Mentoring

World-Class (#142)

Ann Miura-Ko grew up as a first-generation American. Like millions before them, her parents immigrated to the U.S. in search of a better life and more opportunity.

Her parents also had high expectations of their children. Her father, a rocket scientist at NASA, was passionate about the concept of excellence.

One of the principles her father regularly repeated and instilled in her was the importance of giving a “world-class” effort in everything she did, no matter how trivial. From a very young age, he would always ask if her effort in virtually anything was “the best she could do.”

After struggling with extreme shyness, the introverted Miura-Ko eventually developed into an elite high school debater. She went on to attend college at Yale and, while there, secured a job as an administrative assistant in the office of the Dean of Engineering as part of her financial aid.

On the first day of work, she happened to call her parents to say hello and her father reminded her to think about how she could be world-class in her new job. She explained to him that she would just be making copies and filing, but he responded with, “I think you should think about it.”

Respecting his advice, she decided to re-think how she approached her tasks. She focused on crisp copies that people could not discern from the original; she chose to use a label maker for filing, rather than hand write them; she even made sure to pick the freshest donuts when she was asked to bring them into the office.

Her stated goal was to make everything a “delight moment” for the people she worked with.

One day, a few years into her job, the Dean popped his head out of office and told her that he needed someone to tour his friend, Lewis, around the engineering school. The person who typically did this was out and he was asking her to do it as he’d heard good things about her work.

She gave a great tour and developed a good rapport with the gentleman but had no idea who he was. At the end of the tour, he asked if she would like to come to California for a tour of her own during spring break, shadowing him at his company. It was then that she learned that “Lewis” was Lewis “Lew” Platt, CEO of Hewlett Packard (HP).

Ann jumped at the opportunity and had a great experience. When she returned to campus, Lew sent her two pictures. The first one was of herself sitting next to Lew, talking to him. The second picture was of Bill Gates, who had also recently visited. He was sitting exactly where she had sat. This image left a lasting impression on her and Platt became a key figure in her professional development.

Ann Miura-Ko has gone on to become one of the most respected venture capitalists in the country, playing a significant role in helping to shatter the glass ceiling for women in her industry. She’s been referred to as “the most powerful woman in startups” by Forbes.

While often incredibly challenging, the wisdom imparted over and over by Miura-Ko’s father was astute. When we commit to being excellent or “world-class” in all that we do, we are choosing to own our circumstances, no matter how insignificant they might seem at the time.

This can give us a tremendous sense of ownership over our lives and career rather than a belief that we are at the whim of fate, circumstance, other people or external events; a commitment to excellence puts us in the driver’s seat.

Is there sometimes just plain ol’ luck involved? Sure. But if one of the top investors in the world got her break making copies, labeling, selecting fresh donuts and demonstrating accountability, where might you be able to do better?

To hear Ann Miura-Ko’s full story, I highly recommend listening to her detailed interview with Tim Ferris.

 

Quote of the Week  

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

Abraham Lincoln

 

 

The post World-Class (#142) appeared first on Friday Forward.

Easiest Ways to Fail | Thor Conklin | Episode #571

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Peak Performers Podcast

Peak Performance Nation

 

#1 Podcast on how to get things done. Learn from Peak Performers in all areas of life and Business. Do you know what to do but can’t figure out why you are not executing what you already know? If so, this Podcast will give you the tools, strategies, and psychology to not only break through the choke point but to truly become a Peak Performer.

Thor will be sharing his tools and strategies as well as interviewing inspiring Peak Performers that are Entrepreneur’s, Professional Athletes, Business leaders, Military, Technology guru’s, Health and Fitness masters, Relationships Experts as well as Music & Entertainment superstars.

Mission and Purpose – To engage, educate, entertain and inspire listeners to excel in any area of life by mastering the science of execution and Peak Performance. You will learn the necessary roadmap, strategies, tools, and psychology to win this game.

Respectful Disagreement (#141)

In the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographical book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, author and American historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, tells the story of President Lincoln’s decision to fill his cabinet with political adversaries, namely the men who ran against him in the contentious 1860 election.

