The Soundtrack for a Great Career

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This post was spurred buy the recent release of Gatorade’s wonderful tribute ad to Derek Jeter.  If you haven’t seen it, please watch it below.

The ad stood out to me immediately because the soundtrack of the execution is one of my favorite songs of all time, “My Way,” and easily my favorite Sinatra song.  More, much more than this, it reminded me of what I like to refer to as, the soundtrack of my career.  I pulled a couple key lines from every verse to truly emphasize the deep impact of this song.

 Verse 1 – Set the Stage

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full”

Verse 2 – Looking Back

“Regrets, I’ve had a few,
But then again, too few to mention”

Verse 3 – Facing Adversity

“But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out”

Verse 4 – No Regrets

“I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried,
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing”

 Verse 5 – My Way (entire verse)

“For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught,
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels,
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!”

Here is a link to the complete “My Way” Lyrics

The reason I listen to this song often is to make sure I’m staying true to myself and my own personal soundtrack.  I believe many people spend far too much time living the life others set out for us.  I really don’t care what you do or what your pursuit is, just make sure you don’t lose yourself in the process.

Let this song be a reminder to be respectful, but also true to yourself and what you believe


ACTION ITEM: There is a famous quote I’ll share with you as I believe it relates to what Frank is saying to us all.

“If you don’t build your dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs”


Unexplored Leader vs. Manager Comparisons

Are you a leader or a manager? Below are five unexplored comparisons I see between leaders and managers.

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  1. Toes vs. Heels: Leaders deliver a well thought out action plan complete with feedback from the team. This plan is derived from forward thinking and understanding of opportunity.  Leaders are on their toes.  Managers react.  They react to challenges, react to opportunities, and react to being constantly on their heels.
  2. Open Door vs. Closed Door: Doors are opportunities.  Leaders will open doors for others, and in turn doors will open for them.  Managers will keep the door closed for their talent and likely will have the door slammed in their face when the talent leaves the manager left wondering what happened when he or she departs for someone who will.
  3. Inspirational vs. Non-Inspirational: This one is pretty simple.  If you can’t inspire others to: believe, take action, take on risk, and challenge failure in the face, you are a manager.  This also applies to using fear.  Using fear is the least motivational tactic available and one widely used by managers.
  4. Why vs. What: Leaders will deliver the WHY behind what everyone is doing.  The manager only focuses on what everyone is doing.
  5. Explosive vs. Incremental: Great leaders will inspire explosive growth because the magnitude of their efforts is multiplied through the efforts of the believers.  Managers will manage the incremental.  Small amounts of growth are possible, through massive amounts of management.

The journey to become a better leader is a long one and it must be embraced.  It’s HARD because external factors are always at play.  There are times when I find myself being a manager and remind myself of the greater purpose for my life and my goals.  My talents are wasted if I’m spending time “managing” the activities of others.  I need to be leading from the front.

ACTION ITEM:  Actions speak louder than words.  To change your style to that of a leader, you have to live it and lead from the front.  No one is perfect.  Focus your efforts on constant improvement.(Kaizen)


5 Simple Ways to Have an Exceptional Day

Everyone reading this wants to have an exceptional day, but today, this very day, how will you go about doing it?  Or better yet, you’re thinking about the day you will have tomorrow.  How will it be great?


