Episode 28: Sarita Chawla On The Near Death Experience Of The Ego [The Amiel Show]

Sarita Chawla is a wise woman. Wise enough to realize that when it comes to developing people, deeper isn’t always better.

It’s important to meet people where they are.

In this episode, we discuss vertical development–how it differs from most approaches to leadership development and why it matters for mastery. Sarita walks us through two stages of development where most people experience challenges. New Ventures West calls them Immediate Concerns and Balance. One describes an inner life of constant firefighting with little capacity for self-reflection. The other deals with life as a proud juggler of “necessary” responsibilities.

Think these sound like you? Think they don’t? Either way, Sarita has a message worth hearing.



  • 3:00 What is vertical development?
  • 14:30 The challenge of letting go
  • 16:00 A near death experience of the ego
  • 22:00 After the “aha” moment is…disorientation
  • 30:00 Immediate Concerns–a life of constant firefighting–and beyond
  • 37:30 Balance–a self-important juggler of many things–and beyond
  • 40:00 Reinterpreting the networking lunch
  • 48:30 What Sarita is personally practicing in her life

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Episode 25: Pamela Weiss On Leading With Clarity, Courage, And Curiosity [The Amiel Show]

Pamela Weiss is an amazing coach and teacher. She has one foot in the corporate world and another in the world of Buddhism. In fact, she spans so many domains that sometimes I think she must have three or four feet. That’s why I invited her to join me for this historic (play drum roll) episode 25 of the podcast.

In this interview, we talk about three important qualities of leadership: clarity, courage, and curiosity. These are qualities of bodhisattva leaders, “wise feeling beings” who are “dedicated to supporting the welfare of others.” Pamela challenges us to deepen our understanding of what it means to lead in the world.

Before the interview, I introduce a new feature to the podcast: the Jedi Leadership Trick. This week we explore one called Two Feet, Five Breaths. It’s pretty nifty.



  • 0:30 Jedi Leadership Trick: Two Feet, Five Breaths
  • 5:20 Introduction of Pamela Weiss
  • 10:40 Leadership: role or way of being?
  • 13:40 Bringing bodhisattva leadership into the vernacular
  • 20:15 Clarity, courage, and curiosity
  • 33:00 This isn’t easy…and it’s not meant to be
  • 35:30 The Personal Excellence Program (PEP)
  • 38:30 Selecting a quality to focus on in your leadership
  • 44:30 Refining your capacity to observe
  • 49:30 Why lack of self-care is often a symptom of something else
  • 52:00 Building authentic connection and the power of group coaching
  • 58:00 What Pamela is deliberately practicing in her life

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I’d like the term bodhisattva to be as commonplace in our language as cappuccino.

–Pamela Weiss  Tweet this quote

Our world is a mess. There’s so much we could help with. What’s most important to me?

–Pamela Weiss Tweet this quote

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Episode 24: Amy Jen Su On Owning The Room [The Amiel Show]

Leadership presence. In some organizations, you hear the phrase all the time. Sounds impressive, but does anyone know what it actually means?

Do you?

Now, you’re a smart person, so let’s assume you have a definition ready at hand. Leadership presence is about how other people perceive you. And power.

Through this lens, the greater your presence, the more powerfully you show up in others’ assessments. Most of us want to be perceived as powerful. So leadership presence is a good thing, right?


Yes, but only if it means showing up powerfully as ourselves. Not imitating someone else, but expressing the highest and most authentic version of who we are.

When you do this, you’re not renting someone else’s space or personality.

You own the room.

Episode 22: Michael Dolan On Becoming Relaxed And Present By Improving Your Workflow [The Amiel Show]

Everyone wants to know your plans for the Fourth of July.

Michael Dolan has a different question: Will your mind be clear and relaxed enough to enjoy the long weekend? Or is it cluttered with unfinished actions and other “stuff?”

If it’s cluttered, there’s a reason: your mind is not meant to store all the agreements you have with yourself.

That’s why we all need a trusted system for identifying, tracking, and taking action on all this “stuff.”

This, Michael says, is the purpose of workflow coaching–and GTD.


In Episode 22, I welcome Michael back to the podcast to talk through how this works and the practical steps you can take to clear your mind and be present. Michael is just my second return guest (after Jennifer Garvey Berger). When you listen to this interview (and Episode 2), you’ll know why.

Apart from being respected and liked by everyone he meets, Michael brings a rare gift. Of the thousands of productivity experts around the world, Michael is one of the few who takes a truly integral approach. His work is about getting more of the right things done with less stress, but that’s not all. He also helps you bring your whole self to the table so that others feel an invitation to do the same.

That’s why, yet again, I have set aside my envy of his hair–which is much better than I had even in my prime–and decided to share his practical wisdom with you again.


  • 9:30 How you can be complete about being unfinished
  • 13:50 The five phases of workflow
  • 19:00 How to decide what to do in the 22 minutes before your next meeting
  • 22:30 Why the old methods of defining priorities often fall short
  • 27:00 GTD gives meditation a run for the money in producing presence
  • 33:00 The Weekly Review is the uber practice of GTD
  • 37:00 It’s up to us to define our agreements with ourselves
  • 39:00 A story of when processing the inbox reminds someone of what matters most in life

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Episode 17: Teri Woodland on China, leadership, and cross-cultural complexity [The Amiel Show]

A fascinating interview with Teri Woodland about developing leaders in China over the past three decades. Teri helped build McKinsey’s China practice, led the first ever business climate survey in China, served on the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, and sees the complexity there as an incredible opportunity for leadership growth.

I learned so much from my hour with Teri and know that you will, too.



Episode Highlights

8:15  “The State Department thinks you should come home” (after Tiananmen Square)
11:45  McKinsey’s China practice—the early years
18:00 The challenge of recruiting Chinese nationals from U.S. back to China
21:15 Doing the first business climate survey in China
30:15 A place where Chinese leaders could speak up
36:45 A time Teri missed cultural signals
42:15 How a complex environment helps people develop
50:15 “Moving jobs to China”
53:15 Women in leadership in China

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Episode 6: James Flaherty on How People Change and Where Excellence Lives

James Flaherty taught me how to coach, created the organization where I met my wife, and challenged me to grow myself as a person.

That’s quite an influence for one person, don’t you think?

In Episode 6 of The Amiel Show, I had the privilege to talk with James about some big stuff I’ve learned from him. We discussed:

  • 3:00 So much of our experience is an interpretation versus a fact “out there”
  • 8:20 Why self-observation is as important as 360 feedback
  • 13:30 Truly changing involves our bodies, social worlds, and language
  • 24:00 Excellence is evoked in relationship rather than something we create alone
  • 30:30 Aristotle’s notion of excellence, including all parts of ourselves
  • 35:45 What’s up with emotions in our culture
  • 43:00 Executive presence happens in the body
  • 51:50 What James is deliberately practicing to develop himself

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