Archive for character

Do You have the Qualities that Make Olympians World Class Inspirational Leaders?

Posted in Amanda A. Anthony, Inspiration, Leadership, Professional Development, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2012 by amandaaanthony

I started this entry 2 weeks ago, during the first days of the Olympics. Time passed & tugging guilt remained for not having made the time to finish it…turns out maybe I need to bookmark my own thoughts on what we can learn from Olympians. Read on & see what you think!


Competition Means Constant Improvement…Forever.

In the spirit of the Olympics, I can’t help but feel a little inspired by the greatest athletes in the world coming together for the toughest competitions in each of their sports.  What can we, as leaders, learn from Olympians? Here are some of the top qualities that come to mind:

Discipline: To me this is the most impressive quality of this caliber of athlete. These tremendous athletes & their families sacrifice so much to get them to where they can compete at this level.  Obviously the physical discipline to exercise, train, eat properly,sleep, recover, etc are evident.  What about the discipline to get up early, train long hours without quitting & make choices that enable them to stay “on track”?

Think about the families, who often have to make crucial choices, commitments…to practice financial discipline…to save & plan to come up with the resources necessary to get the best coaches & training opportunities for their Olympian.  To give up their own needs & wants to help fulfill the dreams of their loved one…that is something.

Perseverance: Haven’t we all wanted to quit? Every Olympian seems to talk about this, in a very matter-of-fact manner. To me, this quality is a double-sided admirable trait. On the first side, the sheer will to overcome challenge is admirable & aspirational. On the other side, the honesty & candid nature makes me admire & respect them even more. Admitting your moments of weakness in an articulate manner, in front of millions of people takes talent.

High Standards & Ownership: This only-the-best-is-good-enough mentality is contagious…like a tonic for success. Not settling for imperfections, trying to always do your best…no matter what. That is the core of any good leader. Even when these athletes don’t deliver #1, what you hear is that they tried their best, they will keep working, & usually acknowledging the superior performance of the winner. Wow. Let’s all emulate the articulation of this sentiment of respect.

Character: Overcoming Adversity: I can’t hide it. My favorite stories are the ones that bring a tear to my eye or cause me to call out to my husband, “Can you believe this?!” Many of these World-Class Athletes have overcome hardship I cannot imagine…yet accomplished things out of my personal reach. Again, WOW. What is it that sets them apart? I believe it is their ability to overcome adversity. The drivers vary between individuals but much of it boils down to sheer character. And that is a character I want to emulate.

Attitude: Failures lead to success. This is not a new concept if you read these types of writings.  Sacrifice & Failure are both merely stepping-stones to the place most of us want to be: Success. And there is no route that avoids these roadblocks….they are actually the rights of passage. The only question is what happens when each person confronts these challenges.  Olympians have the ability to maintain the right attitude to persevere to be successful NO MATTER WHAT. Attitude takes work, discipline, perseverance & character.

In other words, these leadership qualities to be the best winners in the world are interconnected…perhaps the ability to execute all at once is what sets them apart.

Wow. More World Records. Bigger Better Accomplishments. Who else is motivated to become the “Olympian” in their field? Four more years to take these examples until the next round of world class athletes appear to give us that special motivational tonic! Who is going to bottle it? See you in Rio, Baby


How about a Lighthearted Leadership “Swim” (Inspiration) to Start your Day?

Posted in Amanda A. Anthony, Inspiration, Leadership, Professional Development, Uncategorized, Work-Life Balance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2012 by amandaaanthony

Ready for a Swim?

One of the benefits of working from home (and for myself) is that having abandoned a very long commute, I gained the opportunity for “me” time early in my day (if I plan it right).  The other morning I went down to the International Swimming Hall of Fame to swim laps, only to find that the pool was closed to the public for a meet. I felt disappointed…but on my ride home, I noticed the ocean was perfectly flat, shining like glass. A moment of guilt bubbled in my belly, imagining going to the beach on a workday; then I decided: this is really a benefit of a flexible schedule & working for myself! So I quickly changed at home & crossed the street to the beach for some quick “laps”.

I dove into the ocean with my goggles & kick board, paddling past the tourists on vacation & the retirees half asleep to align myself with the shore. Then I set off down the shore, swimming parallel to the beach. Any swimmer knows the ocean is a different swim than a lap pool,  most notably because of the salt water (and in this case, the tourists frolicking around). The other major difference is that in the pool, it would be rare to feel little nibbles that send you unexpectedly flying to your feet….which is exactly what happened after about 5 minutes of kicking.

As I looked around above water I didn’t see anything formidable…no sharks! (Whew!) What I saw when I put my face in the water was a big surprise-a school of fish had been swimming beneath me the whole time & I had not even realized it! I was leading a bunch of little fish down the shore, which made me a little nervous at first (haven’t we all felt nervous as “new” leaders?!) but then I settled back into my kicking routine, eventually feeling confident again.

