Do you use your cell phone as an alarm clock? I used to. This was my morning routine for years: Cell phone alarm goes off, I turn it off, and immediately start looking at emails, text messages, calendar items, to-do lists, social media posts, and a million other alerts. My heart rate increases, stress levels spike, and I start worrying about all the things I have to do. I jump in the shower, eat breakfast (sometimes), and rush to get in front of my laptop. Then, off to the races — a hamster on that “electronic wheel” — spinning, running, working. Going nowhere. Getting nothing accomplished. Panic sets in…
“Did you see the McGregor fight on Saturday?” I’ve been asked that a bazillion times the last few days. So…..did YOU see it? Did you see the mixed martial arts event of the century that showcased the brash, Irish loud-mouth Conor McGregor against the stoic, Russian steam-roller, Khabib Nurmagomedov? (Don’t worry — I still can’t pronounce it either.)
In a nutshell, loud-mouth McGregor got his butt beat by the stoic Russian. After Khabib defeated McGregor in the 4th round, the raucous crowd became even more raucous and rowdy. Someone from McGregor’s entourage yelled something at Khabib. And boys will be boys: Khabib quickly climbed over the octagon “cage” and jumped into the crowd to fight with McGregor’s entourage.
The gorgeous Greek temple, the Parthenon, was built in 438 BC to honor the goddess Athena and still stands today. It is supported by a multitude of strong, sturdy, and stable 45 foot tall pillars! Some pillars have crumbled and collapsed even, however, the ornate and extremely heavy marble top of the temple is still strongly supported.
And consider that our leadership style is just like the Parthenon — it must be supported by strong, sturdy, and stable “leadership pillars”. So even if one or two of those pillars weaken, crumble, or collapse, your leadership style will withstand the test of time and thrive — especially in the face of adversity.
Regular readers of my blog know I survived a brutal form of cancer several years ago. I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, right testicle was removed, cancer spread to my lungs, had massive chemotherapy, and then half of my left lung was removed.
It sounds a lot easier when written like that. Truth is, it was pretty awful. And I often reflect on the various lessons I learned from surviving cancer and how those lessons are applicable in business and life.
How many decisions a day do you think busy professionals make — 1,000? 10,000? More? The exact statistic will blow your mind and can be found at the end of this post.
Decisions shape our destiny. Are you choosing the best ones possible? If you aren’t, your leadership will suffer. Your career, company, and community can also take a HUGE hit based on the decisions you make.
You are putting off doing something that will transform your business and life. Do you need to hire someone? Fire someone? Change jobs? Get into, or out of, a personal relationship? Increase sales, lose weight, or sell your company? What is it for you?
And when is now the best time. And by the way, my grammar is correct — that last phrase is not a question. When is now the best time.
Decisions control our destiny. Think of a great decision you’ve made and how it positively impacted your business, personal life, and the lives of others. Deciding to sell my first business is an example of a great decision I made that positively impacted my life and destiny. It opened innumerable windows of opportunities including allowing me to become a top-rated business leadership keynote speaker.
Now what about a bad decision you’ve made — how did that impact you? What was the cost in time, money, happiness, and health? I once put off making a decision to sell my house and move for five long, agonizing years. This delay also impacted my life and destiny in a certain way. (Remember, NOT making a decision is also a very bad decision.)
How do you define “executive presence”? When I was in the Marine Corps, we called it “command presence”. One officer in particular who I worked for, Major Mary Harbac, exemplified this leadership trait to a “T”. One of my early sales managers and mentors, Richard Giebel, also embodied this principle in an amazing, effortless fashion.
What do both Major Harbac and Richard have in common? Did they scream, threaten, and intimidate like the crazed Marine drill instructor in the movie Full Metal Jacket or Alec Baldwin’s foul-mouthed sales “guru” in Glengarry Glen Ross?
Who remembers 2-Way pagers from the late 90s and early 2000s? They became popular as a unique means of communication in corporate America and as a super-cool status symbol for rappers and entertainers.
I should know. I was one of the top sales executives at SkyTel then — the company that introduced and sold 2-way pagers nationwide. I landed huge sales deals with financial services giant Fannie Mae and media conglomerate BET (Black Entertainment Television) to name a few.
I joined the Marine Corps at age 17 and spent the next eight years proudly serving my country. I learned many valuable lessons during my time on active-duty that helped me thrive in corporate America and succeed as a battle-hardened entrepreneur.
And here is one lesson that has repetitively helped me throughout my life as I successfully battled cancer, progressed through the C-suite ranks, and stayed present and connected in front of audiences as large as 10,000 as a business keynote speaker:
This post will take 90-seconds to read and can radically transform your life. Yet some of you won’t read it because you think you don’t have enough time. You’re wrong. You have all the time in the world. And then some.
I use to think I didn’t have enough time for this, that, or the other. I fully embraced David Allen’s fascinating GTD™ (Getting Things Done) system to help me “manage” time. I had every little email, to-do item, project, thought, note, VM, piece of paper, and you-name-it neatly categorized and arranged so I could get more done. But I never had enough time to do it all and just kept creating MORE work for me to do.
I first had to reinvent my leadership when I made a big decision to leave a very successful sales career in corporate America and start my first business. 10-years later, my “new” business was thriving and I had become “successfully miserable”. It was time to reinvent — grow, stretch, expand — my leadership again.
People — our clients, colleagues, family members — are attracted to us because of who we are as leaders: successful, high-achieving, glass-half-full type people. When we stop being who we are, others will notice, and our business and personal results will plummet.
I’ve never been sick a day in my life until at age 34 I found “the lump”. I had testicular cancer. Less than 24 hours after my initial diagnosis, I had emergency surgery to remove my right testicle.
Following three months of brutally aggressive chemotherapy, I needed one more procedure to be cancer-free: Surgery to remove half of my left lung. The surgery was successful. However, I was left confined to a wheelchair unable to do ANYTHING, including going to the bathroom by myself.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, how do you rate your career satisfaction? What about your personal life — how would you rate that on a scale of 1 to 10? Are you OK if you rank an area of your life a 7, 8, or 9 out of 10?
I recently asked this question to a high-performing C-suite executive who had signed up for my 8-week leadership coaching program, and his answer was surprising. He scored both professional and personal satisfaction as 10 out of 10. As I pushed him to look closer and explain more, he confessed, “You know what — I’m achieving all my business and personal goals because they are really easy to hit. I’m not really challenging myself, or my team. I’m not even sure if I’m setting the right goals.”
Tony Robbins, the famous personal development guru, was trained and mentored by leadership pioneer, Jim Rohn. Jim has since passed away, however, he had a powerful saying that I often share with audiences during my leadership keynote speeches:
“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”
Who are the five people you spend the most time with? Are there some people that are “in” that should be “out”?