Grab a Front Row Seat to Joy

Grab a front row seat to joy. Phillip Kane’s blog.
Image: Andre Jackson | Unsplash

August 26, 2021

This week, I had the chance to meet Chris and Jenny O Calleri of Huntington Jewelers in Las Vegas, Nevada. At one point in our meeting, Jenny O shared something particularly poignant about her business – something that makes being in it especially gratifying. Being in the jewelry business, Jenny O says, gives her an opportunity to be a part of the most joyful moments of other people’s lives. For her, proximity to such joy would not be possible anywhere else. It’s why Jenny O does what she does. And it’s clear that she gives every bit as much joy as she gets. 

I continued to think about Jenny’s words on my flight back to Ohio. And suddenly, it occurred to me that for Jenny O, the joy is simply more obvious. The truth is, we are, all of us surrounded by joy. Every one of us has a front row seat to the joyful moments in the lives of those around us. It’s just that we’re often too preoccupied to see them. 

And that’s the point for the week. 

Each day, something joyful happens in the life of someone we know. Whether it’s big joy, little joy or in-between joy, there’s joy to be found – if we simply pay attention. It might be the engagement of the new guy in accounting; a passed driver’s exam of your assistant’s youngest son; or the sweet 16 of one of the driver’s twin daughters.  All of it joy, occurring right before our very eyes, but hidden behind the veil of a simple choice on our part to be less present in the lives of those we lead.  

It’s choice that, I think, Jenny O would say is nutty – to miss out on the chance to be a part of the rarest of human emotion – to grab a front row seat to joy – when it’s sitting right outside our door.

True leaders, though, choose to be present in the lives of those whose care has been entrusted to them. They know their birthdays, the names of their children, and when something important is about to happen in their lives. Because they do, they tell those around them, even without saying a word, that they care about them, that they matter, and that they are interested in them as human beings, not just as a means of production. 

As a result, trust flourishes and along with it effort, loyalty and dedication to the cause of the whole.  Teams with truly present leaders give more because they get more, and, as a result, they rarely ever lose. 

But even more than that, for the leader who becomes more present in the lives of others, their own life becomes dimensionally better – more complete, more interesting, and, well, more joyful.  

So, grab a front row seat to the joy that’s always been there. 

Be present in the lives of others. 

And win.

To pre-order Phillip’s new book, follow this link: 


Choose Love

US Marine holding a baby. Afghanistan, 2021 / Choose Love from Phillip Kane's AndWin blog
Credit: US Central Command Public Affairs

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Last week, more than 20 people were killed in Afghanistan though our President told us no one was dying. An NPR reporter went off script during Friday’s press briefing and that same President became flustered and walked out. Meanwhile his Chief of Staff is retweeting third-rate MSNBC pundits, his State and Defense spokesmen are contradicting one another and his Vice President just took off for the scene of one of the country’s last foreign policy disasters. And 30% of somebody somewhere in this nation believe all of this is acceptable. But this morning, I saw a picture that reminded me of something that I sometimes need reminded of: none of this is bigger than love. 

And that’s the point for the week. 

The picture is of an American soldier at K-Hai airport in Kabul, holding an Afghan infant. The soldier is exhausted and filthy. He’s tenderly cradling the infant in both arms, looking down into its face, and he’s smiling. It is a beautiful and perfect example of love. 

He’s not thinking of the enemy, or a botched exit, or who’s to blame, or what might happen next. In that perfect moment, he’s perfectly present in the life of that child. He’s chosen love. 

It’s a reminder to the rest of us that we should too. 

The millions of people who see that picture and the billions more who witness countless other acts of love today will be moved to choose: to think differently about life – to choose love – or not. 

Because when this entire mess is over, love will remain. And it is love alone that will make surviving it possible.

See, life is a choice. We can dwell on all that is wrong and broken. We can put hatred and partisanship above what is right and join the 30%. We can choose darkness, or we can seek the light. We can choose to tear down, or we can build up. We can choose indifference, or we can choose love. 

