Toward 12% body fat

Two years ago, I was shocked to learn that my body fat percentage was nearly 25%. This led quickly to a series of changes in what I eat, how I work out, and how I schedule my day. I set an audacious goal of achieving 10% body fat at 165 pounds. This goal–and the vision of lean strength it represented–infused me with positive energy that would not have come from a more modest target. It launched a bold new set of practices and allowed me to “return to form” after breaking my arm in March 2012 and losing many hours of sleep from having an infant in the house.

Two weeks ago, after the body fat measured 18% at 148 pounds, I decide to recommitted to a new goal of 12% body fat at 155 pounds. Still audacious yet easier to maintain once reached, and the weight is more appropriate for my frame size.

As a way to fill you in, here is the post that launched things:

In the zone…with the boss

Recently, I sat down with a leader I’ve been coaching and his boss to discuss the leader’s progress in raising his game. The leader–let’s call him Bill–was in the zone: confident, visionary, and fully engaged. He spoke with conviction, asked questions with curiosity, and had three times more “executive presence” than in any of our previous 2-on-1 meetings. As we walked out afterwards, I said to him, “Wow, you were on fire!”

What’s remarkable isn’t that Bill did this–after all, he is a visionary with a passion for ideas–but that he did it in the presence of his boss.

And Bill isn’t alone. Have you ever noticed how often talented people lose their mojo when talking with their bosses? Why is this? And what allows people to buck the trend and stay in the zone?

What’s the quality of your relationships?

Everyone I know cares about the quality of their relationships, whether at work, at home, or in between. We all depend upon the people who are in our lives, and they depend on us. There is literally nothing we can do without some form of involvement from others. I can’t even get my trash and recycling out of the neighborhood without the involvement of my wife, one of our two sons, and the two fellows who drive the truck.

As for the big stuff–like educating children, making big stuff happen at work, enjoying our friendships, and contributing to the larger community–these require high quality relationships. But what exactly does high quality entail? And are there gradations of quality? Exploring these questions with the managers I coach led me to create a five-point rating scale for relationship health that I made public for the first time in my book. Here it is:

Announcing my first book: Paranoia to Possibility

Many thanks to all the readers who have been encouraging me to write a book. Some of you first made the suggestion in 2000. Well, I’m pleased to announce that the book is complete. The title is Paranoia to Possibility: Escape Small Thinking, Listen Like A Master, And Lead With Your Best. It is now available on Amazon and is picking up positive reviews from early readers. It’s hard to describe what an honor it is to learn that people with full lives are taking the time to read the book–and enjoying it.

I want to share a few quick pieces of “Inside Scoop”:

  1. I chose to self-publish this for a simple reason: speed. Signing on with a publisher would delay the release for at least 12 months after the book was complete. (I finished it at the end of June). So I sacrificed institutional marketing muscle in order to get the book in your hands right away.
  2. As a result, I’m depending on my network to get the word out. In the first hour after I posted a notice to Facebook, a handful of people forwarded the Amazon link to all of their Friends, saying simple things like “Great book from my friend, Amiel.” or “Practical wisdom–check it out.” I’d be grateful if you would send the book’s Amazon link ( to your network through your favorite social media platform (Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, etc).
  3. Some people who wrote glowingly about the book said they had to overcome an initial dislike for the title, especially the word “Paranoia.” So let me be clear: this word refers not to individuals but to cultures, namely fear-based cultures that produce unhealthy organizational behaviors. 98% of the people who will find value from this book are not by nature paranoid.
  4. I set a low price point ($9.95) because almost nobody makes money selling books, and I’m committed to getting this into as many hands as possible. So feel free to buy a copy for yourself and one for a friend or colleague who might enjoy it.

Stay tuned for more updates, including a book party tour and a new offering of speaking engagements.