Friendly Confines, a Leadership Inspiration

I recently took in a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field.  I hadn’t been to Wrigley in about four years, but it didn’t take long for me to remember why it’s such a special place.

The Place:  First, it’s the overwhelming feeling of familiarity we get the moment the train or Uber or cab pulls into Wrigleyville.  It’s just the right amount of neighborhood familiarity with a slight sense of big city hustle.  Whether fans are seven years of age, forty-seven, or sixty-seven, people are excited to be there because of what Wrigley Field means to Chicago’s northside, the game of baseball, and even popular culture.

The People:  Next, it’s the conversations with everyone – fellow fans, the beer guy or girl, the concession stand attendant, ushers, and even the merchandise vendors outside the stadium.  Everyone is nice! 

While getting a quick beer, the attendant told me a brief story about how so few people buy Old Style anymore, yet back in the day it was all they sold at Wrigley.  Coming back from a restroom break or a second (or third) concession stand run, though my seat was in the middle of a row (in section 220…great section because it’s in the shade!), fellow fans had no issues standing up to let me pass through to my seat.  Quite the contrary.  People made conversation as I passed by them!  We’d talk about the drastic weather change in Chicago, how well Javy Baez is playing, and one person even made sure I didn’t slip on a spilled cup of beer!

The Players:  Every game at Wrigley is special to both fans and the players.  Grown men instantly become boys playing with each other on the sandlot.  In recent years, especially with Joe Maddon’s leadership, it’s apparent the Chicago Cubs players relish playing with one another, but they also play for one another and the faithful Cubs fanbase. 

Throughout the game I watched time and again, whether it was an outfielder making a great throw for an out at second base, a base runner outrunning an infield ground ball, or even when pitchers threw strikes, players showed each other love.  They point to one another with a child-like smile. Infielders point to outfielders all the way at the ivy in center field, and I watched them point to the fans in the crowd when a great play was made, as if to say, “That was for you!

The Passion:  The game I attended recently was a make-up game from earlier this Spring when a game was postponed due to the lovely and frigid Chicago Spring weather.  The game was on a lazy, late Monday afternoon / early evening, and while the day started out sunny and warm, it quickly turned chilly and windy as the game progressed.  However, in the second inning, I looked up and scanned the stadium.  It was packed in every section and on the rooftops towering above the outfield bleachers. 

There were nearly 40,000 people chancing the weather to experience the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, cheering on the lovable Chicago Cubs.  With each crack of a bat, hustle plays reaching extra bases, and with each run scored, the fans erupted as if it were already the playoffs late in October.  It was merely the first week of June!

I thought to myself, “No wonder I fell in love with Wrigley Field in 1997 when my dad took me for the first time; and no wonder the first thing I want to do after seeing a game at Wrigley Field is go back and do it all over again and again.” 

The friendly confines of the place, the people, the players, and the passion truly spark an emotional connection with Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs.  It’s that connection which becomes the attraction, and that attraction keeps people engaged, passionate, and willing to do everything in their power to support the Chicago Cubs.

What does this have to leadership? 

How do people feel about the place where you work?  Is it welcoming, comfortable, and inviting?  Is it a place where people feel they can lean into their own strengths, special talents, and do they feel safe enough to do so?

How would you rate the relationships among the people where you work?  Do people on your team work with or against each other?  Do people engage in conversations, connecting with one another, or do they shy away from the opportunity to give or receive feedback? 

How well do the players on your team work together?  Better yet, do the people on your team work for one another.  Would your team say that you work for them, supporting them, encouraging them, and helping them?

How much passion do you have for your work?  How passionate are the people on your team? 

Bringing it all together

Create your own version of the friendly confines with your team, and inspire them to perform up to their highest potential. 

  • Create a comfortable, welcoming, and safe environment which allows them to lean into the best version of themselves.  The more comfortable they become, the more they’ll put their talent on display.
  • Inspire collaboration, connection, and old-fashioned conversations with and among the people you lead.  The more people connect with conversations, early and often, the stronger your team’s relationships will become.  Strong relationships build thriving workplace cultures, and thriving cultures always have and always will produce amazing results.
  • Recognize and reward the players on your team who consistently help, encourage, support, and lift up their fellow teammates.  The best teams are made up of individuals who understand that we never look bad making somebody else look good.
  • If you’re passionate about your work and especially about leading your team, then simply open up and share your passions with those you lead.  The more you share your passions, the more comfortable they will be in sharing their own passions with you and everyone else.  Something amazing happens when we realize each other’s passions.  We begin to understand the things we value most in this world, and when we understand each other’s personal values, new realms of respect and relationship begin to blossom.

