Part of my work as a leadership coach is to help athletes with their mental and emotional transition from their sporting career, into the next phase. It is quite common for athletes to not feel they have anything to offer the World professionally other than their profile and their sporting talent. Therefore I help them see the character traits and leadership skills that their sports career helped them develop, which are huge assets when creating the next career steps. A large part of any athlete’s career is dealing with injury, which is so often associated with disappointment and pain, both physical and emotional. However, there is no better situation or period of adversity than an unprecedented Global Coronavirus Pandemic, to highlight the advantages of having experienced the physical and emotional rollercoaster of injury management.

Here are 6 examples of what I gained being injured so often during my 12 year professional rugby career:

1. I Was Taught How To "Control The Controllables"

Being injured meant sometimes not being able to perform my usual tasks, both on and off the field. It was easy to let my mind focus on what I couldn’t do, and things that were out of my control like whether the team wins or loses without me, or how well my replacement performs in my absence. Worse yet, will he take my spot permanently? What I was able to control, was rehabilitating my injury to return to the field even stronger and fitter than before, and making sure that I always remained positive. The mind-body connection is powerful, and I reminded myself that if my mindset was negative and full of worry about things I couldn’t control, it would slow down my body’s ability to heal. This translates well to my current situation and prevents me from developing anxiety about things out of my control like Coronavirus conspiracy theories, the disruption in my plans both personally and professionally, and wondering when the lockdown and other restrictions will be lifted.

2. I Developed Better Discipline

As my body was required to perform my job, being sidelined often posed the threat of losing income or even worse, not having my contract renewed or terminated. Therefore it was important to get back onto the field as quickly as possible. In order for this to happen, I needed to be diligent and disciplined in my behaviors and habits, and that I wasn’t just doing the right things to maximize my recovery, but I was also abstaining from doing the wrong things that could sabotage my recovery. Being disciplined during this Pandemic is important when maintaining the routines and practices necessary to optimize our mental, physical, and emotional wellness while navigating change. It is not only our mindset that serves as an important defense system, but our immune system too!

3. I Gained Self-Awareness Through Curiosity

I spent a lot of time in the physical therapist’s practice rehabilitating my injuries. Over time I began to see the benefits of asking questions and learning from the medical staff all about the human body. Learning about myself and how to prevent and heal injuries rather than just leaving it in the hands of others, gives me greater power and sense of control, and also a greater appreciation of the miracle that is the human body, meaning I take it for granted way less. The same can be said for mental and emotional wellness, and I started applying the same curiosity and thirst for knowledge about the brain and emotional intelligence. This knowledge, understanding and connection to my physical and emotional wellness is great arsenal for facing the many challenges posed by a viral pandemic.

4. I Learned How To Push Through The Pain

Not all injuries kept me on the sideline. In fact, toward the end of my career I barely remember playing a match without some kind of niggling injury that caused great discomfort, but didn’t reduce my functionality enough to prevent me from performing. Basically this means I learned how to make personal sacrifices to ensure the team’s objectives were met. During this current Corona climate, the physical pain has been replaced with emotional pain such as uncertainty, anxiety, fear, loss and others that many of us are experiencing. Managing injuries enabled me to develop an awareness of myself and my limits, and experience the benefits of persevering, and pushing those limits for the greater good. This is proving to be a valuable skill set, especially when others need my services more than ever right now!

5. I Discovered The Importance Of Pre-habilitation

The term rehabilitation is obviously synonymous with recovering and rebuilding, but just as important and often neglected is pre-habilitation, which involves engaging in practices such as isolated and highly specific exercises to help prevent injuries, or at least minimize their severity.

Where else can this concept be applied to other areas of our lives? Well, appropriate financial planning and budgeting for times of crisis like these is an obvious example.

Nurturing relationships and building strong support networks is another way to prevent the impacts of adversity.

Constantly working on one’s self-awareness, developing a positive life philosophy and healthy relationship with our ego are other recommendations for what I refer to in this instance as ‘Crisis Pre-habilitation’.

