It’s In There. Tap Into It.

I recently participated in the first spin class of my life, at the Renaissance ClubSport, in Aliso Viejo, CA. It was awesome.

Great music, while burning over 1,000 calories, and every article of clothing was soaked! The class instructor, about midway through the first sprint block, encouraged us as we kicked it up a notch.

She was great. She said, “…it’s in there…tap into it!

For the rest of the class, I couldn’t stop thinking about that simple yet profound statement.

Sometimes when life gets tedious and we’re not feeling the magic, it’s easy to get down. We think we’ll never quite measure up. We think we’re not good enough. We even think this just may be as far as we can go, or maybe we feel like this is as good as we can or will ever be.

We’re all human beings. Jeepers. It’s ok. It happens.

But, hold up. Not so fast.

Sometimes when we find ourselves in a valley, all we need is a quick jolt. Often times, in order to get that jolt, we have to do something outside our comfort zones. That’s when we’re forced to dig deep, and we find out who we really are.

Think about it.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re an adult who’s lived a pretty full and active life thus far. You’ve no doubt had some really bad awful seasons, but you’ve likely had just as many (if not more) absolutely fantastic seasons. You’ve come up short a time or two, but you’ve also overcome adversity with your faith, your character, and drive.

Whatever hill you’re climbing at the moment, and whatever is getting you down, remember there’s something in you, deep down, that can get you over the hump. It did before, and it will again.

It’s in there. Tap into it.

If you’re having a hard time tapping into it, here’s a quick Fast Pass – Draw Up a New Play for yourself. Do something out of the ordinary, completely outside your comfort zone.

You just need a jolt, and perhaps just one more step into the uncomfortable unknown.  That’s when and where you’ll find it; almost automatically.  Because you won’t quit, and you won’t let yourself fall short.  You’ll come out on the other side of this season better than you were before it.

It’s in there. Tap into it.

That’s why I wrote a book about all the lessons from our coaches we never knew we needed way back then. We all played something, participated in something, or we had coaches along the way who taught us so many pearls of wisdom. Ballgames To Boardrooms is all about tapping into what we already have in us, what we’ve already been taught but may have forgotten.

When we dig deep, and apply today what our coaches taught us back then, it’s amazing how menial tasks become meaningful work, relationships flourish rather than flounder, and we start seeing and feeling ourselves becoming more successful and more fulfilled in the process.

August 15th is the day Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches launches.

Amazon.com already gave us some shelf space here!

If you’re having a brutal week, month, or season, it’s in there…tap into it.

If someone you know is in the midst of one of those days, weeks, or months, share this with them, and let them know.

It’s in there…tap into it.

Have a great day.

Taylor

A Simple Step to Experience Freedom at Work

In 1776, Coach Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. After a fashion, the events of the American Revolution transpired, and this week Americans celebrate our independence…our freedom.

We’ve all grown up with this tradition, and it happens to be my favorite holiday. Something about summertime, being poolside, and celebrating with friends and family makes us happy, gets our minds right, and reminds us what life is all about.

Freedom for America is a sentiment we’ve all lived and experienced since we were born. Our founding fathers laid the groundwork, and our men and women in the United States Armed Forces keep us safe and free, every single day. Our public servants, on both sides of the aisle, in D.C. and in every state in the Union, devote their lives to keep America free.   Thank you, for your service!

The Irony

America is free, but in Corporate America, so many feel the opposite of free. I hear it, and you hear it, almost daily. You and I also experience it.

Corporate Corporateness is a total ‘thing’. Blame, finger-pointing, grandstanding, power moves, and passive aggressiveness come out because of fear, insecurity, and doubt.

And so despite the bosses constantly calling for “results, results, and more results”, employees, managers, directors, and even vice presidents feel trapped inside a box with all four walls closing in on them. With every email, phone call, or text message from a “boss”, digging, digging, and digging, those walls close in further and further.

The actual “result”…the opposite of freedom!

Breaking Free From Corporate Corporateness

Freedom from it all is possible. It’s simple, but not always easy. It is possible to break free from the corporate corporateness of it all.

Ironically, the best way to break free is to let go of the very thing that we feel looming over us, and that is control.

We feel controlled by it all, and therefore we feel trapped; as if we can’t possibly be who we want to be or do what we know we need to do. We feel as if they have control over us.

Let go of control.

Some of the best advice I ever received was the following, “part of becoming a great leader is realizing organizational realities.”

Understanding and being able to decipher that which you can and cannot control has a way of setting us free – mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Take the simple, but sometimes not very easy, step of letting go of control of what you cannot control, and I will do the same.

