Together we Awaken, Challenge, and Transform a few individuals, teams, and leaders into one, distinct and deeply connected. ONE, becoming BTL. Together we transform.

This, friend, is why BTL is here. Thanks for joining us on this journey of discovery…

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The BTL purpose has been our guiding “why” since we began this experiment sixteen years ago. Our original purpose was to wake up dead people, get them on their builders journey, and by doing so, live out ours. This was energizing and freakin’ magic when written back in 2002. I was alone. A BTL band of one, if you will.

When LA (Larry Allen) came alongside and then Peteyness, we rinsed our purpose. It became, “We Awaken, Challenge, and together Transform, individuals, teams, and leaders into ONE.” We were, afterall, here to change the world. Clarity was coming and it was aspirational. This rinse felt good for quite awhile but as the work deepened, more clarity came. The evolution led to another purpose rinse – “We Awaken, Challenge, and together Transform, a few individuals, teams, and leaders into ONE.” The emphasis we had learned was to focus on the few. Fact. We lived this and loved it.

A few years back we rinsed for more clarity and thought this was golden – “We Awaken, Challenge, and together Transform a few individuals, teams, and leaders into ONE. ONE, distinct and deeply connected.” This was further clarity about the definition of oneness. We are one but we’re not the same. So cool and energizing. Again, clarity. More clarity came as we rinsed recently – “We Awaken, Challenge, and together Transform a few individuals, teams, and leaders into ONE. ONE, distinct, deeply connected, and BTL.” When this was written, just a few years back, I felt this was the squeaky clean clarity – here to stay. I’m a little nuts, you see, we’re never done, are we?

So here is the latest rinse. This rinse has involved the entire BTL band. Everybody’s played and contributed. A few family, friends, and clients have weighed in. This rinse has been much more about us than it has been about me. I’m no longer alone on this journey. Far from it. The BTL band is coming together. Our family, friends, and clients are coming together too. We are becoming ONE and I’ve never felt more content and less in control. So, here’s the most recent rinse and a few words around what it means. Feel free to weigh in. Feel free to not…

“Together we Awaken, Challenge, and Transform a few individuals, teams, and leaders into one, distinct and deeply connected. ONE, becoming BTL. Together we transform.”

Our recently rinsed purpose statement (the defining statement of our work) places greater emphasis on together. Together we ACT (Awaken, Challenge, Transform). Together we become whole people – one. Together we are becoming BTL. Together we transform. And, together we never stop becoming the originals we’ve always been. Together we continue to practice, put forth effort, come together, and do good work. Together we master our crafts. Together we become masters in the art of living.

BTL’s purpose and tagline are evolving as is the band. Our tagline is no longer together we improve. Nope, it’s not. Together we transform…


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Regulate your nerve…

Leaders, the kind that transform us, are more thermostat than thermometer. Translation. They regulate instead of simply reflecting the vibe around ’em.

Recently researchers at the ESADE business school in Barcelona (rated tops by WSJ) hooked up 35 grad students to EEG (measuring brain waves) and HRV (Heart rate variability) monitors and gave them a problem to solve. In as little as half an hour  they found the transformational leaders. Had nothing to do with what they said or the volume of words. The transformational leaders, the ones that positively influenced their team, were the thermostats. They regulated their own nervous systems better than most and the freakin’ magic was found in how effectively they regulated the nervous systems of the team.

You don’t rise to the occasion, remember. You slip to the level of your training. Build your BTL core. Author OPUS. Commit to PA (productive action). Nothing regulates your nervous system more than your strong BTL core. Build within. You cannot control other people and circumstances. Your strong BTL core will change your perception of control and strengthen your nerve.

Thermostat or thermometer? Regulate your nerve. Do not suffer from a failure of nerve. You choose. Your choices have consequences. Good…

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Solitary practice…

Here’s a little gem from Anders Ericsson’s book titled Peak. He’s the crazy doc behind the science of deliberate practice and the so called 10,000 hour rule (btw the 10,000 hour rule is a myth according to Anders). His research is freakin’ magic if you’re trying to go from good to great in just about any endeavor. He shares his seven step framework for building expertise and all kinds of other science around the art of building excellence. It’s a worthy read. Check it out.

The little gem, you ask?

The greatest predictor of who will go from good to great isn’t one of his seven steps. The greatest predictor of who will go from good to great is the amount of time invested in solitary practice. Whether it’s mastering sport, art, or commerce, the major difference between better and best is the total number of hours devoted to solitary practice. Practicing your craft alone, most likely, won’t be a ton of fun. Practicing your craft alone, most likely, will feel like work.

