Want Spectacular Leadership Success? Here Are 9 Areas That Will Get In Your Way

If you are going to Lead, you’d better have a grasp of the issues, a soft hand, and a steel resolve…

I recently surveyed a group of senior Leaders. These people are or were successful executives of their respective organizations. Companies and enterprises of different sizes, complexity, and across diverse industries.

Included in this group were Chief Executive, Financial, Marketing, Information and Human Resource Officers, as well as Entrepreneurs with extensive Startup experience. A good cross section. People whom I admire, trust, respect, and have known for years. Immensely successful people. I can count on them for straight answers.

I asked a very basic question:

What are the 5 areas of the business that are keeping you awake at night?

Their answers did not disappoint.

There was quite a lot of commonality as you might expect. All of these areas of concern cross the boundaries of industry, organizational size and geography. And there was a lot of color added to the responses, especially in subsequent emails on certain areas that elicited passionate and healthy dialogue.

Perhaps the commonality is proof that there is nothing new under the sun. That getting the basics right is what makes for successful Leaders and organizations.

I culled and collated their answers into these 9 categories. Areas of the business that they focus on and pay attention to.

Without further preamble. here are the results.

1. Talent, People, Teams

This was the most common and arguably the number one area of concern and focus of the surveyed Leaders. After all, a Leader is dependent on great people to execute and operate. Some of the specific matters of concern in this area included the following:

  • Finding competent and qualified people
  • Developing skills and enhancing talents
  • Establishing functioning teams that collaborate and succeed
  • Creating a learning environment and organization
  • Bringing together Teams including Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen X
  • Establishing and Cultivating an agile and flexible culture

2. The Leadership Agenda

This was an area that stimulated a healthy discussion and strong opinions. The main issue driving some debate was that of Leader versus Coach. One of the executives flatly stated, “It’s time to retire the term ‘Leader’ and replace it with ‘Coach’”. Not the first rime I have heard this. As a Life, Executive and Career Coach, I totally get the sentiment.

Some took exception to such a strong position. After all these are Leaders!

Personally I think great Leaders are always evolving, and looking for ways to be more effective, especially with their people and teams. And coaching, as a particular passion and focus of mine, should definitely be one of the key arrows in a Leader’s quiver. Whether they do it themselves or engage someone with great coaching skills to carry it out.

It seemed the consensus was that it’s not all or nothing. That perhaps “redefine” was a better choice of words than “retire”.

The specific matters of focus and concern in this area were:

  • Traditional Leadership versus fulfilling the role of Leader Coach
  • Leading in a way that will inspire both confidence and loyalty
  • Creating, evolving and maintaining relationships across the entire organization

3. The Customer, Client, Guest

Great Leaders have always understood where the bread is buttered. It’s all about the client. The source of revenue and profits should be the focus of everyone in the company. As such, every one of the respondents had something to say in this area as well. Here are some of the details:

  • Establishing and keeping a customer-centric culture across all areas of the organization
  • Understanding and fulfilling customer and market wants and needs
  • Personalizing the customer experience
  • Retaining existing clients while appealing to other market segments

4. Execution, Operations, and Foundational Running of the Business

A major theme of the Leaders responding to my question was that we’d better not forget about the basics. There are may shiny objects, solutions “du jour”, and plain old fads out there that will tend to distract any Leader from the core mission. There is no substitute for basic operational blocking and tackling though. It might not be sexy and new, but operational excellence is absolutely vital.

Here are the specific details in this area.

  • Ongoing Operational excellence. Getting the operational aspects of the business stable and more on autopilot versus day to day fire fighting
  • Getting the basics right. Then focus on the higher order elements of the business

5. Establishing Accountability and Shared Values

Want to ensure the Team is focused on the right things, executing as planned, taking care of the customers and marching towards the finish line across the business? Especially when the Leader is not watching? Pay attention to Core Values and the Accountability agenda. These were the specific comments made in this area.

  • Establishing and living company and team values
  • Holding people accountable and establishing a culture of ownership and responsibility
  • Teaching gratitude. It shouldn’t always be about wanting more

6. Communicating

The great Leaders I have known and worked for, including this bunch, were all great communicators. You might then wonder why this was an area that kept them awake at night. It’s because even areas that are considered strengths, when they are vital to organizational and individual success should be constantly monitored and improved. Here are the details on Communications.

