I love writing, speaking, learning, and teaching about leadership. Specifically, I’m fascinated with showing people how to apply the elegant principles of the Japanese martial art of Aikido to their business and personal life to achieve clarity, make amazing decisions, and create unlimited success.
I want to share a recent article from the May 2015 issue of SUCCESS magazine. In it, leadership expert and best-selling author, John C. Maxwell, writes about “Digging Deep” to find your passion — at work, home, in life.
A few years back when I was managing a high-performing sales team, I had one particular fellow who was wildly talented, yet was underperforming. Our compensation plan was amazing — our sales team could literally make as much money as they wanted depending on how hard they worked. After two months of poor results, I finally called this “weak link” into my office to talk. Although my other sales folks where killing it, without all of my team hitting their numbers, we were still going to fall short of achieving our team goal.
Do you think yelling and screaming at your star player is really going to get him to perform at a higher level? And yet that is what elite NBA coaches do all the time. This type of leadership is low-level at best. Trying to get a team to accomplish a mission with force, guilt, or obligation is going to yield little to no returns. And what about being too nice? That doesn’t work as a leader either. You’ll get eaten alive when trying to “nicely” lead a team when the pace is fast, the outcome is unclear, and the stake are high.
Think of all the roles and relationships in your life — personal and professional. Take me for example. I’m a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend. I’m also mentor, leader, business-owner, teacher, author, speaker, student. And I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting.
I can’t believe that most high-achievers refuse to take a REAL vacation, unplug from work, and recharge their batteries. A recent survey by the executive search firm Korn/Ferry found that only 3% of executives across a range of industries were willing to completely cut themselves off from the office during vacation.
CNN Money recently reported that according to a new survey of 9,700 full-time employees in eight of the world’s largest economies, the top three reasons workers quit their jobs are (1) minimal wage growth, (2) a lack of advancement opportunities and (3) excessive overtime.
When I was 16 years old I got into a fight with an older guy who accidentally tapped my bumper in traffic. I started yelling at him from my car. He yelled back. Pretty soon we were both out of our cars shouting at each other in the middle of the street. Then he pushed me and I pushed him back. Things went downhill fast after that.
Do you use your cell phone as an alarm clock? I used to. Here was my morning routine for years — see if this sounds familiar: My iPhone alarm goes off, I reach over to turn it off, and immediately start looking at emails, text messages, social media posts, and a million other alerts that have popped up overnight. My heart rate increases, my stress levels spike, and I start worrying about all the things I have to do.
How come no one ever told me NOT to travel across the country with my wife and nine-month old baby for Thanksgiving — along with the millions of other people doing the same thing? We had to get from our house to the airport over an hour away with car-seat, stroller, luggage, an assortment of carry-ons, and, oh yeah, the baby. Two flights and a lot of frazzled nerves later, we were in frigid northwestern PA for Thanksgiving.
I got married at age 45. My first child, a beautiful baby girl, was born soon after. More and more people are waiting to get married and start a family later in life. However waiting to get married and start a family at age 45 is a stretch — as my Mom often reminded me.
A few days after my 34th birthday, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Surgery successfully removed the tumor, along with my right testicle, and I was cancer free. The only real suffering I went through was the relentless jokes from my buddies. We all had a ball laughing at my predicament. (Please tell me you got that…) Several months later after thinking I beat cancer, my doctors and I discovered cancer had spread to my lungs. All jokes stopped.
I’m holding a live hand grenade — yes, in my hand. I can’t remember if it’s “thumb clip, pull pin” or “pull pin, thumb clip”. I’m an 18-year-old kid going through Marine Corps bootcamp, and I’m frozen with fear.
I lived in Japan for 10 years and worked as a management consultant setting up the branch offices of Fortune 500 companies in Tokyo, Osaka, and other parts of Asia. This allowed me to make a great living and to spend a great deal of my hard-earned Yen training with many of the premier martial arts masters of the day. In addition to the tough physical training of the martial arts, I also regularly practiced Zen meditation.
I enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17 and didn’t graduate from college until the ripe old age of 26. I remember attending a networking event at the exclusive Tokyo American Club in Japan with a bunch of really smart, successful, and affluent business leaders. For some reason I thought if I wore glasses I would look smarter and more successful.