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Tip of the Spear

How do you show up to your first challenge of the day with laser focus and the strong tip of the spear?


I have been working over the past couple of years to account for the minutes between tasks, meetings, and morning preparations.

When I set out my shoes, workout gear, food, and water the night before, it lowers the risk I don’t get the workout in and mismanage the time.

When I schedule meetings for 25 minutes or 45-50 minutes, it allows me time to breathe in between meetings and be on time for the next.

How can you add an additional layer of preparation into 2021?


Facing your Fears

We are in uncertain times. The sun seems to be coming on the horizon. However, there are many obstacles until we get there.
I have been reading about courage.
Courage is not the absence of fear.  It is facing fear, practicing risk for a greater cause. We need to practice vulnerability to get better at taking risks.
As we head to 2021, when you look back through this year, where have you practiced risk in your career?
How can you better face fear in the coming year?
Defeating Average.

Are you a coach or a boss?

Engaged employees are 59% more likely to stay and show loyalty.

MIT Sloan research

Engagement starts with listening, ongoing support, and coaching.

Employees are looking for a company with:

  • Purpose
  • Bosses who coach
  • Ongoing performance and career conversations
  • Leaders who maximize their strengths
  • A job that is blended into their life

Are you meeting the moment with your peers and employees?

Defeating Average


Focus for the week

At a time when we only have a certain amount of mindshare with everything coming at us, prioritization is critical!

One day about a year ago I sent out an email to my team with the title “Focus for the week.” I wanted to be clear on what was critical for us in a high-stress week.

The feedback I got, “Thank you! This makes it really clear what we need to do this week. Please keep these coming.”

So every Saturday or Sunday morning I put together the focus for the week and send it out first thing Monday morning.

Don’t take it for granted, your people always need to know what the priority is and as a leader, it’s your responsibility!

Defeating Average.


10 Letters a Day

Staying connected to those on the ground as you hit higher altitude is critical to make sure you don’t lose sight of the people you serve.

I’ve been reading former President Barack Obama’s new book “A Promised Land”. One of the things he instituted on day 2 of his presidency was to read 10 letters a day from a diverse set of Americans. He would respond in writing on an official note card. It helped bust the filter he was getting from those at a high level in government, making sure he was connected to the ground.

Lots of good nuggets and historical learnings no matter which side of the aisle you are on.

Similar to what I got from reading Reagan, George HW, or George W, historians will say the present day often rhymes with the past.

A lot can be learned from comparing how you thought in the past and what you think you know about the people you serve.

If you are on the ground giving feedback an honest accounting in both areas should help us all.

Defeating Average.


Are you growing on purpose?

“One can choose to go backward toward safety or go forward towards growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”

– Abraham Maslow

It’s a tough time. Winter is coming. The one thing I have focused on daily is getting outside, breathing fresh air, going for a walk with the family, and taking vitamin D. 

If you don’t fill your car with the right type of gas, you aren’t getting good mileage from the tank. 

It can seem easier to stay inside and hibernate, but in the end, it’s a harder road. 

Growth is not easy, and it’s the only way to move forward. 

Challenging you to get outside for three fresh air walks this week. 

Defeating Average in Covid.


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.