Lincoln’s explanation for this decision was that the country needed the strongest, most capable men to lead it; collectively, these men could offer that. From Lincoln’s perspective, just because they had been bitter rivals during the election didn’t justify depriving the country of their talents and leadership.

His determination was both unprecedented and reflective of Lincoln’s own advanced leadership and high-degree of self-confidence.

Fast forward to 2018 and this approach to policy-building and leading a nation could not be more divergent.

Sadly, many political “leaders” and populists have embraced an autocratic, “with me or against me” approach, demanding blind support. They surround themselves with “yes men” and “yes women” who tell them what they want to hear and reinforce their existing positions and beliefs.

Interestingly, today’s most successful and admired business leaders do just the opposite.

They are more approachable than any other time in history, recognizing the growing ineffectiveness of the command-and-control leadership style. They are far more transparent than their predecessors were, typically operate in an open-book style, and welcome feedback and criticism provided by their employees, clients, peers and partners.  And the very best understand how to harness those insights to stay ahead and create new solutions and products.

In other words, they want to get it right, not always be right.

Ray Dalio, legendary investor, founder of Bridgewater Associates and author of the one of the most invaluable leadership books, Principles, writes about the importance of building a team that is comfortable with conflict and challenging each other. He also addresses the danger of confirmation bias born from surrounding ourselves with people who tell us what we want to hear.

Dalio believes that “the greatest tragedy of mankind comes from the inability of people to have thoughtful disagreement to find out what’s true.”

One of his principles for life and business is called “believability-weighted decision making.” This approach seeks to get all ideas on the table, but at the same time, give more weight to people who have demonstrated repeated knowledge or authority on a subject at hand.

Like Lincoln, the best leaders triangulate their view with believable people who are willing to disagree and challenge their closely-held assumptions and beliefs. They do this because they want to significantly raise the probability of the best outcome or decision.

The late senator, John McCain, personified this principle in both his personal, professional and political life. Some could argue that he channeled Lincoln posthumously by asking three of his political adversaries – George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Joe Biden—to deliver a eulogy at his funeral.

Bush and Obama both defeated McCain in his two attempts to be president; Joe Biden was a long-time political adversary of McCain’s in the Senate and also one of his closest friends.

If you are building a team anywhere in your life or business, ask yourself, “Am I looking to surround myself with the ‘most capable’ men and women? Or am I looking for an echo chamber?”

The answer to these two questions could ultimately determine your legacy.

 

Quote of the Week

“Exemplary leaders reward dissent. They encourage it. They understand that, whatever momentary discomfort they experience as a result of being told they might be wrong, it is more than offset by the fact that the information will help them make better decisions.”

Warren Bennis

 

 

The post Respectful Disagreement (#141) appeared first on Friday Forward.

How to Produce Hunger and Drive | Thor Conklin | Episode #569

PEAK PERFORMANCE NATION

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Peak Performers Podcast

Peak Performance Nation

 

#1 Podcast on how to get things done. Learn from Peak Performers in all areas of life and Business. Do you know what to do but can’t figure out why you are not executing what you already know? If so, this Podcast will give you the tools, strategies, and psychology to not only break through the choke point but to truly become a Peak Performer.

Thor will be sharing his tools and strategies as well as interviewing inspiring Peak Performers that are Entrepreneur’s, Professional Athletes, Business leaders, Military, Technology guru’s, Health and Fitness masters, Relationships Experts as well as Music & Entertainment superstars.

Mission and Purpose – To engage, educate, entertain and inspire listeners to excel in any area of life by mastering the science of execution and Peak Performance. You will learn the necessary roadmap, strategies, tools, and psychology to win this game.

Virtuous Cycle (#140)

A few weeks ago, I had some philosophical debates with a few people who were reviewing the close-to-final draft of my second book. I was seeking their input as I tried to determine whether the material I had written on resilience belonged in the section on building one’s physical capacity or emotional capacity.

