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John Donahoe Quotes

John Joseph Donahoe

John Donahoe quotes: Swoosh CEO discusses living a full life.

“Link your work with a sense of purpose. It doesn’t matter what industry you choose, what company you join, or what your particular role may be. What does matter is connecting your day-to-day energies to something that is deeply meaningful to you.”

“Discover what really motivates and inspires you, and make sure you can link this to your work. This will make you a more authentic and effective leader, and it will give you the perseverance required to succeed over time.”

“There are people getting dirt on their shins, sh*t on their uniforms, there’s injuries. It’s a battle. Making one mistake, or capitalizing on one opportunity, is the difference between winning and losing.”

“Embrace failure. Most high achievers like to win. Get in there and swing. I’ve been the CEO of two companies. I’ve had four children, dual careers, a lot of experiences. You can’t bat .900 in life. All you’ve got to do is bat .350 and don’t be afraid to get in there and swing.”

“People with the founder mindset drive change, motivate people, and just get stuff done.”

“Small business is the largest job creator, small business is some of the most important wealth creators, small business allows creative entrepreneurial people to thrive regardless of their educational background.”

“It’s not small versus large. There are certain areas and functions, larger entities can be successful, but our society can’t be healthy if we don’t have a vibrant small business opportunity and environment.”

“Be the best leader you can be.”

“Never stop learning. No one will care about your career as much as you do. And only you can be responsible for your learning. It can’t be delegated. One common trait I have observed in the most successful leaders is that they take their own growth and development very seriously. Great leaders are never too proud to learn.”

“The more successful you are, the more you need to learn and grow. Your commitment to learning has to be continuous and unrelenting.”

“Instead of learning a lot from one person, I now learn a little from a lot of people. Every interaction teaches me something and in this way, everyone is my teacher.”

“Some of my most valuable leadership training has come from my experience being a husband, a father and a friend. The skills you learn in your personal life—listening, empathy, and humility—are invaluable for success at work.”

“My father never used the word ‘I.’ His focus was always on others, asking questions, drawing people out. My father treated the parking lot attendant the same way he treated the CEO. And I watched how people responded to my father. He created followership.”

“I feel like I’ve learned from servant leaders. And when I say servant leader, I mean the job of a leader is to serve the purpose, serve the customers, serve the employees, and serve the community. And so one of the ways I want to give back is by practicing servant leadership and that’s something I enjoy doing. And if I can have a hundredth of the impact on others that so many servant leaders have had on me, then I can put my head on the pillow at night and feel good.”

“The most valuable learning often comes during difficult times. Tough times teach character, and character is the most important quality a leader can have.”

“To innovate, you need to engage with each other.”

“In difficult periods, you really get a sense of who you are, what you’re made of, and what’s really important to you. It is during the difficult periods that you learn the importance of teamwork and commitment, as well as how to persevere and have faith.”

“It’s in the periods of adversity that you can get the most done. Crisis is an opportunity.”

“Hindsight is really easy. There wasn’t one moment during the last 30 years where I was certain I was doing the right thing. There wasn’t one moment when I was in the middle of it that I felt, ‘Great, I’ve got this all figured out.’ I still don’t.”

“Any decision I make is an important one because I want it to be a five-to-ten-year decision. I also think the best leaders, as well as the top performers, whether in athletics or any field, take their own development quite seriously.”

“There’s no perfectly woven theme.”

“At the end of that day, I think we need to shift our mindset, and we need to go from what is a peacetime mentality to a wartime mentality. In a peacetime world, what leadership’s about is you try lots of different things, you experiment, you try to make as many decisions as close to the customer out in the field possible. And you kind of let a thousand flowers bloom and see what grows best.”

“Wartime is different. Because wartime is characterized by enormous uncertainty. And so what leadership in wartime means is you’ve got to be clear about what your plan is. You’ve got to be clear about how you’re going to deal with the uncertainty. You have to have contingency plans and scenarios because you can’t predict the future. You have to over-communicate. It is, by its very nature, a more top-down leadership style that’s necessary.”

“We need to assume the worst or plan for the worst and prepare for it and then embrace our future together as a team. We’ve just been trying to stay consistent with our values, but just embrace the reality and uncertainty that we face.”

