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SCOTT UMMEL

Q. What book (or books) have you gifted the most, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

Early in my professional career, a book called Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy. It was my first introduction into the science of achievement and goal setting.Tracy grew up in difficult circumstances and describes in practical, applicable terms what makes a person successful. I relied on this book to help work through challenging situations in the corporate environment.

Over the last several years the book Leading Well from Within by Dr. Daniel Friedland has had the most significant impact on my personal and professional life. It combines neuroscience with leadership strategies to navigate uncertainty, stress and self-doubt. I discovered ways to instantly transform stress and self-doubt into productive energy!

Another one is Quantum. Manjit Kumar does a masterful job of showing the human side of the most brilliant scientists of the 20thcentury and breaking down quantum physics into laymen’s terms. The book describes the friendships, rivalries, competitiveness, insecurities and amazing scientific feats of iconic quantum pioneers such as Einstein, Bohr and Heisenberg.

Q. If you could have one gigantic billboard with anything on it, what would it say and why?

A quote by Napoleon Hill: “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” My mother passed along this quote to me when I was in my 20s, and it has helped provide perspective when facing life’s difficulties and challenges. In hindsight, I’m grateful for failures that have unlocked the doors to hidden opportunities.

Q. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Starting my day out focusing on positive and educational things instead of reading the paper or watching the news. Neuroscience tells us from an evolutionary standpoint, we are hard-wired for negativity – bad stuff grabs our attention very quickly. Starting out my day in a state of curiosity, learning, and time for reflection allows me to hit the ground running with positive energy!

Q. What is an unusual habit or absurd thing that you love?

When I’m maxed out – filled to the brim and I need to tune out and not think about anything – my guilty pleasure is watching mindless reality shows. Email me with your favorite!

Q. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

I pause, reflect and ask two questions:

1. What emotion am I feeling in this moment?
2. Is my reaction to this emotion going to do me more harm than good?