Tag Archives: rebuilding

5 Important Reasons Leaders Should Slow Down

Kid fishing

Have you ever gone fishing? With a real fisherman? They are a special breed, a lost breed. The one thing I know about fishing and fisherman is they’re never in a hurry. I suppose it is because you simply cannot fish in a hurry. There is a lot of sitting around, gazing, waiting, and (of course) plenty of fish stories from years past.

Last summer, I went fishing with my son. The whole process was excruciating. Well, everything except being with him, that is always a treat. But the fishing thing was so slow! There were no texts, Tweets, or emails out there. No incoming calls to break the silence. My phone sat alone in my Ford Expedition. Kyle and I talked every twenty minutes or so, we caught a few bass, but mostly we sat out on that lazy lake alone in our thoughts. About half way through our day I could feel myself relax. I was moving from my machine-gun pace to a more human, soul-designed pace – one that moved slowly with the soft breeze.

What Fishing with Kyle Taught Me and 5 Important Reasons Leaders Should Slow Down

  1. Slowing down connects you to a soul-based pace that sustains a leader’s life. I have witnessed in my own life and scores of leaders I have worked with, a pace that teeters on unsustainable. As a result of this desperate speed, you can lose soulful reflections and the inner course adjustments that sustain your life and work.
  2. Slowing down connects you to inner peace. I recently spoke with a spectacular leader who is facing significant challenges in his health and in his company. All the while we spoke he had a soft smile and a gracious tone. I had to pause and ask him, “How are you handling all this?” His response was simple and profound, “Steve, I used to start my days fast, now I start slow to recalibrate my heart and spirit.
  3. Slowing down connects you to your best thoughts. I always tell my coaching clients to block out an hour a week for thinking time. Next to a leader’s energy, great thoughts are their greatest asset. Those thoughts must be captured, seized and implemented. Slowing down allows you to think your best thoughts and claim them.
  4. Slowing down connects you to your heart.Both your physical and spiritual hearts need some slowness. My family and I have a little beach cabin on the Oregon Coast. There is no flat-screen TV or loud sound system. The place is a simple, small cabin with lots of good books.  There have been many summers where I arrive at that cabin in need of heart repair. It is there that I find a soft voice, “Steve, slow down, listen, and readjust.”
  5. Slowing down connects you to those you love.Who is important enough to you that you will slow down and connect with them? When I was a kid, my parents would take Sunday afternoon drives. It might seem odd, to just get in the car and drive. But now when I think about that, I think about a couple in love. The drive was about putting aside time to be together – to talk and dream of days past and days to come. Simple time to connect in love.

Can you apply these today?
How will you grant yourself permission to slow down?
As always, appreciatively,
Steve Gutzler

Time for me to go slow down.

photo credit: Homeoftraditions.com

Wait, That Wasn’t a Love Letter

photo credits: thesertaysphotoz

Remember those days when we used to write each other little love notes and send them to each other or leave them in places around the house where we knew our love would find them? Remember the smile on your face as you wrote them? Remember the smile on your face when you found one?

While I was attending college in Los Angeles finishing up my senior year, my soon-to-be wife, Julie, was in Portland, OR working at a stock brokerage firm. This was before the internet. This was before cell phones. Back in those days, we spoke to each other every Sunday evening.

photo credits telstar

My pockets would jingle with coins as I crammed myself into a little tiny phone booth near my house. We had to limit our conversations to 10 minutes. Oh, those were the days! In addition to our rushed conversations, Julie would write me little love letters every week. Each day I would run out to the mailbox to see if a new card had arrived. It warmed my heart and reminded me that in a few more months we would be married love-birds living together in a two bedroom apartment…

Remember that raw emotion of being in love, feeling in love, falling in love…

Now, fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I recently received another letter. This one was not a love letter. Instead, it was a critical business letter. It was three pages exactly, single spaced, typed. This letter was full of high-voltage, in your face, no holding back emotion. There’s no need to go into the gory details so let’s just say that there was some truth in the letter but mostly it was over the top.

Bottom line, I read the letter and was immediately emotionally hijacked big time. And I thought to myself “The ­­­—- with Playing Big!” I needed instant gratification, some good old retaliation! I went to grab my cell phone… it was on… this was it… if that’s what he had to say to me, this is what I was going to say to him… let’s get ready to rumble!

Luckily, Julie was around and she grabbed my hand and reminded me “Steve, you’re emotionally high jacked!” I was shaking, sweaty, and even blood was coming out of my eye sockets. I said calmly to my Julie, “let go… I need to call him now!”

