Shift: Creating Better Tomorrows - Winning at Work and in Life
Photo Credit: Marco Catini Photography
Author: Michael O'Brien
Michael O'Brien helps leaders and teams create better tomorrows and results. His goal is to change lives through better executive/business leadership and cross-functional teamwork.
On the morning of July 11, 2001, Obrien was out on a cycling training ride before a corporate meeting. Obrien was hit head-on by an SUV that crossed into his lane while traveling 40 mph.
Obrien's doctors said if he had been unhealthy or 10 years older, he probably would have died that day.
From this experience, Obrien decided he would not be defined by his accident. Rather, Obrien would be defined by how he responded to the accident, and with that, he made the choice to recalibrate his approach to the rest of my life.
This book is a product of that mindset shift!
1. For people unfamiliar with your work, why do you call your crash your, “last bad day?
I believe that perspective matters and that we should always be testing our worldview. For me, I was determined to make July 11th, 2001 my last bad day. I had to hard work to search for the most optimistic perspective every day.
2. Who has been a mentor in your life and what have they taught you about leadership?
In "Shift", I write about David Kolb. David inspired me to become an executive coach. I learned that leadership is about awareness, empathy, reflection, and action. All qualities that David consistently demonstrated.
3. Did your “shift” after your near-death crash happen right away or did it still take time for you to realize things needed to change?
I had an a-ha moment during my recovery but it wasn’t a light switch moment. It was the start of my mindset shift. Some days I made great strides. Other days just small steps. I believe that every day is a chance to move forward and that has been the focus since my shift.
4. What are your morning rituals and how do they keep you motivated and alert throughout the day?
First thing I do is hydrate with 20 oz of water. Then I will do some stretching and core training followed by 10 minutes of meditation. Then I will look to prioritize the day. To keep motivated throughout the day I focus on my values and purpose. If I feel I’m keeping off track, I pause, breathe, and reflect back to my values to help me refocus.
"I believe that every day is a chance to move forward and that has been the focus since my shift."
5. What is the best book you have read in 2017?
Can I say Shift?:) I really enjoyed Quiet by Susan Cain this year, but to be honest, I’ve been so focused on releasing Shift that some of my personal and developmental reading has taken a back seat.
6. What is your best advice on getting through writer’s block?
Let go of trying to be perfect. Just write and forget the quality. You can edit later. Another trick is to do a voice recording and then transcribe the audio. I have found that that tends to help me get started again and helps me get back into my writer’s flow.
7. What was your writing process like for your book?
There were many starts and stops until I found the true reason to write "Shift". "Shift" is for my two daughters who were too young to remember the early days of my recovery. Once I found my memoir’s purpose, writing became easier for me. I didn’t write every day, but when I did write it was always in the morning.
8. What is the best way someone can make a shift without having to go through a near-death experience?
Great question - I’m hoping "Shift" will help people do just that. In "Shift", I offer 20 ways of being that will help people become their best at work and in life. I also believe that working on self-awareness is key and trying to understand what is happening in one’s life, why it is, and what can be done to improve your situation.
9. How has biking kept you focused on your visions?
My cycling serves many values. It provides me a health and wellness outlet and it is a constant reminder that we can overcome our challenges. It also provides me thinking time so I can stay focus on my purpose and priorities.
10. What is the biggest mistake you have made in business and what did you learn from it?
Every time I made it about me as a leader or as a coach, it backfired on me.
11. What age did you get into entrepreneurship?
"I also believe that working on self-awareness is key and trying to understand what is happening in one’s life, why it is, and what can be done to improve your situation."
Places To Find More From This Author:
Facebook: Michael Obrien
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