About

Leadership Consultant – Stephen McGhee

You’re already successful.
You don’t need a coach.
You need Stephen McGhee.
Stephen is at the forefront of mind-opening new directions in leadership. For the past 25 years, he has guided business executives and influential leaders across the globe, to go beyond self-imposed limitations to new levels of leadership.

His clients are already considered leaders and high achievers. Within this select group, there are those who realize that there is a greater inner potential waiting to be actualized. Connecting these people to this potential is the focus of Stephen McGhee.

Stephen’s own remarkable journey begins to explain what is distinctive about his approach. With a graduate degree in Spiritual Psychology and a background of working in both investment banking and as an ecumenical minister, he brings an engaging, diverse perspective to life and leadership.

An international keynote speaker and author of three books on leadership, Stephen has transformed accomplished individuals around the country and initiated cultural change with major corporations such as Microsoft, Merck, Georgia Pacific and Firestone. He recently completed his first film, Climb For Freedom, a documentary about the transformation of seven men summiting one of the world’s highest peaks and the profound impact of that journey on their lives and relationships.

Working with Stephen has been referred to as the adventure of a lifetime. His courageous honesty, personal integrity and energetic spirituality guide his practice. With Stephen you will be pushed. You will be uncomfortable. You will be revealed. Both your weakness and your greatness will be exposed and advanced.

And your world will open.

Services

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Let Stephen take you beyond
what you can imagine…
…through one-on-one consulting, experiential programs like The 2014-2015 Life Summit Project, speaking engagements and culture change initiatives.

You are already considered a high achiever, yet you know there is greater inner potential for you. The difference comes from understanding and owning the power of leadership within. Stephen McGhee is the acknowledged master of helping you discover precisely this.

When you engage Stephen as your leadership guide, set your expectations high.

Stephen McGhee coaches the whole man/woman – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. He pushes his clients to expand their awareness of possibility from the restrictions of what’s “reasonable” to limitless vistas of the unreasonable, beyond self imposed limitations to a place where anything is possible.

Embrace the desire, prepare for the challenge, and be ready to meet the extraordinary person and leader you are.

Testimonials

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“Today, more than ever, we need leaders to break through the excuse-minded fog that is settling on our society. Stephen makes a compelling case that velocity trumps precision while critically reminding us that the journey is the thing.”
— Don Bailey, Financial Services Executive, New York City, NY

“Working with Stephen allowed me to move from general management to true leadership.”
— Rick Holzli, General Manager, Microsoft

“If you have a chance to learn from Stephen and want your business to explode like mine did, work with him as soon as you can.”
— Steve Chandler, Author

“Stephen’s insight is remarkable.”
— Stephen Wells, Executive Director, ALDF

“Leadership learning never ends and I recommend Stephen for any entrepreneur, leader or individual who wants to achieve extraordinary life-changing results.”
— Katherine Ott, Chief Executive Officer, SlimGenics Corporation

“I have hired Stephen on four separate occasions as a leadership guide, strategic planning facilitator, and to help my business create a culture of aligned leadership. I can’t say enough about Stephen and the incredible results I have experienced in my life as a direct result of working with him.”
— Mark Musselman, CEO, Porch Light Realty

“Stephen McGhee’s coaching is like riding a bolt of lightning. You better hold on. Not only is it a fun ride, but you will create results at a level you previously thought impossible. Stephen thinks bigger than anyone I know and has the rare ability to coach you to convert inspiration and ideas into results. The past two years, I have created miracles in both my life and business and that would never have occurred without Stephen’s incredible coaching and support. He’s also one of the most caring and committed people I have ever met.”
— Jeff Patterson, President

Shop

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Get Real A Vital Breakthrough on Your Life and Leadership by Stephen McGhee

Get Real

A Vital Breakthrough
on Your Life and Leadership

by Stephen McGhee

Climb to Freedom 7 Men Journey From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary by Stephen McGhee

Climb to Freedom

7 Men Journey From the Ordinary
to the Extraordinary

by Stephen McGhee

Learning to Believe The Unbelievable Living Life as a Miracle Leader by Stephen McGhee

Learning to Believe
The Unbelievable

Living Life as a Miracle Leader
by Stephen McGhee

Documentary Film: Climb to Freedom

Documentary Film: Climb to Freedom

by Stephen McGhee

What happens when seven ordinary men, looking for a bigger life, decide to hit the reset button? Training hard, stronger than they’ve ever been, they go mano a mano with “her”, Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, one of the infamous Seven Summits — 22,834 feet high and spoiling for a fight.