6. I Am Better Able To Navigate Sudden Change

Of the countless injuries and 8 major surgeries I endured over 20 years of elite level sport, one of them essentially ended my career and suddenly brought about a massive change. When I broke my neck I had to immediately face the possibility of never walking again, to then the possibility of never regaining full function of my arm again, to then the reality of never playing rugby again. It has been quite a transition journey and with many valuable lessons that I am able to apply today. For example, I developed a model of dealing with transition that involves 3 main steps:

- Acceptance of the new situation.

- Assessment of my mental, emotional and physical status (self awareness), and the opportunities that were available to me.

- Action steps required to move forward, and how to achieve them.

This can be a road map not only for the current Global disruption, but for any challenging situations we may face that produce unwanted thoughts and feelings.

You can read more about these steps and how best to execute them in my free eBook called The Sur-thrival Guide.

Thrive During Crisis – 5 Leadership Lessons From Southwest Airlines

And by Southwest Airlines, I am mainly referring to its charismatic former CEO, the late, great Herb Kelleher.

Herb is renowned for being one of the most successful modern business leaders, leaving a remarkable legacy, and countless anecdotes of his highly effective, culture based leadership style, during his reign of almost five decades.

What is most notable about Herb, is how he treated his employees. The extraordinary measures he took to build trust and loyalty with his workers, created a culture that helped Southwest airlines become the only airline in history to always turn a profit, without needing to lay off or furlough a single member of staff during economic adversity.

In fact, Herb often cited developing a strong culture as the most important contributor to success, particularly during the hard times. When the airline industry faced a crisis immediately post 9/11, Herb was asked how Southwest airlines managed to not just stay afloat, but keep every staff member without reducing their flying schedule. He responded “we had actually been preparing for 3 decades”. What he was referring to was the trust and loyalty established with his staff throughout the years, which at that time the company relied upon more than ever, calling everybody forward to make sacrifices and pitch in a little more, in order to get through the unprecedented economic turbulence ahead.

The current COVID-induced economic climate bares resemblance to that which followed 9/11, with the airline industry obviously suffering again. However there are vastly more businesses across numerous industries also feeling the devastation, with the possibility of catastrophe looming.

One would assume that Southwest will yet again be at the frontline of the resistance, providing they emulate the ways of Herb Kelleher , and here are some ways that you can tap into the philosophies and practices that helped Southwest thrive, even through adversity...


Herb Kelleher was known for his straight shooting communication, and for being a man of his word. One of the best ways to build trust with employees is by telling it like it is. Sugarcoating information about the situation, usually in an effort to avoid diminishing morale, can lead to a false sense of security and therefore reduced chances of the grit and sacrifice needed to pull through the tough times. Keep your staff informed on updates and decisions openly and consistently.

Be careful not to make promises you may not be able to keep. The best way to lose trust and create panic is to guarantee no lay offs for example, only to end up having to make staff cuts in a bid to save the company.


One of Herb Kelleher’s most admired characteristics was his humility. He would often lay his ego aside and get into the trenches to work alongside his employees. He also wouldn’t ask his employees to make sacrifices that he wasn’t willing to make himself. His egalitarian approach was demonstrated by the fact that he always chose an office without windows. Another example is when the company made an agreement with the pilot’s union to impose a 5 year wage freeze in exchange for a 10 year stock option. After the negotiation, Herb told his pilot’s “what’s good for you is good for me as well”, and froze his wages too.

A great resource I recommend that emphasizes this concept is a book called Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek.

This servant leadership approach must be extended to your customers also, and putting your customers' needs before the company’s can pay dividends in the long run. After 9/11 most airlines refused to refund tickets for passengers who were afraid to fly. Southwest never hesitated to give money back, despite the risk. Sometimes passengers reciprocated the love: in the months following 9/11, some of Southwest’s loyal customers sent checks to the airline to help it get through the hard times.



Anybody who worked with Herb would agree that he can be tough. How else could you maintain Southwest’s famous policy of turning around a plane from pulling into the gate to taking off in 10 minutes, without displaying a decent level of accountability, and constructive feedback for substandard performance? But Herb felt there was a difference between being tough, and being mean. It is important to find the sweet spot of holding each other accountable, without dehumanizing, shaming or belittling, which will inevitably lead to a fear-based culture that sucks the life and motivation out of your people.

At Winning EQ, we recommend you consider offering some "Giving & Receiving Feedback" training to your staff at all levels.


