Updated: Jun 9, 2021
Less Of A Fuck.
A state of being. Mindset. Of optimal Flow. Now of time. Deliberate. Edgy.
What’s in a name? The first question people ask, after ‘what does LOAꟻ mean’, is “how did you come up with that?”. What better time to provide the origins of LOAꟻ than on our first ThinkTank article.
LOAꟻ was an unintentional ‘outcome’ (yes, we actually produced something in a meeting; blind squirrels even find a nut now and then) during a meeting with members of my leadership team several years ago. We regularly had debriefing meetings - nameless and rankless - to discuss culture in the region. We had mastered the other two pillars - Talent and Strategy - and needed to focus solely on Culture. How to keep your people buoyant, inspired and optimistic amidst ever increasing headwinds: internally and externally.
Our challenge, even with outstanding leadership, was palpable. We had reached a saturation point where we couldn’t look our people in the eye, ourselves in the mirror, and tell them everything was great.
Part of our core leadership foundation was predicated on transparency and trust. It’s earned. And it’s a grind for true leaders. Every. Single. Day. During the meeting, it was suggested we perhaps stop caring. No matter what course of action we took, our efforts were thwarted.
The popular phrase “I don’t give a fuck” was suggested more than once. We were searching. Searching for a way to remain engaged and effective leaders. But without holding on so tightly!
Giving up wasn’t in our DNA.
Quitting is easy. The late Vince Lombardi was quoted as saying, “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” Had we chosen to “not give a fuck”, we had collectively quit. On the organization. Our people. Each other. Ourselves. Character mattered.
Great leaders find a way.
How to solve this challenge? We knew the core characteristics it would require to keep our people engaged and inspired: Attitude. Courage. Resilience. Grit. Optimism. Intentional. Authentic. Confident.
But the question remained: “How do we keep ourselves buoyant?”. An epiphany: “Could we just give Less of a Fuck?”’. I’m always thinking in acronyms; perhaps too much time spent in meetings or with veterans. The military loves acronyms.
LOAꟻ - Boom!
High fives all around! We had a rallying cry. Not too soft. Not too hard. We had the perfect bed.
Hats were made.
I think we all used the LOAꟻ acronym to varying degrees. I absolutely embraced it. Owned it. And we were able to keep our teams engaged, productive and, most importantly, winning. Ironically, the core team would all be gone within three years. Oh, the career paths LOAꟻ can take you. Little did I know, or imagine, the personal utility LOAꟻ would have.
Death of a loved one. Divorce. Loss of job. The top three stress producers according to psychologists. I'd experience all of them in just inside a year. And, for good measure, a cross country move.
Potentially overwhelming for even the strongest of individuals. Certainly for this guy.
Would I be alone the rest of my life? Would anyone rehire me? And regardless of how close you are or are not, the loss of a parent forces reflection and questioning.
You drop down Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in a hot minute. I’d lost my mojo!
There was definitely a reckoning. Priorities re-evaluated. Possibilities considered. I’d operated on the “caring too much” spectrum of the marriage while she (?) (I’m so confused on pronoun usage these days) was firmly on the “don’t give a fuck” side. Funny how those relationships seldom work. Something in the middle seemed appropriate. Same for the career. I cared way too much about my career. I mean really, does anyone’s headstone read “they were a great company man”. Or woman. Or whatever? That’s a separate blog.
As I was “reckoning”, it wasn’t lost on me, I’d been wearing my LOAꟻ gear often. Time to take the lessons learned and begin applying the LOAꟻ principle to my everyday life.
Changing the mindset.
And the timing couldn’t have been better. We were heading into what is turning (seems like a fluid situation) out to be, at least in this author’s lifetime, the greatest societal change and uncertainty ever.
Look familiar? The noise is deafening! If you are like me, how do you make sense of everything as an average, working class Joe - or Diane? How do you cope and manage without simply giving up? Not give a fuck? Care so much about a specific ideology you lose friends, family -- job? Neither is an option.
The challenges of managing yourself - and your Self - today are arguably the greatest they’ve ever been. Do you engage with friends, colleagues, family or strangers on hot button issues? If so, how do you do so without being cancelled, fired or losing family and friends over it?
Everyone is offended.
LOAꟻ has provided a terrific mindset to address these challenges. Of course, I’m not immune to hyperbolic vitriol - especially in the sanctity of my home (where we all are spending a lot of time these days) - but it’s provided a buffer. A deep breath - and exhale. An arm's length reminder of what’s important - 10 Minutes. 10 Days. 10 Years.
It’s a lifestyle. A way to manage the Self. An approach to an increasingly complex and hostile world.
Great! What now? How can I really apply the LOAF mindset? This is what the LOAꟻ ThinkTank is all about. We’ll spend time exploring what it means to actually give Less of a Fuck. We’ll share stories and insights to help shape your definition of LOAꟻ.
And, of course, like any great LOAF’r, we won’t take this stuff too seriously. They say the funniest things in life are true so count on me to provide you with an irreverent, often provocative viewpoint on many of today’s burning issues.
Until then ---- here’s to giving Less of a Fuck.