For many, this will be an adventure story about pushing your edge—and that’s reason enough to watch. But how often have you said, “I can’t”, to your dream?

For all those who see only roadblocks on the road to a bigger life, this is a film about breaking through. Is it time to hit your reset button?

Resources

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Here are my favorite resources
for anyone on a quest for integrity,
inner commitment, and unveiling
the truth of who they really are.

The Life Excellence Plan

by Stephen McGhee

The Life Excellence Plan by Stephen McGheeThe Life Excellence Plan is a workbook that replicates the process I use with most of my clients. This plan, when adhered to with vigilance and commitment, will take your vision from possibility to reality through steady application of the action steps you create.
Click here to download

Integrity: Without It Nothing Works

by Michael C. Jensen

Integrity: Without It Nothing Works by Michael C. JensenAn introduction to living by your word and honoring your word as yourself.
Click here to download

Self-Reliance

by Adam Khan

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, Self-Reliance, translated into modern English.
The following is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, Self-Reliance, translated into modern English. I have been studying this essay for years. I consider it one of the most significant pieces of writing ever written. I once typed the whole essay word for word and printed it out on my computer as a booklet. I looked up all the words I didn’t know, and made footnotes of definitions for each word on the page (and there were a lot of them). I put the essay on tape and listened to it over and over while driving. And I tried to apply it to my life. Read more.

Commitment

by Stephen McGhee

A selection of my favorite quotes on commitment from Dusan Djukich.
A commitment is a particular type of declaration by which you move yourself forth in the world. It is a move that announces to the world what it is you intend to accomplish. What a commitment looks like is that you alter yourself and your actions to match what is required to get the intended result that you are after. Read more

Blog

Blog

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  • What’s The Meaning of Mistakes?

    Most of the people I know have a hard time making a mistake. I can identify with them. Many times in my life or business dealings I’ve had that same fear of making wrong decisions. When a bold choice confronted me, my mind started churning on all the things that could go wrong. This kind of thinking used to freeze me up like a winter pond.

    But the ice broke when I finally realized that there’s no way to know if a decision is good or bad until after you make it. What if I could see both possibilities as steps toward success? What if I could give myself the freedom to make a mistake? I realized I would be more willing to make the bold moves that lead to invention and innovation—true watchwords of success.

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    If your choice turns out to be right, you take a step forward. If your choice turns out to be wrong, it informs your next choice—and still, you take a step forward. If you don’t give yourself the freedom to fail, you take no steps forward at all; you just stand there, indecisive and afraid. And voilà, your fear of failure becomes failure by default.

    Sometimes all the time we spend trying to decide something becomes failure in and of itself. Inaction is failure. And tentative, uncommitted action can also lead to failure.

    Wise men and women can help us avoid some mistakes by sharing what they’ve learned. But they can also be examples: if you listen to them you’ll notice that most of what they learned they learned by making mistakes. Some of that mistake making you’ll have to do for yourself. Unless you only want to achieve what they have already achieved, and why waste time on that?

    It’s ironic isn’t it? Often the fear of messing up is what makes us mess up. Why? When we’ve set up an inner judge to stare over our shoulder, watching and waiting for us to mess up, we become nervously ineffective. When that internal judge promises to label us a failure for each mistake, our movements become constrained. We are no longer freewheeling and creative. We are no longer at our best. Our mind expends so much energy trying to guess how not to screw up that it has little energy left to imagine the possible actions that would lead to success.

