Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Living a passionate life - a family's journey

This is our first blog post since our son Andrew joined The XLR8 Team as a coach and director of business development.  Our daughter, Molly, while employed with another company, is trying to bring the concepts expressed in this blog to her life and current job.  Please follow us on our new blog site at

We would like to share our journey as individuals and as a family business to live our vision “for all of us to find the courage to awaken to the magnificence of our limitless possibilities!”  Fundamental to this concept is living a passionate life.  To quote Napoleon Hill, author the seminal book on success in 1937, Think and Grow Rich:  “cherish your visions and dreams, as they are the children of your soul, and the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”

As we begin this journey together, we are reviewing our top five passions, using The Passion Test by Attwood and Attwood as a guide.  It became clear to me that passions are the source of courage for all of us.  It has guided me through two very important life transitions – starting The XLR8 Team in 1996 and delaying my retirement to help my son and daughter more fully realize their passions.

Andrew reminded me of this in my Father’s Day card.  He called me “the most courageous man he knows”.  The example I set in 1996, quitting my high-paying executive level job (with a family to support and without a safety net) gave him the courage to quit his job and trade a paycheck for the uncertainty of chasing his passion of following in Elaine and my footsteps to create his version of The XLR8 Team.  It was this vision or passion if you will, that fueled this high risk / high reward move in 1996.  I wish I started at 23!

The most recent transition was delaying my retirement due to my strong passion to coach/mentor the next generation of transformational coaches.  I actually re-wrote this passion about two years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that synchronicities occurred making the timing right for Andrew, which included a change in his relationship status, a dynamite new emotional intelligence assessment called DISCflex, and a burgeoning “movement” called Conscious Capitalism.

You will be hearing about all of this from different viewpoints of our family who range from 23, 30, 50 and 65.  It should be a fun journey, so enjoy and please participate!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

XLR8 The Passionate Leader (G + L + F = JOY!!!)

Weekly Inspiration: Insight from one of my favorite blog writers ~ Steve Roberts @ coolmindwardheart (click)

· In the latest New Yorker magazine, there’s a cartoon that unintentionally reveals the secret of life. It’s a father caveman talking to his son saying: “When I was your age, things were exactly the way they are now.” The humor, of course, is based on the common perception that 10,000 years ago or more, things moved at a much slower clip than they do today. Any grownup in our world saying nothing has changed in his or her lifetime is likely to be viewed as a bit slow, to put it kindly. Call me molasses. For you see, I don’t think things have changed one iota since the dawn of time. I’d say the caption on that cartoon needs one more sentence. Then it would read:

“When I was your age, things were exactly the way they are now. A world of schmoes figuring out how to love.

· Given that as a theme, every once in awhile you get to see your life purpose right smack dab in front of you. It happened this week with someone who “graduated” from the XLR8 YOU!!! Leadership Excellence Process. His top passion is to be spiritually connected to God and nature with a marker not to be afraid to love. Here is what he wrote – It’s OK to love.

This experience has opened up the door to my heart. I have rediscovered myself - spiritually and physically. For the first time in a long time, I am comfortable just being me. During this process, I discovered that I’m not a bad guy. I am worth making time for. I am worth taking care of. This time and attention has ultimately helped me understand and love others at a whole new level. The more I care for and help others, the more I am rewarded. This realization has made me a better father, husband and leader. None of this progress would have been possible if I had not first focused on reconnecting with myself.

XLR8 YOU!!! – An invitation to our vision:

For all of us to awaken to the magnificence of our limitless possibilities.

As I’ve come to realize in my coaching practice, I am a “heart” guy. It is the heart that bridges the body – mind connection to the spirit. Transformation from a manager to a leader begins with the heart.

For those who have worked with us, you know we are big fans of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. We have used The Leadership Challenge (click) – all four editions, as the basic text for the XLR8 YOU!!! Leadership Excellence process. It describes the necessary leadership competencies we all need to practice and master in the context of a basic change process. In 2006, they wrote A Leader's Legacy (click) which we began to give as a “graduation” gift at the end of the 18 – 24 month process.

Lastly, they wrote the third book in their trilogy The Truth About Leadership (click) in August 2010. It is actually a pre-quill, and I believe it should be required reading for anyone aspiring to be a leader. Stephen Covey has been credited with saying: “start with the end in mind” as it relates to writing your mission statement. I believe the same is true here – this is where we need to be headed in our leadership journey.

It just so happens that there are 10 truths and truth #10 is “Leadership is an Affair of the Heart”. With all due respect, I would have made it the #1 truth. As they write, “Love is the Soul of Leadership” and as our client above discovered, it starts with YOU!!! Loving YOU!!!

As a fellow schmoe, it takes a lifetime to figure out and practice.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

XLR8 The Passionate Leader (G + L + F = JOY!!!)

Weekly Inspiration: Insight from a recent daily quote from Abraham-Hicks Publications

“The best thing you could do for anyone that you love is be happy! And the very worst thing that you could do for anyone that you love, is be unhappy, and then ask them to try to change it, when there is nothing that anybody else can do that will make you happy. If it is your dominant intent to hold yourself in vibrational harmony with who you really are, you could never offer any action that would cause anybody else to be unhappy.”

XLR8 YOU!!! – An invitation to our vision:

For all of us to awaken to the magnificence of our limitless possibilities.

