Tom Erickson, C.E.O of Acquia, an open-source softwear company, addresses the value of accepting failure on an emotional level in this Corner Office interview. He states, “I’m looking for people who are going to jump in and own their own work, who are going to risk something and risk failing.”
I love it!! When people ask me what I do for a living I have many different responses depending on my mood and the person asking the question. The traditional response is that I have a doctorate in psychology and do a hybrid of business coaching, life coaching, and sports psychology. I do all that but what I really do is help people face their fears, embrace change, become more fluid, flexible and creative and ultimately live with more courage! This is what Mr. Erickson is taking about too. How does one do that, you might ask? By practicing living and expressing your truth each and every day until it becomes the core of who you are! Only you know what your truth is and what you are avoiding. Coaching and guidance is helpful but at the end of the day, you must take action and practice living with courage!!
Don Knauss, the C.E.O. Of the Clorox Company is a former Marine and athlete who makes tons of sense. He believes in motivating others by creating trust through exercising power cautiously and caring about his people to such an extent that they are primary – what he refers to as the heart piece. Like myself, he agrees that intelligence is important too but without heart over time it’s hard to retain great people. He too looks for passion over pedigree and believes in the necessity of becoming an excellent communicator. I really enjoyed his perspective because it reminded me of so much that I offer and teach others; especially the importance of hammering away at the fundamentals: my core teaching is to avoid nothing, be as present as possible, have bang-up integrity, honor yourself, and learn to develop and trust your intuition!
Thank you Mr. Bryant for your outstanding interviews and Mr. Knauss for sharing your perspective!
The cover article for the Sports Sunday section of this weekend’s New York Times features excerpts from ‘Cycle of Lies’ Juliet Macur’s new book on Lance Armstrong. Reading this story reminds me of several conversations I had with a professional riding coach when I lived in New Mexico in 1997. It was obvious then that the culture of professional cycling was so corrupt that Lance had to be cheating. I used to share that belief with others well before it became obvious to the world. The challenge for all of us who try to live with high integrity is what to do when everyone around you is cheating? For a competitive cyclist to succeed then you simply had to cheat. If you didn’t, someone else would and that would put you at a significant disadvantage not just in terms of winning but around fame, fortune, and your ability to make a living at the sport you loved.
It seems that until we live in a world that is more evolved, we need regulatory bodies to make sure some athletes, businesspeople or citizens don’t have an unfair advantage over others. Of course, the cheaters often evolve faster than the overseers and the race to find better and more sophisticated ways to cheat such as undetectable drugs, computer viruses, fake currencies, and other scams continues. The good news is that the world seems to becoming more and more transparent, a positive byproduct of new technology. The challenge in our fast changing paced modern culture is to live authentically which sometimes means passing on questionable opportunities that others will agree too. Given Lance’s competitiveness, ruthless desire to win, and fundamental insecurity, his choices was obvious. What’s yours?
Sheila Talton, C.E.O. of Grey Matter Analytics, a consulting firm, an anti-Vietnam war activist in her youth failed out of college because she focused to much on organizing and protesting. Working as a secretary at a fork lift company a white male salesmen noticed her initiative and then got behind her and pushed her to go back to college offering to help her with her coursework. I shared this part of her interview because I just got off the phone with a minor league baseball player that I’ve been coaching for seven months. He is heading into spring training this year with a clear head, zero drama, and much greater focus! He thanked me for all my assistance and told me that he is now behind his girlfriend much like I got behind him. She too is thriving!
Ms. Talton also shared that she will offer up a member of her team for promotion or another opportunity if it is right because it shows how invested she is in other people’s careers not just her own. Instead of holding on or hoarding good people she prefers the good will generated from letting them go. I love this enlightened approach to business management and leadership. I imagine that she is successful in her personal life too. I often teach people, including athletes and entrepreneurs, to be more fluid and flexible by holding on less and letting go sooner. Often, it is simply the best way to live, create, and be!
This New York Times Sports Sunday article on female sports agents in the N.F.L. is very interesting. To break into a male dominated profession like engineering is challenging but pro football is a whole other realm! I really respect the women who are up for the challenge and actually succeeding. I often talk about passion, commitment, and perseverance as fundamental aspects of success in life and business. In a profession such as this, Kristen Kuliga, Kelli Masters and others must have all that and more! Good stuff!!