While this is recommended as common practice, it is crucial during adversity when the entire company is required to give an extra 5% - 10% and work as a team.

Herb didn’t see a distinction in class, ethnicity or title when dealing with his employees and customers.

Years ago, one of his executive officers said, “Herb, it’s harder for me to get in to see you than it is for a mechanic, a pilot, a flight attendant, or a reservations agent.” Half-jokingly, Herb said, “I can explain that to you very easily, they’re more important than you are!”

Nothing says “we’re in this together” more than empowering employees beyond Senior Management to contribute to strategic planning, such as reporting observations of client behavior and the market landscape, creating extra eyes and ears to facilitate innovation and rapidly seizing opportunities.


I realize during these uncertain times of hardship that it may appear easier said than done, or even inappropriate to suggest that having a laugh and bringing the joy to the situation, is one of the best ways to ease tension and raising morale, thereby raising motivation and productivity.

Kelleher believed that you didn’t have to be boring to be successful, and enrolled everyone in his belief. In 1999 Herb underwent radiation treatment for prostate cancer. On a conference call with Wall Street's financial community, one of the analysts asked Herb if the radiation treatments impaired his ability to run the company in any way. Herb responded, "No, but I am very concerned about my uneven tan line!"

Below is an example of how much fun Herb had as CEO, and insisted on his employees having fun with him...

We are amidst unprecedented global disruption, with imminent economic hardship of uncertain proportions. The best chance for the majority of impacted businesses to survive, outside a sound innovative strategy based on agility and quick decision making, is to lean on the company culture and the trusty employees within it. If you take a page out of Herb Kelleher’s book, you may even just thrive your way onto the other side, and have some fun in the process.









Luv and War at 30,000 Feet

20 Reasons Why Herb Kelleher Was One Of The Most Beloved Leaders Of Our Time

LA Workplace Summit Receives Rave Reviews

On Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 the inaugural LA Workplace Summit was held at the Riveter in Marina Del Rey.

It was a gathering of business executives, managers, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, Millennials, Baby Boomers...all with the common desire to connect, share ideas and activate inspiration around some key organizational leadership topics.

The event space created an instantaneous buzz and excited anticipation upon entering for both the guests and speakers, joining the collective buzz of industrious Riveter members sprinkled throughout the modern, yet welcoming co-working surrounds of wood, steel, concrete and modular furniture.

Once nourished with breakfast snacks and coffee, the attendees were greeted by Riveter Events Director Madelyn Shaughnessy, who also provided a brief explanation of the Riveter’s history, and mission to inspire female collaboration and empowerment, simultaneously building an all-inclusive community.

Launching the first topic Activating the Visionary was Shelly Carlin, the Executive Vice President of HR Policy and its Center On Executive Compensation. Her focus on organizational growth through purposeful visioning had the room enthralled, especially with her anecdotal examples from her time as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Motorola Solutions.

Following Shelly was the charismatic self-mastery expert Mary Jo Lorei who took the room on an experiential journey and exploration of personal vision, and its relation to the collective vision of teams and companies. The intimacy and connection created during Mary Jo’s 45 minute workshop was the perfect way to warm up the crowd, and have them get to know themselves and each other a little better.

Just before the first break, Co-host Mark Francis introduced Jorge Garcia, the Head of Partner Development for Everytable, who also provided guests with a delicious array of nutritious salads for lunch. Jorge explained the powerful vision of Everytable to “make good food accessible to everyone, no exceptions.”

After the lunch break, the second segment commenced which focused on the topic of Millennial Motivation. Shawn Lipman, the CEO of thriving E-commerce company Feedonomics blew minds with his personal account of leading organizations with a culture focus. He also described both the differences and similarities between the Millennials and other Generations with regards to motivation and employee engagement, while describing the creativity and capabilities of Millennials as “lightning in a bottle” that requires the appropriate leadership skills to harness.

Following Shawn was former College and NFL quarterback coach Evan Burk, who now coaches business executives, including the emerging Esports space, where there is certainly an abundance of Millennial generation influence. Evan used his exceptional story telling ability to engage and educate the audience how to lead Millennials.

