Never Let Them See You Sweat!

5 11 2013

I had ridden Rhythm, a 14 year old majestic Morgan horse, a few times before this recent visit to the barn.  Though today was going to be different. I was on my own.  For the first time, my riding instructor was not by my side.  I was confident.  As I lead Rhythm from the barn and to the riding arena I believed Rhythm and I were in sync.  It was going to be a great ride.

Sessel and Rhythm

 As I entered the ring, I glanced over my shoulder and noticed the only noise was of the wind rustling the colorful Fall leaves.  I prepared to step into the stirrups and sit in the saddle.  I took one more look around.  I was truly on my own.  Thoughts flashed through my head.  Is it smart to be riding alone?  Can I really handle this horse?  I mounted the saddle and settled in.  Now, I was nervous.  As I moved the reins into position, I thought this may not be such a great idea.  Just one guy sitting on top of a thousand pound horse ready to run!  I felt a bead of perspiration role down my brow. My hands shook.  As I eased Rhythm into a walk, his head shot up with excitement.  Was he nervous too?  Clearly this wasn’t going to be a nice walk around the ring that I had envisioned.

Rhythm sensed I was nervous, and he became jittery too.  We were heading towards the fence.  I had to pull him into a quick turn to keep us from hitting the fence.  I was breathing faster, and we tried again.  I knew I needed to calm down, however I couldn’t summon the “calm” I needed.  Once more Rhythm fought to run, then side to side he strained against my lead.  Rhythm stopped and I dismounted.  No way was this safe.  Defeated I took Rhythm back to the barn.

During my drive home, I reflected on my failed ride.   When I was calm, Rhythm was calm.  When I got nervous,  Rhythm got nervous.  Clearly I needed to pull my nerves under control.   Rhythm was sure that a nervous rider was on board.  And following my lead like all great horses do, he became nervous and tense himself.  As I turned into my garage, I realized this lesson in leadership applied to all that I do.

Just like our majestic horse, Rhythm, the great people I lead respond to my every emotion.  A leader has to be cool under pressure, calm during a crises, and energized to succeed against all forces all the time.  Your team will derive it’s strength from your demeanor, energy and enthusiasm for your strategic mission. You must control your nerves and emotions.  If you portray panic and fear, then they will wither like their leader and spread the negativity throughout the team.  So, to keep your team inspired and driving towards success, never let them see you sweat!

Tips for keeping calm in the storm:

  1. Daily am exercise!  Sound body, sound mind.
  2. Leave your home life at home.
  3. Play your favorite “pump up” tune during the last 5 minutes of your commute.
  4. Before you walk in the office tell yourself, “It’s show time baby!”
  5. Greet everyone with a smile and a vibrant “Good morning!”
  6. While at work, find a quiet place to regain composure if the pressure is mounting and refer to #4.

Let me know how it goes.

This Post was written by Mark Sessel, President/CEO of PFP


SUBJECT: Urgent! Important To Do item

17 07 2013


The email read:


I’m on the plane and just finished reading Leadership and Self Deception. I’d like you to read it over the next 2 weeks, so I can discuss it with you when I return. It will help you deal with me when I’m driving you crazy.

It’s an easy read and written in the “story” mode.  Please order the book by Monday.  Enjoy the upcoming holiday!





B#(!  $#!+

When Bill addresses you this way, you must oblige.  However, you are unable to send the reply until you had read the email about 30 times.  By the end, you had it memorized.  And you were muttering the words to yourself as you went about your day. “It will help you deal with me when I’m driving you crazy.”  Talk about reverse psychology!  C’mon. What is Bill thinking?  He is talking to YOU!  You can see right through that one.  So while Bill is enjoying himself on vacation sipping a cold frosty, you will reluctantly and defensively read the book! (great attitude, right?) Of course not!

You consider yourself a student of self- improvement.  you pride yourself on personal reflection coupled with an honest assessment.  You have read dozens of books, spent countless hours with your business coach and performed mental yoga to get where you are today.  You are an Eye-Cubed Leader with the ability to inspire, innovate and implement with the best of them.  “Self-Deception” my @$$!

But why did this email flatten you the way it did even before you opened page one of the book?  You were not in the mood for the lessons but had to think.  That is what Eye-Cubed Leadership is all about.  You would have loved the book from the outset if you selected it yourself and read it in the comfort of your bed, the privacy of your plane seat or on the cushion of your couch.  You didn’t want anyone thinking that you were leading in a world of self-deception.

So on Monday, having read the book, you stormed into Bill’s office,  didn’t say good morning to anyone and then saw him for the first time in over two weeks.

“Welcome back!  Good to see you”  You were hoping your boss couldn’t see through your anxiety and frustration.

“I have one question for you that will clear up everything for me and set me in the right direction for the rest of the day.  That book……something about self-deception…….Did you have our entire Sr. Management team read that or was that just for me?”  Could Bill see the vein in your neck pulsating?

