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How To Lead High-Performing Teams with Scott O'Neil

Mar 24, 2022

Leadership is our greatest hope of creating a future of connection, peace and opportunity. Having a leadership title is very different from leading and some of the greatest leader's I've met or coached, have been those who act from a place of selfless service. Recently, I interviewed the multiple New York Times best-selling author Chester Elton and when we connected, he suggested that I connect with the former Philadelphia 76er's CEO, Scott O'Neil. Chester was incredibly impressed with Scott's leadership philopshopy and wanted me to get my hands on his new book, Be Where Your Feet Are (and yes, you really should order a copy!).

It was tremendous to sit down with Scott and get an insight into his thinking as a leader, a father and a husband.  If you would like to create a high-performance team culture, increase your staff retention and develop meaningful moments in your life then you really need to check out this week's Lead On Purpose show.

Here's a few insights we talked about:

API - Assume Positive Intent 

Be Where Your Feet Are - learning to be radically present with your work and your family

High Performance - How to Embrace High Performance Leadership

Work/Life Balance

 

Full Transcript

The following is the full transcript of this weeks episode of the Lead On Purpose Podcast with James Laughlin.

 

SPEAKERS 

Scott O'Neil, Author of “Be Where Your Feet Are”, Former CEO of The Philadelphia 76ers, USA 

James Laughlin, High Performance Leadership Coach and Seven Time World Champion, Christchurch, New Zealand 

 

James Laughlin 00:00 

Welcome to Lead on Purpose. I'm James Laughlin, former seven-time world champion musician, and now executive coach to global leaders and high performers. In every episode, I bring you an inspiring leader or expert to help you lead your life and business on purpose. Thanks for taking the time to connect today and investing in yourself. Enjoy the show. 

 

James Laughlin 00:29 

Scott O'Neil is one of the most recognized, connected, and dynamic executives in the sports and entertainment industry today. He has more than 25 years of experience leading NBA, NHL, and NFL teams and leagues, including the National Basketball Association, the Philadelphia 76ers, the New York Knicks, and many more. He is a Harvard Business School-educated CEO and contends that fostering a corporate culture find it in respect, diversity, employee development, and corporate social responsibility is what drives success. In today's episode, he's going to share with you some extraordinary insights from Be Where Your Feet Are, his most recent book. If you'd like to be more present, create meaningful moments in your life and lead with congruency, you're in for a great time today. Enjoy the show. 

 

James Laughlin 01:33 

Scott, a very Happy New Year. 

 

Scott O'Neil 01:36 

Happy New Year to you. Life is good. I'm happy, I'm healthy, my family is good and smiling. And I wish I were in New Zealand, but unfortunately, I'm tucked nice, neatly into my Philadelphia suburb. 

 

James Laughlin 01:51 

So great to connect with you. It was our friend Chester Elton that suggested we need to connect. So, I'm really glad we got a chance to actually do that. 

 

 

Scott O'Neil 02:00 

Chester, hopefully, he was wearing orange when he was on your show. What a wonderful soul, a dear friend, confidant, a mentor, teacher, somebody I listened to, learn from, and love every minute I get to spend with him. And he can't say any more good things about you than possible. So, he loved his experience. And I love the episode I listened to it. It's fantastic. 

 

James Laughlin 02:23 

Thanks so much, Scott. Well, we're here to start the conversation around Be Where Your Feet Are. So, I'd love to chat just initially about what that means to you. Yeah, you bring the book up. Let everyone see that. Everyone, grab a copy of this book.  

 

Scott O'Neil 02:38 

Shameless promotion, Be Where Your Feet Are. It is about being present. It is about creating memorable moments. When I speak in front of audiences, I've had a career in sports. And so when you speak in front of audiences, surprisingly, the first question I get almost every time is "How do you find work-life balance?" And I was like, "You don't, I never looked for balance, ever." It's like when you're on a seesaw. It's like the last thing I want to be is balanced. I want to spend the time I have in the most valuable way. I oftentimes think about my daughters in the morning, I've got three daughters, 22, 18, and 15 now, and so they're a little older, but when they were in their teens all together, it was pure chaos in our house. In the mornings, my wife and I would call it's like a sporting tournament like a single-elimination sport, it was just survival dance. By all, we want to do is get him out of the house without a nuclear meltdown. You know, someone spilled milk, knocked over the cereal, empty the cereal box, took a shirt, borrowed a sweatshirt, didn't have their phone charger, all this like nonsense. It'd be chaos. And like, I'm not trying to find any meaningful moments there because they don't exist. And so that is just transactional time I have to get through. And then I'm at work. They're at school, they've got cheerleading and basketball and boyfriends which I never want to talk about, homework and all these friends and you know, and then and I come home, it's like how much time do I have? Like to create meaningful moments with the three ladies that matter most to me in the world? My daughter's. 45 minutes? An hour? If we start thinking about time like that, the experiences we can have, the memories we can create. They say okay if I have an hour, how do I want to spend it while spending with my phone? In my hand is looking and checking my email? Do I want to like aimlessly flip on ESPN, I will just be sorting through my laptop? You know, sorting through social media, or I want to greet them and say, let's talk about school. What issues are you talking about at school? Let's talk about your friends, and what are your dreams? What do you want to accomplish? And there are so many issues in the world right now from global warming to social justice to being a global citizen. There are all these incredible topics that you can talk about. Let's talk about them. Or let's create an experience, let's play a game together. Let's talk about competing, winning, and losing with grace, let's go on a walk. Let's do something where we can create moments and memories. And so, it kind of dispels the notion of let's search for this, work-life balance, if you will. And I encourage you to be where your feet are. So, if I'm with you, I am with you, 100%. I'm not worried about what I had to do. Three hours earlier, or three hours later, I'm not thinking about my wife, who's at the dentist right now, that sounds like a lot of fun. I'm thinking about you. And I'm fully focused on where my feet are. 

 

 

James Laughlin 05:32 

I love that and for people who've struggled, I like to be present. So, when they get home, they've still got the phone going. Their maybe five-year-old is wanting to chat to them but hey, just I've got to deal with this work thing. I know, I'm home, but I'm not really. How do they change that? What's the pattern interrupt that can help them change that behavior? 