Then call me or message me later this week or next month, and we’ll continue celebrating our freedom!  (…and in the process we’ll be reminded of what life is all about…and it’s not impressing the bosses.)

How do you break through the corporate corporateness where you work? 

I welcome your comments, as we continue to build and share with each other in the Ballgames To Boardrooms community.

 

One For the Road

I’ve been thinking about this all week and weekend.

The reason I wrote a book is to help people, myself included, experience this “freedom” at work. This post merely cracks the surface, but letting go of control is more than a crack…it’s a huge breakthrough to experiencing more meaning, happiness, and fulfillment at work.  I share this principle and about 26 other simple, yet not very easy, principles in the chapters of Ballgames To Boardrooms. 

I am so excited to share Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed with you.  After nearly 20 years, working in various line of business and levels of management, my purpose of the book was to compile about 184 pages, in 26 chapters, of what has worked and what hasn’t worked.

The goal is to simply help others become all they can and will be, while experiencing as much joy, meaning, and fulfillment as possible.  My belief is that all we need to do in order to achieve this is to simply do what our coaches always taught us!

August 15th is the official launch date, on Amazon.com. You can pre-buy the eBook version today for only 99 cents, which you’ll be able to download on August 15th.

Happy Fourth!

Taylor

Grace, Power, and Money in the Race to Make An Impact

Grace comes in first.

Power usually benefits, first and foremost, those who have it. Sure, their span of influence may be great big and wide, but their true, positive impact is usually limited to a select few who they deem worthy of receiving it. And that impact usually comes at a cost, as leaders obsessed with power (specifically their own power) have requirements for those looking to gain their favor.

Money has its benefits, and with it we can buy stuff. For all the things money can buy, there are a few important things money cannot buy, like true love, quality time, and pure, unadulterated happiness. Focusing on the money, all the money, and nothing but the money results in missing out on some of the best times, the deepest loves, and that elusive place where happiness really lives. It’s somewhere between Contentment and Patience, on the corner of Selflessness and Compassion.

But What About Grace?

Grace is synonymous with words like kindness, courtesy, elegance, poise, finesse, nimbleness, and attractiveness, among many, many other qualities. These are the qualities of a Leader worthy of following.

Grace not only comes in first, in the “race for making the most impact”, it also comes in the first place.

For example, before people in power or those with money were granted said power or money, the grace of someone else came first; and it was that grace which helped usher them into power and/or allowed them to have money.

The best part about grace is by definition, it’s free. When extended to others, the way it’s meant to be extended, there is no charge. It costs nothing, but grace always adds something – value, in one way, shape, form, or fashion – as it’s received on the other end.

Power and Money, they’re not always bad. It just depends on what Leaders choose to do with the power and/or money they accrue.

The Refreshing Leader, Rare but Beautiful

For example, isn’t it refreshing when Leaders use their power and money FOR THE BENEFIT OF OTHER PEOPLE, as opposed to using people for their own power and money accumulation?

It’s rare, but when it happens, it’s a beautiful thing, and those are the people we follow, because their grace is far more attractive than their power, money, and all that tends to come along with it.

Who would you rather follow – Leaders obsessed with their own power or money? Or Leaders who make it about you? – your growth, your success, your forgiveness, and your feelings.

Better yet, who do you want to be?

Easy choice. Grace wins every time.

Share your comments and thoughts, as we continue to form this Ballgames To Boardrooms community. We’d be interested to hear about illustrations and examples of great leadership in your lives, and most importantly, what makes those great leaders GREAT.

               We’re LIVE on Amazon.com!

Ballgames To Boardrooms: The Community is Growing, thanks to you!  Thank you!

Also, please share this post and this website to your friends, family, colleagues, and even your own leaders if you find it valuable.  I’ve added a new email subscription on the home page of BallgamesToBoardrooms.com, for anyone interested in receiving these posts, conveniently via email! 

Stop by the home page here, to subscribe.  I look forward to connecting!

Pre-Buy the eBook, Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed here! 

It’s LIVE on Amazon.com

You’ll be able to pre-order the print version on Amazon later this summer.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Watching, Learning From, and Loving My Best Man

The easiest decision I ever made was to ask my wife to marry me.

The second easiest decision I ever made was to ask my Dad to be my Best Man.

I’ve watched him all my life, and learned most of what I know to this day from my observations.

I love it all.

Among so many little nuggets, tid bits, and pearls of “Dad wisdom”, probably the most important things I’ve learned are:

  • Work Hard, but get home in time for dinner

  • Have Fun

  • Listen!

  • Love God and Love People

Dad sets out (always has) to crush it at his job, in his career, and in the community back home, in Grayson, KY. But he’s always home in time for dinner (and always was growing up.) Even if he went back to the office late at night to read, prepare, or do whatever lawyers do, he never missed quality time at home at the kitchen table with us, and he sure never missed our basketball games.

