James McPartland – Author of “Unopened Gifts: One Man’s Journey to Gratitude”

[quote style=”boxed”]I ask a lot of questions, listen more than I speak, and schedule time to think.[/quote]

James McPartland is the Principal and Chief Inspiration Officer of the JMac Performance Group, a specialized management consulting firm focused on realizing the importance of the human potential in business. He is an entrepreneur, author, international speaker, and TV/radio host with an upcoming novel titled, “Unopened Gifts: One Man’s Journey to Gratitude.”

What are you working on right now?

I am leaving for Thailand this week to do executive coaching for business leaders and dentists who are donating time and resources to provide dental care in a rural area known as Chiang Rai. The focus is on how the opportunity is a “gift,” how the experience helps us look at our own lives, and how we can help create a compelling future for the people being served.

Where did the idea for “Unopened Gifts: One Man’s Journey to Gratitude” come from?

It came from my own life journey, from striving for the “brass ring,” and from almost losing everything I had. I came to find that much of what I thought I was looking for, I already possessed.

What does your typical day look like?

I have two young boys, and I try to see them as many mornings as possible. Normally, the day starts with educational reading, a goal review and some time of gratitude. Some clients require a 6:00 a.m. start time, and I may also be on the road. That said, I tend to start most days by 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. I exercise daily, take client calls or office visits, prospect, and write or make notes for my book and/or speaking work.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I ask a lot of questions, listen more than I speak, and schedule time to think.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Do-it-yourself health really excites me. Personal responsibility is the key to life growth and change; owning and knowing ways to improve our health and life outcomes further opens us to transformational, life-changing possibilities.

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

I opened the early shift at a McDonald’s each morning at 4:30 a.m. one summer. I learned that someone has to clean the floors, bathrooms and grease bins–and that the people who are most successful in life (and in their industry) never ask someone to do something that they have not, at one time, done themselves. That doesn’t make certain jobs more fun, but it helps one learn about respect!

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I’d learn to ask for help. I have come to find that asking for help is not a weakness, but instead is a sign of strength. I thought I was supposed to have all of the answers because of the title on my business card.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I look at my key life goals, what has to happen in the coming three to six months to keep me on that path, and what items need to be leveraged to get me where I am wanting to go. I try to distinguish busy work from vital work, and to not put off something I don’t feel like doing when I know it will make a difference in my results.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Keep score. Know what you want, why you want it, and how you will know if you are on the right path or that you’ve arrived. It’s the same with relationships. Asking people to score the quality of your relationship on a scale of 1-10 (from time to time) lends insight on your priorities, communication, and perspective so you can improve things.

Tell us a secret.

Everything we need in life is inside “the package.” We are equipped with tremendous potential and are beyond capable of achieving our life visions. We must believe in ourselves more than anything else.

What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?

Evernote helps me track all the stuff I accumulate (notes, articles, invoices, etc.). Skype allows me to see important people more often, and my photo/pictures app keeps my family and important people close to me at all times.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor is a research-driven look at success, fulfillment and happiness. It proves that happiness comes before success, which is contrary to most schools of thought (“Once I am a success, I will be happy…”).

What’s on your playlist?

I play classical music and smooth jazz for reading and writing time, rock and roll for workout time, and some “oldies” from Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and Michael McDonald when I’m relaxing.

If you weren’t working on “Unopened Gifts,” what would you be doing?

I’d be developing speaking, seminar and coaching content around peak-performance living and the art of communication.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

Guy Kawasaki is good to follow, as he aggregates great content for his primary business (All Top).

TED provides insight and links to inspiring and educational topics from global leaders.

Seth Godin is valuable, as he will always make you stop and think.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

It happens often, as I believe in enjoying life and have a 3- and 5-year-old who are always honest and on a high learning curve when it comes to playing the game of life.

Who is your hero?

There is not one single hero, but a type. My “hero” is the person who is courageous enough to pursue his purpose and dreams, who is always learning, who finds a way to transform a setback into a force for good, who slays the fear monster daily, who doesn’t wait for the approval of others to validate himself, who has a favorite failure, who is focused on growth versus glory, who can admit mistakes, and who, no matter his age, is always considering what he might be when he grows up.

If you could advise yourself 10-15 year ago, what would you tell yourself?

I would tell myself that people are not thinking of me; they are busy thinking about themselves. We must question our beliefs to make sure they are serving us, to recognize life is an interpretation, and to see that we get to choose our responses and roads. Furthermore, I would tell myself to be selfish in terms of taking very good care of my health (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) because I can’t give the best of myself if I am not operating at my personal best. It’s true of everyone.

If life gave you a “do-over,” what might you do differently?

I would find a way to ask for help so that I would be able to talk to my father. He passed away at 57, was quite ill for 7-8 years before that, and traveled a whole bunch in his professional life. I never had the chance to understand the man or his dreams, goals and fears. I would seek to understand and learn from the choices he made in his life.


James McPartland LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesmcpartland
James McPartland on Twitter: !/JMacGroup
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