Forget Leadership Training! This is how to hit the ground running as a manager. Every sentence provides realistic, practical, and applicable advice for today.

—Ivan Dunmire, EVP, Director of Human Resources, MPG

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Big Moment – First Call

I had myself a moment yesterday.  A moment that made me think, “Holy shit, this crazy plan just might work.”  Trust me, you wouldn’t care about the details, so I won’t bore you with them. But I sure cared.  I felt big and on the cusp of something great. I thought I had forgotten how to feel that way.

And in this moment’s wake, just as I broke free from the crowd I was with, I felt compelled to share every last detail with someone whose goosebumps would stand tall alongside my own.

I reached for my phone and dialed home to speak with my wife, Erin.  And as if on cue, Erin, as always, met my elation head on.  She hooted and laughed and welled with tears and inquired about all the details that I so desperately wanted to spill out, if only to allow me to validate that they actually occurred.  I animatedly paced and blabbed with Erin in front of the American Girl Store, where I had to pick up a birthday present for our youngest daughter, Olivia, before I returned to my office in the suburbs.  I’m sure I looked ridiculous there to the shoppers and store clerks, but I didn’t care.  I was sharing my moment with the girl I loved, the one who loved me back and who was happy for me.

To be fair, this moment stood to benefit Erin, so the cynics among us might conclude that Erin’s demonstrated enthusiasm was as much her own as it was an empathetic response to give me what I needed.  But rest assured, this wasn’t the first such moment I’ve shared with Erin.  And Erin and I frequently laugh about my previous supposedly life-changing moments that ultimately resulted in little change.  If I weren’t such a reckless ego-maniac, and Erin didn’t have such faith in me, then we would both be betting that yesterday’s life-changing moment might end like the others.  But I am, and she does, and so we won’t make that bet.

But back at work today, yesterday’s moment doesn’t look quite as positively life-changing.  Still alive and kicking, but far from the sure thing it seemed a day ago.  Erin, in her way, will ask about it when I see her tonight.  She’ll poke around the edges to gauge where I’m at and respond appropriately to my more subdued and realistic take.  She won’t express disappointment or mock my premature enthusiasm – she’ll just meet me where I am.

She’s something else, that girl of mine.  If this moment fades, I’m sure I’ll have others.  And when I do, I’ll be sure to call Erin first.

About Sean O’Neil

Sean O’Neil considers himself a workplace and team dynamics expert (which is really a ploy to sell books and speaking engagements). He is also Principal and CEO of One to One Leadership (, a sales and management training firm with clients that include the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer, News Corporation, First Data, ADP, Xerox, the Oakland Raiders and the New York Knicks. Sean and John Kulisek co-authored Bare Knuckle People Management: Creating Success with the Team You Have – Winners, Losers, Misfits and All, which is due to be published in May 2011. Sean has contributed to or been featured in, among others, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Selling Power Magazine,, HR Morning Magazine, and Incentive Magazine. Sean appears regularly on radio and television programs, mostly about workplace issues.  He can also frequently be seen pacing the sidelines of a youth team he’s coaching.

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  1. by Cindy on

    to my ego-maniac friend/boss/co-worker…i can relate! probably the type of reaction you give me and want to give me (but with hesitation, because you know better) about my future dealings with FB!! i get you !!!


    • by Sean O'Neil on

      Cindy, we get each other, indeed! Thanks for the thoughtful comment. We’ve come a long way together!


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