Closing out the day with the third and final segment Inspiring Emotional Intelligence (EQ) were co-hosts Marc Stcherbina of Winning EQ and Mark Francis of Uspire. Stcherbina concentrated on one of the most important aspects of EQ – Empathy. Attendees once again had the opportunity to connect with a partner, and practice building empathy through active listening skills.

Mark Francis continued the theme of creating a dynamic experience, with his workshop on identifying the leading behavioral styles of oneself and others. There were plenty of a-ha moments accompanied by laughter, which was the perfect way to lead the audience into the fundraising raffle, followed by happy hour.

Attendees dug into their pockets and collectively raised $660 to be donated to the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, a fabulous organization leading the efforts in rebuilding the devastation caused by the tragic bushfires in Australia.

A special mention to Angel Bags, Soulcycle, Modo Yoga, F45 Manhattan Beach, Color Wine, Gloveworx, Surf Air and LA Galaxy for donating some incredible prizes.

The fun continued with a Happy Hour mingle at the end of the day, fueled by our good friends at Sufferfest Beer, Color Wine and GT's Kombucha. Attendees were able to connect further with other attendees, and also ask the guest speakers some burning questions on the themes discussed throughout the Summit.

If you are interested in gaining access to video footage of the sessions throughout the day, just leave your name and email below for information about accessibility to the LA Workplace Summit video library.

How to Activate A Clear 2020 Company Vision

Leaders are limited by their vision rather than by their abilities.” - Roy T. Bennett

The word “vision” has been a feature of corporate culture jargon for years as a key ingredient in achieving positive growth and extraordinary results.

So why is the concept of creating a vision and the cultural values that drive its pursuance, still often misunderstood and/or unsuccessfully executed, particularly in startups?

Workplace culture support company Rungway, surveyed 2,000 UK employees on their attitude to work. The research showed that more than half (52%) of employees in the UK can’t recite their organization’s vision, and nearly half (49%) can’t recite their organization’s values.

The inability of employees to recite or align to their organization’s vision and values can lead to a lack of engagement, motivation and therefore productivity.

A clear, compelling organizational vision is the foundation for a strong workplace culture. It the “why” of the company, and countless studies have shown that a person’s why, or sense of purpose, is the strongest and most sustainable driver of human motivation, especially when the going gets tough.

Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl studied human motivational factors while held prisoner in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, during the Holocaust of World War II. In his 1946 book Man’s Search For Meaning his findings showed that regardless of age or physical stature, the men with a greater sense of purpose in their lives showed the most resilience, and hence lived the longest or even survived.

The Essential Practice Of Vision Setting

Aligning a company’s vision and values with those of the individual employees will enhance motivation, leading to greater overall performance and employee retention.

But how can an organization effectively design a clear, compelling vision statement that will inspire and motivate each employee to make sacrifices, work hard, work efficiently, and enjoying doing so?

At Winning EQ, here are four steps we recommend:

1. Differentiate

Firstly, understand the difference between “vision” and “mission”. If vision is the “why”, then mission is the “what”. The vision gives a company or individual a grand idea of what is possible, describing where they want themselves, the community, or the world, to be as a result of the company's efforts.

A mission states what work is already being done, what goals are already being met, the problems that are being solved and the product or service that solves them.

2. Collaborate

It is important that each employee is involved in the vision setting process. This leads to a greater sense of empowerment, and they are more likely to feel connected to that vision, taking ownership of whatever is necessary to achieve it. The values can be viewed as the “who” a company or individual is, or in other words, the character needed to materialize a vision.

When considering a powerful, compelling vision, ask questions like:

·     Where are we going?

·     What is important to us?

·     What positive change will we effect on the world?

·     What outcome is worth sacrificing for?

For an historic example of a compelling vision, one need only turn to Martin Luther King Jnr’s famous quote:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Another somewhat extreme, yet undeniably impactful example of a clear, compelling vision is when Winston Churchill addressed his nation, laying plans to protect Great Britain’s freedom, and abolish Adolf Hitler’s reign of human destruction:

“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival”.

3. Consolidate

Now it’s time to narrow down everyone’s input and achieve alignment on a simple, impactful vision that accurately encompasses what is important for the company and its individuals.

