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Nothing matters more…

I’m always thinking about why beliefs matter so much. Funny, I think about mine and yours nearly every day, ‘cause thinking about such things is my life’s work. I’m asking all my clients to write a top ten list, of sorts. I want to know what are the ten things that they think everybody ought to know. Don’t think too long. Just let the pen flow and let what’s top of mind flow to your parchment. Here’s mine, at least for now…

1. Nothing matters more than knowing what matters the most to you. Figuring this out for you is the aim behind authoring your BTL core, opus, and playbook of productive action. Start here.

2. There is a God and I think we can know Him.

3. One day you will die. Aim at Heaven. Live today like hell on wheels. Make it count. Take nothing for granted. Practice gratitude.

4. Either or thinking is lazy and so yesterday. Practice the power of “anding.” Evolution and creation are true. We are good and bad. On and on it goes…

5. Love more. Love is a nearly inexhaustible energy source and you are made in it and for it. Start by loving yourself more. Love your family, friends, teammates. Love work. Love life. Someday, maybe you’ll be the one able to love the world. See 1 & 2…

6. Nobody is as wise as everybody. There are no enlightened ones, only ones still working on becoming more like light. Keep seeking more light.

7. Life is better when you learn to do hard things well. Start small. Keep working. Who knows maybe you’ll be the one solving big stuff someday soon!

8. Learn to laugh more and loathe less. See 5 as a reminder.

9. We are meant to belong and become. Nothing makes sense alone and you’ve got to go it alone, at some point. Find your tribe and try to keep it open to outsiders (at least those who want the best for you). Figure out who you are and keep figuring out who you’re becoming. Never stop. Never arrive.

10. Play more. Our most creative, inventive, and collaborative selves are found when we play. Play everyday. Play with your kids. Play with your brothers/sisters. Play with your teammates. Play with strangers. Play with people like you. Play with people you like. And, play with people unlike you and with people you don’t particularly like. Play. See 1-9 as a reminder. Nothing is so important that you and I shouldn’t play around on this serious, limited, and blessed time we share. Play more.

What do you think…

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Proximity and presence…

Earlier this week, during another amazing BTL team practice, I was blown away by the volume of words shared by one, particular teammate. You see, we’ve been practicing with this team for quite some time and he rarely shares anything during practice. He seems engaged but he’s a man of few words so, it’s hard to tell.

That all changed in our last practice.

Here’s his writing to the team that led to his outburst and contribution. He had an “aha” moment doing his PA from the previous team practice. He had a moment and then came in and dominated, in a really great way. Let these words from a quiet one pierce you.

“I put this off and kept rethinking everything and it might have worked out for the better. After my meeting with Richard yesterday it finally hit me. I’ve spent the last 7-8 years of my career around leaders that didn’t actually care about me. It’s not that they were bad people. They cared about my work and were happy with the work I was doing but on a personal level I felt they could care less. I have been happy with my work but extremely unhappy with my previous employers. I’m not sure why it took so long to realize this but in my meeting with Richard yesterday he asked how things were going with me and it looked like I’ve been picking up weight. I have Crohn’s disease and lost 40lbs when I started at this freakin’ magic workplace. As basic as the comment was it made my day. I feel like I need to work on this with everyone and not just my current teammates.”

There is a huge difference between appreciation and caring. You can appreciate someone and the job they do without communicating how much you care. The number one emotion, remember, your team wants to receive from you is the emotion of caring. Funny, it takes few words to communicate caring. Sometimes none. Sometimes all the teammate needs is proximity and presence.

Proximity and presence. Good…

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Stop doing…

I know, I know – you’re really busy.

Let me practice being ccd. I hear the, “I’m too busy,” refrain more than just about anything from my family, friends, and clients. This is 100% bullshit. You and are I are not too busy, we are only as busy as we’ve decided to be. Fact. So, friend, if you want to redeem your day, begin by doing this one simple hack. Here it is. It’s stupid simple and as hard as you want to make it. Stop doing what you know is wrong. You just bought yourself a whole bunch of time, didn’t you.

Stop doing what you know is wrong. Good…

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We don’t rise – we fall…

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” Achilochus 650 B.C. “Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to the level of your training.” Navy SEAL.

