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Take the time to prioritize your day 

“To be like the rock that the waves crash over and eventually the ocean falls still around.”

– Marcus Aurelius
We are all getting whipsawed in the storm. Challenges with family, covid, homeschooling, lack of connection. It’s really hard! 
We spend 14-16 hours awake and often spend less than 10-15 minutes addressing how we will approach the day. 
Many top performers I talk to advise:
  • Win the morning
  • Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others 
  • Front-load the day
  • Be intentional on what you are committed to 
  • Be equally clear on what you are not 
If you don’t plan the day, the day will run you…all over the place.
I am off on PTO the rest of the week, recharging with the family!
Stay safe, wear a mask. 
Defeating average in crisis. 

Sleep is the new status symbol

In these times sleep has never been more important! We are all worn down, looking into screens or strained, each on our own personal journey.

Quoted from a great NY Times article “studies upon studies have shown how bad sleep weakens the immune system, impairs learning and memory, contributes to depression and other mood and mental disorders, as well as obesity, diabetes, cancer and an early death.”

“Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body,” Dr. Walker of U.C. Berkeley said. “We have a saying in medicine: What gets measured, gets managed.”

“I can see sleep being another weapon in competitive parenting and career-building,” Ms. Salzman said.

Some top reminders from a recent podcast appearance of Dr. Walker.

  • Reduce Blue light from all devices. Leave them out of the room or put in a drawer
  • Wear an eye mask to blackout light or use blackout blinds for your room
  • Wind down an hour before bed and turn off the TV
  • Read a book before bed
  • If you go to bed for 8 hours, you are most likely to get 7 hours.  Measuring with sleep apps will tell you exactly how much
  • Stop drinking water between 4-6 pm, small sips with dinner to prevent getting up during the night.
  • Eat three hours before bedtime. Your digestive system uses a ton of your body’s energy.


One of the many great articles on the topic. 

Defeating Average in recharging the mind and body.




Action does not always mean traction

One of our senior leaders shared this week.

In an action-oriented world, sometimes we ride the emotional roller coaster or expend more energy than we need. 

Sometimes we need too:

  • Be curious: listen more than speak
  • Reflect: on why you may be getting push back 
  • Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes: Ask, what it’s like to be them?
  • 2 percent rule: Where is he or she 2 percent right?

It’s never been more important to understand both sides. 

Defeating Average.


Character, Empathy, Decency

There is a sea change upon us. It’s time to get back to civility and what’s possible instead of division and angst.

Kamala Harris breaking barriers as the first woman and woman of color in the White house!

Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Understanding that everyone is on their own journey with their own struggles. A large part of this country doesn’t feel like they have a voice or they are getting left behind.

Character Matters

What do you stand for and what are your values?
How do you want to look back on 2020 and how you showed up?


Deep listening and seeking to understand.
Are you open to other points of view?


Integrity, honor, and respect for others.

Joe may not be everyone’s choice.

Joe may not be perfect, but he’s perfect for this moment.

Defeating Average.


Be Brave, Bold, and Courageous

“Be Brave, Bold, and Courageous. Change cannot wait for some other person.”
– John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon

I was listening to a great episode of Fareed Zakaria – Global Public Square on “How to Lead” from some of the world’s best leaders past and present.  This was a great way to think about leadership as we head into a tumultuous week ahead.

Doris Kearns Goodwin on past Presidents.

On Roosevelt:

“He had an empathy that people loved him for and he was really able to communicate and bring people together.”

“The Rock of democracy would founder when people begin seeing each other from different regions or races and religions as the other rather than as common American citizens.”

On Lincoln:

“He wrote hot (angry and emotional letters) and would set them aside for a couple of days and many times not send them. He knew he needed to be objective and when anger and emotions did not serve.”

General Stanley McChrystal

“Leadership is now about you. It’s a relationship with people. Not a title or a paycheck. It’s the responsibility to lead the people you have not the ones you wish you had. Give them what they need and not what you think you need from them.”

