You’ve been given a gift.
A moment in time.
It may not seem like it when your alarm goes off at 5am. When it seems like you are the only one lacing up your shoes to go train. When it’s the middle of the night, you are up studying, and you glance over to see your roommate peacefully sleeping.
You arrive at a place where you get to do what you love, and somehow wish you weren’t there. You wish for the simple. To sleep in. Eat whatever, whenever. Yet…if you were granted that wish, you’d be miserable. Because the passion in your heart to compete is more powerful than the pleasure of temporary satisfaction.
So how do you deal with the mental ping-pong of those thoughts?
Embrace your platform.
You’ve been given athletic talents. You have an opportunity to use them to help others. You are living out your calling, & inspiring countless others to do the same in the process.
Progress doesn’t come without struggle. Success doesn’t happen without sacrifice.
So the next time you feel like giving in, give more. When it feels like you’ve reached a breaking point, think back to where you started, and use it as the motivation you need to make this an all-in launching point.
You were made for this.
For such a time as this.
The air smells different the higher you climb. Not everyone is made to thrive in that climate. But you are. You are hard-wired for it. You thrive on it.
That is your gift.
You know the difference between thriving and surviving. The stark contrast between creating and caving. The clarity as to what it takes to achieve greatness, and the easy path to laziness.
You’ve got this…even when it hurts. You’ve got this…even when others don’t understand. You’ve got this…even when doubt tries to push you down.
And lest you think the only result that matters is…
The lowest time.
The best score.
The gold medal.
The top platform.
Those will never determine the end result. That is for you, and you alone to say.
Don't get me wrong...I'm a competitor through and through. I don't like to lose.
I'm not minimizing the effort that goes into winning, or the pain you experience as a result of losing. I've been on both sides of that coin, many times.
What I feel like you need to hear...deserve to hear...is that as time passes, the lesson of competing as a student-athlete has roots that run far deeper than one moment in time.
You'll begin to ask yourself these questions. And if you can say yes, you'll have gained far more than momentary recognition.
Did you give your all? Did you honor every person on the journey? Did you show humility? Did you act gracious to your competitors? Did you sacrifice your personal preference for the betterment of the team? Did you come a little early, and stay a little late?
Would you do it all over again?
If for no other reason than the relationships you made along the way.
Just to spend those long hours training with them. Just to ride the bus with them again. Just to laugh together, cry together…experience all of it together…again.
Because at the end of the day…
That is the truest definition of winning that I know.
Make the decision to be intentional about building relationships, so that you create a team of influence.
When that is seared into your soul,
you can do far more than win a sporting contest.
You will be ready to change the world.
So please don't throw in the towel when it gets hard. We need you to learn every lesson you can along the way. For the calling that is on your life will be accomplished because of what you learned from them. Without them, life on the other side of sports gets harder. With them you are equipped to take on every challenge thrown your way, in a way that only you can.
Because of that...
You ARE ready to change the world.
No time like the present. Lord knows our world so desperately needs it. And you?
We...those you know, and so many you may never meet...
WE. BELIEVE. IN. YOU.
For it's in the lessons of competition you will begin to understand your calling's destination. And when that happens, run in that direction with every ounce of passion your heart can muster.
You’ve been given a gift.
A moment in time.
Now, and in the future.
You, student-athlete, were made...
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.
Settling is stopping short.
To settle in is being content.
In either case, where you are may not be where you thought you'd be by now. It may not be where you want to be right now. And it may not be where you know you could be by now.
All of that can either paralyze you, or propel you. It can hold you back, or launch you forward. It can frustrate you or remind you.
Wait...remind you? Of what?
Your past may have played a part in your present, but it doesn't have to determine your future.
There isn't one of us, myself included, that doesn't need to hear this from time to time.
There is value in a little self-reflection, to provide new direction.
It's at those moments that we have to decide if we are going to feel sorry for ourselves, and start settling for less than our full potential. Or...take a deep breath, settle in, and see things from a fresh perspective.
Be fully present where you are, who you are with, with what you have.
And when you start moving forward, bring contentment along for the ride.
Stop settling today for what your past is lying to you about. Stop settling today for who others say you are. Stop settling because the obstacles in front of you seem like they are too big to take on.