Adam Case, the 35-year-old offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos never played college football and was a mediocre high school tight end by all accounts. Through a combination of hard work, ingenuity, and tenacity he worked his way up the ranks of professional football to become an invaluable part of the Broncos offense!
I love success stories like this because as a life coach, business coach, and sports psychologist I am constantly helping others overcome challenges and accomplish things they never thought possible. As I often say: if you want to achieve anything difficult you must believe that it is possible, take tons of action, and tweak your game along the way. In other words, it is essential to constantly learn and make adjustments along the way. Clearly, Adam Case did all that and more!
Reading about dangerous sports in the Los Angeles Times Sports section while traveling out here on business made me think about a golfer I am coaching who used to be a professional snowboarder. He’s shared several adrenaline addiction stories having had a series of near death experiences in his younger life as his passion for extreme sports and dangerous situations like surfing in near hurricane conditions nearly got him killed.
I too understand the desire to get a rush out of life but I also know that as we get older the best way for us to feel more alive is to learn how to create what I often refer to as the “magic” in life and business – the feeling that we are on the right path, enjoy who we are, what we do, and look forward to each and every day! This takes patience, discipline commitment, and trust – not necessarily easy traits to develop but well with it. So enjoy the extreme stuff while you are young and learn the magic of creating as you age!
As I was reading this article on A-Rod’s suspension in the Los Angeles Times, I saw a quick highlight of the 60 Minutes special on the Biogenesis founder who spoke convincingly on A-Rod’s guilt. Anthony Bosch basically said that not only did he sell A-Rod several performance enhancing drugs but he also injected them into A-Rod himself on multiple occasions. With each phase of this sad saga A-Rod sounds more and more like Lance Armstrong who lied and denied until the evidence became overwhelming or Roger Clemens who got off legally but looked horrendous in the process. It’s disheartening to watch.
When there’s so much money, fame, and success riding on one’s performance, the incentives to cheat are high. The problem of course is that non cheaters are at a disadvantage when so many around them are cheating. MLB seems to be doing a reasonable job of handing this lately but the cheaters still seem to hold a lot of the records (Bonds, Mcquire, Sosa, etc…). I find this problematic. It makes it almost seem as if they got away with it and clearly some did.
Sometimes in life it pays to be suspicious. When something seems to be too good to be true it often is. This is not negative – it’s just helpful to have a little healthy skepticism when it comes to success in life and business. So the next time your gut tells you not to believe something or someone, you might want to listen!
It’s been an amazing year of tight finishes as the Sports section of the Sunday New York Times highlights! Tom Brady is on the cover for a reason. The Patriots have been especially good at winning in the last seconds or on the final drive! I love watching football on tv for a variety of reasons: players play hard, coaches work hard, careers are short, greatness is rewarded and great finishes make it all the better! I often use football analogies when coaching clients, even non-athletes. I talk a lot about the foundation of success: eating right, exercising, meditating, and being proactive! The more we focus on what we want and do the necessary work involved, the more likely we will achieve it. This is what Tom Brady does!
The downhill journey over the past five years as a Jets fan is disconcerting. Thank God I am a primarily a Giants fan, though this year hasn’t been pretty either. In the NFL, many great coordinators often don’t make good head coaches and one could argue that this is definitely the case with Rex Ryan. The numbers compiled by Chase Stuart of Pro-Football-Reference.com don’t lie. The Jets suck. Hubris, pride, ego and arrogance seem to be a factor in the Jets issues. Ryan has been full of himself and was blinded by his love for Mark Sanchez for way too long. Organizational issues underlie their problems too but the head coach is the one ultimately responsible and Ryan has failed to deliver. If he is the best defensive coordinator in the league as he once boasted then what the f… is he doing as a head coach? I recently watched a Piers Morgan show with James Ray, the debased life coach and spiritual leader who was jailed for 20 months after three of his retreat guests died in a sweat lodge. He acknowledged arrogance and hubris as underlying issues that may have contributed to the tragedy. Sound familiar Rex? I have never seen Bill Belichick boast of anything and he is simply the best. It’s great to have a strong, dynamic personality and yet sometimes a little humility is good too!