  • Clear, Appropriate and Transparent communications
  • Having the courage to speak out when you believe in something
  • Being able to confront issues clearly and effectively
  • Honest, frank and effective communications within the Leadership team

7. Vision Mission and Strategy

They say a mediocre strategy executed brilliantly, beats a brilliant strategy executed poorly. That being said, these Leaders thought this was an area of concern and a cause of some sleeplessness. Getting the organization aligned and everyone rowing in the same direction was a key to success. The details they shared included these points:

  • Establishing effective vision mission and strategy
  • Communicating each of those clearly
  • Getting buy in from the organization
  • Executing against those and having the organization walk the talk

8. Managing Change

Change. Inevitable. Constant. Relentless. It’s no surprise that this would have been one aspect of today’s business environment these Leaders would have recognized as requiring attention and focus. To them it was all about risk, avoiding change for change sake and being able to Lead effectively through potential disruptions. Specifically, these were the details around change.

  • Innovating while avoiding chaos and disruption
  • Avoiding paving the cow path and reinventing the wheel
  • Identifying and managing the risks of change

9. Technology

Last but not least. The “T” word. About half of the Leaders I polled come from the Tech world. No surprise that Technology should cause some serious thought and consideration on their part. But even those Leaders who self-admittedly are not especially technology savvy mentioned this area as an important one. They were wanting to define the role and qualify the impact that Technology should play in their business. Here are the specifics.

  • Rethinking what the business should be through the use of technology
  • Understanding the impact of technology on the industry and specific business model

I am confident, knowing these Leaders all too well, they don’t suffer from insomnia. They are not actually losing sleep over these areas of their business. These areas are merely the list of items they keep in front of them and on their radar. Important areas to focus on as well as to ensure their people and organizations do as well.

While “important” issues come and go based on the needs of the business and ever evolving industry trends and world events, this list resonates as a set of truly important aspects that all successful Leaders should have top of mind.

This is a Simple Leadership Lesson. Visit my publication Simple and Practical Leadership and follow me for more short, useful, and practical Leadership Wisdom.

I help Leaders bring some order to a complicated and chaotic world.

Follow me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/purposefulleadership/

Read my articles at Medium – @EnriqueFiallo

Subscribe to my E-Mail list get a free eBook “How to Avoid 5 Deadly Leadership Mistakes”.

You’ll learn some valuable things, and avoid driving into a ditch. And we will never spam you or sell your information. SIGN UP HERE.

Posted in Effectiveness, Influence, Inspiration, Leadership, Passion, Personal Development, Self Improvement, wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This is Why Every Christmas is Joyous and Precious

I can’t count my blessings. I can’t count that high…

I’m sitting on the front porch of my stepson’s house at The Hammocks in Miami. It’s early on Christmas morning and the neighborhood is quiet. So is the house. No one is up yet.

The coffee is strong. Smells and tastes good.

I’m not in my own home. That is back in Texas. We’ve been staying here in Miami for several months.

We’re in transition. Moving back to Miami from La Porte, Texas. For family reasons. To help out family. Not necessarily what we want to do, but what we know we should do. When we’re needed, we step up.

That’s how we got to Texas in the first place. About 5 years ago. Stepped up.

It’s been a strange holiday season. That’s an understatement to say the least.

How about your holidays so far? What you expected? Great? Not so much?

Hold that thought.

My wife has a bad cold. So does our grandson, who lives in this house with his father, my stepson. My wife’s been bedridden for 2 days.

My wife’s father is in Mercy Hospital here in Miami. He has been hospitalized since December 7th.

Originally he was admitted through emergency at another hospital with very low blood pressure. But after a battery of tests, he was diagnosed with Colon Cancer and was transferred to Mercy.

He’s almost 88 years old. Suffers from multiple ailments. It’s a tough time for him, and for all of us. He’s awaiting radiation therapy this week. Rough for an elderly person but at least his prognosis is good.

So the situation is not necessarily ideal.

Back to you. Everything OK? Anything unusual going on? Are you joyous? Or wishing this had been a better Christmas?

Let me tell you a story…

Down the road from where we are staying is a place I know all too well. The Federal Correctional Institute. FCI Miami. A Federal prison. “Home” to about 400 men. My “home” ten years ago for almost 3 years. Some “home”…

It’s literally a hop skip and jump from here. 4 miles away. As I look south from my chair on the porch, I can’t physically see it. But it’s vividly in my mind’s eye. I can picture myself there. It sends shivers down my spine.

I spent 2 Christmases there. Along with holidays, birthdays and other missed celebrations. Wonderful!

No one ever said…

I can picture the men at FCI Miami today. Some getting family visits. Others not. And those that are sitting in front of the TVs mindlessly watching.

Some are worshiping. Attending their preferred religious service. Others are sitting outside on that ever popular place to sit — the bleachers. They’ll be sitting there staring off into space wishing the day will finally come to an end.

