Author Archives: The Coach

From the Ruisi Family

On behalf of my entire family, I would like to thank all of you for the outpouring of love and respect for my father, as well as support for our family. We also very much appreciate the stories that many of you have shared; they have brought us comfort during this difficult time.

We initially planned to do one final Wake-Up Call email and prepared the below accordingly. However, upon re-reading words my father wrote and spoke long before he became “The Coach,” we have decided to do the final note in two installments. Unbeknownst to him at the time, these words would serve as the blueprint for his writing later in life. Next week’s note will be his words from almost 25 years ago.

Please stay tuned for next week’s message; in the meantime, I wanted to share my perspective on my father.

On the morning my father passed, while I packed my bags, my children surrounded me doing their best to put on their “brave” face and help me. But I could see through their façade. To calm them and me, I kept asking them, “What would Papa tell me to do?” Invariably two things kept popping into my mind and I could hear my father’s voice telling me, “Take things one step at a time,” and “Take care of your mother.”

As we drove to New Jersey from Massachusetts, I again asked myself what my father would say to me, and the answer was simple – make a list of the things you need to do. He was often bewildered as to why, when packing for a trip or anything else in my life, I didn’t work off a list. So as my wife Mary drove, I made an imperfect, fragmented, and rambling list.

Like many of you, my father was the one I turned to for advice as well as be a sounding board.

And, now while I regret not taking more advantage of his wisdom, I continue to ask myself what my father would tell me, particularly as a father trying to help his children through a challenging time. I realize he would tell me to keep it simple (one of his frequent comments to my brothers and me when we had tough decisions to make). So, when my children look at me with their teary eyes, I do just that and tell them that all they need to know is that Papa loved them very much and that he will always be with them.

To say my father had an accomplished professional career is an understatement and I realize that his shoes and success are impossible to replicate. But that is not my father’s legacy. Like his father (my Papa), my dad’s legacy is the lives he touched and invariably improved; me and my children are no exception.

Despite my regret about the lost opportunity for his sage guidance, I laugh because I can hear my father jokingly asking me if I ever listened over the years. And then I smile a much-needed smile and realize that though he didn’t think I ever listened (what child really ever listens to their parents; mine ignore me), I did listen and learn a great deal more than he realized. Like many people, I did not realize my father’s wisdom until I entered parenthood. As my children have gotten older, I often hear my father’s words in my own voice.

Taking a cue from one of my father’s favorite things – checklists – I decided I would do well to make list of the things I learned from him. And, in keeping with his frequent advice, I kept it simple. Continue reading

Chris Ruisi Overwhelm

It’s Almost Crunch Time!

We’re getting close to that time of year when many of you begin to panic that time is running out.

Right after Labor Day, you realize that you still have a lot of things on your “to-do list” to accomplish before the end of the year. Some of the things on your list are valid and important while others can best be described as make work or busy work. Only you know the difference.

Your work habits go out the door, you enter crisis mode and forget about the importance of continuing to work on just the key tasks.

Here are several steps you can follow to make these next several months productive, setting you up for continued growth into 2020. Continue reading

Chris Ruisi on Failure

Are You a Failure at Failure?

Failure is a fact of life. Failure happens. When it happens to you, you can lament about it and look to blame someone (other than you) or something. When you follow this approach, the next step is to throw up your hands in disgust and frustration, walk away and quit.

Or, you can make the conscious decision to take a step back, evaluate what happened and learn from the experience. And as you might suspect, this is the preferred action. In this regard, I stress a 4-step process that when things go wrong and you fail, you own it, fix it, learn from it and move on. And when you do fail, fail fast. I follow a simple rule: “Fail your failures fast,” so that you can get back on track and keep moving forward.

