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Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.
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What You Can Learn About Focus From the World Series MVP

If I ever write another book, I want to interview Madison Bumgarner for it. That dude knows how to focus and I’d love to know more about how he does it. As you may have seen last week, the San Francisco Giants starting pitcher came on the mound in the fifth inning of game seven of the World Series and pitched for the rest of the game. The scene was set in Kansas City, and the Giants had a 3-2 lead over the Royals when Bumgarner took over. He shut the Royals down pretty much exactly as he had when he pitched a nine inning shut out just two days earlier in game five.

As reported in this summary, the World Series MVP pitched a record 52 innings in the postseason with a 1.03 ERA. He threw 32.7 of the innings in the Giants’ 17 postseason games and 34 percent of the innings in their World Series games. In an era when starting pitchers typically work on a five-game rotation, Bumgarner pitched in three of the seven games of the series and allowed only one run.

Watching him pitch in game seven was mesmerizing. In a rocking ...

Take the Time to Focus In

When people ask me, as they often do, why my wife Diane and I moved from the Washington, D.C., suburbs to Los Angeles, I tell them the truth. When Diane, who grew up outside Philadelphia, was eight, her parents took her to Disneyland and she never got over it.  She’s wanted to live in Southern California for most of her life.  So, when we figured out how to do it, we moved. And, as I usually tell people, we moved in the most inefficient way imaginable.

We had been in our house in Virginia for 13 years and raised two boys there. Needless to say, there was a lot of stuff in there. Some of it we moved to our new apartment, some of it we sold, much of it we gave away and the rest we shipped to a storage complex in Venice, CA. Partially because we packed in a hurry and partially because the guys on the truck unloaded things really haphazardly, our storage units looked like they had been arranged by chimpanzees. It was a huge mess.

Months and months ago, we circled the third week of August as our vacation at the storage unit ...

Are You Fit to Lead?

The question posed in the title of this post is one that I’ve heard asked a lot over the years. Usually, it refers to someone having the right mix of temperament, ethics, experience and the like that’s needed to be an effective leader.

My guest in the podcast interview that accompanies this post would likely ask the question from a different perspective. Carol Himmelhoch is a professor of leadership at Siena Heights University and she’s recently published a monograph titled Transformational Leadership and High-Intensity Interval Training. If you’re familiar with CrossFit, you know what high-intensity interval training (HITT) is. Himmelhoch is a HITT devotee herself and started wondering about the connection between her avocation and vocation. She decided to explore whether or not physical fitness has an impact on leadership effectiveness.

Her research leads her to believe there is a connection. We recently had an interesting conversation about her work, which you can listen to here. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

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Does the path to more effective leadership run through the gym or the CrossFit box?

(Image via wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com)

How to Feel Amazing in Five Minutes

One of the ironic effects of the hyper-connected age we live in is that there is very little true listening going on. As I write about in my new book, there’s a lot of transient listening in which we’re so preoccupied with all the thoughts of our multitasking minds that we hear each other but don’t really listen.

Higher up the value chain is transactional listening in which we’re listening with the goal of accomplishing something or solving a problem.That’s important but doesn’t really do much for the heart and soul.

Then there’s transformational listening which is when we slow down, focus and listen to another person just for the sake of listening. It’s listening without distractions or in service of a particular agenda.

In a lot of my workshops and presentations on mindful leadership, I ask people to practice transformational listening. It’s a really simple process of asking people to work in groups of three where the first person talks about something important to them (it could be a family matter, a trip, a book they’re reading, something at work, anything really). The second person just listens and ...

Are You Driving Yourself Insane?

Last week, I had one of the more interesting and amazing conversations I’ve ever had with a cab driver. His name was Husamettin. I’ve been in New York for the past week for a series of client meetings and interviews related to the launch of my new book. On the way to one of those interviews, I was talking with Husamettin about how he stays sane navigating the crazy traffic of Manhattan. He told me that he has been driving here for 30 years but if he hadn’t changed his approach to his job 25 years ago he probably wouldn’t even be alive today, let alone driving.

For his first five years behind the wheel, he told me, he used to lean on his horn, yell and stress out every time he was cut off in traffic. Years of that kind of stress led to stomach ulcers so severe that he couldn’t even take a sip of coffee or orange juice without it feeling like someone was sticking a knife in his gut. He chose to make a change that likely saved his life.

“I decided I was going to wake up smiling every morning ...