This process will require effective communication and decision making, facilitated by the company’s more recognized leaders, and/or a third party consultant.

An example of a clear, concise and compelling company vision is that of Teach For America:

“One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education”.

4. Replicate

Once a clear, compelling vision has been established, it is vital that the vision is seen and heard as much as possible. Constant efforts to establish a connection with the vision should be made, especially as a company grows. It can be challenging to have new employees connect to the company vision and values the same way as the early adopters, so be creative, intentional and consistent when doing so.

During the onboarding process of new employees at the rapidly expanding e-commerce company Feedonomics, the CEO Shawn Lipman conducts a 60 minute workshop on the company vision and values, and regular company wide “company values expression sessions” facilitated by the employees themselves.

Set the tone now for a successful 2020

The new year is already here, and now is the perfect time to revisit and possibly redesign your company vision, and how well your employees are connecting to it.

Invest in a leadership consulting firm like Winning EQ to facilitate a comprehensive organizational health check, followed by a vision setting session.

There is also an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and inspiration on the power of vision setting, and other game-changing leadership topics at the LA Workplace Summit on January 23rd. Simply click HERE for tickets and info and be sure to sign up with your team now to avoid disappointment, because places are limited.



“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it”. – Richard Whately

How you start your morning, will set the tone for the day. Have you ever found yourself in the morning rushing out the door, unnourished, still tired, and forgetting to take important items? How did the rest of the day progress? I’m guessing much of the same, which resulted in poor performance and productivity...

Make your morning routine a non-negotiable, and include activities that energize and clear any heaviness or chaos, to allow space for you to be creative and maximize motivation.

Making your bed, and doing any other chores that leave your house in order will clear chaotic energy and start the momentum of feeling accomplished.

Doing 30 minutes of exercise will actually energize you, and ensure that you fulfill your fitness needs, whereas waiting until later in the day will increase the likelihood of not doing it.

Meditation will also alleviate any feelings of mental stress and anxiety, and having your schedule for the day set up, will provide you with purpose, and better equip you to manage distractions. I recommend starting off with 10-15mins of guided meditation using the Headspace app, and using Wunderlist to organize your tasks and projects for the day/week.

Writing in a gratitude journal also helps you start the day with a joyful, positive mood, which is infectious to others. Start with three things you are grateful for, then progress to writing ten. This is especially important for leaders in the workplace, because they are the source for the mood, attitudes and results of employees under their management. After all, it is scientifically impossible to be in negative emotional state while expressing genuine gratitude for something or someone.

The good news is that our body’s circadian rhythm allows more will power right after long bouts of sleep. So make the most of your morning by adding habits that set you up for a winning day, and removing those that don't.


“There are always distractions, if you allow them” - Tony La Russa

We live in a world of endless, abundant distractions, especially in this new age of the internet and Social Media. Accepting this and acknowledging the main distractions that sabotage your productivity, is the key to developing a strategy for success.

Our biggest problem is that we tend to confuse being ‘busy’ with being ‘productive’. Setting a realistic schedule or task list for the day will be the first step to combatting distractions, as it provides the direction and purpose that paves the way for productivity.

Next start a ‘distraction journal’ and honestly document whenever you engage in a activity that distracts you from completing the tasks you have on your schedule. Doing this for a day will give you some awareness, but doing it for a week will allow it to truly sink in.

The most common source of our distractions is the smart phone. Use the Screen Time app on iPhone and Digital Well Being app on Android to give you an idea of how much time you spend on your phone, which apps you are using the most, and when during the day. You can then set limits on your usage and notifications to let you know when it’s time limit is up. If this isn’t enough to curb your phone cravings, simply lock your phone away for a period of time, perhaps when an important task needs to be completed by a deadline. I recommend using a safe box with timer.


“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” — Paul Cezanne

As we move through our day, we often encounter a variety of tasks and projects that require a different type of thought process, energy, and emotional investment.

Presence and focus can be affected if we move straight from one task into another, impacting overall productivity, especially after completing a task that required lots of brain power and emotional deposits.

Taking 5 – 15 minutes to step away and reset your focus and emotional state will do wonders for staying on your productivity path throughout the day.

Countless scientific studies suggest that meditation reduces stress and helps reorient and maintain one’s attention span.

