Life Lessons from The Big Redhead


Hard work, discipline and overcoming adversity were the main themes when I recently attended Seton Hall University’s Executive Suite Series, featuring the legendary Bill Walton.

As part of the renowned UCLA Basketball program that won seven straight national titles (a record most believe will never be broken), and NBA Finals MVP, regular season MVP and recipient of the Sixth Man Award, Walton had plenty of stories to share.  These included the incredible highs and devastating lows of a stellar career marred by serious injury.

The most compelling message I heard from Bill Walton was the importance of preparing for the inevitable adversity that’s on its way.  Because you never know how the game of life is going to play out.  Surviving 37 orthopedic surgeries in order to keep his dream alive, he learned that motivation must come from within and that developing critical life skills enable you to work around challenges in order to get through them.  His “Big 4” include balance, quickness, creative imagination and empathy.

Here are some other great quotes and lessons from that day:

  1. “Ask someone who is on their way back.” No doubt, they have a plan, or a formula, that led to success—and that you can benefit from.  Bill includes his parents and John Wooden, a true force of nature, as his most valuable mentors.  And, his first coach, who was a volunteer coach for 59 years—that is servant leadership!
  1. The importance of culture in creating success, recognizing that the strength of any team depends on the strength of each individual. John Wooden wanted his players to excel as students, as athletes and to prepare them to meet life. He taught relentlessly about the 15 elements that comprise his Leadership Pyramid. (Walton claims he was Wooden’s biggest nightmare, driving him to an early grave at 99.)
  1. “A culture of yes is built on a foundation of no.” Learn to ask the right questions to get the answers you want.  True leaders absorb, develop, then pass on the skills, knowledge and discipline to the next generation of leaders.  And when “the leader can say no and the team buys in, anything is possible.”  The best leaders are like fork lifts:  they pick someone up and put them in a higher place.
  1. Basketball is not a game of size and strength. Rather, it’s about training the mind and subjugating the ego. “Success is never present without sacrifice and discipline.”  And learning to put failure in its proper perspective is critical. Even the terms in used in the game provide larger lessons:  transition, cross over, rebound, fast break, momentum.
  1. Big challenges can lead to big accomplishments. Walton described “my biggest accomplishment and your biggest nightmare” – learning to speak at the age of 28 after a lifelong stutter.
  1. Finally, “it’s what you learn after you know it all that matters most.” This is what John Wooden wrote to him when he graduated from UCLA.  What a great message to carry through life!

P.S.  He also recommended these four books that he recently read:

Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight

Believer, by David Axelrod

Dark Money, by Jane Mayer

Bill Graham Presents by Robert Greenfield

#leadership #lifelessons #successprinciples #highperformance #setonhall #executivesuite

Are You in a Rut?

stuckThree [early] mornings a week, I travel to the fitness center to swim.  I park in the same place, use the same locker, the same lane to do my laps, the same stall to take my shower.  Today, someone was using “my locker!” I really had to laugh, thinking to myself what a creature of habit I’ve become – at least at the fitness center.

I was grateful to that other woman for forcing me to mix it up.  I consider myself somewhat spontaneous, and yet, as I swam my laps, I started to think of the number of things I always do in the same order or in the same way: same spot in Yoga class, same energy drink in the morning, same “go-to” restaurants – so many other things that are always the same.

So, I vowed to myself to look for opportunities today to mix it up a little more – variety is the spice of life, right?

Think of the big and small ways you operate on auto-pilot.  Certainly, it’s important to have systems and routines that make your life easier, so you don’t have to think hard about everything you do throughout the day.  But when is it a good idea to change things out?  When is the right time?

Where in your life are you in a rut right now?  Have you been thinking of making a change – personally or professionally – and held off because of fear or doubt or because it might be too hard to go through the process? What habits do you have in place that are not serving you?

Sometimes, even a small change can help you feel brand new.  A new pair of shoes, a change of scenery, a conversation with someone you don’t know well.  Changing your perspective by taking a different route or looking at something from a whole new angle can provide a boost of energy.

Most people wait until the New Year or a significant birthday to make changes.  But let’s face it, many of those changes don’t last.  The reality is that any time is a good time – if you’re ready.  And sometimes, you need a little kick in the butt to force the change.

My day today started off with a little kick in the butt.  And I’m so glad it did!

If there are changes in your life that you need to make, and you want some help to do that, let’s talk!  Right now, you can click here to schedule a free 30- minute strategy session with me. I look forward to providing you a little kick in the butt!

#highperformance #leadership #womeninbusiness #womeninleadership #change




A Day with Jack

withjackAmong my core values is personal growth, learning and development to effect continuous improvement – for myself and for my clients.

Recently, I attended One Day to Greatness Live with Jack Canfield.  Over the course of many years, Jack has been an important teacher and mentor of mine. His book, The Success Principles, is on my list of Top 10 Favorite Books. I’ve read it multiple times and use it as frequent reference tool.

Even though the material is familiar to me, I was able to derive huge benefit from the experience.  Here are some of the reasons:

  1. Powerful content, such as Jack’s, provides valuable lessons over and over again. Since you are in a different place than you were “last time,” the learning derived is also different.  I recognized how dramatically my perspective in certain areas has changed over the years.
  2. As a speaker, coach and trainer, I find great value in watching how the masters – like Jack – deliver the message. In particular, he uses humor, stories and experiential learning to ensure the best possible outcome for his audience.  I aspire to provide this kind of experience and value for my own audiences!
  3. It is always great to spend a day with like-minded people. The energy in the room was positive and supportive; people were curious about how others are applying these powerful principles to create success for themselves and for clients.  I met some awesome people!
  4. Jack is extremely accessible. He greets participants, takes pictures, gives hugs and always demonstrates a kind, gentle approach to helping people solve their challenges.  I especially appreciated the opportunity to give him a copy of my book, Becoming Deliberate:  Changing the Game of Leadership from the Inside Out, and thank him for providing the initial inspiration to write it. (When I attended his Breakthrough to Success Program, writing a book was the breakthrough goal I set for myself!)
  5. The opportunity to spend a day working on me and my business, my vision and goals for the future, was a gift. I was reminded how much one can accomplish in a single day of focused activity and learning.  I came away with more clarity and more determination to achieve the next level of performance in my own life, plus more ways to help support my clients’ needs.

Finally, it gave me a chance to gratefully remember and revisit some of the special people I have met through my association with Jack.  And I took the opportunity to reach out and remind them that they are special to me.

When was the last time you gave yourself a day like that? I would love to hear about it!

And, if you are interested in creating such a day for your team or organization, click here to schedule a quick 20-minute phone conversation so that I can learn more about your needs and provide a recommendation.

#successprinciples #leadership #personalgrowth #learninganddevelopment #continuousimprovement