As I think back to those Christmases past, sitting here on the porch sipping my coffee, I realize just how fortunate and blessed I truly am.

I think of those men, and what it felt like to wish time would rush quickly by. Yet have it crawl along like a bad movie playing at one quarter speed.

And I think of my father-in-law lying in the hospital bed. I say a prayer.

Above all I am grateful for what now feels like quite a wonderful Christmas. Because I see the world in perfect perspective.

I’m alive. Free. Truly blessed. I have so many blessings, it would take quite a while to go through them all.

How about you? How do you feel?

I hope you see that your life is richly blessed today. I hope you feel it. That no matter the circumstances, you are alive, free, and able to count blessings.

And I hope you feel God’s peace upon you. that it brings you calm, joy, fulfillment and faith that your future will bring even more blessings.

I hope that my story, and my perspective has given you some peace, joy and hope as well.

And that you can be grateful for all of that…

Are you having trouble staying mindful, in the present and discovering your WHY? Your true Passion? I have a Workbook called Stepping Into the Present — Discovering Your WHY . Click on that link to subscribe to my email list and receive it free.

Read my writings on Medium at Medium – @EnriqueFiallo

Posted in Gratitude, Inspiration, Passion, Simplicity, wisdom | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Here Are 5 Surefire Ways to Find Valuable Advice

“Be a selective listener. Listen to the voices of value that have experience, ideas, reputation; something valuable to share” ~ Jim Rohn

I’ve come to use Jim Rohn’s great expression, “Voices of Value” a lot over the last 10 years after I heard him use it in one of his presentations.

Jim Rohn’s view was that some voices you hear, will offer valuable counsel. Their advice will positively influence you, and help keep you on track.

Other voices will offer advice that will get you in trouble. Lead you astray. Confuse you and keep you from your mission. Sink you outright.

Usually bad advice is obvious. Evident. You can immediately tell. What and who you are listening to and what that person is saying is just plain wrong.

When someone tells you to literally walk off the edge of a cliff, or to drive with your eyes closed, or drink a glass full of bleach, its not hard to see through that bad advice, and to reject or ignore it.

Its fairly easy to walk away from those types of situations and people.

Those are the hard shoves. Easy to see and feel. It’s a SHOVE. Hard push. You can feel it, and immediately decide to accept or reject it.

But many times the advice is subtle. It comes wrapped in a package, and it is difficult, if not impossible to determine that you are being influenced. You just can’t tell how dangerous it is.

The people giving this kind of advice are storytellers.

Now there are both good and bad storytellers. But let’s focus on the bad ones for now.

Stories entice and pull you in. The storytellers draw you in with a great story, and subtly convince you to follow. At face value, the even the bad storyteller seems credible. They appear to be successful. What they are saying and recommending seems to be great advice. The story seems plausible.

These stories are the subtle nudges. The storyteller nudges you ever so slightly with the story. An inch here, a half an inch there. Until one day, because the story was full of holes, and the advice bad, you wake up and find yourself way off course. In a ditch.

The hard shove immediately throws you off course. Easy to feel, simple to discern. The dangerous quality about a series of soft and subtle nudges is that over time they have the same effect as that hard shove. But you can’t tell what’s going one until it’s too late.

Both the shoves and the series of gentle nudges place you somewhere you don’t want to be. In danger. Right on to the edge of the cliff. It’s just that with the subtle nudges, you don’t see the edge of the cliff coming. Until you are in free fall.

So Jim Rohn advises to “tune In to the voices of value and tune the others out”. Personally, throughout my career, I’ve had plenty of people surrounding me all eager to give advice. As a CEO, my challenge was in sifting through the ones worth listening to, and ignoring the others.

How can you tell the difference between a good voice and a bad voice? That’s the question that needs answering. I’m going to give you my take. Based on some real world experience.

In general, we must listen to a wide range of perspectives from a diverse set of people. Then, take time to pay attention to the still small voice inside of you. With practice, the quieter you can become, and the longer you can listen, the better listener and discerner you will become, and the better you will be able to differentiate good voices from those that offer no value.

Here’s a straightforward way to determine if a voice has value.

Determining Voices of Value in 5 Steps

Determining if someone is highly principled and has something valuable to say is not necessarily easy. If it was easy, then we would forever do away with the hucksters, shysters, carnival barkers, and Ponzi schemers. There are some really good storytellers out there. Good storytelling. Bad advice.

This is a checklist I use to get to the heart of the matter.

