Principles”)
  • Ed Sheeran (musician)
  • Conor Neil (a personal friend of Rob)
  • Scott Weiss (founder of IronPort Systems)
  • Jim Collins (author of “Built to Last”)
  • Frances Frei (leadership speaker)
  • Rob’s own life experiences & some shared by his readers

Part 2: Intellectual Capacity

This is not about being naturally smarter than others, but it is about a commitment to keep learning. As Rob puts it, it boils down to your mindset, planning & daily actions.

As a leader, you both need to ensure you plan & manage in response to what happens each day, so that you progress towards those long term values. It also helps to have a growth mindset with regards to your own knowledge & skills. The most resilient & successful leaders also have a commitment to their own continual development & many are voracious readers.

In this section you’ll hear stories from:

  • Uri Levine (co-founder of Waze)
  • Steven Covery (author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”)
  • Hal Elrod (author of “The Miracle Morning”)
  • Ann Miura-Ko (venture capitalist)
  • Charles Duhigg (author of “The Power of Habit”)
  • Morgan Housel (partner at Collaborative Fund)
  • Tim Ferris (host of “The Tim Ferris Show”)
  • Eric Kapitulik (founder of The Program)
  • Rob’s own life experiences & some shared by his readers

Part 3: Physical Capacity

Be honest, do you neglect your health & wellbeing as a leader? If we are honest, most of us recognise that we should improve our diet, exercise or sleep. In this section, Rob encourages us not to wait until the wake-up call of a health emergency, to recognise the need for a rebalance.

In this section, Rob turns his attention to the need for leaders to focus us here too. As he puts it, “physical capacity is simultaneously crucial and easy to overlook“. So, it’s helpful to hear from both athletes, average people & those who have face health scares – all of whom encourage us to build our capacity in this area too.

In this section you’ll hear stories from:

  • Ester Ledecka & Michael Phelps (olympic athletes)
  • Sean Swarner (cancer survivor & mountaineer)
  • Roger Bannister & Justin Gallegos (runners)
  • John Foley (cofounder of Peloton)
  • Andreas Toba (olympic athlete)
  • Eliud Kipchoge (world champion runner)
  • Ty Koehn (high school pitcher)
  • Rob’s own life experiences & including his triathlon

Part 4: Emotional Capacity

Once again we can arrive at this term with preconceptions as to what it means. Out emotional capacity is not fixed & limited to our personality type. As with the other three capacities, we can develop & grow our capacity to be both emotionally aware & overcome limiting beliefs to help others.

In this section, Rob returns to an ‘others orientated‘ view of the world. This is not just Emotional Intelligence for the sake of our own advancement. Rather, he fills this section with stories to inspire us to build relationships, express gratitude & be emotionally helpful where we can make a difference. More leaders like this would make a big difference in business.

In this section you’ll hear stories from:

  • Dandapani (monk turned business consultant)
  • Warren Rustand (mentor)
  • Michael Weisser (rabbi)
  • Conor Neill (public speaking coach)
  • Ric Elias (founder of Red Ventures)
  • Grant & Gluek (Harvard academics)
  • Dr Mary-Claire King (cancer researcher)
  • Rob & his family’s own life experiences

Why I’d encourage data leaders to join Friday Forward

Having experienced both weekly readings of this book & a rush to read the rest before sharing this review, I would recommend the weekly habit. Reading just one chapter each Friday can offer both a motivational ‘pick me up‘ and spark ideas that you may well mull on over your weekend and beyond. For that reason, I recommend this book to readers.

But beyond this book, I hope Rob’s actions can act as a spur to data leaders to do something different themselves. There is tremendous power in sharing the stories of real-life experience (both your own & others). I encourage data/analytics leaders to both gather them & share them.

We are all in need of more hope in these challenging times. Let’s join those who Friday Forward (or share in other ways) to help motivate others. If you want to receive Rob’s newsletter (which continues to share Friday Forward stories, you can sign-up here.

What do you think? Do you have a story to share?