As hard as he works (and has worked), he has no shortage of FUN. Growing up I always took note of Dad’s ability to make people laugh, add levity to even the most dramatic and “serious situations”, and make sure people around him had FUN. He also values and appreciates time away with family and friends – i.e. – VACATION, TRAVELING, and all-things-SUMMER! Perhaps this is why I love pretty much all of the above, to this day, as an adult.

He has to do his fair share of consulting and sharing advice, as an attorney, but his entire life he’s had to listen to people – his clients, his friends, and his family (throughout my progression from adolescence into adulthood, many, many hours spent listening to me go on and on and on and on about fill-in-the-blank topic – work, career, or how I could coach the Kentucky Wildcats better than Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith, or Coach Cal…and most certainly better than Billy Gillespie…)

Every Sunday morning, growing up, I watched my Dad at church. Whether it was rolling in his Sunday best, passing the offering plate to each aisle, and/or giving the prayer before communion, I watched, listened, and loved every minute of my Dad’s faith in God as well as his love and compassion for people.

Always loved watching him become a great lawyer, but I never wanted to be one!

I’ve messed up so many times in my life – personally and professionally. I used to spend (or waste) so much time, energy, and mental capacity obsessed with being perfect – making straight A’s, not turning the ball over as the Point Guard (um…big fail there…), and ultimately nailing it in every job, every life circumstance, or opportunity.

However, Dad told me once, “perfect is the enemy of ‘best’…if you’re always trying to be perfect, you’ll never do your best…

That took the pressure off then, and still reminds me to relax and enjoy the ride, today.

My Dad is not only my best man, but the principles by which he lives, loves, and ultimately teaches others are some of the best pieces of advice any leader, in any industry, could apply to their day to day lives at work and at home.

For leaders or those aspiring for leadership roles, perhaps the most important questions to ask ourselves are:

If people are watching us, what are they learning?

Do they love what they see?

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads, especially my Dad, the best man I know!

Taylor

Related Post:

I Wanted To Be Like Him

 

 

Make The Extra Pass – Worth A Look Back to A Classic, 20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago, almost to the day, we got more than a highlight.  It was both an instant classic and continues to be a constant reminder of a timeless classic, the ability and presence of mind to make the extra pass.

Setting The Stage

It was Game 6 in the 1997 NBA Championship Series. The Chicago Bulls were up three games to two on the Utah Jazz. The Bulls had won the championship in 1991, 1992, and 1993, of course. The Houston Rockets won it in 1994 and 1995, in large part, because Michael Jordan retired for the first time during those two years. The Bulls won it all in 1996, Michael’s first full year back from retirement. Now, here they were on the world’s biggest basketball stage in early June with a chance to win it all for the fifth time in seven seasons.

Tie game, 86 to 86, coming out of a timeout, everybody on the planet knew who was getting the ball.  MJ.  Michael Jordan, for a game winner.  This was it.  This was yet another NBA Finals moment for the history books.

 

An excerpt from my forthcoming book, Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed:

You Don’t Have To Do It All

Michael makes his move, takes a couple dribbles around his defender, and we’re just waiting for His Airness to launch, take flight, and do something magical. He had that look in his eyes, and in a split second, we got our instant classic.

But it wasn’t Michael Jordan who took the shot.

Multiple Utah Jazz players collapsed on Michael’s first few dribble moves toward the basket. Though he probably could have gone up with a dipsy do, up-and-under, double clutch shot, which only MJ could pull off, he didn’t.

He made the extra pass.

Coming out of the huddle, teammate, Steve Kerr, had told Michael, “If they leave me and double team you, I’ll be ready.” Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.

With five seconds on the clock, and with his patented leap into the air, Michael saw Steve Kerr out of the corner of his eye at the top of the key. Rather than taking the shot, he kicked it to Kerr who caught it in rhythm from fifteen feet, and knocked down maybe the most beautiful jump shot in NBA history.

It was money. Literally “nothing but net.”

Boom.

The Bulls won their fifth championship, once again, in storybook fashion. Steve Kerr would go down in history as the one who made the game-winner. Not Michael Jordan.

            In the middle of the pressure to perform for our bosses, Guests, customers, and clients, or even for your family and friends, it’s easy to think it all rests on your shoulders. Once again, here comes the need to control, and we instinctively go into protective mode. We not only try to “protect and defend” our stances on issues or the moves we make, but we also tend to become consumed with, well, ourselves. We think we must be “the Michael Jordan” of the moment, “the man” or “the woman”, to make everything happen on our own.

