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!
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!!
I was in a nine hole golf match last week in Westport, Connecticut not LaQuinta, California where I took this picture last month. On the ninth hole with the individual and team matches all squared I was casually talking with my playing partner, a retired finance guy, and really enjoying the moment especially the camaraderie of playing with a really nice guy. I asked him to range find the distance to the stick after driving the ball down the middle. He told me it was 138 yards to the back left pin placement. Choosing a pitching wedge, I recall going into pure focus mode, completely empty of all thought. I took an effortless swing and hit the ball directly into the setting sun having that flush feeling of striking it solidly. A moment later, my opponent yelled from across the fairway that the ball was “In The Hole!” I held my hands up, did a little salsa waggle and high-fived my playing partner having effectively ended both matches. Afterwards, we decided to play up 16 to play the last three holes before dark. On 17 my partner said he didn’t make his usual two birdies. I asked him if that was his intention and he said that he tries to make two birdies every time he plays. I shared that I intend to have at least one experience of Magic every time I play! He responded by saying I had clearly pulled it off holing out from the fairway!
Magic is possible for all of us in business, life, and sports if we learn how to get crazy present and enjoy the experience as opposed to the outcome. The key is present moment time which enables us to get into the zone where Magic happens! To become more and more present practice following your breathe and bringing yourself back to the here and now as often as you can. The more you do this the happier and more focused you become, a great way to do intimacy, business, and sports!
Michelle Peluso, the C.E.O. of Gilt Groupe, the online shopping site hasn’t had an office in over a year! Her desire to connect and understand the various teams under her leadership has lead her to sit in the open with everyone. She has no interest in an ivory tower feeling disconnected from her people. Learning this approach and the power of positively from her father, an entrepreneur himself, and curiosity from her mother, a teacher, she brings passion and purpose to life and business.
In terms of hiring, Ms. Peluso loves loyalty. She says, “I understand that maybe it’s more generational, and maybe I’m crossing over to the old generation, and soon I’m going to be talking about how I walked to school barefoot, uphill both ways. But I like grit and persistence and loyalty.”
I do too!!
Her advice to women: grace! She states, “if your going to live a bold life, and if your going to take risks and try to step out of your comfort zone, you are going to occasionally fail, make some mistakes, and occasionally disappoint yourself… Grace is meeting those moments on your journey, then picking yourself back up, being humble enough to learn and not be to hard in yourself.”
Well said and a great perspective for both men and women as well as parents!!
Brad Smith is the chief executive of Intuit, the software company. He learned leadership skills by becoming a black belt by age 18 and teaching 150 students soon after. There, he learned that “success is creating the environment where people can be their best selves and continue to grow and develop.” I love it! In my business I do likewise for the people I coach from athletes to entrepreneurs to adolescents trying to figure out life!
Mr. Smith, interviewed by Adam Bryant of the Corner Office, says that he learned from his father to: “never mistake kindness for weakness.” Again, I love it. Too few of us are truly kind. It takes courage to be kind. Anyone can be critical and judgmental. “Always be kind and generous but always stand your ground,” he states a core lesson from his father. Well said!
Mr. Smith also believes in the value of making mistakes, acknowledging your wrongdoing, learning and improving. When interviewing prospective hires he asks them to tell him about their biggest mistake and what the lesson they took away. In helping college students make career decisions he guides them to go for what excites them, to pursue their passion or what makes their heart beat faster, another lesson from his father!
I like Mr. Smith’s style and perspective; it’s positive, no-nonsense and progressive. With this kind of leadership, more corporate environments would be both humane and fulfilling!
Learning more about the mind and it’s abilities is always fascinating to me! An article by Sumathi Reddy in the Personal Journal section of the Wall Street Journal suggests that forgetfulness is not only pervasive as many of us suspect but linked to our genetics in a substantial way. For instance, one study found that 75 percent of people may carry a gene mutation that leads to higher incidences of forgetfulness. As we age, the brain shrinks making us more prone to memory and concentration lapses too. The good news is that there is plenty we can do to help ourselves. When we encode memories if we pay closer attention to our behavior we are more likely to remember things. In other words, the more present we are, the better our memory! This is part of how I teach others to succeed in life, business, and sports. The more in the here and now we are, the better our performance no matter what the activity!
Retrieval is also better if we can trace our emotional state to use as a clue to where we put a lost item in the first place. In other words, the more mindful we are the better our memories. This is also true of success and performance. Stress, depression and fatigue decrease memory, concentration and performance. On the other hand, putting ourselves in a great mental state improves many aspects of living including memory and performance!
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!
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!
Sitting at a sports bar at JFK watching Seattle dominate the Saints I found myself in a conversation with a bright young woman who just graduated from Occidental University in Southern California. I had asked Mia what her tuition was at this small liberal arts school and she replied 55 thousand. I told her about this article that I read in the Wall Street Journal Review section addressing the easy availability of student loans through government backing had allowed universities to raise tuition beyond reasonable levels. As a result, far too many coeds graduate with excessive debt in a soft job market. Suddenly, a former Tufts professor interrupted politely agreeing with me that the system was indeed broken but he argued that the primary cause was related to prodigious course offerings that make individual per student costs as high as 75 thousand at many private universities. I added that administrative bloat was clearly an issue as well as non facility costs have soared too. This professor was en route to Brussels having taken a job for NATO in large part because the system is now making it harder to enjoy teaching as well. He told me that tenure is more challenging than ever and schools pay increasing numbers of adjuncts less.
Much like our bloated medical system, the cost structure of college tuition is simply unsustainable. This professor was an exceptionally bright and talented guy who found a creative solution for his own life. Others, less talented or less driven might not be so fortunate. One of the keys to success in life and business is to never ever stay stuck or believe that you are struck. With enough ingenuity and chutzpah, there is almost always another way! And sometimes hiring a coach to help you find that way is a no-brainer!
Man Overboard, a New York Times Magazine cover story by Paul Tough, about John Aldridge, A Montauk, NY based commercial fisherman who fell overboard forty miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean at 3:30 am on July 24th last year, is an extraordinary story of perseverance and survival. The water temperature was 72 degrees with five foot swells. His chances of being rescued were minimal due to the fact that his two crew members didn’t realize that he fell overboard until nearly three hours afterwards when they awoke. Through a combination of courage, ingenuity, and sheer willpower, Mr. Aldridge managed to stay afloat for nearly twelve hours before a coastguard helicopter spotted him. The rescue operation involved volunteer fisherman as well as professionals with a rare happy ending given the circumstances!
The human spirit is extraordinary and this story is inspiring. I have a client who survived several near-death experiences. He told me that one of the main keys to survival under dire circumstances is to remain calm and not panic. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Keeping your wits about you in a crisis is fundamentally important to a positive outcome. In Mr. Aldridge’s own words, “I always felt like I was conditioning myself for that situation.” I am a huge believer in preparation in life and business. I coach my clients to meditate, exercise, and eat well as prep for living well. My clients are not commercial fisherman so their prep is less intense but no less important!