Episode 68: Timeless Wisdom For Men With Sean LeClaire [The Amiel Show]

Men, this episode is for you.

Executive coach and author Sean Casey LeClaire joins me to describe his remarkable journey from a rough-and-tumble working poor hometown through flirtation with a professional sports career toward early success as an advertising executive and then discovery of what he calls “timeless wisdom.” This interview is filled with heartfelt stories about aspiration, loss, anger, challenge, and the still, graceful space within each of us.

Sean’s autobiographical tale provides the emotional core of my emerging series on Men in Leadership. It joins past conversations with Robert Augustus Masters about true masculine power, Janet Crawford on being a good guy and breaking with the bro code, and Keith Witt on men’s sexual shadow at work, as well as a Jedi Leadership Trick I call The Manly Apology.

Listen in, and send me an email to tell me which story resonated with you the most.


  • 9:00 Growing up with sports, violence, and poetry
  • 14:00 Putting on a mask to stay alive
  • 16:00 Rick, Jim, and the power of a gentle challenge
  • 24:00 Anger and archetypal gestures
  • 27:30 The story of hugging an angry man
  • 34:30 A friend’s suicide and discovering yoga
  • 37:00 Sean reads his poem “If I stopped”
  • 45:30 When people think Sean is crazy or arrogant
  • 49:00 When coaches get co-opted by sickness in corporations
  • 53:30 Sean reads his poem “Parts”
  • 58:00 Sean’s son champions him through the frustrating construction of a Darth Vader scooter

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I get interviewed plus my role in Duke’s national title

After a two week hiatus for “spring break,” the podcast will return next week.

In the meantime, some exciting updates:

Good interview with me about improving results by coordinating action with others

Jack Butler did a bang up job interviewing me recently. It’s a 45 minute summary of how to to get what you ask for and deliver what you promise–in business, friendship, and the rest of life. This is one of my favorite topics, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Listen here.

New article coming in Fast Company

Fast Company will soon publish the title chapter from Leading When You’re Ticked Off. In the meantime, if you haven’t seen the Kindle book, you can get it here for $2.99.

My contribution to Duke’s men’s college basketball title

On Monday night my alma mater, Duke, beat Wisconsin for the NCAA men’s national championship. After the game, Duke’s Coach K thanked me several times for my outstanding defense. Friends and reporters immediately called me to ask:

  • “How, at 5’10” with a modest vertical leap did you manage to shut down Frank Kaminsky at the end of the game.”
  • “Didn’t you graduate from Duke in 1992”
  • “Do you still have eligibility?”

As it turns out, I was a pretty good defender in my time (despite the fact that Brian Davis once dunked over me in pickup ball). However, my playing days ended in 9th grade. The person who deserves the credit for Monday night is Amile Jefferson, not me.

A podcast heard in over 70 countries

Cool fact: My podcast, the Amiel Show, is now heard in over 70 countries. The top three are the U.S., The United Arab Emirates, and the UK.

David Allen on the Updated (2015) Version of Getting Things Done (Episode 13)

Being one of the first to interview the world’s top productivity guru about his new book


It used to be that you were either productive or relaxed–but not both, at least at the same time. Sure, the world’s wisdom traditions have taught for centuries how to move forward in life with quiet minds. But modern organizations were slow to the game.

At least until David Allen entered the scene.


Allen’s 2002 book Getting Things Done not only proclaimed “stress-free productivity” to be possible. It showed people how to do it. The positive results of following the system brought many grown men (and women) to tears. And it led TIME magazine to declare the book “the defining self-help business book of its time.”

On March 17, a week from today, an updated version of the book comes out. (I pre-ordered my copy on Amazon). In Episode 13 of The Amiel Show, David Allen and I discuss what’s new in this version, what’s timeless, and why power naps and someday/maybe lists make life better. We explore (times are approximate):

Yes, Your Mind Can Grow

I want to invite you to take on a new project in your life. It’s challenging, but has big payoffs. It’s weird, but will help you get along with a wider range of people with less stress. It takes effort, but will resolve many problems you are submerged in today.

The project? Grow your mind.

I’m going to wager that growing your mind doesn’t appear on any action lists, on your calendar, or even in your life design (if you have one). In fact, I’m going to double down and bet that this is one of the first times you’ve been invited to grow your mind. Unless, of course, you read this teaser.

There’s a reason why this is a foreign concept. Until recently, people believed that growing up ends at adulthood. As soon as you hit your full height, you might get slimmer, and you might get fatter, but otherwise you are done. The way you are at age 20 is essentially the way you’ll be at 40 and 80.


Or so the theory goes.

And, if you think about it, the theory works really well for people who aren’t open to developing. If you don’t like how I lead my team, the way I communicate, or how I handle conflict, tough luck. That’s how I roll.  ENTJ, thank you very much. Sure, I may change a few behaviors, but on the inside, what you see is what you get. I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam. Popeye said it in 1929, and many of us believe it today.

Before You Lean In, Own Your Space

Fifteen months ago, Sheryl Sandberg‘s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead came out and took the country by storm. Grounded in research and filled with personal anecdotes, the book sparked a national conversation about power, privilege, and the distribution of responsibilities between women and men in the workplace and at home. I’ve spoken with many people (mostly women but also a few men) who were inspired by the book and just as many who felt it contained useful insights but fell short in important ways. In this post, I’d like to share the very first reaction I had to the book and why I think it’s relevant to all of us.

Women exec upright on table

My reaction to the book began with the title. What does it mean to “lean in?” Sandberg recommends this to women as an alternative to leaning back—in the Board room and around conference tables where important decisions are made. Leaning in means speaking up, stepping forward, and being willing to take on jobs with loftier titles and bigger responsibilities. To me, this is valuable advice to women who aim for larger impact and recognition. It’s also useful for the smaller but still significant percentage of men who hold back and remain quiet when the stakes are high.

The secret link between leading and parenting

Leading and parenting require dramatically different skills, styles, and approaches. That’s why I cringe when, after I’ve shown a leader how to hold an effective conversation with his peers, he says, “I could really use this with my kids.”


It would be one thing if the kids were 25 or 30 years old, but typically little Susie is 7 and Brett is a junior in high school. These kids are at different development stages from Tom who runs the district sales team and Jennifer who heads up finance. What you say to Tom or Jennifer won’t work with Susie and Brett. In fact, what works with Susie won’t work with Brett.

When it comes to conversational skills—how we talk with one another—it’s helpful to speak to adults as adults and to kids based on their developmental stages and the nourishments they need at that stage.