nikolas’ notes

My little notebook
nikolas’ notes
Mental models and concepts helping you become a better leader
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Highlighted Articles

A Guide to Deep Work

How to Produce at an Elite Level - A Guide to Deep Work

-> Read the Guide

May 19, 2023

Founder Playbooks

Playbooks that help you scale your leadership.*

*Free for founders who work with me.

Get them here

May 19, 2023

The 4 Relationships in Life

We need to be very careful about the concepts we let into our minds. They will start dictating our lives.

The Idea of "work-life balance" is one of those concepts.

Let me propose to you a better way to think about balance: The four relationships.

I worked on this model for the last two years. It’s my first time sharing it outside my coaching with founders.

I hope this model will reduce your perceived „guilt“ of being unable to be in balance.  

Here it is -> Link

What happens after 3 months of founder coaching

What happens after 3 months of founder coaching:

- You learn where your blind spots are
- You question your definition of success
- You become aware that leadership is a skill that needs training
- You understand that your organization’s strategy is not ambitious enough
- You realize that you spend most of your time working on unnecessary things

What happens after 6 months of founder coaching:

- You work from your zone of genius
- Your mission is shared and inspires your people
- You love and embrace your unique way of leading
- You have space to work on and not in the organization
- You take time off to grow as a human being in all aspects of life
- Your leadership team owns high trust/ high performance without your input
- Your understanding of success includes your loved ones and personal growth

The 6-month list looks a lot better, right?

Here is the reality.

It takes a 3-month journey to get to a 6-month one.

Some people get there faster. Most don’t even start.

My goal is to get you there and ENJOY the process.

Where is your Zone of Genius?

Most people spend their life doing what they hate doing.

Being good at something doesn't mean that you enjoy it.

Here is a framework that will help you do what you love.


Most people feel like their life controls them.

But there is a way to take charge again: 

The Zone of Genius.

This model will help you reflect on how you want to use your time.

Take back control. Here is how...


A) Audit your calendar

How much time do you spend working on things that you enjoy?

Note which task you spend in the following zones:

1) Zone of Incompetence

Things that other people could probably do better than you.

2) Zone of Competence

Things you do just fine, but others are as good as you.

3) Zone of Excellence

Things you are excellent at, but you just don't love doing.

4) Zone of Genius

Things you are uniquely good at in the world that you love to do - you love them so much that time and space disappears


B) Delegate

You will notice that you will spend too much time doing things you are good at but hate doing.

Because you are so good - everyone will push you to take over those tasks.

Delegate those.

Being good at something does not mean you need to do it.

Dont be sorry. People are different. There are others that love doing those tasks.


C) Make space to explore your genius

When do you notice that you enter a zone of flow?

What are tasks that make you forget the world around you?

Ask your friends what they think your zone of genius is.

Narrow it down.

Take bold steps to reshuffle your life.


How would my life look like if I would spend 60% in my zone of genius?

Dedicate three months to work on what you love doing.


Why should I work from my zone of genius?

a) You are unique:

No one will be ever as good as you in being who you are

b) Diversity works:

even if you hate doing it - there might be some crazy nut out there that loves it. To each his kink.

c) Self-reflection unleashes growth:

if you listen carefully, reflect and adjust new perspectives will open up

d) deep work wins over the superficial:

Focusing on one ambitious goal with your strength the sky is the limit.


I created a digital worksheet, that I use with the change-makers I coach. Write me and I will send it to you.

May 19, 2023

5 reasons why your leadership team sucks

Shitty leadership teams fail because of the following five reasons:

Inattention to results: Dysfunctional leadership teams aren't attentive to shared results because everyone is focusing only on their specific area and holding on to status and ego.

Avoidance of accountability: They are not getting shared results because they aren't holding each other accountable. This leads to low standards.

Lack of Commitment: They don't hold each other accountable because there is a lack of commitment to the purpose. Roles and responsibilities remain ambiguous instead of clear.

Fear of Conflict: There is no commitment, because they are afraid to go into constructive conflict over the best ideas and outcomes. The result is an artificial harmony.

Absence of trust: There is a fear of conflict because team members are not trusting that it's possible to be vulnerable around each other. There is a sense of danger that leads to invulnerability.

Want to know more.

Read the leadership fable ‘The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team’ by Patrick Lencioni. It's a great read.

More on this model in my two-day High Trust/High Performance Leadership Workshop.

May 19, 2023

Life can be magic - or accidental

Life can be magic. Or it can be accidental.

It’s up to you.

The writer Milan Kundera wrote:

You can’t blame a novel for being fascinated by the mysterious happenings of co-incidences, making a coherent story. But you can blame humans for being blind to their occurrence in everyday life. 

By failing to see meaning, we are stealing beauty from life. 

The difference between the author and the common person is his ability to see destiny where others see coincidence. 

Be an author. 

Look for magic realism. 

Patterns, Serendipity, Imagination: The magic lies in being attentive.

A story unfolds in front of your eyes.

Life can be magic. Or it can be accidental.