 

Scott O'Neil 05:52 

Yeah, guilty as charged, by the way. I'm a work in progress. I think we all are. Our life mission is just to, you know, aspirationally we're wholly present wherever we are. But I can tell you when I was working for the Philadelphia 76ers, we're in this historic turnaround. We went through a three-year period where we had lost more games over a three-year period than any team over a three-year period in the history of the league. Okay, so it was bad. And I remember, I'm very competitive, I have a competitive gene that won't quit. Losing hurt. It stings, like I'm the kid, last night, we're playing cards. I was flipping over the monopoly table. That was me. And I still had it, I hate to lose, I hate to lose a lot more than I love to win. So anyway, so we had particularly gotten pounded one night and I came home, and my wife heard me stomping around the kitchen, she came down, she's like, what's going on? I got home at 11:30 or so at night, after the game. So, what are you doing? I was like, what do you mean? She's like, you're stomping around here like a child, what's happening? And I was like, did you see our game? Like, yeah, all your game. She's like, well, anything you want to tell me I go anything I want to do you hear the boos? She's like, I didn't even need the TV on to hear the booze. That's how loud they were. And I said, well, I don't understand why you're questioning my mood. She's like, but this doesn't work. And I said, what doesn't work? She's like this. I'm like, What's this? She said you and your attitude. When you come home here, I need a husband, I need a father. I don't need this. So, you got to find a way. And oftentimes, like I do when I'm challenged, I get right into protection mode. I don't everybody deals with conflict differently. But I like to debate so I get my neck up. And I was like, I can't, I need you to be more sensitive. I did that. You know that lovely, lovely, wonderful, wonderful defensive tool. And so then, nicely, I went to bed, woke up in the morning, after a nice, nice, nice sleep, and went to her and I said, I get it. She said, thank goodness, I was like, I'm going to work on it. And so, and for me working on it meant, how do you compartmentalize the stress at work, or something went wrong and getting home? How can you separate those two? And I was talking to a dear friend of mine, he said, Oh, it's the easiest thing in the world. I said, easiest? I said for me, it's the hardest. He said, no, I have this tree out back my house and I pull up my driveway, I get out of my car, put my hand on the tree. It's a worry tree, all my worries go through the tree, and I walk in the house, I'm good to go. And I was like, hey, I've searched my property, there is no worry tree in my property. He's like, Nah, it's not an actual tree. And I was like, I have no idea what you're talking about. So, for me, I use my commute time home, like that's my howl at the noontime. And, and I know like my trigger is when I turn into that driveway, that's my trigger, where it's over. And then I walk in as a dad. And I know it's hard. But I will say that there are some little tricks of the trade you can do. One is to keep your phone in the car for the first couple of hours at your home. Because that's oftentimes our connective tissue to the stress of work. And another thing is to keep the TV off. You can set up rules for yourself. Like we have little arcade phone rules like we have no phones in the bedroom, and we have no phones in the kitchen. That's those are just family rules. My kids hate it by the way. But it breaks off it forces you to reconnect and be a human being. And so, for me, I think you need some period of time to decompress. And then when you walk through that threshold of the door, you've got to decide consciously every single day who you want to be and how you want to show up. And if you're like me and you need actual rules to put in place to make sure that you can abide by me. Do it. That's what we do. 

 

James Laughlin 10:01 

That's powerful. It's interesting when you talk about the time that you've got the valuable, intentional present time with your family. So, I read a study of it four years ago, and it was with North American CEOs, there's about 500 of them. And the study was around time spent and their values and what their priorities were in life. And the vast majority, let's say 95% said the family was their number one priority, and their values were driven around family. So then had to do a two-week time audit, and the time audit came back, and over 90% of them spent less than 3% of their time with their family. So, each day, it was about 43 minutes a day or less of quality time with their family. But during that time, they were still tending to want to go to their phones, still thinking or being mentally present in their workplace. So, I love that you're flipping that going, you can operate as a high performer, as a leader as a CEO. Plus, you can be where your feet are when you show up as a dad.  

 

Scott O'Neil 11:04 

But you have to give something up, right? Like life is about tradeoffs. And anybody who wants to accomplish anything great in life knows there's a fixed amount of time, like, we can't stretch time. But we have to prioritize differently. It's really interesting that when you mentioned that study, it's something I've done for several years, coach of mine in the US Spencer Hole kind of pushed me onto this, where it's about this concept in the book it's WMI "What's most important?", okay, and, and figuring out what's most important is pretty simple for CEOs. At work, it's pretty simple. Like three things matter most. And if you spend 65% or more of your time on those three things, you're more likely to be successful than otherwise, okay? I kind of expand that. So, I have those three things. And then you have relationships like they're usually three or four relationships that you need to attend to mind, my wife, Lisa, 26 years, if that relationship is solid, I am solid, if that relationship is shaky, I am shaky. So, I know I need that that's one that never moves that's always on my list. And there are two others. And it could be my daughter, it could be my mom, it could be a brother, it could be a friend, it could be somebody at work, it could be somebody in the community, it could be somebody from my church, somebody in there. And then there's a personal side, three things that matter most on the personal side. So, the audit is the key. Like that's the thing we're missing. Because when you write what's most important down in terms of your relationships, personally to you. And at work, it's all in your calendar. And now on the radio, I do it once a week. But you can do it once a month or once a quarter, hopefully, more than once a year. And then you actually find out where just the rubber meets the road like is what you're saying is most important actually how you're acting? When I first did it and did an audit. Now, remember, I said 65% for high performers. I was at 23%. Can you imagine? And so here I am like Mr. Big CEO, I've got everything covered. I know it all, I got my organization's cooking' I got the stage set. I was like, oh, man, I need to make some changes. And my changes had to be, you know, one of two things, I either had to change what I was saying was most important or changed my process and my behavior. And what was most important to me is really clear. It's always been clear in my life. And I had to change my process. And the one thing I had to learn was the magic word of No. And I know that's hard for people because I'm a people pleaser, I want you to be happy. When I meet somebody, I want them to like me. And that's just in my DNA. I don't have control over that. And so what can you say no to? Because you're going to have to clear time? And so personally for me, I know I have to take care of myself, for my body, and my soul every day. I know that I know I need sleep. I know I have to practice gratitude. I know I have to be where my feet are and put my phone down to keep my head up. That's my formula that I need time carved out in my calendar. Like I need meditation and prayer time. I need workout time. I need to learn time for me to operate well. And so I have to look okay, that's on my personal side. My relationships. How many times have we been at dinner with somebody who we don't want to be at dinner with? Because they call it Yeah, okay, I'll have lunch with you. Sure. But I will tell you like we have to be more disciplined and prudent and shrewd in terms of how we spend our time. Because time is our most precious resource beyond anything else. 

 

James Laughlin 14:41 

When you look at the time, this stuff fascinates me. I'll spend the first five days of the year just reflecting on last year deeply and then deeply planning what this year is going to be about my priorities. I really value time a lot. Possibly it's my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. So, when you look at the time and you look at it on a weekly or a daily basis, you know, how do you approach it? How do you structure it? How do you segment your time? 