“Leaders are not unicorns. They are people we empower. They reflect who we want to be.”

I will leave you with thoughts from John Lewis:

“This takes me back to the late ’50s and ’60s. I thought we had changed. In so many ways we have to go back and teach another generation and teach ourselves we have work to do. We have a lot of work to do. I am optimistic and hopeful about the future. We will have setbacks but we will get there.

Vote, Vote, Vote!

Make sure your friends and family have voted!

Defeating Average.



How you start the day impacts how you finish

I read recently someone said, “like a church sermon lasting the whole day long, so does your intentions last the entire day.”

When you make your intentions clear in the morning, like hearing a great sermon or speech, words touch you on the shoulder later in the day.

They remind you of the main point of a speech, like Ronald Reagan’s Farewell, Shining City on a Hill, or Barack Obama’s speech on Grace in Charleston.

For fans of historical speeches, a great new podcast by Presidential historian Jon Meachum, It Was Said, that features both.

I challenge each one of you to name your intentions each morning for 30 days and journal against how you progress towards a life of grace.

Defeating Average.


Question of the Decade

Saying 2020 has been a strange year is an understatement.

When you are looking back from the eve of 2030, how do you want to look back on how you showed up in 2020?

I will take it one step further for those who have kids.

When your son or daughter while studying this strange year in school asks you, what did you do to secure my future in 2020, what will you say?

It’s never been a more important time to think ahead into the future while standing firmly with both feet planted in the present moment.

Wishing you a great week ahead.

Defeating Average.


What Tess taught me about persuasion

My 28-month-old daughter Tess taught me a beautiful lesson about life recently. It reminded me of a fable I learned when I was a young boy.

The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.

“Let us agree,” said the Sun, “that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak.”

“Very well,” growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.

With the first gust of wind, the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler’s body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.

Then the Sun began to shine. At first, his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders. The Sun’s rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last, he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.

Tess has been having trouble sleeping lately. She calls out to me or Blake every 5 minutes to put on her blanket (after she takes it off again and again), change her music, any excuse not to go to sleep. We’ve sat in with her, scolded her, tried many different things and nothing was working. There were lots of tears and frustration.

After two weeks of riding the roller coaster and mostly scolding, my wife asked me to sit in with Tess Friday night until she fell asleep. 

In her tiny words, she pointed beside her crib and said “daddy lie down.” It became instantly clear she wanted to feel safe, loved, and watched over. Once she felt the warm rays of family sunshine around her, she lied down and went to sleep. 

A good lesson for me that gentleness and persuasion are usually better than force and bluster. 

Defeating Average in Parenthood.


How to build trust in meetings

Don’t waste people’s time. You will lose trust and it impacts your brand. 

In the last month, I have been talking to a number of leaders on how to run productive meetings. One thing they all agreed on was it’s never been more important to use people’s time well. 

People are stressed. They have less time. They need to focus on family and mental health. 

What is the criteria for good meeting management:

  1. Set clear meeting agendas 
  2. Be clear on why you are holding the meeting and why people are there (include in the meeting invite)
  3. Tell people what you will talk about ahead of time and what the outcome of the meeting should be 
  4. Run the meeting on time and have a call to action in the last 5 minutes 
  5. Respect people’s time and do not run over. If you make people late for their next meeting they will blame you. 🙂

Defeating Average in meetings. 


Returning to the present moment

I was presenting my Defeating Average conversation to our Melbourne, Australia office last week. It was special to connect with some people we visited on our paternity leave in 2018 when we took Tess on a road trip for a month through New Zealand and Australia, including Melbourne.

As we talked about being present in moments of conflict and crisis, we talked about how we can calmly breathe and think through any situation life throws at us. Many of us have taken on journaling to get ideas or angst down on paper and out of our heads. There is an opportunity in this crisis.

Getting your thoughts down on paper in COVID not only serves as a mental release but will provide you with a rich perspective when you are able to read and look back from the safer shores of 2021.

We are all in this together.

Defeating Average.