In nearly twenty-five years of writing about, speaking about, coaching and facilitating leadership, clients often ask me, ‘What is the best leadership book?’ or ‘If I was to read one leadership book, what would it be?’
Best is subjective and depends on where a leader is on their journey. For me, leadership always starts with self-leadership or personal mastery. After all, how can you lead others if you can’t lead yourself?
Prior to writing, ‘Self Leadership – How to be a more successful, efficient, and effective leader from the inside out (McGraw Hill 2012’, I would have said the best self-leadership book would have been ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. 7 Habits is still a must-read for self and time management.
But what about the best leadership book? There are so many, and each covers different definitions of leadership; some are more strategic focus, whereas others are strictly about management. I would...
Anthony or Tony Robbins is one of the most recognized personalities in the personal growth and personal power space, but do his methods work?
And, is he priming you for success or his own profit?
Books by Tony Robbins include Unleash the Power Within, Unlimited Power, and, Awaken the Giant Within. Standing at 2.1 meters, with a large jaw and hands, he is quite literally a giant himself.
If you have not seen this, larger-than-life, life strategist, at one of his rock concert-like events, then you can watch his Netflix documentary - I’m not your guru.
I’m not your guru is about what happens behind the scenes at one of his six-day Date With Destiny seminars.
I’m not your guru, an interesting title, because Robbins studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming, NLP, from its founders Richard Bandler and John Grinder.
NLP owes a lot to the hypnotic techniques of Dr. Milton Erikson, ...
How do you read the room on Zoom?
I was asked this question by one of my coaching clients who wanted to transform her influence, to get the promotion she sought.
I’d previously shared with her that in addition to projecting gravitas and confidence, executive presence means, reading the room.
The Greek Philosopher, Aristotle wrote, that in order to influence, we need pathos. Pathos gives us the English word, empathy, meaning the ability to understand the feelings and motivations of your audience. This is what I mean by reading the room.
Pitching your idea, or presenting information without knowing what state the audience is in or what’s important to them, is like driving on a freeway blindfolded.
So, how do you read the room, and how do you do that in a Zoom, or Teams environment when many participants have their cameras off?
Well, if you are still listening to me, then I already know something about you.
You are curious and open to learning. You are ambitious and want to...
I was playing chess with my son, Nathan and he had me cornered, it looked like I had no options. I stayed with the problem, I zoomed out my perspective and considered every angle, and then I saw it, an opportunity to not only get unstuck but to change the game.
An option is the power or liberty to choose. Often, we don’t see our choices because of our framing or conditioning. Certainly, circumstances can restrict our liberty to choose, and yet we always have a choice.
Viktor Frankl, the author of the book, Man's Search for Meaning, a Jewish prisoner of the Nazi death camps destined for the gas chamber, realized…
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”
This power to choose one’s own intentions and actions is at the core of self-leadership. It is summed up in the poem Invictus that inspired another...
Do you want a million dollars?
Sure, but what’s the catch?
The catch is you must work for 90-hours a week for 10-years, and pay for; petrol to get to work, clothes to wear at work, and taxes for the privilege of working.
This deal doesn’t sound so good now, does it?
Gross income is not really a measure of wealth, just as health is not a measure of wellness.
Health is the absence of disease, whereas wellness can be described as an abundance of energy and purpose. Likewise, income might be the absence of poverty, but not the abundance of choices.
Counterintuitive as it might be, research clearly shows that money beyond a certain threshold does not make you any happier. Let me illustrate; imagine you were lost alone in the woods, cold, wet, and hungry. You stumble across a cottage with an open door and the glow of a warm fire and the smell of stew and fresh bread. A friendly person welcomes you in, wraps you in a blanket, sits you by the fire, and feeds you. Your happiness...
Self-leadership (a.k.a Personal Mastery) is the answer to how we develop ourselves to survive and thrive in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous world. Developing self-leadership enables you to become the ‘Chief’, ‘Captain’, or CEO of your own life and career. Self-leadership is also foundational to the success of organizations.
Research by the McKinsey Global Institute has looked at the kind of jobs that will be lost, as well as those that will be created, as automation, AI, and robotics take hold. And it has inferred the type of high-level skills that will become increasingly important as a result.
The research identified 56 Deltas ( a mix of skills and attitudes) across 13 skill groups and four categories. Digital fluency is not a surprise, but did you realize how important self-leadership is to the future of work?
With the importance of self-leadership, we need to define and measure it.
In my 2012 book with Dr. Ana Kazan, ‘Self Leadership – How to Become a More Successful Efficient and Effective Leader from the Inside Out’, we asked are you the Driver or the Passenger of your Life?
Self-leadership, and whether you are the ‘driver’ of your life and career depends on accessing the self-confidence to exercise your autonomy (ownership) over your thinking, feeling, and actions. Passengers, by contrast, wait to be told what to do for fear of failure or because they lack the self-belief that they can.
I recently heard from one of my executive coaching clients that he would be promoted before he expected.
“How do you feel?” I asked.
“I don’t feel ready”, was the reply.
This is interesting because, in my experience, how ready we are for a new challenge depends on our willingness to get comfortable with the unfamiliar and our belief in our ability to learn.
I have recently moved from...
I don’t usually get requests for articles or blog posts, but I have had so many messages asking how and why I moved from Singapore to Portugal during a pandemic, so here goes.
Digital Nomad is not a term I would apply to myself, but digitization has certainly enabled me to be geographically independent. Openness to experience is, I think, the personality trait that is essential to change countries or circumstances. Thankfully I score high on this, and life experience has reinforced it.
Leaving home for university at 18, was my first big test. Then, at 25, I left, London and the country of my birth. I lived in Australia (W.A and N.S.W) for 18 years before moving to Singapore.
Singapore, the gateway to Asia, was where I really put down roots. This island nation was where my children were born, and from where I established a Global business, but I never intended it to be my final stop. The questions were when and how to leave, where to go next, and why?
In decision-making, the...
Americans celebrate their freedom on July 4th, whereas Indians celebrate their freedom from British Rule with an August 15th independence day. A quick web search of National Independence Day reveals a long list of countries that celebrate their freedom from some form of prior government or oppression.
The dictionary defines freedom as, The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved, but it is also:
The power or right to act, speak or think as one wants.
Reflect, for a moment, on your own freedom to act, speak or think as you want.
You were not free to choose the time and place of your birth. You were not free to choose your parents, their economic status, religious leanings, political affiliation, or educational background. You had little or no freedom in where you went go to school and the ideology of your teachers.
We all imagine we have free will, but so many of our choices and decisions are influenced by things we have no freedom over and are unaware...
It often starts with a phone call or a message. Suddenly the world is different, and you must reorient yourself, or be overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness.
Whatever the bad news, financial, relationship, reputation, or health, with the application of self-leadership we can apply strategies. Self-leadership strategies to intentionally influence our thinking, feeling, and actions. To once more become the ‘Captain of our Ship’, or the ‘Master of our Soul’.
Four weeks ago, I visited my family doctor, and as I’m just turning 60, I asked proactively for a full health screen. I did this because I knew it was the right thing to do, given my age and family history, not because I was experiencing any symptoms, quite the reverse in fact. My frame of mind was, therefore, “this is one more thing to check off the list”.
Then the phone call came, and my world changed.
“Andrew, this is Dr. Seah, your blood shows a Cancer...