Blow Your Cover

by Maureen Anderson

I love the advice Marshall Goldsmith gives parents. “You want your kids to be happy, right?” he said. “You go first. Let them watch you be happy.”

Marshall’s an executive coach, motivational speaker, and bestselling business author. We met at a job fair in Minneapolis, and shared a table at lunch. I can’t remember the question Marshall asked me about guilt, but I do remember the answer I blurted out: “I am one-hundred percent motivated by guilt.”

“Is that the example you want to give Katie?” he asked. “Do you want her to feel guilty when she’s done nothing wrong? Do you want her to knock herself out, then beat herself up for not doing more?”

Of course not.

“Well, then…”

The room got very quiet as I reached for a Kleenex. “Don’t worry,” Marshall said. “Everyone cries when I do this.”

“Let me ask you something,” he said, not letting up. “Pretend you’re ninety-five years old. What advice would that woman have for you?”

I thought about it for a moment.

“Give yourself some credit for what you’re pulling off,” I finally said.

“So do that,” he suggested. “Now. And often.”

Katie and I marked this lesson when we got home. “What do you think it means?” I asked. “It means,” she said with confidence, “when I want to play on the computer, you can go do your own thing and not worry about me. It was my idea.” This was back when Katie “played” on a computer versus using it now to socialize. But it’s been years, and we haven’t forgotten what Marshall taught us.

To this day, when I’m tempted to hover, one or both of us will look at each other and say, “Marshall Goldsmith.” That’s mommy mojo, if you’ll forgive me. And MOJO is the title of Marshall’s new book. You’ll find lots of great stories in it. Don’t believe me? Check out the podcast of my interview with him. It’ll be posted soon, and will be up for a few months.

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith was selected as the #1 Executive Coach in the World by, and one of the 10 Most Influential Management Thinkers in the World by Thinkers50 in both 2011 and 2013. He was also selected as the World’s Most Influential Leadership Thinker in 2011. Marshall was the highest rated executive coach on the Thinkers50 List in both 2011 and 2013. What Got You Here Won’t Get You Therewas listed as a top ten business bestseller for 2013 by INC Magazine / 800 CEO Read (for the seventh consecutive year). Marshall’s exciting new research on engagement is published in his newest bookTriggers (Crown, 2015).

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