Create your own friendly confines where you work.  You’ll inspire and ignite a passion for possibility and productivity in the hearts and minds of those you lead. They will do anything in their power to support your collective cause, just like Cubs fans!

Have a great day.

(And Go Cubs Go…Hey, Chicago, whatd’ya say…the Cubs are gonna win today…)


For more ideas, thoughts, and strategies for turning your “job” into truly “meaningful work”, you or someone on your team may like my new book, Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed.

Available on,, and the “Books” section of the website…

Why We Love to Follow Tiger Woods

Maybe it’s the unrivaled roar of the “Tiger” gallery.

Maybe it’s the swagger, after a birdie putt.

Maybe it’s the flair of the “Tiger red and black” on Sunday afternoons.

Like you, and so many across the world, I’ve been glued to my CBS Sports app all week and especially this weekend.  Living out west, today’s Masters coverage began at 9am.  As I purposefully prepared for bed at 8pm last night, knowing I’d intentionally wake up this morning early enough to watch Tiger Woods, on Sunday at Augusta, I asked myself, “Why is this something I love to follow?

The world, and especially the golf world loves to follow Tiger. 

If you’ve ever watched on television or if you’ve been to a PGA event when Tiger is in the mix, there’s a buzz unlike any other.  My wife and I were at The Genesis Open earlier this season, and the crowds just to watch Tiger walk from the clubhouse to the driving range after a weather delay were more electric than a Game 7 in the NBA Playoffs. 


Why do sports fans, the casual fan, the soccer fan, the basketball fan, the football fan, the hockey fan, and even the non-fans…why do we love to follow Tiger Woods?

He Mastered His Craft

From the time Tiger landed on the scene, it was apparent he had mastered his craft.  Since bursting onto the PGA Tour scene in 1996 and winning the Masters in 1997, we’ve all marveled at the mastery with which Tiger goes about his business.  Few, if anyone at all, can cut a three-wood across a rolling fairway, wrap a 7-iron around a patch of trees, and poke a 5-iron shot out of the pine straw quite like Tiger can. 

He practiced.  He studied.  He listened to coaches.  He accepted the feedback.  He applied said feedback.  And he simply mastered his craft.

He Showed Us He’s Human

He apologized. 

In an awkward and emotional press conference, Tiger Woods…” THE” Tiger Woods, admitted fault.  Some may say the press conference was a made-for-tv event.  Others may say he only apologized because he “got caught”.  One thing is for certain, his actions since that press conference in February of 2010 have proved his genuine love for his family, his dedication to his profession, and most of all, his relentless pursuit of excellence. 

He said, “I’m sorry.”  He went back to work, focused and determined.

He Mastered His Emotions

Go getters from golf courses to basketball courts to football fields to hockey rinks to dance studios to boardrooms across Corporate America have one obstacle in common.  Their own emotions. 

If you’ve followed his story over the past decade, you know Tiger’s journey has been wrought with emotional roller coaster after emotional roller coaster. 

Injuries.  Family strife.  Addictions.  Personal struggle.  Embarrassment. 

Tiger Woods has endured one emotional disaster after another, all in the public eye.  He was on top of the world in the summer of 2008 when he won the U.S. Open in a playoff, in dramatic fashion against Florida Southern College Moccasin, Rocco Mediate. However, a knee surgery and troubles at home a year later left Tiger in an unfamiliar spot.  Down.  Exposed.  Embarrassed.

Instead of living the past, accepting where he was, Tiger focused on who he could still become.  Then, in his early 30’s, he taught himself how to master his emotions, from negative self-talk to self-doubt, to fear, to embarrassment, and even his own pride. 

Even after mastering his craft, Tiger learned to master his emotions.  And we all watched it happen before our very eyes.  Slowly but surely, we’ve seen Tiger’s come back, one club twirl, one confident tee pick-up, one birdie putt, and one gallery roar at a time. 

He focused on who he could become, not who he had beenHe learned how to replace negative, destructive thoughts with positive, productive activity.

Bringing it all together

So, why do we love to follow Tiger Woods?  Maybe the roar of the gallery, the swagger, and the Tiger red and black doesn’t hurt.  But maybe. 