But, in the end, love will win. See, light will always overcome the darkness. And good will forever triumph over evil. 

That’s because people are fundamentally good – 97 or 98 percent of them anyway. Even most of the 30% know what they are up to isn’t right. It’s just that humans have a hard time admitting they are wrong. And an even harder time loving people they don’t know or who have hurt them before. But eventually, even the hardest hearts give way. 

Love will, in time, conquer all. In the history of recorded time it always has. Because when people are given the choice, or simply remember that they’ve had one all along, they choose love.

Because love forgives all. Love forgets all. Love overlooks all. 

Love doesn’t pout. Or dwell. Or brood. It doesn’t seek equity, or revenge, or reparations. 

Love is accepting. It doesn’t divide. And it doesn’t see difference. 

Organizations founded on and fueled by love become shining beacons on a hill. They are propelled to heights unheard of and become the greatest examples of themselves in the history of mankind – by love and for as long as they choose love. 

I saw a picture today that reminded me that it’s true. 

So choose love. 

And win. 

To pre-order Phillip’s new book, follow this link:


All that Glitters is Not Gold

All that glitters is not gold, Phillip Kane's blog
Image: Optimarc |, License paid

Saturday, the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in a week-one pre-season match-up. The 49ers nickname is derived from the Great American Gold Rush of 1849 which brought thousands of souls to northern California from around the globe in search of instant wealth. Those who dropped everything from their prior lives to seek treasure in the hills in and around San Francisco were said to have caught “Gold Fever.” Not only did the fever compel otherwise rational human beings to leave everything behind in the hunt for Gold, it also led many to become easily convinced that any shiny mineral like Mica or Pirite was, in fact, Gold. So desperate to find Gold were these prospectors that they were easily fooled into believing anything that looked like Gold must be the real thing. Soon, these shiny minerals became known as “Fools Gold” and, hand in hand, as a warning to the overzealous prospector, a cliché was born: “All that glitters is not Gold.”

And that’s the point for the week.

It’s easy to mistake one thing for something else. That’s especially true when we want so desperately for it to be so. When we want so badly to find something, when finding it consumes our every waking thought, when our own personal happiness depends on finding it, we begin to imagine seeing it everywhere. Even when it’s a mirage, we will convince ourselves it is real, because we have staked quite literally everything upon its finding.

So, in such a state of desperation, finding something close enough becomes just as good. A shiny rock is as good as Gold. Because at some point, it becomes as much about the appearance of finding something as having actually found it. See, to admit to having not found something would be to admit to being wrong. To do so would be to admit to being a fool. And those who are more concerned with being right than being correct never do either.

And so, with each nugget of Pirite, they scream, “Gold!” ever louder, because for them, it’s about the ruse. For them, it’s about their own ego. For them, it’s about being right, not being correct. It’s about the glitter, not the Gold.

But the trouble with worrying more about being right than being correct is that those who pay attention know the truth. They can tell the difference between a rock and a piece of Gold. And they have little use for people who try to convince others of things that are not so. People are funny like that. They prefer integrity to the alternative, and they don’t follow people who refuse to be honest with them. They care little for how badly one might wish for something false to be true, or why they wish it to be so, even if it’s for some good cause. That’s because doing bad in the name of good doesn’t make it any better.

True, caring leaders do not attempt to convince others that things are one thing when they know they are another. They know that all that glitters is not Gold. They do not seek to profit from that which is not genuine. Because they refuse to use falsehoods to draw a crowd – they actually attract more followers – among whom they engender great trust, loyalty and respect. And they achieve more for no more complicated a reason than they waste less time trying to convince people of things that plainly aren’t so. As a result, these leaders win more often. They do so because they maintain focus on that which is true, authentic, and which makes the lives of those around them better.

So, don’t be a fool. Seek only the truth. 

Ignore the glitter. Find the Gold.

And win.

