Stop Worrying About How Much You Matter

For many years — almost as long as he could remember — Ian* owned and ran a successful pub in his small town in Ireland. Ian was well-known around town. He had lots of friends, many of whom he saw when they came to eat and drink, and he was happy. Eventually, Ian decided to sell his establishment.

If You Want People To Listen, Stop Talking

George had a different edge, which wasn’t immediately obvious to me because I was listening to what George said. His power was in what he didn’t say.

How To Grow Through Failure

Here’s what’s most interesting: When I followed my own Four Seconds advice and paused to take a breath and really consider what I was feeling, I found something deeper than the anger, sadness, and disappointment. In fact, I found their source. Shame.

Managing the Critical Voices Inside Your Head

Two vastly different coaches, two vastly different responses. Who’s right? I bet you have an opinion. But that’s not the point.

How Leaders Should React When Someone Disappoints

“What were you thinking?” The portfolio manager muttered a weak defense which the CEO promptly and easily tore to shreds. When the manager left his office, the CEO turned to me, exasperated. “How do you reverse a losing streak?” he asked. “Not like that,” I said.

When Multitasking Is A Good Thing

By now, we all know multitasking doesn’t work. Our brains are incapable of focusing on more than one thing at a time. We might think we’re multitasking as we scan our email while on a conference call, but we’re not. We’re actually...

How to Find Out What People Really Think About You

A lot has been written about how to give feedback but not much about how to get useful feedback from others. It can be hard to draw out the truth from the people around you — people who may be too nice to share the full picture or too intimidated to be honest. And yet it’s a gift to know what people are really thinking about you...

The Small Personal Risks That Actually Change Behavior

One of the things I love about my synagogue is its commitment to inclusiveness. The community welcomes people of all faiths and integrates practices from other traditions. This year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Repentance, the most solemn day in the Jewish Calendar, after several hours of prayer, I felt an impulse to...

It’s Your Job to Tell the Hard Truths

How many of us would prefer to keep the peace and avoid being the naysayer?

What To Do When Anger Takes Hold

I had just sat down to look over my calendar and plan my day when the phone rang. It was my contractor. Several of his workers were at my apartment ready to finish some work, but the building management company refused to let them in. This news made me furious.

Prevent Your Strategy Offsite From Being Meaningless

We were halfway through the first day and, while everything was going according to plan, I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. I struggled to put my finger on it.

What to Do On Your First Day Back From Vacation

So you do your best to work through the pileup, handling the most urgent items first, and within a few days, you’re caught up and ready to move forward. You’re back in control. You’ve won. Or have you?

Don’t Let Your Head Attack Your Heart

I prepared questions I wanted us to explore together, questions like: What do you feel grateful for in your life? What new things do you feel are struggling to grow and be born in you? What do you want to let go of, so that the new can be born?

How to Start a Conversation You’re Dreading

I anticipated that the conversation would be difficult. Shari* and I had worked together for many years, and I knew she was expecting me to hire her to run a leadership program for one of my clients, Ganta, a high-tech company. But I didn’t think Shari was the right fit for Ganta or, frankly, for the role of running the leadership training.

How to Have Friends at Work When You're the Boss

A client of mine runs a 500-million-dollar business. He gets stellar reviews and is seen as a high potential successor to the CEO. But he has a friend problem.

The Best Way To Defuse Stress

I knew that I probably shouldn't send the email I had just written. I wrote it in anger and frustration, and we all know that sending an email written in anger and frustration is, well, dumb.

Why You Should Treat Laughter As A Metric

I was following the same yoga video I had followed more than 30 times in the past. Because I know the routine well, I usually have little trouble breathing rhythmically through the postures, feeling the subtleties of each movement, and sliding gently into a mind-body meditation. This time, though, was drastically off.

When The Truth Is Your Only Chance

A few months ago, Paul Franco* took a job working part-time for a company in the healthcare industry. At the time, Paul told me he thought the company had tremendous potential, both in the marketplace and for him personally. So I was a little surprised when he called me, exasperated. “I think I’m going to quit,” he told me.

Nadal Is Strong Enough To Cry. Are You?

Rafael Nadal, who just won the U.S. Open for the second time, is my hero. His athleticism is extraordinary. His focus is awe-inspiring. His skill is, clearly, second to none. His will is unremitting. It's a joy to watch him in competition. Yet those are not the reasons he's my hero.

Four Areas Where Senior Leaders Should Focus Their Attention

It was getting close to lunch time and the people seated around the table — the CEO and seven of his direct reports — were clearly getting antsy. But it wasn't because they were hungry. In fact, they'd been eating snacks all morning, mostly out of boredom.

A Question That Can Change Your Life

For years I’ve exercised every day — doing weights, cardio, yoga — but despite my continuous effort, I haven’t seen much change. Until a few months ago. Recently, my body has changed. My muscles are stronger, more defined, and I’ve lost five pounds along with a visible layer of fat. So what did I do differently?

Three Qualities Every Leader Needs to Succeed on a Team

Identify the goal, assess the current situation, understand the gap, and then close it. Consulting 101. Simple, right? Only in this case, it wasn't so simple — because there was no gap.

Why So Many Leadership Programs Ultimately Fail

They'd all read innumerable books on leadership, taken leadership skills assessments, and attended multiple training programs — including executive leadership programs at top business schools. They knew as much as anyone about leadership. So why weren't they leading?

The Most Overlooked Leadership Skill

Even before I released the disc, I knew it was a long shot. And, unfortunately, it was a clumsy one too.

The Unexpected Antidote to Procrastination

A recent early morning hike in Malibu, California, led me to a beach, where I sat on a rock and watched surfers. I marveled at these courageous men and women who woke before dawn, endured freezing water, paddled through barreling waves, and even risked shark attacks, all for the sake of, maybe, catching an epic ride.

What to Do When You’ve Made Someone Angry

When I arrived at the restaurant, I apologized and told her I didn’t mean to be late. She answered: “You never mean to be late.” Uh oh, she was mad. “Sorry,” I retorted, “but it was unavoidable.” I told her about the client meeting. Not only did my explanations not soothe her, they seemed to make things worse.

Why You Should Take the Blame

"Watch out!" she shouted after the dog, then saw me looking at her and added, "He's always in the way." Really? You step on a dog and then you blame the dog? Who does that? Actually, a lot of us do.

How to Use Temptation to Strengthen Your Willpower

The carrot cake at lunch was so delicious that I ate two pieces. And when the staff brought out big, thick, gooey, homemade cookies during a break, I was already so far outside my circle of guilt that I ate three of them. The offsite was a success. But physically, I felt so full, it hurt. So why did I keep eating?

How Not to Lose a Sale

The lead wasn't just warm; it was hot. During the sales process I made a series of decisions, all of which felt — in fact, still feel — eminently reasonable. Here's what happened...

Nine Practices to Help You Say No

Over time, I have experimented with a number of ways to strengthen my no. Here are the nine practices I use to say a strategic no in order to create space in my life for a more intentional yes.

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