Being Fully Human in the Time of the Coronavirus

Daniel Montgomery Reality

Agility is part of being fully present. Agility means having the mental and emotional resources to switch gears when life takes a turn for the worse. The coronavirus pandemic is absolutely a turn for the worse. It’s long be said that crisis brings out both the worst and the best in people. I fully believe that this is a difference in the presence or absence we bring to our crises. Absorbed in our own fears and suffering, we dehumanize ourselves and others. But when we fully engage our humanity, we become forces for good in the midst of terribly uncertainty. Today, as many of you are isolating and wondering about your future, we want you to know that we stand with you. Some of you may be adjusting to remote jobs, or fearing that there will be no job for you at all on the other side of this. Or, …

There’s A Place For Us | How to Be Present, Part 2

Daniel Montgomery Culture, Reality

Loving Where You Live Your Life Last week, we meditated on human finitude. We get a limited time on this earth. How should we spend it? How can we use it to the fullest? In his book The Life of the Beloved, writer Henri Nouwen insists: “There is stimulation, excitement, movement and a lot to see, hear, taste and enjoy. The world is only evil when you become its slave. … I believe deeply that all the good things our world has to offer are [ours] to enjoy.” (104)  How can we experience this version of the world, when we often feel the world making us prove our worth or feel not-at-home? How do we challenge and change the structures that reject us and make us believe we don’t belong? It starts by remembering that there is a place for us. Sometimes, we need to play around in a place …

Ash Wednesday: a time to think on death and legacy

You Are Going to Die | How to Be Present, Part 1

Daniel Montgomery Reality, self awareness

Death Makes You Fully Human DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO, Leadership Reality Lent: The Season of Death Many of my readers know about Ash Wednesday, and the familiar words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return”. If you’re not a churchgoer, you may have seen people sporting smudges of dirt on their heads in the vague shape of a cross. Maybe you asked why—or maybe you assumed that person needed a shower and kept your distance.  Church-goers and church skeptics alike live in the legacy of the Liturgical year. Even if you have no idea what that is, you still likely gather with the family on Easter. You bluster through the malls when Christmas comes around. And you probably know that the season of Lent starts a week from today.  The Liturgical Calendar is as old as Christianity itself. It has less to do with worship, …

white typewriter keys

The Mindful Leader | Part 6

Daniel Montgomery Reality

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality Are you a good storyteller? Whether it’s a Hollywood blockbuster or a children’s book, nothing has the power to arrest our attention like a well-told story. Successful leaders know this better than anyone: Want to capture an investor’s imagination? Tell a story. Need to motivate your employees to take action? Tell a story. Eager to sell your new product? Tell a story. PowerPoints and position papers don’t move people; stories do. Why? Because human beings are storied creatures. Like it or not, we’re all surrounded by narrative. What’s Your Story? The stories we tell ourselves can’t help but influence the stories we tell others. You can use a lot of words to describe me: Christian, husband, father, leader, Kentuckian. Each label draws out a different aspect of my personal story, even as it places me within a larger narrative: God’s story, my family, …

Strategy Meeting Blue Chairs

What is the Problem?

Daniel Montgomery Reality

LAUREN THARP COO Leadership Reality You’re sitting in a 3 p.m. meeting with a few other colleagues in the boardroom with your afternoon coffee. The team is doing a post-mortem on a recent strategic initiative, with one colleague providing their analysis and solutions, another on theirs, and the cycle goes on. Some of the back-and-forth banter almost feels like people are speaking different languages, not even addressing the same issues. As you sit there, you have this continued sense that the team is throwing dart after dart, completely missing the dartboard. At this point, you have two options. You could continue to hear the reports, make a conclusion and move on. Or you could listen to the uneasiness in your gut that’s telling you to keep pressing on. What is the problem? Defining Things Clearly One of my favorite leadership movies is Moneyball. Billy Bean, played by Brad Pitt, is …

black binoculars on ledge

Focus on Your “One Thing”