Your team is no different regardless the sport or profession. You leader have to ensure the team is winning with edge, execution, and excellence. You cannot be satisfied if you’ve been winning with talent but without the kinda training necessary to sustain it. You’ve got to train harder once you reach the pinnacle of your work. You can’t simply let the team turn it on when they think they have to. Your job, if you’re a leader, is to make your team train with an edge, relentlessly focused on execution, and commited to excellence. Your job is to make them think they’re behind even when they’re way ahead. Hard to do, regardless the sport or market.

Buckeyes, Jayhawks, and all kinda teams know how hard it is to maintain their edge, execution, and excellence. What are you doing to increase the level of your training, leader? Start by kicking your own ass harder than you could ever imagine kicking anothers. Nothing keeps the team on edge more than the edge of their leader. Study Alexander the Great, you’ll see.

Today, as every other day, I’ve got a few teams to make do what they can. I’ve got to make them do what they can regardless their record. You too, huh, leader. Remember, we don’t rise – we fall. What level of training is your team falling toward, friend…

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Like a dog…

Here’s a nuance to one of my favorite thoughts about the elite in any endeavor – Hard on self without getting down on self. The elite have the unique ability to be self critical without self loathing. Why is this so hard for most of us humans?

The Scott household loves dogs, none moreso than Miss. Our dogs get special food, special attention, special treats (for going to the bathroom outside), and special treatment all the way ‘round. Yours most likely do as well. When one of them gets sick or, in Tank’s case has significant allergies to about everything, they get whatever prescription the Vet orders. Miss makes sure that Tank takes his prescribed meds all the way to completion. Not once in awhile, but like clockwork to completion. According to Peterson’s research (12 Rules for Life) only 50% of us even fill prescriptions that have been ordered by our trusted doc’s for ourselves. And, only 50% of those that are filled are taken through completion. What is up with this?

Think about it for a second. We care for those around us in some kinda relationship to the depth of our love reservoir. We have deep reservoirs of love for our pups, seemingly puddles for ourselves. You see, friend, we tend to quickly forgive and forget all the puppy problems of peeing and pooping on our favorite bedposts, chewing our shoes, puking on our wooden floors, and doing other doggie things like digging up the yard and even biting other dogs. I mean come on man, that’s just what dogs do. We more easily forgive our dogs than we do ourselves. You see, we don’t see our mess ups as attributable to our natures. We don’t, in fact, understand human nature.

So, where should we begin? Lets start, friend, by loving ourselves like we love our dogs. God loves you and your nature. God wants the best for you. That’s why we’re the only animal gifted with a mind capable of building a second nature. No wonder we’re still contemplating what is, in fact, our nature. God doesn’t beat you up, He built you and wants to continue to build a better you, if you’ll let Him. It’s alright to feel regret and desire to deeply change. We are designed with an almost endless capacity for growth. So, go ahead, be hard on self without getting down on self. Hard on self. Not down on self.

But, before you do, treat yourself like a dog for awhile. Treat yourself like your favorite pup, cat, or any other pet for that matter. Tap into God’s reservoir of love for you. Your puddle will soon become a pond and before long it will make Hoover reservoir look like a drop in the bucket, doggoneit…

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Build your best…

Recently a handful of grapplers joined us for some core work the last two Saturday’s at Steelwood (The home of OSU Wrestling). The Saturday workouts are somewhere between 90 – 120 minutes in duration. They’re stupid on purpose. We take advantage of treadmills that incline up to 30% and world class stationary bikes, to do a variety of interval training. We carry heavy dumbbells around and throw heavy balls over our head. We climb ropes to the ceiling and push heavy sleds across the padded floors. The young grapplers are amazing at all this stuff and tend to sing along with whatever rapper or DJ is screaming through the sound system.

However, last week I noticed the room got incredibly quiet when we wandered to the back of the room and hopped up on the long row of bars. Hanging in the chin up position stresses the core. Really stresses it. Hanging in the chin up position and then pulling your legs over your head, touching the bar above you, and turning your two legs into synchronized windshield wipers of sorts and moving them 90% to the left, raising them straight over head, and then moving them 90% to the right, sends most cores into hyperstress and quickly into panic. Try doing 5 wipes before letting go and you’ll experience what I’m trying to convey here. Your obliques will seriously scream. Your transverse abdonimus will stretch and not like it. Your arms, elbows, and shoulders will not go quietly.

Your rotational strength will increase, however – greatly increase, if you focus on form and put yourself, purposely in acute pain.