Use these five tips to have an exceptional day

  1. Ask for help – Everyone is taking on a challenge at this very moment.   Providing solutions to this challenge is invigorating.  Collaboration is even more energizing.  Don’t take on the world’s problems by yourself.  State your case and ask for help.  Chances are a solution is waiting for you just around the corner you weren’t willing to peek around.
  2. Go out of your way to thank someone – If you’d like to feel more great, make someone else feel great.  The best way to do this in my opinion is unexpected thankfulness.  Putting a smile on someone else’s face will put a smile on your own.
  3. Say I love you – If this seems so simple, why is it so damn hard to do?  Seriously.  How often do we get to the point of saying, I never really told that person how I really feel.  I don’t care if it is long overdue for your: Mom, Dad, sibling, or coworker.  Let them know.
  4. Apologize – I heard a word about a week ago and it felt terrible.  The word was, “resentment” and it is a heavy word.  Emotionally we can’t afford to carry around these boulders.  The drain they cause on you and I is too costly to measure.  Say you’re sorry.
  5. Sell Something – That’s right!  Sell an idea, a client, a passion, a thought process, your new shoe style, hairdo, just sell something.  Selling is in everyone and every thing.  Do not tell me you can’t sell anything.  You’re selling me on what you can’t do.  Selling makes the world go round and it involves passion.  When you sell, you ignite your passion and you win.  Nothing feels much better than winning.  Get out and win.

ACTION ITEM: Please keep this post handy for when you need a tune up.  I’d also really appreciate it if you’d share with those you care about and care about you.  We all can have a better day tomorrow.



20 Minutes of Silence Changed My Life

Late in 2013 I had a life-altering experience.


I tried mediation for the first time.  First, I’d like to tell you exactly why I did it.

  • I was stressed out
  • Anxious/nervous frequently
  • I couldn’t shut my mind off at night to sleep
  • I couldn’t get a good night sleep
  • I felt worn down and tired
  • I wasn’t thinking as quickly and clearly as I needed to be
  • I clearly wasn’t being myself

If you’re feeling any of these currently, and want to change your life I believe meditation is the solution.  I’m now going to tell you exactly how I do it, as my process is a bit of a hybrid of what you may read elsewhere.

7 Keen Steps to Meditation

  1. Get Alone – I retreat down to my basement to a room that functions as my office from time to time.  The floor is carpeted and extremely comfy.  I close the door and begin my process.
  2. Shut Off The World – The only thing I take with me is my phone (which may sound counterproductive)  but it is turned to airplane mode so I can receive no calls or texts.
  3. Close Your Eyes – This will be challenging for some.  It was extremely challenging for me in the beginning.  The goal is to keep my eyes closed for the entire 20 minutes of meditation.
  4. Turn On the Noise – I use an app called Relax Melodies.  You can find it on the App Store for iPhone.  I turn on the sounds of: the ocean, a piano, a fire, etc.  It varies a little from time to time.  I’d also like to note I wear headphones at the time to tune out any other sound.  This helps me get a tremendous amount of focus and I set a timer for 20 or 25 minutes.
  5. Breathe – After reading a great deal about mediation this is something I crafted slightly on my own.  I start every setting with my legs crossed in standard meditation position.  I breathe in as much as I possibly can through my nose, until my lungs and stomach feel completely full.  I then slowly release the breath through pursed lips (like you would exhale through a straw) and count.  I try to get the count to 20 or 30 with each breath.
  6. Stretch – This is my unique rendition.  As I breathe I added in a stretching routine.  I did some basic research on the most beneficial stress relieving stretches.  A great deal of my routine involves loosening up my hamstrings, neck and back (where I carry my stress).
  7. Positive Talk/Prayer – I also use my 20 minutes of alone time to be thankful and reinforce my thoughts with positive talk.  This too is a unique wrinkle I’ve added to my routine.  It may or may not be for you.  I believe the more my mind is reinforced, the better performance I can expect from my own abilities.

So, how would I have described mediation before I started: weird, hippy, liberal, tree-hugger, yoga pants, eastern practice, etc.  But, after seeing Russell Simmons thoughts on mediation, and knowing Phil Jackson is a student of the practice I had to give it a try.  They seem to be pretty successful (insane understatement)!

Russell Simmons via Twitter (@UncleRUSH)

Russell Simmons via Twitter (@UncleRUSH)

ACTION ITEM: I hope you at least give mediation a try.  My life is measurably better because I adopted this ancient practice and I believe yours can be too.






