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.

Tony’s 99¢ Kindle eBook. Plus, spoken word version on Audible and iTunes



➤ Hard cover just released on Amazon & Barnes and Noble!


Download Tony’s short book on building community.

Click here to see a sample on Amazon.



iTunes Spoken word version availabe on Audible


Audio version read by Tony Mayo also available.
To hear a sample click here for Audible or iTunes.






“Time may change me; But I can’t trace time …”



Some of the most concise and useful personal productivity advice I have seen comes not from David Bowie, but from Peter Drucker. I have often rejected time management with the observation that time seems immune to my attempts at controlling or directing it; time just goes. Personal management is work, but it works.


Effective executives, in my observation, do not start with their tasks. They start with their time. And they do not start out with planning. They start by finding out where their time actually goes. Then they attempt to manage their time and to cut back unproductive demands on their time. Finally they consolidate their “discretionary” time into the largest possible continuing units.

–Peter F. Drucker
From The Effective Executive

Reminds me of the “Handle the big rocks first” metaphor in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.




Return to the Core


The tempo of modern civilization has a centrifugal force that carries us outward from the core of life toward ever expanding peripheries. One should return frequently to the core, and to the basic values of the individual, to natural surroundings, to simplicity and contemplation. Long ago, I resolved to so arrange my life that I could move back and forth between periphery and core.

–Charles A. Lindbergh

Autobiography of Values


See also Tony Mayo’s review of the book here.



Beautiful Machines


Enjoy the videos online of Arthur Ganson‘s compelling kinetic sculptures. In our era of concealed, abstractly-comprehended, and practical technology we can still admire the overt and elegant application of simple gears and levers to accomplishing tasks with no end purpose, only a grace in the doing.






You Don’t Need to be Crazy to be an Entrepreneur…



…but being hypomanic seems to help, according to John D. Gartner, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of The Hypomanic Edge

In his article for The American Enterprise Institute, America’s Manic Entrepreneurs Dr. Gartner writes,
“Successful entrepreneurs are … are highly creative people who quickly generate a tremendous number of ideas—some clever, others ridiculous. Their “flight of ideas,” jumping from topic to topic in a rapid energized way, is a sign of hypomania. … It is a temperament characterized by an elevated mood state that feels “highly intoxicating, powerful, productive, and desirable” to the hypomanic, according to Frederick Goodwin and Kay Jamison, authors of the definitive book Manic-Depressive Illness. ”

–John D. Gartner, Ph.D.
American Enterprise
Jul2005, Vol. 16 Issue 5, p18

I highly recommend the article to anyone who is or works with high-energy business leaders.


Newspapers: Why bother?



I have often remarked on this myself; now I learn it has an “official” name.

Why Speculate?
A talk
by Michael Crichton
International Leadership Forum
La Jolla
April 26, 2002



…the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

 –Michael Crichton


My theory on why we still read ‘em

  1. To learn what other people are reading; be part of the culture
  2. Being conceited enough to think we can separate the wheat from the chaff



Help with Eating Healthy



Here’s a useful site, paid for by the foundation established by the founder of Health Valley Foods. The World’s Healthiest Foods List at:

I was glad to have more reasons for eating basil,

Research studies on basil have shown unique health-protecting effects in two basic areas: basil’s flavonoids and volatile oils.

and eggplant,

In addition to featuring a host of vitamins and minerals, eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, many which have antioxidant activity. Phytonutrients contained in eggplant include phenolic compounds, such caffeic and chlorogenic acid, and flavonoids, such as nasunin.


Plus, of course, fiber. Gotta keep things moving!



Another Good Reason to Meditate


Dr. Peter Suedfeld, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and an expert in human cognition. …told us that creativity is a “very mysterious thing” that “exists in pretty much everyone” — but that there are indeed ways to improve it. One method he has studied extensively is what he calls the Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) — putting people into places with no light or outside stimuli.

“What I’ve found,” he said, “is that far from making people crazy, moderate deprivation lowers blood pressure, improves mood, and makes people more creative.”

From: “Outside the Box”: The Inside Story
By Martin Kihn, Fast Company, June 2005

Found in:

A biweekly publication of MeansBusiness
Vol. VI No. 8 — June 29, 2005 




See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.




Let Your Mind Think




You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.

Mortimer Adler





See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.




What would you give up to truly give?



It is rare indeed that people give.


Most people guard and keep; they suppose that it is they themselves and what they identify with themselves that they are guarding and keeping, whereas what they are actually guarding and keeping is the system of reality in what they assume themselves to be. One can give nothing whatever without giving oneself – that is to say, risking oneself.


If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving.