  1. Vet the people whom you believe to be potential Voices of value — look at their profiles, resumes, bios, what others say about them, the comments they get. Ask others for input about the people you are interested in.
  2. Monitor what these people say and what they write for a reasonable period of time to ensure consistency, integrity, ethical constancy, and concordance with your own core values.
  3. Drop anyone from your list of potential voices that appear at all questionable.
  4. Follow the voices you find valuable cautiously at first. Do not just follow the advice blindly. Credibility should take time to be established.
  5. Continuously monitor and evaluate what your voices say and do. Don’t hesitate to stop listening if you discover any of these voices deviating from your ethical positions and values.

Finding the Voices

Where do you find people whose thoughts, opinions, and actions you can trust? Over time I’ve come up with a strategy for identifying credible and reliable sources of value. Places where you find valuable voices.

Discovering Sources of Value

Value has two meanings.

  1. The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
    Synonyms: worth, usefulness, advantage, benefit, gain, profit, good, help, merit, helpfulness, avail
  2. A person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.
    Synonyms: principles, ethics, moral code, morals, standards, code of behavior

Therefore when we look for people who bring value, we are meaning high regard, benefit and worth, as well as high standards of behavior, judgment, principles and ethics.

With that dual definition in mind, I use the following approach in seeking out and tuning in voices of value.

1. Look for Professional, Socially Renowned and Recognized Experts

These are people that most everyone you talk to, admire and respect. People like Warren Buffet, Tony Robbins, or Oprah Winfrey. Sound moral compasses, solid core values and unparalleled success without sacrificing their principles.

Chances are you may never personally meet or communicate with them, but you can read and hear what they say about a variety of topics.

2. Look For People In Your Field, or With Skills You Want to Acquire

People that have the breadth and depth, doing the things you do, or want to do, extraordinarily well.

It also matters if they do those things for a living. After all, one of the hallmarks of doing things right, and of success, is that people keep coming back to a person. To continue to do business with them, and to obtain their services. There are voices of value.

3. Look at Peers or Higher Ups in Your Present Company

People that perform similar roles, or supervise the same or similar areas as you, or things you aspire to. Look for people with more time on the job, and with more experience, especially if they have worked at other places.

Above all, look for people that others look up to and hold in high regard. Those are voices of value.

4. Join Groups With Similar Affinities

These would be groups that share your common interests. For example, if you are a Human Resources professional, a group of other HR Professionals. If you are in Finance, a group of CFOs, or Professional Accountants or Economists.

If you are a Technologist, a Tech related group. If you are looking to get and stay fit, a group that espouses diet, exercise and healthy living.

You get the idea. Once you become a member, watch, listen, observe what people have to say, and how it is received. Who do people listen to and engage with the most? Who do they gravitate to? Who commands the audience and has earned respect? These are voices of value.

5. Attend Conferences or Trade Shows Featuring Sessions and Speakers and Good Content

A good speaker doesn’t have to be world renown or famous. Once upon a time, none of the world renown speakers, presenters, authors were well known. Attend their sessions. Listen. See what the audience thinks. Observe how the presenter behaves, what they say, how they say it. you just might find a voice of value you can follow in your area of interest.

And if the speaker is just starting out, you may be lucky enough to engage with them early on, before they develop such a huge following, that you are now just part of the mass.

6. Go Back To School

Physically or Virtually. Perhaps you are still attending college. Or maybe its been a while since you set foot on campus. Either way, take a look at your current or former professors and teachers. If it’s been a while, go back to that school, virtually if you can’t go physically.

What do those people stand for? What are they lecturing on? What are they saying? Writing? Publishing? Does it resonate with you and your values? Do they have a following? Are they respected? These individuals are potential voices of value.

7. Take a Fresh Look at Family Members or Circle of Close Friends

I recently re-engaged with members of my family that I had not had meaningful conversations with in quite a while. I discovered some deep thinking, interesting discussions, broad perspectives, and sound advice.

You might just discover a voice of value, or two, or three among your family members.

Using a methodical approach, you can determine who to listen to and who has a voice you can value. And you can find these voices in places you will be quite familiar with and have easy access to.

Once you understand and begin to implement these practices, it will be easier to avoid the hard shoves of bad advice, and difficult for a good storyteller with bad to gently nudge you off course.

Even then, you might find yourself in the middle of a situation where you followed some bad advice. Remember, even things that turn out wrong have value. And so do useless people. The value lies in the lessons these people and their bad advice teach us.

In the end, we can all be best served when we can find voices of value and pay attention to those voices. And tune all the others out.

As Jim Rohn once said:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Choose who you “spend time with” wisely…

This is a Simple Leadership Lesson. Visit my medium publication Simple and Practical Leadership and follow me for more short, useful, and practical Leadership Wisdom.

I help Leaders bring some order to a complicated and chaotic world.

