Renaissance for LEADERS

Peak Performance Resources for Leaders by Leaders

This is Water by David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace‘s 2005 commencement speech to the graduating class at Kenyon College is a timeless trove of wisdom.

This is Water

“Greetings parents and congratulations to Kenyon’s graduating class of 2005. There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

Finding Your Purpose and Living a Meaningful Life

In April of 1958, Hunter S. Thompson was 22 years old when he wrote this letter to his friend Hume Logan in response to a request for life advice.

Thompson’s letter, found in Letters of Note, offers thoughtful and profound advice.

April 22, 1958
57 Perry Street
New York City

Dear Hume,

You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal— to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

Leadership Advice from Marcus Aurelius

woman wearing white sleeveless top and black pencil skirt facing woman wearing pink sleeveless top and black pencil skirt leaning on wall

Dominance, Trustworthiness, and Competence in Body Motion During Speeches


  • Body movements of politicians giving speeches were turned into stick-figure videos.
  • Stimuli were rated on dominance, trustworthiness, and competence.
  • Simple nonverbal cues were linked to perceptions of dominance and trustworthiness.
  • Male speakers from opposition parties received the highest ratings on dominance.
  • Body motion has ecological validity and is a nonverbal cue of social relevance.

People read dominance, trustworthiness, and competence into the faces of politicians but do they also perceive such social qualities in other nonverbal cues? We transferred the body movements of politicians giving a speech onto animated stick figures and presented these stimuli to participants in a rating experiment.

Analyses revealed single-body postures of maximal expansiveness as strong predictors of perceived dominance. Also, stick figures producing expansive movements and many movements throughout the encoded sequences were judged high on dominance and low on trustworthiness.

In a second step, we divided our sample into speakers from the opposition parties and speakers that were part of the government, and male and female speakers. Male speakers from the opposition were rated higher on dominance but lower on trustworthiness than speakers from all other groups.

In conclusion, people use simple cues to make equally simple social categorizations. Moreover, the party status of male politicians seems to become visible in their body motions.

woman pointing at sky on seashore

ZONE Tips > Hand Gestures Increase Influence

A team of researchers from the Netherlands found that hand gestures, when used strategically, influence how certain words are heard. 

Participants were 20% more likely to hear and interpret the words being spoken when accompanied by a matching hand gesture and 40% as likely to hear the wrong word when the gestures did not match

Previous research has suggested that certain hand gestures can signal extraversion and dominance and that speaking with gestures, in general, tends to lead to being evaluated as warm, agreeable, and energetic.

– Molly Hanson

Expressing yourself with your voice, body, and hands can help you to get into the zone. Animating your communication helps you feel your message and transfer this same feeling to your audience.

Sadly, most people speak in a monotone and use little to no gestures. Boring!

Let’s get into the zone and express ourselves!

Who’s On Your Team?

Have you ever wondered why some leaders have lots of free time, make more money each year, and seem to have the golden touch?

Are they smarter or luckier?

If you are struggling more than you would like, have no time, and continually lurch from crisis to crisis, there is a way out.

The difference that makes the difference is the team. We all know that life is a team sport.

You are only as good as your team!

Your team isn’t limited to your employees. Who is on your board of directors? Do you have a formal board of advisors? Do you have a personal mentor or coach? These people will tell you what you need to hear versus what you want to hear.

Unless you are willing to be surrounded by people who expect more of you than you do, you will have people telling you what you want to hear and confirming that you are right — when you may be wrong.

Your team includes your suppliers and customers.

You work too hard if you aren’t part of a winning team.

The company’s leadership is the key person whose vision, energy, drive, and enthusiasm (or lack thereof) are the vital element, Lifeforce and the driving force behind the company and everything it does. A change at the top reverberates throughout the organization.

For most leaders, the responsibilities, fast-paced work environments, and constant challenges create stress and pressure to perform at higher and higher levels.

Who do you go to for support?

Who do you go to when there are conflicts and upsets with colleagues? How do you balance your work life with your family life? How does the work you take home impact your family?

Most leaders bottle all these conflicting agendas and emotions within themselves, causing additional stress and potential burnout. 

The world’s best athletes, actors, and musicians have coaches to fine-tune their performance, motivate them, keep them in check and balance, and provide a sounding board for ideas and problem-solving.

Likewise, an experienced coach can provide you with a competitive edge, a sounding board, and general counsel for problem-solving. Traditional therapists, counselors, and psychologists don’t work for most leaders, as their knowledge of business and organizations is limited.

Goldzone’s coaching service is very discrete support provided by experienced executives, highly trained in leadership, coaching, business, and personal development.

If you are sick and tired and ready for a change, contact a Goldzone Coach today!

Are We Entering a Period of Global Recession?

If you listen to the media, we are already in the grips of high inflation and descending into a global recession. True or not, the mantra becomes self-fulfilling.

We all have a personal economy that depends on us to take leadership. We will be disappointed if we wait for the government to save us. It is up to us to step up to our personal financial leadership and make the most of the uncertainty.

What will you do differently?

Surely, money in the bank loses value every day if it is not put to more productive use. With the stock market down by about 30%, that’s looking risky. How about real estate? In some markets, a drop of 23% is expected.

