Today’s podcast, “Criteria for Breakthrough” is the audio from a webinar presented by Tony Mayo, The Business Owner’s Executive Coach. Listen to this recording and then join us for Tuesdays with Tony at Twelve, a weekly, free webinar where you can explore powerful executive coaching tools and ask Tony about applying them in your life and career.

Tony explains the meaning of a breakthrough, and discusses how to manage yourself and your environment to increase your chances of experiencing life-enhancing breakthroughs.

Video, handouts, and other resources from this and other webinars are available for free at:

Video of this and other webinars are available on Tony’s YouTube channel at

You may participate for free each Tuesday at noon, US eastern time. Click here to register at the Zoom conferencing service:

Just click here to listen now or subscribe on your device using Apple’s Tunes, Android, and other podcatchers to have this and all new episodes placed on your device as they become available.

Thanks to MusicOpen for providing public domain recordings of Beethoven.

Mostly for the benefit of the web indexing engines.

Bring your own circumstances and considerations to this conversation. Please join me at the zoom meeting if you’re watching on Facebook Live. The link is in the post right there so you can get through the zoom and join me

Over there where we can interact and work together a bit better around looking around making sure all the screens are working. I’ve got my desktop connected to zoom, which is where I’m speaking to you, or I’ll be able to hear you.

I’ve also got my laptop with a separate webcam and that is doing the Facebook Live and I’m speaking I hope through that microphone.

Meanwhile, my Android phone is sitting on the charger showing you what’s going out over the zoom which right now is an excellent sharp shot of my right ear. OK. So today’s topic as I advertised and promised is the

The criteria for breakthrough and there it is up on the screen. So first, a few items to help you participate better and give a few more people an opportunity to Iraq, so

On each of my slides, I’ll be showing the link the Tony mail com slash Tuesday’s if I reference an article or resource.

That’s where it will be appearing in the next few days. It’s also we can find resources articles, videos, audio, and so on from previous Tuesdays with Tony at 12 so that’ll be on every slide as as a reminder for you.

You could ask your questions in the chat window if you read not speak out loud, I’m laying the people on Facebook be reminded. I’m not looking at the Facebook screen very often.


I may not notice your comments there and time to give you a proper response much better off joining me on zoom. Okay.

On zoom the the chat window works like this. So quick little video coming along just navigate over that part of your screen, click on it, open sort of an instant messaging application and you can type in your questions right there. I will see them eventually

All right. Now, last time we talked about the whole concept of breakthrough.

So what is a break. Well, it’s it’s it’s a traumatic event.

We’re seems that in an instant. So many things can change just in a moment like that.

But of course the deceptive part of these implosion videos and often the misleading aspect of looking at other people’s lives and the results. They’re getting

Is we don’t see what led up to that traumatic event. We just see the soundbite the quick little video clip.

Of our own life or someone else’s life and we don’t realize what went up to it, or in our own lives. We know a lot of things led up to it.

But we don’t know which ones. It was we don’t get to run the experiment over with a control group because it’s our life.

So it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what things we said or did or didn’t say say or didn’t do that created the opportunity for this sudden implosion this breakthrough, just like the implosion of a building a breakthrough in our own performance life satisfaction, our results and fulfillment.

In implosion of a building. It takes a great deal of detailed information and experience with the structure of the way things are with the how buildings or may what holds them up.

What is the root makes keeps them rigid what’s just for display so that they know exactly where to put their explosives.

And how to time the various explosives. She’ll watch that video and those like them carefully and there’s lots of one on youtube

You realize it’s not one big bang, like a bomb being dropped from an airplane. No, it’s a series of explosions.

So the things you week in the area where you want things to fall towards and then you break them away, so things can fall into that center that’s what happens with

Our breakthroughs in our life as well. Lots of seemingly small things that are crucially timed precisely placed so that we can get that traumatic, all of a sudden result.

So let’s talk some more about that. We know what a break. Like, let’s talk about

Any questions you may have. So far, looking over the chat window. I don’t see any of them to get Facebook a quick look. I don’t see any questions posted over there on Facebook. So let’s just move on to another review.

I talked about this overarching idea that is powerful insight about breakthroughs, is that you want to create a clearing for them so quickly a clearing is an environment that encourages what you’re looking for.