Simple breathing techniques can also be effective to restore the mental and physiological levels necessary to tackle the next object.

Another important element to hitting the reset button between tasks, is setting your intention, which grounds or centers you for the next block of time. Thoughts and emotions can still linger from the previous task, and thinking or worrying about future tasks will steal away from attention needed in the present moment.

Factoring in a time buffer for between important tasks or meetings on your schedule will also help you develop the habit of regular resets.

Writing in a gratitude journal also helps you start the day with a joyful, positive mood, which is infectious to others. Start with three things you are grateful for, then progress to writing ten. This is especially important for leaders in the workplace, because they are the source for the mood, attitudes and results of employees under their management. After all, it is scientifically impossible to be in negative emotional state while expressing genuine gratitude for something or someone.

The good news is that our body’s circadian rhythm allows more will power right after long bouts of sleep. So make the most of your morning by adding habits that set you up for a winning day, and removing those that don't.


“Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good” - Lucia Capocchione

I am always advocating the need for balance in life, and this is the main area where most humans become way off track. “I’m too busy ” or “I’ll enjoy myself when things calm down at work” are common excuses for neglecting our need for play.

Studies show that adult play keeps you functional when under stress, triggers creativity and innovation, increases energy which prevents burnout and enhances relationships.

If you have developed the habit of consuming yourself with work and other life commitments where you forget to enjoy yourself, then it’s time to develop a new habit of scheduling recreation.

So when setting up your diary for the week, schedule in enjoyable activities at least twice in the working week. By locking in blocks of play, it will support your habits of being present, focused and intentional during your work, while creating and maintaining balance in your life.


“Without proper self-evaluation, failure is inevitable” - John Wooden

As a professional rugby player, one of the most important tools for individual and collective success (and often most dreaded), was reviewing video footage of the previous game. After team video sessions, we would then evaluate our own performance individually to determine what areas of performance needed fine-tuning, often with the support of a self-evaluation document.

Get into the habit of evaluating yourself in areas of your life that you are committed to grow. The simplest way to self evaluate, is to ask yourself regularly “what worked?” and “what didn’t work?”, for example after a pitch to a potential client, a colleague performance review meeting, a job interview or even after a first date!

Creating a self-evaluation practice of how well you are achieving the work/play balance outlined previously in winning habit #4, is also a powerful way to check in with how you are living, and set new goals around how you want to live. Check out this free example of a weekly life self evaluation.


“Happiness consists of getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.” - Robert A. Heinlein

As the renowned sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus (aka the Sleep Doctor) says, sleep is the third pillar of health along with diet and exercise.

A 2018 study examined the ways different sleep issues affected work productivity. It found that people with mild insomnia had a 58% productivity loss. People who experienced daytime sleepiness had a 50% loss in productivity. And people who snore lost between 19-34% of their productivity.

It is widely publicized that 7-8 hours is the sweet spot for recommended sleep, but there are many other factors that contribute to optimum rest, including quality of sleep.

So how do you develop optimal sleeping habits? First step is to find out your chronotype, which is the scientific term for ‘body clock’. Take this quiz to determine your chronotype and reveal what you need to do to work with your body, not against it for quality sleep.

Dr Breus’s blog is full of great tips on achieving quality sleep, and I also recommend you incorporate #5 of this winning habits list, and log your hours of sleep each night, then calculate your average over the week to ensure that you’re staying on track, and doing what is necessary to prioritize your sleep.


“One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

Ok, I know what you’re probably thinking - ”that’s quite a strange and morbid thing to include in a winning habits list”, but allow me to explain...

So often in our personal and professional lives, we hold ourselves back from fulfilling our potential, and from truly giving ourselves the best chance of achieving what is possible for us.

This normally happens as a result of our own crippling limiting beliefs, and our tendency as humans to seek comfort and avoid emotional pain, instead of putting ourselves out there, taking risks, and getting comfortable in the uncomfortable in order to grow and generate extraordinary results in the process.

One way to remind us to start living fully, is to develop a healthy relationship with our mortality. In fact, the monks of Bhutan traditionally contemplate their death 5 times daily to alleviate any fear of dying, and therefore create happiness in their current state of being alive.