Subscribe to my E-Mail list get my free eBook “How to Avoid 5 Deadly Leadership Mistakes”.

You’ll learn some valuable things, and avoid driving into a ditch. And we will never spam you or sell your information.


Posted in Effectiveness, Influence, Inspiration, Integrity, Leadership, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Self Improvement | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why You Never Seem to Have Enough Time


There’s never enough time in the day. I can’t ever do all the things I need to do…

A Simple Leadership Lesson:


There are so many things wrong with that quote. Let’s review some simple and basic facts:

Basic Facts:

  • There are precisely 24 hours in a day — there are never 23, or 25 or any other number
  • Everyone has 24 hour days — billionaires, people who are broke, entrepreneurs, executives, seniors, millennials, smart people, not-so-smart people — everyone
  • Time is expensive — because it is unrecoverable

Once an hour has slipped by, you can’t make it up. Unless you sacrifice something else

  • NEED is a word that is often ill-defined — we toss it around much too casually
  • There is a big difference between the things we WANT to do and SHOULD or more importantly MUST do

Whether you are a student, entrepreneur starting and building a company, a Leader of an organization or team, or butcher, baker or candlestick maker, understanding what we are about to discuss is quite important.


That is, if you care at all about being successful. Wildly Successful.

For total transparency, speaking of myself, well, I’m not what I consider to be wildly successful. YET.

But I am getting there. I’m a lot more successful, the way I define successful now, than I was 5 or 10 or even 20 years ago. Success is not at all about money, or power or fame. Trust me. I had all of those.

  • I had plenty of money. 6 zero, 7 figure money. Fuck You kind of money.
  • I wielded power. Oversaw a global enterprise
  • I had fame. OK, I wasn’t George Clooney or Tom Brady or J.K. Rowling. But in my sphere, people knew me

All of that shit went straight to my head.

It was like I was perpetually high

Again, it’s not about any of those things folks. Strive and crave for them if you will. Chase them down if you desire. Go ahead, Run and Gun if you want. But you are wasting your precious time.

It’s about — here it comes — VISION. Fulfilling a purpose. My WHY.

Simple. The best things in life are indeed actually (relatively!) free.

And to those that say you don’t need purpose? I say, go ahead and drift aimlessly at the whim of the tide and the wind…

I define Wildly Successful as realizing the vision I created for myself. Living the dream I created for my future. Not that you would care about my dream, my WHY, but it is the following. In this very specific and purposeful order:

  • Be the best human being I can be. Husband, father, grandfather. An inspiration, mentor, guide and positive role model to my family
  • An Effective Life, Recovery and Career Coach — helping others achieve their dreams
  • Successful author — publishing popular and helpful books
  • Renowned and in-demand speaker
  • Popular blogger (I’m NOT primarily a blogger. My blogging is a means to an end)

Means to an End is an important concept and distinction. Many people confuse this. They lose sight of the End, and become fully engrossed and invested in the Means. Blindly so.

Let’s not forget that a Means is something you do in order to achieve an End goal

You can define Wildly Successful any way you want. However you define it, I believe all of this is going to apply to you. It’s going to make you more successful, fulfilled, able to cope, and to wake up every morning knowingyou are making a huge difference in this world, in your own way.

Let’s explore.


This isn’t about Time Management. I intensely dislike that phrase. I abhortime management courses, blogs, eBooks, and everything else associated with it. I’ve taken my share of them. Some voluntary, some forced.

OK, OK, so I did get some good stuff out of most of the time management courses I took, or HAD to take. I just chafe at having to read and complete exercises and assignments for the same stuff umpteen times.

Again, it’s not about time management. It is about focusing and prioritizing. Bet you saw THAT one coming!

A few thoughts:


  • When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority
  • With too many priorities, you get spread too thin. Quality suffers

There is no honor in being an inch deep and 10 miles wide. It’s actually quite insane…

  • Things take forever to get done when you have too many priorities — the cost of Time Slicing and the fallacy of Multi Tasking
  • Nothing gets pushed over the goal line and into the end zone

All the “priorities” get stalled on the 20 yard line

  • You are never truly GREAT at most things you do. Good at best, mediocreand poor at worst. Why? There’s not enough time to get GREAT at anything!

Your Vision and Your WHY

  • Your vision needs to be crystal clear
  • Fuzzy visions create confusion and lead to chaos — for you and anyone else involved with you — if you are a Leader, this is of utmost importance for your team. Fuzzy Leader, cloudy vision, confused and chaotic team
  • WHAT you do is important and HOW you do it is also important — but WHY you do what you do — well, THAT is the key to being wildly successful

Here’s more I’ve written about the WHY if you care to read:

And if you want to read what a struggling Leader did to revitalize a struggling venture (a fictitious account loosely based on my own experiences) read this:

Important Things

Jim Rohn (my personal hero) was known to tout the 80/20 rule.

