Quests Can Be Massively Transformative. Here’s How To Choose Yours


“When your desire is not clear nor strong, it cannot take shape. Besides, if your desires are personal, for your own enjoyment, the energy you give them is necessarily limited; it cannot be more than what you have. When you desire the common good, the whole world desires with you. Make humanity’s desire your own and work for it. There you cannot fail.”                         Nisargadatta Maharaj

This quote points to the power of having a quest that is bigger than yourself.

Taking on a quest is a transformative trigger. By doing so you are giving yourself permission to change. Here we look more closely at the nature of quest.

What defines a quest?

It is classically understood to be a journey towards a goal. It is the act of seeking or pursuing something important. In many cultures it is viewed as a long and difficult effort to find or do something.

In contrast to simply living day to day, focusing on a quest changes your perspective: it’s bigger, it’s harder, it’s longer, but doing it packs a punch. In fact, the essence of a quest is change. If a quest doesn’t leave you changed, it’s more a hobby than a quest.

8 common quest characteristics

* What are you ready to own?
A quest is an act. It requires you to step up and own it. You take on the responsibility of doing your utmost to complete the quest.

* What do you already know you have to do?
Determining what quest to embark on may at first seem daunting. Until you realise that it can be influenced by injustices, by inequalities or by the hand fate deals you. In many respects a quest is presented to you, not selected by you.

* What is the difference you can make for others?
A quest is bigger than you. A quest is not about you. It is not about gaining recognition or status. If it doesn’t benefit others, be they a community, a company, a country or even the entire world, then it isn’t a quest. As such a quest benefits the many, even though some or all may never become aware of what was done for them.

* What intention can you crystallize?
A quest can be long, challenging and anything but linear. At any stage you can get sidetracked or lost. It’s imperative that you crystallize out a compelling intention that you can hold onto in order to reinforce your thinking and ensure you stay the distance and complete the quest.

* How can you attract others to your quest team?
the quest does not have to be undertaken alone. Remember that pride has nothing to do with it. At different times on your quest journey you may need different kinds of support. Determine how you can attract the best team around you to help you complete the quest.

* What is your next step?
A quest requires momentum and movement. A quest is completed one step at a time. It cannot be done by not taking action and you need to constantly be putting one foot in front of the other, constantly thinking about the next step.

* Are you ready to take a leap of faith?
Questing is not for the fainthearted. You will be required to take many and myriad leaps of faith on your quest journey. There will be times when you doubt yourself. There will be moments of second-guessing. Fear may be your constant companion. You may want to turn back or find an easier way, but you can overcome these tests on your resolve.

* Are you ready to brave the elements?
Embarking on a quest is filled with uncertainty. As much as you plan, the outcome of a quest can never be known in advance. A quest is an organic journey of exploration. You need to build an understanding deep within you that you are comfortable with whatever happens. Your normal constraints and constructs will get in the way and try to hold you back from making the choices and taking the action that the quest demands of you. You will need to be willing to stride into the center of the field and stand exposed, braving the elements and embracing change.

Come Alive

The EXOscalr Come Alive Program is a 12-month, quest-based coaching program designed to trigger and support clients on their quest journey.



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One Universal Rule To Never Failing


Last week Mick Fanning had a close encounter with a four metre long great white shark while surfing the finals of a competition at my favorite surf break, Jefferies Bay.

He was extremely fortunate not to be physically harmed. However, there is no doubt he was emotionally impacted. At one point he said he would be happy never to surf another competition again.

My advice to him was to get back in the water – soon. Today he did that.

The photo above was shot as he entered the water and shared on his Instagram (note that I have added the text to this photo).

Had he remained out of the sea for an extended period of time it would firstly have made it harder and harder for him to get back into surfing again. Secondly, he would have stood the very real chance of being branded a failure.

And so it is with so much in our lives – in business, in love.

If things don’t work out, for whatever reason, we have failed only if we do not try again.

Sometimes things don’t work our multiple times in a row, but all it takes is for it to succeed once and we are seen as a success.

There is one simple, universal rule to never failing:




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A Unique Opportunity to Experience the EXOscalr Coaching Philosophy

How do you know if transformational coaching is for you? No amount of marketing material can help you make up your mind. It is an intensely personal choice, both for you as client and for your potential coach. There needs to be a meeting of the minds for both of you. The only way to really gauge compatibility is to do a coaching session.

