Archive for the ‘ Leading From Within related… ’ Category

A Self-Coaching Took & Process that Works!

From the desk of Greg Giesen, founder and CEO of The Laughing Leader

Warning! Warning! This blog is only for self-aware individuals who are passionate about life and their place in it…those people who see personal growth as an ongoing adventure with no beginning or end…and who know themselves, their purpose, and the mark they want to leave on the world.

Excellent, you’re still with me! Thanks for reading on.

Today I’d like to introduce to you what I call, My Accountability List. It’s the perfect self-coaching tool that will:

  • Help you identify (and spell out) your purpose, passions, and core values
  • Highlight and reward your growth opportunities
  • Create personal accountability
  • Keep you focused on being the person you most want to be

The best part is that you can do it alone it only takes a few minutes a day to use.

Are you in?

Keep in mind that you’ll need to customize this tool to fit your own purpose, passions, and core values. What I’m going to show you is essentially a template and a process—a process that I’ve been using for the past five years with tremendous success.

The back story

 I’ve always been extremely self-motivated and passionate about my life and my purpose in it. I look at every success as reinforcement and every failure as a powerful lesson. My life’s purpose is to live, love, laugh and learn and help others do the same. I’m big on accountability. I’m big on keeping my word. And I believe that personal growth is an ongoing journey.

With that said, it wasn’t enough to just want to be a better person every day; I needed to create a system that forced me to spell out what that looks likes on a daily basis. I needed a system that could measure outcomes…one that provides daily feedback on the things that matter most to me like relationships, communication, personal growth, and physical/mental health. But even more important than that, I needed something I could do on a daily basis to keep me connected with my purpose, passions and core values that was also fun, competitive, quick and interesting.

Needless to say, a tall order to fill. So here’s what I came up with (in steps):

Step 1: I identified six main areas in my life where I needed to make the greatest improvement. These could be business or personal or a combination of both.

Step 2: Under each of the six main area, I identified anywhere from 5 to 8 specific behaviors that I wanted to focus on. Some of these were things I simply needed to do more often while others were things that I needed to start doing. Many were things that were well out of my comfort zone.

****To continue reading, CLICK HERE! Remember that my blog has moved to this new site.


A Thanksgiving Activity for Friends & Family

It’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Thanksgiving amongst all the parties, the rituals, the football games, the cooking, and the family dynamics.  And yet it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect a little on our lives and to acknowledge all the people and experiences that have positively impacted us the most!

Not to worry! I’ve found a way to do both.

Using selected questions from my book, Creating Authenticity: Meaningful Questions for Meaningful Moments, I’ve created a fun and meaningful activity for you to do with your friends and family at the dinner table that will make this a Thanksgiving to remember.


Why do we need a Thanksgiving activity, you ask?

You don’t. However, if your Thanksgiving conversations with your friends and family have a tendency to migrate towards football, weather, politics, and gossip, perhaps it’s time for a change. Perhaps it’s time for some meaningful and introspective conversation with each other that come from the heart. After all, isn’t that ultimately what Thanksgiving is all about?

Below are 50 questions that will spark great conversation and gratitude. My simple suggestion would be to:

·      Copy this blog and paste it on a separate page.

·      Enlarge the type.

·      Cut out all the questions individually, or at least all the questions you want to be a part of this activity.

·      Place the questions in a container of some kind.

·      When it’s time to begin the exercise, pass the container around, having each person select a question.

·      Go around the table (once or multiple times) and ask each person to then read their question and answer it.

·      Feel free to alter this activity to fit your group.


1.     If you were told today that you had a month left to live, what would you want to do with the remaining time?

2.     What friendships have meant the most to you and why?

3.     What do you still want to do in your life that you haven’t yet done?

4.     What qualities do your closest friends have in common?

5.     What’s something crazy that you can still see yourself doing?

6.     What is one of the biggest obstacles you have had to overcome in your life? Please explain.

7.     What do most people who you know not know about you?

8.     What do you wish you were better at and why?

9.     What is one of your biggest regrets in life and why?

10.What kind of kid were you growing up? How have you changed?

11.What’s a recent accomplishment that you are most proud of and why?

12.What are you most passionate about in your life and how would someone know it?

13.What’s probably the biggest risk you ever took and how did it turn out?

14.What’s been the most meaningful feedback you’ve ever received and what did you do with it?

15.Describe your most meaningful possession.

16.When given the opportunity, what do you brag about most and why?

17.What is one of the best compliments you’ve received this year?

18.What memory still makes you laugh when you think about it?

19.When is the last time you felt most alive? What was happening?

20.What’s been some of the best advice you’ve ever received and how has it helped you?

21.What qualities do you find attractive in other people?

22.If you could clone yourself exactly as you are today, but have the ability to change one thing, what would you change?

23.Which of the television shows that you currently watch tells the most about you?

24.Who was your all-time favorite teacher and why?

