Tony Mayo’s Blog: Tools, Techniques, & Thoughts



Top Executive Coach Tony MayoI use this blog to collect and make available some of my articles, insights, and guidance for the top executives I coach. My clients can easily find my best advice on goal setting, running meetings, stress reduction, and other topics important to anyone running a business. You can even learn how–and why–to meditate. I have videos, instructions, posters, and research results on this blog and a podcast on iTunes.

You are welcome to use all this in your work and to pass any of my posts along to your colleagues. I only ask that you preserve the attribution to me and not alter the content.

To contact me by telephone or email, click here for the “About Tony Mayo” page. A video that answers the most common questions asked by prospective clients is also on that page.



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© Tony Mayo except as otherwise noted
For Executives.

Do big things by letting go of small stuff



Reagan had been doing it for years. He understood an important distinction that [President] Johnson never grasped:


being in control and
being successful
aren’t always the same thing.


–Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan
at the Dawn of a New America
Jonathan Darman via Delancy Place
lyndon johnson and ronald reagan — 11/26/14.



Leadership Matters in Business

The business ability of the man at the head of any business concern, big or little, is usually the factor which fixes the gulf between striking success and hopeless failure.

–Theodore Roosevelt
Annual Message to Congress
December 31, 1901

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.



From 1840:

In the United States a man builds a house to spend his latter years in it, and he sells it before the roof is on: he plants a garden, and lets it just as the trees are coming into bearing: he brings a field into tillage, and leaves other men to gather the crops; he embraces a profession, and gives it up; he settles in a place, which he soon afterwards leaves, to carry his changeable longings elsewhere.
     If his private affairs leave him any leisure, he instantly plunges into the vortex of politics; and if at the end of a year of unremitting labor he finds he has a few days’ vacation, his eager curiosity whirls him over the vast extent of the United States, and he will travel fifteen hundred miles in a few days, to shake off his happiness.
     Death at length overtakes him, but it is before he is weary of his bootless chase of that complete felicity which is forever on the wing.

Democracy in America, Volume 2 by
Alexis de Tocqueville
Chapter XIII: Causes Of
The Restless Spirit Of Americans
In The Midst Of Their Prosperity



Radio interview on The Courage to Be in Community



Eric Tonningsen interviewed Tony for his radio program, “Awakening to Awareness: Realigning with What Really Matters”


Click here to listen to Tony Mayo talk with Eric  about “The Courage to Be in Community”


Eric wrote: Tony’s recently published book, “The Courage to Be in Community” served as the underlying focus for our conversation. He shared his distinctions between courage and bravery, and authenticity versus genuineness.

We talked about the significance in communities of five “C’s”:

  • courage,
  • connection,
  • choice,
  • compassion and
  • conversation.

We also explored relationship, acting from the heart, mothering touch, vulnerability and ‘costumes,’ again in the context of community.


Click here to listen to Tony Mayo talk with Eric about “The Courage to Be in Community”



Click to add your comments. »
© Tony Mayo except as otherwise noted
For Executives.

Tony Mayo interviewed by client REI 360

Chris Haddon sits down for a high-level conversation with Executive Coach, Tony Mayo, who has been coaching him and his business partners for years.

During this time they have made tremendous progress in their professional and personal lives. Check it out here.

On this podcast they cover:

  • How can you tell if a coach is qualified
  • What makes for the right coach/client relationship
  • The importance of “community” for your success
  • Hit your life’s goals using SMRs: Specific Measurable Results
  • Fixing the past vs. planning your future
  • The common denominators of successful people
  • Find out if coaching is right for you


Podcast with Tony Mayo | REI 360.

Making the Best of the Worst Part of Your Day



‘Mindful’ commuters say deep breaths, clear mind keep them calm under stress

Nancy Kaplan, chief operating officer at a management consulting firm in downtown D.C., said she pays attention to her breathing and relaxes when her jaw tightens or her fingers clench the steering wheel during her hour-plus commute. She said practicing mindfulness has expanded her driving field of vision beyond traffic to include trees, architecture and cloud formations.

– The Washington Post.



See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.



FREE: Courageous, Genuine Relationships



I am happy to make available at no charge and for a limited time the bonus chapter to my Amazon #1 best-selling book, The Courage to be in Community. The free bonus chapter is a simple, practical guide to building better relationships at work and at home. The focus of the book was the importance of compassion and authenticity, while this new section is all about implementation, with specific advice on how to be compassionate and authentic in your day-to-day life.

This free download also includes links to recommended books and articles for further study and practice.


Just click here to immediately download your free copy.


TCTC Bonus Chapter



Behaviorial Economist Dan Ariely wants to help manage your time



You have very few hours in the day when you’re at peak performance, so every minute of these hours that isn’t spent doing something important is just waste.


–Dan Ariely
The Washington Post



Grow a Big Company by Keeping Your Job Small



These leadership insights from MCI founder Bill McGowan should sound familiar to my executive coaching clients and to readers of this blog.


INC.: You’ve taken a company from nothing and, in the span of 18 years, created a new industry and built a company doing almost $3 billion worth of business. How do you account for the fact that you didn’t allow the company to outgrow you?

McGOWAN: Besides the fact that there is no accounting for it, I suppose it’s because I realized at every point along the way that I didn’t need to be the person who had to do any particular thing other than make sure that the focus and direction of the company was clear, and that the forces and people were set in motion to get us where we were going.