Some people don’t do well because they major in the minor things — Jim Rohn

He would say that “20 % of your effort creates 80 % of your result”. It’s about identifying the right 20 %.

Here are a few of many deadly time thieves. Things that “steal” your time.

  • Little or no planning — the execution is then haphazard, seat of the pants and potentially chaotic
  • Too much planning — yes, too much is TOO MUCH — eventually, you have to actually DO something!
  • Poor execution of a good plan — not enough skill, or resource, or time to do right what you planned on doing
  • As we’ve mentioned previously, too many priorities
  • Complexity where simplicity would produce better results — over complicating the work and the environment
  • Inefficiency in processes or even a lack of process
  • Engaging in over-dramatization of events and circumstances — stop whining and just DO IT

My Suggestions

This worked for me. It might not for you. Other people’s suggestions on what made them successful is kind of like a doctor telling you to take the medicine she takes because it works for her. Or an Optometrist handing you his eye glasses because the prescription helps him see better.

Someone else’s solution is most probably not at all relevant or even safe for you…

And yes, I take cold showers, but that is not at all important right now…

With that important caveat in mind, this is what worked for me:

  • Put together a list of the things in life that are REALLY important to you
  • Include Family, Hobbies, Social, Other Personal, and your Professional Life and Career as well
  • Track your hourly activities for 2 weeks — preferably 3 weeks — to develop a baseline of where you are spending time
  • Then make a list of the activities you tracked and how much time you spent on them — sort them from highest amount of time to lowest
  • Compare them to your list of things you said were really important to you

Match? No Match? Enlightening? Surprising? Shocking?

Either you were not really serious about the things you said were important, or, you are majoring in minor things. Which is it?

If you are a Leader, and your day and life is chaotichaphazard andunplanned

What the heck do you expect out of your team?

What example are you setting?

You might want to take one final step.

Use the Covey Quadrants or Eisenhower Matrix (also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix). Put all of your activities in one of the four boxes. Then blow away anything in Boxes 3 or 4. Shit can them. Now.


Someone else’s fire is not necessarily yours!

You can Google the terms Covey Quadrants and Eisenhower Matrix for more insight and step by step instructions on how to use these.

These are much more than time management tools. They are “Major in Major Things” tools.

Just because something is old school doesn’t mean it’s not good and won’t work!

Eisenhower Matrix


So this is where we are. We’ve come to the end of this running diatribe.

I “Began With the End In Mind” — a Stephen Covey term which is EXTREMELY relevant and impacting — to discover why we never seem to have enough time. Now, close to 1,600 words later…


That’s where you ought to be spending those 24 hours.

1 Mile Wide and 1 Mile Deep.

You have more than enough time. It’s just that you are spending it frivolously, carelessly, haphazardly and chaotically…

Cut that shit out!

That’s my call to action…

This is a Simple Leadership Lesson. Visit my publication Simple and Practical Leadership and follow me for more short, useful, and practical Leadership Wisdom delivered to you weekly.

I help Leaders bring some order to a complicated and chaotic world.

Sign up for my Fiallo Life and Leadership Coach mailing list and get my free eBook “Avoid 5 Leadership Mistakes”.

Trust me. You’ll learn some valuable things, and avoid driving into a ditch…

We solemnly promise not to SPAM you and NEVER sell your information.


For a free workbook to assist you in determining your “WHY”, get Mindful and into the game of life —


The Workbook is called Stepping Into the Present-Discovering Your WHY

Connect with me on Twitter HERE

LinkedIn HERE

Facebook HERE

Send me an email HERE

Read my Medium Stories on my publication Simplicity HERE.

Posted in Accountability, Change, Commitments, Effectiveness, Inspiration, Leadership, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Responsibility, Self Improvement, Simplicity, Why | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why All the Hype About the WHY?


Explain to me again why I should do business with you?

Uh, because I have uh, great products? Uh, I provide a, uh fantastic service?

Well don’t ten others that I can think of? Maybe twelve?

Simple Leadership Lesson:

Your WHY serves a dual purpose. One internal. The other — external. As the Leader of your organization, team, or just you leading you, pay attention to your WHY.


Internally, when you craft a WHY, it brings meaning and purpose to WHAT you do. To your company? The war cry. To a department or team? Their “rally round the flag” chant.

For you personally, it’s what wakes you up every morning raring to go. Able to eat a frog if it’s required and in your way. Kind of a vivid picture, no?

