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Keys To Success For A Life Of Passion And Purpose

Eve Wright, Keys to success

With Eve Wright Taylor, Sr. VP of US Sports Marketing at Unscriptd.com, Entrepreneur, Author of Life at the Speed of Passion: Create a Life of Intention, Purpose, and Integrity

Eve Wright, A Shining Role Model For Men And Women

The world needs more women as role models in male-dominated fields so we can harness the amazing talent and dedication that women bring to everything they put their hearts and minds into.  While unsung female role models labor away in silence all around us, we need to do more to showcase shining examples when we see them.  With that in mind, Steve invited Eve Wright, one such high achieving woman who successfully navigated male-dominated waters and wrote a book about it, Life at the Speed of Passion, that offers easy techniques and keys to success that men and women can implement to succeed in their personal and professional lives.

At a young age, Eve became the Senior Director of Business Affairs for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), then moved to a coveted position with the Miami Heat basketball team, and is now Senior Vice President at Unscriptd.  Along the way, Eve wrote a book about her successes in the largely male-dominated sports industry.

Eve was born and raised in Indiana, and attributes her success and ambition to Midwestern values that keep her from resting on past accomplishments and drive her to always achieve more.

An Even-Keeled Lifestyle Is One Of The Keys To Success

Success is about making the right choices, and Steve kicks off the conversation by asking Eve if there were pivotal moments in her life when she realized that some things just had to change.  “I think there have been many of those,” says Eve, and goes on to talk about how she took fitness and health for granted for several years despite a strong history of diabetes in her family.  Things got to the point where she became pre-diabetic and still made lots of excuses for why she couldn’t work out, such as her job being too intense to leave her time for exercise.  Finally, she hit a pivotal moment, one that most Americans can identify with, and decided to make health and fitness a priority.  She says one of her keys to success was having a more even-keeled lifestyle that let her focus on being successful at whatever goals she set for herself.

Shorten Your Learning Curve To Get Ahead

Eve attributes a lot of her success to “shortening her learning curve”, a technique that she talks about in her book.  Fascinated by this concept, Steve asks Eve to expand on the steps people can take to shorten their learning curve.  According to Eve, a good starting point is humility—understanding that you don’t know everything about the situation you’re faced with and being open to finding out all you can.  She recommends asking meaningful questions to folks who have been down that road before.  The key to success here is asking substantive questions, not fluff such as “Do you like what you’re doing?”  With meaty questions, people take you seriously and start to give you real insights that fill in the blanks and help you make confident and bold decisions.

It’s also important to talk to multiple people and get different perspectives on the same issue, so you’re better positioned to make a balanced decision, adds Steve. He asks Eve what it takes to turn questions into actions.

Eve suggests focusing on a small group of people that you’ve identified in advance.  For instance, if you’re making a decision about a job choice or a career move, talk to people who have been in that position or industry and done that before you; pick people you trust, who have sound judgment and have successfully navigated a situation reasonably similar to yours.  Once you have all your answers, list the pros and cons because they’ll soon point you in one direction or another.  Then weigh the risks and downsides, see how you can minimize them, put a brief plan together, and make a decision.  “Sounds like how I buy a stock,” adds a smiling Steve.

Failure Can Impart Valuable Life Lessons

Continuing on, Steve wonders if people fail to act simply because they’re afraid to fail.  He quotes from Eve’s book where she says if one does things right, it opens up more opportunities, but more opportunities also mean more chances of failure. He asks Eve to elaborate on this.

Eve says failure is a big motivator for her because, while she’s failed at many things, she’s always gotten valuable life lessons from those failures and mistakes.  So, her advice to those who fear failure is to start by taking on small uphill tasks and motivating themselves with words such as “I don’t want to fail, I’ve got to do this.”  It’s about flipping the dynamics from inaction to action and gradually moving to an “I can do this” mindset.

That said, you will not always succeed, there will always be something that you might fail at, so don’t always expect success, Steve cautions.  Eve agrees and, citing her own failures, says sometimes you set the bar too high and fail, but, even so, you end up getting better in the process. So you failed, but you’re better off for it than if you had never even tried.

Stay Positive, Even Through Failure

Sometimes failure can be a good thing, adds Steve, such as not getting a job you really want, which could be a blessing in disguise because it probably wasn’t the right job for you in any case, and this failure could set you in a different direction that leads to unexpected successes in other avenues.  Moreover, even in the face of failure, if you have a positive attitude and step-up and say you really want the job and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it, you keep the conversation going and could well be called back for this or another open position, Eve opines.

How To Pick Your Goals And Stay Focused On Them

In wrapping up, Steve asks Eve for pointers on how people can pick well-defined goals through all the clutter of seemingly attractive options and stay focused despite the many distractions in their personal and professional lives.

