Stub your Toe? Get Up ‘n Go

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you smile in the face of immediate adversity. Reading time 2:55.

     You got off on the wrong foot. You stumbled out of the block. Now you’re sure your project is doomed.

jack nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus

     Well cheer up! The most effective leaders battle back from tough starts. They stub their toe and get back up and go. Consider that:

      PABLO PICASSO was born dead.  His uncle –a physician- tried an innovative approach (breathing cigar smoke into the baby’s nostrils to shock the newborn’s lungs) and revived him. Picasso, the 20th century’s most innovative artist, turned a tough start into spectacular show over his lifetime.

      So did the following six sports legends.

   Jack Nicklaus

       JACK NICKLAUS,  the greatest professional golfer of all time, took his first swing as a professional golfer and drowned his golf ball. He hit his drive into the water.  From that pro exhibition match in Miami, Nicklaus went on to win a record 18 major tournaments including six Masters Championships, five PGA Championships, four US Opens and three British Opens. That’s two more than the combined total of Arnold Palmer (7) and Gary Player (9) and three times as many as Lee Trevino (6).  Tiger Woods (14) needs five more major victories to unseat Nicklaus.

 Lou Gehrig

       LOU GEHRIG struck out in his first at bat in the major leagues—on three straight pitches. Yet Gehrig went on to set 45 major league baseball records, including a then-record 2,130 starts over a 14-year span. Continue reading “Stub your Toe? Get Up ‘n Go”

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Partnering Power: How Sweet It Is

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you strengthen your partnerships. Reading time: 4:42.

           As a reporter with the Miami Herald in 1975, I met Jackie Gleason in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when he was promoting a professional golf tournament, the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic. He was honing his golf swing to host President Jerry Ford in a celebrity round with legendary entertainer Bob Hope and the greatest professional golfer at the time, Jack Nicklaus.

          And that sunny February morning Jackie Gleason taught me a leadership lesson I never expected and never have forgotten over these last 37 yearsl

Jackie Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners.
Jackie Gleason and Art Carney in The Honeymooners

      The Great One. That’s what the television entertainment world called Jackie Gleason. And no wonder. After all, he hosted  television programs in the 1950s-60s that dominated the airwaves —from The Honeymooners to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS — and made loud-mouth Ralph Kramden the most famous bus driver in New York.

       In fact,  the first time I heard Jackie Gleason’s voice live and in person on the golf course, he sounded more like the boisterous and cantakerous Ralph Kramden in the The Honeymooners who would yell at his wife: “Straight to the Moon, Alice.”

        Jackie Gleason was mad as hell. He stood about 50 yards away from me on the driving range. Gleason yelled at my photographer to stop taking photos (“Hey Pal, not now!”).  The Great One demanded to be left alone to concentrate on his golf swing.

      By the time I could intervene and introduce myself as something more than a pesky fan, I figured Ralph Kramden would also kick me “straight to the moon” when I requested an interview. Maybe I could hope he’d settle for just making one of his patented threats: “One of these days… POW!!! Right in the kisser!” I was wrong. In fact, Jackie Gleason taught me a lesson in leadership that surprised me, especially after I saw first hand how self-absorbed and arrogant he appeared to be based in his personal behavior during a practice round of golf. Continue reading “Partnering Power: How Sweet It Is”

Adversity Can Spark Exemplary Performance

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Are you having a bad day? Here are few historical examples to provide some relief .

       In the Civil War, Confederate General John Hood lost a leg and part of an arm.  But he could still perform. After the war, General Hood went on to father 11 children in 10 years—including three sets of twins.

           With adversity comes Power.

        For example in the early 1900s, golfers noticed that their golf balls flew farther when they were nicked or cut. In 1908, the Spaulding company started manufacturing golf balls with dimples.

  With adversity
Comes Durability.

         Forest rangers tells us that the sturdiest trees are found at the timberline where the storms strike with the most fury. See previous Leadership Mint on adversity enhancing durability. Continue reading “Adversity Can Spark Exemplary Performance”

Fatherhood: Jack Nicklaus Tees Up a Winner

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea on getting in touch with your humanity. Reading time: 6:11

            You may know Jack Nicklaus – the famed Golden Bear– as the greatest professional golfer of all time.

Jack Nicklaus in 1978
Jack Nicklaus in 1978

       But I got to know a very personal side of Jack Nicklaus –light years away from the golf course.

       And in the process he taught me a lesson in personal leadership that I never forgot:  Get in touch with your feelings –especially off the job– so that you can better focus your performance on the job.

Peter Jeff interviews Jack Nicklaus in Juy 1973

         It was 1973 and at 33 Jack Nicklaus was at the top of his game.

        The Golden Bear so dominated the professional golf world that three weeks later he would break Bobby Jones’ 43-year record for winning the most major golf championships. That’s a record Nicklaus still holds today 40 years later, a record that Tiger Woods still needs five majors to break.

          Back then,  I was a newspaper reporter for The Miami Herald in Florida. I worked out of the newspaper’s West Palm Beach, just 9 miles from Jack Nicklaus’ home in North Palm Beach.

 I Balked

        On Tuesday afternoon, July 24, 1973 The Miami Herald got a news tip from Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach that Jack Nicklaus would be visiting the nursery ward to see his fifth born child (Michael) for the first time.

        My editor assigned me to interview Jack Nicklaus at the hospital. I balked.  Continue reading “Fatherhood: Jack Nicklaus Tees Up a Winner”