Mentoring

Trough & Peak (#169)

I often joke with my kids that most of the challenges they face are “First World problems,” and they’ve learned to remind me of the same thing.

This phrase is a healthy reminder to be grateful for all the things we have and can do in our lives. It’s also about understanding that, in the grand scheme of things, what we identify as “problems” often really aren’t.

Not only can situations remind us of this, but so can people. Sean Swarner is one such person.

At the age of 13, Swarner was a happy-go-lucky eighth grader playing a baseball game when he heard a pop in his knee. The next day, all his joints were swollen. A few days after that, he was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma and given a prognosis of three months to live.

He immediately began aggressive treatment, adding 60+ pounds to his small frame as a result of various steroids.  While his friends were focused on trivial things, such as what shoes they wore and how popular they were, Swarner was focused on fighting for his life. He borrowed a visualization technique he learned from his swimming training and would imagine a microscopic spaceship flying around in his body with chemotherapy guns killing all the cancer.

A year after his diagnosis, Swarner beat the cancer and was in remission. He refocused his efforts on being a kid and playing sports, including returning to competitive swimming.

After being in remission for 20 months, Swarner went in for one of his regular check-ups. It was then that he learned that doctors had discovered a new, completely unrelated cancer in his body called Askin’s sarcoma.

Not only was Swarner the only person in the world to have been diagnosed with both Hodgkin’s disease and Askin’s sarcoma, but the latter has a six percent survival rate.

Given just 14 days to live, Swarner was started on treatment, the goal of which was to extend his life as long as possible. However, the chemo was so intense that he was put into a medically induced coma for each cycle and the radiation was so severe that he lost the use of one of his lungs.

Miraculously, Swarner beat cancer again, even though he does not remember anything about being a sixteen-year-old. Understandably, he wanted to enjoy the lost years of his youth. In college, he focused on having fun and decided to become a psychology major to eventually help other cancer patients.

Then one day he decided that, to really help and make an impact, he needed to scream hope from the highest platform in the world: Mt. Everest.

With only one lung, Swarner became the first cancer survivor to summit the peak. Ironically, an illness forced him to stay behind at camp on the day his group attempted the summit, which they weren’t able to reach due to inclement weather. After recovering from being ill, the weather cleared and Swarner was able to summit on his first attempt.

Since Everest, Swarner has gone on to become the world’s first cancer survivor to complete the Explorer’s Grand Slam—scaling the highest point on all seven continents and then hiking to the North and South Poles. On his last trip to the North Pole, he carried a massive flag with names of thousands of people touched by cancer. He’s now preparing to run seven marathons, in seven days, in seven continents.

In sharp contrast to last week’s Friday Forward, Swarner’s father always told him that he didn’t have to be the best, he just had to be his best, a core value that he’s carried with him into adulthood. Today, Swarner leads people on trips to Mount Kilimanjaro through The CancerClimber Association, a non-profit he founded to help those touched by cancer learn how to focus on hope. These experiences help young people gain confidence through overcoming adversity and challenge.

Incredibly, Swarner considers himself lucky. Lucky for the knee injury that likely saved his life – twice – and for the serious illness that kept him behind on Everest and allowed him to summit.

By choosing to focus on living rather than dying, he is an inspiration and a testament to the human spirit.

Not surprising, his life story has recently been made into a documentary titled, True North, which my youngest son watched intently. I’d also recommend listening to the emotional interview I did with Sean Swarner on my Elevate podcast. Our conversation has forever changed my perspective on what it means to keep climbing and own your reality.

 

Quote of The Week

“Want to feel wealthy? Take away everything money can buy and look at what you have left.”

 

Sean Swarner

 

The post Trough & Peak (#169) appeared first on Friday Forward.

Monthly Goal Check-In | Thor Conklin | Episode #617

How are you doing on your annual goals?

 

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.

Join group here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/PeakPerformanceNation/

 

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.

Live Your Dream Life Now l Shanna Dickerson l Episode #616

Originally from Charlotte, NC, having moved there in 1990, Shanna Dickerson subsequently graduated from UNC Wilmington in 2001 with a degree in communication. She then began her career in Nashville, TN as an assistant in concert promotion and production. Over the next nine years, her career expanded into planning, coordinating and promoting concerts throughout the U.S. with the good fortune of working with such artists as the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Kenny Chesney, Jay Z, The Police, Pearl Jam, Jimmy Buffett, Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, Kayne West, Foo Fighters, Metallica and Tim McGraw. The most exciting and fulfilling responsibility came in 2004 as tour manager for the legendary Steve Winwood for three US tours —a truly amazing experience.