 

Scott O'Neil 15:08 

You know, it's a, it's a wonderful question. And, you know, I spent the last, I guess, 15 years knee-deep work in an ungodly amount of hours 80-100 hours a week, I've been working six, seven days a week. In May, when I was at Madison Square Garden, I got to tell you, there was an event every night. And so I had to drag and I can't help myself like that. Like, I love it, you know? So, it's not that it's not a chore for me. It's for me, I have to pull myself away and say, Do I need to go to that game against the Timberwolves today or not? You know, because there's 50, college basketball games, boxing, tennis, UFC, Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, I mean, you could go, you could go to something every night, and your body can't handle that, your brain can't help you, your relationships can't heal, your family can't heal that. So, for me, I will say that those 15 years and six years devils in concert, the same thing over the last eight years since I've been HBSE. So, for now, it's very different. I have time for the first time in a really long time. And so, what my struggle has been, in this pause I'm in right now is to make sure that I'm doing, I'm prioritizing effectively, like you said, that I understand where I'm heading and why. And once I understand where I'm heading in why, and I understand my purpose, like what I do what was meaningful to me. And then I understand what's most important, that should direct most of my decisions. I can tell you, though, like I don't, I'm not interested in aimlessly playing Pokémon on a computer, you know, or on a little switch, or I'm not interested in PlayStation, and I don't get a lot of thrill out of binging for television. Like, I love people and connection. I love deals and business. I love growing companies; I like helping people. So, for me, like, my purpose is pretty clear. My why's is pretty clear. And that helps me prioritize and take the best advantage of my time. Up until the last six months, though I've had, you know, my time has been scheduled down to the 15-minute increment. So, it's been quite an adjustment and a wonderful one, and a unique one. But what I'm really enjoying 

 

James Laughlin 17:25 

Good, I'm glad to hear it. And it's interesting. You know, a few of the CEOs that I work with, one of the biggest time sucks for them is email. So, how does email sit on your radar? Does it suck a lot of your time? Or have you got a system in place where you don't spend a lot of time on it at all? 

 

Scott O'Neil 17:43 

Great question. Um, you know, Brendon Burchard, who's this wonderful, wonderful soul. And a good friend told me he gave me a great trick about 18 months ago, which I've been implementing. And that is to not be a slave to your text or emails. And his instruction, which I've been following is, please, please, please do not pick up your phone, first thing in the morning, and check your emails and texts. Because when you do and if you do, now you're on somebody else's schedule, and somebody else's agenda. So as a counsel which I take very seriously is, to have an intention for the day, have three things or four things I want to accomplish in a day. And make sure I do those before I lose me in my 100th email of the day. But it's a great distraction technique. It's no it's not too dissimilar from rolling through Tiktok or rolling through Instagram or checking Facebook or rolling strolling through LinkedIn. You know, emails become that for a lot of us. And so, I think the discipline of making sure you have your intention about what you want to accomplish first, then the email becomes your desserts the fun stuff. 

 

James Laughlin 18:58 

That's so good. I love it. And I love that you brought Brandon up. So, I've been studying Brandon stuff for a number of years, and for the last year I've been in a mastermind but one of Brandon's masterminds and a done by one. That's the thing that I remember he says look all your major work all your major tasks have them done by 1 pm. 

 

Scott O'Neil 19:16 

Yep, yeah, no, I love that. I love that you're, you've done the mastermind stuff. He is a different-level thinker. And a wonderful human being and a powerhouse. But more so. I mean, other than his incredible personality and presence in this crazy amazing business he's built his at his heart, you know, in his soul. He is driven to help people with higher performance. And what a great mission you know, not unlike yours, quite frankly. I mean, you two have seemed to have the same kind of karma, energy, vision, and mission to help others through high performance. It's pretty cool. Cool. I go through life. 

 

James Laughlin 19:56 

It's pretty special to watch what he's done and the highest credit over the last 20 years, it's amazing. He's an inspiration to us all. My pleasure. I wanted to chat a little bit to Scott just you had these massive roles, right Madison Square Garden, 76ers, many others acute roles. And it's, it's nice to talk about that retrospectively. And it's you can reflect on it. But I want to go back to before you got your first major role as a CEO as an executive. Did you ever have that self-doubt that imposter syndrome that like, oh my god, I'm applying for this thing? What if I get it? What will I do if I get it? 

 

Scott O'Neil 20:37 

Yeah, you know, I'm going to answer your question in an interesting way. I think that we're all straddled with some imposter syndrome. Okay, so I am, for sure. When I was younger, though, I was I was ambitious. Like, in the worst way, I was so ambitious, that I didn't even know ambition. I didn't understand the negative connotation around the word. That's how ambitious I was. I'm like, I'm going to be bad. And, you know, as I say to my daughters, you know, there's no Neil family trait, what we lack in talent, we make up for our confidence. So, I definitely had a will to earn a drive to be successful. Put that in quotes is because the definition of success moves over time. 51 years old, have adult children got a successful and incredible, like fulfilling and loving marriage. You know, I think those things matter more and more. The older you get, when you're young, you just like, as I tell you to go come work for me, like, work like any younger, it's like, we have work-life balance, like, like, you're 25 years old, you'd be working 100 hours a week, what else are you doing? But I didn't at that point, I'll tell you like a wonderful story. I have my wife Lisa to create a counterbalance for me. And I just remember her, just I remember the day like we had to move up to the New York area, which is a lot more expensive than when we were living. And I remember we had to pay, it was almost a million bucks for housing like we couldn't even conceive of it. Like we, you know, I'm a kid I grew up on, you know, government assistance. So, like I didn't, you know, I couldn't, I couldn't really process, and it was fine. It wasn't a great house; it was just an expensive, you know, expensive area and taxes were crazy. Like, the taxes we're paying for this house were more than our mortgage, our last house like I almost couldn't believe like we were not struggling but like, you know, we were fighting the fight. And, you know, my boss ended up burning mon has an incredible boss and at the NBA League office, and he went on to go run the Atlanta Hawks. And so, there was some question as to who would take his job, which was my first executive job. And, and I was the front runner internally. And I didn't know it, but I was and, and so my boss, David Stern, the great former commissioner of the NBA, calling and yelled at me about something and said, and I can't believe you're the ones going to get this job. And I was like, what job he's like, you know, John hung up the phone. I was like, oh, that's kind of cool. It's a nice way to let somebody know. But nonetheless, so I went home, I told my wife, I was like, hey, you know, I can't believe this. But like, I think I'm going to get promoted. It's like, Wow, that's awesome. Do you know? So sure enough, the next day, he calls me up screams at me about something. And he offered me a job. I was like, wow, that's fantastic. And I had a couple of things that I asked for in terms of people and structure. And, and he's like, you don't even know what you're going to make any you know, do you have any questions? I was like, you know, whatever you think is fair, would be awesome. You know, then he's like, get out. You know, it's like one of the old school leaders like screaming yeah, by the way, the most wonderful like a good human being who would, who would jump in front of a train for me, became a mentor until his final days passed away a couple of years ago, sadly. But he was tough, tough, and nasty. And so. So, I went home, I told my wife, I was like, hey, you're not going to believe this, but I think I'm going to get a nice raise. Do you know? She's like, Oh, good, good. Good for you. That's awesome. Thanks. So I go back in the next day, I'm dragging the story out too long. But effectively, I get raised almost doubles. When I was making, I thought I was making before I, you know, it was never, you know, so I came home. I was like, Lisa, you're not going to believe this. I'm making x. And she's like, she looks at me. She's like, think of all the people we can help. It's amazing. And I was like, yes. That and to me, like that is like the answer. I mean, she is, well, the store should speak on its own. 