In this spirit, the philosophy we are taking at EXOscalr is to invite interested people to join us for a one on one coaching session. Our premise is that, even if you do not become a member of our Masters Circle we will make a difference in your life and that makes it worth doing.

Visit our page to get more information and click on the call to action if you want to avail yourself of this opportunity.



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Why Filling the Mind Does Not Fulfil Us, Or Make Us Better Leaders


Jeff is a world class salesperson. His drive, his passion for the deal built the last company he was a co-founder of into the leader in its industry. They started the business in a start up garage and grew it into a billion dollar company.

He could have taken his foot off the pedal and coasted, reaping the rewards of his hard work for years. He peers idolised him. He was wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. You would have never guessed it, but he was unhappy. Something was missing for him in his life. He didn’t take the time to think too hard about it though. He assumed that his restlessness was because he needed more business-fuelled adrenaline.

He walked out of the company he had co-founded. His industry experience made him a beacon for best of breed activity. His calendar quickly filled up with clients. Learning from his previous business he kept things lean. He took on no staff. He didn’t have an offices. He kept his focus on the core business – selling high end products to the ultra wealthy.

As one deal morphed into another, time began to tick away and before he knew it several years had passed. He was busier than he’d ever been before. This meant that he saw little of his family and his growing collection of expensive toys sat idle most of the time.

It took a while, but he came to realise that his work wasn’t fulfilling him. That said, he was a master at denying his inner voice. All he wanted was to get through the deal he was working on and then he would pare back. He told himself that after this deal he would be happy. He was certain of it. He would blow away the dust on his toys and spend time with his wife. He would take his eldest son sailing.

– As soon as this deal closes I’m done. I’ll be able to spend time with my family. I can’t wait. I’ll be happy then.

But the deal was one of the most complicated he had worked on. It kept extending out and while it looked like it was about to close, it never did. Another complication arose that he had to resolve. Other deals came along and, while he was choosy, he could not let all those opportunities pass him by. The pressing needs of his clients crowded his mind. Thoughts of happiness, family and quality time faded into the background.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Steve Jobs

You may recognise part of yourself in this story. I do. But for me this never ending cycle of busyness and delayed joy ended abruptly. I’d devoted my whole Sunday to getting ahead of the curve before an international flight in the morning. I spent little time with my wife and two teenage boys before retreating back into my study that day. I never made my flight in the morning. Around 10h30pm that Sunday night I died. I still get goosebumps thinking about it now.

I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to revive myself and after weeks in three different intensive care units I emerged from hospital. My sudden cardiac death experience became a trigger that set me off on a transformation path.

My priorities changed. I was able to still my busy mind and focus inwards. I peeled back layers and layers until all that remained was my inner voice. Like a muscle that has atrophied it was weak, I could hardly hear it. But with constant exercise it became stronger. As it did I felt myself becoming calmer, more attuned to the universe. Pure joy entered my life. I quit my high flying role advising Fortune 500 companies on leadership and technology trends.

During my transformation I knew I had to do something meaningful with this amazingly rare opportunity. At first my ego stepped in – loud and proud – it shouted, this second life is an opportunity to build a technology business like no other. I’m an expert on autonomous systems, digital business and creating high-growth, disruptive businesses. It’s a no brainer.

I’ll admit it was tempting, but this was a trap. My inner voice asserted itself and I realised it was not my calling. My destiny is to be of service to others. There are so many people like Jeff caught in a vicious cycle of delaying their true joy. They fill their minds, but never find fulfilment. My role is to be a wayshower, a guide who can help them on their own transformation journey.

Why work on a business or deal that, while it may deliver millions of dollars to your personal bank account, does nothing for you as a person?

Invest the time to determine what excites you, what delivers real meaning to you. Work on that for the rest of your life. It’s true value – your fulfilment and inner joy is priceless.

An exhausted Shervin Pishevar found himself in a hotel in Eastern Europe after 3 days of gruelling travel. But the technology entrepreneur was elated. He had found his calling.

“It is in these sleepless hours, propelled by my inner drive to make a dent in world, where I find the solace to connect with the deepest parts of my own soul. Some find that solace in yoga, exercise, religion, music. I find solace when I ‘do’- when every cell in my body is telling me that I am doing something that will move my ideas from my brain into the hands of millions of people. This is when I am most alive. I feel the power that we all have inside of ourselves to bring life to the dreams we hold in our hearts.”

