Richard Medcalf

Author Archives: Richard Medcalf

What if you don’t know where you see yourself in 5 years?

“So where do you see yourself in five years?”

It might be a question at an interview, or discussion with your manager. It might be a discussion with a friend over coffee, or with your spouse over a glass of wine. Once you could confidently answer, now you’re not so sure. In fact, you really don’t know how to respond.

Ouch. What does it mean and what can you do? Here is my take. It might surprise you. Continue reading

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Hope, risk, and never growing old

Where is the challenge in your life? Is fear paralysing you from stepping out? There is an alternative way to dealing with risk.

I remember being 13 years old and standing at the top of a snowy mountain in Scotland, looking over a wind-blown cornice into a 10 foot drop and an off-piste track.  I was a beginner skier and had never done anything like this before.  We stood there, five of us. We looked at the daunting but exciting challenge.

Could we do it? Would we do it?  One of the group skied back down the piste, assuming we’d all follow.  Two made the jump.  My turn.  After an age of hesitation, I went for it, launched myself off the edge.

I flew. I fell. Continue reading

A more productive sort of midlife crisis!

Wouldn’t it be terrible to spend our life climbing the ladder, only to realise at the end that we had placed it on the wrong wall?

It’s all so easy to get on autopilot and lose sight of what really matters.

I see it in myself. I see it in many of my friends. Around the age of 40 – might be earlier, might be later – questions of ‘where I am going’ arise.

Some may laugh it off as a midlife crisis. Even music-streaming service Spotify has the data to show midlife crisis will occur at precisely 42 years! Other research suggests it is normal to experience a dip in life satisfaction that rights itself after a few years.

But no, it’s not a midlife crisis. There’s no sports car or ‘younger model’ in sight!

So what is it? Continue reading

5 reasons why you urgently need to know your strengths

If you use your strengths daily you are 6x more likely to be engaged on the job and 30% less likely to suffer from stress and anxiety, according to research by Gallup. Moreover, to make a strong and lasting impact, you need to understand and play to your strengths.

Playing to your strengths is an idea to which we often pay lip service, but in reality we so often focus on fixing our weaknesses.

Almost 80% of parents (in the USA) think that a student’s lowest grades deserve the most time and attention: you are much more likely to receive remedial attention on your low grades than mentoring in those areas where you have the most potential for greatness. At work, whilst management theorists now accept the premise that the best managers focus on harnessing team strengths, most performance feedback systems still focus on requiring employees to address their less-strong competencies.

Whilst shoring up our weaknesses has value, doubling-down on your strengths is surely the best way to make your greatest contribution to the world. Successful leaders consistently say the same thing:

Continue reading
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A quick hack to find your life purpose and mission

How do you find your personal life purpose? Your life mission? Here is a quick hack that should bring focus to this often-perplexing question.

In a previous article we looked at the three layers of calling. You may remember we found the final layer is that of life purpose, of your personal mission.

However, thinking about your life mission is one of those scary-big-and-seemingly-impossible-to-unravel topics. Sometimes thinking about it can be paralysing. So I’ve been giving some thought to a “quick hack” that can get us something close to what our mission might be. Continue reading

Which of the 3 layers of calling have you forgotten?

What would you say if someone asked you “so, what is your calling?” It’s a difficult question, I know. Many of us might stumble. But my guess is that whatever you say, your response will only partially answer the question.  Because to understand your calling you need to think about multiple layers.  Here’s a quick guide.

Three very different views about calling

I have three friends (names have been changed) who are serious about living with purpose and yet Continue reading

What if I don’t have the time to think about big life questions?

When we are super-busy, thinking about a broader sense of direction in our lives can feel a frivolity.  It’s probably a good idea but just something we don’t have time for right now.

We are so often over-scheduled and over-committed and barely have time to think about next month, let alone next season or next year. We’ve all been there – finding we spent more time last year planning our vacation than our career, or more time on social media than in calm reflection, or whatever.

However this attitude could be disastrous.  Here is why and how to move forward.
Continue reading

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Where are you on the ‘Path To Purpose’?

What does the journey to finding your calling and a more meaningful life look like? Where are you on the journey?  Read on to learn about the steps on the path, and get a sense of what your next steps should be.

So you want to avoid drifting through life and make a difference on the things that are truly important? To make any kind of major transition we need some kind of map, some set of guide posts for the journey.  In this post I want to set out six stages that I have seen people move through as they learn to refocus on what matters.  Indeed, I have been on the journey myself.

Read them and spot where you are, and where the next step lies. Continue reading

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5 lessons from the most surprisingly impactful person I knew

It was only when she died that I recognised the true impact that she had had on the world.

At her funeral, there were not only friends and family. There were also many, many, people from all over the country who had been touched by her life.  I forget the number of cards the family received, but it was in the hundreds if not thousands.

The request was for charitable donations rather than flowers. However the amounts pouring in become so large the charity concerned set up a special fund. The tens of thousands of pounds eventually received enabled them to offer an annual grant for families in need.

And this was just my mother, someone who had never wanted a job and had just wanted a family.  And yet she found her calling, found her contribution, and had left an amazing imprint in the world with many lives touched.

Here are five lessons from her life. Continue reading