 

James Laughlin 24:45 

I've got my comment. I'm sorry to interrupt you. But I got the Goosebumps like, she's amazing. 

 

Scott O'Neil 24:49 

Yeah, no, I mean, that's the reflection on that moment. Because, you know, in the beginning, I'm like, yes, we can help a lot of people. But when you're around when you surround yourself with people with extraordinary values, that push you to be the best version of yourself all the time, good things happen. And you know, we got married very young, I was 25, she was 24. And some people might call it lucky lady just got lucky with the right person. I said, maybe, but we always had alignment values, you know. And she certainly didn't marry me for my money, I couldn't even see her and me. And so, she stopped working. And I literally, my first when we first are dating, I remember something's wrong. My trunk was $25 to fix. I couldn't fix it. So, I just bungee cord it together. So we go for a date, am I going to be banging upside down? Anyway, so it's, you know, you go from that, like a woman who's just grounded and smart, and talented, and tough and full of love and grounded around the important things like family and faith, everything that matters, matters most to her all the time. You know, those are the moments in life, I'm talking about creating moments and memories. And that's a moment in my life, I'll never forget, I'm always grateful for her incredible example. So, I only tell you that because it's so counter to this notion of ambition or imposter syndrome. It's really like, can you take that stuff and just leave it on the side? And show up as your authentic self? And do something for humanity and other people? Can you help others? Can you know, we talked about purpose a little bit before on the pre-call. And I just said, like my mind, know what my purpose is, I know, I'm here to help create the next generation of great leaders in this business. That's what my purpose is. That's what I want to spend time on. And by the way, I do that at home with my daughters, I do that church, I work with these young men in my church. That's what I'm focusing on developing them as leaders, I go to work on focusing on developing young leaders. That's what I'm passionate about. That's what my purpose is. And it gives me direction, it gives me focus, it gives me some grounding my days off, you know, William Wallace, the warrior, are gone. It doesn't mean I don't work hard. It doesn't mean I don't have passion; it doesn't mean I don't have energy doesn't mean I have angst and intensity, and competitiveness, I have all that stuff. It's just the victories are different. My victories are about your victories. My victory is about your successes. My victories are about, hey, when you accomplish something, not when I accomplished something, my, my joy comes through the success of others. And that's the counterbalance. That gives me a grounding anchor that helps me avoid the pitfalls of this imposter syndrome, or, you know, the ambition or, you know, searching for the wrong, you know, kind of reaching for the wrong brass circle, you know, it's like, it's like, when you understand why you're put on this earth, I think that helps when you surround yourself with people of goodness and grounding. 

 

James Laughlin 28:09 

So true, the true definition of leadership, you've just said it as the service to others, and serving people wholeheartedly. To me, it's beautiful, what you just said, and it's when you think of human needs psychology, we all need to meet these basic needs of certainty, variety, significance, and connection. And most of us throughout our life, try to do that. And we're here to say there's one more time, you've got certain things, the first one that we try and meet, so that'd be like, I want to make sure that enough income got a roof over my head course. Right, and you've got variety, if you've too much certainty, gets a little bit boring. Also, search for variety, we want that holiday, we want that exotic food, then we go down, loving connection. So we want to feel that we have a deep connection as a need. It's not a one to two, we actually need to feel connected and loved. And to love, then it comes significance. Again, it's a need that we all have, we want to feel that we have some sense of significance, we what we bring to the table, and matters that we matter. Then if you can meet all those four are which is difficult, but we can do it, then you get into the spiritual needs. And that's contribution and growth. And a lot of people who jump straight, I just want to grow, grow, grow. Without meeting these basic needs. They have the sense of like; I'm learning lots and I'm maybe earning lots but something's missing. Like I just feel empty. So, when you meet those first four needs, then you can focus on what you're doing amazing as a contribution, getting back growing leaders, and growing yourself growing your mind. You mentioned earlier in the call like, I like to grow every day. I like to learn every day. 

 

Scott O'Neil 29:48 

I love that model I think that makes that's very it's intuitive and smart and is a great guide. The question is though for most of us We have to walk through the fire, you know? And, and how wonderful would it be to wake up and just be someone who, who can get to that final stage. But I will tell you that, you know, I've stood on the mountain, and it is freakin lonely. I will tell you that. Okay? And you look back down the mountain and what do you see you see the human connection, the people that you have who have helped you and the people you've helped, and the deal or the deal have gone badly, or the trip and fall over the route or the walk into a tree or the rain in half, that's the fun, the fun is that journey up. And when you get to the top of that mountain, if it's truly a mountain, and you are truly alone, and you are truly sitting up there by yourself, I gotta tell you now and he's all wrong. Again, it's not what you want to be, it's not where you want to be. And it's not with whom you want to be. Because you're standing up there solo. And once you have experienced that loneliness, it certainly is an opportunity to grow and expand who you are and who you aspire to be, and what contribution you want to make and who you can conserve, quite frankly. 

 

James Laughlin 31:19 

And when you think about that, because I actually had a client about two years ago, who wasn't a client at the time. But we met for a drink. And he said, James, it's really lonely at the top. Does it say what do you mean by that? Is Well, I started this company by myself, I then got one staff member and I've got like 200. And I don't know who to talk to you and I've got these things I'm dealing with, I can't talk to this person, I can't share this with this person. It's just really lonely at the top. And what I've heard you say is like, if it's lonely, then something's missing you you've missed out on something, you've done something wrong because you shouldn't be at the top and be lonely. It should be a partnership but should be you should be connected still to your people. 

 

Scott O'Neil 32:03 

Yeah, and I think that's right, that I don't get the analogy of a mountain. And it's one that some of us have clack I've climbed a mountain or two. And it's been rough. And but I think that analogy, I don't even like a mountain range. Because it seems like we'd be separate. It's more like, it's that connection and community. It's like, can you know how much stronger how much more comfortable? How much more grounded, how much more intentional can we be, if we're lifting others up? In many ways ahead of ourselves, right? That's is the coup de gras or that's the massive victory when you can be part of something special. And, and not only be driving, but also be learning and growing. It's really, it's functional, it's kind of four-dimensional in a way. And so different from that, that mountain that those of us have climbed, know how it feels. 

 

James Laughlin 32:58 

That's a beautiful analogy. I really like that. And I'm thinking, thinking about your book. So, for those who haven't read it yet, and for everyone that hasn't read it, please go and order, I'm going to put the link in all the show notes. So, people can go and order it. But what was the inspiration, or the point at which you were like, I need to write this book? And this is why I need to write it. 