We think if it’s going to get done, we must be the ones to make every single move. This is also a trap. Don’t give into it. Guard against thinking it’s all on you, all the time.

Whether you work on a team or as an individual contributor, remember you never look bad making somebody else look good.

If Michael Jordan, in all his “Airness” and awesomeness, can make the extra pass, so can you and I.

Especially for leaders or those who aspire to become leaders, it’s less about what you can do, and all about how well you can inspire and motivate others to achieve a goal, an objective, or simply reach their full potential.

 

To Have More Fun At Work, Become A Student Of The Game

It’s true in sports, and it’s true at work.  If you want to be great, become the cream of the crop, and rise to the top of your peer group, ultimately getting that promotion or bump in pay, be a student of the game.

Even if you’re not interested in that bump, promotion, or being known for your expertise, but long for a little more fun where you work, becoming a student of the game, in your own business, trade, or craft will absolutely, positively result in having MORE FUN, over time.

I used to watch and listen to my coaches breaking down offenses, defenses, techniques, and the effectiveness of this drill or that one.

Later in life, I found myself sitting at lunch with a Vice President, a mentor of mine, when he said, “You have to have a never-ending thirst for knowledge of your business; dive into as much data as you can get your hands on, and learn as much as you can…”

I don’t think it resonated back then, but it’s crystal clear to me now.

Watch Lebron, Kyrie, Steph, KD, and Draymond over this next week or so.  Better yet, watch the role players who are as important and as integral in their team’s success, like David West and Shaun Livingston from the Golden State Warriors or Tristan Thompson and Richard Jefferson from the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Their “Basketball IQ”  is well above average, and that’s the reason these two teams are the last men standing in what has already been one of the greatest NBA Finals in the history of the league.

When we watch the way Lebron effortlessly takes a dribble and a half, off yet another rebounded missed shot, and whips it 90 feet over the heads of three Warrior players, dropping it perfectly into Kyrie’s hands, in-stride, for a layup, it’s remarkable.

When Steph starts out with a few bricks, missing a handful of jump shots, but craftily finds his way in and out and in between and slithering and slashing through (albeit poor defensive efforts outta) the Cavs, ultimately getting to the free-throw line where he was a perfect 14 for 14; we can tell he didn’t spend his childhood, teenage, and even his college and professional years chill’n on the couch. (He ended up with 32 points (7-17 FG, 4-11 3Pt, 14-14 FT) to go along with 11 assists, 10 rebounds and one steal across 36 minutes during Sunday’s 132-113 victory over the Cavaliers. The kids call that, “video game numbers”.)

We could go on and on about their wizardry on the court and their stats.  The point is it didn’t happen overnight, and they didn’t get this good by accident.  It took hard work, effort, dedication, and countless hours of practice to develop their skills and talent.

They also took a very cerebral approach, to learn and master their craft.

In Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed, I talk about the idea of becoming a student of the game as a sure fire way to ultimately have more fun at work

Usually when we’re not having any fun, it’s because we’re anxious, worried, scared, or uncomfortable with a particular situation.

Back in the Day, Playing Sports

We might have been uncomfortable in certain situations when we were younger, playing sports, whatever your sport may have been.  Remember?  On the playground or that time in a game when you and your team were outmatched?  The other team had that one player who was a step ahead of you, all over the court or field.  Gross.  Embarrassing.  No fun.

Present Day, at Work, Today

How about today, at your job.  Remember when you first started your role, wherever you work or used to work?  Remember how everyone else knew every little thing about every little thing going on with the business or in the operation.  Maybe this was even last week!  Or today!  How annoying and how uncomfortable are those meetings when people are dissecting spreadsheets, equations, and using all the buzzwords – all of them – and you’re like, “wait, what…can we back up?”

Little to no fun.

Contrast that with other situations in which you’re up to speed, comfortable, fully understand the questions, challenges, and dialogue.  You feel smarter, you’re more confident, you add more value, and my guess is, you have more fun.  The difference is usually the level of effort or amount of time you’ve spent mastering the skill, the role, or the craft.

Watch Steph, KD, Draymond, and Lebron, Kyrie, and K. Love for the rest of these NBA Finals.  We should add a new, relevant stat to the mix – QUANTITY OF SMILES – giving us somewhat of a FUN-O-METER.  I think Steph and KD both would have had a Quadruple-Double on Sunday, with double-figure SMILES as a stat.

They have more fun, because they’ve clearly mastered their craft.

We can do the same thing, in our careers, and have more fun at work.  No, really, we can.  It just takes a little time, learning the game

Here’s an excerpt from my forthcoming book, Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed, which I hope helps you on your path to HAVING MORE FUN AT WORK:

 

What does “learning the game and your role in the show” look like? Here’s a quick snapshot. True students of their craft do the following things without fail, every chance they get:

  • Ask questions and when they ask, they listen intently.