25.Which of your physical features do you get complimented on the most? 

26.What past or present photograph in your home means the most to you and why?

27.If you could re-live (but not change) a past moment in your life, what moment would that be and why?

28.When was the last time you laughed so hard that your stomach hurt?

29.Describe the perfect romantic evening.

30.Which of your childhood possessions had the most meaning for you and why?

31.You have just commissioned a famous painter to do a painting for you. What are you going to have them paint?

32.Who, among the people your life do you admire the most and why?

33.Complete this sentence: Sometimes I wish…

34.Which of your hobbies probably tells the most about you?

35.What causes you the most stress? How would people know?

36.What’s one of the best decisions you’ve made in this past year and why?

37.How would you define a successful life? How does your life compare?

38.What was one of the most courageous things you have ever done?

39.In what ways are you misunderstood? 

40.Complete this sentence: Sometimes I pretend…

41.What is the most important thing you’d like to learn next?

42.What would you like to have more of in your life?

43.What would you like to have less of in your life?

44.Of all the cars you’ve owned over the years, which one holds the best memories for you?

45.If your life goes exactly the way you would like it to go, what will you be doing five years from now?

46.What would you like to hear more of that you don’t hear enough?

47.What do you think attracts most people to you?

48.What is one of your favorite traditions that you still observe today? Please explain.

49.What’s been the most exciting thought occupying your mind lately?

50.What three things are you most thankful for and why?

Remember, the idea here is to have an activity that everyone can participate in. With that said, it’s also important to allow people the option of skipping their turn if they are not comfortable playing. Simply leave it up to them.

Let me know how it goes.

Celebratory drink

And, have a happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. If you like the process, go to or CLICK HERE and download my free New Years Resolutions That Stick! workbook to get a similar New Year’s Eve activity. It’s free after all!

Lighten Up!

Lighten Up

You are not your title

You are not your job

You are not your actions

You are not your looks

Lighten Up

You are not your experiences

You are not your past

You are not your faults

You are not your accolades

Lighten Up

You are not your car

You are not your house

You are not your wealth

You are not your financial debt

Lighten Up

You are not your family

You are not your friends

You are not your kids

You are not your reputation

Lighten Up


Life has a way of defining us by the things we have or the people we know or the clothes we wear or the job title on our business cards. But that’s not who we are. All those things are merely feedback on who we’ve been and how we’ve shown up in the world.

The moment we identify ourselves using external criteria is the moment we’ve lost touch with the essence of who we are. And we are much more than that.” Greg Giesen


I read a story recently about an Army medical doctor who suffered a terrible illness and was declared dead in the hospital. The sheet was pulled over his head and the hospital staff sadly left the room. Only he wasn’t dead. His heart stopped…his vital signs ceased…but his spirit had not completely left his body. In the timeless world of the afterlife, he experienced the most amazing journey of going through a tunnel towards a white light that radiated love and warmth. You’ve heard these stories before.


During his out-of-body experience, he prepared himself to meet his maker. He recalled all of his life accomplishments…from getting straight A’s in college to graduating from medical school…from joining the Army to marrying his beautiful wife…from having three incredible kids to receiving numerous awards for his scientific research. He was proud of all that he had done and was ready to defend the life he had lived.

And then the most unexpected thing happened.

This powerful and radiating bright light of energy engulfed him and asked him one and only one question:

How much did you love?

Moments later he was magically back in his body in the hospital room with the sheet over head. Only a few minutes had actually passed and yet his whole life instantly changed forever.

He now knew that the essence of life was about love.

From that day forward the doctor transformed himself into a man who was truly in the moment and present with people. He laughed again. He was no longer afraid to be wrong. He had a renewed compassion for himself and for others that was based on love and acceptance. And he smiled all the time and for no particular reason. He was simply grateful to be given a second chance.

In the weeks ahead, I’m going to be sharing with you a concept called The Laughing Leader. I’m going to introduce to you a brand new, creative, and powerful leadership style that will help you lighten up and enjoy the journey, while increasing your productivity at the same time.

I can’t wait!


Greg Giesen

How to take a vacation every day!

From the desk of Greg Giesen

I’m enjoying the final few hours of my Maui vacation. I’ve already checked out of my room and get to spend the whole day at the resort before flying home in the evening. Normally I’m not a fan of evening flights but this one made a lot of sense and essentially added an extra day onto my vacation in paradise.

Here’s my Maui satellite office that has served me well during this week. What was particularly interesting to me about this spot was that I was able to be effective and efficient in whatever business dealings I had to take care of while my mind remained in vacation-mode—in many ways a contradiction of sorts.


And yet that’s the beauty of it. The setting—which includes the tropical sights, sounds, smells, and warm temperatures—put me in a constant state of peacefulness, serenity and appreciation.