In the example I gave last time was an insight that came to me when I was at skyline driver National Park. They have particularly area called Big meadows, where there’s a big meadow.

And they mentioned that this area had been grassy for about a millennia.

Well, thousand years is a long time, especially since the rest of Shenandoah National Park is reclaimed homesteads and farmland with a forest. That’s very thick and dense now regrew just in the past. Oh 80 years or so.

So what was it that kept this area of meadow for another 950 years. Well, it turns out that the Native Americans would clear it and burn it to keep it that way.

Because they found that if you had a clearing in a wooded area that the deer would come out to feed on the grasses in new shoots

So this is an interesting insight. Imagine that you’re the leader of a business or a tribe, a stone age group, you need, dear.

To us there hides and their bonus for tools and the food for me and so on local you’re an area where there’s a lot of deer.

You essentially get two ways of approaching this problem. One is you get very stealthy and clever and study gears being sort of sneak up on them and get close enough to you know harvest one

Or you can create an environment clearing that attracts dear, so they come to you and you can harvest them at your own convenience.

Much of our life is like this. We spend a lot of time chasing and dragging in working in missing.

And what we want could come to us if we created an appropriate attractive clearing

Do you know how to create clearings now. Well, you are creating them. And what do your clearings create now create what what is your clearings are an opening for what do they attract well look at what you’re getting.

A life experiences. You’re having the results are producing your attitude and feeling about those results.

Are being attracted by the clearing that you are at your environment. Is that your business, your language, your job, your family, the clearing that those creating is attracting what you’re getting. I know it’s a tautology. But it could also be an insight.

Well, let’s take a look at this. Yeah. Suppose that you have the power over this and that gets a today’s topic. What are the criteria for breakthrough.

What is it that makes it possible for us to cause these breakthroughs.

Well, the two foundational insights and practices that make all of this possible. And I will tell you what they are, as soon as I figure out why this isn’t going up on the screen.

All right, we’re gonna flip around here. We’re is it. Okay, I think I’m seeing it now.

Alright. Slay settings.

I just see all the slides. Let’s flip through if you’re bang. Here we go.

These are the key insights. First, I am interpreting events. We don’t generally deal with or even notice the actual tangible, physical aspects of the world.

What we’re doing is taking the evidence of the senses of what’s going on around us discarding most of that information and taking the rest in processing through this very thick distorting filter of our preferences, our prejudices our ideas, our expectations.

And creating an interpretation.

You see,

This, this little bit of what happens in the world.

And we cover that with a thick layer of what does it mean to me. This is an insight that you can turn into a very powerful practice.

For example, when I’m coaching business owners on how to make announcements share information about the business with other people in their organization.

They have a certain set of assumptions background information intentions visions of the future.

That when they look at the announcement they were about to make. They interpret it like a business owner, because that’s what they are.

But it can be very powerful to take some time and often this takes another person to step out of your own head and look at it a different way. And that is

Not turned off this year for a moment. How do I stop share. There we go. Now you just looking at me, for better or worse, you’re looking at

Let’s think for a moment about

What it sound like to the employees when you make this announcement, because they’re going to be interpreting the room thick distorting filter.

Of their experiences, their background their fears their concerns, their hopes for the future, their doubts about the past, what they think of you as a boss.

So let’s try out how you communicate through their filter to get the message that you want to get across. We never just conveying information. Information is that tiny little speck of our communication. What happens beyond that is the interpretation that other people are putting on it.

So I said there were two foundational practices. One is to notice that I am interpreting events on dealing with my interpretation my conclusions my way of looking at it.

The next step is to realize that I can be a responsible for my interpretation. My interpretation doesn’t have to be something that’s just happening to me it’s happening by me.

So I can take on some responsibility for that interpretation to notice that I have assumptions about people, about how they are, what they deserve what I can rely upon them for

I discussed this with a group of business owners have a few years ago and they quickly gave me some examples of how they deal with this.

One mentioned that he was in continual conflict with one of his chief managers, the fellow who ran his warehouse and what he noticed was

Whenever that manager talked about something that wasn’t getting done that the boss really wanted to see happen the warehouse manager knew exactly who to blame this warehouse manager interpretation of work was people aren’t reliable.

People don’t do things carefully. They don’t follow through.

So the owner, my client had to realize that when he was trying to get some result created through his manager, the warehouse manager.

He had to deal with the fact that his wish house manager would be skeptical.

