Extreme You : Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat.
April 10, 2017
Sarah Robb O'Hagan's new book is "a training program for becoming the best version of yourself."
The first thing Sarah Robb O'Hagan lets us know in her new book, Extreme You, is that she has never been truly exceptional at anything—except being herself. She lets us know that she never got the best grades in school or the best parts in plays, was never the most popular, most beautiful, or best athlete. She tells us she was fired twice in her twenties.
And yet, the opening scene shows her about to give a speech to a thousand undergraduates from around the world at a business conference at Harvard. She has made it in business, had been global president of Gatorade, where she led a brand transformation that turned that company around. She moved from there to take on the presidency of Equinox, "the world's premier fitness lifestyle company." She had been named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business, Ad Age's Women to Watch, and by Forbes as one of the Most Powerful Women in Sports. All this before she turned 40. But even as she sat there listening to her bio be read, she realized something was missing. It wasn't wasn't anything existential in her life. It was something specific relating to her work:
As I listened to this aspiring young businesswoman describe me, something felt very wrong. What bothered me was not what she said but what she left out. My bio made it sound as if I were this polished, perfect business fem-bot. It certainly didn't mention what most of my colleagues see in me—the wild storm of enthusiasm and determination, tempered by plenty of embarrassing trip-ups as I work hard to try to hold it all together.
And, at that very moment, she was dealing with another trip-up: her laptop would not connect to the projection equipment. "This wasn't the first time that the tornado that is Sarah Robb O'Hagan had blown into an auditorium attempting to look perfectly polished," O'Hagan herself tells us, "when if fact behind the scenes I was anything but." So how did she do it? What's her secret?
My secret, if you really want to know, is that I'm about as far from perfect as you can get—but in my experience, perfection is overrated. Yes, I made it to be president of a $5 billion global sports brand at a pretty early age. But I think all that happened exactly because I wasn't scared of my imperfections, contradictions, and attitude … I figured that if I kept trying and experimenting to find where I was great and where I sucked, if I kept believing that I could excel somewhere, somehow, eventually I'd find my own path to my own kind of greatness. I chose the path of living my personality to it fullest to get to where I wanted to go.
O'Hagan realized that playing it safe, trying to fit in and adhere to norms was going to make her normal, average, safe. Trying to become that perfect business fem-bot wasn't going to get her anywhere, either. Doubling down on her self and her strengths, confronting her imperfections, embracing it all, and decided to stand out, upon it all, and offering herself in the extreme is how she made it to that stage.
She offers ten lessons in ten chapters to help you do the same. For instance, she'll teach you how to know when it's time to "Get Out of Line" and when you have to "Get Over Yourself." For a book about being bold, there is a surprising amount of advice that reminds is to stay within ourselves, as well. She'll tell you stories from her time at Nike that taught her that you have to "Stay Stubbornly Humble," and work for every last bit of recognition and status, be okay with "not knowing everything" so you can "learn something."
If you're ready to step out and step up to, and stay within the most extreme you, we have 20 copies available.