Interview with Jeff Galloway about Running

Jeff Galloway is a lifetime runner. He was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team and competed in the 10,000 meter and marathon events. Since then he has helped over 250,000 non-elite runners achieve their goals through coaching and instruction. Jeff authored the best-selling running book in North America entitled Galloway’s Book on Running, and has also authored numerous other titles on running. Jeff is a producer of a wide range of fitness programs and events each year, he is the CEO of Galloway Productions, and as if that were not enough he also owns several running specialty stores.

Here are my 5 questions with Jeff and his answers:

1) I recently discovered that, contrary to conventional wisdom, muscle does not have a “memory”. You have written that after taking a week off from exercise a runner begins to lose about 25% of their fitness level per week. If someone is simply finding it hard to train but wants to make sure they “bank” their current progress from previous efforts, can one devise a minimal maintenance regimen in an attempt to maintain muscular and mitochondrial adaptation?

There is a minimum but you don’t need to pile it on either. Too much mileage can cause injury. Most people can do well on just three days a week. The muscles recover and the mind recovers as well. Studies show that 48 hours are needed to fully recover from a run. Along with running three times a week, your program should include performing a long run every two weeks. To maintain speed, you need at least one speed workout per week. My Running: A Year Round Plan book explains this comprehensively.

2a) I just ordered your new book Galloway’s Marathon FAQ: Over 100 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions. What is the most frequently asked question you get (and the answer of course)?

The two questions that I get asked most frequently are, “why do I experience fatigue?” and “why can’t I get beyond a certain distance?” The answer is almost always that they have not implemented walk breaks into their long run. When I can get them to do this, they inevitably are able to break boundaries in their training most of the time.

2b) What is one question that you believe is not asked enough?

The question I do not get asked enough is, “how can I maximize running enjoyment?” When asked my answer to this is: go out easier at the beginning of your runs, find the right group to run with, and enjoy the process. Getting injured diminishes the enjoyment of running and is avoidable if you follow a few simple guidelines.

3) This is a very self-serving question, so excuse me. You have honored me with your time so I am going to take full advantage. The Boston Marathon falls on my birthday in 2011 (need I say more). My last marathon was in your town of Atlanta in 2008 where I finally broke 4:30:00. Since then I have focused on speed (I can run one mile repeats at a 7:20mph pace) and reducing my weight (I’ve run most of my marathons at 220lbs; I am now closer to 200lbs). I’ve got two years left to try to get to Boston, which means shaving over an hour off my current personal best. What list of three reminders pertaining to this goal should be stuck to my mirror for daily viewing?

1. Lower your body weight ~ In your particular case it would benefit you to get under 200lbs.
2. Run slower on the long runs ~ Work up to 29 miles for your long run and 14 (one) mile repeats for your speed work.
3. Improve your form ~ Start by making adjustments at shorter races.

Focus on your long-term program. Identify your “magic mile” (learn more about the magic mile here). Your marathon pace will be around thirty percent more than this measure. You should remain realistic. I usually see between a 3% to 5% improvement over a six month period with the time goal runners I have trained, so again the key is to think long-term. Also, remember to stay cognizant of factors such as race day heat and marathon participant congestion that could adversely affect your time. In other words, avoid anything that is not going to maximize your overall time based on your goal.

4) I am a fan of supplementation. With regards to endurance training, you have well documented thoughts on nutrition and the benefits and concerns of caffeine supplementation. Are there any non-traditional supplements that you believe a marathoner should consider?

I think a good recovery drink after a run is important to reload glycogen stores. It should be 80% carbohydrates and 20% protein and be approximately 300 calories according to the research. Endurox R4 is formulated to provide just that.

I also believe a one-a-day vitamin is important to help aid with recovery and provide antioxidants. Personally I take Cooper Complete.

5) The first time I employed some of your strategies wholeheartedly in a marathon was at the 2007 Austin Marathon. I remember around mile two or three my watch beeped indicating to me that I should begin walking, which I did. A guy drafting me ran right into my back jeering, “Move to the side Gallowayer.” I laughed to myself and did what I was told. When you began promoting your run/walk strategies did you have any idea that, in turn, you would also be creating (in essence) such a huge marathon counterculture?

My mission since 1973 has always been to enable people to enjoy running as long as they can. I want people to be able to run until they are 100. It is my firm belief that if you pull back at the beginning you have more at the end. If people follow my advice, they have a greater probability of:

  • a reduction in injuries
  • more fun
  • increase in health benefits

When I hear that someone has applied my principles effectively it gives me great satisfaction. It’s why I do this.

Interview with Kristi Frank about Mompreneurs and Women in Business

Kristi Frank is the founder & CEO of Saturday Morning Success. Saturday Morning Success is an online-based company that helps women entrepreneurs live out their dreams through tele-seminars with the country’s top female CEOs, experts, and entrepreneurs. Kristi holds a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Southern California and was one of the featured contestants on the first season of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.

Here are my 5 questions with Kristi and her answers:
1) As an entrepreneurial consultant who specializes in helping women obtain their business goals, what would you say is one of the biggest hurdles facing the female entrepreneur in our current landscape?

Of course the economy would be an easy answer, right? But I do not believe that entirely – I actually think it’s an exciting time for entrepreneurs… a powerful time. Sometimes prosperity can go the opposite direction of the economy – FedEx and CNN are two examples of companies that started in economic downturns. It gives the entrepreneur a perfect opportunity to catch the pendulum swinging the other way.

To answer your question, the biggest barrier I see currently with women entrepreneurs is the limited amount of role models we had growing up. This is obviously changing, but in general a lot of women currently launching businesses do not have a roadmap to follow. They can change this by finding the right mentors that are already successfully doing the things they want to do. And that is, in part, why I started Saturday Morning Success – to respond to this problem.

2) Although there are unique obstacles specific to female entrepreneurs, there are also some unique opportunities. For instance, there is grant money that is specifically earmarked for women in business. However, many times the process to successfully obtain these advantages can be prohibitive. What are some of the female focused resources that you have seen women employ with the highest rate of success?

First off, I am not an expert on grants, but I can reiterate that I have witnessed mentorship as an extremely effective tool for women. Women especially gravitate to a social connection and the ability to feed off one another. They tend to have business models that are more creative than their male counterparts. One thing I believe is that you do not need a traditional business plan to successfully launch a business; a business model that is creative will, in turn, be unique and can make you standout in the crowd.

The best female focused resources are the ones that are organized to feed off the social connection desired by women. Some great examples are American Express Women’s Business Initiative from OPEN; then there are female business retreats, female online groups, and as you mentioned federal funding, etc. A little focused research on what it is you are trying to achieve will go a long way. My advice to women is to follow your own needs, desires and ideals, and go from there. If you are passionate about something, there is a lot of help out there for women, but it’s not going to find you, you have to seek it out.

