Leadership Lessons from World’s Youngest Human Cannonball

Elliana Grace Hentoff-Killian was the world's youngest female human cannonball. At twenty-one years old, she performed with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show "Built to Amaze." She shot out of a canon at 65 miles an hour, that's a g-force of 7, similar to what astronauts experience reentering earth's atmosphere. Back in 2013, NPR's Talk of the Nation profiled Elliana who described what being part of a circus is like. I fell a little in love with her and listened as other circus performers, past and present, called to weigh in. They explained that to thrive in circus culture you must: Trust others with your life.  Embrace global diversity - human and animal.  Keep yourself mentally and physically well.  Remember, you're in the greatest show on earth. Imagine if all work cultures were all like that! Imagine what we'd accomplish and the problems we'd solve! Cannonball Insights We Can (& Should) All Use Elliana shared three amazing insights about her unusual work that I believe we can apply to leadership.  Take the leap with me. Let's emulate the world's youngest female human cannonball. 1. When Done Right...Fun & Fabulous "(NPR … [Read more...]

Leadership Guidance from the World’s Nicest Grown-Up

The "World’s Nicest Grown-Up," now that’s an enviable moniker. He's also been called the Dalai Lama of television, a Pied Piper, and even messianic. Think nice, sweater-addicts can't get ahead? With a U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star, and 40 honorary university degrees, his net worth was over $8 million when he died in 2003. Welcome to Fred Rogers’ neighborhood, a place where leaders mine solid gold. Mr. Rogers' 15 Lessons for Leaders 1. Want to achieve ultimate success? Be Kind. “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” 2. What to do in times of stress? Ask Questions, Listen With Heart. “In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” 3. Think you can have it all? Nope. Make Choices. “You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are. ” 4. Want to grow your leadership? Embrace Problems. “It’s the very wrestling … [Read more...]

Like Songs, Leaders Can Produce Earworms

I woke up today with an earworm. It’s driving me nuts. No doubt you’ve experienced annoying earworms too. You know, that “little fragment, often a bit of the chorus of the song, that just plays and replays like it's stuck on loop in your head,” explains Elizabeth Margulis, director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas and author of On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind. Researchers have found that over 91% of us get a song stuck in our minds—earworms—at least once a week. The term "earworm" originally comes from a translation of the German word 'Ohrwurm'. If you’re a songwriter, earworms are the stuff of dreams. You want your song to stick in people’s minds. Songs like "What Does the Fox Say?" by Ylvis, and The Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?" are tunes researchers say generate earworms. I've noticed that Meghan Trainor’s "All About That Bass" seems to catalyze earworms in old and young alike. But alas, (most) leaders are not songwriters. If we’re not careful, repetition of catchphrases or buzzwords become earworms that can blow our chance to inspire others or worse, close followers' ears completely. Earworms at Work As an entry-level employee, I … [Read more...]

Clarify Your Definition of Success: Joan Bunashe

Does fear of success sometimes stop you? It used to stop Joan Bunashe but it definitely doesn't now. Once Bunashe, "The Optimization Coach," got clear on her own definition of success, fear flew and joy-based choices became her norm. I first met Joan on Twitter. She stood out in the often noisy twitter universe initially because we're both Joans (though I'm J-o-n-e), we both have the initials JMB, and we're both leadership coaches. But its Joan's joy and positivity that truly attracted me: she shines so brightly--in just 140 characters! Joan is a certified professional coach currently based in Southern California. During her 15 years working in Real Estate and Homebuilding in a broad range of roles, Joan was continuously drawn to helping others grow potential and better their lives on the job. Joan holds a B.A. from UCLA in Philosophy and a Minor in Anthropology with an emphasis on socio-cultural fieldwork. She started her own coaching practice in 2010, and is devoted to helping executives optimize their leadership abilities and build thriving teams and cultures. Fearless Females 5Cs with Joan Bunashe "Once I clarified that my definition of success is to help others … [Read more...]

Dead Bodies: How Leaders Can Combat Workaholism

The first time I saw a dead body in a street was outside my Tokyo office. He, "the body," was dressed in a smart business suit; he looked to be in his 30s. Cause of death? Workaholism. In Japan, workaholism is called "karoshi"—death by overwork. Karoshi is estimated to cause 1,000 deaths per year and nearly 5% of that country's stroke and heart attack deaths in employees under age 60. Known as "leisure illness" in The Netherlands, according to one study an estimated 3% of the nation's population is affected. Elsewhere, workaholism is often called "the respectable addiction": Canada. One-third of Canadians consider themselves workaholics. United Kingdom. Full time employees in the U.K. work the longest hours in Europe and a British Medical Association report found that 77% of consultants work more than 50 yours a week and 46% more than 60 hours. United States. While the 40 hour week is generally accepted as “normal,” adults employed full-time have reported working an average of 47 hours each week. North America and U.K. 1 in 6 employees now work more than 60 hours a week. In a recent interview, singer/songwriter Alanis Morrisette spoke about how easily we can … [Read more...]

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