Reflections on Leadership: My Favorite Podcasts

Weekly Inspiration

My Favorite Podcasts

Do you know what a podcast is? That may sound like a silly question but a year ago I was only loosely familiar with them conceptually. And I am a pretty technologically astute guy!

A podcast is essentially a radio audio (though there are videos too) program pre-recorded and downloadable from a variety of services. If you have a smartphone there is usually a podcast app built right in and connected to one of the various cloud-based services – you can listen on your computer too. You subscribe to the podcast (usually 100% free) and they are automatically delivered to your device to listen to at you leisure. There are literally thousands of shows available about any topic you can think of and they release new episodes, on average, weekly.

As I mentioned I was not a podcast listener just over a year ago. Then I left my previous job and started my 4+ month sabbatical. During this time I would go out for a walk or run pretty much every day and sometimes for hours at a time. My longest was the day (and it was an exercise “rest” day) that I decided to go for a 12+ mile walk. With all of this time I needed something to listen to and didn’t always want music.

Also during my sabbatical I was going through a significant personal transformation. I was rediscovering who I was and figuring out who I wanted to be. I needed input. I needed inspiration. I needed different ways of looking at things. I guess I was pretty needy, huh?

This is when I started listening to podcasts.

As a leader it is important for us to continue learning and expanding our minds. The top choice for how to do this is reading but that isn’t always convenient. So podcasts are a great alternative. They are a good source for your recommended daily allowance of learning, perspective and inspiration. Finding a favorite podcast or two can be an amazing addition to your walk, your workout, your commute or even to replace your background music at work.

While I don’t listen to every episode of all of my subscribed podcasts I try to listen to a lot of them. I listen almost every day to some content. My goals for podcast listening are varied but they generally follow a pattern.

  1. To keep me motivated and energized when chasing my goals
  2. To help me grow my skills, chart my path & build my business
  3. To challenge my thinking and push me to think bigger
  4. To entertain me
  5. To keep improving my project management skills
  6. To learn more about health & fitness

While some podcasts fit into multiple categories I have bucketed each of my subscribed podcasts into just one bucket below. I wanted to share my list in case something here becomes valuable to you.

Keeping me motivated & energized

Grow my skills, chart my path and build my business

Challenge me to think bigger

To entertain me

Improving my project management

  • Projectified by Project Management Institute
  • I have tried to find more here but I think this is an under-served category in the podcast world. Potential opportunity for me?

Health & fitness

  • I have recently unsubscribed from everything I was listening to here as my journey has evolved. I need new recommendations if anybody knows any good options.

There you have it

Call to Action: find a podcast that you love. Give a listen to the ones I mentioned above or go searching for ones that resonate with you. Whatever your choice just give a podcast a try.

About Reflections on Leadership

Reflections on Leadership is my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision…

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a share on social media or message me directly.

Join my email list to have weekly Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox: https://OperationMelt.com/mail/

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Aren’t Immune to Self-doubt

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Aren’t Immune to Self-doubt

I am sticking to just a short post this week but one that is important.

In my Reflections on Leadership series I usually talk about all the important things that great leaders do (except maybe when I said Leaders don’t know what they are doing). It would be easy to think that great leaders are always on and never have an off day. It would also be easy to think that great leaders always have a plan and are confident that things are in track and are going to work out perfectly. In our social media and bullet point culture we can sometimes just end up seeing a highlight reel and thinking there are never problems.

Don’t forget that leaders are people. They are human beings with all the normal shortcomings, setbacks, worries, anxiety and everything else that comes along with being a person.

Leaders also have self-doubt, they aren’t immune. We all have that voice inside of us that says “you are going to fail,” “you aren’t good enough,” “who do you think you are,” “why would anybody care what you have to say?” It happens to everybody including great leaders.

