Tag Archives: pasadena

5 questions with Drew Carr



Every week, we ask 5 questions to a different person. The questions remain the same but the people change. Some people are leaders, some are followers, but all have valuable input. This week we meet Drew Carr, a mental health professional.

Name: Drew Carr

Location: Pasadena, CA

Position/Job: Psychologist

1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

Early in my research career an adviser noticed that I had a learning disability. Although I immediately thought his discovery meant then end of my research aspirations, however, he told me a story which normalized my experienced. Then, he reframed it into a positive challenge which we could overcome together. From that I was free to embrace my struggles and wanted to work to overcome them.

2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

I had a boss once who claimed to be interested in the development of the team. In fact, this person had a chosen few to invest in – and they could do no wrong. As a shy individual who has no desire or skill at playing the political game, I was unable to  assuage this person’s ego. Consequently, she deemed all of my work as errant. Eventually, I stopped trying because I could not please her.

3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?

Unostentatious. A leader that can see themselves as a person first who happens to be in charge of the direction of other persons.

 4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?

On of my supervisee’s noted I am most effective when I am able to contain my own anxiety as well as be open to the others perspective. By being able to listen both to the content and emotion of the other I can understand how often people become trapped by their emotional experience which causes them them to be unable to access their often great ideas.

5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?

Be willing to say “I don’t know.” Be willing to listen first. Be willing to allow others to constructively fail.


Be sure to check out Drew’s blog here:  http://voiceincontext.blogspot.com


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What Hiking Mount Wilson Taught Me About Becoming a Leader


I’d heard much about the 16 mile roundtrip hike to the top of 5600′ Mount Wilson, a prominent mountain above Pasadena, California. However, the prospect of embarking on a day hike of that magnitude intimidated me, to say the least. Furthermore, I was going to be making this maiden voyage with 5 other people who also had not done something on this level… and I was expected to be the leader of the group. Oh the pressure!

I must have spent 2 hours prepping my daypack with food, extra layers, sunscreen, water, and the like. Finally, after much stressing, I left my apartment and met up with my fellow dayhikers at the trailhead in Sierra Madre. We began our trek in rhythm with each other. Here’s where it gets interesting.

We joked and talked and talked and joked with each other. We still remembered the goal – to reach the summit – but our minds were fixated on our discussion. I also began to track our progress on my beaten up Tom Harrison Map. First we, reached First Water. Then we reached the helipad. And then Orchard. A couple of splinter trail turnoffs. Manzanita Ridge. The weird mark on the map that stands out as awkward. Etc…

Our hard work paid off and we reached the top. Here’s the lesson learned: Reaching Wilson’s summit was much easier, no as a journey unto itself, but instead as the final goal of a series of goals. We had little check-in spots to reach along the way and we had conversation topics that also captivated our attention…while we still moved in tandem.

Leadership is the same way. Rome wasn’t built in a day. If your goal is to become a great leader – create a series of small goals to reach and focus on the progression of reaching each of those goals. When you reach a small goal, it perpetuates a sense of victory and will spur you on to further victories. It’s not a bad idea to have a big goal – in fact its a great thing – but do not let a giant goal become the only thing you’re thinking about.

Remember – this is a walk and not a jump.


Filed under change management, communication, motivation