    Leaders are most likely to turn to me for coaching when they’re struggling with a problem, a transition, or a tough decision. Sometimes their choices involve risking tremendous amounts of money, respected reputations, or important relationships. I have compassion for people facing these kinds of choices. Yet, I often see leaders put themselves through unnecessary suffering over the process, even when they can’t possibly predict the outcome either way.

    I had the privilege of interviewing Bill Farley, the former CEO of Jordache and Fruit of the Loom, and I took the opportunity to ask him what he thought set him apart from the hordes of businessmen who never made it to the top. His answer was simple: “My willingness to make the tough decisions.”

    He didn’t agonize or let himself get paralyzed with the fear of failure.

    After you’ve done your due diligence and researched all the pros and cons of the choices before you, it’s time to either listen to your gut, or just put your finger on the map and go. Don’t waste your time and the time of others. Get bold, make a move, and watch what grows.

    If you don’t see success growing outside you, stop and take a look inside yourself. That’s where the growth will happen, if you’re willing to accept failure, learn from it, and move on to the next tough choice.

    One day each of us is going to die, and most of us will have a tombstone, or at least a eulogy or obituary. Imagine for a second that yours will read one of two ways:

    “… a nice person who never made a mistake.”

    OR

    “… a true leader who inspired us all by living courageously.”

    Blessings,

    Stephen Paul

  • What Are We Busy About?

    “It is not enough to be busy,” said Henry David Thoreau. “So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”

    We all know the feeling that says, “If I sit down, I’ll never get up!” All successful journeys are like that, whether the sitting down is literal or figurative. Remember civil rights activist Rosa Parks? She refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, supporting the Montgomery boycott and other efforts to end segregation. In other words, she sat down to make a big difference.

    When situations occur, don’t think about all the work ahead. Just ask yourself, “What is my highest expression of Self, now?”

    And in terms of momentum?  Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion basically states that a body at rest tends to remain at rest, and a body in motion tends to remain in motion, unless acted on by an external force.

    This is also true of human activity.

    So if you want to reach your objective, keep moving. Otherwise, it could take a lot of work to pry you from that state of rest.

    Many Americans are so excessively busy you may question their need for this advice. Aren’t they always in motion? But what kind of motion is it?  I’m not talking about going through motions for their own sake. I’m talking about forward momentum.

    Some motions people go through in life are merely circular. These motions take them back to the same points every day: bed to kitchen to car to work to kitchen to couch to bed, and back. But leaders, while they might go through some of those motions, also take motions that create upward momentum. They learn a new skill, visit a new country, start a new project, create a new business, and then they keep moving to execute and implement those new things.

    Leadership is not about robotic motion, rather it is about inspired movement toward goodness.

    Some people step outside the circular dance, now and then, simply to laugh, love, and play. That’s life-giving momentum, too.

    Whatever you’re busy doing, ask yourself: Am I moving forward in a meaningful way toward my authentic Self-expression?  If the answer is yes, then keep moving in that direction, at the pace that suits your heart and mind.

    Velocity has a grace and flow that can create a joyful atmosphere. Do you remember the last time you worked on a project that had that kind of momentum? The very air around everyone involved felt electrified, didn’t it?  As a leader, that’s the environment you want to deliberately and consciously create. You don’t just wait for it to happen.

    At times I’ve had to reach into my gut for the courage to take the next step. I have felt resistance in the strangest ways, whether I am attending a meeting, speaking my truth, or presenting to a large group. This resistance is good, if we will use it for our depth and growth as a Soul Centered Leader. Many times, when I have stepped through the greatest obstacles, I have experienced the largest result or upside.

    That next step is where the maturity of leadership prevails. You will grow as you keep stepping past the limitations you perceive yourself to have. That’s why many leaders become spiritually more mature as they get older: not because their body or brain is at its peak, but because they step through their challenges, fear and resistance and build a muscle of leadership that demonstrates wisdom and strength.

    We can make life easier by only focusing on the next ordinary step. Everything worthwhile in life offers the opportunity to discover grace in each and every step. If you need a reason to take the next step, envision your reward: the extraordinary achievement of true self-satisfaction and service to others.  We are not talking about mindless action herein, rather we are talking about the balance and wisdom of true leadership.  At times, the discipline is in slowing down, listening and paying attention to what is most necessary.