Just maybe, we love to follow Tiger for the same reasons we love to follow our favorite leaders…

Great leaders master their craft.

Great leaders show us just how human they are, which makes them that much more attractive to follow.

Great leaders master their emotions and inspire us to do the same.

I love sports.  I love leadership.  And I love following Tiger Woods on Sundays. 

He’s mastered his craft. 

He’s as human as you and me. 

And he’s mastered his emotions.

Congratulations, Tiger.  Thanks for the inspiration.


One For the Road…everybody has “a Tiger story”; here’s mine

In the Summer of 2010, I lived in Windermere, FL.  I worked out at a nice fitness club, in Winter Garden, FL. 

One Tuesday morning in late July, I had just jumped on a treadmill, and a familiar looking fella stepped onto the treadmill beside me.  At first glance, he was pretty ripped, but wearing normal workout clothes, he had a towel in hand, and his personal trainer was by his side.  I started my treadmill at the same time he started his.

Thirty seconds into my jog, I looked over at “the ripped fella” with normal clothes, a towel, and his personal trainer, on the treadmill next to me.  It.  Was.  Tiger.  Woods.

I remember almost slipping off my treadmill in mid-stride.  I quickly kicked up my speed, and acted like it was no big deal.  I proceeded to run and run and run…  Tiger, next to me, was running and running and running. 

I was then and still am quite competitive.  I didn’t have a great deal going on in my life at the time, so I distinctly recall telling myself, “No way you’re getting off of this treadmill until Tiger Woods stops running.”

I was going to out-run Tiger. 

Sure enough, after about twenty minutes, Tiger slowed down to a walk, cooling off.  I let him walk for a minute, and then I promptly followed suit, slowing to a walk myself.  He went his way, and I went mine, back to the gym floor. 

Later in my workout, I was finishing up squats (I hate squats).  Somebody asked me as I was finishing my set, “How many sets you have left?

I turned around, and it was Tiger Woods. 

I said, “All yours.  Great week, last week at St. Andrews.”   (Tiger had just played really well, in The Open Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland the week prior.)

Tiger said, “Oh, thanks man.  Preciate it.  It was windy over there.”

I just smiled and told him, “Good luck.  We’re rooting for you.

He once again, looked me right in the eye, and said, “I really appreciate it.

Tiger Woods was human.  I’ve followed him and rooted for him ever since.

True story.

A Tale of Two Leaders

We often see two types of leaders, the Super Human Leader and Human Leader.  We’ve all experienced them both.  Think about your past experiences, and then I’ll pose a quick question after I define each type of leader below.

The Super Human Leader tells you stories of how unbelievably awesome they are, how bad they used to have it but unleashed their powers to overcome adversity and make it all perfect yet again because, well, they’re awesome.  They share stories of how successful they’ve become over the years, how much money they have, and how big their house is.  Also, in true, “Super Human” fashion, you really never ever hear them talk about when they’ve fallen short.  They’ve never been wrong.  They’ve never made a mistake.  They basically have no faults!  They’re Super Human!

The Human Leader, on the other hand, shares lessons they had to learn the hard way, having made mistakes along their journey. They also ask a few more questions, to learn more about others, because they know they’re not perfect.  They don’t hide the fact that they continue to be a work in progress.  The Human Leader tells stories of tough seasons when things were falling apart, but they always share what they learned in each of those storms.  They pass along nuggets they’ve learned from their own leaders, more often than not, giving them the credit for their own personal and professional growth.

Human Leaders come right out and tell others two of the most welcoming words in the English language, “I understand.”

The difference in the Super Human Leader and the Human Leader is a feeling of understanding.  When the Super Human Leader tells his or her story of perfection and all of their super powers, basically zero out of ten people will be able to relate. Because, well, in reality, here on Earth, nobody is perfect.  Since they lack relatability, nobody gets in a real big hurry to follow them.  Conversely, when the Human Leader tells his or her story of imperfection, you know, being human and all, ten out of ten people will relate.  Ten out of ten people are attracted to the Human Leader.  They want to know more about them and learn more from them.


         Which type of leader would you be more likely to follow? 

Better yet, which type of leader do you want to be?


Be human.

It’s your most admirable quality and 100% of the time, it’s your most relatable leadership trait.  And relatability is everything.

Have a great day.



Ballgames To Boardrooms Audiobook is available on and  It’s fun.  