To believe your past is your launching pad, because it was your learning ground. To believe who you are isn't determined by the the insecurities of others. To believe your future is what you make of the opportunities you leverage today.
And when you do...
Enjoy the contentment you find when you settle in, because you've committed to stop settling.
I'm not sure if this will find it's way into discussions in your boardroom at work, living room with your kids, or bedroom as you lie awake at night trying to figure out how to be a more effective leader as a parent...but it's hitting all three marks for me today.
Here are the 10 things I learned playing MarioKart last night with my kids and their friend.
Have you ever found yourself stuck?
The kind of stuck that has you frustrated?
We've all been there.
Life throws us a curveball.
We were hoping to make contact, but then we swing and miss.
And after we swing, we realize the pitch wasn't as good as we first thought.
How do we respond in those moments?
The ones where it feels like there is a stadium full of people watching us strike out.
It's been said we can't hit what we don't swing at.
But I think we are missing out on some equally solid perspective.
We can't hit what isn't in the strike zone either.
If the pitch is high and tight, low and away, up and in...making contact is doubtful. And if it's a wild pitch or a pitch-out? Well, you get the point. We aren't getting on base swinging at offerings like that.
We aren't going to make progress by swinging at bad pitches.
I think sometimes we place so much value in putting our head down and pushing forward, that we miss the point. There is a more effective way to move forward. It requires more patience (that's not always easy). It requires more persistence to "foul-off" a few pitches that we aren't sure if they are strikes or not, just to keep the at-bat alive. But in the end, there is a common goal we are trying to reach.
Getting on base.
Listen...if you are finding the pitches aren't there today...stop swinging.
Stand in. Don't leave the batter's box. You can't get on if you aren't in the game.
Be patient. With a watchful eye, value the swings you don't take as important too.
And at the end of it...when enough bad pitches come?
Enjoy the moment when you can...
In the next blog, we'll talk about what to do once you're on base.
That's just as important.
To be grounded, is to stay connected.
To a source, not a whim.
To a vision, not a version.
If we are ever going to be able to start saying "no" to the things that we need to, it'll start by committing to a well articulated vision.
Here is what I mean...
Have a filter.
Making decisions without one is emotionally, financially, and culturally dangerous.
It's hoping to get lucky.
When you know WHO you are, you will know WHAT to do.
You'll base decisions on who you are and why you exist.
You'll build relationships with people who are willing to sacrifice their personal preference, so that something bigger than themselves can be created.
So how do you know if you are making solid decisions?
If you are alone, you are much more likely to make a call you'll regret later.
If you have a team of people to walk with you, you've got what we all need.
You'll stop running in 101 directions when you have a relational connection.
You'll replace chaos with focus.
Sometimes the interruption we weren't planning on,
is the intervention we've been waiting on.
What's it going to take to get our attention?
If the answer we thought we needed looked exactly like we thought it would all along, what exactly have we been waiting on to move forward? If, on the other hand, we've felt stuck, frustrated, or otherwise not able to pin-point the solution to our problem...perhaps what we didn't see coming is the answer to what we've been waiting on all along.
So let's start our week.
But let's also not be so driven that we miss an important exit.
Every great road trip will inevitably come with at least one detour.
The destination doesn't have to change,
but the route getting there likely will.
Be flexible to the interruption today.
It just might have the answer you've been looking for.
We have a generation of young adults,
many of whom are struggling with making good decisions.
Let's highlight one area where this happens.
Students don't have an academic problem,
they have a vision problem.
And I'm not talking about their eyesight.
So what am I talking about?
Applying themselves in the classroom starts with an ability to understand why they are there in the first place. If the primary reason is because "they have to be", that ship isn't gonna sail.
The Millennial generation fell out of love with "because I said so" a long time ago.
How do you help an at-risk student achieve the success they want, you want for them, and what the world needs from them?
Stop telling them what to do,
and start helping them discover who they are,
so that they will buy in to why they are there.
They won't care about your "because" until they know THE CAUSE.
Why am I doing it?
Who will it help?
What problem will it solve locally?
What problem will it solve globally?
How will this class help me change the world?