3) A unique challenge specific to many female entrepreneurs, especially those with children, is the work/life balance conundrum. What are some of the top strategies you are able to pass down through your work and teachings at Saturday Morning Success that would immediately impact a “mompreneur” or female entrepreneur’s ability to manage time more effectively?

Women get flooded with self-talk: Can I do it all? What will happen if I leave my corporate job to stay home and be with my children? I crave being an entrepreneur but do I want to sacrifice spending time with my family?

The truth is you can do both. Again, I started Saturday Morning Success to help solve this problem. You can do so many things from home. There are too many successful “At Home Businesses” to name them all.

One thing that can make an immediate impact is the implementation of powerful time management tools. And they don’t have to be complicated to be powerful. For instance before I get out of bed I write down three things that will move me forward before I even allow myself to check my email.

Another thing is the importance for women to have a support system. I have found a lot of women have issues asking for help — women believe they can do something but they usually need to delegate more. It is important that they find other people to assist them with activities that support their business objectives. You will feel overwhelmed if you continue to perform tasks that you don’t want to do. You can farm out so much nowadays (ex. virtual assistants), and this is an important step so you can focus on the things that you do well.

4) Okay, I have to ask a couple questions pertaining to your experience on the show. In the episode of The Apprentice you were “fired,” one of Donald Trump’s comments seemed directed to the women on the show, which was one should tread lightly when using sex appeal for advantage. Without digging too deep into the debate, to what extent do you think it is fair to use what is uniquely female to gain market advantage? And not necessarily just sex appeal, for instance Lisa Hammond’s success with Femail Creations.

They asked me about this on The View, and the simple truth is sex appeal sells. Donald Trump said what he said on-air but he will also tell you the same thing if you ask him in person. Whether it is the color or length of your hair, sex appeal, or whatever, I am a believer that you use whatever you bring to the table, what makes you unique, or what is going to differentiate you or your product from the crowd.

For example, I identified raw foods as an up and coming trend. I knew it was going to be huge because it had become a hot topic in Los Angeles, so accordingly I created a raw foods restaurant because the differentiating factor had yet to be leveraged well, and of course the restaurant became a success. Again, you have to be different and differentiate yourself. I don’t believe someone has to apologize for using what is uniquely theirs if they do not hurt anyone in the process. In fact, if you don’t the end result could be failure.

5) In your experience on The Apprentice, what is one business lesson you learned that you will never forget?

I actually will give you two. The first was when I met Donald Trump and the rest of the contestants. They were going through their pedigrees, resumes and accomplishments and it was a little overwhelming. I mean I was freaked out the first day about how amazing these people were/are but the reality is that their past accomplishments meant little in the present. Sure, experience can open doors, however I quickly learned that action speaks louder than your resume. Believe in yourself as a leader — better yet prove you can lead the pack and take ownership of your life — but to do this you must first believe you can do it. I learned even amongst impressive accomplishments and resumes it is easy to standout and take charge if you believe in yourself and put that belief into action. Pretty big lesson!

The second lesson, speed is very powerful! On the show we would have to create businesses and plans of attack in a few days (and sometimes in just a few hours) and then launch them. And I saw first hand the power of just doing. The takeaway being that this type of pressure unlocks creative possibilities by forcing you to think and act quickly. Also, there is power in believing just good is good enough (i.e. things do not always have to be perfect). It forces you to get your product out there. There are obviously some pitfalls you need to keep your eye out for but I believe the good outweighs the bad. Perhaps you are the first to market or maybe it forces you to finish something that would never get finished without a deadline. Having too much time can evoke paralysis oftentimes. I learned on the show that enforced deadlines are pretty powerful for eliciting action.

Interview with Chris Talley about Sports Nutrition

Chris Talley is a sports nutritionist who specializes in the unique requirements of ultra-elite athletic performance. He has more than 22 years of experience in the fields of nutritional science and exercise physiology, and has been exposed to information and processes that are unheard of in the civilian nutritional arena. Mr. Talley’s career began as an Aerospace Physiologist, performing nutritional research in changes to protein metabolism and bone density due to exposure to microgravity environments. After 8 years in this highly technical field, Chris found a unique civilian application for the information he had uncovered. Many of the nutritional interventions that help preserve muscle mass and bone density in space also INCREASE muscle mass and bone density on Earth. This held serious implications for the field of athletic performance. In 2001, Chris founded Precision Food Works, Inc (PFW). PFW is a high-tech, software-driven nutritional company that scientifically evaluates each individual, then (utilizing proprietary software) plans, prepares, and delivers customized meals on a daily basis. In addition to overseeing his rapidly expanding nutritional service, Chris has utilized this same process to perform nutritional programming for elite athletes worldwide. His clientele include 3 NBA MVPs, 2 NFL MVPs, 2 MLB Cy Young award winners and 3 MVPs, world record holders in 4 Olympic track and field events, 2 Heisman trophy winners, and a host of other household-name athletes.

Interview with Chris Talley about Sports Nutrition

Here are my 5 questions with Chris Talley about Sports Nutrition and his answers:

1) I am a believer in Muir’s Law (which is: “when one tries to pick out anything by itself we find it attached to everything else in the universe”). This “law” seems to hold true for nutrition, as was discussed in a recent NY Times article. With that in mind, what do you believe to be the role of supplementation in the diet (especially with regards to ergogenic aids)?

I believe supplementation plays a role only after “the basics” have been addressed. Eating a wholesome and healthy diet will carry you surprisingly far in athletic competition. Sure, throwing a few top-notch supplements at someone who is already well-nourished can put the icing on the cake, but I would aim for getting “health” covered before looking elsewhere. Your body needs “the basics” to make a lot of the precursors, hormones, and 2nd messengers required to maximize performance. I see A LOT of athletes that eat HORRIBLY, and then try to patch it up with some over-the-counter ergogenic aids. It never benefits them in the long run when they go that route, though the placebo effect may carry them for a little bit.

2a) There has been a lot of recent hype about prohormones and DHEA, but not much credible research to indicate that there is an effective nutriceutical aid… so far the tried and true combo of creatine and whey supplementation still seem to be the best. Is there anything exciting and/or new out there that has potential?