My favorite app, that is based on this concept, is called We Croak which simply sends me a notification 5 times randomly throughout the day, and attaches a quote relating to life and/or death from a poet, philosopher or notable thinker.

Steven Covey also touches on a similar practice in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” with the chapter “begin with an end in mind”. Covey suggests that we imagine our own funeral, and how we would like that to look in terms of who attends, what people say about you and what kind of legacy you leave behind. Then work backwards from there in figuring out how you are going to achieve this and live your best life.

Another version of this which I practice daily, is reading a Poem called ‘The Dash” by Linda Ellis. The impact of its words are profound, and highly effective in stirring up inspiration and motivation to get busy doing whatever it takes to achieve your version of personal and business success.

Tom Hanks Once Again Has BIG Shoes To Fill

Last night at the cinema I watched the new release A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks, who portrays the life of the late American children’s television personality Fred Rogers.

Having grown up in Australia, I never watched the preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and thanks mainly to Morgan Neville’s acclaimed documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I have only recently been made aware of the phenomenon which ran from 1968 to 2001.

With his efforts to educate both children and adults on the benefits of emotional intelligence (EQ), and how it can make the World a better place, Rogers was certainly ahead of his time.

After retiring from professional rugby 10 years ago, I struggled emotionally with my transition into the next phase of life, which led me on a path of self-awareness and growth. During this personal development journey, I discovered a passion for EQ, how it contributes to enhanced connected relationships, and it’s role in achieving excellence in my personal and professional life.

You can imagine my delight when Mr. Rogers appeared on my radar. Until then, my research had revealed Dan Goleman as the guru of EQ, after making the term popular with his 1995 best selling book Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ.

Goleman uses neuroscience to back up his theories of why EQ is so important for success and harmony in all aspects of life, and has sparked a revolution, particularly in the business world, where leaders are starting to understand and recognize EQ for being just as important, if not more than IQ, especially with regards to high performance and a winning team culture.

For me, Fred Rogers was already making EQ popular through his kids television program, long before it’s current day, science backed conceptualization. This is powerfully demonstrated in one of Mister Rogers’ children’s songs called “What do you do with the mad that you feel?”, the lyrics of which he recited to US congress while fighting to save the show amidst threat of PBS funding cuts. He nervously and passionately read the following:

What do you do with the mad that you feel? When you feel so mad you could bite. When the whole wide world seems oh so wrong, and nothing you do seems very right. What do you do? Do you punch a bag? Do you pound some clay or some dough? Do you round up friends for a game of tag or see how fast you go? It’s great to be able to stop when you’ve planned the thing that’s wrong. And be able to do something else instead ― and think this song ―

“I can stop when I want to. Can stop when I wish. Can stop, stop, stop anytime... And what a good feeling to feel like this! And know that the feeling is really mine. Know that there’s something deep inside that helps us become what we can. For a girl can be someday a lady, and a boy can be someday a man.”

The rejuvenation of Mister Rogers’ legacy on modern digital media platforms, thanks to the acclaimed 2018 documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, has highlighted the need for EQ education in school curriculums, so that children may begin their conditioning into highly functional, cooperative adults. Surely this would help reduce the incidence of anxiety, depression and suicide in teens and young adults, as well as violent episodes such as the mass school shootings we are seeing with alarming regularity?

Today, Mister Rogers’ mission of spreading the message of empathy, kindness, acceptance and understanding throughout the world is being delivered on a much bigger stage, by Hollywood heavyweight Tom Hanks, with his stunning performance in It’s a Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood. Not only does this warm and feel-good production outline the correlation between emotional intelligence and happiness, it openly demonstrates how it is also a skill that is often difficult to execute and requires constant practice.

It is virtually impossible to finish watching this film, and not want to be a better person. Which leads me to my next question – How emotionally intelligent do you think you are? Here’s a quick test you can take right now to give you some baseline awareness.

If you’d like more tips and ideas on how to improve your EQ and develop better leadership skills, subscribe to Winning EQ now and receive more articles like this and other valuable content.

Inspiring emotional intelligence will be one of 3 game changing topics explored at the LA Workplace Summit on January 23rd. Get your tickets now before they sell out because places are limited!