So, friend, do you see why it matters the way you define your work? Masters define their masterpiece as a labor of love, as an “opus.” They may not know the framework from Anders and they may not even have a freakin’ magic builder beside them. Masters, however, do one thing much more than folks who are satisfied with good or good enough. Masters make solitary practice their friend. They show up early and stay late because their masterpiece is their labor love. They do not need motivation from another as the drive comes from deep within. Opus is work. Labor is work too. Opus energizes the climb from peak to peak to peak. A laborer longs for the valley and the long descent. An Opus practioner enjoys it all but especially the uphill, solitary climb where, alone, she suffers, sacrifices, soaks in the beauty, and somehow senses the hard earned gains are so worth the strain.

Solitary practice, you see, is the elixir of the elite. Go get some. Good…

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March matness and madness…

Today, tune your dial to the Espn family of networks. Check out March matness. The OSU grapplers are kicking butt up In Cleveland on the 8 mats inside the Q. Watch Nato, the duke, Joey, Key-Shawn, Mic, Te’Shan, Bo, Myles, Kollin, and Kyle put the hammer down on their opponent. Watch these young men battle through 7 minutes filled with adversity. Yesterday was my first trip to matmadness and it was fun to see. It was so great to see these young men pursuing their passion with such conviction, commitment, confidence, and even calm.

Tomorrow, do more of the same. Check out the NCAA wrestling finals and watch a bunch of Buckey’s become NCAA champions. Catch the vibe of oneness, you cannot miss it. Check out the warmth of their leader, Tom Ryan (Grappy), and see what it looks like to love your work and love your team.

And, check out OSU Women’s Basketball tomorrow at 1pm Eastern on that same ESPN network. Check out the madness. Watch Kelsey drive, dish, and knock down threes. Watch Asia defend and Lexa demonstrate heart. Watch KK be a commanding presence on and off the court and Sierra snipe three’s like a SEAL. Check out Linnea grabbing boards because of sheer will and Steph showing you how to run the floor and finish at the rim. Watch Savi and Karlie celebrating and contributing whenever their name is called. Watch Kevin and his coaches bring leadership from the bench and celebrate tenacious defense even more than competent offense. Watch this team play together.

You see, friend, both of these teams are becoming ONE, distinct and deeply connected. Both of these teams are becoming BTL. They are learning to love their work and love their teammates. We, the BTL band of builders, are learning alongside these teams and other krazy teams like them. God knows how much I love these teams. God, help me play a small part in making them do what they can. God, help me more fully love this work and all these teams you’ve trusted us to serve and unite.

Go Bucks! And, of course, Go Jayhawks too. Good…

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Talent, toughness, and teamwork…

We started BTL team practice, recently, with me asking the team if they knew why I started a fight back in practice xyz. The team responded almost unanimously that they understood. In fact it would be an understatement to simply say the team responded. This team started to get the tension out of the system and has been keeping it out ever since. They’ve been having better fights, they told me. Quicker to get it out and it seems to come out better; bitter, not so much.

I told the team something I eventually end up telling every team we practice with. Your problem was you were choosing slow death over truth in love. Do not do this. When you choose chronic pain over acute pain, you lose energy. Life is an energy management problem. When you run out of energy you are dead. Do not become the walking dead, please. Life is too short. Choose the chronic pain of truth in anger before it becomes so nasty you can’t get it out. Normal people choose slow death. Do not be normal. You were all over this and the energy and buyin was evident and high.

This team is not normal. Nope. This team is loaded with talent and toughness. They’re learning to build teamwork. You see, friend, talent and toughness are not enough to reach your God given potential. Nope, it’s not. None of us, you see, is meant to go it alone. God designed us for interdependence, hence the BTL tagline – together we improve. All of us are a part of multiple teams and all teams are laced with conflict. Fact. Conflict, this team is learning, is not something to cower from. Conflict is most often simply a conversation to be had.

Talent is not overrated, leader, it’s just that teamwork is too often undervalued. Talent, toughness, and teamwork. Good…

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Today, I held practice with a 92 year old leader. He’s still learning. He heard some hard truth and shared some too. We never stop learning, friend, if our aim is excellence. None of us has arrived. None of us knows it all. None of us is as smart as all of us.

“We Awaken, Challenge, and together Transform a few individuals, teams, and leaders toward becoming ONE, distinct and deeply connected.” This is why we’re here. We’re still learning too…

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