Daniel Montgomery Reality

JASON MYHRE Director of Marketing & Managing Partner for Eventide Asset Management “Take one day at a time Everything else you can leave behind Only one thing at a time Anything more really hurts your mind” Panda Bear (aka, Noah Lennox) in the song “Take Pills” Panda Bear’s album Person Pitch is in my pantheon of albums, and the lyrics above are from that album. The lyrics are straightforward: focus on one thing at a time. When it comes to business leadership, this sentiment can seem cute. “One thing at a time?! There are a million things on my plate!” a business leader might say. But this is no idealistic musing; it’s the key to both sanity and success. That’s the contention of the book The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, the NYTimes best seller by Gary Keller, cofounder of the real estate empire Keller Williams …

clocks on a wall

The Mindful Leader | Part 2

Daniel Montgomery Reality, self awareness

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality Have you ever had a morning like this one? It’s 9 AM. For the past hour, you’ve tried (and failed) to start in on your to-do list. For some reason, you can’t stop stressing about that upcoming meeting with senior leadership. So, you distract yourself with a little email. 30 minutes later, you decide to get back in the saddle and make a few phone calls. As soon as you pick up the phone, you remember the call you blew yesterday. Afraid to repeat that ugly performance, you fire up Facebook instead. You’re just going to check in and make sure you didn’t miss anything important, of course. Another half hour goes by. The phone rings. There’s an emergency in production. Congratulations! You just lost the rest of your day to crisis management. So much for that to-do list. Time is on my …

Silhouette mind clouds

The Mindful Leader | Part 1

Daniel Montgomery Reality, self awareness

DANIEL MONTGOMERY Founder & CEO Leadership Reality Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’ve been heads down for hours working on a critical project. You finally come up for air, only to realize it’s 6 PM and you’re not even halfway done. Your back is in knots from an entire day spent hunched over a laptop. You’ve not seen any of your team members since the morning huddle, much less interacted with anyone outside the digital wasteland that is social media. You’re tired and dejected. You’ve been busy for hours, but you have no clear sense why. You wonder whether anything you’ve accomplished—this week, this month, this year—is of any real and lasting value. Oh, and you just realized you promised to pick up the kids from soccer at 5:30… Have you been here? I know I have. For business leaders, it seems like we’re always chasing after that mythical sweet …

stadium seats

Three Leadership Lessons from The World’s Greatest Leader

Daniel Montgomery Reality

LAUREN THARP COO Leadership Reality An Unlikely Pick Who do you think was the world’s greatest leader, according to Fortune in 2017? This is a question I often ask in our workshops. I get all kinds of answers. Who would you say is the top leader right now? Elon Musk. He thinks in 100-year increments and is changing the way we approach transportation and energy. Jeff Bezos. Does anyone buy things in stores now? Amazon has changed the way we shop. Melinda Gates. Her foundation paid out $37 billion in grants in 2015 alone. Oprah. The most impactful talk-show host ever, right? These are all great leaders. But not the top-rated. Do you want to know who is? Theo Epstein. Anyone ever heard of him? An Unlikely Approach Theo Epstein is the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, and he changed the face of Cubs baseball history. More importantly, his …

What is Your PNR?

Daniel Montgomery Reality

LAUREN THARP COO Leadership Reality In the critically-acclaimed movie, Lady Bird, Lady Bird’s mother, a nurse, is constantly criticizing her daughter, born more out of the mother’s own anxieties regarding their finances than out of any desire to guide her daughter into adulthood. As Lady Bird complains about the fit of a dress she is trying on her mother says, “Well, I suggested you not have that second helping of pasta.” Then, “Honey, you seem upset about it, and I’m trying to help,” she adds as her daughter cries out in protest, “You’re giving me an eating disorder!” Finally, Lady Bird emerges from the dressing room in a pink, slightly sparkly number. “I love it,” she sighs. Her mother’s response: “Is it too pink?” While humorous on screen, the mother-daughter relationship is a wonderful mirror for the kind of leadership we can offer. One that is affirming and guiding, the …