When self-doubt surfaces you have a choice. You have the power to choose how to respond (remember E+R=O). Your best choice is to simply acknowledge that the feelings are there and do what you need to do to push past them and to get back on track. Remember all that you have accomplished to get you to this point and know that you have the power to push forward. You are a rockstar, a superhero and you are powerful. Greatness is just on the other side of that self-doubt.

Call to Action:give yourself a break and know that those feelings of self-doubt don’t mean there is something wrong with you. You suffer from the same condition as the rest of the leaders out there – acute humanity. These feelings are perfectly natural and you have to choose to move past them. You are a superhero and you are capable of so much… you didn’t come this far just to come this far… keep it up!

About Reflections on Leadership 

Reflections on Leadershipis my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Meltis to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a share on social media or message me directly.

Join my email list to have weekly Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox: https://OperationMelt.com/mail/


Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Try New Things

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Try New Things

This week I am wrapping up my #FailForwardFebruary series. February is the month where the most goals made at the beginning of the year fail. While failure can be disappointing it doesn’t have to be that way. Through daily inspirational posts I attempted to change the conversation about failure. I want people to see failure as a critical step towards success. Every failure is one step closer to success … I think of it it as failing forward!

As I was reflecting on this past month I started thinking about all of the leaders who weren’t afraid to try new things despite the risk of failure. There are countless leaders who decided to get past their fear and just try. It made me think about a Shakira song that I frequently hear when running and working out called Try Everything. Just read these lyrics from the chorus:

Birds don’t just fly, they fall down and get up
Nobody learns without getting it wrong
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail

That last line has really resonated with me for the past year-and-a-half as I have been changing my life and trying new things. It has stuck with me throughout #FailForwardFebruary. And I hope that it is a way that I and other leaders can continue to view the world.

Yes, you might fail, but you might not. You might succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Even if you do fail you will be failing forward and you will be proud of yourself! Every great achievement starts with a decision to try.

The decision to try is something that has been very important to me over the past 20 months of my life. I have decided to try a lot of things and have a lot of achievements I am proud of as I worked to change from a life of obesity and self-doubt to a life of fitness and self confidence. I know I say it a lot, but I finished a half marathon just 16 months after I was 325 pounds! I discovered that I have superpowers I didn’t know existed. I know I can accomplish bigger things than I ever thought possible. I just have to set a goal and take that first step. Then I have to use project management to stay the course.

This is why I have decided to take another big step. In just a few weeks I am going to release my first book. This book shares the story of how I used project management to lose over 100 pounds in under a year and the lessons I learned along the way.

Will this book be a success and will tons of people buy it? Maybe. Will it fail and sell zero copies. Maybe. But, you know what, I took the risk and I tried. Not matter the result I know that I did it. So I am already successful!

If you want to hear more about when the book is ready please sign-up for my weekly email at OperationMelt.com/mail/

Call to Action: that dream that’s inside you right now… that thing you wish you could do.. Try it! Do it! Take the risk! Show others that you have the courage to chase your dreams despite the risk of failure. And, if you do fail, just remember that you are failing forward!

About Reflections on Leadership

Reflections on Leadership is my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision…

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a share on social media or message me directly.

Join my email list to have weekly Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox: https://OperationMelt.com/mail/

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Want the Ball

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Want the Ball

Warning: we are in the heart of college basketball season and there is a big sports analogy coming later. My apologies in advance!

Recently I was listening to an episode of the Pick the Brain podcast featuring a commencement address by Abby Wambach. Abby is a USA soccer player and has multiple Olympic gold medals. The theme of her speech was the four rules I’ve used to unite her pack and lead them to gold.

During this speech she told the following story about her fourth rule: demand the ball.

Abby was playing a small-sided scrimmage (5 against 5) as an 18 year old against professional athlete Michelle Akers. For the first three quarters of the game, Michelle was taking it easy on the kids, coaching them, teaching them about spacing, timing and the tactics of the game. But by the fourth quarter, she realized that because of all of this coaching, her team was losing by three goals. In that moment, a light switched on inside of her. She ran back to the goalkeeper, stood one yard away from her and screamed: Give. Me. The. Effing. Ball.