What will you do?

Personally, we are investing heavily to create intangible assets that go up when the market is down and go up even faster when the market is up.

What about you?


Author unknown.

Approximately thirty-thousand world leaders attended the Environmental Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. When the Dalai Lama was scheduled to speak, the tent was full, and the audience was excited. He walked onto the stage, looked out at the people, and said, “Above all, have compassion.” He then left the stage. There was nothing else he needed to say. 

When we think of compassion, we think of being kind to street people or those who are physically handicapped in some way. I am gaining a new understanding of this virtue. That is, to have compassion for everyone in whatever challenges they might be facing at any moment in time. To look with love at the mother who is screaming at her child in exasperation is an act of compassion. We don’t know what hardships she might be facing in her life that she is taking out on the child. We don’t know what model she had for parenting or how she was treated as a child. We don’t know what loss she may have just experienced. We can only love her just as she is. 

We don’t know the pain of a grossly overweight person whose eating habits are out of control. We don’t know that she was brutally raped as a child. We don’t know how she was jostled at the hospital or interrogated by the police. We don’t know that she took three showers a day to wash away the guilt and the disgust. We don’t know the fear she has of getting close to anyone because her mother was embarrassed by her rape. We don’t know that her father couldn’t look her in the eye afterward because of his pity for her. We don’t know that she thought her parents hated her. We can only love her just as she is. 

We don’t know the terror of a top executive who loses his job and doesn’t know how to live differently than he has. We can’t imagine his fear of being judged by his peers or by his children. We can’t imagine the humiliation he might experience in looking for a job or the frustration of being “overqualified.” We don’t know what it’s like to live with such a high level of adrenalin, created to deal with all the stress and anxiety. We can only love him just as he is. 

We don’t know why our father was so demanding. We don’t know that he was ten times harder on himself than he was on us. We don’t know that he never felt loved by his mother and that nothing he ever did was good enough. We don’t know when he insisted that we do chores that he wanted us to be able to do anything so that we would never be without money. We don’t know why he worked so hard, and we never saw him. We don’t know what he felt inside when he saw his father’s house sold at auction for taxes during the Depression. We can’t imagine his pain or his opinion of himself when he went bankrupt. We can only love him just as he is. 

We don’t know why that woman is promiscuous and has so little respect for herself. We don’t know that she was sexually abused by her stepfather. We don’t know that he said he’d do it to her little sister if she told. We don’t know that when she finally said “no,” he raped her little sister. We don’t know why her mother didn’t believe her. We don’t know that she never felt safe, even in her own home. We don’t know that she just wants someone to love her back and take care of her. We can only love her just as she is. 

We don’t know why our boss is always so cranky. We don’t understand the challenge of running a small company or not having quite enough for payroll. We don’t know the disappointment when the salespeople don’t make their quotas, and the bills still have to be paid. We don’t know what it’s like to deal with government regulations when you’re just a little one-man operation. We don’t know that his wife just asked him for a divorce. We can only love him just as he is. 

We can’t imagine why our teacher is always so hard on us. We don’t know that her fourth-grade teacher told her she was stupid and would never amount anything. We don’t know how much she loves us and wants us to succeed. We don’t know that she’s been watching her brother being eaten away by cancer. We don’t know that she just gave her sister-in-law the money she had been saving for new shoes. We can only love her just as she is. 

We don’t understand why our daughter tried marijuana. We don’t know that she’s terrified of becoming an adult. We don’t know that she’s only seen us struggle and felt our unspoken fears. We don’t know that she experimented with sex because she didn’t feel loved. We don’t know that she’s afraid of relationships because her parents divorced when she was two. We don’t know that she’s afraid she’ll never see her father again. We can only love her just as she is. 

We don’t know why our son became so angry. We don’t know that he had just seen his best friend with stitches all over his face and that it was another friend who beat him. We don’t know that he’s afraid of making new friends or not being accepted because he doesn’t do drugs. We don’t know that he is afraid to choose because he might make the wrong choice. We don’t know that he doesn’t want the same things we wanted because he never saw us enjoy life. We don’t know that he loves us even more than we love him. We can only love him just as he is. 

We never know what another person is experiencing. They never know what we might be going through. All we can do is offer compassion to ourselves and others all the time and ask for it in return. Just love me exactly as I am.

* * *

Be That One Person

By Buckminster Fuller

We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.

We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.

War is the ultimate tool of politics.

To expose a 4.2 trillion dollar ripoff of the American people by the stockholders of the 1000 largest corporations over the last one hundred years will be a tall order of business.

Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.

On Integrity

By Buckminster Fuller

I want you to think about this as individuals.  An individual will say to me, “What can I do?  What can I do?  I’m just a little tiny guy.”

And, I say, what you can do – I’m repeating something I said to you earlier – that we are really in the final examination – I did get, last night, to you that we are a function in the universe.  We’re here for local universe information gathering and local problem-solving in support of the integrity of an eternally regenerative universe.

But integrity is the essence.  In an invisible world, there are no visible aesthetics.  In an invisible world, the only aesthetic is integrity.  It’s our great computer world we’re going into.

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