Simple ways to amplify your leadership impact

The Fortune profile on Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, provides some valuable insights on how to maximize your leadership impact. Brian devised his own simple leadership rules:

The final rule – refilling the reservoir – resonated with me. How do you refill your reservoir? Please mention them in comments below!


Brian Chesky is an American Internet entrepreneur who co-founded the hospitality exchange service Airbnb. Chesky is the CEO of the company and was named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People of 2015

The Spaces Between: Taking time for your personal development

What if you spent 30 minutes on your personal development every day? Reading. Blogging. Journaling. Drawing. Imagining. Networking. Planning your future. A half hour. Every. Single. Day.

A friend recently told me that in a “How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile” seminar, she learned that we should spend a certain amount of time each day focused on our personal and professional development. Each day? Wow, that sounded like a lot. I mean seriously, how many meaningful moments do you average each day, working on developing your strengths? Or your resume? Or your network?  Pffft, my answer to the question wasn’t all that great, so I decided to try out the concept.


For one month, I’ve spent 30 minutes each day with focused attention on my personal development. Reading, writing, sharing, listening, and absorbing myself in energy focused on my growth as a professional and as a person. The results are predictably exciting and positive, but not for the reasons I’d expected.

Of course I learned a lot through tuning in to authors and speakers and mentors and idea-makers. But it wasn’t those active learning moments that made the biggest difference. It was the spaces bewteen that yielded a refreshing and unexpected rush of creativity, clarity and focus.

I believe that investing in your personal and professional growth is an iterative process best achieved through small, meaningful steps over time. Just like a great athlete or musician or speaker, it takes sustained and consistent effort to build the muscle memory needed to become fluent in any worthy pursuit. Intentional practice in directional increments is often said to be the secret to reaching a development goal. But I believe that in between those efforts of intention, the silent “pauses” are just as important. A pause can be a time of silent introspection or just a rest from the norm of day-to-day goal pursuit.

The pause is for me is about allowing thoughtful spaces between my rushed and hurried emails, calls, and meetings. It’s about protecting and valuing those spaces, rather than rushing to fill them with urgent-but-not-important matters…Allowing those spaces to be dedicated to developing my strengths and focusing on where I want to be, not just where I am.

English musician Gordon Sumner, better known as The Police’s Sting, once said,

“Paradoxically, I’m coming to believe in the importance of silence in music. The power of silence after a phrase of music for example; the dramatic silence after the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, or the space between the notes of a Miles Davis solo. There is something very specific about a rest in music. You take your foot off the pedal and pay attention. I’m wondering whether, as musicians, the most important thing we do is merely to provide a frame for silence. I’m wondering if silence itself is perhaps the mystery at the heart of music? And is silence the most perfect music of all?”

What are you doing with the “spaces between” in your life?




Five years ago in November, my heart sank along with those of countless others, when it was revealed that Jerry Sandusky was said to have committed unspeakable crimes.

I just couldn’t imagine my alma mater—truly the most positive place I’d ever been to or heard of—being caught up in such a horrific situation. My heart ached for the children and families involved. And I couldn’t stop crying for days.

I’d spent 10 years of my early career as a clinical psychologist, fighting for child victims of sexual abuse. My late-’80s undergraduate experience at Penn State had inspired that career choice. I learned during my time in Happy Valley that the resilience of the human spirit is more powerful than any evil or harm that can come to a child. I learned that with courage, support and guidance, even those who encountered the worst imaginable suffering could find healing.

Since graduating, I’ve proudly borne my Penn State blue, and would share with anyone who would listen why this amazing institution was second to none.

But on that November day in 2011, the sterling shine of my school, my team, our beloved coach, and everything I’d believed in, felt the weight of a dark cloud above it.

Tom and I went to the Penn State-Nebraska game that following weekend, despite the circumstances. The on-field prayer shared by both teams was one of the top five emotional experiences of my life.

Since that November weekend, I have been proud and excited to watch Penn State rebuild. Some of the same young men who chose to stay with the team are on the playing field today. But I didn’t realize until this moment what the Rose Bowl means for me, now five years after the nightmare began…

Today, I watch Penn State compete valiantly in the Rose Bowl. I feel a different kind of pride.

Not just for my team and the fact that they overcame a 13-point deficit to take the lead in the second half. But that pride comes from the steadfast focus on the values that Penn State is built upon, and the unbreakable spirit that Penn State represents.

Roar, Lions, Roar