Most of the prohormones are banned by the sanctioning bodies in any type of athletic competition, so I’ll leave that out of this conversation. For non-athletes, a good blood work-up will tell you where your current testosterone and estrogen levels are. My current way of doing things with athletes is much different than it was 10 years ago. It used to be that you would just hit someone up with an assortment of state-of-the-art supplements and hope that something in there would help. Because nutritional blood work-ups are now well under the $1,000 mark, I’m finding that identifying any underlying deficiencies is much more efficient, effective, and less expensive than just taking every supplement in the nutrition store. It’s not going to do you a whole lot of good taking an assortment of supplements if you are missing some key neurotransmitter precursors, essential fatty acids, or simple vitamins and/or minerals. I’ve recently seen an athlete go from “fairly competitive” to “absolutely on fire!” simply by getting back to full nutritional status based upon nutritional blood work…and that was without taking ANY ergogenic aid!

2b) Is there anything exciting and/or new regarding how one can lower their myostatin levels?

Antisense technology is going to be the answer here, though I’m not sure what the repercussions will be. It’s a brave new world once you start changing the way genes are permitted to express themselves! Ovita Limited owns the patent to the bovine version of the myostatin gene (and antisense control of it), but Isis Pharmaceuticals is by far the leader in the antisense field (and owns most of the key patents related to it), so remember that name a few years from now. They are the only ones who have figured out how to effectively deliver the antisense oligonucleotides to their target. Antisense therapies are incredibly powerful and elegant solutions if/when their time comes.

3) Some compelling research has shown that there is a link between dairy intake and weight management, and some researchers make the leap that this is due to CLA. What are your thoughts on CLA and the compound’s purported benefits?

I’m not entirely convinced that the dairy/weight loss connection is due to CLA. There’s a fair amount of support that adequate dietary calcium plays an important role in weight loss, so that may have something to do with it. Sticking to the CLA question, there is a fair amount of support that CLA helps prevent cancer and heart disease. When it comes to weight loss…yes, I have seen a number of studies supporting its benefit. Empirically, I have not seen anyone taking it lose body fat any faster than those who were not taking it. Of slight concern is the fact that some people seem to develop temporary insulin resistance after taking CLA for a couple of months. This seems to correct itself once they stop taking it, but it may be a bigger concern if someone is borderline diabetic.

4) This question is personal. I am a caffeine addict. I use it as both an ergogenic aid and a mental stimulant. Actually, it is safe to say I abuse it. Practically undisputed are its benefits in endurance events and the fact that it crosses the blood-brain barrier increasing neurotransmitter release (which allows for more intense anaerobic workouts leading to improved adaptation). However, the user also risks many of the same side effects as other stimulants. When and where do you believe that caffeine has a role in the diet of an athlete?

A lot of people swear by caffeine to keep them going throughout the day. I suggest that my athletes stay away from it because of the side effects. Caffeine can increase the production of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). Since SHBG binds to testosterone, it can decrease FREE testosterone (the form of testosterone that is responsible for the well-known action of testosterone) to the point that it affects the anabolic state that many athletes are looking for. I usually tell my athletes not to have more than 2 cups of coffee a day, as that’s a low enough dose that testosterone is not affected in any substantial way. For the average person, having a cup of coffee or the equivalent amount of caffeine before exercise can improve endurance a bit — and for those looking for it, possibly speed weight loss.

5) What are your favorite overlooked supplements?

Pyruvate is a great one for any extreme endurance athlete or those looking to lose weight, though you have to combine it with DHA (dihydroxyacetone…not the essential fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid) to get the most benefit. Most pyruvate products on the market these days have DHA added already. Dosage will vary according to gastrointestinal tolerance, but 1 gram per 10lbs of body weight is a good average starting point. Make sure to spread the intake out over the entire day, as too much at once will cause digestive issues. Take it before meals and before exercise for best results.

I’m becoming a big fan of Beta-Alanine for athletes, even though this one has been known about for about a 100 years. It’s especially great for vegetarians (or those that don’t eat a whole lot of meat). Dosing is dependent on the person, as you want to take enough to get a benefit without getting “the tingles” in your fingers. I’ve found the dose most athletes can tolerate ranges from 2 – 5 grams per day. It’s best taken a few times a day to reduce the side effects.

UPDATE: My friend Michael Gervais interviewed Chris Talley as well — it is an excellent interview which is available here.

Interview with Scott Bell about Wealth Management

Scott Bell spent the last ten years at one of the largest and most revered firms on Wall Street. In 2008, he started the firm Gross Domestic Product and within less than a year is already managing over $25 million in assets. No longer confined by corporate protocol Scott is redefining the industry. Through Scott’s influence Gross Domestic Product approaches wealth management in a unique way, helping their clients envision and accomplish their dreams and define their legacy.

Here are my 5 questions with Scott and his answers:

1) You left the security of a high-profile job at one of the biggest asset management firms to pursue the dream of starting your own firm in the height of our generation’s worst financial crisis, what inspired you to pull a Jerry Maguire and start the journey of your own entrepreneurial endeavor?

The reason I left to start my own endeavor is because I saw the writing on the wall… Wall Street is broken. I believe this to be true on so many levels. I will save most of the evidence for my book, “Everything Your Advisor Doesn’t Tell You”, but today I will share one eye opening experience to your readers:

First, the economics of the wealth management industry are wholly skewed against the individual investor. Unfortunately, the individual investor is nothing more than a cog in a giant “gotta move this stuff” world, you – the individual – are a loss leader. Unless you have $50 million with a Wall Street firm, you are a commodity, you and your money is actually a bit of of a loss leader. Here’s how it works:

All of the major Wall Street firms offer an almost identical menu of choice in investments. This is not an accident. Every manager or mutual fund you own makes the promise to do all of their trading and buying (and all of their research for that matter) from the referring firm… negotiating the same “good enough” deal. The more business the manger receives, the more it basically churns the account (albeit legally and with data to support their moves — conveniently provided by Wall Street’s research). As the manager flips over the portfolio, sometimes doing what is counter to a firm’s call, buying everything you are selling or vice versa, you (Joe Public) are being spun to the tune of billions of dollars a year.

The inherent problem is those aggregated commissions start to become real money. Actually, trading revenue is often 5 to 10 times bigger than the commission revenues realized in the wealth management division by your broker. And the more money that goes to the manager from the referring firm, the more trips and conferences are sponsored, the more free lunches are bought by the management companies to wine and dine the sales force, to inspire your broker to sell you more crap you don’t need.

Truly, a full 70 to 80% of the money manager firms in the world are offering returns worse or only equal to an index. When you factor in the cost of trades (which you never see) and taxes, it’s an even worse deal. Even in a flat-fee arrangement, the advisors in most firms are only compensated once they get you paying for a product or manager. What do you think, they get paid to keep you in cash? They are motivated to sell you on products that might not fit your needs, even if it’s the wrong decision financially. Motion breeds activity, which busies the mind enough to allow people to forget the raw deal they are being served. Activity in some perverted way implies value.