I narrated it.  Recorded in beautiful downtown Burbank, CA…

Hope to see you there!  (Or click here to download it…either one.)


Talk to you soon…


What Really Matters

We work hard.

We stress.

We worry.

We stay frustrated.

We worry some more.

And then we eventually get around to finally spending time with family and friends away from work, but the hamster wheel doesn’t stop, and before we know it we’re right back on it Monday morning.

I’m all for working hard, staying focused, and attacking deliverables with urgency.  We can all agree we’d rarely accomplish much of anything without consistent, focused hustle. By the same token, I’m sure far too often we’ve all been there, so buried and consumed in our work that we begin to miss out on life.

I can remember a conversation with my Dad not too long ago.  Now that I think about it, I’d made a few comments which basically fit together nicely for what inevitably sounded like a Top Ten Worries List.

Dad listened, as usual, and then once I got it all out he said, “None of that really matters in the long run…

Every now and then it’s important to stop, take a twenty-second time out, and look around.  If we’re go, go, go all the time, especially mentally with our minds racing about this To Do or That One, it’s nice to be reminded or to remind ourselves of what really matters.


This past weekend our family met up in Seattle to see each other for a long weekend.  We proudly went to see my uncle, Nick Desantis, star in the Village Theater’s production of Hairspray.  My wife’s family lives in Seattle as well, so we had one, big ol’ fashioned family weekend, Clark Griswold style, right here at the start of summer.  We ate, drank, shopped, laughed, ate some more, and enjoyed each other’s company.

Leading up to the trip, I’d worried about the likelihood of rain all weekend.  I was stressed about what we’d do if and when it rained.  That was all wasted worrying and none of that really mattered at all.

What did matter were the precious moments, fun with the family, and memories made which will forever be shared with each other over more drinks, food, and roundtable conversations to come.

That’s the transferable beauty of enjoying the ride at work and in our lives away from the office.

When we worry less and open ourselves up to enjoy more, we not only realize what really matters in life and at work, but we also create meaningful experiences for those around us – our Teams, our Friends, and even our Families.


When corporate corporateness gets so suffocating and tedious, force yourself to take a quick twenty-second time out.  Look around and ask yourself (or your team) what really matters.  Chances are you’ll realize those things you’re worried so much about don’t really matter at all.

Thanks to my Dad for always reminding me and so many others to work hard, for sure, but to make time for fun, with a perspective on what really matters. Few things in life are more important than time spent together with loved ones, creating memories for years to come.

Happy Father’s Day Weekend to all Dads, but mostly my Pops!



PS:  When you truly enjoy the ride and wear fun jackets, you can’t stop the beat!





Be A Graduate Advocate

Congrats to the Class of 2018 – East Carter High School Raiders, Florida Southern College Mocs, and Cornell Big Red #RepresentYourNation

Be A Graduate Advocate

‘Tis the season for Graduation.

Graduates, at every level – Kindergarten, High School, College, Graduate Schools, and Doctorate Programs – are turning the page, entering the next chapter of their lives.

While exciting and gratifying, and no doubt feeling accomplished, graduates may be experiencing other emotions as they enter into this season of their lives.

Remember that season in your career?

It’s exciting, but also daunting.

Unknowns.  Next level challenges.  New people.  New cities. New homes.  New coworkers.  New leaders. New businesses.  New jobs. 

In many ways, this is a season of uneasiness, worry, doubt, fear, and anxiety, for so many talented, dynamic graduates.

Whether you work in an organization hosting a graduate for a summer job before they head off to college, or if you’re on the receiving end of a high potential candidate for a full-time opportunity on your team, this season could be a game changer.

Few seasons are as important as the first few weeks, days, or even moments a new person joins a team.  Think about your first job out of high school, college, or even grad school. How were you treated?  How were you welcomed into the fray?  Or, maybe it didn’t go so well.  Perhaps you weren’t exactly welcomed, and it felt like the awkward moment in the cafeteria in school, looking for a table where you’d be accepted.

I’d be willing to bet the extent to which you were made to feel welcome, comfortable, and/or important upon arrival is/was directly correlated to how long you stayed with that organization and how much impact you made for your boss, team, or company.

‘Tis the season for graduation.  Once the celebrations are in the books, a new page is turned.  The natural highs of accomplishment, excitement, and congratulations will soon be replaced with uneasiness, nervousness, and relationship tension, for graduates entering new jobs.