  • Observe others – high performers, low performers, and mediocre performers, taking note of what they do well, what they could do better, and what makes them great, terrible, or just average.

  • They try new things, fail fast, course correct on their own, and try again, and again, and again until they’re the Lebron of their craft.

  • Seek feedback from people in various aspects of their lives – their own leaders, leaders of others, their peers, their friends, family, and even strangers.

  • Apply the feedback, making changes where necessary in a constant pursuit of excellence.

  • Flat out execute, every single day, with no excuses.

  • Become self-aware with personality tests such as Myers Briggs, DISC, True Colors, or through old-fashioned conversations with others, learning how their personality traits reveal themselves in specific situations.

  • Once aware of their personality traits, they’re intentional about managing their emotions, tempering what comes out of their mouths, while remaining focused on what they can control.

  • Finally, they know their core competencies, their strengths, and they leverage them as much as possible, leaving others to focus on areas in which they’re not as strong.

Whatever your role and whatever your industry, craft, or trade, become a true student of it. Gain knowledge giving you the confidence to gain the credibility necessary to navigate easily through your day-to-day. You’ll worry less, smile more, and with 100% certainty, HAVE MORE FUN along the way.  (…that may have rhymed…somebody call Lin Manuel-Miranda, and see if he needs another collaborator.  I’m in.)

 

Enjoy the rest of the NBA Finals, watching true students of the game.

Taylor

The Transferable Truth of Love

Photo credit: Jenna Joseph Photography - www.JennaPhoto.com

Truth is transferable.

One of the first things I learned from Mark Sanborn, bestselling author of The Fred Factor, You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader, The Encore Effect, and a number of inspirational books on leadership and personal growth is that truth is certainly transferable.

By this I mean that what’s true at work is also true at home, and vice versa.

Five years ago, today, I went to see about a girl.  (Yep.  I love Good Will Hunting.)

I was living in Las Vegas, and she lived in Seattle.  Our paths had crossed only a couple of times before – first in Orlando and a second time in Las Vegas – and we’d learned just enough about one another to know we wanted to learn more about one another.  So picture it – an “away game” second date, with a girl I’d only talked to in-person two maybe three times, and via text message and phone calls…okay several of those.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I will highlight the impossible possibility of love.

You see, in June of 2012 I lived in Las Vegas, and Jenna lived in Seattle.  We had zero clue how we could possibly fight through the distance, the miles, the separation, and the tediousness of a long-distance relationship.  We had no crystal ball which told us how it would all work out, or not work out.  We just fantasized and talked about how cool it would be, in our ideal fairy tale scenario, that we end up together, somewhere along the California coast.  Far fetched.  A dream, at best.

She was scared, but strong and faithful.  I was…um…yeah, freaking out.

Who should move where?  And when?  And how?  And is it smart, and would it make sense?

Don’t know.  Not sure.  No clue.  And, yeah, probably…definitely maybe, were the answers to those questions.

First date in Seattle – June 2012. And now, June 2017, we’re husband and wife. #LoveCan

The real answer then remains the real answer now.  And that was (and is) to let go and let true love take over.  I know…mushy and corny.  But hear me out.  I’m talking, legitimately letting go and letting the love of a higher power take over.

Jenna and I started out five years ago, living in two different towns, five states away from one another, in a long-distance relationship for just over a year, but each of us had our eyes fixed on the true love of our Heavenly Father, first and foremost.  We took our cues from Him on how to love and why to love and when and where to go, do, think, and feel.

I just have to take this moment to share that love can literally do things we, mere mortals, cannot.  The fact that I was living in Las Vegas and Jenna was living in Seattle, and we dreamed about one day being together in the same city, let alone married, living in California, is on the surface impossible.  But we had the impossible possibility of love on our side.

And so do you.

Switch gears.  Think about your daily grind at work.  Similar stuff.  Not the mushy stuff, but the fear of the unknown, the seemingly insurmountable expectations, initiatives, and ‘long distance relationships’ between coworkers, or even with your boss.

On the surface, it seems impossible.  As you sit and think about it, stew about it, and no doubt, over analyze it, you may be overwhelmed with doubt, anxiety, and fear.  It’s a fight we all share, in corporate America.  Yet the idea of loving people, the act of loving people, and the feeling which comes over us when we lead with love completely changes the game.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

An excerpt from my forthcoming book, Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed:

Your Secret Weapon to Fight the Corporate Fight

This truth is transferable to the corporate grind when all too often the tasks, initiatives, people, bosses, and the deliverables are nothing less than impossible. When incorporating all the strategies and tactics on the pages of Ballgames to Boardrooms sounds like an overwhelming task. Not so fast. Remember to lead with love, your secret weapon.