Let Me Tell You Why I Suck

Who hasn’t seen the iconic film Tommy Boy?

If you have, you’ll remember Tommy’s line, “Let me tell you why I suck,” as he explains his inadequate sales approach to a waitress while attempting to order some chicken wings.

While I’m not one to jump on the negative bus and complain about why I’m not getting what I think I deserve, I think there is something extremely valuable about the exercise of understanding specifically what we are not.  I believe it is a life saver!!

I’m a HUGE Gary Vaynerchuk fan.  Gary says in his book: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion we must understand how to cash in on our passions.  In one of Gary’s hundreds of YouTube videos he also preaches we learn to know what we ARE NOT.  He claims (and I believe him)to only be good at a few things and leaves the rest to the talents of others.


  1. Interviewer: I’ve learned I’m not a great interviewer.  It’s not that I can’t ask questions, or I can’t listen to people.  My challenge is I end up selling them on how great an opportunity I believe is in front of them and challenging them to take it.  I rarely interview a new candidate on a 1st interview.  I’ve yet to meet the person who is a great interviewer, or talent fox, but I’m not losing sleep over this one anymore.
  2. Dictator Leadership: I’m not a manager in a way of dictating activity or action.  I have zero interest in hovering over someone like a child to ensure they do something 50 times in a day.  Some managers get things done this way.  I will never be this guy.  If you are this guy, don’t fight it.  Embrace your style, just be fair doing it.
  3. The Details: BORING!  I don’t have a lot of interest in specifically how work gets done on the extremely minute detail to detail level.  I need to understand the project and see what I’m going to get in the end.  I’m a big thinker.  The more time I spend “in the weeds” of the conversation the less happy I am.
  4. Great at All Things: The competitive, Type A, side of me wants to get better at my weaknesses and work on them.  But, in reality the time invested in my weaknesses when measured against my absolute strengths leaves a tremendous amount of opportunity cost on the table.  If you like math think about it this way.  If I spend 5 hours on a task where I’m only 50% as good as a talented individual I’m only getting a 2.5 hr return on my investment.  NOT GOOD.  If however, I invested 5 hours of my time on a task or project where I’m 3x (300%) better than others, I’ve now conquered 15 hours of achievement.  PS – I’m likely 10x happier in the second scenario as well.

Understanding what you are not, may feel hurtful and negative at the time.  It’s not.  Be honest and it will open your eyes.  I encourage you to take a step back from yourself and your ego (most of us have a one) and “let it go” like Elsa says.  To me personally, it was a tremendously eye opening experience and amazingly uplifting.  It’s also allowed me to say NO to many more things and focus my time and efforts.

Time is the only resource we all have the same amount of.  Why then are some ridiculously successful while others struggle solving someone else’s problems?

Words of Wisdom - from Gary V (it says 2012 but does it really matter?)

Words of Wisdom – from Gary V

ACTION ITEM: Please take a step back and find out what you are not and stop involving yourself in these activities IMMEDIATELY.  You will be less “busy” and more focused on the activities where you can make a massive impact




Labor Day Advice from Sir Francis Drake

A day of rest is a wonderful time for reflection.

I came across this quote while reading a financial planning book last week and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I think I’ve read it 10x since.  I couldn’t think of a better day than today to share it.  Enjoy the day off, but never settle.

Sir Francis Drake circa 1596

Sir Francis Drake

Disturb us O Lord when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us O Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess we have lost our thirst for the waters of life: having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity.  And in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us O Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture to wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push us in the future in strength, courage, hope and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ.

Sir Francis Drake’s prayer before he set out to be the first man to circumnavigate the world.  Portsmouth, England 1577.

I’m no sailer, but I am the captain of my ship for this one and only voyage.  I will keep this prayer with me for the remainder of my working days as a reminder to never get too comfortable.

ACTION ITEM: Share this thought with someone you care about who you know could be achieving more.  This could be just the piece of motivation they need.