Growth

Extreme You is…

A mission based company, designed to support you at your most genuine, badass, and successful. Through your own unique blend of skills, gifts, and passion, you achieve extraordinary results as only you can.

I knew it was the right time to start Extreme You when…

My kids starting coming home with participation trophies, my young employees started asking me why they weren’t getting promoted for just doing their jobs and I realized that the culture our country promoted over the last 20 years of “everyone’s a winner” needed to stop! I feel so passionately that we are doing a disservice to young people when we tell them that success and achievement comes to everyone for just showing up. I wanted to do my part to equip people with a roadmap for reaching their personal highest potential.

Writing the Extreme You book, coming out in 2017 has been…

Exhilarating, exhausting, inspiring and moving – all at the same time. I have learned so much from the incredible stories of the 25 “Extremers” that I interviewed for the book as well as the depths of research that I have read to understand what it takes for an average human to achieve extraordinary results.

What does being “extreme” mean…

Knowing your own unique combination of strengths, passions, and idiosyncrasies – whatever they may be – and playing them to the fullest and the most extreme in every aspect of your life, instead of fitting into the boxes that other people or society may pressure you to fit in to. It means stepping up to take the kinds of risks that will propel you forward, taking ownership and learning from the consequences of these actions because you know that your greatest potential is not found in your comfort zone.

The most surprising thing about starting my own platform was…

That you think it is going to be the most liberating feeling in the world to have a blank sheet of paper to work from – and in actual fact – it’s so much harder when there are no specific confines to work within. Every time you think you have the right plan some new information comes along that makes you realize your assumptions were wrong. It’s easy to go around in circles and get frustrated but in the end you have to make decisions and go for it, knowing that it’s all going to be okay as long as you learn and evolve as you go.

What other cultures can teach us about passion…

sro_head_credit_dylancoulterI have learned a lot about passion since researching my book. We tend to have this perception that passionate people are loud, joyful and bold in their extreme love for something. But it’s very often not that at all. In fact, passion can be painful and hard work. For example in Germany, the word for passion is leidenschaft, which literally means the ability to endure adversity. What I have learned is that anyone can be interested in something – but it is the very act of deep hard work that builds the feeling of passion. I’ve also found that some of the most fulfilled people are not necessarily passionate about their job – instead, they indulge their passions in the hours outside of work. So it’s a mistake to think that we all need to find work and careers that we are passionate about.

It is the very act of deep hard work that builds the feeling of passion.

I earned my first paycheck by…

Other than my paper round when I was 11 years old, my first real paycheck was when I was a mini bar attendant at the Park Royal hotel in Christchurch, New Zealand. That means I was the person that restocked all the mini bars in the hotel rooms – 300 rooms a day!

The most important lesson I learned at Equinox was…

To bring out the Extreme in others. Equinox was a company just loaded with wonderfully talented, passionate people, and I learned that if I could lead from behind, push them and also support them to go big and dream even bigger that there was no end to the ability the team had to take the business to the next level.

Obstacles I’ve overcome…

I’ve been fired twice, which in my case meant losing my green card sponsor, my USA work visa and nearly getting deported! I gave birth to 3 kids in 3 different states in a period of 4 years because my jobs required me to relocate.  But in every respect, it’s the obstacles that have helped me grow the most. You don’t know how resilient you are until you are truly tested.

You don’t know how resilient you are until you are truly tested.

Strategies for developing a brand identity…

In my mind, it is very simple. It works the same for brands as it does for people who are trying to figure out who they want to be. Go DEEP. Really understand who you are, what you really care about, and what your unique combination of skills are to be able to make a difference in the area you care about. Once you know all that, you develop a position that only you can own and once you have it, never ever get swayed away from it. Don’t get distracted by the actions or the successes of others – just play your own game – constantly refreshing and innovating who you are based on the deep roots that you started with.