We just completed another XLR8 YOU!!! Leadership Excellence kick-off week @ Bristol Harbour. We now have the distinct pleasure of working with these people for the next 18 months or so. When you talk about happy, these weeks are truly a source of joy and happiness for us all!

We start off on Monday morning with the “Lifeline” exercise, which can be found in The New Leadership Paradigm - Leading Self Booklet (click). It is such a simple exercise, but can be very powerful. If you haven’t done it, it’s very simple. If you have, find it and update it to the present. Here’s how it goes.

  • Purpose: To uncover and understand the events that have defined who you are today

  • Objective: To determine what is important to you in your life – now and into the future.


  1. Draw a horizontal line on a piece of paper (landscape), approximately one third down from the top. This line represents your life from birth to death. Mark where you are right now with your age. Leave room for the part of your life that is as yet unlived.
  2. Mark above the line, with approximate dates, the most significant life changing events that you have experienced—your successes, your moments of greatest joy.
  3. Mark below the line, with approximate dates, the most significant life changing events that you have experienced—your challenging times, your moments of sadness.
  4. Write brief notes against each event indicating how this experience impacted you, what you learned about yourself, and what strengths/qualities showed up in you. Jot down how you changed or your relationships changed as a result. Write down the values that became more important to you and the values that became less important to you after each significant experience.
  5. When you have finished, look for common “positive” and “negative” themes, qualities and values.
  6. If you have someone you can share with, take 20 - 30 minutes to tell them your life story and what you believe you have discovered from carrying out this exercise. If you are listening to the story, you may ask clarifying or probing questions, but do not speak of your own experiences. When you have finished, ask the person who has been listening to summarize what they heard and provide any comments or insights they might have.
  7. Summarize what you have learned about yourself. Based on what you learned about yourself, write down the themes/qualities/values - positive and limiting - that are consistently showing up in your life.
  8. Write down what qualities and values you think are important for you to embrace between now and the end of your life.
  9. Complete the worksheet.

We start with this because first and foremost, people who choose to follow us want to know who we are. At Leadership Week, it sets the tone for openness and honesty while beginning to clarify and focus our authentic self.

I encourage everyone to not only do this for yourself, but to have your team complete it and share with each other.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

XLR8 The Passionate Leader (G + L + F = JOY!!!)

Weekly Inspiration: Insight from the Dalai Lama from his 2011 calendar:

  • “Meditation is the process whereby we gain control over the mind and guide it in a more virtuous direction. Meditation may be thought of as a technique by which we diminish the force of old thought habits and develop new ones.” After many years, I have begun to integrate meditation into my daily spiritual practices. This is my major 2011 marker under my #1 passion of “bringing peace and happiness to myself and those I love”.
  • Since my previous attempts have been unsuccessful, I chose a local Transcendental Meditation coach to help me. I came across TM through the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness Based Education and World Peace (click). If you go to his website, there are some remarkable results from a variety of different applications - schools, military, prisons, at-risk children, etc. Most recently, Dr. Oz came out with his views on how TM can help reduce stress which leads to numerous illnesses. See video (Click) There are many YouTube videos from very successful people who have found benefits from meditation. Quit complaining about stress and do something about it!

XLR8 YOU!!! – An invitation to our vision:

For all of us to awaken to the magnificence of our limitless possibilities.

A marker that has been part of my passion to coach leaders who are passionate about personal and cultural transformation was to write a book. I actually started in earnest in mid 2010, however, I found that the physical act of writing a book did not bring me JOY!!! Soon after, my friend and colleague, Richard Barrett, of the Barrett Values Centre (Click) asked me to read/edit/add to his book: The New Leadership Paradigm: “Leading Self; Leading Others; Leading an Organization; Leading in Society.” His previous books resonated with me, so it was no surprise that this one did as well.

What I found was that Richard had written much of my book and added the richness of many other Tom Brady’s from around the world. Writing truly gives Richard joy, where coaching people using this work is what gives me joy. From this has come a revision of one of my passions to coach/mentor the future generation of holistic (spiritual) leadership coaches.

Given these two passions, I will be devoting the next several blog posts to the content of the book which was released last month and can be purchased at LuLu Books (Click). It will also be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in a month or so.

Here’s a personal Leading Self story - the foundation step of the New Leadership Paradigm. You have heard me say that we are all leaders - starting with “leading our life.” Over the last few years, I have used and coached “The Passion Test” process for people to clarity and focus on what they really, really, really, really….want.

I’ve been reminded of an early experience which made me think about this. I turned 64 on Saturday, and for the last several weeks, the Beatle’s tune When I'm 64 (Click) has been playing in my head. I didn’t remember many of the words beyond the first stanza. Here’s how it played out:

  • When I get older – I was only 20 when it was released on the Sergeant Pepper’s Album – eons from then.
  • Losing my hairI still have quite a bit, but “bald is beautiful” baby!
  • Many years from nowMen at 64 didn’t look so good in 1967; I’ve been working on it.
  • Will you still be sending me a Valentine – I am living a beautiful love story, and I never get tired of reading that special Valentine every year.
  • Birthday greetingElaine and all the kids were there.
  • Bottle of Winehas to be sparkling grape juice, but that’s just fine with me.

I honestly do remember thinking about what I wanted out of life when I first heard this song. I am grateful now that I have been able to help myself and others to be more intentional about it. We’ll Keep on Truckin’ using Leading Self to assist us. Talk to you next time!