By Pepper de Callier “You’ve achieved success in your field when you don’t know whether what you’re doing is work or play.” Warren Beatty This is indeed the life experience that most of us would love to have. But, how do you know if you are on the right track to get there? First of all, one must accept that there will be setbacks, or bumps in the road on this journey to this definition of success. But, over the years, I have found a very simple way to tell if the track you’re on is a good one. A psychologist by the name of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (yes, it is difficult to pronounce) came up with the theory of “flow”.Continue Reading

By Pepper de Callier “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” Sir Francis Bacon Focus, please, on the two most important words in this quote, “will make”. Sir Francis is talking about the inertia of failure. The opportunistic approach many have of waiting for the “right” thing, time, person—you name it—to come along. Even if you hope to win the lottery, you have to do something—buy a ticket. Life is that way too. Buying a ticket to life’s lottery comes in the way of making an investment—an investment in yourself. I know from experience that inertia is a difficult thing, at times, to break free from. It requires effort, motion and discipline. But, in life’s lottery, IContinue Reading

By Pepper de Callier “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” Marie Curie Marie’s family lost all of their wealth and property due to their involvement in unsuccessful patriotic movements to restore Poland’s independence from Russia in the mid-19th century. As a result, she and her siblings faced a difficult life, coupled with the fact that, being a woman, held its own limitations for intellectual advancement. It’s hard to understand how, with such a beginning, someone could overcome the obvious limitations in which were thrust on her to rise to be awarded two Nobel Prizes, one for physics and one for chemistry, among many other awards. Judging by this quote, it would seem thatContinue Reading

By Pepper de Callier “We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.” Herb Kelleher Famous for turning the airline industry conventional wisdom upside-down, by offering low fares and high service quality, Kelleher built one of the most successful airlines in the United States. He will forever be known for his common-sense and sense of humor. However, he was also a very competent leader who had an ability to identify and focus on the most important things. In this quote, he is making sure that people realize that the most important thing for building a successful company is to focus on actually getting things done. In his view, too many companies spent too much time on talking and not enoughContinue Reading

By Pepper de Callier “The scientific name for an animal that doesn’t either run from or fight its enemies is lunch.” Michael Friedman The message I get from this humorous take on life, especially about the human animal, is that timing is everything. Should you retreat, gather more information, or cool off? Or, should you go for it? Developing a sense of timing takes practice, but one way to gain the practice without being on the “menu” is to build a relationship with a mentor or coach who can help you think things through and many times offer a new perspective. I have been very fortunate in that I have had some great mentors—even though from some I learned whatContinue Reading

By Pepper de Callier “The roads that lead man to knowledge are as wondrous as that knowledge itself.” Johannes Kepler Kepler was German scientist who ignited the scientific revolution of the 17th century, on the value of mistakes and unanticipated outcomes in the process of discovery. He felt that mistakes and setbacks can be viewed as the ‘midwives’ of insights and accomplishments. Think about it. A perspective like this—enjoying the journey of discovery—would have such a dramatic impact one’s enjoyment of life. I don’t think it would be easy at times, but when you did connect with it, it could be a life-changer. What do you think? Is it worth a try with a problem you are trying to solve,Continue Reading

By Pepper de Callier “Ph.D. in leadership. Short course: Make a short list of all things done to you that you abhorred. Don’t do them to others. Ever. Make another list of things done to you that you loved. Do them to others. Always.” Dee Hock, Founder of VISA I have had so much fun with this quote over the years. I have used it in presentations to all levels of people, from students to senior executives and Boards of Directors. For me the magic is in its simplicity and how it stresses the importance of reflection. When we can personalize the things we liked and didn’t like that were done to us, it helps put it all in perspective.Continue Reading

By Pepper de Callier “The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.” Ralph W. Sockman What a wonderful reminder of what it takes to live in, and be part of, civil society. You have more power than you may realize when you stop partaking in a discussion or activity that you know in your heart is wrong. Your action of disengagement could be just the spark to create the momentum needed to turn things around. After all, it’s when good people do nothing that destructive elements enter into, and take control of, a group, a town, or a country. Many years ago, when I was anContinue Reading

By Pepper de Callier “Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.” Sir Isaac Newton I’m sure that without much effort, you can think of a situation in which you witnessed the opposite outcome than the one described by Sir Isaac in this quote. For me, there is so much more to this quote for us in our daily lives. As things become more and more interconnected in business and in our personal lives, we become more dependent on the help of others. That is why, it is of paramount importance, to hone your influencing skills, because without the ability to influence others, who you don’t have authority over, you will quickly find out how lonelyContinue Reading

By Pepper de Callier “The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.” Sir William Bragg Sir William gives us much cause for enthusiasm in this quote. I’ll explain. In my work with leaders, I have found that many take it upon themselves to sort through many of the weighty decisions with a minimum of help from others. While commendable for its sense of responsibility, their perspective alone doesn’t always deliver the best outcome. A CEO I was working with once, was wrestling with some major changes in the economy and marketplace. It was clear that there would have to be some significant changes made in theContinue Reading