© 2017 by A Million SMART Women & Will Marre

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Launch of the Institute for Leadership Synergy at National University

February 12, 2018

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not;

nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not;

unrewarding genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not;

the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination

alone are omnipotent.

The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and will always

solve the problems of the human race.”


That is a bit of inspiring wisdom from former President Calvin Coolidge that was recently confirmed by research from Duke University professor Angela Duckworth. She calls it grit. I add my voice in support of the power of creative persistence that I have learned from both personal experience and observing the successes and failures of others to live the life that we most want to live. I will offer you a personal tip about how to harness creative grit in a minute, but first I want to tell you about last week and the inspiration that is driving me.


This past week has been nothing short of amazing. My terrific partners at National University and I launched the Institute for Leadership Synergy to a full house at their Sanford Center in La Jolla, CA. CEO’s, Robin Toft and Kristen Carroll, along with CMO, Julie Berg, offered inspiring advice based learning along the road of their leadership journey. My Institute colleagues, Joylyn Darnell, Adriana Cabre and Roxanne Kymaani gave their vision for the Institute and its impact. National University Chancellor Dr. Michael Cunningham and President David Andrews shared personal stories that spark the flames of the University’s support and commitment to our research-based training and education center dedicated to creating a better future by radically improving the leadership synergy between men and women.


Our goal is simple – to train SMART Power leadership to 1 million women as well as enlist the support of 1 million men in the next 5 years to work and lead to create a future of sustainable abundance for everyone. A world where everyone has a chance for a decent life without the artificial limitations of bias.

 National University and Will Marre Launch the Institute for Leadership Synergy.

The news report from local station KUSI tells the story.


This is not pie-in-the-sky. National University launched their Harmony training program for elementary school children three years ago, and it has already reached 1 million children in school districts from New York to California. The Harmony program teaches specific emotional-social intelligence attitudes and behaviors such as empathy and tolerance, and problem-solving and impulse control in simple 20-minute interactive lessons that teachers love to teach and children put into effect in the classroom and the playground immediately.


In order for our strategy to work we need to enlist the help of thousands of women and men who will help us teach, train and coach SMART Power, which is the synergy between the results-focused strengths of hard power and collaborative strengths of soft power that is proving to be so successful at empowering the talent of working teams in organizations around the world.


One reason I believe our aggressive vision is possible is that a bright light is now shining on the problem of dis-empowering or exploiting women. This is causing the entire world to wake up with the grab-you by-the-shoulders-and-shake-you realization that the best possible future is not possible when virtually 50% of the world’s talent, the talent of women, remain systematically marginalized. Yes, women’s equality is a social justice issue. But women’s full contribution in leadership is a survive and thrive issue for the future of every human being.

Research study upon research study from the world’s most prestigious consulting firms and universities repeatedly confirm that when you add the thinking versatility, universal inclusiveness, and personal and strategic empathy most commonly found in women EVERY measurable and qualitative result improves.


This is not to say that men are incompetent, but rather having only typical male points of view represented in leadership is inadequate to face the challenges of today. The role of a woman is not to simply help men achieve their goals. The best future we can create is the future we co-create…women and men together.


We know this.

We know how to teach men and women to work in synergy.

Now, we get to systematically share it on a global scale.


It’s already starting. Next week I will be training a team of leaders from a global tech company to facilitate workshops in gender synergy to their entire workforce around the world. We have broken the training down into three simple 2-hour interactive workshops that have proven to change both behavior and attitudes in ways that measurably improve both inclusiveness and business results. This training is literally self-empowering because when people can instantly use the words and processes that create synergy to accelerate progress and achieve goals…culture changes, careers take off and optimism replaces cynicism.


What’s personally exciting to me is that National University’s state-of-the-art online classrooms are already teaching students around the world from India to Singapore. The combination of on-line learning tools, real-world class discussion boards, and faculty coaching make our crazy sounding goals achievable.


Soon we will be asking you how you might want to help teach, coach or spread the word in your workplace, school or community. We aren’t quite ready yet for an army of partners but we will be soon. So, if you want to get on our email list just sign at the link in the end.


Yes, I am really charged up because what we are doing really matters.


Now for the tip I promised.


I want you to consider how your inner voice responded to what you have just read.

Does it inspire you? Are you skeptical?


Either response would be normal. All of us are being burned by disappointment with people, programs and jobs, we hoped would be great but failed to deliver. Probably one of our biggest letdowns in life is when people promise something great and then betray our trust by having a hidden agenda. These scars and bruises justifiably make us cautious and even skeptical when we feel inspired. No one wants to be a sucker. But on the other hand, living without inspiration is psychologically deadening. Trying to avoid disappointment by shrinking our hopes only makes our lives small.


So, what can we do?


I am very fortunate that my personal mentor, Stephen Covey, taught me that leadership without virtue fails to produce enduring achievement. Few people know how hard we struggled for the first 6 years after we established the Covey Leadership Center. There was not a 7 Habits book, and few companies were interested in personal development for their employees. Many nights I fielded calls from Stephen in a far-off city where he had been speaking. He called wondering when he could use the company credit card because it had been turned down for being over the limit. He would ask me if I thought we would really succeed. I always had the same answer. “I have no doubt. The only way we can fail is if we quit.” I knew that in my deepest self…what I experience as my soul. I knew that because what we were teaching was literally changing lives from the inside out. Because our sense of mission was central we were more creative, more persistent, greater risk takers than if we were just driven by money and ego. Our mission was our engine for persistence…for creative grit.


So, this is my “tip” for this week. Be mission-driven. The biggest fear of a man is to feel unimportant. The biggest fear for a woman is to feel unlovable. Men do crazy things to try to be important and women exhaust themselves trying to be lovable. Please stop.


Instead of trying to prove something to your ego take FIVE solid minutes every morning when you wake up and FIVE more every evening before bed and meditate on the simple fact that you are already uniquely important, and intrinsically lovable. There is nothing you can do to fail except give up. What’s important in life is not our outer success but rather inner joy that comes from feeling your own growth by following your highest motivations. What I have discovered, as so many others have, our quest is not for self-esteem but soul-esteem.


The universal mission that inspires us is to use our talent and energy to help others. I think we all know that. Everything else is a sideshow.


Creative grit will empower you to try new solutions to leap over or circle around brick walls when your progress is stalled or temporary failure discourages you. Fulfilling your mission will take you on many unseen paths that will enrich your life and change others. Seek for the highest good and never give up…ever!





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