    Trust your Self, listen, act and lead.

    Blessings,

    Stephen Paul

  • How to use an early life lesson for your greater good.

    A Lesson That Changed My Life

    When the teacher called my name, I just sat there, stunned. I couldn’t believe it: I was the winner of a national writing contest! It was all the more unexpected because I didn’t even know my work had been entered in the contest.

    Back then, I found writing easy and natural. When I’d written my essay, I was completely detached from thoughts of competition or winning, because I didn’t remember the teacher even mentioning a contest. I just did what I was asked to do, which was to write about the future of the world. To me the assignment was purely fun and creative. I was in the third grade.

    Winning that contest felt like an amazing accomplishment for me—until it was taken away.

    That moment came when the school principal called me into his office. I had no idea why he wanted to see me. When he asked if I had cheated on the contest, I was dumbfounded. I’d written the story on my own, without outside help or copying. But he kept questioning me, making it clear that he didn’t believe me. I asked him why he thought I was a “liar.” He replied that the words I used in my story were beyond a third grade vocabulary level, words like “decade,” for example.

    Instead of congratulating a student who had excelled beyond expectations, the principal seemed more inclined to prove that such excellence wasn’t possible.
    I was too young to know how to defend myself. I was guilty until proven innocent, and he acted so certain that I gave up.

    What could an eight-year-old boy do in the face of adult authority?

    As I walked out of his office carrying my Big Chief notepad, I felt sick inside. I felt tainted. From that moment on, I equated writing with pain. I didn’t think it was worth the effort to do well at something, if it would only lead to unfair accusations. I did as little writing as possible for more than 30 years.

    Has there been a “writing contest” story in your life, a moment along the way when you got the message to shut down an expression of yourself?

    It’s hard to blame that eight-year-old boy for shutting down. It also seems pointless to blame the principal, just another human prone to mistakes.

    But what about the grown man, who, based on a mistake someone else made when he was eight, decided to give up on his gift and hide it from the world?
    As a leader, I find it wastes time to place blame or play victim.

    I’d rather ask these questions: 1) How can I share my gifts? And, 2) What steps can I take to let go of the past and begin expressing myself again?
    Like you, I have something unique to offer…something that only I can offer. We all have something unique to offer. But are we courageous enough to let go of the villains and victims of our past and see ourselves as we truly are, and see our gifts for what they can be?

    Children are always learning, and when we grow up, we don’t have to stop. The lesson here is one of awareness. My choice of what to do with that moment in the principal’s office was available then, and it still remains. I can use that moment as an excuse to shrink from obstacles: injustice, fear of authority, and a belief that effort is rarely rewarded. Or, I can use it as an opportunity to grow into my strengths: a sense of justice, an instinct to stand up for myself, and a gift so exceptional that someone had trouble believing it.

    It’s not all that important for us to understand why we chose to shut down along the way. Only that we have.

    In my leadership work, I often say, “Understanding is the booby prize.” It no longer matters what choice you made then. What matters is the choice you make now.

    Now is all any of us has. Leadership is presence in action. Good leaders don’t waste time blaming themselves or others for their lot in life. They assess what they have to offer now, and create from there.
    If you can see your way to that, your next question will be, “What should I create?”

    How about whatever is in front of you?
    If you were being exactly the person you always wanted to be, what would be the next powerful thing to do?
    Why not do that?

    I’ve long since reframed my picture of that moment in the principal’s office, so that now I see it as a gift. Every day, that long-ago principal tests my resolve to write and the little boy I once was gives meaning to my words. When I write, I think of him.

    The people and moments that challenge us can be our best teachers, if we let them be. These experiences can give us the tools to shape our purpose and to develop our Leadership.  Further, each of these events are simply learning steps in the direction of mastery. When I look back on the path of my life, I see only progress; not perfection but progression. IMG_2830

    Blessings,

    Stephen Paul

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