This feature of Rob Kalwarowsky is part of Exeleon Magazine’s annual listing of The 100 Most Dynamic Leaders of 2023. Check out the entire issue and listing by clicking on this link.
Contrary to stereotypical notions, leadership is not limited to having authority or power. Leadership involves discipline, authenticity, and, most importantly, it involves responsibilities.
Leadership is a mindset; a mindset that cultivates growth, acknowledges failure, and goes above mediocrity.
Having experienced mediocre leadership for over 10 years, Rob Kalwarowsky realized the need for change: one within and beyond.
After years of self-work and healing, Rob, a high-performance leadership coach, is on a mission to change leadership globally.
Growing up, Rob recognized his leadership abilities while playing water polo.
He recalls, during a U-16 Canadian National Championship Game, one of his teammates happened to be punched in the face.
He mentions, “In the chaos of the moment and while the referees/coaches were sorting everything out, I called all my teammates together in the middle of the pool, got everyone to calm down and re-focus on the game.”
At that moment, the entire game could have devolved into a massive brawl, or the team could have lost focus. However, Rob’s patience and understanding of the situation turned out to be absolutely critical and the team went on to get that huge win.
Machinery to Mindsets
After graduating from MIT with a mechanical engineering degree, Rob joined a mining company. Working as an engineer, he was able to save the company millions of dollars. He was on his way to success. But it all came crashing down because of a toxic boss.
Rob remembers, “He was passive-aggressive, constantly asking for more results but never wanting to budge from the way it always had been. Day-by-day, my manager ground me down.”
He adds, “At first, I questioned my choices at work, then my purpose, then whether my life itself had any meaning. I was depressed and I didn’t know how to change. “
The impact of toxicity in the workplace can be long, and in some cases everlasting. For another 6 years, Rob continued to experience mediocre leadership, dealt with depression, and changed from one job to another.
Determined to come out of this toxic cycle, Rob decided to take a decision and sought out a coach. “I learned what leadership could be, how mindset, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and empathy are high-performance leadership strategies.”
And after a few years of deep self-work and healing, Rob pivoted from engineering into leadership coaching, and he hasn’t looked back ever since.
Elite High-Performance Coaching
As a High-Performance Leadership Coach at Elite High Performance, Rob Kalwarowsky is helping people become high-impact individuals. A firm believer in workplace culture, inclusion, and engagement, Rob guides organizations to make better leaders and, in turn, better bosses.
At Elite High Performance, the team offers a unique experience to leaders by blending neuroscience and research-backed high performance leadership strategies. With the help of personalized tools, actions, implementations, and integrations, the team at Elite enables individuals to become high-impact leaders.
Rob claims, “At Elite, leadership starts with Self and so we start work by delving into the leader’s goals, self-awareness, values, and mindset.”
Once individuals have a strong foundation of themselves, the team addresses potential gaps in their leadership. This includes strategies like building trust & psychological safety, giving & receiving feedback, empowering, inspiring, and motivating their people.
“Throughout our engagements, we challenge our clients to think expansively about their impact and legacy, while working with them to integrate those aspirations into who they are today.”
“The Daily Routine
I’m an early riser (my dog has trained me to be one) so we are both up around 5am each morning. I am deliberate not to check my phone or email when I wake up. The first 30 minutes is bonding time with my dog and for morning coffee. Before my first meeting at 7am, I will choose to either run or walk. I choose walking primarily as a meditative and creative tool. It allows me the space to think about addressing any challenges that I’m facing, memorize keynotes or to spend time innovating / creating new ideas for anything that I’m working on.
I strategically take breaks throughout the day to ensure that I bring my best to each meeting. In general, I will carve out 20 minutes breaks for visualization work in between morning meetings, 30 minutes at lunch and 20 minutes to nap or meditate at 2pm. I wrap up between 3-4pm to finish my day with an activity to give my mind a break from work. some of the activities I enjoy are lifting weights, playing virtual reality games, learning guitar, or playing with my dog.
After dinner, I’ll spend an hour planning time to write emails, prepare for podcasts/keynotes, schedule meetings and/ or record visualizations exercises for my clients. The rest of the evening is family time with my wife and dog. I am generally in bed by 9:30pm.”
For Rob, most dynamic leaders are the ones who are constantly growing and are connected to their authentic self. According to him, these leaders spend ample time uncovering their subconscious beliefs and update those beliefs to support their goals for impact and legacy.
He explains, “The big difference lies in the sustainability of high-performance. Many high achievers learn to disconnect from their emotions and push themselves to do the work. This mindset strategy only works for so long until they burn out, feel disconnected from their work and/or reach the limits of their mindset.”
By strategically architecting their mindset, dynamic leaders feel inspired, motivated, and fulfilled by their potential impact.
This deep mindset work has been a huge part of Rob’s life, one that has led him to become a coaching executive, speak at TEDx, and move to Costa Rica.
“I have a daily practice of working on my mindset as well as investing in regular therapy, coaching and leadership mindset retreats. These practices allow me to continue to grow and evolve as a leader and maximize my ability to impact leadership practices globally,” he proudly points out.
Moving forward, Rob is most excited about bringing Internal Family Systems psychology into Elite High Performance’s leadership mindset coaching program.
He elaborates, “It’s an incredibly impactful modality and creates life-changing growth in short periods of time. It was an extremely effective system for my transformation, and it is game-changing for leaders who want to take their leadership to the next level.”
At Elite High Performance, Rob’s vision is to build a community of Elite leaders who can create, innovate, and support each other on leaving their legacies. Along with Rob, the entire team is building some high-impact programs, retreats, keynotes, and communities to advance this collective mission of changing leadership.