P.S. Last week in Colorado, an elderly man calling out to a baseball team’s mascot was accused by team, media, and civil rights leaders of screaming a racial epithet. The mascot’s name is Dinger. All that glitters…

For more about the author, visit

Be Wholehearted

Be Like Tamyra

Be like Tamyra, Phillip Kane's blog
Photo credit: Azamat Mukanov |, License paid

Thursday, August 12, 2021

On August 3, Olympic women’s wrestler, Tamyra Mensah-Stock became the first black female to win a gold medal for the United States in wrestling, beating Blessing Oborududu of Nigeria in the 68kg final. Her performance on the mat was only matched by her performance afterward when a jubilant Mensah-Stock triumphantly waved then draped herself in the American flag as she celebrated her historic victory. Asked what it felt like, she replied, “I love representing the U.S. I freaking love living there.” She then pumped her fist and pulled the flag even more tightly around herself. What was clear to anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention was that Tamyra Mensah-Shah had brought her whole heart to the task of competing for her country. It shouldn’t have been surprising then that she had won. Those who bring their whole heart to things tend to win more often.

And that’s the point for the week.

Things done half-heartedly rarely end well. It’s a simple matter of fact. Those who mail it in, go through the motions or allow themselves to be distracted by things that don’t matter will almost always lose for the sole reason that they bring less of themselves to the fight.

And while wholeheartedness is not a guarantee of victory, those who do bring their whole hearts to things win more than they lose. They do so because at the final bell, they’ll have brought all there is to bring, spent all there is to spend, and have left nothing at all on the field of play.

Whole-heartedness is closely related to belief. In fact, without the latter, the former is not possible. Only that which we firmly believe in can we bring our entire selves to the task of achieving. Any doubt, any reservation, any disagreement with the ultimate objective will directly correlate to a loss of commitment to it. And as commitment wanes, so with it the odds of achieving success.

No amount of talent can compensate for a lack of heart. A collection of B players bringing their whole hearts to a task will mop the floor with any group of uncommitted A players seven days a week and twice on Sundays. It’s because the mind and body can only achieve what the heart will allow.

Those who bring their whole heart to things are easy to spot. They stay at things longer. They seldom give up. They seem to be bothered less by setbacks. And they tend to be far less concerned with their own well being than with some greater good. More than anything, they recognize that wholeheartedness is not something that can be commanded, bought or coached; it is rather, like most else in life, a choice – a deeply personal choice between fully giving of oneself or making it about oneself.

Those who give their whole heart to something bigger than themselves build trust among those around them – whether at home, at work or in their communities – because others know that they can be counted on. And when trust blossoms and flourishes, teams are propelled with force and speed toward ever greater heights of achievement. All because simple people dared to make a simple choice: to bring more of their heart to something instead of less of it.

So, in whatever you do, be wholehearted about it.

Be like Tamyra.

And win.

To pre-order Phillip Kane’s new book, please follow this link:

Little Things

Little Things Impact Us the Most

Little things impact us the most. Phillip Kane's blog
Photo: Will Kane

Friday, August 6, 2021

This week, my son, William, who is 17, started a new job. For many kids, summer jobs are a rite of passage and part of growing up. It’s been no different for Will. But for anyone, no matter how young, or old, the first week on a new job brings with it a mix of excitement, trepidation, anxiety, and even fear. Everyone and everything are new. The routine must be learned. There are no familiar faces. There’s pressure to do well and to make a good first impression. These first days are hard enough for an adult, but for a kid, they can be an awful lot. So, Will hasn’t been quite himself. He’s good at compartmentalizing and he’s older than his age, but the last week has just been more than he wanted. We all have weeks like that.

But then yesterday, he got ducked. For those unfamiliar with the term, ducking involves the anonymous gifting of a rubber duck to another human being with an attached note of good cheer. (Will’s duck is shown in the photo above.) After being ducked, Will returned home a different kid. Gone was his pensive mood and accompanying anxiety. He was back to his normal, happy self. All because of a tiny little duck.

But it was more than just the duck, you see. It was the idea that someone took the time to do something nice for him and the reminder that there’s more to be grateful for than otherwise. That the notion was sparked by something as insignificant as a toy was not lost on him either. For it’s almost always the little things that impact us the most.

