I’ve found myself troubled over the past fifteen years by what appears to me to be a hardening and polarizing of attitudes of people in the United States. At the core of these attitudes, is the limited capacity to forgive and the very strong need to extract vengeance for how we may have been wronged.

According to the Webster’s Dictionary definitions of to forgive are:

a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
b : to grant relief from payment of 2 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon .

Let me say at the outset, that I don’t have an answer here [although I do have some very unsettling questions]. I do know that what is best in us is our capacity to forgive.

I personally grieve for role models like Martin Luther King not only for what he said but for his actions in the civil rights movement and how his capacity for forgiveness was a calling. It was something which made all of us better.

I am saddened by the fact that we don’t seem to have leaders today who want to pull us in the direction of making us better than who we are. Too many leaders, either in public life or private life are dead set on righting wrongs and extracting a price- this is behavior organized around demanding vengeance.

I wonder how can we ever heal individually or as a society, when vengeance is our goal? The revenge business may be good for the character Inigo Montoya in the movie The Princess Bride but in real life it leaves us empty, only wanting more…vengeance. We never get enough vengeance- it has an addictive quality to it.

I love to read those rare stories about individuals who have been able to forgive and what it has taught them. I’d like us to become a society more in favor giving- breaking down the word forgive as FOR giving.

Indeed we could all use what is in the DNA of that wonderful little six- year old girl who was bitten by a sharp recently who said she forgives him

I don’t have a way to do this. I don’t have a path or a campaign but I’d love this conversation to become viral because I think we all need the discussion around forgiveness and what keeps us holding on to the need to extract vengeance.


Newsweek magazine has an interesting article in the July 18 issue
called “Why Winners Win at…”

The article quotes Andre Agassi from his book Open, Timothy Galway, a
coaching colleague who is the author of the Inner Game of Tennis and
a host of others making several powerful points. Among them:

+ Winners have certain things that others don’t have- one of them
is extreme fitness; but fitness is not the only determinant of what
separates winners from losers.

+ “Winners get in their own way less,” is the way Galway economically
phrases it.

+ Scientists have long studied how testosterone helps produce
winners. According to recent scientific studies a small mix of cortisol
helps regulate testosterone. But too much cortisol mixed with high
testosterone may actually impede winning.

+ Winning experiences produce a testosterone “jolt” for the winners.
Thus, the old saying that nothing begets winners like winning, is being
confirmed in the laboratory.

Although these studies of winning are very interesting, to write about
success without studying failure- or coming back from failure- seems
to be looking at only half the picture.

As the Japanese Women’s Soccer Team proved on Sunday July 17
with its win over the USA Women’s team in a thrilling match, there
is something about coming back from defeat and remaining resilient
which gives us yet an entirely different lens as we look at what it takes
to win.

People who have faced and have come back from adversity probably
offer more of a lesson for the majority of us than all the laboratory
studies in the world on the Rx for winning.

As anyone who has come back from adversity can tell you, the
comeback has a magical way of reducing self-doubt and fear while
simultaneously raising-self-confidence. With self-doubt and fear
minimized, and self-doubt increased, we are well on our way to
becoming the best possible versions of ourselves.


CEO Coach Robinson Blog # Eleven How important is it for you as a leader to be able to change your behavior?

June 23, 2011

You’re a leader and have the power of example- both positive and negative-for tens, hundreds or even thousands of employees in your company or organization. Suppose you had a stutter as the future King of England did, as depicted in the movie “The King’s Speech?” Suppose you were able to overcome it in the same […]

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CEO Coach Robinson Blog # Ten- Leadership

October 15, 2010

Leadership is a funny thing.  We are in awe of leaders and also seem to take sadistic glee in their failure [especially when we hate their politics].  Leaders that we know from our companies or our communities may be another matter.  When a leader whom we trust fails, a little bit of us fails at […]

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CEO Coach Robinson Blog # Nine: What women are talking about at work these days.

October 12, 2010

A lot of women are talking about money. Is this a surprise?  Well, it shouldn’t be. They’re especially talking about how much money they make and how men- who make most of these decisions in Corporate America- decide what they should be paid. Female executives in major corporations all have stories.  These stories are often […]

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CEO Coach Robinson Blog # Eight- Emotional Intelligence 2.0 equals emotional contagion.

October 4, 2010

Many people are put off by the term emotional intelligence because it sounds academic.  There’s a quick equation I use for emotional intelligence to make it more user friendly. I ask my Client to think of it  in terms of positive or negative contagion.  How contagious are you?  Do you attract people to you?  Or […]

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CEO Coach Robinson Blog # Seven- Notes on building a positivity “tool kit”.

March 8, 2010

Because I think Barbara Fredrickson’s Positivity book is so important, I’ve added some additional notes from her book to add to my last blog.  The theme here is how to build what she calls a positivity tool kit.  I do urge you to read her book because her book is far richer than my notes. […]

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CEO Coach Robinson Blog# Six- Summarizing Fredrickson’s book on Positivity

March 1, 2010

Psychologist and Psychology Professor Barbara Fredrickson has written an important book called Positivity which I urge you to buy and read closely.  Many of you don’t have time to read this book so below I’ve provided a brief summary of some of the key learning points. Facts about positivity: Positivity feels good.  Forms positivity can […]

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CEO Coach Robinson- Blog # Five: What Season CEO are you?

February 23, 2010

At a recent CEO2CEO Conference this past November, Stephen R. Light, CEO of Xerium Technologies declared, “If CEOs have a season, my season would be winter.” Then he went on to explain how as a CEO he specialized in turn-arounds.

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CEO Coach Robinson Blog # Four- a CEO story of negative contagion

December 21, 2009

Image via Wikipedia This is a good time of year to re-tell a story about negative contagion and losing your moral compass.  This, the true story of a CEO being coached by a colleague of mine a number of years ago.  During this holiday season, and also in light of the recent financial crisis, you […]

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