Externally, it’s the passion a prospect or client sees when you are standing in front of them. The light in your eyes. The heat that emanates and exudes from your core.

It stops them in their tracks and they think, “this is the one I want to do business with.” Period.

That’s why the hype about the WHY…

Try it. You’ll find out WHY!

This is my Simple Leadership Lesson. Visit my publication Simple and Practical Leadership and follow me for more short, useful, and practical Leadership Wisdom delivered to you weekly.

I help Leaders bring some order to a complicated and chaotic world.

I’ve got a free workbook to assist you in getting to your WHY. Your personal reason for being who you are and doing what you do. It will help you get Mindful and Focused. And be able to articulate it really well.


The Workbook is called Stepping Into the Present-Discovering Your WHY

Sign up for the Simplicity Newsletter from Fiallo Life and Leadership Coach and get my free eBook “How to Avoid 5 Leadership Mistakes”.

Trust me. You’ll learn some valuable things, and avoid driving into a ditch…

We solemnly swear not to SPAM you and will NEVER sell your information.


Connect with me on Twitter HERE

LinkedIn HERE

Facebook HERE

Send me an email HERE

Read my Medium Stories on my publication Simplicity HERE.

Posted in Accountability, Aha, Effectiveness, Empowerment, Influence, Inspiration, Leadership, Mindfulness, Passion, Personal Development, Self Improvement, Why, wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This is Why Everybody Has to Define “Tough” Their Way

Tough is personal. It’s yours, and mine, and everyone else’s. All at the same time…

Yours is not mine. Mine can’t be yours. Theirs? It’s just not going to fit us. Because it’s so unique and personal. Tough defies definition and boundaries.

  • Sally is a single working mom and she can’t afford to pay this month’s rent
  • Steve is gay. He and his life partner are trying to raise an adopted son
  • Bobby is addicted to crystal meth and living under the Beltway overpass
  • Beth is suicidal. The bullying won’t stop
  • Herb reaches for a cold one. Twists off the cap within minutes of waking
  • Fred’s plant closed down after 37 years. He’s not sure how to tell his wife
  • Molly and Bruce just found out. 15 year old daughter Jenny is pregnant
  • I’m a 65 year old straight Cuban man. I spent 3 years in jail. I’ve got cancer

It goes on. We struggle. Stretch. Strain. Life beats the shit out of us every day.

Pressures. Pummels. Pounds.

Unrelenting, Uncaring and Unwavering in its attack.

Who’s worse off? You? Me? They? You know what? It’s not relevant.

One person’s marshmallow roast is another’s funeral pyre

I’ve come to the realization that empathy is one of the most humanistic things we can practice in this world. But is it Skill? Trait? Quality? Attribute?

Is it learned? Acquired through experience? Training? Coaching?

I am not an expert. Google it and you’ll find definitions and descriptions all over the map. But I found a description that seems to make a whole lot of sense to me. So I’m going to share it with you here. I’m using it.

Empathy is a “soft skill” that engages the whole brain

– Nebraska Children

And from what I have experienced — after 65 years of living, 30+ years as a Leader and Senior Executive, almost 4 years in a Federal Penitentiary, a 3 year fight with Cancer, and as a Life and Recovery Coach — is this:

It can be developed. It’s teachable. It’s acquirable.

And that’s a good thing.

Because in this world — it’s definitely and sorely needed…

“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.”
― Tahereh Mafi


This is my Simple Leadership Lesson. Visit my publication Simple and Practical Leadership and follow me for more short, useful, and practical Leadership Wisdom delivered to you weekly.

I help Leaders bring some order to a complicated and chaotic world.

Sign up for my Fiallo Life and Leadership Coach mailing list and get my free eBook “Avoid 5 Leadership Mistakes”.

Trust me. You’ll learn some valuable things, and avoid driving into a ditch…

We solemnly promise not to SPAM you and NEVER sell your information.


For a free workbook to assist you in determining your “WHY”, get Mindful and into the game of life —


The Workbook is called Stepping Into the Present-Discovering Your WHY

Connect with me on Twitter HERE

LinkedIn HERE

Facebook HERE

Send me an email HERE

Read my Medium Stories on my publication Simplicity HERE.

Posted in Accountability, Effectiveness, Influence, Inspiration, Leadership, Mindfulness, Passion, Personal Development, Prison, Self Improvement, Simplicity, Survival, Why, wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why for Many People, Being Mindful Just Plain Sucks

The very least we can do is to show up for life and learn from it

In sports speak it’s called suiting up. Climbing out of the stands, taking the field and getting in the game.

In general it’s about being a participant in our own lives. Willingly. Actively. Positively. Effectively.