2) Although your expertise is in financial markets, I gather from knowing you that you view investing as a part in the gamut of one’s overall well-being. How does this view affect your (and your company’s) approach to wealth management?

Experts sometimes talk about the “big three” with regard to importance in one’s life: health, family and money.

The amount of money you have (or don’t) really represents nothing more than a series of decisions, good ones and bad ones almost regardless of income. How does a nurse and Joe the plumber become the Millionaires Next Door, yet the guy making $350K a year “living the life” has nothing to show for his efforts? Clearly having more money is not the sole recipe for success.

Because I believe this to be true, as part of my firm’s process, we’ve actually taken the time to hire a coach who works with our clients to define and continually refine what their life values are.

Often times, we get caught up in the illusion that “stuff” equals happiness. Retirement becomes a destination, with all of the trappings. I see people who are disappointed to realize that once they’ve “made it” to the top, it just means that it’s more work to maintain the life they’ve created, often leading to disappointment/depression. Those fancy cars are really nothing more than rolling liabilities unless there is perceived value tied to owning them, most of the time it is just another shiny object, what’s the point?

It is the person who walks through life, knowing what makes them tick that seems to get satisfaction and peace with where they are. Decisions are much less impulsive and often much easier to make clearly when these values are at the front of your mind. Instead of money becoming an enabler of materialism, wealth becomes the vehicle for values like security, time with family, and creating a legacy. This is the essence of one’s well-being in their relationship with money… this is what we foster.

3) Your firm is beating the stock market by a significant percentage but, as with almost all asset management firms, your clients have had to take significant losses in the stock market. What do you say to the client that is down X% for the year and wants to take their money out of stocks?

Most of what my job entails is managing people’s expectations. I cannot tell you what the market will do specifically at any given time, no one can. I can, however, with a fair degree of accuracy provide a workable range of possibilities. The essence of my company’s duty is to ensure that people are true to themselves in knowing how much risk they can handle, so that they don’t sell out usually when the market is at its worst.

4) What are your thoughts on the current state of economic affairs? I realize this is a pretty open-ended question so limit your answer to the opinions you hold that people could possibly takeaway and immediately act upon?

What we’ve just witnessed is the closing argument for why the “slash and burn” economics of the 20th Century is not sustainable. We cannot slash rates and continue to burn money. Guess what? It has consequences and you are paying for them. This mess will take 20 years to clean up. Our banks have destroyed themselves, our health care system is bankrupt, our manufacturing base is a fraction of what it once was, and we have two of the three major pistons of our economic engine almost completely seized: consumers and private sector. Fortunately, the government (the third piston) is here to help. This is not without cost. In about 2 to 3 years, if we are lucky — we could be staring down the barrel of some pretty hefty inflation. Right now, every world government is throwing the kitchen sink at the problem, so I believe eventually we will turn the corner.

I am worried however that we could be in a liquidity trap, so I am investing in TIPS, Preferreds, select hi-yield and hi-quality corporate bonds, and high quality large US multinational firms that pay sustainable dividends greater than 4% — making stuff that will either be part of the new economy or making stuff people absolutely need. I am also investing in large US multinationals with good cashflow, no debt and a secular growth story (like Google, Apple, Cisco, etc.). Stocks and oil are actually the best place to be in inflationary times because of their purported pricing power. I am also investing in agricultural commodities, with the idea that more people, means more stuff to eat, which means more money. Baked in all of our portfolios, we build a solid foundation of indexes for our clients and then fill in the gaps with individual beaten up Blue-Chip stocks (almost buy and hold) that fit their investment profile. It’s pretty simple actually, which I think is the key to our success, clients can understand it because it is not the smoke and mirrors I have described in your other questions.

5) As a follow-up to the last question, knowing you are somewhat of an optimist, what should we be optimistic about with regards to the future financial health of the United States? Any predictions? Or markets we should keep a close eye on?

We all should be optimists with the dream of America right now. It’s our execution as a nation that needs some work. This is our chance to redefine the next 50 years of our history. It won’t be easy or fun, but from chaos comes clarity, and we are just starting to see things clearly now.

As for the markets, visibility is very low currently. Normally, as financial practitioners we try to forecast 6 months into the future. In today’s market, we are lucky to forecast into the next quarter. Regardless, there are some great companies selling for prices that warrant attention.

But honestly, in the next quarter, we could easily retest the lows. You asked for immediately actionable items in the last question. The news that consumer credit card debt is going to face some the similar struggles that the mortgage market went through probably is what will take us back to a Dow below 8000. However, details of the stimulus plan from the new administration coupled with next quarter’s earnings that beat Wall Street estimates and we could easily rally back to 10,000 on sentiment. From there, this continues to be a “show-me” story with real estate being front and center — which for the next two years probably isn’t great, so we are even more conservative with our allocations for the foreseeable future.

Interview with Dave Scott about Fitness Training

Dave Scott is the most recognized athlete and coach in the sport of triathlon. He is a six-time Ironman World Champion and the first inductee into the Ironman Hall of Fame. Today, Dave continues to live up to his reputation as “The Man” through his many speaking engagements, sport clinics and race sponsored activities. He currently trains several top professionals and age group triathletes and has recently completed a DVD on nutrition called “The Art and Science of Fueling, for Pre, During and Post Endurance Training and Racing” available at:

Here are my 5 questions with Dave and his answers:

1) There is a misconception amongst some that you won the first ever Ironman. You actually won the third Ironman, which was the first televised Ironman, correct? At the time you crossed the finish line for the first time did you have any idea that you had just become an early icon (founder if you will) of an elite society of alpha individuals and endurance junkies… distinguished from the status quo by dotted M tattoos and hints of masochism?

Yes, 1980 was the 3rd Hawaiian Ironman. Well, I’ve never had the desire to put an “M -Dot” tattoo on my body. The passion I have for health and ultimately triathlon was underway well before my first Ironman. My “true” roots stemmed from coaching a large group of master’s swimmers in Davis, CA. They taught me “skills of life” and elevated my passion towards being healthy. Triathlon merely pushed the envelope a bit further!

2) Over the years I have spent a pretty penny getting my gait analyzed and adjusted. I have been told to keep my arms at my side and pretend like I am pulling the rope of an imaginary bell in front of me. When I watched the long distance runners in this year’s Beijing Olympics I saw everyone running with their arms up by their chests, something I have been discouraged against by multiple coaches. You are famous for having a very unique gait and yet you are still a world-class runner. What are your thoughts on making adjustments to a runner’s form? Obviously making anatomical adjustments has its place (ex. getting a bike properly fitted) but I am curious about your take on gait analysis.