With easy access through direct flights from Charlotte, NC to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, her family often enjoyed vacationing on St. John while she was growing up. This made a lasting impression on Shanna, and as a result, in 2010 she sold all her furniture and her car, downsized into a couple suitcases and used her remaining money to relocate to St. John. Through Nashville connections, she learned Kenny Chesney owned a villa there. Shanna then reached out to his associates and found a source that led to a property management position overseeing a multimillion-dollar beachfront villa. At a rental rate of $20,000 per week, the guests staying at the villa enjoyed all encompassing concierge services that she provided. Living on the island gave her the chance to recommend restaurants and activities that she had personally experienced….. Blue Sky Luxury Concierge was born!

From there the business grew and over the last couple of years BSLC has expanded into other destinations, including, but certainly not limited to the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Charleston, SC and the many islands of the Caribbean providing luxury villa rentals and coordination of activities and transportation. BSLC also provides a wide network of luxury yacht charters, including luxury sailboats, catamarans, motor yachts and Superyachts.

Shanna’s motto has been the importance of balance between work and play, thus it has been a priority to continue her long-term passion for tennis as well as enjoy boating, paddle boarding, hiking, meditation, and yoga.

 

Connect with Shanna:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlueSkyLuxuryConcierge/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shanna-dickerson-a735814a/

Website: www.blueskyconcierge.com

 

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.

Join group here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/PeakPerformanceNation/

 

 

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 through mastering the science of execution and Peak Performance.  You will learn the necessary road map, strategies, tools and psychology to win this game.

Wanting Better (#168)

As a Junior and Senior in college, I really wanted a job in management consulting. Many of my friends who were also seeking employment in this field benefited from plump internships, courtesy of their parents’ connections. As neither of my parents had contacts in that industry, I did not have that same luxury.

At the time, it was frustrating. To get my foot in the door, I had to research companies, make my own connections and learn to advocate for myself.  In our Senior year, my roommates and I applied for several hundred jobs; we also received a corresponding amount of rejection letters. However, we took it in stride and even covered our living room walls with every rejection letter we received and took a graduation picture in front of it.

Not having what I wanted handed to me is something I’m grateful for today. I learned the value of patience, persistence, resilience, perseverance and accountability. These lessons are what helped me find my first job on my own and have served me well in my career and as a CEO.

Struggling and learning to figure things out on your own is a critical ingredient in the formula for success and sustained happiness. Most highly successful people that I have met and admire found their passion through failure, pain and overcoming obstacles.

Removing obstacles – for your kids or for those you lead – is a colossal mistake.

Over the past decade, rates of anxiety, depression and psychological distress have risen significantly among people 26 and younger, especially in children from wealthier families. A primary cause? Insecurity and a resulting inability to cope with challenges and adversity.

It saddens me that many kids today are being robbed of this experience – especially children of the upper-classes. In wanting things to be “better” and “easier” for their kids, these parents are actually corrupting this concept and doing far more harm than good.

Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the recent college admissions cheating scandal here in the United States.

Wealthy parents, a few of whom are well-known celebrities, were caught paying hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars to get their children into elite universities they did not qualify for.

The mastermind behind the scandal paid people to take college entrance exams for these kids; got doctors and medical professionals to lie about diagnoses, such as ADD/ADHD; and bribed coaches to have applicants fraudulently designate the student as an “athletic recruit” – even when they had never played the sport.

The ultimate lesson and values these parents imparted was not, “we want better for you.” Instead it’s, “when you want something that you have not earned, you should cheat to get it.”

This was particularly true for actress Lori Loughlin (who never attended college) and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli. They allegedly paid $500,000 to have their two daughters falsely designated as rowers so they could get into the University of Southern California (USC) on an athletic scholarship.

One of their daughters, Olivia Jade, was busy focusing on her passion of being a social media influencer, not an engaged student at a top-tier university. As such, her pay-to-play college enrollment process also apparently included having her college application completed for her.