We either start answering these questions intentionally,
or we will continue to see them struggle academically.
So we've identified the problem...
but HOW...how does it change?
What is the solution?
THIS PROCESS IS A START.
I've watched this process change thinking.
I've watched this process change lives.
When you help them discover their vision,
they will want to follow direction.
Systems & structures aren't the enemy
of the Millennial generation.
Helping them understand why they exist,
and how their talents fit into this world?
That's the secret sauce.
Because when they know WHO they are,
they will know WHAT to do.
Or we can keep beating the drum saying everything we've been saying, changing nothing, risking even less...and expecting a completely different outcome. (AKA...rolling the dice)
I believe that's pretty close to the definition of insanity.
These 141 testimonials represent the hope that comes when we go first, change our approach, and risk more...all in the name of a generation that needs us to fight for them, not with them. (AKA...solving the problem)
How can you help?
Glad you asked.
Do you know someone in leadership at a University?
Simply share this blog with them,
and ask them to listen to the 141 voices for themselves.
Then have them call me, so I can tell them what made it happen.
(This number works best for that...716-672-9661)
Thanks for joining us in spreading the word.
You're the best!
Helping students identify WHO they are and WHY they exist isn’t just something to do,
it’s giving them an opportunity to articulate the someone they are.
And without someone knowing WHO they are,
how can they possibly know WHAT to do?
I'll prove my point...
We are addicted to "WHAT" questions...
and we start asking them about the time kids can talk right through their college years.
WHAT do you want to be when you grow up?
WHAT is your favorite subject?
WHAT is your major?
WHAT are you going to do with that?
WHAT kind of job do you want?
But when questions are based on WHAT they should do, we miss the point.
On the other hand, when they are based on WHO they are, everything changes.
Try these WHAT questions instead...
WHAT breaks your heart?
WHAT do you daydream about when you are in school?
WHAT would you change if money were no object?
WHAT keeps you up at night when you can't sleep?
WHAT gets you so excited it's hard to sit still?
That will get you closer to understanding WHO students are, WHY they exist, and the unique purpose they are hard-wired to fulfill. They've got gifts, and talents that could change the world. But when they are simply used to check off boxes for majors and jobs to get through school and pay bills...again, we've missed the point.
When we value WHO they are (relationship) over just WHAT they could do (transaction),
we help them get to WHERE they will one day leave a legacy of massive impact.
That sounds exciting!
For your University.
And most importantly...
For the lives they'll change,
as they live out their calling.
Ambivalence is the barrier to excellence.
Make the intentional decision to commit to your vision,
or you'll end up frustrated unable to make a good decision.
As you start your week, focus on your filter.
Who you are.
Why you exist.
What you believe.
How you do what you do.
Anything else is a hurdle you don't need to jump over,
in a race you shouldn't be running in anyway.
More on the images you see in a minute.
How does this word feel?
If you have ever tried to recruit anyone to anything, that word makes you cringe.
In four simple words, this is what it means.
Attrition is frustration that could be avoided.
Think buffet vs. steakhouse.
"Eyes too big for your stomach" is how most recruiting works. We pile on the plate, and toss out what we don't want later. Lots of waste involved in that process. Everything looks great at first, and then slowly we lose our appetite for it. Quantity rules the day, and waste is considered a necessary evil.
Be specific, clear, and say no to most options so that you can get the best fit for you. Be patient...it takes longer to prepare a better product. Time, seasoning, careful attention to detail. Quality is what we are after. Quality food. Quality fit for our taste buds. Waste is considered insane. It's too good to leave anything on the plate.
When we recruit like a buffet we end up losing people because "they can't cut it". The real truth? Them not cutting it later says more about the recruitment process than it does about the person leaving. When we recruit like a steakhouse we end up building an amazing culture that attracts the very best. The right fit means the best experience.
So the million dollar question...
HOW DO WE FIX IT?
Here are 5 things to get us thinking
about how to fix the process,
and recruit like a steakhouse.