“No.  Not at all.  I got that for all of my direct reports.  I loved the book and was wondering if others felt that way as well.  I don’t push books out to the entire management team anymore unless I get positive feedback first.  Why do you ask?”

Your heart calmed down.  The heat behind your eyes chilled.  Your anxiety disappeared.  And now you could laugh!  And you did.

As you were about to walk out of Bill’s office, you contended, “Bill, you have no idea what I went through since you sent that email.  I bet all of us felt that way.  While I haven’t heard from anyone about this book, I can imagine that each of us have been stressing about this over the past couple of weeks.  How funny is this!”

“I guess I blew it.” Bill exclaimed. “ Now you know that I need to read more of these books!  I have a lot to learn.”  He said with that grin going ear to ear.

“So do I!”  You thought to yourself.

It was all cool now.  You found out several of Bill’s reports felt the same way you had when you got the email.  Each of the direct reports handled it a little differently.  However, in the end, Bill simply wanted to expose his team to an interesting way of thinking.  He never would have predicted the outcome.


  • LESSON 1:              Be careful about the email directives that you send!  Eye Cubed Leaders consider the audience as well as the possible miscommunications that may arise.
  • LESSON2:            The most” URGENT:  Important to do item” may be to pick up the phone and ask what is going on.  Eye Cubed Leaders control their frustration by communicating openly and directly keeping it far from the boiling point.

Leadership As The Cornerstone of Inspiration

19 03 2013

To Lead!  To inspire others!  To motivate others!  To guide others!


Without the ability to lead, we would never have an opportunity to inspire and excel as an Eye-Cubed-U graduate.  And as we learned in the post “Leadership, The Prerequisite Of Inspiration”, we strive to achieve the status of “You da man!/wo-man! Leadership”.  Once achieved, we have the ability to inspire others throughout our lives.  The life cycles we move through present the forum to develop ones leadership quotient and build our inspirational platform.  Have you taken advantage of those moments or allowed them to pass by without personal growth and the necessary experience to be the inspirational force to others in your life?

Who to lead/inspire?

  • Friends
  • Classmates
  • Co-workers
  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Employees
  • Community
  • Executives
  • Partners
  • Parents

The potential world in which you inspire grows over time.  Ultimately, when you reach the pinnacle of leadership, you will experience a time period when inspiration and leadership will simultaneously be needed from you to most, if not all, of the groups listed above.  Imagine the day when your inspirational world is complete.  This responsibility can be considered a burden or an honor.  It could be overwhelming or personally “inspiring”.  People either run from it or sprint to it.  Each individual handles this reality differently (possesses different levels of leadership quotient) and as a result, rises to meet varying portions of the inspirational needs of each subset.

Leadership lighthouse

I believe I am there today.  I am at a special point in my life.  And I consider this an honor, a challenge and a responsibility.  While everyone needs inspiration, it can never be accomplished using a cookie-cutter approach.  Like management, coaching and leadership, inspiration is a very personal emotion.  My children are inspired very differently compared to my partners.  The executives working with me in PFP gain their inspirational infusion in a significantly unique way compared to my employees.  And I realize, over the past few years, my parents look towards me for inspiration as well.  They too have special trigger-points that push them, motivate them and ultimately inspire them.  My leadership quotient is at a particular high point in my because I am capable of providing inspiration in a flexible manner based on my targeted group or individual.

I recognize that leadership and athleticism have something in common.  To be truly great, one needs to practice.  To maximize ones potential, one must take full advantage of every opportunity to gain experience, test newfound skills and challenge ones competitive thirst to be the best and “win”.  While the development period is definable, so too is the peak of athleticism and leadership.  There is a beginning, middle and end.

  1. Your children will not always need the same type of inspiration and leadership.
  2. Your community will develop new leaders over time as your position moves from being the active leader to the respected “elder statesman”.
  3. Your organization must execute succession planning and develop a new generation of leaders to inspire others in order to perpetuate corporate greatness.

However, this is not a story of sadness and futility.  It is never time to put oneself out to pasture and wait.  Rather, I propose two reactions.  The first is to “be in the moment” of leadership and truly inspire others when given the opportunity.  If you have the position as inspirational leader, take full advantage.   Second, and most importantly, personally measure and analyze your inspirational world.  Is there a group or sub-group you should be inspiring and leading yet you are not effective in that pursuit today?  Can you add to your world and begin inspiring others?


As of September 5th, 2012, I have decided to do just that.  If I possess the skill and qualification to be inspirational and lead others, my world has broadened to include an ever-widening network on LinkedIn, Twitter and WordPress.  Other social networks will be explored and the inspiration I deliver will spread over the worldwide web in a way I had never imagined.  I will inspire others online as well as face-to-face in presentations, Keynote addresses and all day experiences.  I will not stop broadening my network.

Perhaps the inspiration and leadership lifecycle has lengthened.  Join me on the path.  Inspire me to continue in Eye-Cubed style.  Lead me as I attempt to lead others.