How technology can help with branding and identity…

I think technology makes everything so much quicker and easier to trial and execute ideas. It is hard to even remember but once upon a time – when we were imagining new brand identities we did not have the ability to see them brought to life through photoshop so there was a lot more guessing and hoping for the best.

Ways to cultivate creativity for yourself and your team…

I’m a big fan of constantly getting myself and my team exposed to other teams and businesses that are not direct competitors but who we can take inspiration from. I know from my own experiences that an airline, a social network, and a luxury fitness establishment have to deal with so many similar challenges even though they approach them from enormously different places. Seeing how other teams think can often unlock creativity in me or my team.

Marketing mistakes made far too frequently…

Trying to be all things to all people – wanting to capture the largest possible audience and therefore dumbing yourself down and not having a distinct point of view that might even turn off some people! We used to say at Gatorade that you need to be exclusive to be inclusive and I believe that mantra makes sense for brands of all sizes.

Tips for hiring the right team…

I personally look out for Extremers – those people that are what I like to call “spikey” individuals. They are usually not “well-rounded” but they have incredible subject matter skills or particular passions that lead to new ideating in areas of expertise. As long as I can match skills together to “round out” a full team it can be incredibly powerful.

And then keeping them inspired to achieve…

Most importantly I listen as hard as I can for their ideas and passions that can be brought together to form our future. I’ve seen it over and over again – it’s human nature – especially with highly talented people – for them to be at their most motivated they need to feel like they are getting behind their own thinking. Nothing is less motivating than a boss that tells them how to do what they know better than the boss!

What happens when someone isn’t a fit for your organization anymore…

Listen that happens – and it is awfully hard. It is so important to give clear feedback to help that person grow with the team – but if they can’t in the end, they need to part ways with the team. As someone who got fired because, in my opinion, I deserved it… I was not good for the team at that moment in time – I deeply understand why these tough decisions have to be made. In the end, the team is going to perform at its best when everyone is rowing in the same direction and pushing each other to higher levels of performance.

Don’t get distracted by the actions or the successes of others – just play your own game.

Advice for transitioning from the corporate world to entrepreneurship…

I think I’d start by saying you should really know why you want to do it. These days there’s so much cache and media around entrepreneurship, but it doesn’t mean it is the right fit for everyone. For me, when I made the leap I had a deep passion: to create change and a clear idea of how I wanted to do it. For me it wasn’t about being able to say I was an entrepreneur, or wanting to start something up because I was dreaming of my financial “Exit” – it was more about being moved to want to have a positive impact on others.

How being an athlete has impacted the way I approach business…

In every way possible! I start by saying that despite the fact that I have had this huge career in sports, it doesn’t mean I was especially good at sports. As a kid I played every sport you can imagine – but I never got much better than the “B” team. That said, I learned so much through the experience of sports that has been a giant asset to me in my career. I learned how to lead as a team captain, how to set goals, work hard for them and care about them, how to win and how to lose – and how to bounce back from defeat. Every single one of those experiences has helped me as a teammate and a leader in the corporate world. And lastly, I personally take a lot of mental strength from my physical strength. On some of the toughest business days of my life when facing what I knew were going to be really difficult meetings, I used an early morning run to get my head in the game and to feel my strength carry into the meeting room.

The daily activity that keeps me going…

Exercise. I either run, cycle or do functional training every day and it’s absolutely my most critical time to center myself for the rest of the day ahead.

My advice for balancing health and business…

Health comes first. Period. If you want to be a great leader, you need to start by investing in yourself. Good food, good fitness, and good sleep are the critical foundations that every great leader should start with.

The books every entrepreneur should read…

Give and Take by Adam Grant
I’m a total Adam super fan girl – his work is so compelling on helping you understand that the more you give, the better your business and your life will be.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek
It is an oldie but a goodie, providing such a simple approach to really knowing who you are as a leader and as a brand and business.

Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter
An excellent reminder for all of us as entrepreneurs and business leaders that we need to do more to help our teams balance work, life and value the role of care in our society.

Advice I live by…

Without risk does not come great reward.