“One of the things that I’ve learned through my career, it’s actually: periods of adversity are periods where the strongest companies and the strongest brands can get stronger. So we’ve said we’re going to operate with the long term in mind. And our goal is to emerge stronger coming out of this period of adversity than when we go in.”

“I think there’s no doubt that in today’s world, companies are playing a growing role in society, far beyond just our products and services, as employers, as contributors to the community.”

“I’m an optimist. And maybe it’s my Midwest roots. But I’m an optimist about the power of democracy and the checks and balances of democracy. And democracy’s a messy process. Democracy’s not a straight line.”

“If we’re honest with ourselves, our user experience hadn’t kept up with the competition. In the first ten years eBay created the market. Now we’re positioning ourselves to innovate off our core platform. This is not a project. We’re never done.”

“We aspire to be a leader in building a diverse, inclusive team and culture. We want to be better than society as a whole.”

“We feel an enormous sense of responsibility both to live out our purpose of providing hope and inspiration and connection to consumers all over the world.”

“During periods of adversity, the ‘why’ question comes up: Why am I doing this? This is really hard. Why should I care? That’s where purpose matters. I think purpose matters more today than any point I’ve seen in my career.”

“The world is more polarized than any time in my adult life. As I reflected on it, sport is one of the few things that still brings people together. Sports brings people together across nations. No matter how much you may hate your rival or your opponent, you play with a civil set of rules. At the end of the game, you shake hands and congratulate your opponent. I feel like the world needs sport today more than any time in history.”

“I think there’s a definition of a new normal. Here’s what’s not going to change, which is consumer behavior. Consumers now start their shopping experiences on their mobile device.”

“Technology is a future source of productivity and efficiency, as well as competitiveness.”

“I think we’re going to look back on this year as a year that’s called all of us to have a sense of resilience, have a sense of—you have to have hope, yeah, it’s been challenging.”

“As you keep looking forward, and understand, don’t assume it’s going to go back to the way it was. That’s death. Because then you’re always comparing it to the way it was. Say, you know what? We’re in a period of rapid change, some change that feels exciting, and some change that feels very challenging. I think we’re going to be shaping that new normal for not just months to come, years to come.”

“And at what point does it get to be enough positive momentum and the quote-unquote peace time circumstances come? I don’t know. I think you got to assume it’s like a playoff run, a sports team in a playoff run. It ain’t over till it’s over. It ain’t over till you’ve won the championship.”

“I feel like my parents were people that said, you know, it’s a lot more important who you are and how you carry yourself than what you do. That the things that last, your legacy is ultimately more driven by who you are and how you carry yourself and how you impact others around you. And it’s actually less about what you do.”

“I’ve been very fortunate in that each chapter of my life has kind of unfolded one after another, and it’s never been part of a grand plan.”

“I left business school incredibly stressed. Meditation, and a therapist, helped me come to terms with my massive fear of failure. All this stuff that some people think is kind of ‘fuzzy’—I don’t. I view it as the only way you can actually perform at the highest level.”

“Don’t look at careers and relationships as zero-sum equations: You don’t have to choose between children and a career, one partner’s job over the other’s, advancement over personal health. Instead, look at life as a positive-sum equation. Try to get as much out of it as possible, and look for creative solutions along the way.”

“Build your full life, not just your work life. Many of you are concerned about work-life balance, and how your employers are going to address it. I would turn the question back to you: How will you create your own balance?”

“For every minute an elite athlete spends on the field, they’ve spent hours off the field, deliberately investing time in their mental, physical and emotional health. Highly successful people do the same.”

“That takes the form of small things, like eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. It could also mean hiring a therapist or a life coach to help build a framework to understand the world. Being able to travel through life with supportive communities of people is key.”

“If you want to be world-class, you have to invest in yourself.”

“There has been no single moment where we achieved the perfect work-life balance, and that’s okay. We have realized that pursuing a full life and pursuing balance is a journey and not a destination. The fact that we are willing to keep at it is what counts.”

Invest in yourself outside of your career, with the goal of developing a great life, not just a great career.”

“Embrace the challenge of building your full life, not just your work. Real life gives you the stuff to be a real leader.”

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