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg argument. Resilience surely has both physical and emotional components. However, the consensus was that we first need to do something that we perceive as surpassing our physical limits to gain emotional resilience.

It’s that physical capacity building experience that allows us to build our emotional capacity; it’s a virtuous cycle between mind and body.

Less than a week later, I got to put this theory to the test. As part of a fundraiser I, along with a group of 50 fellow road bikers from our industry, attempted a 180-mile bike ride from London to Paris within 24 hours. Running on just two to three hours of sleep, it was the greatest endurance challenge I have taken on by far.

Even more surprising is that many of the other riders had just started biking a few months prior.

From what I observed, no one’s legs gave out or stopped working. However, as soon as someone had a visible moment of “breaking” psychologically (which were few and far between), their body responded to their thoughts and you could see the immediate drop in performance.

Many of those moments came not from difficult terrain, but from times when people let themselves get dehydrated or did not eat enough on a break. It affected how they “felt,” which then impacted what they believed they could do, thus demonstrating the strong mind-body connection.

From my personal experience, believing I could climb a hill was less helpful than just keeping my feet moving through the pain and showing myself that I could. The culmination of those experiences now has me questioning some of the other self-imposed limits in my life and things I believed I cannot do.

If you are looking to take on a challenge that seems far out of your comfort zone and beyond the limits of your capacity, here is a simple three-part formula for success.

  1. Say Yes: When I heard about this opportunity, I signed up quickly without giving it much thought. It wasn’t until the week before that I really read the details of what I had gotten myself in to. Had I done this at the outset, I might have made a different choice. This was a similar experience to a few weeks ago when my daughter and I swam across a lake on a whim. I underestimated the distance and she ended up swimming her first mile with relative ease. Had we both thought about it more and had known the real distance, we might not have even tried.
  1. Do the Work: For almost any major challenge, there is a pre-determined practice routine that will dramatically increase your likelihood of success. It could be a physical training schedule or practicing a speech on stage ten times before you deliver it. Dreaming big is great, but you still have to do the work one step at a time.
  1. Commit to Finish: Once you do commit, don’t give yourself any mental wiggle room to escape. Mindset is critical. One rider who had never really biked before was last into the first break station and looked like she would never make another 50 miles, much less 150. When I talked to her after the finish, she shared that quitting was never an option for her.

The mind quits before the body. However, what’s been proven time and again is that the body’s successive accomplishments help the mind develop its emotional resistance and capacity.

 

Quote of The Week

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

 Winston Churchill

 

 

The post Virtuous Cycle (#140) appeared first on Friday Forward.

Procrastinate Your Way to Success | Thor Conklin | Episode #567

PEAK PERFORMANCE NATION

A community dedicated to raising your game to the next level by learning how to Execute at the highest level and eliminating the obstacles that keep you from being the leader you were born to be.

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SPONSORS & FREE OFFERS

Audible – Free Audio Book & 30 Day Trial

Blue Apron – $30 Off Your First Order

 

Acuity Scheduling – Stop Wasting Time Setting Up Meetings

Peak Accountability – http://www.thorconklin.com/accountability/

Thank you once again for listening

Please follow us on:

Facebook: Thor Conklin

Twitter: @ThorConklin

Website: http://www.thorconklin.com

 

ThorConklin.com

Thor Conklin Media

Peak Performers Podcast

Peak Performance Nation

 

#1 Podcast on how to get things done. Learn from Peak Performers in all areas of life and Business. Do you know what to do but can’t figure out why you are not executing what you already know? If so, this Podcast will give you the tools, strategies, and psychology to not only break through the choke point but to truly become a Peak Performer.

Thor will be sharing his tools and strategies as well as interviewing inspiring Peak Performers that are Entrepreneur’s, Professional Athletes, Business leaders, Military, Technology guru’s, Health and Fitness masters, Relationships Experts as well as Music & Entertainment superstars.

Mission and Purpose – To engage, educate, entertain and inspire listeners to excel in any area of life by mastering the science of execution and Peak Performance. You will learn the necessary roadmap, strategies, tools, and psychology to win this game.