Dynamic leaders with respected organizations will make these graduates feel accepted and significant as they welcome them into their “work families”.  In turn, those leaders and well-respected organizations will receive significant contributions from their new team members.

Less dynamic leaders will miss this opportunity to make their new hires feel welcomed, comfortable, and important.  Nine months from now, they’ll be looking for yet another replacement in the roles for which their 2018 graduate was initially hired.

People stay where they feel welcome, contribute where they feel comfortable, and become purposeful where they feel important.

Be a “Graduate Advocate”

They’ll have an advocate in you, and you’ll have a devoted, loyal teammate for years to come.

Congrats to all the 2018 Grads and to the organizations lucky enough to welcome them into their teams.

Have a great day.


What Happens in Celebration


I’m all for celebrating the victories, big and small, along the way, but it’s important we remember what often happens in the midst of celebration.

It’s even more important that we stay grounded, focusing on who we’re becoming as opposed to what we’ve accomplished.

In Celebration, we often:


  • Become consumed with ourselves and forget about what’s important – relationships with family, friends, and those on our teams


  • Think we’re invincible


  • Think we’re above everyone else


  • Rub others the wrong way


  • Talk down to people, placing ourselves on a pedestal, hurting others in the process


  • Chase records as opposed to unleashing compassion for others


  • Stop listening to suggestions because we think we’re perfect and can do no wrong


  • All of a sudden, we become the pot calling the kettle black, as we become everything we told ourselves we wouldn’t; then we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place:


“…do we continue on in celebration,  fronting like we’re awesome, awe-inspiring, and can do no wrong?  Or do we act like we’ve been there before, and act accordingly, remaining calm, cool, and collected, staying true to ourselves and making it all about what we can do for others while revealing our true character we know resides deep down inside?”


There are probably 1,390 other things which can and do happen, in CELEBRATION.

Remember, life happens in seasons.  We’re on top of the world one minute and wondering why the entire world is seemingly against us the next.  That means the same is true for others as well.  Those on our teams, in our communities, and even in our families.  This is an opportunity for real leaders, true coaches in fact, to step up, and make a positive impact in someone’s life at a time when they need it.

Regardless of the season, lead with love and compassion for other people in your life.


Because the feeling of fulfillment, meaning, and purpose for which we’re all striving is waiting for us in that space just after we love intentionally, unleashing compassion to everybody in our midst.

Celebration is overrated.

Compassion should be the new corporate headquarters, the sentiment from which all decisions, all initiatives, and all conversations are derived.

Unleash compassion, even when you have things to celebrate.  You’ll be the leader, mentor, friend, or family member who always, always, always makes people feel welcome, comfortable, and important.

You’ll also feel welcomed home, to that place in your heart and mind where you’re completely content, with no real need to boast or celebrate anything at all.

We can either chase records or unleash compassion.

I know which route I’m taking.

What about you?


For more ideas on how to experience meaningful work through teaching, coaching, and encouraging people on your teams, you or someone on your team or in your life might enjoy my new book, Ballgames to Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed.

Available on, and on the Books section of this website.

Also, now available in Audiobook, on

To the Commonwealth: Kentucky, Basketball, People, and Teams Everywhere

To the Commonwealth: Kentucky, Basketball, People, and Teams Everywhere

I love the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

I love the game of basketball.

Like you, most of the time, I love people.

Life and work get tedious, and sometimes the tediousness of the grind takes its toll on us.  We’re human.  So, it’s okay.  It’s okay to not be okay.

Thank God for basketball…

Every March, as hoops fans dive into the madness that is the crescendo to college basketball season, we’re always reminded of those timeless principles which, without fail, give way to happiness, meaning, and fulfillment in our day-to-day – at home and at work.

There are so many of them, but this week, I’m compelled to call out the following:

  • Teamwork
  • Sincerity
  • Personal Connection
  • Community

The 2017 – 2018 Kentucky Basketball team was the nation’s youngest team.  They started off hot, seemingly on their way to another great year.  However, midway through the season, they hit a brick wall, and went on a losing streak Kentucky fans are not at all used to seeing.

Then, March happened…

All hope which had once been lost or given way to doubt came rushing back over Big Blue Nation, as our beloved Wildcats revealed character beyond any of our wildest dreams.  They played, hustled, united, listened, and perhaps the most impressive quality the collective team revealed was their sincere love, respect, and appreciation for one another.  We could see it and feel it clearly in their actions, reactions, approach, and demeanor before, during, and after games.  They had genuine concern and love for each other.

