TCU Legend LaDainian Tomlinson: Success Secrets in Work and Life

What are the secret ingredients to a successful personal and professional life? How do we cut through the noise and the naysayers to stay focused on our goals?

LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU Hall of Famer and the NFL’s 5th all-time leading rusher, spoke to the TCU Alumni Association in Dallas on Friday.

Here are just a few key insights from LT’s Q&A:

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How To Collaborate Like The Beatles

Spring, 1967 – Abbey Road, Studio Two

As even casual Beatles fans know, Paul McCartney’s lyrics lean towards glass-half full optimism: “It’s getting better all the time,” “I’ll follow the sun,” and “We can work it out!”

Paul supplied an upbeat, hopeful lyrical ethos to the greatest selling band of all time. John Lennon, on the other hand, was a bit of a cynic…

This juxtaposition and the beauty of its outgrowth is wonderfully illustrated on the first day of recording “Getting Better” on March 9, 1967.

As McCartney tells it: “I was sitting there doing, ‘getting better all the time’ and John just said in his laconic way, ‘It couldn’t get no worse’ and I thought, ‘Oh, brilliant!’ This is exactly why I love writing with John…It was one of the ways we’d write. I’d have the song quite mapped out and he’d come in with a counter-melody…”

Paul sang, “It’s getting better.” John sang, “It couldn’t get no worse.”

The yin and the yang. Partly sunny and partly cloudy. Jab, Hook, Repeat.

Collaboration at its finest.

What can we learn from one of music history’s most prodigious examples of teamwork and how can we apply it in our own lives?

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One Game, Two Coaches–Super Bowl XLIX

Same Subject, Different Treatment

The late Roger Ebert once gave this bit of foundational film criticism insight: “It’s not what a movie is about; it’s how it is about it.”

In other words, the subject matter is one thing, but the treatment of it is another thing entirely. The “how” of a film is what gives the film its meaning, its identity, and what causes it to either succeed or fail.

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Carroll and the Seahawks: Relationship-Based Coaching

Today’s the big day. Millions of viewers, millions of dollars and millions of hours of preparation collide to determine this season’s Super Bowl winner.

How did these two final teams–the Seahawks and the Patriots–make it to the world’s biggest stage for the NFL’s biggest game? What do these teams do differently from the competition? Do they simply possess more raw talent, better coaches, or better week-in, week-out game plans?

I loved reading Pete Carroll and Dr. Michael Gervais’ approach to “relationship-based coaching” in Wednesday’s WSJ. If we’re looking for 21st century leaders who “get it,” we can start here.

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Do you behave dictatorially or collaboratively? Give advice or enable others to discover? Exert expertise or treat everyone as equals?

While effective coaching from managers increases employee engagement and commitment, coaching others does not always come naturally.

Improved collaborative listening skills and balancing advice versus discovering solutions together benefit employee engagement and the overall health of the organization.

Wise words from two of the world’s leadership development experts.

Finding the Balance Between Coaching and Managing – Jack Zenger, and Joseph Folkman – Harvard Business Review.