So, this week, when it came time to hop on the hurting bar, I paid careful attention to one of the elite athletes who struggled, mightily last week. We go in two shifts for thirty second stints on the hurting bar. I made sure to position myself next to my target and alternate time with him. Sure enough his first iteration of wipers were pathetic. His form was terrible and I shamed him for it. I stood right below him and told him to stop flopping like a fish out of water, you have to hold your core at the 90% and control the motion back and forth. You have to control your body.

You have to first control your mind.

So, after shaming the stud, I took my turn on the bar and showed him how to do it with proper form. It really hurt. Good. After my thirty seconds of pain it was his turn again. This time I didn’t shame him. I coached him now that I had his full attention. As he began to flop to the left, I screamed at him to catch his legs before they fell on their own. “Fight it,” I bellowed with belief. As he did so, I simply said, “Good.” He continued with the wiper to the right (not perfectly, but noticeably better) and as he approached 90%, I implored him again with, “Fight it!” His internal focus was written on his hurting face.

And, he did it!

I repeated this process with him throughout the remaining four iterations on the bar and he continued to improve his performance through me simply giving him my undivided attention and coaching him up, so to speak. You see, friend, even the elite need someone to make them do what they can. They can do a lot but not when left alone. We all need someone to coach us up. My favorite quote reflects this truth.

“Our chief want in life, is someone who will make us do what we can.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Your team needs you, leader, to make them do what they can. Model the way. Embrace pain and suffering, and embody truth in love. You can do this but only if you make yourself take the time to give your most precious commodity to your most proficient people. Do not make the mistake of thinking anything is more important than making your best better. Normal leaders focus on all kinds of process, programs, and other very good, professional pieces. Yeah, it all matters. Nothing matters as much as making your best better. You see, friend, a 1% gain from your most proficient performers, produces a performance multiplier. When the best keep getting better, the rest gotta row that much harder to simply keep up. Everybody rises when a system adapts to strength not weakness.

What’s your system adapting to, leader? Are you coaching up your best or paying too much attention to the weak? Every leader gets exactly the team they deserve. Want better? Build your best. Make them do what they can. Good…

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Be the glue

I used to not swear at all. I thought it was wrong to use foul language. When I started BTL back in 2002, I learned to swear to get my clients attention. It mostly worked and became something I overly relied upon over time. A few years ago, I swore off swearing, more or less. I still swear, on occasion but much, much less. Last night that changed. Last night I let loose with a barrage of profanity. Nothing seems to work with this team and it felt like the timing was right to pull out all the stops. I did a lot more than swear, however. I gave this team hard truth they could use, whether they do or not is on them. I did my job as best I knew how. You see, as a BTL builder, you use whatever is necessary to cause growth in another. It’s our responsibility to be a catalyst for growth, even if we dissolve by so doing. Unlike a true catalyst, the builder does change as a result of “being the change” we want to see in any of our family, friends, and clients. Our aim is to build individuals and teams that are deeply united in talking truth, building deep trust, and tasting team chemistry. Most teams are miles from flow. This team has many miles still to go.

Moments of team chemistry always remind me of the Spartan 300. Here’s an exerpt from the book Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield describing the secret sauce of Spartan chemistry. Check it out. The man nicknamed “Suicide” was not a leader – just another teammate.

“When I first came to Lakedaemon and they called me ‘Suicide,’ I hated it. But in time I came to see its wisdom, unintentional as it was. For what can be more noble than to slay oneself? Not literally. Not with a blade in the guts. But to extinguish the selfish self within, that part which looks only to its own preservation, to save its own skin. That, I saw, was the victory you Spartans had gained over yourselves. That was the glue. It was what you had learned and it made me stay, to learn it too. When a warrior fights not for himself, but for his brothers, when his most passionately sought goal is neither glory nor his own life’s preservation, but to spend his substance for them, his comrades, not to abandon them, not to prove unworthy of them, then his heart truly has achieved contempt for death, and with that he transcends himself and his actions touch the sublime. This is why the true warrior cannot speak of battle save to his brothers who have been there with him. This truth is too holy, too sacred, for words.”

Want a better team? Die to self. Kill your selfish ambitions. Build big, crazy big, ambitions for the team. Give what you want from your teammates. Give without restriction or expectation of return. Give because you want to. Give. Glue comes when someone gives. Not all of us can be the man, so to speak. Anybody on the team, however, can be the glue. 

Gain victory over your selfishness. Build crazy big, ambition for the team. Fight for them. Be the Glue , not the self absorbed, less mature version of you. Be the glue. Good…

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