And that’s the point for the week.

That Will was jarred out of a funk by a tiny duck is just the half of the impact of his ducking. I can assure you that it is an event that he’s going to remember for a long time. That’s the other thing about little things. They stick with people. They pool together in our souls with other little things to form banks of positivity that we draw on when we’re down and need something to remind us that everything is going to be OK. And they leak out of us and get passed along.

Not only did will return home and infect the entire household with his new-found happiness but he promptly went online to buy his own supply of ducks that he plans to pass along to others. See, kindness is contagious. Once touched by the goodness of others, it’s a feeling that begs to be shared. And it does get shared. Then it multiplies, quickly, like fire, tearing through columns of hate division and despair on its way to creating better versions of ourselves, our teams, our communities, and our nations.

The common good is not achievable without doing good. And doing good begins with millions of random acts of kindness that change the way we think about ourselves and the world around us – no matter if you’re a 17-year-old boy just starting out or a 79-year-old man in charge of the free world.

So, remember, it’s the little things that impact us the most. Eengage in small acts of kindness.

And win.

P.S. Writing this post reminded me of a friend of mine who devoted her entire life and business to the notion of being good to others. Check out her work at

Make Others Big

Pass More Than You Shoot

Pass more than you shoot. Phillip Kane's andwin blog.
Photo credit: Markus Spiske |

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

This week, I saw a nice post about the late Kobe Bryant which made a great case for missing a lot of shots. See, Kobe, still to this day, holds the NBA lifetime record for most missed shots with just shy of 15,000; the point being that if you’re missing a lot, you’re not avoiding failure and so you continue to throw the thing up there. In terms of sheer tries, though, Kobe is third to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who made just over 28,000 field-goal attempts during his 20 seasons in the league. I’m all for trying and failing and coming back for more; it’s an important lesson to teach and learn. But in a sport where you’re one of five on a team, if you are leading the league in trying, there might be another way to look at it too.

I most often look at life in terms of what a person is doing to make the lives of those around them better. So, I looked at assists. That’s the stat that records the last guy to touch the ball before the guy who scores touches it. I like to think of it as the person who facilitated the successful basket, who made the score possible. I looked where Kobe ended up on that list: 31st – not even in the top 25.

Rather, the all-time NBA assist leaders are John Stockton, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. What’s also interesting about these three is that they all went on to coach others after playing in the NBA. After racking up the top 3 spots in making the lives of other players better, these 3 cats went on to help other teams get better. It’s not surprising to me. Improving the lives of other people isn’t something people do, it’s a part of who they are.

And that’s the point for the week.

True, caring leaders do not view themselves as the center of their universe. Their first waking thought on any day is never about how or what they can do to make themselves bigger. These leaders have a singular purpose in life: to help other people. It is from that starting point that everything else follows. Decisions that involve a tradeoff between doing something for others or failing to do so are never even considered; because for these leaders, the base supposition is that the reason for doing anything is to make life better for other people. They know that as a leader you will win more often when you pass more than you shoot.

Because they approach life this way, they create not only better plans, but plans others are quickly apt to get behind. As a result, these leaders win more often. They do so almost for one singular reason. Because others trust them. They trust them to always act in their best interest and to do the right thing by them. Those they have the privilege to lead dream the same dreams they dream, care about the same things they care about, fight for the same things they fight for, and up to and including following them into a burning building, will do almost anything for them. Because they know if the roles were reversed, the person that’s leading them would do exactly the same thing in return.

These relationships aren’t bought. They aren’t demanded. They don’t come with a title. They are the earned over time by people who have no hesitation whatsoever in telling anyone who will listen that they genuinely love those whose care has been entrusted to them.

And while great individual fame often accrues from putting points on the board and while much attention can be attracted by tossing up the rock more times than anyone else, leadership is still a team sport, one that is best mastered by those who make it about others, whose first interest is for making others really, really big, and who pass the ball way more than they shoot it.

So, make it about others. Pass more than you shoot.

And win.

For more about the author, visit