Helpful Insights from Bruce Lee



Bruce Lee

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. A man must constantly exceed his level.

By adopting a certain physical posture, a resonant chord is struck in spirit.

I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.

–Bruce Lee




Responding to Stress

Dr Hans Selye

One topic eventually appears in nearly every conversation with my executive coaching clients: stress. Everyone is aware of increased stress. For many, stress is the dominant experience. Let’s examine the mechanism, symptoms, and treatments.

Stress is a word imported from engineering, where it refers to pressure sufficient to cause a body to deform. High stress can permanently alter the form and function of the material bearing the load, even to the point of destruction. No wonder that endocrinologist Hans Selye chose stress to describe the reactions of lab rats to his injections of what would later be labeled stress hormones: cortisol, adrenaline, etc. You and I do not need an injection to experience the symptoms of stress; we make plenty of these hormones ourselves.

Some immediate symptoms of excessive emotional stress are:

A Maestro of Centering



Lorin MaazelI make simple techniques for achieving calm and centering a foundation practice in my executive coaching. You can download my podcast instructions here, Find Your Center Before You Act.

I recently heard conductor Lorin Maazel tell NPR’s Terry Gross how important centering is to his ability to perform effectively and avoid injury, even at his “advanced age.” You can hear his two minutes of instruction by clicking here. The evident skepticism in Ms. Gross’s voice tells me that she had not yet adopted deep breathing and conscious muscle relaxation as a regular practice. I hope the maestro’s endorsement moved her to try centering.  The complete episode of NPR’s Fresh Air is available here.



Click here to learn how to center.




© 2009 Tony Mayo

Ready Position

Richard Strozzi-Heckler

I was in a training last week with Richard Strozzi-Heckler. The first exercise he led the group in was a centering practice I also teach. You can listen to the podcast here: Find Your Center Before You Act. The next day, Richard told us a story in which his centering practice saved a presentation–and his lungs.

While studying ai-ki-do in Japan, Richard was asked by his instructor to come with him to help with a demonstration for a group of teenagers. At the school, Richard donned a heavy leather shirt. His master handed him a sword and told him, “When I fire this arrow at you strike it with your sword.” Strozzi had never seen, much less been instructed in or practiced, this procedure but one does not quibble with one’s Japanese ai-ki-do master.

As he stood on stage while the master spoke to the teenagers, Strozzi’s head was filled with (more…)

Find your center before you act.


Click here for Tony Mayo's podcast

Your disposition in this moment constrains the actions you might take in the next. If you are sitting at a desk you cannot immediately leap forward. If you are angry, you are not able to gently embrace your antagonist. If you are speaking loudly and quickly, you cannot listen to subtle cues.

There is a place from which the broadest variety of actions is possible: the (more…)

Boss’s Guide to an (Almost) Worry-free Vacation


Here’s an article I had published as the cover story of the August 1997, issue of Small Business News. My executive coaching clients still find it useful.

Small Business News August 1997

I remember when I sold my first business and got a “real job.” A “real” job is the kind with set hours, limited responsibilities, and weekends off.

Weekends off! What an alien concept. Once I got used to the idea of free time and stopped bringing “special projects” and extra reading home, I noticed something very odd. I got a whole lot more done on the Mondays after a relaxing weekend than I had after struggling with work for seven (or seventy) straight days. Abe Lincoln is said to have declared that if he had eight hours to cut down a tree, he would spend four hours sharpening his saw. Vacation is for sharpening your most important tool: yourself.



Long-term Vacation Planning:

Grow your staff

I once asked the President of a division of a public company, “How do you account for your great success at such a young age?” After a moment’s reflection, he (more…)