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122: Mark Sanborn – How To Keep Life Interesting

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author (Fred Factor, Fred Factor 2.0, and The Encore Effect) and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service, and change.


“Cause is not correlation. Just because ten great companies have a gym, doesn’t mean having a gym makes you a great company…So what I try to do, rather than looking for those specifics, I try to be principle-based. Principles don’t change. A principle’s true across time, it’s true across culture and it’s true across context.”

“Communication is about being understood and it’s about understanding. That will never change.”

“Isn’t life not a thousand times too short to bore ourselves?”

“Expectation without education equals frustration.”

“Fred had a simple job, but he brought so much artistry and craft to it that it was amazing…. And what I realized is if Fred could bring that kind of artistry to something as redundant as putting mail in a box, then you and I have no excuse. We all have a bigger canvas to work with and it’s not about the job you have, but how you do the job.”

“The best way to create more Fred’s in your organization is twofold. One is, recognize the ones you’ve already got…. The second thing is to demonstrate it. Be the role model. You can’t demand…what you’re going to do is alienate them.”

“Lord make me a simple man in a complex world…Simple is good.”

“Literally, don’t tower over people.  If you don’t want to intimidate [your employees] and you come into their office and they’re seated, don’t stand over their desk. Either sit down or take a walk with them so you are literally on the same level.”

“When you don’t see much meaning in what you do, you won’t bring much value to what you do.”

“I’m trying to find new focal points that are the intersection really between 3 things. What I can do (skill set), what I like to do, and what’s profitable…I want to make sure what I’m doing isn’t just enjoyable, that’s a hobby. I want to make sure what I’m doing isn’t just a skillset, that’s a job. But that what I’m doing is profitable, but literally and psychically.”

“I pay my trainer to create resistance. If you don’t encounter resistance you’re not changing and you’re not growing. That’s one of the first clues that you’re getting better when you buck up against resistance.”

“You get passion out of 4 buckets. One is your passion for what you do. Another is your passion about why you do…And then there’s passion about how you do it… The final trump card is to be passionate about who you do it for.”


What have you done differently in your life to stand out?

I think I’ve always been big on preparation. I think that most battles or games are won off the field.

What makes someone stand out in business or in life?

A decided point of view. A definitive point of view. It’s well thought out… Moynihan once said, “We’re all entitled to our own opinions, but we’re not entitled to our own facts.” So I think to stand out in business, you need to be well informed so that your point of view is based in reality, or based in facts so that it’s clear what you stand for and what’s important to you.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Spend less than you make.

How do you want to be remembered?

As a guy who wanted to make a positive difference because he loved people. And because he loved people, he led. And when he led, he served…But I think it begins with how you treat the people who are closest to you and that consistently outflows to how you treat the people you encounter every day.


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Co-Produced and edited by Podcast On The Go