Of implementing new processes new procedures because he didn’t trust his employees table minute correctly that he’d be looking for behaviors on the

On the part of his employees for results created his warehouse that would give him ammunition to reinforce this thick distorting filter in know exactly who to blame for the owners ID and not being implemented.

So the owner realized, Okay, I have to explore with him, what might go wrong, who might drop the ball and then look at ways that we can make it less likely that the employees would do something the warehouse manager could interpret as blaming them.

This can change reality, you can change that little kernel of events and happenings that we will then interpret

So we’re shifting the interpretation from the warehouse manager is always blaming and I can’t get things done through him to

warehouse manager is very sensitive to what other people do. How can I communicate with him in a way that works, given his worldview. Now, no.

I’m not recommending that you go out there trying to change people’s worldview their standards, their methods for creating interpretations. I’m saying

I’m responsible for my interpretation of events. How can I shift the way I assume people going to behave so that I can be more effective with them.

And we set certain criteria. One of the people in this room that discuss this with set. He notices that blame is closely linked with feeling like the victim or as the Three Stooges used to say I’m a victim of circumstance.

That doesn’t give you much power when you’re a victim. What power do you have, but when you notice that you have a tendency to blame people

Results and and aren’t happening. You can say, well, maybe it’s not up to them. After all, I can’t control them. What good does it do me

To notice and believe that other people aren’t to blame. How can I shift the way I communicate so they’re more likely to cooperate or almost as valuable more likely to let me know that the cooperation is just not going to happen.


Some other ideas on how this might be apply for instance.

You blame is one phrase that can warn you that your interpretation may not be worth before you another can be it shouldn’t be this way.

The world shouldn’t do that. This kind of thing shouldn’t happen.

A wise coach once pointed out that

All suffering comes from the thought, this should not be think about that. Now when I say suffering. I don’t mean

pain or discomfort. I mean, you have nerves in your body. They send signals to your brain that mean pain. You could dedicated nerve cells that carry pain signals. If they’re triggered you feel pain.

I’m not saying the root of all pain is the thought that this shouldn’t be. I’m saying the root of all suffering. What’s the difference that same model, I talked about earlier is this little kernel of reality and event, which is a certain nerve being triggered.

But the big sick interpretation that distorting filter through which we work with that kernel of information from us could be suffering suffering is the interpretation that we add to the stimulus and suffering always comes from. It shouldn’t be this way.

Well, we can’t avoid all pain, it’s probably not a good idea anyway.

But we can reduce our suffering by when we notice yourself suffering to say, Why am I interpreting this pain in a way that increases the discomfort that increases my resistance to the way things are.

Maybe I can interpret this in a way that works for me.

You know, you could say to your warehouse manager. It’s got to be this way and then suffer with the fact that it doesn’t where you can say, I have some influence here. What kind of person would I have to be to have him be more effective.

Once I was doing some volunteer work for a really talented coach.

We were calling back people who’d expressed interest in the services of this organization that it was a task that most of us hated to do because mostly we get voicemail. And people didn’t call back. I mean, that seems to be the modern way.

And the coach said to us.

Who are you being

That people don’t think they need to call you back.

My first thought was, there’s nothing about my brain that’s going to change where that phone gets answered or not.

But maybe there’s something that’s coming through.

In the time I’m calling the amount of times that let it ring. The voicemail message I lead

What would happen if I dial that number.

From an attitude of this is the call. They’ve been waiting for. And I’m a person. They want to talk to you. It’s important for them that they talk to me.

Would that change something about the little kernel of events that will make it through the phone into that voice message. And you know what, when I started dialing those numbers as a person with a message that matter to them as a person whose phone calls gut returned

People started returning my phone calls, people started responding to my requests. I remember one of those calls I got the partner of a large consulting firm on the line.

And I told him what was happening. He said, Yes, that’s an event, I would very much like to go to and my college is in the car.

As a person with an important message that serve that person on the other end of the call my instinctive immediate response to my calendars in the car was

I’ll wait.

There was a couple of beats, because clearly the person on the other end of the call is accustomed to my calendars in the car.

expected me to say, well, you call me back. When you get around to and so on. But no, I wasn’t being someone who was an intrusion, someone who could be put off someone who didn’t matter. No, I was being someone who is of service to Him.

