How happy are you, I asked?  On a scale of 1-10, tell me…how happy are you?

Andy took a moment, looked up at me and replied, you mean today?  Are you talking about at work?  Are you asking about my life in general?  Happy…about what?

 Andy was seemingly confused.  What did I mean with this simple question?  As the group discussed the question, great stories were told.  Ha, said Frank, happy at work, and happy at home are two different grades.  What does happy have to do with anything here? This is work, grumbled Lisa.  The group was enjoying the challenge back to me.

By now, the focus had turned from Andy.  As I returned my attention to Andy, and asked the question again, I sensed a funny bone of vulnerability had been given a sharp jolt.  I was indeed testing his Trust.  Finally as he looked through me he stated proudly, “well I’m a 10”!  Here, home, everywhere, I feel as close to a 10 as possible.

Come on Andy, Lisa challenged. You can’t always be that happy, especially here.  Remember, that’s why they call it work.  A few serious chuckles were heard.  Wow…as this group of managers began nodding their heads in unison, I realized Andy was an outlier.

Malcom Gladwell in his wonderful book Outliers, describes it as someone who might “lie outside the normal experience, so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us.”  Andy loved his job.  Andy loved his life away from work.  Everyone knew it.  It was puzzling to them, and they treated him as an outlier.

Everyone graded parts of their lives differently.  Home was 7’s, 9’s, even a few 10’s.  Karen admitted home was really a challenge with her spouse at a 3, and work was a great oasis, even though it was a 6.  Most of these aspiring leaders gave happiness a separate grade at work somewhat lower than home, typically a 5, 6, or 7.  No way you can be happier at work than at home said Brian.

Andy spoke again.  “Why are all of you so unhappy?  Why can’t you believe I’m approaching my life as a 10?” I love what I do.  It was a conscious choice to come here.  I choose to stay here.  It all started with my following what I am passionate about…in all aspects of my life.

Lisa!  He turned and looked at her.  What the heck are you doing here?  You are a songwriter, and a fabulous guitar player.  All your life you have wanted to follow your musical dream.  Go follow that dream.  Stop building this fake world at home which requires you to come here, be miserable, and try to make enough money to pay for it.  Change your life.

Then he called out Frank.  Yeah, you too Frank.  You only work here because your father did.  You feel forced to follow his lead, never on your own.  What is it you like to do Frank?  You are probably the smartest man I have ever known personally, yet I cant place in my mind what you would like to do, away from the pressures of your Dad.

On and on he went. One by one he picked them out.   Andy had grown tired of his peers taking issue with his happiness, amidst their own attitude of un-happiness.  He finished with “you cant continue to wake up in the morning, and go to work, hoping to make enough money so you can afford to go home, and go to bed and repeat the cycle.  That is not happiness at home, or at work.”

The group was stunned.  I was quite pleased.  After all, Rare Leader Affinity Group Coaching is not always about making people comfortable.  When managers, or supervisors believe they are ready to become Leaders, they need to discover if they are made from the Rare Leader™ cloth.  As a Leader, they need to possess the 12 competencies of the Rare Leader, and display the behaviors supporting them.  And Rare Leaders must weave Humbleness, Trust, and yes, Passion in everything they do while Leading others.

So, back to the beginning.  I didn’t care what specific numerical answer Andy gave when I asked him if he was happy.  Through our 1-1 Coaching in-between Rare Leader Affinity Group Meetings, I knew he was quite close to a 10, and he knew I was aware.  That’s why he was confused I was asking.

I did care about challenging Andy to emerge as a Leader in front of his peers.  I wanted Andy to show his Passion about his life.  Passion balanced between choices he makes every day both at home, and at work.  I wanted Andy to instill this choice of Passion into others.  Life is full of choices, and Andy makes them regularly, driven with Passion from his heart and on his mind. Today Andy took a great step forward, realizing he does wear the cloth of an emerging Rare Leader.


      1. Who is the Andy in your life, Passionate about life?
      2. What is the choice you can make to balance your home and work happiness?
      3. Where do you find your Passion?
      4. When will you end the cycle of poor choices inhibiting your Passion?
      5. How can you instill your Passion with others?


If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 

or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 

Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.