 

 

Scott O'Neil 33:22 

You know, I suppose people write books for different reasons. You know, my lovely wife, the one who, who occasionally keeps me grounded. You know, she said that writing a book is the ultimate expression of ego, which I find it's really insightful. If you think about it, you don't think of ego in the most negative connotation, but don't think of it otherwise, either. You know, so when you think about that, what you're saying is like, look, I have something to say that other people should read. Okay, so she was right. And yeah, no, I didn't feel great when she said it, though. But on the other hand, and I agree with her. On the other hand, you know, my story is, is it's sad when I'm by my best friend Will Cardin took his own life. And I went into just a really, really rough tailspin. And I was with him a couple of weeks earlier. And we were at my brothers', and I put on this baseball tournament called Oh Bats every year and we have 50 some odd guys and we have you know, have a draft and uniforms and teams and it's kind of fun. Yeah, award ceremony and a whole deal. But um, he was there, and he was really down like his downs. I'd seen him and my only counsel to him was, I don't mean to chuckle but it's sad to what I said was choose happiness. It was my big advice. Okay. Serve others as like, just choose to be happy. Sometimes you could just make the choice and I stick. I said when I'm down I just serve I do some kind of service for others and that lifts me up. Yeah. And he must have been looking at me like this guy has lost his mind. Because I didn't understand the depths of his mental illness. And, you know, two or three weeks later, without a risk of being so graphic, he was in his parents' house and went up to the bedroom, took a shotgun, and shot himself in the head. And that was it. And that, and I got a call from a dear friend of ours, Jared Stone, and he said, have you heard, and I said her what? Um, and he said, Will, Will's gone, and I didn't hear anything else. He said, I just kind of was not in a good way. And I write about this in the book, but I'll tell you the story, hey, this guy's not the father of the year, I Lisa came up and she saw it was kind of shaking you crying? And I went, I went downstairs, she's like, yeah, tell the kids 

 

Scott O'Neil 36:00 

Before they see it on social media to get a text and I just said, Uncle Will's gone. Shot himself, I just walked away. And you've heard me talk about being grounded and being comfortable and confident. And I can tell you when. 

 

Scott O'Neil 36:30 

When you when you're dealing with, excuse me. Take your time. When you're dealing with overwhelming grief, which I was you know, I couldn't see straight, to be honest. A couple of weeks later, I was out, I had, the blessing of getting to speak at his funeral. And I left theirs in Arizona, and I left, I kind of fell apart, I mean, in a way that I didn't really understand. And I couldn't really get out of bed in the morning, I couldn't really fall asleep at night I would be in a meeting and somebody would say something, I would just kind of walk away and burst into tears and, and I just struggled with just it all and I began to write to like, was my guess my form of healing what, what I failed to do in hindsight, is I failed to raise my hand. You know, just like Will had quite frankly, and say like, Hey, I need some help. Like, I need to go see somebody or talk to somebody or get myself straight or right. And I and I didn't. And you know, my wife is I talked about her a lot already. But um, she's kind of, she's just steady, stable. And I'm not I go up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down. She just kind of, you know, in my worst moments, she's always there, helping and not, not in a, in a condescending way and not an aggressive way, not a passive-aggressive way. She just kind of helps you just kind of guide me back on the rails and she was struggling because we weren't like, I was not getting back on the rails. And she called her friend up Randal Wright, a credible author, he does a lot of faith-based books. And he's a good friend of mine, but much better friends with her. And so, he came up with I assume she called him and said like, hey, can you come up and talk to this guy like? And so, he came in, in this actually this office, and I was just like, hey, you doing all right? And I'm like, Yeah, I'm good. And he's like, Lisa says, you're writing a lot. I was like, Yeah, you know, it's kind of like a journal. And, and what I was writing was, I just found myself just some was just gibberish crap. And other than was just times in my life where I struggled and, and what I learned my lessons, and he's like, his view was like, Look, everybody likes you. You like he was, he's from Texas. And that's kind of like from like, almost like Western Australia. It's like that type of mentality. And he's essentially like you CEOs kind of like, you know, lecturing me. He's like, you know, you see as you write these books, and it's like, it's all about you and your successes and you know, you pat yourselves on the back and you know, put pictures of yourself with the President or some trophy you want he's like, this is the book we need. And I was like, this isn't a book. And this is like, just my own stuff. He's like, but what if now it's like, what if what he's like, but what if you could package this in a way that could help somebody? Would you do it? And I said I don't. That's not I didn't really, I couldn't get it. He's like, look, Scott. Like, from the outside everything's good. You live in this beautiful house, you got some amazing wife you got these three healthy kids, you know, you have this big job. You know you're, you're on TV, you're in a newspaper like people know you are. He's like, he's like, but what if, you know, what if it's not all perfect? Like, but it's not? Just like, I know, but nobody knows. That is like, you know, maybe, maybe there's something here. And so that that became your fear. That's what the book is. So, it's not if you're, if you're looking for a victory lap after victory lap, I'm certainly won't find it here. And if you're, you know, if you're, if you're looking to grow and, and learn a bit and stretch yourself and you know, understand my wife, Lisa, she said, good news. Like, they'll never be an expo say about you. Like, it's all here. You know, it's kind of cute. And, um, so it definitely walks through me like running a company into the ground and mistakes I made, it talks about me getting fired, it talks about, well, it talks about, you know, losing his own life and talks about me struggling with mental health. And talks about ups and downs of me with my daughters and, and what it's like being a dad of daughters and what it's like being married, and how does it work and how, like, the mistakes we make, you know, they're oftentimes private. And, and hopefully, it's like a roadmap and an anecdote to help you if you're ever, you know, in the tank or in the gutter or tripped and fell or are struggling in life. Hopefully, you'll find some common ground say like, hey, yeah, okay, this guy, he did it, I can do this. So that's the purpose, long story. And it was a little emotional for me to always want to talk about that story. But I appreciate that, and the platform. 

 

James Laughlin 42:30 

Now, thank you for sharing it. And thank you for sharing your emotions. I feel, and I know that I struggle to do that, particularly in a public setting. So, I think that you're leading the way, and how we should be expressing ourselves and being vulnerable and sharing our struggles, as opposed to sharing our trophies. And it's great to celebrate our successes, we've got to do that. But it's not our successes, who make us who we are. It's our struggles and our failures. And the book is simply amazing. So, there are a few things in the book that I want to just touch on. And this was something that our friend Chester had brought to the fore and talked about when we chatted, it was assumed positive intent API. So, I think it's crucial. It's a critical part of the book. And it says an amazing way for people to approach life in leadership at home. So where does API come from? And how can people apply that? 

