Words of Wisdom with Matt Mahood, President & CEO, Sacramento Metro Chamber

At Metro EDGE, we know true mentors are hard to come by these days and that our members are eager to learn what it takes to be successful. Words of Wisdom is a new series featuring some of Sacramento's brightest CEOs, executives and leaders sharing their advice with the region’s young professionals. Flip your brain over to sponge mode and soak this up.

Matt Mahood

President & CEO, Sacramento Metro Chamber
Email: mmahood@metrochamber.org

What are three things you wish you’d known as you embarked on your career:

  1. 1. I wish I didn’t take myself so seriously…and laughed at my mistakes more often. I was too hard on myself and others when I was younger.
  2. 2. I wish I would have saved more money and made wiser investments when I was younger so I didn’t have to work so hard now.
  3. 3. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room – you just need to surround yourself with really smart, hard working people.

Did you have a mentor? If so, what was the most important piece of advice they gave you?

I actually have had several mentors over the course of my career.  I have tried to look for mentors who have different skill sets that I think work for them.  I am not sure it was particular advice or just their demeanor…but it was a female senior manager at FedEx.  And when things got really chaotic and we were under a lot of pressure…she would crack a joke or do something silly to break the tension.  I have since tried to create levity during stressful times while maintaining focus on the task at hand.  Being calm under pressure is a great skill to develop.

How did/do you handle work/life balance?

In the past, I haven’t done a very good job.  In fact, I sucked at it for most of my career. But in the last few years, I have come to realize how important it is to eat better, get regular exercise and spend more time with the wife and kids.   This is NOT a dress rehearsal and you don’t get to do it over again.  A good friend simply asked me…”are you working to live, or living to work?”  I was living to work.  Wrong answer!   I have since tried to make more time for myself -- physically, emotionally and intellectually.  It is hard, but you need to work at it…and occasionally say NO to stuff.  Setting good boundaries with your work is a great start.  Try putting your smart phone in the kitchen drawer when you come home at night and don’t look at it until the morning.  I dare you to try it.

Do you have any suggestions of books, articles, websites, etc. that might help a young professional?

Favorite business books:  Good to Great by Jim Collins, Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz, One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Ken Blanchard, Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the 40 and under business professionals in our region?

Work hard, find a mentor or two or three, pick their brain, get a graduate degree(if you can), learn from your mistakes, accept feedback from others (it is a gift), have a hobby or two to distract you, and don’t drink too much at work functions.