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Enhance the quality of your experiences!

My twin brother just sent me this pic from Bermuda where he is vacationing with his family! I sent him one from LA where I go every month as I commit to creating a business here in part to experience more creativity and diversity and in part to leave New England winters behind!

I’m writing this post from a coffee shop inside Rancho Park Golf Course, an awesome public facility walking distance from my apartment in Century City here in the heart of Los Angeles. I am reflecting on a great week of life that was special because I allowed the Flow! On previous trips I’ve over – scheduled and tried to squeeze too much in. This time I flew on a Saturday which takes the pressure off because I don’t have to go right into client mode or networking mode right off the airplane. It’s part of a greater desire to chill more, flow more and effort less! I’ve done less meetings this week than previous trips but the quality of the experiences was far better and more fun too. So if your at all driven or ambitious like me, perhaps there’s a way to do more Being and less Doing, a style of living that enhances the quality of your experiences and invites the Flow!!

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Another Successful Story of Women in Male Dominated Careers

The new leader of the M.B.A players union, Michele Roberts, is impressive to say the least. In an organization dominated by men, she beat out 300 hundred others to earn the honor and job of replacing a man who mismanaged funds and failed to deliver in recent years. With an economically impoverished background and an experience as one of the few African American woman to earn a private school scholarship to the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, she worked as a public defender at San Quentin after graduating law school in 1980. Later, she became a successful criminal defense attorney before joining a large prestigious corporate law firm.

Without knowing much about her personally, professionally Ms. Roberts is clearly not someone to underestimate. As she stated in her interview in the New York Times Sports Sunday section: “My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.” Wow!

I’m a huge fan of people who work hard, refuse to roll over, and earn success. Too many of us are willing to give up or let up when we need to persevere. One of the challenges of life is to know when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em, and when to walk away. Becoming super diligent and thorough often gives us more information upon which to make these decisions. I have no doubt this is the way Ms. Roberts has lived her work life. As the first woman to represent the M.B.A players it should be interesting for us to follow and likely great for the players. Good luck Ms. Roberts!

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Learn how to value people

Adam Bryant interviews Kate Cole, the president of Cinnabon, in this week’s Corner Office! Her perspective is worth knowing. For instance, when business is going well she tends to ask more questions to be certain of the why and to be prepared for the downside. She likes to encourage feedback and communication and even disagreement though in respectful ways. Ms. Cole also encourages coach-ability, curiosity, and commitment to others. I like her perspective because she seems to genuinely care about others, is intelligent and very interpersonally oriented values I teach and value myself.

There are many ways I can express what I do for living as a sports psychologist and business and life coach. One playful way is to say that I teach self and other. We live in a society that does a fair amount of self. In other words, lots of people are self-absorbed. I liked Ms. Cole’s perspective because she clearly values other. If you want to be truly happy you must know how to love and value people! The ability to feel, create, and express love is essential for happiness and makes for greater success as an athlete, businessman, or parent. To cultivate love, show a genuine interest in other and learn to be generous with your body, mind and spirit!

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Thoughts on happiness

The New York Times Sunday Review feature article on happiness by Arthur Brooks concludes that we must learn to love people not money, power, status, or sexual pleasure. This seems pretty evident to some and yet it’s super-challenging for many in a culture addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Reality TV, and video games to name a few. The challenge with happiness is that we must cultivate good habits over long periods of time. Essentially, I teach non-avoidance, a way of living that means we live and express out truth! Wow, that’s not easy. I often tell clients that if they are ready I can teach them how to be happier and more fulfilled but it requires substantial work on their part. The majority of people I’ve coached in over two decades of working with people have quit well before they graduated. In other words, they didn’t want to work that hard.

Depending on how we were raised (conditioned) and our genetics, happiness is something we must learn and cultivate over time. In addition to avoiding nothing, I teach presence, honoring thyself, integrity, and intuition as a basis for success in life and business. Presence, for example, means a commitment to live in the here and now as much as possible. This means learning how to observe and pay attention to the mind without getting caught up in self. Again, not easy and yet like the other principles, it is a foundation for well-being!

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Air travel

Lately, I’ve been on a TSA Pre-Check kick! For $85, a ten minute online application and a 40 minute drive to Westhaven, CT where I was briefly interviewed by a company hired by the U.S. government, I am now certified to travel without hassle domestically. As I told my twin brother recently and others, this is the biggest no brainer ever, especially for those who travel a lot!

As some of you know, I am traveling back and forth to Los Angeles every month where I am building a coaching and consulting business and a way out of winter on the east coast. The TSA Pre-Check has made the customary stress of the checkpoint screening process much easier. There is no more taking my laptop out of its case, my belt and shoes stay on, and most importantly I avoid that machine where the hands must go up. If you travel at all domestically please take my coaching on this one and get it done!