Running technique is an individual art. My form was disastrous, but I did one element of the technique fairly well – keeping your hips up and slightly forward. This creates a subtle posterior tilt in the pelvis and takes the load from your quads. Additionally, it creates the ability to increase your cadence and reduces the time in the stance phase. Imagine you are a puppet and a puppeteer is pulling up on the strings while you simultaneously, lightly squeeze your glutes together – this will get you into proper position. This simple cue will work for everyone – even you Michael! Regarding your arms being rigid and too low, that creates a robotic running form. Get a new coach!

3) Middle of the Packers (like myself) live for the special needs bags – from gummy candy to In-N-Out Burgers – there is nothing like getting some real food in the middle of the race, especially from a morale standpoint. Another mystery is flat cola. There was a recent debate in a nutrition class (in which I was a student) and after the debate I was tasked with rationalizing why this was a better choice than an electrolyte drink. Even though this is a welcome beverage on any Ironman course, I could find no hard evidence on why it is part of the traditional nutritional offerings. To summarize my inquiry into two answerable questions, if you are burning that many calories does it really matter what you eat in the second half of the marathon leg of an Ironman (if it doesn’t make you sick)? Second, what is the deal with flat cola?

Long question on nutrition. If you are well hydrated and working aerobically (as in most marathons or an Ironman) Coke can give you a big jolt of calories and yes, it can work! The draw back is the volume that you drink at one time. The sugar concentration can exceed a fluid replacement drink’s (FRD) sugar by 3 to 10 times depending upon your intake. This can cause inter-cellular water to be drawn to the gut to dilute the sugary fluid. Bad news if you are slightly dehydrated! Additionally, FRDs contain higher levels of sodium which help maintain the water in your cells. Coke does not have the proper sodium levels. If you are a heavy sweater – Coke again is a bad idea. Also, there is a breakdown of protein during longer loads and the circulation of blood proteins start to diminish as a long race continues. Keeping these blood proteins elevated has a synergistic effect with the carbohydrate in FRDs. FRDs spare muscle glycogen, reduce muscle breakdown and maintain electrolyte levels – Coke does not have proteins. Lastly, no one has won using Coke for their fuel. Surviving – maybe, winning – no!

4) One piece of knowledge that I took from last quarter’s business interview with Olav Sorenson was that average people actually do themselves a disservice when they try to replicate the regimen (or use the roadmap) of a person that has been blessed with innate and/or inherited resources not available to a layman. In your experience training amateur athletes to reach their ultimate potential, how do you mediate the human assumption of “what is good for the goose is good for the gander” (especially considering most iron distance triathletes tend to be over-achievers)?

Most triathletes are like sheep. If the leader tells one to do a workout because it is good for him or her — the rest of the sheep follow. Bad idea! A workout in a book is not the answer for all triathletes. Without tweaking the workload, progression and recovery for each individual a guaranteed plateau or falling off will occur. Regarding the Ironman folks, the tendency is to do more volume! There is a point of no return in just squeezing in more distance in your training. Without teaching your body to burn fuel at the rate of your projected race pace and providing the physiological overload needed for adaptation, the athlete is destined to go slow during the race. Ironman athletes at all levels need sub-threshold training. In simple jargon, this means the intensity is moderately hard to hard in effort. For example, you have a 3 hour bike ride scheduled in mid summer, try to include 40 – 60% at an intensity closer to your 1/2 Ironman pace. Cruising along at 16 miles per hour, taking pictures and stopping at every convenience store does not replicate the intensity (even for folks who just want to finish) of the race. All races heighten your performance and ultimately extract your highest potential. Do not run or ride away from discomfort – just learn to manage it

5) Since I have tried to challenge some conventional wisdom throughout this interview I’ll conclude by simply asking what are some tips that my readers can takeaway, which can be acted on immediately?

– Be consistent.
– Do what you can in the moments available to you! Even if it’s a 20 minute run, do it.
– Strength train year round to prevent injuries and to consistently “trick” the muscles – go to my website for programs.
– Have other interests besides talking about your spoke weight, new Lycra running tights, and your sets in the pool. A dull athlete will lead to a dull performance!

Interview with Olav Sorenson about Business Strategy

Olav Sorenson is an expert in the field of business and strategy and a prolific academic professor who has taught at the University of Chicago, University of California (Los Angeles), London Business School and is now teaching at the University of Toronto. His current research agenda sits at the intersection of organizational ecology and social networks. In particular, he is investigating how social networks affect transactions and shape the geography and evolution of industries.

Here are my 5 questions with Olav and his answers:

1) What is the most surprising successful strategy that you have ever seen implemented? In other words, a strategy that made you think, “I can’t believe they thought of that and it worked”?

Even though it is a well-known and a well-studied company I would have to say Starbucks. They were able to deploy a strategy that created a luxury brand out of a commodity. They did this in realizing that by educating their consumers about coffee they could, in the process, define their brand and create brand equity. They have been able to create — from what is essentially a take-out model — the feel of a lifestyle product. Their consumers have been trained that a cup of coffee is worth dollars (not cents) and that now translates into any given new establishment recouping their original investment within 18 to 24 months. It’s amazing.

2) If you are a small business or start-up that cannot afford the McKinsey & Companies or Baines of the world, what are some innovative ways you can ensure that you are still able to add the benefits of strategy in your overall business plan?

There are a few options if you get creative. Counselors to America’s Small Business is a nonprofit association that provides free/low-cost support to aspiring entrepreneurs. One can learn more about this group at Also, I would suggest reaching out to local business schools. University of California, Los Angeles for example has a program (The Applied Management Research (AMR) Program’s Management Field Study to be precise) that pairs student teams with executives from organizations around the world with the intent of helping the companies develop better strategies. To learn more about UCLA’s program you can go to And this is just one of many programs, I also oversee one here at the University of Toronto. Do your homework and you will find there are a lot of reasonable resources out there if you look.

3) One of the biggest “strategy” barriers I see affecting bootstrapped entrepreneurs trying to develop strategic initiatives is access to sound data. What inventive ways have you witnessed and/or recommend to getting around this issue?

What I have seen work for my students is to go out there and simply ask. It sounds crazy or simplistic but it works. Just ask. You’ll be surprised at what you can find out and get — with regards to information and data — for free.

Some places to start:

  • Conferences and Conventions – often times you can find high-level people at these events that are bored out of their minds and actually would welcome the chance to talk with you.
  • Academic Outlets – this is basically an extension of my answer to question two.
  • Free online resources such as, etc.

4) If one of your students were only able to remember three main takeaways from your general strategy course, what would they be?