Leaders and future leaders who lead with love as opposed to leading through fear or intimidation, not only have stronger, more successful teams, they also achieve more meaning, fulfillment, and happiness along their journey. I’ve tried it both ways. Maybe you’ve tried it a few different ways and you’ve experienced a few different styles of your own leaders and coaches along the way.

Love is the only way. In the throes of corporate America including the pressure, the numbers, the initiatives, the group work on steroids, the dissension, the gossip, the blaming, finger-pointing, victimizing, posturing, grandstanding, and the occasional good day which keeps you going back the next – love is our only hope.

Love in Action

What does leading with love look like?

…I’ll share more in the full book!  See you there very soon!

The eBook version of Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed is coming soon – in a matter of weeks. 

Stay tuned.

 

Speaking of love…

Jenna, thank you for teaching me and showing me what it means to love. (and for finally saying “yes” to both our first and second dates and eventually the ‘big question’ 2 years ago, when I asked you to be my wife.)  I love you.

And to those staring in the ‘featured image’ above, our dear friends for so many years, Jenna and I love you all so much.  Thanks for the miles, and thanks for the love…

Photo Credit: Jenna Joseph Photography – www.JennaPhoto.com (we love you too)

America’s First Boy Band Found a Way to Compromise

Thank you to America’s Founding Fathers for not only laying the groundwork for the land of the free, but also teaching us that even if we don’t always agree, finding a way to compromise is always possible – if and when we decide to do the work.

It’s the season for remembering, and with Memorial Day Weekend around the corner, here’s an excerpt from my forthcoming book, Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed:

Consider how dictionary.com defines the word compromise.

Noun:

  1. A settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.
  2. The result of such a settlement.
  3. Something intermediate between different things

Compromise is such an important concept, but it’s so much more. It’s almost a prerequisite for any relationship to blossom, thrive, and become meaningful. Compromise is also an action. Without compromise, collections of talented or even not-so-talented individuals very seldom completely transform into fully functioning groups or high-performing teams. In other words, compromise allows for any partnership, group, team, or even nations to realize their full potential.

America’s First Boy Band Found a Way to Compromise

For example, the very reason Americans today can proudly stand and sing our national anthem, “…the land of the free, and the home of the brave…” is because our founding fathers, who by all accounts were constantly at odds, disagreeing on issues, ultimately found a way to compromise. The most famous and perhaps most significant compromise of all time is The Constitution of the United States.

Consider America’s first boy band. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. History teaches us, the boys certainly didn’t agree with each other 100 percent of the time. In fact, they didn’t even like each other much. This probably sounds all too familiar to your situation at work or in your company, in the political mess that is corporate America. But as Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton – An American Musical portrays, “…Two Virginians and an immigrant (Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton), walk into a room, diametrically opposed, foes…”

They emerge from the “room where it happened” with a compromise in which both sides gave up something so our young nation would and could eventually have things like, um, a beautiful capitol called Washington D.C., and a financial system which has allowed the United States to not only survive but thrive for over 240 years. It never would have happened without compromise.

Think of it as “Compro-My’s.” What we often forget about relationships, at work or otherwise, is a thriving relationship takes real work to achieve.

Compro-My’s and Work

Sound familiar?

  • It’s a waste of my time.
  • This is a waste of my money.
  • I hope this doesn’t ruin my chances.
  • How is this possibly good for my career?
  • I shouldn’t have to share any of my stuff.

Without compromise, relationships at the office and in our personal lives are impossible, and won’t work. This means giving up something of our own; our time, our money, our stuff, or our own interests for something or someone beyond ourselves. It sounds magical enough, but we’d all agree it’s often difficult to do.

They fought, screamed, argued, complained, and obsessed, but they found a way to compromise…

The reality is, it takes real work.

We’re born selfish. From the time you first learned to walk and talk, it was all about you. It was all about mine, mine, mine. That’s okay because we’re all human. However, as an adult, if you wake up each day, thinking only about the person you see in the mirror, you’ll soon be left with only that same person in the mirror in your life.

I’ve been there, and, maybe you’ve been there as well. It’s cool for a while, but soon the lunch, dinner, movie, and/or chips on the sofa, “Party of One” gets really old, really fast.

Here’s where the work comes in: The difference between selfishness and selflessness is often the gap preventing two sides of any type of relationship, romantic, business, or otherwise from prospering.

