My wife and I recently attended a “power hour” instead of our normal “happy hour” last Friday evening. We were treated to a couple of hours of leadership and motivation from a business partner and good friend Mauricio Mejia and the main event Stedman Graham who was promoting his new book “Identity Leadership”.
Ok, so I was wondering what Oprah’s main squeeze of 30 plus years could tell me that I don’t already know. I was pleasantly surprised at his take on self examination, but more impressed at his delivery. He was simple, to the point, practical and he gave me a plan. Here is my elevator pitch on his speech.
We need leadership desperately, in the schools as much as politics and business. Change is happening at light speed and people can’t keep up. They need leaders to help navigate these turbulent times. In order to be a leader, you must be able to lead yourself first. Define yourself by your purpose, before others do it for you. Find your purpose through a process of self-awareness and self-examination, then dedicate yourself to a lifetime of learning and serving others with your purpose. There are nine steps to follow Stedman’s system that was developed through his own interesting life path. His gotcha statement that drove home the message for me was “living with Oprah, everyone naturally defines me as ‘Oprah’s Man’, If I hadn’t defined myself through my purpose, I would have never escape her shadow”.
He was a charming and confident man, imposing at 6’6” but a real gentleman. We had a late dinner with he and the folks who put on the event. He had given a speech on the east coast earlier in the day, then flew to San Jose for our event, and even though he had a commencement speech to give the next morning at 8am, he stayed with us till past midnight when the last guest was ready to leave. Great stories, kind words, and practical advice, I can honestly say I get why Oprah digs him.
Driving home the next day with my wife discussing the event, I realized how difficult it was just to get there. I had to resist the Friday ritual of numbing myself with two Polish vodka martinis, fried squid and some red wine to accompany the waiter’s ambitious main course recommendation at our local steak house, and instead drive through Friday traffic after a long week and sit sober in the second row alone with my thoughts…. It felt awkward. Turns out that awkwardness was the beginning of my own awareness and self-examination. More to come!!
Michael A. DiManno is a thought leader and entrepreneur with over 30 years experience of innovation and fast growth with startup companies in Technology, Insurance, and Employment, or as he calls it “TIE” Services. Mr DiManno founded EmployInsure, LLC (EI) a holding company and incubator for developing “cool stuff” for clients not being served by traditional “TIE” industries. He currently serves as CEO of EI’s signature brands Samuel Hale and TalentHire.
Michael is a writer and speaker for entrepreneurial groups as well as “TIE” industries. He also supports his wife Debbie’s a non-profit, Cour Training, which helps teens survive and thrive in the modern era of constant connection. They have raised 4 children and live with their two Rhodesian Ridgebacks in Northern California.
For more information, contact Mike directly at michaeladimanno.com