Bar none, the first one is avoid competition — people forget this is how Wal-Mart became the juggernaut that they are. They basically would go to rural America where mom-and-pop shops could not compete (with Wal-Mart’s economies of scale and selection) and within ten years take over half of the retail trade of the surrounding area.

Second, is focus – Think In-N-Out Burger. If you are going to do something, do it well and do it simply. You can offer choice but do it without increasing cost. Taco Bell is a great example. You go in there thinking there are an exorbitant amount of items to choose from but they are really all made from the same limited amount of ingredients. The more complicated things get the higher the risk of failure.

Third, remember that almost everyone is over-confident, especially entrepreneurs. My favorite demonstration of this is that you give a group of aspiring MBAs a middle-of-the-road business model and about half of them will tell you it will be successful and the other half will tell you it will fail. You give the same group that model and ask them how it would do if they were to run the company and 85% will tell you it will succeed. Nothing has changed (in the model) and there is no information that the leadership is flawed. The results are telling. Make sure you get an outside sanity check before launching any idea.

5) For someone new to strategy, can you suggest any resources that can help someone achieve the benefits of strategy without a thorough knowledge of the subject? How can one learn more about strategy on their own?

Unfortunately most books are drafted in a manner that tell people what they want to hear and are less about strategy and more about implementation and/or history. A book I would recommend is Porter’s Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. It is a balanced view of strategy and the book is not as academic as it sounds. Good to Great is also a good read.

If you want to understand why businesses succeed and/or fail, you are better off looking at why a business has failed than at a runaway success. Because they are interesting stories, we tend to focus way too much attention on why businesses succeed. It would be like you studying Lance Armstrong to become a better cyclist. The knowledge transfer is intriguing, but you will never be Lance — he was blessed with genetics and most likely following his training regimen would be a complete waste of time for an amateur athlete.

On the contrary, failure usually happens because something stupid or correctable took place. We can learn from this and ultimately these strategic lessons are more useful.

Interview with Jeff Atkinson about Running

Jeff Atkinson is a world-class athlete who broke the fifteen-hundred meter record at Stanford University in 1985. After winning the US Olympic Trials, Jeff represented the United States in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea where he finished 10th in the 1500m. He ran professionally for 10 years, earning spots on eight U.S. National Teams and sponsorships from Nike, Foot Locker, Brooks, Oakley and Ray Ban. Jeff is currently a coach of cross country & track and field at Palos Verdes High School (one of the most competitive schools in these two disciplines in California). He also trains athletes at all levels in the Los Angeles area under the banner Olympian Fitness.

Here are my 5 questions with Jeff and his answers:

1) First and foremost, what was your favorite moment about being in the Olympics?

The best moment for me was when they announced my name at the starting line. A woman with a sexy voice announces your name in three different languages and at that moment you think to yourself, “I’ve made it. The whole world is watching me.”

2) Okay, to put you on the hot seat for a second… I know you are in the Arthur Lydiand camp that a high volume mileage training regimen is ultimately the best way to train if you are trying to improve performance. You are aware that I support an alternative view but I wanted to give you a chance to defend your position.

Look at it this way — you can only build a pile of sand so high. Ultimately you need to increase the width/base if you want to reach new heights. The base of this sand pyramid is a good metaphor for the foundation of your aerobic capacity. I believe that the only way to max out this “base” is through sustained volume.

Take the non-believers rhetoric out of the lab and look at the empirical evidence offered by professional athletes. All of the top guys in our sport have big volume (120 to 140 miles per week for a marathoner). It is that simple.

I offer your readers this truism: The more you can do without breaking down is what you should do if you want to increase aerobic capacity.

3) As a trainer whose athletes run the gamut of fitness levels and ability, what is the biggest newbie mistake that you see that impedes progress and/or natural progression.

Too much, too soon. Okay, so I am an advocate of high mileage – but everything is relative, right? Look, the teenager Pamela Jelimo won a decisive victory in the 800 meters at this year’s Summer Olympic Games. Are you telling me that she runs 20 miles per week? No. But should someone off the couch replicate her training regimen, of course not. People aren’t reasonable when they first start off and don’t honor the natural progression that needs to take place. We are all capable of a lot more than we think – but it doesn’t happen overnight either.

4) What are three motivators that have proven, in your experience as a mentor and coach, to be the most effective at keeping an amateur athlete on track?

Well before I can answer this I need to set the stage and preface that it starts with the person. Are they competent enough to set reasonable goals that elicit follow-through? If the answer is yes, then they create drivers that are personal to them either in an external or internal way.

With that said:

  1. Commitment to the goal/driver as a process.
  2. Obtaining support for the process (i.e. getting a coach, getting involved with a training group, etc.).
  3. This is the most important: changing that process into the goal/driver itself.

Let me explain, once you begin to enjoy the process (and it becomes the goal) then motivation is automatic. This comes in the form of “moments of truth” as you execute the process. There will be days that you don’t want to advance your goal but you know you have to as part of the “process”. It turns into a situation of personal integrity rather than an external benefit. When you force yourself to complete the process (on a day where you wanted to give up) the moral victory becomes easily worth the effort, in turn the process and goal become self-perpetuating.

You are able to move past that little voice (inside everyone) that is telling you it would be a lot easier to watch television — and the kicker is that voice is right! You don’t need to get out and run — watching television is easy, fun and enjoyable. If you can get yourself to view the process as the goal then you have switched the paradigm.

5) In your “bag of tricks” of all the workouts you can prescribe a client/athlete/student, what is your favorite?

The one hour run with descending splits. It is the most pure of the running drills. You can do long runs, hills, interval training, all at varying degrees of effort. When you set out to do a one hour run with descending splits you are committing to having a better mile each leg of the way. You are saying to yourself, “I am going to get better with each mile,” and it is super satisfying no matter who you are and what level you are at. You can be world-class or a total beginner, either way it will be a great hour for you.

I mean, come on, it leaves you feeling good and it only takes the same amount of time it takes to watch two sitcoms. It is a good one.

Interview with David Allen about Productivity

David Allen is an international author, lecturer and founder and Chairman of the David Allen Company, a management consulting, coaching and training company. In the last twenty years he has developed and implemented productivity improvement programs for over a million professionals in hundreds of organizations worldwide, including many Fortune 500 corporations and U.S. Government agencies. He delivers public and in-house seminars, executive work-flow coaching and consulting programs that address interactive and organizational productivity and alignment issues. In short, he is the godfather of the Getting Things DONE movement.

Here are my 5 questions with David and his answers:

1) What is your rebuttal to authors such as David H. Freedman and Michael Penn that claim in their respective books A Perfect Mess and Microtrends that people who appear to be messy and unorganized have been shown statistically on a variety of criteria to have an advantage and/or outperform their organized counterparts?