The Cats won the SEC Tournament, and then entered the Big Dance a less than desirable (and maybe in unfamiliar territory) 5-Seed, playing in Boise, ID for the first two rounds.  Didn’t matter.  They dug deep, came together, and played for each other and for Big Blue Nation.

The season ended last week, with a tough fought game vs. Bruce Weber’s scrappy Kansas State Wildcat team.  The young (KY) Cats didn’t play well, got no calls nor bounces, but they were still in position to win the game down the stretch.

As a life-long Kentucky Wildcat fan, every Kentucky team is special, with superstars born seemingly every single year.  And every year, we follow them and support them just as much as the year before.  The unique thing about this particular team was they were the youngest team in the country, with players who arrived on campus as boys.  Today they are a group of young men having learned lessons about teamwork, discipline, compromise, listening, and love which they will take with them for the rest of their lives.

Each of these young men are stars in their own right.  Watch them over the next several years, as we’ve watched others in the Kentucky Basketball fraternity, go into the NBA and become superstars.  But at Kentucky, Coach John Calipari takes a collection of individual superstars, and over the course of six to eight months, transforms them into a fully functioning, purpose driven team.

Coach Cal, love him or hate him, talks a great deal about his true purpose.  And since reading his book, Players First: Coaching From the Inside Out, I’ve personally been speaking to audiences all over the country about what drives Coach Cal every single year.  It’s not winning championships.  It’s about teaching, coaching, encouraging, and preparing young boys, helping them become men.  And perhaps the single most important principle he teaches them is to play for each other, not for themselves.

Common Wealth

I can’t help it.  I love threads.  So, consider for a moment the idea of “commonwealth…”.  Break it apart into two words…common and wealth.

I looked up both the worth common and the word wealth.  Miriam-Webster has a number of definitions for both.  I picked out a couple:


a: of or relating to a community at large

  • work for the common good

b: known to the community

2a: belonging to or shared by two or more individuals or things or by all members of a group


2: abundance of valuable material possessions or resources

3: abundant supply

Common wealth happens when we come together as a community, working for each other as opposed to against each other.

For Each Other

Before the Cats game last week, I received a text message from a dear friend.  He grew up in London, Ontario, our Canadian neighbors to the north.  However, since he was born in Houston, TX, he’s been a Texas Longhorn fan all his life.  But on the night the Cats were playing, he sent me a quick text with a picture of a Kentucky straight bourbon cocktail he’d prepared himself (in a special cocktail glass I purchased for him and all my groomsmen in my wedding in the Fall of 2016…) for the game, and all his message said was, “…to the Commonwealth…”

A week prior, our group of “Fellow Idiots”, we call ourselves, were all in Las Vegas to watch as many NCAA tournament games as humanly possible, together.  Our group is special, and that trip is special, because every person in our group cheers for each other’s beloved team.  We support each other, not only that weekend, but throughout each month of every year, in a 14-person continuous text thread with daily texts, sentiments, and encouraging messages to one another.  No matter what, we have each other, for support, love, and encouragement.

That’s true common wealth.  It’s about everybody helping everybody.  People loving people.  Building people up, as opposed to breaking them down.

So leave it to basketball, to remind us

It’s not about individual contributions creating fame and fortune.  It’s not “bosses” in corporate America demanding, berating, and threatening their teams to perform.

To really experience abundance of all that is good in life and even at work, we have to make it all about each other. 

And Leaders – Coaches, Managers, Directors, Vice Presidents and Presidents – need to encourage, inspire, teach, and coach rather than threatening and/or using short sighted scare tactics.

Without teamwork, it won’t be sustainable.

Without sincerity, it won’t be credible.

Without personal connection, it won’t be meaningful.

Without community, it won’t be fulfilling in the least.

So all of this to say, here’s to the 2017-2018 Kentucky Basketball Team and Coach Calipari for another great year of basketball, but also for so much more.  Thanks to the young men, on all these teams in the NCAA Tournament, who remind us, with their own character, drive, humility, and passion what it takes to experience true abundance of wealth.


Have a great day.




For more ideas on how to turn the tediousness of your corporate corporateness grind into meaningful work, you or someone on your team or in your life might enjoy my new book, Ballgames to Boardrooms:  Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed.

Available on,, and on the Books section of this website.