I’m naturally a delegator. I guess I realized early in life that, Read the rest of this entry »

Coaching from the Man Who Launched 40,000 Businesses



Failing entrepreneur: “My problem is money.”

Entrepreneurship Coach: “No, your problem is trying to do everything yourself. Finding people is your job.”

One of Sirolli’s current goals is to work with business schools to shift the nature of entrepreneurial education. “Most schools teach entrepreneurs that they must have all the skills—product, marketing, financial management. They reward students for putting together a go-it-alone business plan instead of collaborating or identifying who they need to start a business with. In this way, [the schools] often set their students up for failure.”

I told [the trainee coach], “There are just two things you should never do. Don’t initiate anything yourself and never try to motivate people.”

The newly anointed [Entrepreneurship Coach] objected that it would be a disaster to rely on locals for ideas, but promised to do “nothing” until given different instructions. Within two months, he had 46 projects under way.

–Ernesto Sirolli, Ph.D.
The Entrepreneurship Coach
by Sally Helgesen
in Strategy + Business



Tony’s Interview with Healthcare Finance News

Tips for CFOs to survive the transition to value

  • Give up clinging to the illusion of certainty, said executive coach Tony Mayo. Accounting is a black and white world and as such attracts people who like certainty. However, once you move from being a bookkeeper to being a CFO, you are dealing with the future rather than keeping track of the past. “We think we can control the outcomes, but we can’t, so trade certainty for confidence,” Mayo said. “Confidence that you can handle what is coming next. Rather than trying to control and constrain, let’s learn how to respond and create.”
  • Understand your purpose. “If you identify yourself with a particular number occurring on a particular day, you can’t win,” said Mayo, so get clear about your purpose as a human, as an executive and as an organization.

Letting go of the balance sheet
Healthcare Finance News

Practice Makes Us

The form of [Buddhism] I study is not really a matter of beliefs. I don’t believe; I just try to practice. And I’m no better than that practice, which is in the present moment. You’re either here or you’re not, either in contact or you’re not.

The Sun Magazine Interview
Not On Any Map
Jack Turner On Our Lost
Intimacy With The Natural World

by Leath Tonino

The Sun Magazine
Not On Any Map

See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.




The Science of the Good Life



See it at AmazonThe founder and driving force of “Positive Psychology” has summarized his lifetime of research in this accessible book for the lay reader. Though padded with the usual flab of today’s nonfiction–refutations of criticisms most readers have never encountered, tangential personal anecdotes, and repetition–the substance of his findings are practical and enlivening. Dr. Seligman even summarizes the components of a life well lived in a mnemonic acronym.

P – E – R – M – A

  1. Positive emotion,
  2. Engagement [A/K/A Flow]
  3. positive Relationships,
  4. Meaning, and
  5. Accomplishment.

I prefer FAMES, if only for the irony, since fame is at best a fleeting and ancillary aspect of a satisfying life.

  1. Flow, escaping the self through challenging activity
  2. Accomplishment & Progress
  3. Meaning, a generative story
  4. Experiencing welcome emotions
  5. Social Support

Details below.


Selected excerpts
A Visionary New Understanding of
Happiness and Well-being
by Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D.

Atria Books. 2011-04-05
Page numbers from Kindle Edition.
[Tony’s comments in square brackets.]



PREFACE This book will help you flourish. There, I have finally said it. I have spent my professional life avoiding Read the rest of this entry »

Simple Science of Healthy Eating



Click here for an up-to-date review of what science knows about healthful diet, written by two public health experts at Yale. The gist: don’t be distracted by the latest popular diet or the tendency of publicized studies to contradict details of previous advice. The basics have been established and understood for a long time. As Michael Pollen has said, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Diet is established among the most important influences on health in modern societies. Injudicious diet figures among the leading causes of premature death and chronic disease. … The weight of evidence strongly supports a…diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants. Efforts to improve public health through diet are forestalled not for want of knowledge…but for distractions associated with exaggerated claims, and our failure to convert what we reliably know into what we routinely do.

Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health?
Annual Review of Public Health
Vol. 35: 83-103 March 2014

D.L. Katz, Prevention Research Center
Yale University School of Public Health

S. Meller
Yale University School of Medicine


May you live long and prosper.



Living Heroically



It is likely that depression, anxiety, and anger come from heritable personality traits that can only be ameliorated, not wholly eliminated. This means that, as a born pessimist, even though I know and use every therapeutic trick in the book about arguing against my automatic catastrophic thoughts, I still hear the voices frequently that tell me, “I am a failure” and “Life is not worth living.” I can usually turn down their volume by disputing them, but they will always be there, lurking in the background, ready to seize on any setback.

So one thing that clinical psychology needs to develop in light of the heritable stubbornness of human pathologies is a psychology of “dealing with it.” We need to tell our patients, “Look, the truth is that many days—no matter how successful we are in therapy—you will wake up feeling blue and thinking life is hopeless. Your job is not only to fight these feelings but also to live heroically: functioning well even when you are very sad.”


–Creator of “Positive Psychology” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D.
Professor of psychology at University of Pennsylvania
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding
of Happiness and Well-being
Kindle Locations 887-890). Atria Books.




Tony Mayo, Top Executive Coach, is located in Reston, Virginia 20190