So this leads to the million dollar question: Is there a way to maintain this state of mindfulness…this state of being…when I return home back to the hustle and bustle; where the work has piled up in my absence with deadlines looming?

The answer is YES! All it takes is a daily meditation practice.

Think about it. The many benefits of a vacation include:

·      Restfulness

·      Change of pace

·      Relaxation

·      Increased right brain activity

·      Being in the moment

·      Playfulness

·      Mind-body integration

·      Slower heart rate

·      Appreciation

·      Peacefulness

·      Ability to go with the flow


The many benefits of a 15-20 minute daily mediation include:

·      Restfulness

·      Change of pace

·      Relaxation

·      Increased right brain activity

·      Being in the moment

·      Playfulness

·      Mind-body integration

·      Slower heart rate

·      Appreciation

·      Peacefulness

·      Ability to go with the flow

Interesting! I’ve been practicing daily meditation for years but didn’t see the power of this analogy until now. Meditation is a mini-vacation and can provide the same benefits.


Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating putting an end to vacations. Not at all. But I am advocating the importance of a daily meditation practice. After all, who wouldn’t want to operate from a place of peacefulness and appreciation all the time! I know I would. And if you haven’t realized it yet, this is also what Zen leadership is all about…the ability to lead from within so that we can remain calm and in control while in the eye of the storm.


If you do meditate daily, perhaps this blog will enhance the experience as it has done for me. If you do not meditate, I would strongly encourage you to explore the idea and consider trying it out. What do you have to lose?

Lastly, there are a variety of different mediation techniques and modalities out there and it would be difficult to recommend a particular one without knowing a little more about each of you individually. With that said, I will leave you with a resource who has not only been on our radio show as a guest but who has created a powerful meditation technique that will work for anyone. His name is George Green and his technique is called Heart Harmonies Immersive Mindfulness Training. Click on the link to learn more and tell him Geese sent you.

That’s it for now. I still have a few hours to go here in Maui and it’s time to play a little more.



There never is a good time…

From the desk of Greg Giesen

Why is it that there never seems to be a good time, or enough time, to:

  • Take a meaningful vacation
  • Attend that Yoga class you’ve been talking about
  • Add a day onto a business trip to see the sights
  • Provide team building for your work group
  • Sit by the fire and read a trashy novel
  • Do personal growth work
  • Hire a management/leadership coach
  • Take time for yourself

What’s up with that?

Is the hustle and bustle of our lives so important that we neglect ourselves in the process? If that’s the case, then we’re being shortsighted and missing the big picture.

And yes, I’m talking about myself as well.

You see, I’m headed out to Hawaii for a vacation of a lifetime and I’m feeling a little guilty. I’m feeling guilty because the timing of this trip is not ideal given all the projects I’m currently involved with, not to mention that I’m right smack in the middle of revamping my business after fifteen years. Why, I’ve got deadlines to meet…people waiting for reports…web designers needing copy…marketing people looking for direction…clients seeking coaching…associates needing my time…friends wondering why I don’t communicate more…and a little Yorkie named Bailey complaining that I travel too much.


Clearly, it’s just not a good time.

Or is it?

Maybe the better question should be: Is there ever a good time?

Well, is there?

I can tell you that there are two possible answers to this question.

  • The short-term (in the moment) answer will always be NO!
  • The long-term (visionary) answer will always be YES!

What do I mean?

If we live our lives in a reactive-mode, then we have a tendency to define ourselves by what’s happening around us in the moment. This is what I mean by short-term. Because there will always be more work than we have time for; more fires to put out than we have fire hoses; more meetings and obligations to attend than we can possibly fit on our busy schedules…there will never be enough time or the right time to do anything for ourselves that’s outside of the rat race. That’s because we are the rat race.

When we choose to define ourselves by what’s happening around us, we allow the external environment to dictate who we are on a given day. When productivity is high and complications are minimal, we had a good day. When productivity is low and complications are overwhelming, we had a bad day…and the cycle continues.

I choose to think differently.


I prefer to take the long-term, proactive perspective about life. What this means is that I am committed to being a work-life balanced leader in all facets of my life. This means taking vacations, making time for family and friends, working out at the gym three-times per week, seeking out personal growth opportunities, and taking quality time for myself…even if I don’t have the time.

If I’m not at my best with clients, colleagues, friends and family, then I’m doing a disservice to them and to myself. Therefore, I need to take good care of myself so that I can serve the people in my life, both personally and professionally, at the highest level possible.

So it really doesn’t matter if it’s a good time or not. If you are committed to continuous growth and development, as I am, then you do it anyways. There will always be things that pop up in life and fires to put out. What’s non-negotiable is our commitment to ourselves.

Florida 010

This is what the Leading From Within program is all about. This is what the Zen Leadership Institute (my new company) will be focused on. And this is why I’m going to put work aside for a few days so I can fully enjoy being in Hawaii. No, it’s not a good time and I’m going anyways!