Four Compelling Reasons to LISTEN

An excerpt from Ballgames To Boardrooms:  Chapter 7

Just a couple quick stories of how listening has/can/will change our lives…at work and at home.

Demystifying the Lost Art of Listening

I was about eleven years old, in my last year of Little League. I played shortstop and occasionally pitched (but not well). One Saturday morning I was on the mound pitching. My coach gave the sign to throw a change-up after I was throwing fastballs all game long. The hope was for the hitter to be out in front of a slower, change-up pitch, swing, and miss, of course. Instead, when I took a little off the pitch, the batter smacked it deep into the right field gap.

We May Not Know Everything After All

Frustrated, getting the ball back from a teammate, now with a runner on base, I kicked a few pebbles, slammed the ball into my glove, and mumbled under my breath, “Why can’t I just throw the ball?”

From the corner of the dugout a low, stern voice called out, “Cause I’m the coach. That’s why.”

At the ripe age of eleven I undoubtedly believed I knew everything there was to know about everything. I guess I saw myself as such a prodigy and student of the game, I knew more than the coach. Okay, no. Hardly.

I was a terrible pitcher, and not even very good at baseball. Maybe I was a decent shortstop, but I couldn’t hit a lick. Pretty sure the coach, an adult my parents’ age, and a great man in our community might be a smidge more qualified to make the call. After all, he was the coach. It would’ve been wise to listen more and talk less; a lesson that applies just as much today as it did then.

Jimmy Buffett covers a song originally released by Fred Neil in the 60’s, “Everybody’s Talkin’.”  The first line is a microcosm of today’s business world, and society, for that matter:

“Everybody’s talkin’ at me…can’t hear a word they’re sayin’…

Only the echoes of my mind…”


How often do you find yourself talking (or trying to talk) to someone, on the phone, videoconference, or during an in-person conversation, and you can’t get a word in edgewise? Why? Because, uh, they won’t stop talking. It’s true. Everybody’s always talking. Since they’re always talking, we sit around chasing our thoughts and all we literally hear are “the echoes of our mind,” a la Fred Neil’s lyric.

How often do you leave your office, hop in your car, turn on the radio, get five miles down the road and have no idea what songs, commercials, or talk radio segments just played in the very car in which you’re the only passenger? Maybe I’m the only one, but does your mind race with to-do’s, concerns and fears weighing down every thought?

I’m sure you work or live with people who talk and talk and rarely pause to listen. It’s a total thing and a bit of an epidemic plaguing corporate America. Grand Canyon size wedges are driven smack dab in the middle of relationships. It also prevents talented up and comers from “becoming” all they could, should, and would be, if only they’d listen. Unfortunately, it also keeps many from experiencing the levels of fulfillment and happiness they long for both at work and at home.

On the other hand, consider an environment filled with respect, learning, understanding and love. How does that sound? Maybe a little better? That’s the type of environment you can cultivate within your teams, companies, families, and relationships when and if you listen.

            Don’t fall into the “know it all” trap. Of course, you’re smart. Be smart enough to realize someone else might know something, too. My wife is six years younger than me. Back when we were dating we had a few “fights.” Nothing major, just typical squabbles. One of my best friends gave me some great advice, as I was in mid-argument with the woman who is now my wife. He said, “Be open to listening to her. You might learn something.”

He was right then, and he continues to be right even today. I thought since I was “the older one” I automatically knew best. Dumb. Wrong. Not even close. I’m so glad I learned that lesson early in our relationship journey. If I didn’t learn to listen and become open to new ideas and perspectives, we probably wouldn’t have progressed in our relationship or ever even married. That’s a scary thought.

Four compelling reasons to LISTEN:

Listening is respectful

Listening is learning

Listening leads to understanding

Listening is loving

If you find yourself stuck in the hamster wheel, with more upsetting days than fulfilling ones, there’s a better way. Better days are around the corner. Be the one who listens because you will:

  • Become known as the respectful one,

  • Learn all kinds of new stuff,

  • Begin to understand things you never understood before, and

  • Receive an abundance of love from people to your left and right, your team, and even your boss.

  • Replace irritating days with fulfilling ones because you listen.


Thanks for listening.



More ideas and inspirations for turning your “menial job” into “meaningful work” can be found in my new book available on


This holiday season…believe in yourself, believe in others, believe in a higher power, and believe in the true meaning of the season. 