Taking a risk is the decision that sometimes leads to failure. To minimize the possibility of failure, learn to take calculated risks. Many of you have heard me say, “A turtle moves forward by sticking its neck out.” Continue reading

Stephen and Jonah Ruisi

27 Outs: Lessons in Life by Guest Blogger, Stephen Ruisi

This week, I extended an invitation to my son, Stephen Ruisi to be my “guest blogger” and share with us an excerpt from a book he is writing about one of the most challenging experiences in his life. In this piece – written for his son – he uses the “27 Outs” in a baseball game to help his son build a path for a successful and meaningful life. Read on, enjoy and learn.

27 Outs

I last played organized baseball when I was slightly older than my son Jonah. I was 13 and in the 8th grade and it was in the local Babe Ruth league.  In the span of a year, I went from playing on a little league field to a major league field.  My growth spurt would not happen for some time whereas most of my teammates had grown exponentially in size and strength. Needless to say, I encountered a lot of difficulty and frustration.

Despite being in “retirement” from baseball for nearly 30 years, baseball remains one of the great loves of my life.  I love everything about it – the way the bat feels when you hit the ball hard on the sweet spot, the sound the dirt makes when you slide under a tag, the popping of a catcher’s glove from a hard fastball.  Baseball appeals to my intellectual curiosity as I love the strategy of game management. As a father and little league coach – the look of my children’s face when they get a hit or make a great catch.  And recently – watching Olivia, the only girl in our league, throw heat and strike out the side (as a side note, I enjoyed the look of shock and bewilderment on the face of the boys she struck out).

One of my favorite elements is the fact that unlike other sports, baseball games are not governed by the arbitrary nature of a clock.  To win a major league game, one team needs to get 27 outs.  And, even though a team may be down to the last strike of the last out, the game is not over until the last out is recorded.  So, in turn, that means that until the game is over, anything and everything is possible.

But more significantly, baseball permits a last strike, a last out comeback, particularly when it looks like the prospect for victory is all but extinct.

Given how baseball facilitates the comeback, one might assume this is the reason why I choose to write about baseball instead of something else (say track, a sport in which I competed for over 10 years). While that’s a big part of the reason, there is more to it that this one-dimensional view. Continue reading

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate

Chris Ruisi Driving Business Growth Podcast


This classic line from Cool Hand Luke has often been used to address communication issues in personal and professional lives. Chris discusses how good communication breaks down friction and keeps everything moving forward and as smooth as possible.




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Chris Ruisi Memorial Day

Freedom Requires Sacrifice

It’s Memorial Day! As a result of the current three-day weekend arrangement and activities associated with it, we can become easily distracted from the day’s original meaning and the traditions aligned with it. One such tradition, conceived by poet Morina Michael, was to wear red poppies on Memorial Day “in honor of those who died while serving the nation during war.” Continue reading

Are You Asking Yourself the Right Question?

Chris Ruisi Driving Business Growth Podcast


Chris talks about a phenomenon that affects so many: They talk themselves out of success. He shares how to leave the state of “comfortable inaction” and what you need to do now to succeed.





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Chris Ruisi Leadership Personal Willingness

Preparing to Be Your Best

Now we all from time to time have heard people tell us to do our best. It is great advice to do your best, but rarely does anyone suggest that you should first prepare to do your best or explain how to do that.

The most successful athletes, business leaders, entertainers, and other professionals all have practiced or prepared to give their best, so why shouldn’t you? Why shouldn’t you want to do and be your best? So let’s talk about preparing to be your best: Continue reading

Chris Ruisi Exceptional

Building Mental Toughness

(A special excerpt from The Go-To Person’s Guide to Success)

In 1961, “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” opened on Broadway. During its run of 1,471 performances, the show won 7 Tony Awards and a New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award. The play (and subsequent movie) was great, despite the fact that nobody can succeed in business “without really trying.” Success in business (or anything else, for that matter) requires work – hard, focused, disciplined, and committed work. There are no shortcuts to success.

Success requires the proper use of certain knowledge and skills. Without the proper mental foundation, there’s no way your knowledge and skills will be used effectively. I refer to this foundation as “mental toughness.” Why? Because any level of success must be built upon it. Developing mental toughness is a choice.

Here are three key steps to get you going in the right direction: Continue reading