John Hypothetical has a big exam coming up, and there’s a lot riding on the outcome. He prepares well for the exam, but he’s understandably nervous. When the big day arrives, he can feel his heart beating fast. Despite all his preparation, John chokes.
Emily Imaginary has the same big exam coming up, with the same consequences riding on the outcome. She also prepares well and is also understandably nervous. When the big day arrives, she can feel her heart beating ... Continue Reading →
70% of all change initiatives fail.
That’s a pretty startling statistic. Especially when you consider how important change is. I mean, we all acknowledge this, right? There aren’t many organizations out there saying, “You know what we need to do? We need to maintain the status quo, and we need to do it now!”
Every breakthrough involves change. Every innovation involves change. Every new product, policy, or service that moves you ahead of the competition involves change.
So change is vitally important—and yet ... Continue Reading →
Producing great results consistently is hard. Producing great results consistently—and under pressure—is harder. It takes a great deal of confidence to pull it off successfully.
But confidence, it turns out, is only half of the equation.
In a previous article, I talked about the importance of confidence when producing under pressure. And it’s true. Confidence is a vital attribute when you’re leading a team (even if that team has only one member—you) through a high-pressure situation.
Confidence, however, is no guarantee of ... Continue Reading →
I used to work 100 hour weeks.
I still do, on rare occasions. But back when I was first producing my weekly comedy TV show Almost Live!, they were routine.
And most of those 100 hours, especially the final 24, were in panic mode. I spent much of those 24 hours trying to hide the panic from my staff.
So why was I in such a panic? Because the pressure was overwhelming, and I didn’t know how to handle it.
Each week, we had ... Continue Reading →
Do you regularly find yourself in high-pressure situations? If you’re a leader (or a lion tamer), the answer is probably yes. And if that’s true, then it’s also true that you’re expected to produce under these high-pressure situations, right? In fact, that expectation to produce only adds to the pressure!
And that actually increases the chance that you’ll choke.
So how do you do it? How do you keep from choking in the big moments—the ones that really count?
Simple: use a pre-show ... Continue Reading →
There are few things more challenging to a leader than having to lead your team through a major change. You hear all the usual whining from your team:
- “But we like it the way it is!”
- “It’s too hard! It’s weird and uncomfortable and messy!”
- “We don’t know what it’s going to be like on the other side!”
Honestly, they sometimes sound like babies, don’t they?
Fine then. Let’s talk about babies. Specifically, let’s talk about birth.
[You: “This is getting weird.” Me: “Stop ... Continue Reading →
A little over a week ago, I was on a stage in Vancouver, BC, giving a TEDx talk about creativity to 2,700 people. The video will soon be available online, where it could be seen by (fingers crossed!) millions.
The road to a TEDx talk—whether it’s seen by millions or just dozens—is a long one. At this point, of course, I don’t know whether my talk will hit millions of views, dozens, or somewhere in between. But I do know two ... Continue Reading →
I can’t tell you what your next million-dollar idea will be—but I can tell you, with near 100% certainty, where you’re going to find it. And it probably won’t be where you think.
In order to understand this, you have to understand what creativity is—and what it isn’t. Because your next million-dollar idea will be, by definition, a creative idea. And creativity, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t come from nowhere.
Creativity is not the “lightning bolt” that comes out of the blue. ... Continue Reading →
You’ve probably watched a TED Talk video or two (or ten) at some point over the past several years. But have you ever been to a TED/TEDx event in person? It turns out there’s a huge—and important—difference between watching one or two TED videos and being immersed in a dozen or so TED Talks over the course of a single day.
In just under two weeks, I’ll be standing on stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver BC as the ... Continue Reading →
Like many of you, I hold a planning retreat for my business at the beginning of each year. (I also do a smaller one at the beginning of each month, which is a practice that I strongly recommend.) My annual retreat was this past weekend, and in looking over what I accomplished last year, something that I already knew about myself was strongly reinforced:
When I have a clear goal, set my mind to it, and combine these two things ... Continue Reading →