His journey represents our power when we connect with our inner voice, when we connect our being with aligned doing.

Today Shervin continues listening to himself, and he continues to make a difference. He has moved from being an entrepreneur into one of the most powerful venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. He is now a thought leader to whom entrepreneurs from all over the world turn for guidance.

Rarely does one wake up to find themselves transformed. It can take months, even years. The journey usually starts with a sense of the collapse of a person’s ego structures. Something much deeper within them seeks to voice itself, call it the soul voice. This call marks the start of a journey to recalibrate the structures that surround a person. To align with their soul voice a person may need to change their workplace, their community, their activities.

This journey may start with the onset of one of many signals. Some people feel an apathy, an indifference to what used to be important. Closing that deal may not excite Jeff anymore. Others have varying degrees of anger or feelings of isolation.

Fabrice Grinda has an estimated net worth of $100 million. The entrepreneur lived on a 20-acre estate in Bedford, New York. He drove a $300,000 McLaren and had a Madison Square Park apartment for the weekends. But something about his material lifestyle didn’t resonate with him anymore. He moved out of the Bedford house and got rid of his apartment and McLaren. For him it was time to rearrange things and live a more meaningful life. His central focus shifted to family, friends and experiences. They replaced his obsession with busyness and possessions.

The transformation journey involves peeling back the layers, revealing more and more essential truth. This can be a painful time filled with confusion and fear. Repressed feelings can flood into a person’s consciousness, causing discomfort. Moments of uncertainty about the path forward can hinder progress.

A support network can prove invaluable as one goes through this inner self revolution. There are no easy answers, nor is there a digital map to consult. It helps to have a guide who one can talk to about the barriers within as the change begins to unfold.

Alignment with one’s inner self not only makes one feel more fulfilled, but gives one more empathy and turns us into better leaders. Instead of being filled with one’s own joyless noise, we listen at a deeper level and start to hear what our people are really saying.

Rand Leeb-du Toit is Chair & CEO of EXOscalr, the transformational leadership coaching and advisory business. He works with CEOs and other leaders to assist them transform and scale themselves and their businesses from being great to extraordinarily great. EXOscalr’s goal is to add $1 trillion in value and touch the lives of 2 billion people through its clients by 2025.

How to Design Your Life to be Frictionless


No one wants friction in their life. We all want to reduce it. We praise people who choose better business or life partners. We admire people who restrict time wastage and mindfully reduce friction. Yet, somehow, friction manages to sneak into our lives. How do we achieve the life design goal of a frictionless life?

Frictionless design evokes the intuitiveness of the Apple mantra: “it just works.” According to Andreessen Horowitz partner Steven Sinofsky it is about “reducing the energy required by an experience.”

Consider also that frictionless design fits into flow theory. When you reach the point of flow in an activity it becomes frictionless, it just works for you.

Frictionless does not mean simple or minimal. A complicated process may be smooth in its operation. One of life’s greatest joys is losing yourself in the narrative of a good book. Getting the latest novel from your favourite writer used to be a painful experience. You saw the review in the New York Times and then had to wait for your local bookshop to stock the book some months later.

Today you take for granted the process of reading an Amazon-purchased digital book on one of your devices. There is a lot of complexity in the model of delivering a book to your device. Yet it is almost instantaneous. Once you’ve purchased it, you can lose yourself in its pages at any time by opening the Kindle app. The book will synche to the latest page you were on across all your devices.

Think about your life. What barriers and constraints can you deal with and remove to make your life run more smoothly?

Look for activities that frustrate you, that induce rage or that are unnecessarily complex.

There are three friction-prone areas in which to start. These are areas where you can achieve easy wins:

1. Travel
How much travel do you do a year? Do you make the decision to travel lightly? Do you consider alternative ways of connecting and engaging?

One of colleagues is in high demand not only for his work coaching clients one on one, but also as a speaker at various corporate events around the world. He loves giving talks and meeting face to face with his clients, but cannot stand being on the road too often. It cuts deeply into his contemplative time. He could be writing another bestseller that will impact the lives of thousands. Instead he is standing in line at Heathrow Airport security.

I’ve suggested to him that he reduce friction by limiting his travel. This does not mean less client interaction. It means designing his method of interaction around a medium that is better suited to smoothing out his day. Connecting with clients via videoconference can be just as effective as meeting with them face to face.

