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Great approach to life and business!

This week Adam Bryant interviews Marla Malcom Beck, the chief executive of Bluemercury, a beauty products and spa services retailer. I really appreciate her no-nonsense, common sense approach to life and business! Regarding hiring she states, “In about two minutes, I can ascertain skill based on what they’ve done… Will is about hunger so I’ll ask what do you want to do in five or 10 years.”

I talk often about will and skill or desire and ability. Both can be cultivated but there’s no substitute for natural ability and passion. A lot of business owners bring this up: does a prospective employee have the passion and ability to make a real difference in my organization? I look for something similar when I hire too. Do they really care, do they want to be here and do they have the skill sets too? These are important considerations next time you are about to hire someone new!

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Aaron Chang Photography

Brent Frei, the co-founder of Smartsheet.com, a project and software management company, looks for people who are “mentally athletic and agile.” He prefers attitude and aptitude over experience. I like his perspective, a lot!

As a Sports Psychologist and Life Coach I constantly help people improve their mental game and develop a great attitude toward life and everything in it. This is not easy. Sometimes, as we all know, life has a way of knocking us down. That’s why good decision making and perseverance are so important. The more we learn from our mistakes, get tougher mentality, and learn to take consistent action toward our dreams and goals the greater the chance we will eventually succeed!

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The limitless nature of life!

This Aaron Chang photograph of the Milky Way Galaxy reminds me of the limitless nature of life and the cosmos! It’s easy to become caught up in the day to day challenges of living and forget that we live on a rock spinning on its axis at thousands of miles per hour, hurling around the sun in a system that rotates around our galaxy which is interconnected with other galaxies trillions of light years away. Sometimes, dI coach people to look up at the sky every once in a while to remind oneself how truly amazing this whole experience is!

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Chance at success

An article by David Busis in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times entitled ‘Meanwhile in a Parallel Universe,’ is very interesting. The author is frustrated and uncertain about his career while a college buddy has made millions doing what he loves as an entrepreneur. Mr. Busis and his wife vacation with his buddy and his new flame setting the stage for discomfort as everything seems better for his buddy than himself.

Having lived nearly five decades now I’ve seen suffering in almost everyone’s life. Though some of us seem to figure out our careers and self- love journeys sooner than others, most of us are faced with similar obstacles: finding and creating a rewarding career, creating a happy and healthy family and developing inner peace. None of this is easy but if we learn to avoid nothing, be as present as possible, have outstanding integrity and honor ourselves, we have a much greater chance at success and will tend to feel good about ourselves and our journeys no matter what others are up too.

As an identical twin I know this to be true. My brother has made millions of dollars a year for over two decades while I focused on making a difference in people’s lives. His lifestyle has far outstripped mine in every material way and yet I am happy largely because I live the principles I teach!

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Invest in others

Robert Reid, the C.E.O of Intacct, a cloud-based software company, believes that most issues with execution come down to training and process. He states, “If somebody is not doing what you expect or you have a different viewpoint, you need to seek to understand what’s going on and help them.”

It’s refreshing to see a business owner who values both people and process. I often say I love to invest in others. I will spend money on someone I like who is good at what they do just to support them in being great. Valuing others is a great way to live.

I also love to help others focus on process. As I often say, “if you want success focus on process, if you stress focus on outcome.” We live in a culture obsessed with outcomes when it’s often the journey (process) that brings us happiness!

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Amazing personality traits

Sally Smith, the C.E.O of Buffalo Wild Wings, has overseen the growth of the business from 60 to over a 1,000 restaurants. She is slow to hire looking for the right fit both culturally and personality-wise. She prefers people who are curious and willing to do whatever it takes. So do I!

Curiosity is an amazing personality trait. In graduate school many years ago I was set up with a young woman still in college. At the time, I thought she was too young for me. When I met her I realized that her curiosity was so natural and amazing that her age seemed less relevant. We dated for several years and almost got married. Today, over twenty years later, we are still friends. In fact, I will see her this Christmas in San Diego. When we catch up every so often, she peppers me with questions in a good way, a naturally curious way!