 

Scott O'Neil 43:28 

Sure. So, it's borrowed, or stolen from Indra Nooyi, the former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. And I read an article like 20 years ago, and ever since that we've adopted our family as one of our mottos. So, assume positive 10 You could, if you came to our house, you would the last thing you see before you leave is it's carved in the slate if you went up to my daughter's rooms in my room, you'd see it carved into rocks. I'm in our room. It's something that we have. Don't ask me why I have chalkboards all over the house. Daughters are what we eat chocolates all over the house, and APIs are written on the chalkboard. I'm so for us, it's very much part of our language. It's I'm a huge believer, as a leader, and a leader it can be as a dad, a leader can be as a manager at work, it can be you know, a position you have at church or something you do in the community for service. You know, leadership takes on a whole host of different roles. But as leaders, we oftentimes have to repeat things. And I think that sometimes when I was a young leader, I used to frustrate me because I always want to talk about something different, and then my mentors and teachers and guides would say no, no, come back to the three things that matter and keep saying them over and over until you're sick to your stomach and the same another 1000 times. And that helps to create a common vision and it helps to create a common language and that language allows you too, gives you the license to challenge, we have an expression. At work, I used to say, hey, you don't have to like each other, but you have to love each other. Okay? And if I love you, James, I can say anything to you because you know, I love you. And I can say anything, and you know it emanating from a place of love. And I'm not trying to embarrass you, I'm not trying to make you look bad in my checking to make you feel like crap about yourself. I'm not trying to like the middle school you or teenage daughter, I'm literally here because I'm giving you feedback that is emanating from love. And so, no matter how I say no matter how I deliver it, you know that that emanates from. So, in our house, you'll hear API. So, you know, we'll be in the car and there'll be chaos in the car. We're going to New York City a couple of days ago to go see Music Man, Hugh Jackman, a great show. I'm probably not I've kind of gone off the ride. And there was a little bit of an attack on one of my daughters and my wife or my wife said API. And everybody knows like, okay, assume positive intent, okay? She wasn't trying to be disruptive. She wasn't trying to be difficult. She wasn't trying. She let's assume positive assume the best out of her. I remember. I'll walk through what it is in a second. I remember. Adam Davis is an incredible young man I've worked within a couple of different spots at Madison Square Garden. And Harris Blitzer sports entertainment. He was our chief revenue officer. And he came into the office on and he's like, just as hands up like Scott, I need your palms up. You just turned his hands up. That's another expression of palms up. And I need you to API. And what he was saying was something having to go wrong. The deal on South or something? He said I need your palms up. The palms up mean I need you open. I don't need you. I don't need this guy. I don't need Mr. Debate. You don't need to tell me what I did wrong. I don't need that guy. Right. I need you palms up; I need you to open and you're assuming positive intent. Assume positive intent with me. I don't know at the time; I need you to assume content with this deal. That's gone. So, I need your wisdom. I need your creativity. I need your experience. That's the guy I need right now. I don't need this guy. I don't need this guy. And it was really compelling. And the language we use at home, the language we use at work are very similar. Assuming positive 10. Don't wait I can express describe it best is if you do not assume positive attempt, you get an email from your partner, your friend, your spouse, your roommate. Going to be late tonight, and your first instinct is like you've got to be kidding. Or your boss sends you a text and you see at 12 and you break into a cold sweat. Now, your boss, she didn't say, I need to see you at 12 Because you're in trouble because you did something wrong. Because you're a terrible person. Because the deal is gone south because you're getting fired. But think about where your head goes. Right? It's a bad space to be instead of assuming positive things like terrific. 

 

Scott O'Neil 48:10 

All right, a great opportunity to see the boss. What a great opportunity. So yeah, it's a fundamental Mindshift. Or what about like, you know, mountain guides, you know, I was seeing these pictures. I'm not much of a hiker. But see these mountain guys, they're like stacked up with luggage. That's the only visual I can think of, to how most of us go through life. We're not assuming content. We have all this luggage. Well, James said this to me a year ago. And I remember James embarrassed me in the meeting. And every time I see him, he makes some kind of snide comment. So, I'm walking in, I'm assuming positive conversation. I'm walking in my back's up. Okay, I've got a protective shield. And I'm waiting for something bad to happen or what happens when I'm gripping that stick? So, type? Nothing good. Have you ever played? If you come in, you're just uptight and tense? Nah, sports are fluid and loose. It doesn't mean there's no intensity. Of course, there is there's an intensity to it. But I'm open to what's going to happen. I haven't predetermined what's going to happen because I predetermined that James is a jerk and he's difficult to deal with. And meetings with him always go badly. And I know this is going to go bad. How do you think that means is going to go? 

 

James Laughlin 49:22 

Totally. You're setting it up. 

 

Scott O'Neil 49:26 

I've already decided. I've predetermined what's going to happen. I walk in and you say, hey, Scott was just checking in on Oh, because you have to check up on me. Whoa, wait, whoa, assume positive intent, okay? Palms up, I need you here. Stay with me. So that gives you a glimpse I think it's a really powerful concept and the topic is really very pervasive in my life and every aspect of my life. 

 

James Laughlin 49:50 

I can see this like, honestly, I can see this playing out in my own family. You know, I live in New Zealand. My family lives in Ireland. And I've got my little boy here and my partner I think like there's times when we jump the gun, or we assume things with our family members that we've known for years. And it ends up in tension and friction. But if we get all adopt the assume positive intent palms up where everything changes, like, massively, 

 

Scott O'Neil 50:14 

Yeah, no, I think it does. I think the family stuff is strange, right? Like, it's the people that we love the most, to have the most connection to and with, and for the most important people in our lives. And yet, you know, somebody has a brother that they haven't spoken to in a month, or a mom who you just can't deal with, or, you know, the best example, are teenage girls with their moms. There is no assuming positive intent ever, you know, like, give yourselves and each other the benefit and give yourself grace. I mean, if there's one thing, it's like, get yourself grace. If there's one thing you want to write down, it's not what's most important, is not assume positive 10. It's like, give yourself grace. 

 

James Laughlin 51:00 

That's powerful. And it's interesting because I feel like in this day and age, we're constantly in a comparative model. So, we've talked about, you know, Instagram and whatnot and Facebook, and it's really hard to give yourself grace when you're looking on Instagram, and Whoa, that person did this? Well, they did that and their highlight reel, you know, so if somebody is finding it hard to give themselves a little bit of grace in life, like where do they start? 

 

Scott O'Neil 51:23 

Oh, man, you know, I think, at least for me, what I've experienced as a dad, as a husband, and as a leader at work, is that those who give themselves a break or grace for they look in the mirror, and they don't see the frailty, and they don't see the lines, they don't see the flaws. Instead, they see the big picture. I remember my dad; God rest his soul passed away. But um, I remember I was struggling as a teenager. And he brought a piece of paper in the room, and he just wrote a little. He just laid it on the table. And he says, Son, what do you see? And I was like a dot made my pencil. He's like, not, I want you to look again. I was like, I'm like, I think the old man's lost, you know, I was like, a dot. That's it. And he said, okay, you said there's a dot on, a piece of paper, piece papers, white, it sits on a beautiful maple table, in an incredible living room with some incredible craftsmanship. And what he was saying, I think is like, I think oftentimes we look for the mark in ourselves. And we're missing perspective, we're missing a bigger picture. So, I think that's where it starts, you know, to understand that we're more than that speck on a piece of paper, or we're more than the flaw that we see in ourselves. And then if you can just pull that lens back a little bit in life, I think that's probably the best place 

 

James Laughlin 53:23 

to start. I love that get out of the weeds and see it from that kind of dissociated spot like a satellite view. It's beautiful. I love it. 

