The Israelis have an uncommon way of teaching. They brand information in your psyche so you instinctively do what you’re supposed to do when necessary. A case in point is scuba training typically directed by ex-military personnel in Eilat.

I boldly entered the sea with the (ex-intelligence!) diving instructor knowing it was time to move from theory to practice, to complete an elective credit for divemaster certification. I thought, “What doesn’t kill me – makes me stronger!”

Within minutes, I was shown a female octopus cradled deep in the cavity of a reef camouflaging itself by continuously changing colors. Mesmerized, I could have watched forever. Especially since I hadn’t noticed the instructor vanish. When I looked up, then all around, I suddenly spotted him suspended upside down 50 meters away, at a depth of 10 meters, with the regulator out of his mouth signaling he was “out of air.” Like a sprint athlete leaves the starting blocks at the sound of a gun, I bolted to his rescue.

Out of breath, once I turned him right side up, I stuck my life support system in his mouth. Holding him by the shoulder straps of his buoyancy control jacket with one hand and clearing the hair off my mask with the other, I watched him slowly inhale air from my breathing regulator as if he were sucking a 7-yard piece of cooked spaghetti. (Protocol is you take two breaths and pass it back).

Now I was out of air! I signaled my critical condition but the instructor stared back at me stone still. I tried to grab my regulator but he moved his head away.

“Game over,” I thought. “I’m out of here!”

As I darted for the surface, his steel grip on my jacket’s shoulder straps felt like a steel anchor. Then, as if I weren’t having a bad day already, he ripped the dive mask off my face and starting shaking me up and down like a martini! Panic.

Although emotions distort the fabric of space-time, it felt like this relentless underwater battle continued for 3-4 minutes. Instinctively, I tried to escape to the surface multiple times while drinking gallons of seawater fighting my need to swallow air.

Finally, I must have reached the threshold of death – I realized I had nothing else lose: if I was going to die – he was going with me: with Herculean strength and five swift moves, I grabbed him with both arms, kneed him in the groin, ripped off his mask, twisted the regulator out of his mouth, and tore off his weight belt.

His mission was accomplished: I got it.

Never relinquish control of your life support system, even in the event of an underwater accident or when buddy breathing. No exceptions ever. Later, I even went as far as replacing my circular “bulls-eye target” Mares regulator with a small cylinder one by Oceanic that fits in my fist so if you want my air, you have to take my hand!

If you, like many people, are wired to help others, I bet you regularly relinquish self-care, life balance or helping yourself before helping others.

Certainly in a life-and-death situation you do try to help. However, when you throw caution to the winds and put yourself in danger, as I did by arriving out of breath and giving away my life support system, sometimes you unintentionally become the problem as well.

Think of a time at home or in the workplace when you’ve tried to help someone else only to become the problem yourself. Personal safety comes first:help yourself before helping others.Failure to do so may result in two problems instead of one. Take it from me: Don’t run out of air.


How to Know When The Meeting’s Over…


I once worked for an organization that held quarterly sales meetings that went from 9 to 5. By 9:15 a.m. my eyes ached as I desperately struggled to keep them open while attempting to disguise a stream of yawns distorting my face. I could have been making phone calls, meeting customers or clearing the work off my desk as could everybody else.

Four days a year, organizational productivity took a nosedive as a result of these highly trained – highly paid people sitting in a room shooting the breeze. Since there was no agenda to define what we were there to accomplish, there was no way of knowing when the meeting was over!

To avoid this from happening to you, here are 12 ways to help you keep a meeting on track:

    1. Make sure the topic is something that can only be taken care of in a meeting.

    2. Define the meeting’s purpose – agenda – start & finish times.

    3. Set time for each item on the agenda.

    4. Distribute the agenda before the meeting and ask attendees to come prepared.

    5. Invite only the people you really need.

    6. Stick a “meeting in progress” post-it on a closed door to avoid distractions.

    7. Start & end on time.

    8. Determine necessary actions for each topic i.e., are you making a decision, weighing alternatives, or just sharing information?

    9. Hold up two fingers when people carry on to let them know they’ve made their point so you can move on.

    10. Refuse to rehash an item once a decision is made.

    11. Stick to the agenda by parking topics that throw you off course for discussion at next meeting.

    12. Track process and progress.

Following the above tips will result in much more effective meetings. In addition, when you are running the meeting, do not relinquish control of the process. It’s fine to relinquish control of the meeting’s content by letting others take the floor and be the expert, but you must retain control of the process to ensure that you make progress.

That way you know when the meeting’s over i.e., when the time is up or the outcomes defined in the agenda are accomplished–whichever comes first.


If you could ask a question about what’s holding you back from catapulting your life forward, what would it be To ask yours, click on the link below.

Q. We’re engaged in our strategy formulation process and we did a SWOT analysis. What do we do with the information

A. One of the biggest mistakes I see is that leaders engage in this process and then they don’t do anything with the resulting information. So I’m glad you asked. Here’s what you can do:

Strengths & weaknesses, on the left side of the matrix, are internal items, you can control these things. Opportunities & threats, on the right, are external,you don’t control these but you can impact them. You want to do both: control what you can and impact the rest.

First, create a bullet point list using the content of the SWOT analysis and prioritize it. Then use these priorities to create a list of great ideas to inject into your goal statements. The way you come up with ideas is by comparing the quadrants and brainstorming. For example, match strengths & opportunities: do you have strengths that could help you invest in opportunities out there Or are there opportunities that will offset threats

Finally, develop goals or action items for your strategic plan. Your aim is to:

  • Capitalize on Strengths

  • Shore up Weaknesses

  • Invest in Opportunities

  • Neutralize Threats

Take advantage of the SWOT analysis to inform your strategic development by using it to flesh out important company, customer, competitor and market information, and come up with outstanding ideas to move your business forward.

Send me your questions. Although I can’t promise to reply to each one individually, you may see yours featured here in an upcoming issue!



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“Don’t learn and learn; learn and apply, or you’ll never improve your game.”

Angie Katselianos

“I compensated insecurity by excess-ively controlling personal and business relationships leading to their deterioration and poor productivity. After working together, I rebuilt my company by hiring talent higher than mine. I gave up micro-management relinquishing control. I empowered people to release their creative energy and produce first-rate results. I’ve also become a living model to my life partner inspiring her to grow. Today, I have gratitude for an inspired vision and I’m moving at increasing speed in the direction of its fulfillment. I look forward to you taking me to new heights!”

Haakon Tveita Entrepreneur, Norway






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