The goalkeeper gave her the effing ball. And she took that ball and she dribbled through our entire effing team, and she scored. Now this game was winners keepers, so if you scored you got the ball back. So, as soon as Michelle scored, she ran back to her goalie, stood a yard away from her and screamed: Give. Me. The. Ball. The keeper did. And again she dribbled though us and scored. And then she did it again. She took her team to victory.

Her point was that it is time for women to stand up and say “give me the respect I’ve earned.”

I thought this was a powerful leadership allegory in a slightly different but related way.

There have been times as a leader when I have sat back and waited for things to come to me. I have waited for direction or guidance or sat in my office and waited for people to ask me questions instead of being proactive. This just doesn’t work for a strong leader.

A strong leader operates more like a point guard in basketball – the leader on the floor. Good point guards run to the ball, they read the play and almost all plays involve the ball getting into that player’s hands. He or she calls for the ball and wants the ball in her hands. Good point guards don’t just wait for a pass, they engineer the play and make good things happen.

Leaders do the same, they call for the ball, they run to the ball and they try to get into the center of the action. A good leader is always talking to people, reading the environment, monitoring the data and looking for opportunities to make things better. By getting their hands on the ball, good leaders make big plays happen that weren’t there before.

On a related note, good leaders call for the ball but they don’t always shoot it every time the ball gets in their hands. Great leaders choose their battles and don’t take the ill-advised shot. Sometimes it is worth a couple more passes to keep from going into a situation with guns blazing before you have read the situation.

Call to Action: step into the middle of the play and call for the ball. Don’t be satisfied with the easy way of waiting for direction, guidance and the play to come to you. Yes it is more comfortable to let the play come to you (trust me, I have done it a lot!) but greatness is just outside that comfort zone.

About Reflections on Leadership

Reflections on Leadership is my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision…

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a share on social media or message me directly.

Join my email list to have weekly Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox: https://OperationMelt.com/mail/

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Fail Forward

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Fail Forward

Throughout the month of February I have been sharing inspirational quotes and thoughts about the topic of failure. Failure is a difficult concept to see inspirationally but it is an important topic. It is often misunderstood.

Let’s start with a little secret: leaders fail.

In our social media fueled world it is easy to get caught up in the highlight reels of peoples lives. But that just isn’t accurate. People have setbacks, they have bad days and they have failures just like they have successes. Failure is a fact of life even if people aren’t bragging about it on Instagram.

Leaders look at failure a bit differently. Yes, they hate to fail. Nobody likes to fail. So don’t get me wrong that failure feels good because it doesn’t.

That said great leaders know that failure is a critical part of success.

There are countless of sources that have explained why failure is important to success. But two of my favorites are:

  • “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas A. Edison
  • “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Henry Ford

I like these two quotes because they demonstrate a crucial fact about failure. Every failure is a step closer to success. You learn what doesn’t work. You have more information available to plan your next steps. The act of failing today makes your probability of success greater tomorrow. It is called failing forward!

I have failed many times. But every one of those failures equipped me to try a new path and my end result was better than it would have been otherwise.

The beneficial aspect of failure leading to bigger successes is why I have dubbed this month Fail Forward February.

One last point: failure is a critical requirement for innovation. If you don’t believe me, just listen to Albert Einstein – who was definitely an innovator:

If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new

Call to Action: do your best to succeed every day. But when, not if, you fail spend some time reflecting on the lessons in that failure. Take those lessons and apply them to the next iteration of your plan!

About Reflections on Leadership

Reflections on Leadership is my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My goal for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all the obstacles to achieving your goals. Helping you become a better leader is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision…

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a share on social media or message me directly.

Join my email list to have weekly Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox: https://OperationMelt.com/mail/