Second Chances (#176)

“What would it be like if you were known only for the worst thing you had ever done?”

This question was how Cat Hoke, founder of multiple prison reform programs, started a resignation e-mail that she knew would destroy her career but save the Prison Entrepreneur Program (“PEP”) she had helped start in Texas and cared deeply about.

For over a decade, Hoke has been dedicated to helping incarcerated inmates have a second chance at life.  In fact, she’s the founder of Hustle 2.0, the program I took part in and dedicated two Friday Forwards posts to my perspectives a few weeks back.

Hoke’s also been the beneficiary of several important second chances of her own.

A surprise divorce led to a dark period in her life. During that time, she crossed personal boundaries with formerly incarcerated inmates who had been part of her program. The “sex scandal” that ensued led to her ouster from PEP in 2009 and the resignation e-mailed noted above. What followed this experience were days of self-loathing, loneliness and severe depression.

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WELCOME TO FRIDAY FORWARD

Friday Forward started as a note that I sent to my Acceleration Partners team each Friday morning. The goal was to provide inspiration around the concept of improvement and growth. I hoped to encourage our employees to want to achieve more in all areas of their lives, challenge their self-limiting beliefs and realize their true potential.

Soon, employees started sharing these notes with colleagues, friends and family who then reached out asking to be added to the list. As that list grew, I decided to open it up to anyone who wanted to receive the message.

Today, thanks largely to word of mouth, Friday Forward reaches over 100,000 people each week in fifty countries on six continents through e-mail, company intranets and Slack channels. I love hearing the stories of how Friday Forward is motivating teams, inspiring people to take action and apply the different concepts of capacity building, motivation, resilience and gratitude in their work and life. I’d be honored to have you join the community today.

Best Intentions (#175)

A few weeks back, I wrote about the “Varsity Blues” scandal in which some very misguided parents were charged with “helping” their children get into elite universities through fraud and bribes. Around that same time, I listened to an almost two-hour long podcast between Tim Ferriss and Lebron James. When Ferriss asked James about his parenting philosophy and his kids, one of whom is an aspiring…

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Winning Position (#174)

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to hear Boston Celtics’ President, Rick Gotham, give a presentation about the organization’s strategy and philosophy on winning. Every professional sports team wants to win, ideally every year, even though they know that’s not realistic or possible. One of the most interesting insights Gotham shared was that the Celtics realize that there is a certain amount of…

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Someone Else (#173)

Consider how many times you have thought, said or heard this statement: ”Someone should do something.” Serial entrepreneur, Jeff Hoffman, founder of Priceline, uBid and the company that built ticket kiosks in airports, was at a point a few years back where he felt some guilt about his tremendous financial success. Then, one night while he was watching the local news, a story came on…

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Moment of Clarity (#172)

Last year I attended a conference session titled, “Getting Clarity,” led by world-renowned clarity coach, Philip McKernan. Sitting in a circle, our group discussion began with a participant sharing that he’d been struggling with the decision about whether or not to sell his business.  When McKernan asked him if he liked his business, his response was that he hadn’t enjoyed coming to work for years….

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Unlocking Potential (#171)

Last week, I wrote about my incredible experience visiting a maximum-security prison with a group of business leaders. I also shared three lessons that I took away from it. I was touched by the notes I received from people around the world who vulnerably shared their reactions to that post and their personal stories related to incarceration – either through a similar program or with a…

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Inside Out (#170)

“We don’t fire warning shots, so if you hear gunfire, get down and against the wall.” Up until the Warden at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, CA spoke these words, I had been feeling relatively comfortable about my visit to the maximum-security prison. His statements, however, quickly snapped me and the 50 or so other entrepreneurs in my group back to reality. Our group…

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Trough & Peak (#169)

I often joke with my kids that most of the challenges they face are “First World problems,” and they’ve learned to remind me of the same thing. This phrase is a healthy reminder to be grateful for all the things we have and can do in our lives. It’s also about understanding that, in the grand scheme of things, what we identify as “problems” often…

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Wanting Better (#168)

As a Junior and Senior in college, I really wanted a job in management consulting. Many of my friends who were also seeking employment in this field benefited from plump internships, courtesy of their parents’ connections. As neither of my parents had contacts in that industry, I did not have that same luxury. At the time, it was frustrating. To get my foot in the…

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Asking Why (#167)

I’ve come across different versions of this famous “pot roast” parable but regardless of the rendition, each one demonstrates the difference between people and organizations experiencing mediocrity and those achieving greatness. A mother was preparing a pot roast for her family’s Easter meal while her young daughter helped. Knowing her daughter was very curious, the mother clarified each step. As she was preparing to put…

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Going Dark (#166)

As a professional services firm, prospective clients often ask members of our team to provide detailed proposals, estimates and supporting materials as part of their evaluation process. While there’s no guarantee we will get the work, fulfilling these requests takes time, energy and resources, something that most prospects value and appreciate. However, over the past few years, I’ve noticed a rise in professional “ghosting.” Ghosting has…

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