I used to spend 10 sometimes 12 or 14 hours even at work. I had a very successful business career killing myself climbing the corporate ladder. Then I had a GREAT idea — I’ll leave my successful, well-paying, secure corporate job and start my own company!
Several years ago, I followed the common business advice of the day on how to pursue your passion. First, find something you’re truly passionate about. Second, pursue it obsessively. And then third, become wildly successful and wealthy! Easy, right? All you have to do is work longer and harder than anyone else. Be smarter and stronger than everyone. Sacrifice everything to achieve your dream.
As a business transformation keynote speaker, I often speak to organizations on how to achieve peak performance. Last week I was delivering a presentation to a sales division of a very successful multinational conglomerate when someone asked, “How do we really become a great sales team?”
My Aikido martial arts academy attracts a lot of high-powered students in Washington, D.C. I have State Department employees studying with me, FBI and CIA agents, U.S. and foreign diplomats, all sorts of people part of the country’s — and the world’s — power structure.
Many years ago, I was sitting in my cubicle at work and started to yawn. I was hungry and a bit bored with the less-than-challenging work I was doing. Thinking it was almost lunch-time, I glanced at my watch. 9:38 AM. What?! It felt like I had been sitting there in my little felt box for at least three or four hours. Ugh.
The toughest Aikido martial arts class I ever taught was a bunch of teenage girls. I’d been brought in to teach at one of the most exclusive, private all-girl prep schools in Washington, DC. The kids in this school were straight out of the movie Mean Girls — privileged, entitled, ruling their own corner of the world.
My daughter is two years old now and weighs about 25 pounds. Picking her up after her nap when she is still a little drowsy and relaxed is very easy — she lifts her arms up, gives me a sleepy smile, and into my arms she comes. Trying to pick her up when she is a screaming, squirming two-year-old-tyrant throwing a temper tantrum is next to impossible. So why is it so difficult, if not impossible, to pick up my daughter when she is throwing a temper tantrum? She still only weighs 25 pounds. I can easily pick up 25 pounds with one arm.
The irony was, I humbly requested to be hit by the kind, grandfatherly Zen master. I was practicing mindful meditation at a Zen temple in Japan, and as part of the 45-minute zazensession — seated Zen meditation — there comes a part where you have the option of requesting to be hit. Why? Well you may be sleepy or suffering from a wandering “monkey mind”.
Here is a great article I wanted to share with you from Harvard Business Review on how mindfulness improves Executive Coaching. After reading the article, please let me know what you think by posting below or hitting me up on Twitter @mpveltri. You can read the full article by clicking this LINK. Enjoy.
I enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 18 and went straight to bootcamp upon graduating from high school. A few years later I found myself stationed in Japan having the time of my life. After three years in Japan, I finished my active duty commitment to Uncle Sam and had a big decision to make: To remain long-term in Japan, I needed a work visa. To get a work visa, I need a four-year college degree. The only problem was I had only completed two years of my undergraduate degree while on active duty in the Marine Corps. My goal of living long-term in Japan was about to slip through my fingers.
A few years ago I was meeting with a client. In person. A real, live human being in my office! (Remember when you still met with people in person?) I was sitting across from my client trying to have a conversation while looking at email on my laptop. While also reading and answering a text that had just arrived.
A few weeks ago I passed my 12th anniversary of being cancer free. Each year when my anniversary comes around, I pause to reflect on what it is like to battle and survive cancer — twice.I would arrive at the cancer center at 8 AM, Monday through Friday and leave around 2 PM. I would have blood drawn to check various markers and other important indicators that I never really understood. Then I’d be hooked up to an I.V. to start the toxic drips of various cancer drugs and saline solution necessary to battle my disease. When I was not at the cancer center receiving treatment, I was at home curled up in the fetal position…
This is a continuation from my last blog post where I talk about how your strengths can hold you back and prevent you from truly achieving success.A few weeks ago on my last trip to Japan, I was viscerally reminded of this important principle while working out with my Aikido master. I’m 20+ years younger than him, stronger, faster, bigger and the list goes on. Yet when I grabbed him, it was like trying to grab water — he flowed, relaxed, and moved effortlessly.
Several years ago, I followed the common business advice of the day to “pursue your passion”. And I did. I left a well-paying job in corporate America to start a business doing something I was truly passionate about and very good at doing. That’s the American dream, right? Find something you’re truly passionate about, pursue it obsessively, and become wildly successful and wealthy, right?
I recently spent 10-days leading a group retreat in Japan. And I’m still basking in the glow of all things Japanese. It is a remarkable country, and every time I visit I always marvel at how so many people can fit into sosmall of an area and get along so well.