These labels mean many things to many people. When one thinks of “stuff” and/or “clutter” the question becomes where is it and what does it mean to that person. Is someone naturally organized or is their life filled with psychological clutter? One possible explanation for these findings could be that other studies have show that the people who believe they are disorganized are actually some of the most organized. They are cognitive of the fact that the better you get, the better you’d better get. They have learned to adapt but for one reason or another they identify themselves as unorganized when in fact, compared to their peers, they fall high on the scale for being organized.

2) You and Tony Robbins are both proponents of the Reticular Activating System, has there been any recent research that has caught your attention on how a person can better leverage their RAS?

There has been some recent research on RAS and improving ADD and ADHD but the Reticular Activating System is fairly common and well-known. A better way to look at it is that there hasn’t been any research to discredit its importance. It is really just common sense. If you are aware and present, then you can pick up on patterns and improve your pattern recognition. Using science, researchers can actually trace the nerve signals pattern when you are aware of something. People can use “assumed affirmations” and eventually these affirmations will become self-fulfilling, which means it is important to keep these affirmations positive.

3) What is the most exciting idea that you have had (or know about) that has happened on the back of an envelope?

My whole life has been the back of an envelope. It has all been the back of the envelope thinking because that is the way the brain works. Brain storming is brain relaxing and my life’s work has come out of this process.

4) One of the areas of weakness commonly identified in aspiring entrepreneurs is that they try to do too many things and do not allow themselves enough bandwidth for activities that generate the highest return. In your opinion, is there some inherent risk in horizontal thinkers/multi-taskers/entrepreneurs taking actions on a someday/maybe list, especially if they are using it as a distraction?

One tool to counteract this would be to tier or segment your someday/maybe lists. Maybe you have a somday/maybe list and a someday/never list, whatever works for you. First you need to make an agreement with yourself that you will stick to and decide what you want and/or need to keep. People often mistakenly think Getting Things DONE is about getting rid of stuff. That has not ever been explicitly stated; rather one just needs to be conscious of the things that are pulling at their psyche. Have as much stuff as you would like as long as it is not a distraction. It is about being honest with yourself and learning that it is okay to tell yourself and others “no” once in awhile.

5) In Getting Things DONE you steer away from endorsing a specific filing system/model, do you have any recommendations on where to start for someone looking for a good system beyond the general filing system, particularly a system that would also apply for organizing computer files since storage of electronic information is so readily available these days and its accumulation voluminous?

No, the advice here is to just make sure that on some periodic basis you need to go through your files and ask yourself what is relevant. Have confidence in your archived files. If the information is stored properly you can’t really have too much. If it gets in the way, then there is a problem and you need to adjust your system.

Interview with Sean Waxman about Weight Training

Sean Waxman is a former National level Olympic Weightlifter and highly regarded coach. He spent nearly a decade of his life immersed as an athlete in the world of Olympic Weightlifting under the direction and guidance of USAW Hall of Fame Coach Bob Takano. Sean was one of the top Olympic Weightlifters in the country from 1995-2001, earning him a spot on the National Team, a National medal, and five California state championships.

Here are my 5 questions with Sean and his answers:

1) In devising regimens you have been known to take competitive athletes back to rudimentary exercises, reintroducing basic movements such as somersaults into your client’s program. Explain why this is necessary.

Many times athletes, especially young athletes, spend too much time playing and practicing their sport (developing specific sport skills) and too little time training for their sport developing specific athletic attributes (i.e. strength, power, flexibility, etc.). They become highly skilled in the movement patterns required for their sport, but overall they have become poor athletes.

By introducing new movement patterns such as basic barbell exercises and gymnastic movements, the athlete is exposed to different movement patterns thereby raising their developmental ceiling. An athlete is better served, especially in the beginning of their career, spending at least as much time preparing their body for sport than actually playing their sport. This will assure that the athlete’s body will be properly prepared to handle the rigors of intense competition without breaking down due to overuse injuries.

2) You have been one of the pioneers in bringing multi-joint exercises back to the forefront through your various publications. In general, there has been a departure from the dictum of isolated movements and fitness practitioners across the board are incorporating multi-joint movements back into their overall programs. Why has the paradigm shifted back to exercises that incorporate multiple muscle groups rather than specialized training that single out particular muscle groups?

It is quite simple, multi-joint exercises are the most effective tools to elicit change in the body. I do agree that there has been a turn back to multi-joint movements. Although, calling a bodyweight squat on a Bosu ball a multi-joint exercise is like calling fast food fine dining. The fitness world has turned proper training that follows the laws of biomechanics and muscle physiology into some form of entertainment that affects the body on only a superficial level.

Because of this “paradigm shift” many in the worlds of fitness & strength and conditioning have heard the message of multi-joint movements and have gravitated towards it. Unfortunately, many of the most visible leaders of this movement are incompetent, ignorant, misinformed or just out to promote themselves without any regard as to the quality of their information. In many cases, these people/organizations have taken one small part of the training paradigm and formed their own training system around it. For example, if I hear one more person talk to me about core training, I am going to go postal.

There is an entire industry that revolves around core training. “Functional” core strength is a byproduct of properly executing squatting, pulling, overhead lifting and the Olympic lifts — not lying on a freaking ball and doing crunches. What function does that serve? Proper training is about the “big rocks”. If you want to fill a glass with rocks, you put the big rocks in first, then the little rocks then the sand. In training, the big rocks are the exercises that elicit the best physiological response; as mentioned earlier: squatting, pulling, overhead lifting and the Olympic lifts all done while standing on the floor with a barbell and sometimes dumbbells.

3) You are recognized as the “go-to guy” when it comes to Olympic lifts. What is one piece of knowledge that you can pass along from your expertise regarding this style of training that could benefit every athlete?

Regardless of how many certifications or letters a person has after their name, if they tell you weighted jumps, Vertimax or any other circus act provides the same benefits as the Olympic lifts, they are misinforming you. These movements do not come close to providing the benefits the Olympic lifts do. The problem is that often the people telling you that you don’t need the Olympic lifts have either never used them properly in their own training or are out to promote there own new “revolutionary” training method. I guarantee you anybody that has trained using the Olympic lifts, WITH GOOD TECHNIQUE, has dramatically improved their ability to produce and absorb force.

4) Looking at fitness and health across its broad spectrum, if you had the power to make one profound change to the landscape – something that you view as fundamentally wrong in its current state – what would it be and why?

