Heading Out to Wonderful

By all accounts, Robert Goolrick has lived a difficult life.  Writing the word “difficult” doesn’t begin to do justice to some of the horrors he experienced as a child.  The depth of family dysfunction in his childhood is impossible to communicate in a few words.  He wrote a detailed account of these depths in his first published book, The End of the World as We Know It.  Pick your poison and he tasted it:  neglect, sexual abuse, alcoholic parents, not to mention the filth, the rats, the despair.

Robert overcame all these obstacles and went on to become an advertising executive and then a best-selling author.  His book A Reliable Wife was a #1 New York Times bestseller and was widely praised by critics.  When I asked him how he overcame such great odds, he credited a strong imagination and strong interior life. 

John Smoltz on the Benefits of Failure

On June 8th, the Atlanta Braves are retiring the jersey of John Smoltz, and naturally when I think John Smoltz, I think about success:

  • 21 year major league career
  • One of the most beloved men in Atlanta Braves history
  • 1995 World Series Champion
  • Numerous awards from the Cy Young to the Roberto Clemente

When you talk with John Smoltz, however, it isn’t success he talks about.  It’s failure.

He sees failure as: 

Michael Hyatt’s Advice on How to Get Noticed in a Noisy World

In a previous post, Michael Hyatt talked about leadership.  After that discussion, we talked about his new book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

The subtitle of the book sums it up well:  “A step by step guide for anyone with something to say or sell.”  It’s a book for small business owners who need to increase their visibility.  It’s a book for aspiring authors who want to publish and sell their book.  It’s a book for anyone who needs to differentiate a product or service and stand out using modern technology.

Michael wrote it because, as a publisher, he would turn away excellent work because the prospective author didn’t have a platform.  Where “Content is king,” he says, “A platform is queen.”  He wanted to write a book that would help people build their own platform.

In the book, five directives are outlined:

1.  Start with wow.

Michael Hyatt on Leadership

Michael Hyatt is the Chairman of Thomas Nelson.  In addition, he is a New York Times best-selling author, a speaker, and a personal friend of mine.  He also runs a hugely popular leadership blog, which consistently is ranked among the top in the world.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Michael about what he has learned about leaders from his storied career and his social networking experiences.

5 Characteristics of Authentic Leaders

1.  INSIGHT

2.  INITIATIVE

3.  INFLUENCE

4.  IMPACT

5.  INTEGRITY

Michael explained the five characteristics of authentic leaders:

1.  They have insight.

2.  They demonstrate initiative.

3.  They have true influence.

Senator Bill Bradley on How We Can All Do Better

Record of Achievement

He has a record of achievement few can match:

  • Rhodes Scholar
  • Graduate of Princeton and Oxford
  • Olympic Gold Medalist
  • 2-time NBA Champion with the New York Knicks
  • Basketball Hall of Famer
  • Senator from New Jersey for 18 years
  • Presidential Candidate
  • Managing Director, Allen & Company
  • Host of American Voices on Satellite Radio
  • Author of seven books
  • Director serving on numerous charitable boards
  • And the list could go on and on.

I’m talking, of course, about Senator Bill Bradley.  Senator Bradley recently sat down with me to talk about a range of topics from his life growing up, his experiences as a pro basketball player, his life as a Senator, and the current issues facing our country. 

Senator Bradley’s latest book is titled We Can All Do Better.

Five words came to mind as I read the book, and we talked about them in the interview:

  1. Citizens.  It takes all of us to make a better country.  Citizen involvement is what spurred the greatest movements.  From abolitionists fighting to end slavery all the way to environmentalists cleaning up our air and water, the greatest changes occur when individuals get involved to make a difference.  These societal changes were not driven by the government.  They were driven by citizens.
  2. Compromise.  Compromise and negotiation is important.  Senator Bradley says, “It begins by giving respect to the other side.”