1. Culture - Is there one where you are? If you don't have a clearly articulated vision and core set of values that EVERY SINGLE DECISION is based on, you don't. A culture is a group of people with a common set of beliefs, expressed through a common language. BOTH. Not one part. BOTH. And if you do have a culture now...who buys in? Who doesn't? Separating those two camps will tell you what your organization has to build on, and what it needs to politely excuse itself from. (P.S. That's not a bad thing. Holding on to staff that doesn't buy in not only hurts your progress, it robs them of the opportunity to link up with a team somewhere that they are sold out to. Life's too short. Help them find their team...and yes, that means some will have to be let go from yours).
2. Themes - Look at both ends of the spectrum. Those that are clicking on all cylinders within your team. What drew them to you? What drew you to them? Those that are constantly in a state of friction within your team. What changed for them since they started with you? How have you changed since they came on board? Find the themes...and you start to find a path to repeat. One for people who love who you are and why you exist and want to sell out to your vision. One to be able to refer people away from your team as early as possible. It's important for you, so that your team stays on point. And it's equally important for them, so that they can keep moving to find the team they were called to join.
3. Scarcity - If you aren't willing to be exclusive, you are leaving value on the table. And let me be VERY clear about this. This is not being exclusive at the cost of inclusive. It's a "both-and" posture. Very simply put...you need to be exclusive first, so that you can be inclusive later. If you let every person join your team...regardless of their vision, you'll have a massive disaster in short order. If you are diligent about selecting those that believe what you believe, care about what breaks your heart, and are willing to go all in for your values...the conversations later can be 100% inclusive of every person's opinion in the room. Why? Because you will have already separated personal opinion and preference from the process. Why is that important? Because the vision leads, and every idea tossed on the table goes through that filter. Without that filter, you have a mess on your hands. Think back to the buffet example at the beginning. Lots of waste. Translated to what you do? Waste of time, energy, and resources. And bluntly...A TON OF MONEY! According to the people at SHRM (really, super-smart HR professionals)...It costs about $3,500 per year to recruit, hire, train and retain an $8.00 per hour wage employee. And those numbers are from 2006! So that figure has to be conservative. Still don't think it's important to get it right up front?
4. Invites - Start life earlier in the process with your potential new recruits, and you do a few things really well. You start to develop a relationship with those you want on your team. You honor the time of those who won't ever be a fit on your team. And the third reason is HUGE. You begin to create a culture of brand ambassadors that will cast your vision as well. It's like having a seas of sales reps on the road. You won't be the only ones telling your story. It will reach more. When it reaches more, the quality goes up. More people fight for the top spots. It gets harder to get in. It becomes a little more exclusive. And when you reach that tipping point? You'll have a dream team that is explosive for all the right reasons. Momentum and progress unlike anything you've ever seen.
5. Net Casting - This will allow you to go further than ever before, differently than ever before. Think digital. Virtual. Instead of waiting to get a sense of who someone is when they meet you in person, you'll have already begun to develop a relationship from a distance. That allows a free-agent to sign on the dotted line on a first visit. It implores a college student to make their deposit on the day they meet you in person, on your campus. You won't lose that rock-star employee to your competition, because their first in person visit with your team confirms they are "home". Skype, text, email, and video vs. job and career fairs, table set up in HS hallways with free pens (because that's unique), etc... When you cast your net(s) intentionally where the fish you want are you stop dropping a net for sheer volume not knowing what fish are even there.
Those 5 things start the conversation. The one thing that weaves them all together is the secret sauce that makes the meal undeniably created by you and your team.
Culture. Themes. Scarcity. Invites. New Casting.
Learn from those 5, and let them inform your story-telling process.
Every great book, movie and experience is re-told for one reason...
I hope this has jump-started some brain-storming juices for your team. If you are stuck, don't be a stranger. I'd love to hear from you. I'd be honored to work with you. It's why I do what I do. Your recruitment is a reflection of your commitment. I know your heart is in the right place. Sometimes it's just hard to get the story to match. I'd love to help.
I exist to help other people discover WHO they are, so that they will know WHAT to do.
And I'd love to help you articulate your story, so you can dominate your space.
Let's have one last look at the pictures we started with...
Is there really any doubt which experience you want your recruiting, hiring, training and retention process to resemble?
The "attrition special" on the left is cheaper. But something tells me the cost of the "choice culture cut" on the right is worth every penny you'll invest in the process.
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.