Kind, soft-spoken, and self-deprecating, Marshall Goldsmith is just about the opposite of every hard-charging businessman stereotype. And yet he’s both found phenomenal success himself and inspired it in countless others. Discover his secrets this week on Perspectives from the Top.
Bringing Buddhism to Business (ft. Marshall Goldsmith)
Marshall Goldsmith has found and inspired success by doing everything differently
My name is Marshall Goldsmith. I am too cowardly and undisciplined to do any of this stuff by myself. I need help. And you know what? It’s okay. Once we get over that macho, I can do it on their own nonsense, everybody gets better.
Marshall Goldsmith’s first degree was in Mathematical Economics, but he quickly moved to the study of people— earning a Ph.D. and professorship of Management Practice at Dartmouth Tuck. Since then, Marshall has been successful as an entrepreneur, business owner, and leadership & executive coach. He’s been ranked among the top business thinkers and as the number-one global executive coach, receiving the Harvard Institute of Coaching Lifetime Award.
Marshall is also the author of many bestselling books. His new book, The Earned Life, channels Marshall’s Buddhist philosophy to help readers be more fulfilled and focused in life.
CORE TOPICS + DETAILS:
[3:19] – 100 Coaches
The ultimate example of ‘doing unto others’
Inspired by a question about his heroes, Marshall Goldsmith embarked on a quest to coach 100 people for free— under the condition that they one day do the same. The results were astonishing, showing that the world is filled with people eager and willing to impart what they know and give of themselves to others.
[14:18] – Learning by Coaching
How coaches get more out of mentorship than their mentees
One of the most successful people Marshall ever mentored told him, “You have one job as a coach: client selection. You work with great people, your coaching process always works.” Along those lines, Marshall has also found that when he selects great clients, he learns incredible lessons himself along the way.
[22:28] – The Hidden Power of Mentorship
It’s not about coaching— it’s about not judging
Across the many people in various backgrounds that Marshall has coached, one thing he has found is that when they’re being mentored, they’ve expressed that the most meaningful aspect of it for them is that they’re not competing, being judged, being laughed at, or being put down. It’s a sense of community, a group of people all simply trying to be better. That’s a powerful thing.
[32:29] – Getting Lost in Ambition
Sometimes, what you have is enough
Marshall mentions the classic study on delayed gratification that involved asking children to wait to eat a marshmallow, then rewarding them with a second marshmallow if they were able to control themselves. But, Marshall says, if you take that idea to an extreme, “you end up with an old man who needs to die in a room surrounded by uneaten marshmallows. Sometimes, you’ve got to eat the damn marshmallow.”
[40:40] – Empathy & Peace in Work
Deeper lessons than how to succeed
In his most recent book, Marshall applies Buddhist-inspired principles to a range of scenarios and life decisions. He stresses empathy over-ambition, encouraging all of us to begin with a mindset of helping others, rather than focusing on how they can help us get to where we want to go. It’s a lesson we all can remember even as we strive to reach the top.
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