2. Direct Reports
How many direct reports do you have? I once worked with a CEO who had 12. This is far too many. It is not only too much of a burden on you, but it is also unfair on your team as they each have minimal access to you.

You should have a small team of trusted lieutenants and provide as much autonomy to your broader team as possible. Hire great people and empower them.

3. Meetings
Does your organization run on meeting fuel? Do people need to meet in order for a decision to be made? How many regular meetings do you run, or attend? Do you require an agenda for every meeting? Does the term “meeting” mean a specific algorithm to your people, for example, must a meeting always be an hour (or more) in length? What percentage of your meetings are face to face versus via videoconference?

Creating a Frictionless Design Playbook

I recommend you consider implementing the following 8-step process over the course of a year. Work with your coach to refine this playbook and then discuss your progress in your regular coaching session.

The results will not only please you, but surprise you with how much more productive you become.

1. Categorize and chart your activities;
2. Score your various interactions daily, from 1 to 10 according to how much friction you feel;
3. After a month you should have enough data to determine which are your high friction interactions;
4. Plan out how you can reduce those frictions;
5. Introduce frictionless behaviour modification into your life. Focus on changing your behavior so you reduce the frictions;
6. Chart your interactions for the next 2 months. Pause monthly to review your progress;
7. Rinse and repeat this process over the next 3 quarters;
8. Conduct an annual review of your friction count.


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Boardroom Disruption: How Silicon Valley and the Fear of Missing Out Can Reinvent Your Business


The Silicon Valley tech-mythology-machine, replete as it is with unicorns and trolls, is a wondrous device designed as much to assist in reality distortion and suspension as it is in self-paving its streets with digital gold.

We all know the story of how the Valley has reinvented itself through various technology phases. Currently it is awash with apps and social media. Even though they helped create this social flow, a few of the tech pundits are swimming against this tide, reinventing themselves as mindfulness gurus, but that’s a fairy tale for another time.

There is a new tide washing into the Valley: autonomy – artificial intelligence, self-driving everything, asset-rich services on demand and cognitive systems that know us to the point where they are 2-3 moves ahead of us in our own personal game of thrones. Their aim is to be 6 moves ahead, and they are rapidly progressing to this point.

But this is all backdrop.

The real foundation of Silicon Valley, the grease in its gears is FEAR. In particular, the FEAR of MISSING OUT (FOMO) is driving the Valley’s sense of urgency.

FOMO is the ultimate reality distortion field creator. This is best explained through examining the fluidity between viewing a new venture in terms of its friction points versus how much it could scale with limitless fuel. Take Uber as an example. Donning friction-tainted lenses restricted many from seeing it as anything more than yet another taxi service, operating in a highly regulated market with well entrenched incumbents. However, for those who looked at Uber through fuel-filled lenses, they saw its true potential, namely to revolutionise transport. They were able to suspend reality long enough to understand the ultimate promise of Uber.  Those who then went on to invest early enough into the company may be rewarded handsomely.

In a low FOMO environment, i.e. most other places on the planet than Silicon Valley, there is little incentive for people to don fuel-filled lenses. They have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for a venture to achieve sufficient traction, they wait for the entrepreneurs to derisk the business. However in a high FOMO environment, those who hesitate: miss out.

Nowhere else on the planet is the FOMO-meter so high. In fact, it is off the charts in comparison to many other geographies. The same can be said for the boardrooms of so many companies. Does your company have a FOMO culture at executive level? For most organisations the answer is a resounding “no”. How then can incumbents compete against agile Silicon Valley startups? The short answer is that they cannot.

Ask the former Kodak board if they understood FOMO. Apparently not.

I’d like to advocate that every board, every senior executive needs to up their FOMO ante. How high you might ask? Not to hysterical levels, but high enough to palpably increase the urgency around tackling disruptive innovation. High enough to also burn the boats and chart new courses if necessary. Definitely higher than the dual path some would advocate of keeping business as usual turning over while exploring new paths on the side.

How do you instill FOMO into the boardroom?

1. In the short term, have your board do a tour of the Valley. Not the bells and whistles version with champagne on the tour bus, but the grungy start up tour where they get exposed to the highest levels of FOMO.

2. In the mid term, look to bring Silicon Valley into the boardroom. Place at least one FOMO expert on the board. Their experience and skills will prove invaluable to you in dealing with the status quo.


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