Whatever your religion…no matter what your holiday…whatever your current stage in life…


Be thankful for what you have instead of dwelling on what you don’t have

Embrace diversity…respect differences in opinions and perspectives; it makes us all smarter

Lead with LOVE…with every conversation, action, or reaction, lead with love

Invest the time and energy necessary to resolve conflict; everyone will be happier

Extend a helping hand to those you know may need it but will be too shy to ask for it

Value meaningful relationships with friends and family, and let them know you do

Encourage people that need encouragement; they’re hoping you’ll be the one to lift their spirits

Happy Holidays...


Why It’s Important to Make “Walk Ins” Feel Welcome

My grandfather was a barber for nearly 50 years. So that means I was blessed, growing up, with frequent (and free) haircuts.

To this day, I get a haircut once per week. I’m loyal, to a point, with my barbershop patronage. However, sometimes proximity, timing, and where I happen to be at the moment determine which shop I choose.

Welcome is a feeling, and the ‘feels’ usually close the deal

Recently I was in a particular part of town where I live, on a Saturday morning, and decided to “pop into” a barber shop whose sign on the window read, “Walk Ins Welcome.”

I stepped two feet in the door, and the two barbers turned, slowly, with a nonchalant, “…can…we…help…you…?” greeting. It was as if I was imposing, entering without proper identification or even credentials to deserve a haircut.

Not exactly “welcoming”.

To make things worse, I asked, “Well, I’m in the market for a haircut {thinking to myself, which is why I walked into, um, a BARBER SHOP!}. Do you have any availability this morning?”

The two of them acted as if I’d just asked them to work a double shift, into the wee hours of the morning, and the look on their faces suggested that I’d just taken away birthday. They finally responded, with, “well, I guess we could get to you in about an hour…”

I’m good. And…I won’t be back.

A true welcome…and more

Contrast that experience with a much different, and far better one two miles down the road.

I walked into Ray’s Barber Place – North in Dana Point, CA, where I should have gone in the first place.

Two feet into Ray’s door, and her eyes lifted up immediately from the cut she was in the middle of at the moment. A huge smile lit up the room, and she immediately said, “Hey! Long time no see, buddy! I haven’t seen you in forever, but I follow all your posts on Instagram!”

I sat down on the bench, with college football on numerous tv’s, glanced to the two other barbers cutting their own clients’ hair only to meet them both with smiling faces, eye-contact, and a head nod to truly welcome me in. For a split second, some all too familiar feelings of walking into my grandfather’s barber shop came over me.

Ray tended to her own client’s needs, finishing up within minutes of my entrance, and her warm welcome. The phone rang twice while I waited a few short minutes for her to finish. She answered each call, personally greeting, and inviting two more clients into her shop.

She finished up with her client, closed him out at the cash register, and quickly (but not in a hurry) came back around, and said, “…alright, hop up here. I’ll squeeze you in before my next guy.”

She was booked, back to back to back before Noon that day, but that didn’t matter. She still managed to welcome me in, nail it on my quick 1.5 guard all-around buzz cut, making conversation the entire time. Ray also took two more phone calls as she was cutting my hair, inviting two more clients down to her shop, with a smile in her voice.

Her next client walked in, as she was midway through my haircut. Same thing. She greeted them with a smile, welcomed them into the shop, and immediately let them know she would be right with them.

It was busy, but she never skipped steps with my haircut. Mind you, I’m a bit of a haircut snob, having the craftsmanship of my very own grandfather, “Barber Bill”, for the first 23 years of my life, so I notice a few things when it comes to my haircuts.

For example, the week prior I got my haircut “at the other place”, and the minute it got busy, the fella cutting my hair skipped steps. He didn’t trip my ears, shave my neck, or line me up on the sides.

Ray, on the other hand, nailed every element. The big stuff, small stuff, and she connected along the way. When I asked her, “How’s business?” She simply said, “It’s growing!

Didn’t surprise me a bit.

She also got the revenue from my haircut, which “the other place” did not get. In addition, she enjoyed a 25% tip on top of it. And I’ll be back next week. And the week after that.

If you’re in a service business, or any business for that matter, the art of making people feel welcome is a differentiator which truly sets you apart from the competition, and it doesn’t necessarily cost a dime. 

It just takes a heart for hospitality.

When people walk in, make them feel welcome. It’s the “feel” which not only closes the deal, but also keeps them coming back…

Have a great day.