She was now pleading with skills of a hostage negotiator. She wanted me to rethink the decisions I was about to make. “Give it some space, Steve! Please don’t ruin a relationship you have worked to build for over ten years.”

I finally relented and let go. I gave her the letter and the cell phone. I waited three days. I needed those three days. Eventually, we invited the letter writer and his wife over for a dinner. We really did. I reached out to him and managed to Play Big. Actually, Julie truly Played Big and pulled me along with her. The result of that dinner was a rescued relationship. We sorted through some misunderstandings. And I am pleased to report that nobody was injured. I didn’t sabotage myself and I didn’t insult him. Our relationship was saved by my disengaging temporarily so that I could re-engage effectively and more powerfully.

photo credits: skinny ships

(You may remember the last post about emotional high jacking. This was a very different type of situation. Instead of being scared for myself and my home, I was furious at an accusation. However, both situations required that I become aware of myself and force myself to act in a way that would be the most beneficial to the long-term outcome.)

A big part of Playing Big and Emotional Intelligence is SELF-AWARENESS and EMOTIONAL SELF-MANAGEMENT. Bottom line: you need to Play Big and stay smart in our relationships

Playing Big Tips when you receive a Non-Love Letter:
Characteristics of Your PLAY BIG SELF

  • Does not jump to judgment
  • Remains calm during challenging times and relationships
  • Pauses to reflect before reacting immediately
  • Doesn’t put self-imposed limits on what is possible
  • Has ability to be present and engaged
  • Understands how emotions affect behavior
  • Can see from another’s frame of reference
  • Can admit when wrong
  • Accepts the small-self in themselves and works to improve

Note: There are some vital relationships your personal and professional life that will require you to Play Big. Stay smart and you’ll succeed in the end!


Steve Gutzler provides business and peak performance coachings, trainings, and key notes focused on Playing Big and building real results in your professional and personal life. He also focuses on “Emotional Intelligence for Extraordinary Leadership,” perfect for sales meetings and team trainings or events. Find out more information at Stevegutzler.com or contact Steve directly.

Hurry, the 2012 calendar is being planned now!

The Five Stages of Love and Buisness


Right before I got married, someone shared with me the “five stages of a relationship.” It has been so true. And I’ve found that it seems to fit the natural cycles of building any business too!

Stage One: Romance

Wow! We all remember this stage. The excitement! The passion! The possibilities! It is true that in both situations, as we entertain the realization of our dreams, we are filled with the romantic ideas fueled with our love, our commitment, and our passion!

Stage Two:  Reality

Yep, it doesn’t take long before the luster fades. That new exciting relationship has flaws (and weaknesses!)- maybe that business partner quits or the bills begin to pile up. “Dang, I didn’t know I’d be working and everyone else seems to be in Cabo.”

Stage Three: Resentment

We begin to resent the very person we once loved. We resent our situation: “Why did I allow myself to walk out on this limb?”  “Why do I get stuck with all the work, stuff I didn’t like to do?” These petty resentments begin to grow and fester.

Stage Four: Rebellion

Ouch, we begin to rebel against that person. Turn our attention to other places or people or causes or things. In business we might be tempted to take short-cuts or lower our ethical standards. That raw hurt manifests in outward rebellion and in thoughts like: “Okay, I’ll show them” or “they won’t hurt me anymore. I’m out of here!”

Stage Five: Rebuilding

Yes, there is hope for relationships to rebuild and renew. Yes, there is hope for your business and career. It’s been told that Thomas Edison had a warehouse burn to the grounds in flames. The warehouse held investments and inventions and ideas worth millions. All of which was reduced to flames and ashes. His son and wife were frightened that he would cave and collapse in despair; he had slept by the ashen remains of his investments the night before. But then the next morning as he awoke, his first words were:

 “Let’s rebuild!”

These are two simple words that can change your outcome. Two words that can move you from despair to destiny, and from ashes to achievement!

I have found rebuilding has a whole lot more to do with my heart and attitude than physical resources. Great remarkable leaders and achievers keep going in relationships and businesses despite the unavoidable setbacks. Sometimes there will always be occurrences when we (luckily) will not be required to rebuild. But these are rare and I encourage everyone to be a builder and a re-builder.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is self-respect. The two golden qualities that build your self-respect are determination and work ethic.

During these tough and turbulent times, you might be sleeping by a little pile of ashes. Sift through them and find one gem to build on. Build yourself up with encouragement and go at it again. Let’s all rebuild!