All it takes is a little effort. That conscientious effort is waiting for you, in the gap between selfishness and selflessness. Fill in this all too familiar gap with compassion and compromise. In a sea of sameness in corporate America, you’ll stand out as a person who’ll listen, share, care, and as the one willing to do the hard work essential to connect and collaborate. You’ll be known as one who cares more about the team’s or the organization’s accomplishments than your own personal achievements.

 

This weekend, when we remember all the selfless individuals who have died serving, protecting, and defending our country, perhaps we gain a little perspective of our “corporate fights and squabbles” to “be right” and “win the argument”.  Maybe they aren’t so life and death after all.

Compassion and compromise win every time

Have a great day.

Taylor

Missing Free Throws and “Guarding the Point”

Once late in my senior year of high school hoops, I missed a couple key free throws in the final seconds of a game. We were up two or three – I can’t remember exactly – on the road, and I went to the line for two. All I had to do was make a couple free throws, put us up four (making it impossible for the other team to tie it up), and get out with a dubya.

I missed em both.

Not only that, but their Point Guard came down, immediately following my awesome misses, did a stutter step dribble move, with me guarding him, backed me up on my heels, pulled up and drained a 3-pointer at the top of the key to tie up the game at the buzzer! Forced overtime. Fabulous. Batting 1,000…

We lost in OT.

Sweet.

I remember that game like it was yesterday, but it was 20 years ago. 1997. On the treadmill this morning, for some reason – maybe since I’ve watched about 17,000 hours of basketball since early February – NCAA, NBA, etc. – I thought about that game.

Of course I remember, all too well, missing those two easy free throws. However, my mind quickly moved beyond those “misses”, because other memories of that night came to mind.

I remember feeling so connected and in sync with each of my teammates and my coaches…even the fans, refs, and the people working the scorer’s table! Every shot, every play, every call, and every trip jogging back down the court after we scored; I looked over at Coach Baker, my head coach. We knew each other’s ‘looks’. I knew when he was pleased, and unfortunately I knew when he wasn’t pleased with the team or me. That night, seemingly every single time we locked eyes; I just knew he was pleased. I was too!

We executed our game plan on both ends of the floor. Guys stepped up, made shots, hustled, and I was facilitating as the Point Guard just as Coach drew it up. Now, I wasn’t like the “Steph” or “Lebron” of 1997 Kentucky High School Basketball or anything, but I mean, well, I wasn’t the worst player ever to grace the court! That night I think I had fifteen or eighteen points (we’ll go with eighteen…), possibly even double-figures in the ‘Assist’ stat line, and a handful of rebounds. I played well.

But we lost. And we lost because I missed those free throws!

I beat myself up immediately following the game, of course. We all got dressed, and headed for the bus to go back home. On the way out of the locker room, I stopped to tell Coach I was sorry for missing those free throws.

“My fault, Coach. This one is on me. I messed up by not fouling at the end of regulation to keep him from hitting that 3-pointer, and I missed those two free throws that could have sealed it.” I remember it like it was yesterday.

Coach immediately stopped me mid-sentence, and did something that I also have never forgotten. He reminded me of all the good things I did.

Coach, being Coach said, “You played a heck of a game for us. Kept us moving and executing on offense, made big plays on the defensive end, and you directed traffic for us. Shake it off. Don’t hang your head. We did a lot of great things tonight. Keep it all in perspective.”

A few of my teammates saw me talking to Coach, and when I walked to the bus, they came over to me with some pats on the butt and encouraging words, thanking me for all the hustle and leadership.

The Point

Sometimes we mess up. We miss “free throws”.   Things at work we know we can do and should do correctly, well, sometimes they don’t go as planned.

Some seasons of life, particularly at work, feel like an away game, getting no calls, with a rowdy student section heckling you because you just made yet another turnover or missed yet another free throw.

But remember the point. The point really is not whether we win every game, win every argument, and make it through every day/week/month and season at work with an absolute perfect track record. It’s just not. The point is not about what we do, but instead it’s who we are becoming.

Missing those free throws 20 years ago, at the time, felt like the worst possible thing I could have ever done. Ever. I let everyone down, and I was a huge embarrassing failure.

L-O-L – really? Seriously?

If only I could go back in time and tell 17-year old me that night all the things he would do, people he would meet, places he would go, and blessings he would enjoy for the next 20 years. That scrawny little fella would have laughed as hard as the not-so-scrawny, older fella is laughing right now at how much of a big deal he made missing those two free throws.

The same goes for you.

When it gets tedious at work or even at home, and especially when you mess up, miss step, or miss free throws, guard against feeling like a failure and beating yourself up too badly. Remember that this too shall pass, and ask yourself if it will really matter 20 years from now? Plus, something tells me for every mistake you’ve made, there are about 72 things you’ve done correctly, successfully, and amazingly victoriously.