Eve believes the key to success boils down to setting your priorities right and choosing what you will and will not do in the time available to you.  This prioritizing takes honest and frank conversations with yourself and with others involved and often requires that you firmly say no—to yourself and to others—for activities that are not on top of your list of priorities.  Moreover, saying no can be a good thing because there’s no point in being a part of something that you don’t have the time for or cannot follow through on.  By simple saying no, you’re doing everyone a favor.

Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily United Capital.  Interviewee is not a representative of United Capital. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions.  Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances.  The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by United Capital.

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Steve Pomeranz: Eve Wright is a woman of accomplishment.  Through big picture thinking and calculated risk taking, Eve has navigated male-dominated waters and has thrived to tell the tale.  Eve has attained a most coveted position with the Miami Heat at the young age of 35, acted as Senior Director of Business Affairs for the Ladies Professional Golf Association.  She’s an entrepreneur, a mother, and has now written a book about her experiences to help others succeed as she has.  The book is Life at the Speed of Passion: Create a Life of Intention, Purpose, and Integrity.  Let’s meet her now and see what we can learn from her experience.  Welcome first time to the show, Eve.  Thanks for joining me.

Eve Wright: Thank you.  Thank you for having me.  I’m going to have to take you around with me.  That was such a gracious and generous introduction.

Steve Pomeranz: Anytime. You can have it.  I’ll send it to you. The person I just described in my intro is one of incredible energy and ambition, and I mean ambition in a good way.  How would you describe yourself?

Eve Wright: Always driven.  I’m Midwestern, born and raised in Indiana, so very Midwestern values in that … I think there’s something else to achieve and don’t think I’ve made it by any stretch.  There are certainly people that have done far greater things, and I’ve had some accomplishments, and I’ve been fortunate to have those and hope that I will still rack ’em up.

Steve Pomeranz: There’s always going to be someone richer, smarter, and better looking, right?  What’s his name on Saturday Night Live used to say “Compare and despair.” It’s a method I live by.  At some point, you had decisions to make.  You had to make right choices, and you had to figure things out fast.  Was there a pivotal moment in your life when you realized some things had to change?

Eve Wright: I think there have been many of those, honestly.  On my career path I’ve been always very focused.  I had the good fortune of shortening my learning curve, which I also talk about and give folks techniques about that, how to go about doing that, in the book.  For sure, even from a lifestyle perspective, with regards to fitness and health, I took that for granted for several years.  Diabetes runs rampant in my family.  There was a time where I was pre-diabetic, and I made tons of excuses on why I couldn’t work out or why I couldn’t do this, my job was too intense and those sorts of things.  Then it comes down to “Okay, are you going to make it a priority or aren’t you?” You want a more even-keeled lifestyle and you got to do it.  Yes, very pivotal moments, many of which I think everybody can identify with.

Steve Pomeranz: I’m fascinated by this idea of shortening your learning curve because to make a decision or to know you have to make a decision is one thing, but to actually make it and to be able to calculate the risk and then actually act upon it, that takes a number of different qualities.  One of them, of course, is some confidence and courage.  What are the steps that people can take to shorten their learning curve?

Eve Wright: I talk about several of them in the book.  We’ll focus on a few of them now.  One, yes, you need confidence and courage, but you also need a good dose of caution in the sense that you don’t know everything, right?

Steve Pomeranz: It’s true, so true.  Really, that’s right.

Eve Wright: I start from there.  I don’t know everything.  I’m going to try to find out as much as I can about whatever the “it”, the decision making is.  Once I get that then you streamline and cut through with it.  Sometimes folks waffle a little bit, but you consider your source where you get that information from, the folks that have had that experience, have been down that road.  You talk to them, “what was your experience?” You ask them meaningful questions, substantive questions, not like fluff things that are …  “Do you like what you’re doing?” or whatever.  You ask them the meaty things.  They’re really going to give you insight and lend help to you as make a confident and bold decision, too.  “This is something I’m gonna do.  Yeah, there’s a bit of risk involved, but the upside is so great it may be worth it.”

Steve Pomeranz: Asking questions is one thing, and I guess asking the right people, asking enough people so you can get a sense of really how things are going.  In terms of narrowing your focus to such a point where you actually turn that into an action, what does that entail?

Eve Wright: It probably entails a smaller group of people, not everyone.  These are folks that you’ve identified in advance.  For instance, if you’re making a decision about a job choice or a move, or even how you navigate taking on or stepping up for an additional project at work, or something to the manner of you need to make a significant purchase in your personal life, a home, or what have you.  You talk to people who have been there and done that, and just a few people that you trust, you know their judgment, they’ve been successful on one level or another, relative to your particular goal.  Then you start, you figure out, you make a list, pros, cons, that sort of thing.  Then you’ll have some direction one way or another.  At that point you say “Okay there is some risk here.  There’s some certain downside.  I can lose.  How do I go about minimizing that?” You put a small plan in place for that and then you’re off and running to the races.

Steve Pomeranz: Sounds like how I buy a stock.  Actually, the book is Life at the Speed of Passion: Create a Life of Intention, Purpose, and Integrity.  My guest is the author Eve Wright, and she’s an attorney.  You’re currently working with the Miami Heat?

Eve Wright: I’m Vice President and Associate General Counsel for the Miami Heat and AmericanAirlines Arena.  I’ve had the good fortune of 2 wonderful organizations that have been here, with over 7 years now.  Prior to that I was with the LPGA.  I’ve been in golf.  If I weren’t 29, I’d tell you I’ve been in sports a while.

Steve Pomeranz: I got you, I hear you.  Getting back to this action thing, many people fail to act because they’re afraid of failure.

Eve Wright: Absolutely.

Steve Pomeranz: They’re afraid to fail.  You’ve mentioned in your book that “if you do things right it opens up more opportunities, but just the fact that you’re going to have more opportunities means there’s more chances to fail.” Tell us a little bit about that.

Eve Wright: Failure is a huge motivator for me.  I hate to fail, like I’m sure everyone does, and do I?  Absolutely!  There were some things I’ve failed at, but I’m able to take away from that.  Sometimes it can be paralyzing to people and, so, for those folks, I say take small steps but change the dynamics.  Rather than saying “I’m not going to do it because I’ll fail.” Put yourself in the position and then say “I don’t want to fail, I gotta do it.” That’s how I’ve gotten over the hump in some of these instances.

Steve Pomeranz: You will fail at certain things.

Eve Wright: You do, and I have, and I’ve had to pick my face up off the floor, my goodness.  I will tell you in more instances than not, I’ve succeeded.  Even in those instances where I failed, and I thought I failed miserably, other people around me are like “Oh, my gosh, I’m shocked that you did it.  You’re my inspiration,” and I’ve gone on to do other things.  Then at the end of that, even though you set this high bar for yourself as I certainly do, you end up not really at failing at all.

Steve Pomeranz: Maybe it’s a door that shouldn’t have been opened anyway.  It’s hard to tell, really.  You may want it, you may think it’s right for you, but if you’re going for a position and you don’t get it, there is a good strong possibility that maybe they were right.  Maybe it wasn’t a fit.

Eve Wright: Perhaps, but then that’s a learning opportunity because you’ve set yourself up in a situation, if you’ve done it correctly.  You just can’t go and don’t get it, and then huff and puff away because then that leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.  If you set yourself up correctly, even if you step up and you don’t get it, you at least have an opportunity to say “I’m willing to take on more.  I’d really want more opportunity, and I think I have more value to add.” Then you can continue the conversation about how you add.  It may not be in that position, but you may take on other responsibilities that situates you for that position, after all, or situates you for something comparable or better.  It’s not always a direct line.

Steve Pomeranz: There are so many distractions in our lives, how do you keep your eye on the ball with all these external forces coming at you?  So many of them seem to be so attractive, and you’ve magnetized to them, you think, “Oh, maybe I should be doing that, maybe I should be doing this” and yet you need to stay focused. How do you do that?

Eve Wright: Oh, my goodness.  I do a lot of things all the time, and so I’m just one of those people.  Some people say I need balance.  I don’t feel like I have balance, I have priorities in what is most important.  Some of them take very honest and frank conversations with myself or with other people.  This is the most important thing that I need to get done or accomplished within this amount of time, whether it’s today, whether it’s a week, whether it’s this month.  That’s how honestly I operate and keep things moving along, and then to the extent I look at my list and say “This really isn’t a priority relative to these other things.” Again, I try to be open and direct about, “I have to stay focused.  These are my priorities right no, I’d really love to be involved but I can’t.  Please keep me in mind, maybe I can help you in another way.”

Steve Pomeranz: I guess you have to be very good at saying no.

Eve Wright: You do.  You absolutely do.

Steve Pomeranz: That’s a powerful word isn’t it?

Eve Wright: It is, and sometimes it’s negative, for sure, but sometimes it’s not because you’d be doing them a disservice if you agree and then don’t have the time and can’t follow through.  Do both of yourselves a favor.

Steve Pomeranz: The book is Life at the Speed of Passion: Create a Life of Intention, Purpose, and Integrity.  I’m speaking with the author Eve Wright.  Eve, I’m sorry we’re out of time but thank you so much for joining us.

Eve Wright: It has been a pleasure.  If I could just say for folks that want to keep in touch, please visit me at evewright.us.  I send out blogs from time to time and send out newsletters.  For sure check in at light speed passion for the book.

Steve Pomeranz: Okay.  Eve Wright, Wright is W-R-I-G-H-T. Okay, Eve, thanks so much.

Eve Wright: Thanks and bye bye.