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Take Personal Responsibility

Adam Bryant interviews Hannah Paramore, president of the Digital Agency. Several things she said resonate with me: one is how important it is to take personal responsibility. I am working with a client now who has a pattern of running the negative emotions of jealosy and envy. I’m trying to teach him to shift his thought process and change a devastating cycle of emotional states that leave him weak and ineffectual. Taking personal responsibility for our emotions is at the core of successfully navigating relationships in business and intimacy. If you blame others for anything you are effectively giving your power away and acting like a victim. Powerful people make tough decisions and do something about situations that are not working for them. This may not be easy but it is the only way to take control over your life and business.

Ms. Paramore ends her interview by stating the value of trusting one’s gut. I am a huge believer in developing and trusting your intuition. It is my fifth principle of living successfully! To develop your gut instinct you must practice slowing down and listening to yourself by bringing yourself constantly back to the hear and now, the essence of mindfulness and good decision making.

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The importance of communication

Gina Centrello has a great attitude! It’s obvious from her interview with Adam Bryant, the New York Times Corner Office guy. Ms. Centrello stresses over and over the value of hard work, curiosity, and teamwork. She believes that the success of the organization hinges on the harmonious interaction of its key members and strives to create an atmosphere that fosters teamwork!

As a sports psychologist and life and business coach I foster teamwork for a living. I do this by teaching others the value of and know how of graceful communication and the importance of communication in general. Yesterday, I worked with a high school pitcher on communication issues with both his coach and girlfriend. The better we communicate the less drama and distraction we have and the more synergy we create and experience! My argument to this 18 year-old is to practice as often as possible for the more we address problems and potential conflicts in a straight-up and real manner the more we find our lives working and the easier it becomes! The time is now. Trust your intuition and learn to communicate straight-up. It is simply the best way to live!

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Learn to let go!

I just did a session this morning with a man in his early forties who has worked on Wall Street for nearly two decades. He is gradually becoming “lit” by Being! I have been teaching him present moment time and the art of Being for nearly two years. As a result, he is becoming happier and happier and learning how to let go and allow, a way of living that creates the backdrop for Flow!

As I often share with others, I come in and out of Flow in my own life. The key distinction is that I drop in; for when I do life is simply amazing! Recently, I holed out from the fairway to win a golf match. I was on a plane flight back from LA last month and met a woman with the exact same birthday as me – I mean exact: same day, month and year!! The buzz we caught when I intuitively asked her when she was born and then showed her my drivers license was extraordinary! Life is amazing when we get very present and allow ourselves to open to the Flow!!

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The importance of good leadership skills

Ron Kaplan, the C.E.O. of Trex, a manufacturer of outside decks, learned from his father that the number one job of a leader is to “make the staff feel secure” which comes from your presence, integrity, and reliability. Being focused, fun, and real the mantra of my website communicates a certain presence, style, and way of being! I love congruency and authenticity as a way of guiding others and living successfully!

Mr. Kaplan prefers to give advice by asking questions, a style I prefer as well. When I used to teach at a community college, I preferred to ask questions instead of lecture feeling that students learn more by having to think and be proactive about learning than rote memory.

As a marksmen, Mr. Kaplan learned the power of focus and concentration, a necessity in a sport as precise as shooting! Focus responds to presence and a quiet mind. To quiet the mind, it’s fundamentally important to meditate and practice mindfulness, something I work on daily and practice over and over. In my last blogpost on sports psychology I talked about holing out from the fairway to end a golf match in style. I have no doubt that shot went in from nearly 140 yards out largely because I continually practice meditation and mindfulness!

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Lessons on Good Management

Adam Bryant interviews S.D. Shibulal, the C.E.O of Infosys, the technology consulting firm in this week’s Corner Office. Mr. Shibulal learned early in his career to tell the truth and acknowledge when he doesn’t know something after being caught in a lie in front of a group of underlings. I too am a huge believer in authenticity and veracity as a way of creating trust and building solid long-term relationships. Telling lies, half-truths or hedging and fudging is a short cut leading to mediocrity at best and mistrust more commonly. Whenever possible tell the truth and acknowledge your mistakes. If Bill Clinton had done so our country would have been far better off. There are countless other examples of politicians and business leaders lying or fudging the truth and often we see right through it losing respect for them in the process.

Mr. Shibulal also addresses the issue of being open to honest feedback and the importance of doing one thing at a time. From a 360 review, he learned how disrespectful it was to take phone calls during meetings. Now, he leaves his cell phone with his secretary before a business meeting. This is also a good practice with children and romantic partners. Too often in life we are distracted by our phones and not fully present or present at all for that matter. He states, “I’m better off focusing for 30 minutes on what I’m doing, rather than trying to do multiple things.” Well said!