When someone who is committed to service for him to helping them get what he wanted.

Who’s acting on his assertion that it was an event he very much wanted to attend when that person said, Oh, wait. He thought that makes sense, put me on hold.

Went out to the parking lot came back with this calendar committed to the date and time. These are the things that can change when we take responsibility for the foundation practices, number one.

I am interpreting events. I’m acting on that interpretation.

And with that, I realize I can be responsible for my interpretation and change the way I respond to events. I like that word responsible

Able to respond not mechanically not like a machine with a very limited repertoire possible responses. No, I have the ability to choose response based on my commitments, based on what I’m aspiring to instead of the automatic way.

Just having a stimulus response out of fear out of

Not being okay. I just wanted to get it over with, you know, very wise coach once said to me, authentic behavior.

Are those actions not motivated by fear so much of what we do is motivated by fear trying to avoid a loss of face of property of position of opportunity.

So much more powerful so much more satisfying so much more energizing not the act from fear.

Vision and expectation and hope that’s being responsible for the fact that you are interpreting events all the time.

I almost said being responsible for your listening and that is what it means. I’ll put an article up on an occasion when I was

Very much not responsible for my listening until it was almost too late. But then I was able to come back and redeem the situation by accepting the fact that the way things were going the way other people were behaving.

Could be strongly influenced by how I was interpreting their actions and that if I shifted my interpretation.

Their actions would have more possibilities, just like clearing and area in a forest can make it possible for those very important dear to come to me.

So that I could harvest them at leisure without chasing them sneaking up on them and driving them back the camp. So thing are you chasing and dragging after your goals are you creating a clearing

Where those can happen. I’ll give you another business example of a clearing that made what was decided by the business happened more often.

Some time ago I visited the office, a fellow sold mainframe computers to the US government. This is back in the days when mainframes where that the big iron and there was almost entirely dominated by IBM, but there were a couple of alternative manufacturers of mainframe computers.

When I arrived at his office, I noticed it was something about it was something just so business like about it.

It was just seemed like an organization that work that moves smoothly. I couldn’t put my finger on it sat in the waiting room didn’t get it. I was escorted to the corner office to meet with the owner

Still wasn’t clear to me that but i. So I said to them, there’s something about your offices that says this organization is reliable, that your people get a job done.

I can’t figure out exactly what it is. He laughed. He says, I know what it is. It’s conscious. It’s chosen. So you see, he knows people are interpreting the environment of his office.

So he’s responsible. He’s responding to the fact that garner interpret well a mainframes a big investment.

And a non IBM mainframe is a little bit risky. So you need to give some people and some they exchanged it for that security. They may feel like they’re losing by going with a non IBM mainframe.

But he couldn’t go the the big consulting firm route of having wood panels brooms and expensive furniture and and people with lots of

Expensive prestigious degrees because he has to be the low bidder to get the job. He can’t be seen to be wasting any the government’s money. So what does he do

He repayments you office walls every six months he shampoos, the carpets every few weeks. The place is clean spotlessly every day is just something crisp, clean and efficient about the environment but doesn’t look expensive or a wasteful.

So he’s conveying he’s creating a clearing which people can feel safe that these folks are reliable that they care and they don’t even know what how it’s happening or what it’s costing


If you feel like a victim, that’s a red flag. If you’re blaming other people, that’s a red flag. If people are

Related to in a way that doesn’t support your commitments and your results. Think about it. What is the clearing you’re creating

That encourages people to behave that way. Now there are some very specific things we can do to shift the clearing that we are, and we’ll talk about those next time.

What are some of the criteria for creating a breakthrough or even better for allowing our breakthroughs to happen. Remember a breakthrough.

Is an escape from this sort of steady up and down maybe gradual improvement our lives to jump up to another level of performance that is discontinuous

But persistent and we now operating from a new baseline and getting new results, maybe even changing the access of how we judge things. That’s what it’s all about coaching to give you your breakthroughs.

Going to take a quick look to see if there any questions in the chat window. I don’t see any

And. Oh, thanks. Jonathan, I appreciate that comment coming from a real pro like Jonathan focused on Facebook.

And I assume he means rocking in a good way. Nothing. I’m fidgeting too much in my chair. Okay, here’s to your breakthroughs. I hope you do well and do it in a way that satisfies you in the people around you remember next Tuesday at noon will be doing it again.