 

Scott O'Neil 53:33 

Any of you had any tricks of the trade there? Where you've been able to either yourself, manage yourself into grace, or help others see Grace themselves? 

 

James Laughlin 53:46 

Great question. You know, for me, Grace says it starts with self-love. And Harry Potter, JK Rowling, the author put it nicely, now for some to love you. Some must loathe you. And we'll get that we understand that. And it adds a lot of perspective to our lives. But when it comes to ourselves, we all have some level of self-loathing. And you can either feed that, or you can diminish that. And I asked new clients to do one thing, and it's cringy. And they don't like it. And it's awkward, and it's weird. But it's about building the self-love muscle. And I think to give yourself grace, you've got to actually love yourself first. And so, I always say, hey, most of my calls or my coaching calls are on the phone here in a close-by mirror. And they're usually in an office or they're at home or they're in the car. Yeah, I can get to a mirror in the next kind of 10 seconds. Okay, great. Get to the mirror. And I want you to look in your own eyes like, okay, I want you to say something you maybe ever set up before you're going to set right now. I want you to look right in your eyes. It's the first time you've met yourself. I want you to say I love you. And my clients said what? Like, look in your eyes and say I love you know set with passion, I love you! Say in a funny way, send a cheeky way and get them to 10-15 times by the end of the like, this is quite funny. They'll say, well, how do you feel about yourself? I kinda love myself, like great, we've got to learn to love. And I feel like we can only access grace, once we can access self-love. 

 

Scott O'Neil 55:24 

That's wonderful. I love that. And you have ever done. My wife's mom was really big on affirmations. And we teach her a mercifully amazing woman, my mother-in-law, Janet Reynolds, but she would have my wife and her siblings sit in front of the mirror and say, like, I am smart, I am hardworking, I am strong. And like, it seems so like, I don't know, the 80s to be but think of the power of that. It's just it's very similar to what you're saying, I love the notion of you have to love yourself for yourself, Grace. And I love the notion of staring in front of a mirror and saying I love you. And that would be very painful for me as well. But there is the way the brain works, which very few people understand is like, it's not what you think it's not that you think of something, and you say something, it's when you actually say the words, it has an impact and measurable impact on your subconscious. When you did the opposite of what you said is like negative self-talk, I have a daughter who struggles with negative self-talk. It makes me nuts because I don't like you putting that in your head. I am ugly. I'm stupid. I hate myself. I'm like no, no, change the words. Like, flip that script. Because it does have a very, very, very real impact on how you see the world and how you go into the world. I love it. I love your attack I'm going to steal it. 

 

James Laughlin 56:51 

Go for it and absolutely go for it. It's so interesting what you said there. And you know, you're in the sports background. And I deal with a lot of professional athletes, but my background was in music. So, I was a drummer and competitive drummer. So, lots of adjudication and playing under pressure, and so forth. So, I find that the narrative and the vernacular that I used on the build-up to those World Championship titles greatly impacted how I performed on the day. And you know, the words that we use, I always think to myself, how can I be more exquisite? Or am I Irish? I grew up in a working-class time, you know, I've got all the words you can imagine including the profanities, right? I think, how can I be more exquisite in times of pressure or times when things aren't going right? How can I use better language? And even simple things like this, like, someone goes, hey, I just got promoted to CEO of the Bank of New Zealand, like, Wow, that's crazy. So right away that word. That's crazy. Like, it's not positive, or that's insane. Or, you know, that's sick, you know, hear people saying that's totally that's a sick dude. That's not exquisite, that doesn't actually marry up subconsciously with a beautiful experience. So that's definitely something I work a lot on with my clients is the words they use and I call it incantations. So, you've got incant ations and incan tation. So, I am too old. I'm too fat. Whereas that's an incant. Like, I just can't do that. Versus, I got this. I am enough. So, you've said it already. Those affirmations, how we structure those, and what we feel when we say those are so important. And you're getting the beads and saying that affirmation 100 times won't really have an effect until you feel what you're saying. So, you know, I often say when I drop my son off to school, and then I blast some of my favorite music, often country music, and I'll go through three incantations and it's often around fatherhood, and say, No, I'm a good dad. I'm a present father. And I'll say those with passion. And it just reminds me that, you know, sometimes I'm not often, and I just need to remind myself to do that. So, incantations for me are by just returning to the present and reminding myself of what the values are. So, with your book, I know that the book is very much focused on how to remain present and congruent. 

 

Scott O'Neil 59:17 

Yeah, there's a great, great, there's a, a wonderful story in the book about Shawn Nelson, who started Love Sac I don't know if you know, Love Sac, but it's Yep. Anyways. And, and he, he writes, he has a mantra that he has on his mirror, and he reads it every morning out loud. And I just, I love it. I think we'd all feel somewhat silly and awkward, and he doesn't. Like he's, he's just this wonderful soul who he knows who he wants to be as a dad. He knows who he wants to be as a husband. He knows who he wants to be as a leader. He knows who he wants to be in the church. He knows you want to be in the community. And he just reads it out loud every day. And for him, that's setting his intention every single day. I just love that practice 

 

James Laughlin 1:00:08 

Their leadership constitution takes me to this. This was fascinating. Can you please share with the audience? The whole idea of a leadership constitution?  

 

Scott O'Neil 1:00:17 

Sure. It's very similar. It's very similar to intention, it's just a bit more specified. So, you have to answer the question, I declare that I am dot, dot, dot. And then you have to answer you can count on me to be a dot, dot, dot, okay? We use this at work. It's a, it's really, I learned from rich Hill Gable consulting in Chicago, Illinois, in the US. And he walked our entire my brother's team at getting Well Network good healthcare IT company. And then I brought it to our company through him. And it's very similar. It's just declaring to the world who you are, we had them framed and put in our office. So, there was no, I know, I know, I know, who I am, I want you to know, and you can read it. And it takes about two or three weeks to go through and complete. But it was it's an exercise that everybody should do. So, I declare that I am you just say who you are. Um, you know, I wish I had mine in front of me. But it's something I start with mine to say. Something like, I'm a leader of leaders. You know, I wear my heart on my sleeve. You can count on me to be authentic to nudge you to push you, root for you. You know that I'll laugh with you cry with you. Even when you haven't laughed, or don't want to cry. So, it's a notion of the Ashlee authentic self. It's not, it's who you are. Not as much as you aspire to be. There is nothing negative in this. It's all positive. But the book walks through an exercise as to how you actually do it. But it's something like that, like your mantra, or like you're saying about, you know, your inclination. It's fantastic. I think we all need positive self-talk. And anything you use, whether it's the mantra, where it's a leadership constitution, or you have your, your affirmations, or you simply sit in front of a mirror and say, I love you, I am strong. I am willing, I am tough. I am smart. I'm going to do I coach a high school girls basketball team. We are eight and one by the way. Go, team. Yes. I'm going to do it today to start a practice. And can you imagine getting 14 High school girls to say, I am smart? I am strong. I like so we're going to see if we can do I'm going to put it to practice today. 