Now there’s a quite interesting word. FRUITFULLY. Its an adverb. The root is Fruitful — producing good or helpful results. Relating to how we should live our lives. In a way that produces fruit — Results. Good. Helpful.

What this suggests is that just showing up is the bare minimum. The very basic. The least. What this demands is that we do more than just show up. That we actively and effectively participate. Fully. To bear fruit.

How do we do that? Well, let’s explore that a bit.

What We Want

I think most of us want happiness. Joy. More specifically we want fulfillment. Happiness comes and goes. Fulfillment typically hangs around longer. It has more staying power.

Some of us want riches. Not necessarily money, although not many of us will turn it down. But wealth and riches often come dressed in many different costumes of many colors.

I’m a husband, father, grandfather and son. I’ve been blessed with the riches of family. Loving spouse, children, parents, grandchildren. I’m wealthy.

Then there are those that want to be somebody. Notoriety. Recognition.

Fame. They want to BE someone special.

Practically all of us want affection. To be cared for and loved. Nurtured.

Those are some of the things we want. And desire. Perhaps there are more things that you want. But those to me seem like the Basic 4.





So what do we do to get what we want?


What We Do to Get What We Want

To get what we want, are we willing to at least just show up for life? Suit up? Participate? Get in the game? Or is this more like what some of us do?

  • Check out
  • Go through the motions
  • Sit in the stands, cold one in hand
  • Mindlessly watch. Daydream. Of things that could be but aren’t
  • Of things that were but aren’t
  • Wish. Hope
  • Gaze at stars and think about all the things we want and desire
  • Unwilling to take the field

Thinking about the future. Living in the past.

Perhaps willing to do something. Anything. Maybe just unable. Paralyzed by something. Or someone. Not able to even show up.

Do we know people like that? I think we all know people like that. In fact, I bet as I have at times, we’ve all been like that at one point in our lives.

It happens. For some it might be happening right now. Hoping. Except as the famous saying goes, hoping and wishing is not a plan.

What We Should Do


Everyone is different. We all have our own situations to deal with. Complications to manage. Life to live according to our own circumstances. As the 1948 movie tells us, “There are eight million stories in the Naked City.”

But we must all address the most basic question that all of the paralysis and the sitting in the stands brings on.

How do you show up? How do you start with the very basic?

Those of you that read what I often write about on Medium know that I am into Simplicity. So I’ll keep it simple here as well. This is how we start:


We must practice mindfulness. We must yank ourselves back into the present from either remembrances of the past or the daydreams of the future.

The way to live and to produce a fruitful life, and to acquire any and all of those things we listed above is to get out of the stands, get on to the field and play the game. Present. Here. Now. Mindful.

I know life’s tough. I know this is a simplistic way to look at things and that it may be a lot harder for you than for someone else. I really empathize with that. I do. But I think we need to state the way out as simply as we can.

I as much as anyone else, have been shoved, knocked and beaten into the stands. Wishing that what happened in my past had happened differently. Hoping that the future would come and deliver me from my plight.

I soon realized that it wasn’t going to work that way. If I had not come to that realization, I’d still be paralyzed. Sitting in the stands. Remembering the past. Daydreaming about the future. Mindless. Going nowhere.

Waiting for the skies to open up and for a miracle to change my life.


So, I ask you:

Where are you?

What are you?

Who are you?

And the most important question of all — WHY are you?

Stay in the stands for a little while longer (but not much longer, please!) and answer these questions.

For a free workbook to assist you in answering the WHY question, step down out of the stands, off the sideline, and get Mindful, into the game of life —


The Workbook is called Stepping Into the Present-Discovering Your WHY

Climb down out of the stands. Suit up. Play the game. Fruitfully. Here. Now. In the present. Mindful.

Mindfulness sucked at first. But for me, it was the only way out.

And for you?

This is a Simple Leadership Lesson. Visit my publication Simple and Practical Leadership and follow me for more short, useful, and practical Leadership Wisdom delivered to you weekly.

I help Leaders bring some order to a complicated and chaotic world.

Sign up for my Fiallo Life and Leadership Coach mailing list and get my free eBook “Avoid 5 Leadership Mistakes”.

Trust me. You’ll learn some valuable things, and avoid driving into a ditch…

We solemnly promise not to SPAM you and NEVER sell your information.


Connect with me on Twitter HERE

LinkedIn HERE

Facebook HERE

Send me an email HERE

Read my Medium Stories on my publication Simplicity HERE.

Posted in Change, Effectiveness, Empowerment, Inspiration, Leadership, Mindfulness, Passion, Personal Development, Self Improvement, Why, wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment