"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

We are Co-creators of Our Reality


I was recently in South Africa and privileged to hear Zelda la Grange, Nelson Mandela’s personal assistant for 19 years, speak. In her book Good Morning, Mr. Mandela Ms. Grange relates many fascinating anecdotes about her time with Mandela. In her talk, one story powerfully spoke to me. During his time as president, Mr. Mandela was being challenged in court over one of his initiatives by the opposition. In her words:

(W)hen the President walked into court, he walked to the prosecuting lawyers first 

and shook hands with each and every one of them….

 I was angry.…why should he give them any attention or even be friendly with them? 

When I raised the incident with the President during tea time he taught me a lesson I would never forget: 

“Remember, the way you approach a person will determine how that person reacts to you.”

There you have it: our attitudes and behaviors frequently have a significant self-fulfilling prophecy component. Life is not a given. What we think and how we act powerfully impacts how our lives turn out. 

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

5 Powerful Ways to Protect Yourself From Negative Energy


1. Respond without Reacting: When you react, you are giving away your power, letting others or the situation control you. When you create a space between the stimuli and your response, you gain the power to respond effectively. “Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” – Thomas Jefferson

2. Stay Solution Oriented: The problem isn’t that there are problems, it’s that we unrealistically expect there won’t be and we fail to properly or fully prepare for the inevitable problems and we get irrationally upset when they do occur.

3. Focus on Responsibility and Correction/Recovery: Never play the Blame Game. Some folks feast on drama, living off the ups and downs of the emotional roller coaster ride it creates but it is a ride to nowhere. Stay calm and move on.

4. Don’t Take the Monkey: If it’s not your problem, don’t let someone else make it your problem. Set your boundaries. Given limited resources (time, energy, finances) every yes is a no. If you choose to say yes, be aware of what to you say no.

5. Surround yourself with Positive People: Some folks are energy vampires, others are shining lights of positive power. Choose your friends and associates carefully; the companions you pick to accompany you along life’s path powerfully impact how your life turns out. The wise farmer does not cast his seed upon rocky ground; you need people in your life who bring out the best in you and in turn who you can support, creating a wonderful upward virtuous cycle of mutual growth and learning.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Five Leadership Behaviors I Could Improve

good leader

Effective leaders are self-aware; you must be able to “go to the balcony” and evaluate your own behavior and how it impacts others. A common trap is to give ourselves the benefit of our best intentions but to judge others by outcomes alone and sometimes by our fearful interpretations of their behavior.

1. Raising My Voice with GREAT Caution: Call it “Excessive Intensity” or Fire in the Belly if you like BUT if I cause people to shut down, if I make folks reluctant to share bad news then I’ve created a climate of fear that is the very opposite of the transparency and open communication I need! 

2. Listen/Talk Ratio: A biggie! I may think I’m teaching or leading or sharing my vision BUT if I’m speaking, I’m not listening… and not learning or hearing important information or fully connecting with my team or their ideas and solutions.

3. Catastrophizing: Yes, “for want of a nail, a kingdom was lost” and yes, success is built of 1,000 details however if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority; too much drama spoils the soup i.e. “If every problem is a disaster and every detail the most important thing in the world” my overreaction can wear out my team.

4. Appreciation and Praise: Great teams put forth great effort on a regular basis and achieve extraordinary results with delightful regularity; it is easy to begin to take it for granted. If I want to keep excellence the norm: Notice it frequently, Acknowledge it gratefully, Praise it daily!

5. Avoid being the smartest person in the room: Maybe I am, maybe I’m not in terms of raw IQ, BUT the guy or gal dealing directly with the situation probably has more knowledge about the problem that makes them “situation specific” smarter! I may be the greatest jack of all trades of all time but everyone knows something I don’t, everyone has experiences that I don’t and points of view that can help. Perhaps the “smartest” person is the one most willing to ask for/accept help, the one most interested in listening and learning.

Closing Quotes:

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us; It wad frae mony a blunder free us!” – Robert Burns, 1759-1796

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” – C. S. Lewis, 1898-1963

“Organizations exist to serve. Period. Leaders live to serve. Period.” – Tom Peters, b. 1942

“Work is love made visible.” – Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1931, author, ‘The Prophet’

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier