Jimmy Burrows has directed more than one thousand episodes of sitcom television and has earned eleven Emmy Awards and five Directors Guild of America Awards. In 1974 he began his television career directing episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and Laverne and Shirley. He became the resident director on Taxi and co-created Cheers, directing 243 of the 273 episodes, as well as all 246 episodes of Will and Grace. He has directed the pilots of multiple episodes of Frasier, Friends, Mike & Molly, the pilots of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, and hundreds of other shows.  His new book is titled: Directed by James Burrows: Five Decades of Stories from the Legendary Director of Taxi, Cheers, Frasier, Friends, Will & Grace, and More.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He operates with kindness. Everyone has to row together and pull equally with everyone else. He doesn’t allow ego to get in the way.
  • He has the perfect temperament for TV directing. He doesn’t lose his temper, he’s patient, he has low ego, and he knows how to encourage others.
  • He feels as a director it’s important to “die with your boots on”. That is, to try to do something to make a difference.  To provide input to make the best show possible.
  • When deciding whether to work on a show, he likes to meet with the writer and have him/her defend themselves but not be defensive.
  • When asked about same-sex marriage, then Vice President Joe Biden said, “I think Will & Grace probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far. People fear that which is different. Now they’re beginning to understand.”
  • His success is attributed to his ability to create a harmony on the set so everyone’s involved in making the show better. On his sets, you have to check your ego at the door.
  • “Excellence is to try to be the best you can be in your particular field.”

 

Notes:

Book: Directed by James Burrows: Five Decades of Stories from the Legendary Director of Taxi, Cheers, Frasier, Friends, Will & Grace, and More

Marshall Goldsmith has been recognized as the world’s leading executive coach and has advised more than 200 major CEOs and their management teams. He is the New York Times bestselling author of many books, including What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Mojo, and Triggers. His latest book is titled: The Earned Life: Lose Regret, Choose Fulfillment.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Basing success strictly on results is a fool’s game. The Buddhist term for this is The Hungry Ghost – always eating but never full.
  • Success should be defined as: Are you doing something that is connected to your higher aspirations, are you doing that’s meaningful, and do you enjoy the process.
  • He pioneered the 360 feedback process which includes taking personal references away from the office to truly understand someone’s character.
  • What separate the great from the exceptional leaders are courage, humility, and discipline.
  • “We are living an earned life when the choices, risks, and effort we make in each moment align with an overarching purpose in our lives, regardless of the eventual outcome.”
  • To have a good life, we need to align our aspirations, our ambitions and our actions. Most executives you coach get stuck on the ambition phase.
  • “Excellence is focusing on achievement that’s consistent with something that’s meaningful to you and something you enjoy.”

 

Notes:

The Earned Life: Lose Regret, Choose Fulfillment

What Got You Here Won’t Get Your There: How successful people become even more successful

Marshall Goldsmith website

100 Coaches

Bertrand Piccard is a psychiatrist and explorer and made history by accomplishing two aeronautical firsts – flying around the world non-stop in a balloon, and more recently in a solar-powered airplane without fuel. As Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, he has succeeded in his mission to select 1000 profitable solutions to protect the environment and support clean growth.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Meeting the astronauts as a kid opened his eyes that anyone with a passion who wanted to achieve their dreams could do it.
  • When reflecting on his decision to become an explorer, he knew there had to be new frontiers yet to be discovered. “It’s like a compass showing the unknown, showing what has never been done.”
  • The writer Paulo Coelho once said: “If you believe that adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is deadly.”
  • He would perform self-hypnosis to relax when stressed and stay awake and vigilant while flying through the night.
  • “Our life depends on the way we think. Once we’re aware of that, we’re free to think in every direction.”
  • Failing so quickly and in such a public way on his first around the world balloon attempt liberated him, as he learned to no longer care what others thought.
  • Why did they succeed in the around the world balloon flight when so many others failed? They never failed twice for the same reason.
  • It took 13 years to complete the around the world solar flight starting with the initial announcement. While there were moments of doubt, that doubt allowed them to continue to refine their approach, adjust course, and surmount obstacles along the way.

Gary White is the cofounder and CEO of Water.org and WaterEquity. In 1991 he launched WaterPartners International, the nonprofit that would later become Water.org. Today the organizations he leads are creating market driven solutions to the global water crisis, driving innovations in the way the world funds water and sanitation projects.  His new book that he co-authored with Matt Damon is titled: The Worth of Water: Our Story of Chasing Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenge.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • In many parts of the world, families are paying upwards of 25% of their income to procure water and sanitation.
  • This is a problem that disproportionally impacts women and girls.
  • Microloans are a much more scalable solution to solving the water crisis than grants.
  • 99% of all microloans Water.org provides get paid back in full and on time.
  • To solve the global water crisis, 750 million people will need access to water and 1.7 billion will need access to sanitation.
  • Matt Damon taught Gary how to be a more effective storyteller.
  • “Excellence is doing the very best that you’re capable of doing and always striving to do better with what you have.”

 

Show Notes

Book: The Worth of Water: Our Story of Chasing Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenge

Organizations: Water.org  WaterEquity

Where to Donate: Water.org donations

Chef Andre Rush is a retired decorated combat Veteran known worldwide as the White House chef with the 24-inch biceps and for his advocacy for military service, as well as suicide prevention, which is why he does 2,222 push-ups a day: to bring awareness to the ongoing epidemic of mental health and suicidal ideation.  His new book is titled: Call me Chef, Dammit!: A Veteran’s Journey from the Rural South to the White House.

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • “I don’t care what I have done. It’s what I’m doing right now and what I’m going to continue to do.”
  • “You don’t decide your destiny. Your destiny decides you.”
  • “Cooking is like art. You eat with your eyes. And when you see art, it draws you to it.”
  • He was very determined and found a way to feed off the negativity and use it as fuel.
  • He uses cooking as a coping mechanism for his PTSD.
  • At one point he gave away all his money to help bring Ethiopian refugees to the United States.
  • “Excellence is doing everything you need to do at your very best.”

Show Notes

Book: Call Me Chef, Dammit!: A Veteran’s Journey from the Rural South to the White House

Meal Delivery Service: CHOW

Website: Chef Rush

Joaquin “Jack” Garcia is the former undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the Gambino crime family of Cosa Nostra in New York for nearly three years, resulting in the arrest and conviction of 32 mobsters.  He worked on over 100 major undercover investigations over his 26 year career.  He wrote a New York Times bestseller called Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Being a good undercover is not something you can learn. It’s something you’re born with.
  • Undercover skills include thinking quick on your feet, being comfortable around all types of people, knowing how to read people, being quick witted, and likeable.
  • Sometimes he was juggling upwards of 6 different identifies and roles at the same time.
  • The Gambino case led to the arrest and conviction of 32 mobsters.
  • He worked on over 100 major undercover investigations over his career.
  • “Excellence is being the best in what you set out to do. Look in the mirror and see if you’ve given it 100%. And if the answer is yes, then you have attained excellence.”

Show Notes

Book: Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family

Rob O’Neill is a Navy SEAL combat veteran with decorations which include two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars with Valor, a Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor, three Presidential Unit citations, and two Navy/Marine Corps Commendations with Valor.  He is a public speaker, TV personality, philanthropist, and cofounder of the Special Operators Transition Foundation, a charity supporting special operations military personnel making the difficult transition from the battlefield to the boardroom. He is a New York Times bestselling author of The Operator and his latest book is titled: The Way Forward: Master Life’s Toughest Battles and Create Your Lasting Legacy.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • You learn a lot more from failure than you do from success.
  • Life isn’t about a big goal but having a series of achievable smaller goals.
  • Whatever is going on in your life that’s not working, learn from it and get over it. It’s only dead weight and not helping to fixate on it.
  • The worse thing you can say when you’re leading a team is this is the way we’ve always done it. There can always be a better way.
  • If you’re worrying about something and your worrying isn’t going to change it, stop wasting your energy on it.
  • Sometimes in life it doesn’t really matter why you’re here, you’re just here, so get over it.
  • “Excellence is taking care of your family and teaching your children to be good people and then repeat the process.”

Show Notes

Book: The Way Forward: Master Life’s Toughest Battles and Create Your Lasting Legacy

Website: Robert O’Neill

Barry Sonnenfeld is a director, producer and writer who broke into the film industry as the cinematographer on the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, and Miller’s Crossing.  He was the director of photography on Throw Momma from the Train, Big, When Harry Met Sally, and Misery.  Barry made his directorial debut with The Addams Family and has directed several other films including Addams Family Values, Get Shorty, and the Men in Black trilogy.  His television credits include Pushing Daises, for which he won an Emmy, and Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.  His memoir is titled: Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Most movie directors use the camera as a recording device whereas he uses it as a story telling device.
  • Lots of cinematographers have tried to become directors but have failed. Part of Barry’s success making the transition was hiring a world-class cameraman so he could focus on the actors and other areas as opposed to micromanaging the cameraman.
  • The key to successful directing is to hire people better than you, answer everyone’s questions to ensure a consistent tone, and feign self-confidence.
  • He’s known to be very neurotic but neurosis is a superpower when directing a project.
  • His philosophy about comedy is that nobody on the show should think they’re working on one. The formula is to have an absurd situation or an absurd character played for reality.
  • “Excellence is being capable, responsible, and the willingness to make the tough decision.”

 

Show Notes

Book: Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker