Are you Thoughtfully Ruthless? Top 12 Take-aways from Val Wright

Man, I love a good book, don’t you? I’m not talking about an easy, beach book though. I mean a really motivates you, challenges you, keeps you up at night thinking about kind of book.

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Val Wright, a recognized global leadership and innovation expert, speak about her new book, Thoughtfully Ruthless: The Key to Exponential Growth. Along with being informative and entertaining, she proved to be extremely generous as well, giving a copy of her book to all attendees!

Her talk motivated me so much that I started reading her book immediately. The pages flew by as I immersed myself in the well-written chapters that offer key insights on how to be a Thoughtfully Ruthless™ leader. While part of the book focuses on how you can be a leader in the corporate world, so much of her advice can be applied to anyone interested in being more efficient and effective both personally and professionally.

In her book, Val focuses on three areas where we can be Thoughtfully Ruthless™:

  • Our time
  • Our energy
  • Our resources

As I made my way through her book, I dog-eared my favorite parts.

Here are my 12 main takeaways in chronological order:

  1. A Sensibly Selfish Charter.

    I have two young boys, a partner that travels, two dogs and now a kitten. Historically my own personal commitments have taken a back burner and often fall off the stove. But I, and everyone else in my family, is so much happier when I put my needs first. Val gives eight things to consider. (See page 32.)

  2. The Brilliance Barometer.

    We are all brilliant, just in different ways. Here, Val offers ten points where strengths can be highlighted and weaknesses can be improved. I am a great storyteller (point #5) but need to work at shamelessly speaking (point #6). (More on page 44.)

  3. Transforming from Humble to Shameless.

    This page alone is worth the price of the book, although it will take some work on my part. Val talks about developing your unique value, distinct traits, and proudest achievements. But I really love the advice she gives on developing ten unique sound bites. I cannot wait to dig deeper into this exercise! (See page 48)

  4. Thirty Ways to Say No.

    Pretty hard to pick a favorite here, but I think the eight ‘Not that way, but my way’ suggestions would be my choice. I mean, let’s face it, we all need to say no sometimes. Having a few options of how to best phrase it can sometimes mean the difference between hurt feelings and patient understanding. (See page 64.)

  5. Procrastination Destinations.

    Charting where I am losing my time over the year was a sobering experience. I clearly need to figure out a way to disengage with Facebook and Words with Friends. (More on page 71.)

  6. Breathing.

    I meditate as much as possible and find it immensely helpful. Yet sometimes it is hard to carve out 15 minutes of my day for the practice. Val reminds us of a simple breathing technique — The Relaxing Breath. I started using this technique and I immediately felt the positive impact it had on my life. (See page 103.)

  7. Live in Your Future World.

    I cannot emphasize how important this is to success. As soon as I started envisioning my future self and what she looked like, acted like, and had accomplished, I truly believed it would happen. Visualization is a powerful tool. Envision your future self and step into that role. (See page 120.)

  8. Wishful Thinking Wonder List.

    Val outlines 11 questions to help you live in your future world. My favorite? Definitely number two: Dream. With no buts and no with-onlys. (More on page 133).

  9. Be Curious.

    “The gift of exploration without judgment.” Who doesn’t want more of that? (See page 148 for more details.)

  10. Start with the End in Mind.

    This technique is crucial to creative projects. (I mention it briefly here ) and Val shares how the XBox team used this idea successfully. (See page 158.)

  11. Saving Face or Admitting Mistakes.

    This is a hot topic for me. It is hard for me to admit I did something wrong and yet I believe it is pivotal, not only in my business but as a parent of two young boys. Val shares Amazon’s powerful story on page 165.

  12. Accountability Forces Habits.

    I recently finished the 100-day project, where I committed to drawing every day for 100 days. The only way I complete this challenge was because of accountability. I posted my drawings to Facebook and Instagram every day and my friends cheered me on. They expected a drawing in their social feed. How could I let them down? It was a powerful motivator. (See page 180 for more.)

Now, if these 12 points were not enough to get you excited about Val’s book, Thoughtfully Ruthless, then let me share this: The appendix is amazing. Yes, you read that correctly. If I write a book, I am borrowing Val’s Appendix idea.

  • Ninety-nine Ways to be Thoughtfully Ruthless with Your Time
  • Ninety-nine Ways to Thoughtfully Ruthless  with Your Energy
  • Ninety-nine Ways to Thoughtfully Ruthless  with Your Resources

Okay, enough spoilers. It’s time to go read it for yourself. You will not be able to put it down!

How are you going to be Thoughtfully Ruthless™ today? Leave me a comment below about your favorite takeaway.


Wendy Wood

Wendy Wood

Wendy is the creative force behind Wendy Wood Design. Marketing and creative teams hire Wendy to plan and execute spot-on creative for their complex, multi-deliverable projects, such as: branding systems work, trade show & event deliverables, annual report & catalog design. When she's not in her design office, she is out enjoying all the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer —hiking, running and exploring with her husband, two boys and two dogs. + Meet Wendy