–The Price of the Ticket:
Collected Nonfiction 1948-1985
by James Baldwin
Page 370



Fear is Running Your Career and Your Company



Your efforts to lead, manage, and sell often fail because of people’s fears. The fear may be disguised as resistance, indecision, lack of creativity, poor communication or reluctance to take responsibility. You can work on the symptoms forever, but the big rewards come from dealing with the fundamental fears we all share.

We promise according to our hopes and
perform according to our fears.

– La Rochefoucauld

I painted a lot of houses when I was a teenager. Each season, when school let out, I had to force myself up the ladder again. I didn’t look down, I maintained a white knuckle grip, I kept as much of my body in contact with the ladder as possible. The occasional trips across a plank between ladders were performed sitting down with one hand on the wall. Every sway and breeze was a stomach churning calamity. Some say acrophobia isn’t a fear of heights but a fear of falling and hitting, but that wasn’t true for me. I didn’t think about falling. My body just hated being up there. Over the course of a few days I got more accustomed to being on the ladder and by the end of the summer I even made a few trips across the plank standing up. The fear never went away. I just managed it better. The next season it would be back, full force.

Why would anyone do that to themselves? Why did I tolerate so much discomfort? Why would I place myself in situations which brought up so much fear? The reason, ironically, was Read the rest of this entry »

The Courage to Create Community



➤ Hard cover just released on Amazon & Barnes and Noble!


Download Tony’s short book on building community.

Click here to see a sample on Amazon.



iTunes Spoken word version availabe on Audible


Audio version read by Tony Mayo also available.
To hear a sample click here for Audible or iTunes.




Tony Mayo Courage Sermon front coverScientific evidence and personal experience tell us that sincere, engaging personal relationships are essential for health and happiness. Yet, little is said about how we might actively nurture such relationships for ourselves and for people near us at home and work.

I recently delivered a non-sectarian, non-doctrinal “sermon” to one of my most treasured communities, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston. My intention was to encourage everyone to take action that deepens and broadens our relationships, to foster community as a sanctuary and solace. It was very well received.

Comments from Listeners


“More of an invitation than a sermon, the message is not religious in nature and the message is universal. Tony leaves us with an opportunity to live richer, more expressive lives.”


“Thank you, Tony, for such a wonderful message this morning.  It was so uplifting and, based on feedback, provided many with a transformational experience.”


“Tony, one of the things I valued most about your sermon is that so few words were wasted. You did not speak just to fill the time; each sentence added to the whole.”


“Tony, I have it on good authority that your sermon this last Sunday was about the best ever.”


“We were inspired by what you shared and how you shared it. Thank you.”


A revised and expanded version of the talk is now available as a 99¢ eBook on Amazon Kindle and an inexpensive audio book on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. You can hear a sample on Read the rest of this entry »

Evolving from Management to Leadership



This summary note, based on recent conversations with coaching clients, is useful for any business owner who has grown beyond finding and fixing and is ready for the next stage of development.

 Strategic Leadership

  1. Developing people is your primary work product.
    Empowering others by holding a space that calls forth excellent performance

    1. Being open to & on the lookout for ways the strategic leader is limiting other people’s development, e.g. rescuing and intervening.
    2. Remember to share credit and responsibility.
  2. Expecting relevant, actionable reports rather than chasing answers
    1. Training and then trusting your people to report also supports their development, i.e., learning which events, changes, and data matter to leadership
    2. Makes visible who is up for responsibility–or not
  3. Standing in the future
    1. Vision.
    2. Strategy
    3. Opportunities.
    4. Structures.
    5. Positioning.

The key is, more and more, stepping out of operations, perhaps by putting someone else in charge of day-to-day, even month-to-month operations.



Study: Treadmill Desks Improve Job Performance



A yearlong study …found that … within four to six months, all three measures of performance—quality and quantity of work, and quality of interactions with colleagues—rose steadily, according to weekly surveys of participants.

Performance ratings given by their supervisors, who filled out weekly surveys rating both treadmill users and non-users, rose for walkers by a full point [on scale of ten] by the end of the year.

Walk This Way
Treadmill Desks May Improve Job Performance
Wall Street Journal



Read about my treadmill desk and download free construction plans by clicking here.



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© Tony Mayo except as otherwise noted
For Executives.

Executive Coach Helps Real Estate Entrepreneur Pursue What’s Possible



I began working with Tony in January of 2013. His guidance has helped me to look at the world from an entirely new perspective. After years of trying to fix “what’s wrong” in my business and life, he’s helped me learn to pursue what’s possible.

The change in perspective has made all the difference.

I recommend Tony Mayo to any successful business person looking for help reaching the next step in their professional and personal development.

Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity

Josh Weidman
Real Estate Entrepreneur


Click to add your comments. »
© Tony Mayo except as otherwise noted
Client Comments.

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