Going the extra mile is another great personality trait. If you run a business, do you want someone who does just enough or someone who will get the job done no matter what? Like curiosity, going the extra mile is a trait that can be cultivated over time with practice. I love to teach kids to practice getting it right, not to be perfect, but to learn to go the distance. It’s a great way to live!

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Make a difference in people's lives!

This morning I was working out at the Equinox in West LA and this guy next to me asked me why I was taking a picture of my television screen on the workout bicycle. I turned to him with a smile and said this interview will Bill Gross is fascinating! He laughed.

Bill Gross had a celebrated career at PIMCO only to be forced out. At seventy, instead of walking off into the sunset as a billionaire, he chose to start again at Janus Capital, a smaller asset management company. His reason: the desire to fulfil his competitive nature! He compared the new job to a game of HORSE, a basketball game played against a fellow competitor. He wants to beat the market and beat his fellow competitors no matter what his age and since it’s not basketball or golf, he relishes the second chance!

I watched Mr. Gross in fascination because it was clear he is businessin touch with his nature enough to know who he is and what’s best for him. The idea of retirement never made sense to me either. Retire from what? I love to make a difference in people’s lives and the world. This can be done for a lifetime. Yes, things will change as they always do but there is no substitute for finding and doing what you love. The more you do so the less you need to retire from anything!

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Racial issues

Nicholas Kristof, a celebrated New York Times columnist, has written a series of articles on racial issues in America several entitled, “Why whites don’t get it.” This poignant article on a 13 year-old black male who was sentenced to life in prison for shooting Debbie Baigrie in the face causing severe and lasting injuries. Though she suffered immensely from her ordeal, Ms. Baigrie has been in correspondence with her attacker, Ian Manuel, for over two decades even arguing on his behalf for early release.

Racial issues are clearly complex but essentially the chances of a white boy getting life in prison under similar circumstances is slim. Racial bias in our judicial system has been well documented. As Mr. Kristof often points out, many people, especially white people, don’t understand how tilted the system is against the success of inner city black youth. Mr. Manual, the shooter, was raised by a drug abusing mother without a father in poverty and had been arrested 16 times before the gang initiation shooting. Far to often, the precursors to a life of criminal activity is poverty, poor education, and broken homes. As Ms. Baigrie shares, “Walk a mile in his shoes.” As a society, Mr. Kristof feels we can do a lot better. I agree!

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Focus on process, not the outcome!

I found the New York Times Sunday Review cover article by Arthur C. Brooks particularly interesting having lived in relatively affluent environments on and off for decades. People who are overly focused on acquiring and maintaining things often miss a huge part of the process of happiness which is more related to experiences and our perception of them. The swami Mr. Brooks interviewed, a Western educated enunciate, agrees that the problem lies not in abundance but in out attachment to abundance which is one way of defining materialism. The solution, according to the author, is to celebrate abundance but not be hung up on it by collecting experiences, avoid doing things only as a means to an end and cultivating one’s faith.

In my own life, I constantly remind myself to focus on enjoying the moment and the process (journey) and do my darnedest to stay clear of focus on outcomes. After all, “If you want true success focus on process, if you want stress focus on outcome.” Dr. Brett

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A new experience!

Last night my girlfriend and I tried Moroccan food, a new experience for both of us! One of the pleasures of living in big cities like New York or LA is the diversity of people, cultures and especially food. I love to try new things and have new experiences. I especially love it when it’s spontaneous like last night when we drove down Westwood Blvd in LA and pulled into the parking lot of this restaurant solely because it looked interesting. Too often in life many of us do the same things over and over mired in similar routines. No wonder so many people are tired and bored. Win, loose or draw, mix it up a bit. It’s a great way to live!