 

James Laughlin 1:02:55 

That to me, you are transforming humanity. One leader at a time with this high school team, one leader, one girl one conversation. That's amazing. 

 

 

 

Scott O'Neil 1:03:05 

That's why I love doing it. There's nothing. There's nothing like that age group. I don't everybody has liked a certain age group that they love. You know, I remember with our first baby, it wasn't that I was we had trouble having kids and had all kinds of issues. But when we had our first baby, I loved it. But like, you know, she's cute. She has no saying, you know, when they became teenagers, that's when I like, em, er, I love teenagers. I love their struggle. I love them trying to figure out who they are. I love their awkwardness. You know, I love them emerging and growing like that, that is a group of people that I love to spend time with. And so, getting to spend time with, you know, the same 17 kids every day. It's been quite a treat. 

 

James Laughlin 1:03:52 

That's so phenomenal. Well, there's a question I wanted to ask you before we get close to wrapping up. But over the years, you've had to select team members, whether they're athletes, or whether they're in administration or other leaders within your team. How do you go by and go in the girls' high school knows well, selecting team members? What do you look for? Obviously, there's a certain degree of talent or skill set. But more importantly, what are the other things that you look forward to saying that person will bring a lot to the team, and I can help grow that person? 

 

Scott O'Neil 1:04:24 

Yeah, first and foremost, is I like people who work unreasonably hard. So that's to me, and you know, in a perfect world, if you could, if you could sculpt that perfect person, I'd say it's somebody who works unreasonably hard. Someone who is intellectually curious, someone who's an extraordinary teammate, and someone who has light or passion in her eyes, whatever, however you fine I think those would be my four. You know, the reality is, is that I think, you know, other than the hard work things, I think that's a gene like I don't know if that's a learning skill or not, I think there are certain people who, who wake up in the morning and have gear. And whether that's because they grew up a certain way or were raised a certain way or that's another one, I have no idea. But there are those kids I'll work with till the end of time. intellectual curiosity is about like, what am I learning? You know, what I when I push kids and work and the same type of thing, it's like, what are you learning? Like outside of what you have to learn for school? What podcasts have you listened to? That Ted talks? What Article? Are you reading? What are you passionate about? Something outside of like your English class, or your social studies class, or your science class, I want you to find a passion and learn at work we get so tunnel vision, just works, work, work. We're in the sports business. I'm just reading everything on sports. And it's like, you know what I'm doing right now. I'm actually in blockchain technology. I'm interested in web 3.0 I'm interested in the metaverse, I think the whole world is changing. And I want to read that I get I mean, anything I get my hands on. But intellectual curiosity is an I think that is the one thing I've seen one characteristic I've seen that with highfliers. They're all intellectually curious about our learning all the time. 100%. Being an extraordinary teammate. Seems really, really trite. I will tell you though, especially when you're young in your career, I remember starting I was a 22-year-old kid and I was an assistant like a marketing system taking dictation and picking up dry cleaning and get lunch with people and doing all the terrible jobs. And I remember the guy to my cube to my right. He's now running CA Sports, which in my business is like the largest town agency in the world. And the guy to my left built the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and ran the Nets. And like, we were all kids, you know, and I think they're both very good friends of mine, but you're not going to have a new job. And I wonder like, what if that wasn't my thing, and I wasn't doing a concert that I love people and love connection and love helping people in this kind of what how I go through the world. But what if I didn't? Like what a missed opportunity? There are plenty of people in that group that went on to do extraordinary things as well. Let us think about those two guys. One to my right was my left. It's like we have these people. And when you start, if you think about like, not in a Machiavellian way, okay? Not like, Hey, I am going to do this. Because they will help me not I don't, I don't like that. I like, hey, you know what, we're all interconnected. And the world is really small, and life is long. What if I walked through intentionally my day, trying to help others serve others be a great teammate, see if I can be of help? It's amazing how that comes back around. And I can tell you, for me, it's come back around 1000 times. And I think that that's good. And then the last one in terms, of passion, it's a very different passion. And lightness is very different than hard work. Hard work is like putting the time that there's something you see, when kids have enlightened or us or adults, or people you work with. And, and they're excited, and they find passion. And it doesn't have to be passionate about, you know, a new project or a new job, it can be passionate about, like what we're having. Or, or, you know, a project we're working on, but then there's an excitement that's contagious. And, and I've seen extraordinary things done by ordinary people who did nothing else but have a light in our eyes. So those are the four things I'd lean into. 

 

James Laughlin 1:08:25 

That's incredible. Um, for people listening, Scott, I know that's going to be valuable when you're selecting staff members, team members, life partners like that, to me, that's, that's phenomenal. Thank you for sharing that. And one last question for you. And I always ask this right at the end. If give me you've got three daughters, so let's, let's use them at this point. So, if you had to leave the earth, and you had an opportunity to have a conversation with your three daughters, and they said that, how do we lead our lives with purpose? What would your answer be to that? 

 

Scott O'Neil 1:09:06 

I would say to them that, first I'd say that I love them and that they're remarkable. And then I want them to find their authentic selves over time. And I don't want them to try to be like anyone, I want them to carve their own path. So, I think that would be my first step for them is like find your authentic, authentic self. Secondly, I would say that I want them to be grounded in faith. And I know organized religion is not popular of the day. And while I subscribe to it, I don't advocate that for everybody or think everybody should run, go grab the scriptures and run the church. But I do believe that believing in a higher power does bring You have a grounding that we all need and provides a baseline of purpose. And then the third thing I would say is to leverage their skills, talents, abilities, and all the blessings they have in their life, to go help others. And that if they are authentic, that they have a strong sense of faith and who they are, and they serve others, that will be a life worth living. 

 

James Laughlin 1:10:34 

Wow. Scott, what comes from the heart, reaches the heart, and I felt like I felt that and I'm going to make sure you get a little clip of that, that you can if you feel like at any point that the share with your daughters when they're ready. That's stunning. And they'll be many people who have heard that. And if you're listening to this right now, I want you to take note, write those things down because it's powerful. It's a great way to live life, on your terms and define what success is to you. So, Scott, I just want to say a heartfelt thank you to anybody that's listening, please jump on to Amazon right now. And I'll put the links below, get the book order Be Where Your Feet Are. 

 

Scott O'Neil 1:11:09 

James, thank you very much. It's been quite a treat. You're an incredible voice for this rising generation. And I hope, you continue to do what you can to help us learn to be better leaders and make a difference in the world. 

 

James Laughlin 1:11:23 

Well, thank you so much. 

 

James Laughlin 1:11:33 

Thanks for tuning in today and investing in your own personal leadership. Please hit that subscribe button. And I'd love if you'd leave me a rating and review. I've got some amazing guests lined up for you in the coming weeks. And leaders. It's that time to get out there and to lead your life on purpose.