Because of the ever-increasing demand for trainers and strength coaches, certification has become a cottage industry. This is where the big money is. Because of this, there are very few quality standards provided with a certification. This puts many unqualified people into circulation. At the very least before you hand somebody a license to take somebody’s health and well being in their hands, make sure they know how to perform and teach you exercises properly. I don’t think that is too much to ask for. Exercise is a powerful stimulus. If used correctly it can provide innumerable benefits, however if used improperly — especially on an athlete — it can act as an impediment for reaching one’s full athletic potential.

When somebody is certified as a trainer or coach the assumption is they are competent and well versed in the skills it takes to make you a better athlete. Right now in the industry’s current state that is not the case in the worlds of fitness & strength and conditioning.

5) In contrast to the previous question, what is something that excites you about the future of fitness – i.e. something that you view as fundamentally correct and heading in the right direction in its current state?

What excites me in fitness is the general acceptance of exercise as one of, if not the most, powerful components to one’s well being, a kind of cure all. Even the most mainstream media outlets report on the wonders of exercise. If this trend continues and is championed by the correct people/organizations, exercise, especially exercise done with free weights, can affect society on a scale as large as the personal computer has. For example, two out of the top four killers of Americans are currently cardiovascular disease and adult-onset diabetes. These are “lifestyle” diseases caused predominantly by inactivity. Exercise would all but eradicate these ailments. The six top-selling medications: Pfizer’s cholesterol pill LIPITOR, Bristol-Myers Squibb blood thinner that treats heart disease PLAVIX, AstraZeneca’s NEXIUM which treats heartburn, GlaxoSmithKline’s ADVAIR which treats Asthma, Merck ‘s ZOCOR which treats high cholesterol and Pfizer’s NORVASC which treats high blood pressure… these drugs would no longer be consumed at their current rate. That could mean over forty billion dollars less in the pockets of the drug companies. If there were less demand for these drugs as well as for all the cottage industries created around treating these conditions, it would force the companies that provide health care to dramatically lower the cost to the consumer. It would give some power back to the people and take it away from the companies for whom keeping American people sick is business as usual.

I believe that this is but one way exercise could impact society. I also believe that we have taken the first step towards making this paradigm shift, and this excites me!

Interview with Jamie Ramsden about Leadership

Jamie Ramsden is the CEO of Goodridge USA which is an automotive company that supplies high performance products to the automotive and racing industry. Jamie is a Certified Executive Leadership Coach and ad hoc faculty member at the Center of Creative Leadership. Jamie also manages his own consulting firm, Adastra Consulting, which specializes in the development of executive talent and leadership potential.

Here are my 5 questions with Jamie and his answers:

1) If you only had a minute to sum up what leadership means to you, what would be your answer?

During my ongoing study of leadership, I have always been struck by how many authors focus on a) the traits of the leader or b) the inter-relationship between leader and context, or between leader and followers. For the 19th and 20th century this was an adequate model. However, it is insufficient for the world we live in today. I believe that leadership in its optimal form is based around the relationship between leader, followers and context – a 3-dimensional framework, if you like – if it is to be relevant today.

From a practical standpoint, the successful leader must recognize that he/she represents the goals and dreams of the people who put him/her in their current position and provide a framework for people to develop in four key areas: their sense of self, their sense of community, their sense of meaning (making meaning of the world around them) and their sense of purpose.

2) In researching the subject of leadership have there been one or two authors/experts that have really seemed to capture the essence of leadership for you?

For me, the key text that really opened the door to understanding this rather intangible subject was Warren Bennis’ “On Becoming a Leader”. In it, Bennis stated that “leadership is like beauty, hard to define, but you know it when you see it”.

However, there are many other people who have written knowledgably on the subject from an intellectual standpoint, notably Kouzes and Posner, Boyatzis and McKee and Goleman. If you like your leadership medicine a little stronger then, Welch and Giuliani offer very practical guides. One book that I really love that has an oblique view on the universal essence of human motivation is by Pasternak, “Quest: The Essence of Humanity”. If a leader wants to understand human motivation there is no better book.

3) Like a talented singer, or a fast runner, do you tend to believe that exceptional leaders are born with a gift, or do you believe leadership is primarily a skill that can be developed by anyone?

One fascinating theme that came out of my original research was that people in leadership roles normally define their leadership style by studying what NOT to do from their previous bosses, rather than what they should be doing. It was very clear that there are not many models out there. Most importantly, every person I spoke to about the subject stated that leadership for them was more commonly defined by people outside of their working world i.e. family, friends, social leaders, etc.

This led me to the conclusion that leadership is an every day event. As a parent, you have to show leadership, as a friend you have moments that lend themselves to leadership, as captain of your local soccer team, or chair of the mom’s club, or as a sponsored athlete, or within your church group or chess club, people are demonstrating leadership every day. Once I realized this, I felt like I had fallen into a gold mine. We are all leaders and we are all followers – it simply depends on the context!

The point about the publishing world is that they have missed the obvious target of every day leadership, which is where most people derive their inspiration. They instead focus on spurious titles such as “Jesus, CEO” or “The Leadership secrets of (Insert CEO Here)” that really adds nothing to the understanding of the subject.

4) You have acquired significant success in business in a relatively short amount of time, how much do believe that this can be attributed to the attention you have paid to the subject of leadership?

Well, I am a relatively young CEO, but that is probably due to 2 parts hard work, 2 parts dedication and 8 parts good fortune (oh, and a long-suffering and supportive wife!). The key thing to understand is that unless you are prepared to challenge yourself, look like a fool most of the time, admit that you don’t know what the hell you are doing some of the time and most critically LEARN from your mistakes, you can never be the best in whatever you are doing, be it CEO or anything else.

The format that I have developed into a book talks about a leader as a Role Model, a Community Builder, a Sense Maker and a Dream Enabler. This has certainly helped me make sense of the world but I don’t for a minute think that it will work for everyone. As John Lennon once said “Whatever gets you through the night, it’s alright”.

5) You are currently writing a book on leadership. What do you hope people will get out of your book and when will it be available?

Probably 70% of my job at work is helping people make sense of the world. Is this threat real? Is this person ready to jump? How does this tactic fall in line with our overall strategy? Why has person x done such-or-such a thing? I hope that my book and the framework contained within will allow people to make better sense of a small portion of their lives, not just from a business standpoint, but in many other areas that will ultimately enable them to be the best person that they can be.

I do coaching work at the Center for Creative Leadership. Their mission statement is “to advance the understanding, practice and development of leadership for the benefit of society worldwide”. My utmost joy would be to see the worldwide community make a small step forward because of some of the thoughts contained in my book. It is entitled “Dream Enablers” and we are in the final stages of negotiation. I’ll let you know when it surfaces…