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“The best gift you can give people you lead is a healthy, energized, fully humble, and focused self.”

-Steve Gutzler

 I recently read some work by Daniel Goleman, the author of landmark best-seller: Emotional Intelligence. Goleman has spent much of his time analyzing why only a small percentage of leaders develop to their fullest potential while most hit a plateau far beneath what one might expect from them.

His conclusion? The difference is self-leadership. He calls it Emotional Self Control. According to Goleman, this form of self-control is exhibited by leaders when they persevere in leadership despite overwhelming opposition or discouragement. When they refuse to give up during tough times, when they manage to hold their ego at bay, when they stay focused on their mission rather than being distracted by other people’s agendas – these are the moments that make a leader truly a cut above.

Goleman contends that exceptional leaders distinguish themselves because they know their strengths and limits, and weaknesses.

As I read Goleman’s data, I thought about my own self-leadership. Here is my attempt to better lead myself.

  • I try to practice intense leadership activities quickly followed by time set aside for rest and recovery
  • I have been setting aside 60-90 minutes each week for reflection and solitude
  • I have found a quiet place by a park where I recalibrate my mind, my motives, and remind myself of my calling
  • I established my Eight Key Characteristics of Self-Leadership
  1. Is my vision clear?
  2. Is my passion hot?
  3. Am I developing my gifts?
  4. Is my character solid?
  5. Is my pride subdued?
  6. Am I overcoming my fears?
  7. Is my soul being fed?
  8. Is my pace sustainable?

Can you answer these questions honestly? How are you doing? Take a little time to lead yourself – it is the best gift you can give to others


Leading myself – Steve Gutzler


For information regarding keynotes, training, and leadership coaching call or contact Steve via his website, email (, or call him at 425 681 9871


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Leading yourself with emotional intelligence starts with looking closely at who you are and what makes you, you.


“Steve, you’re going so fast and you’re so uptight you just missed the turn. Now we need to backtrack.”
Julie Gutzler in the passenger seat on I-5.

We have always been blessed to take a lot of vacations. When our kids were growing up Disneyland was our annual destination. It’s the “Happiest Place on Earth,” except not for me. I would get uptight, impatient, ticked off and stressed out. Julie, my wife, was the calming anchor. I was the raging ship. Even though the kids were fine and always had a blast, I always felt hurried allowing the crazy crowds to choke out the fun of the moment.

For me the biggest battle in life is against myself. Not against my wife, kids, the people I lead, or the people who have influenced me- it’s against me. I would find myself wondering what I could do if I could only lead myself more effectively.

“Playing Big” is about playing your best. It’s “You version 2.0” It’s about playing, living, and leading at your highest level.

Recently, we went on another vacation to Mexico and I was finally able to slow down. I enjoyed the moments and enjoyed being with my family. Even through some of the quirky events we crossed while in Mexico, I was able to “Play Big” and roll with the punches. My family seemed to relax more and were able to enjoy Dad more as well (making me realize, again, that my emotions are not only affecting me). It was like I was experiencing some new private victories in “Leading Steve.”

Play Big: Key Pointers

  • Eat clean
  • Act to win
  • Find the good in the day
  • Breath… Breath…
  • Slow down
  • Practice appreciation

Now that we have two of the ten weeks up and running, a pretty good feel of the series should be developing. I think you will enjoy this series on PLAYING BIG. I hope my real-life experiences and my journey of learning to Play Big will help you connect and will provide some insight to the difficulties of really building an emotionally intelligent self. I promise, that despite all the challenges, the payoff is more than worth it- it’s Extraordinary.

Coming up we’ll touch on:

  • Leadership Input
  • Influence of Inspirations
  • Emotionally Intelligent Leaders
  • Masters in Playing Big

Don’t miss next weeks post! PLAYING BIG PART 3 including more on EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE 

Play Big Training

Steve’s one day training on Emotional Intelligence for Extraordinary Leadership will transform your team’s effectiveness.

Harness the power of the Number 1 predictor of professional success and personal performance

  • Perfect for sales teams
  • Team organizations seeking better performance and results
  • Managers and leaders becoming effective in bringing out the best in the team
  • How to build fierce loyalty with customers using Emotional Intelligence

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