Guard the point. These little moments in time – missed free throws or miss steps or mistakes – don’t define us. Who we become in the process does define us.

That’s the point.

Remember, the “who” of you is more important than the “what you do.

(Take that, Doc. Seuss…)

 

I look forward to launching the eBook version of Ballgames to Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed very soon!

Stay tuned.  More details on the launch are on the way…

Taylor

 

My Mom Drops Dimes. Here’s an Undefeated “Mom Tip”

I’m no different than you.  Some good days, some bad days, and some get rained out.  I make mistakes just like everyone else.  I didn’t write a book because I’m an expert.  I’m far from it.

I wrote a book for people – leaders and future leaders; to help people get through the week.  While not an expert, I certainly have learned from coaches, teachers, professors, leaders, friends, family, and especially my parents. All I’ve done is write it all down, with stories, principles, illustrations, and applications of how to achieve more success, fulfillment, and happiness in the midst of our everyday corporate grind.

With an excerpt from my forthcoming book, Ballgames To Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed, I’d like to give my mom some props.  I’d also like to share one of the many lessons my mom has taught me over the years, to honor her on Mother’s Day week 2017!

An excerpt from my forthcoming book, Ballgames to Boardrooms: Leadership, Business, and Life Lessons From Our Coaches We Never Knew We Needed:

Look for the Good in People

Every summer of my college years, I interned on the Walt Disney World College Program, in Orlando, FL. Each summer I worked in a different line of business in a totally new and different location. The summer before my senior year, I worked at Disney’s All Star Movies Resort, as a Merchandise Sales Host. My shift was the highly sought-after, 5:00 pm to 1:30 am swing shift.

Brutal.

I remember calling my Mom a couple weeks into the summer, whining and complaining, “It’s awful, Mom! The hours are stupid, I never get to see any of my friends, and the people at work are all older! Much older.” I was a bit spoiled because the summer prior I worked at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, as an Attractions Host at It’s Tough to Be a Bug. I loved that summer because I got to work with twenty or thirty other college age students also interning for the summer. We worked together, played together, and may or may not have partied together. To say it was fun is an understatement.

Now, I was dropped in the middle of the swing shift with people my parents’ age, working until the wee hours of the morning in an off-the-beaten path resort (albeit a Disney Resort, but I was spoiled.). Poor me.

My mom challenged me to find something fun and interesting about every one of those people at Donald’s Double Feature merchandise shop at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort. I took her advice the very next day (or night) at work.

It worked!

As soon as I got over my self-pity, and started engaging with my fellow Cast Members and even my leaders, the summer changed. In fact, my life may have changed. The more I stepped out of my shell and into the opportunity to engage with and learn from the people with whom I worked, despite their age, the more interesting and fun work became. Imagine that. All it took was being a bit more interested in other people:

  • How I could help them,
  • What I could learn from them, and
  • How much fun they really could be.

By the end of that summer, my leaders approached me about my future with Disney. I was entering my senior year of undergrad, and they told me they were putting my name into a candidate pool for management interns to be selected for the following summer. I was flattered, and of course eagerly accepted the endorsement. They probably never would’ve championed me for the Leadership Candidate Pool had I not changed my tune earlier in the summer.

Throughout my nearly twenty years working in corporate America, I could always lean on a call to my mom on my commute home with tales for her about this person or that one, this stupid thing or that one. I spoke to her with enough frustration, angst, and bitterness to float a battleship, but Mom had a simple suggestion every time.

It would go something like this, “Well, it sounds like someone is getting a little too consumed with himself. But that’s okay. It’s time for you to go focus on making someone else’s day. Try focusing on doing something for somebody other than yourself. You’ll feel much better.”

That suggestion along with countless other lessons from Mom, has always had a 100 percent success rate. If success, in this context, is defined as squashing my own frustrations and bitterness at work, then, yep, it’s literally undefeated.

There’s no other answer or anecdote. This “Mom Tip” works like a charm, 100 percent of the time. Deciding to simply be that person for other people keeps you grounded. Even though you’re hustling, staying around the ball, earning it, doing vs. trying, and crushing it in your own right, compassion keeps a nice balance of your focus on others during your own growing success.

Crushing it and “playing like a champion” is one thing. However, championing others and encouraging your teammates, friends, family or mentees to crush it is next level stuff. That’s where game-change resides, for you and for them. Give it a try. Make an effort to champion other people.

 

Thanks to my Mom, for drop’n dimes like this one for anyone in her path.  This one and so many other lessons are undefeated…

Have a great day, and Happy Mother’s Day.

Taylor

 

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