Jay Coughlan, former CEO of Lawson Software, took the company public at $200 million and grew the revenue to $430 million. Besides CEO of Lawson Software, he is also known for other titles including former CEO of XRS Corporation, a father, a son, and a convicted felon. After a devastating accident, Jay spent time in jail and completely redefined his life.
If you listen, you will learn:
- The five bold choices to help you rise above your circumstances and redefine who you are
- How not to live “comfortably numb”
- How eliminating negative self-talk will make you more confident
- A quick three question debrief exercise to help turn failure into a learning opportunity
- The importance of knowing and performing activities that give you energy
- How to apply the five bold choices to your business and take some action
Back in 1998, Jay and his father went out to a local hunt club and then a bar afterward. Jay drove drunk and ended up hitting at train at 60mph. Jay was devastated when he woke up in the hospital to find out that his father did not survive the accident. Before even leaving the hospital, Jay found faith. After receiving forgiveness from God and eventually from his entire family, he decided he wouldn’t let this low point in his life define who he was. He was a convicted felon and went on to serve a 6-month jail sentence but wasn’t going to be a victim of his circumstances.
5 Bold Choices
“Life is going to throw all of us a bunch of opportunities and a bunch of challenges. Those opportunities and challenges are going to demand a response,” says Jay.
Jay’s response to his circumstance was to rise above and make choices that would help him be defined by something else, something better. He was being asked at speaking events how exactly he was able to do this which he describes in his book, “Five Bold Choices: Rise Above Your Circumstances and Redefine Your Life.” Jay created his current company, TruBalanced, and now consults business leaders and speaks at many events using these lessons he learned in his past and choices he made for his future.
The five things, in addition to faith, that was driving Jay are listed below. He goes into these five things much more in depth in the podcast:
- Clarity: Keep the important things important
- Accountability: Take responsibility for your life journey
- Adaptability: Anticipating changes ensures growth
- Confidence: Keeping things in proper perspective
- Balance: Life is a marathon, not a sprint
Applying to Your Business
You can apply the five bold choices to your business and be able to take action:
- Clarity: Business owners must have the clarity of knowing what is important, what is urgent, and what is not. Prioritizing is key. You can’t do everything.
- Accountability: There is a motivation in your accountability to do things with your family in addition to your business. The main thing about accountability is it’s about continuous learning. You have to learn from both your successes and failures.
- Adaptability: You must embrace change. “You need to embrace the ability to adapt versus fight it,” says Jay. If you are not thinking about where your company may go or even your “Life After Business,” you are not thinking through the realities of what is going to impact you and your family on an ongoing basis. If you don’t adapt, you die very quickly and can become a victim of your circumstance.
- Confidence: Confidence comes down to being prepared and knowing the truth. Don’t get caught in negative self-talk. When you have confidence, you have credibility.
- Balance: There are only 168 hours in a week so how are you going to allocate your time? “Are you doing things that matter that go toward your goals or give you energy? These are the things that allow you to appreciate life more than becoming the victim,” says Jay.
Business owners tend to isolate themselves. The company’s problems and issues are their problems and issues. Jay gives some final advice to get yourself out of isolation. Don’t do everything in a bubble. It doesn’t have to be “lonely at the top.” Get out and get insight from other people. Discussing your business (and even personal) challenges with other people will give you encouragement and get you out of negative self-talk. Join a peer group or find an advisor. Surround yourself with the right people to make you and your business better. Too many people try to solve problems on their own or self-medicate if they are going through professional or personal problems and it never ends well.
Jay ends our discussion with, “My goal is to help people before they hit the train.”
Contact Information and Bio for Jay:
Company Website: http://trubalanced.com
Book Purchase: http://5boldchoices.com/
Company Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/TruBalanced/?business_id=932769676811624
Jay Coughlan is a keynote speaker, mentor to aspiring business leaders, and an inspiring leader who fosters a culture of high-integrity and openness, having served as CEO of such industry leaders as Lawson Software and XRS Corporation. During his tenure as CEO of Lawson Software, the company completed a $200 million initial public offering (IPO), while growing revenue from $200 million to $430 million.
He is also a convicted felon, and has spent time in prison. During this dark part of his life, he began developing a framework for dealing with the troubles that life inevitably brings. Jay uses lessons gleaned from his own missteps to help change the paths of individuals and organizations. He has captured the energy from his true passion and combined it with his experience as a chief executive, creating TruBalanced™: Building Better Business Leaders.
Jay and his family make their home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.