In a video posted on her YouTube channel nearly a year before her parents were charged, Olivia Jade had this to say about getting into the USC:

I don’t know how much of school I’m gonna attend but I’m gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone, and hope that I can try and balance it all. But I do want the experience of like game days, partying…I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.”

I have to wonder what her parent’s reaction was when they learned she’d publicly made these statements … perhaps some alarm that they might not realize the return on investment that they had hoped for?

As with many things in life, it often takes a tipping point to realize we’ve gone too far in a given direction. I am hoping “collegegate” is that moment for any parent who may be telling themselves the same lies about “wanting better” for their children and thinking that handing everything to them on a silver platter is the best option.

To live a meaningful, purposeful life, struggle is necessary. Learning to be grateful and content with what we have and who we are is really the ultimate gift that a parent or mentor can give.

 

Quote of The Week

“Don’t raise your kids to have more than you had, raise them to be more than you were.”

 

Author Unknown

 

The post Wanting Better (#168) appeared first on Friday Forward.

Go All-In | Thor Conklin | Episode #615

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.

Join group here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/PeakPerformanceNation/

 

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.

Asking Why (#167)

I’ve come across different versions of this famous “pot roast” parable but regardless of the rendition, each one demonstrates the difference between people and organizations experiencing mediocrity and those achieving greatness.

A mother was preparing a pot roast for her family’s Easter meal while her young daughter helped. Knowing her daughter was very curious, the mother clarified each step. As she was preparing to put the pot roast in the oven, the mother explained, “Now we cut the ends off of each side of the meat.”

As young children often do, the daughter asked, “Why?” The mother thought for a moment and replied, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how your grandma did it and that’s how I do it.”

Not satisfied with this answer, the young girl asked if she could call her grandma. The young girl called and asked, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her grandma thought for a moment and said, “Because that’s the way it’s done. That’s how my mom did it and that’s how I do it.”

Still not satisfied, the young girl called her great-grandma, who was now living in a nursing home. “Great-grandma,” she said, “Why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her great- grandma said, “When I was a young mother, we had a very small oven. The pot roast wouldn’t fit in the oven if I didn’t cut the ends off.”

What this parable teaches – to children and business leaders alike – is that asking “why” can help you get to something deeper and more meaningful.

That said, I think the worst answer you can get back is some version of “because we’ve always done it this way.” That’s not an explanation, it’s a cop-out.

It’s also the answer that leads organizations to their inevitable decline. While it’s important to respect tradition, it’s critical to never assume that the way something has been done is the way it should be done. That logic disregards changing dynamics, be it related to the market, company culture, technology or other factors.

Any leader who answers a question in the vein of “because it’s always been done this way” is following, not leading.

Why can’t we put a PC on every desk? Why wouldn’t people prefer their music in a digital format?  Why aren’t more people driving electric cars? Why isn’t travel more fun?

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Richard Branson made their marks by asking “why” and then thinking about the answer in new and different ways.

Questions, especially those challenging the status quo, should always be welcome within an organization. They are also something that should be asked to clients and partners. Understanding the “why” behind a request or motivation will often shed light on what someone is really needing or looking to accomplish.

I can think of several situations where our account teams were asked to run a series of last-minute “urgent” tasks for a client. Wanting to provide great service, some managers just jumped into the task, spending an entire day on the request and pushing their other work aside.

Other managers took a different approach and asked about the “why” behind the request. More often than not, these managers would learn that their client was wanting to justify something to their boss. By taking the time to dig a bit deeper, they were better able to provide the supporting evidence their client wanted and do so in a way that took far less time and effort.

To align excellence and innovation, try thinking about your organization as an open source operating system. Ideally, you want everyone to work from the same foundational “code” to help ensure consistency and high performance. Yet, it’s also important to recognize that “bugs” can and will exist or be discovered over time. The only way to readily identify and fix them is to encourage every team member within the company to point them out – and back them when they do.

Especially as your company grows, it’s also necessary to upgrade your operating system with new features and functions; understanding what those need to be usually starts with someone asking “why.”

The why question you want to avoid is, “why didn’t we do that sooner?”

 

Quote of The Week

“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.”

 

Bernard Baruch

 

The post Asking Why (#167) appeared first on Friday Forward.