When I was a child in school, I was taught that if you work hard, you would be successful. If you did your homework, you would get better grades. If you practiced your sport regularly, you improved and got better results. While there is definitely a relationship between hard work and better results, the relationship [...]

Confidence (and the lack thereof) comes in two flavors: 1) Earned 2) Unearned Earned confidence comes from one source, and one source only: Competence You earn the right to feel confident about a particular skill or ability when you’ve invested the time to develop competence and mastery. For example, I have very high confidence that [...]

In my mentorship program, one of the recurring topics I discuss is how to be more powerful and influential with others at work. Here’s one powerful technique that I’ve taught my Inner Circle members in the past that I’ll share with you today. I call it the “You’re Mostly Right” technique. When you’re arguing with [...]

At one point or another in your life, you’re going to be overwhelmed. Overwhelm comes in two flavors — functional overwhelm (such as when you run a car engine past the red line and it blows up), or emotional overwhelm. In this case, you have two “levers” to pull to deal with overwhelm. 1) Increase [...]

When I mentor people, they often ask me for my thoughts about specific career choices they are considering. Invariably, the questions fall into two categories. 1) How do I succeed in a pre-structured career path (e.g., making partner in a consulting firm)? 2) How do I succeed in forging my own path that isn’t pre-structured [...]

I have a confession. I talk to pigs… specifically my daughter’s guinea pigs. More specifically, they talk to me. (No, I don’t hear voices; they don’t speak English). They chirp, squeak, and squeal to communicate their wants and needs to me. Their needs almost always revolve around wanting more food or water (when my girls [...]

I teach the people I mentor that leadership means accepting responsibility for things that aren’t your fault. The individual contributor that stays in that role for an entire career does what is asked, but no more. If something goes wrong, she says, “I didn’t make a mistake. You can’t blame me for that one. That’s [...]

The other day, a friend was praising me for my accomplishments. I felt the praise was not justified. Contrary to my friend’s perception, I attribute my success to two things: 1) the ability to learn from my mistakes; 2) a high pain tolerance (that’s needed to tolerate making a great many mistakes). Step back and [...]

The other day, my teenage daughter asked me to buy her false eyelashes. When I asked her why she wanted them, she said, “It’s for my school camping trip with my classmates.” Of course, I said, “Why in the world do you need fake eyelashes to go camping?!?” I don’t remember her answer. What I [...]

Most of my work involves either a corporate strategic plan or a personal strategic plan. The core of strategic planning centers around deciding on priorities and allocating resources to those priorities. A good strategic planning process is quite painful. It’s painful because resources are always constrained. This has been true in every strategic plan with which [...]

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