As I swam down the shore I occasionally dipped my head below the surface of the ocean.  It made me smile to see some courageous fish approaching my board, while others tried to get right up to my goggles. Even more surprising, the further I swam, the bigger the  school became! Lots of metaphors here…I will let you use your imagination;)

Not Just Another Fish in the Sea…Are You Leading Today?

As I approached the landmark to turn around to head back to my starting point, I wondered if my new little friends would continue without me up the shore. I had grown comfortable with my new little buddies & the thought of swimming home alone suddenly felt like it would be a little lonely.  As it turned out, when I made the turn, they broke out of formation into a random little swarm beneath the sea…then when I started the other way, they made their way back into formation! They followed me all the way back until I made it to my exit point.

Whether it was my confidence, my large shadow or the color of my black swimsuit, it brought a little sunshine to my morning to think that even at the most unexpected times, when you lead-others will follow.  It made me smile; soaking in the sunshine, getting a little exercise & playfully thinking about blogging this little light fish story for you. Have a wonderful day…and remember: We are all leaders, even when we aren’t sure anyone is watching!

Please share your thoughts & connect with me!

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Have You Ever Not Closed a Sale? http://

Posted in Amanda A. Anthony, Communication, Inspiration, Leadership, Organizational Management, Professional Development, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by amandaaanthony

Have You Ever Not Closed a Sale? #sales #management #manager #leader #leadership #coaching #coach #character #inspire

Have You Ever Not Closed a Sale?

Posted in Communication, Inspiration, Leadership, Organizational Management, Professional Development with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by amandaaanthony

The Sales Manager in Me

I have been in professional sales for the last 12 years.  I say “professional” because I also had internships during university, waited tables, worked several retail positions…and ultimately “closed” quite a few times as a candidate (selling myself) to land these jobs which required selling skills.  Looking back at my childhood, I would say I had salesmanship in my heart all along, but only after graduating & securing that first job with a business card did I label myself as a professional.  I can share that I have been successful as a sales professional & leader, based not only on the results shown in my résumé, numbers & reviews, but also on my customer, distributor & external partner relationships & feedback.

The Guest “Sales Expert” Speaker in Me

A couple of years ago, an acquaintance asked me to speak to her Sales 101 Class at the local college she was teaching at about my experience in sales.  I was feeling a little nervous (ironically for someone who has literally been on thousands of sales calls), so I asked a former colleague & counterpart to join me.  It was great; after 4 years or so of not selling together we didn’t miss a beat.  We reviewed the basics in the “sales process“, seamlessly integrating examples & stories, finally getting to Q&A. Lots of great questions, but one stood out.

“Have You Ever Not Closed a Sale?”

You see, the audience was a group of mixed age & mixed background people like aspiring graphic designers, artists, future entrepreneurs with little “professional” experience in sales. It is the only question I remember from that day, to which I first laughed out loud & glanced over to my sidekick before answering,


“Of course. Probably more times than I can count.  In fact, I recently coached a person on my sales team that if you are hearing more yes than no in your meetings, you probably aren’t asking for enough from your customers.  Good sales people are always looking for more, so keep asking.”

This, of course, is assuming the sales person is closing at all with their customers in their calls, a fear that many young sales people struggle with until they come to terms with the fact that closing (& trial closing) is expected by the customer.  A sales person who doesn’t close will eventually lose the respect of their customers & may be viewed as a time-waster because let’s face facts….that is the nature of the business.

The Character of the Manager in Me

For some reason this moment has popped back into my head at many times since then in completely unrelated circumstances, & I wonder how others might respond….you see, I believe a person must acknowledge both easy & hard, success & failure, challenge & obstacle. In other words, state the facts & tell the truth (as a point of view, of course).  I wonder what others would say or do when faced with this type of question from a student or young professional getting started, standing in front of a group (potential reputation on the line?) or even in private.

I had a manager at one point in my career who had the tendency to change the recollection of the story depending on the audience, embellishing or eliminating details as needed to gain recognition or resources being sought.  Another manager who flat-out changed his recollection of history when things started changing direction or getting tough.  As an observer (and an overly upfront & transparent person) I could only guess both were trying to protect themselves: their personal careers and reputations. But as leaders, I lost a little respect for them in these character defining moments.

From the looks on the faces of these students, I believe my answer was a good one. In the end, nobody is perfect; all you can do is try your hardest. Learn, practice, evaluate, improve, repeat.

And remember that the choices we make as leaders reveal the character we choose to show to the world.  We may all end up in the same place, but I know which way I’d like to travel;)

Please share your thoughts and connect with me!

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Twitter: @amandaaanthony

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