Greatness. Together. Good…

Today, during practice 221, we welcomed Paris and practiced 7 good minutes toward Patmanduh, devinwhothinksmuch, bearded one, Paris, Pulluppaul(took 2nd in Arnold Sports Festival with 24 pulls with a 50lb vest!), and finished it off with Brian. We started early and finished late. We put a bow on practice 221 by watching a little clip, sharing a strange partnership, and having Welkywelk remind us that he finds the melody line like a banchee.

Most of the magic, friend, isn’t found between the hours of 9-5. Most of the magic comes when you least expect it, when you show up early or finish late. Today, we did both. Practice was targeted to start at 8:15 and conclude between 9:15 and 9:30. We started at straight up 8 with those who came early and ended at 9:37. The vibe was amazingly positive. Always is. Makes no sense. This team is busy leasing up and busier when leasing is down. This team is fighting City Hall and trying to build beautiful places of commerce and community. This team has tons of competition and the resources they partner with have never been more taxed. I mean come on man, have you taken a look at the cbus skyline recently, there are more big cranes than anytime in my thirty seven years here.

So, today, one of the busiest beavers in the business of building, took time out of their busyness to come together and build within, build each other, and build together. Today, we welcomed a new krazy – Paris. He shared his purpose for choosing to leave his previous job to build a career with the krazies. He lit us up. Today, the k-dev tribe took the time to practice. We started early and ended late. Greatness is in this building. Greatness is in these people. Only the few, however, want it badly enough to double down on the effort especially when they’re so busy, distracted, overwhelmed, and focused on the future.

Greatness, remember, can come from anywhere. You gotta be paying attention, in the moment, when it arrives. Greatness comes when least anticipated and expected. Greatness comes when you find your missing piece, usually in the form of a great person! Dr. Dre and Eminem were down, not out. Arnold and Jim aren’t together by accident. Frankeethepresidentialhonkee and Brett are a classic example of mass attracts mass. Jack Lockton and Mike Frost couldn’t have been more complimentary or completely contrary. Durp knew what he was doing when he forced me to figure it out and make time for Grappy and his team of grapplers. We’re growing old but not tired together. Together we’re transforming from good to great. Together.

Greatness can come from anywhere. Will you be ready when your missing piece comes calling? Greatness. Together. Good…

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Toggle wisely…

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16

This morning, during a difficult practice with one of my clients, I used this text to remind my client that the really difficult leadership challenges do not have obvious answers. Sometimes you must lead cunningly and sometimes you simply gotta come clean. Wise leaders, remember, are curious George and my way IS the highway. Wise leaders are lion and lamb, serpent and dove, fox and hedgehog. Wise leaders toggle between tough and tender. BTL leaders leave the land of “Either/or,” and take up residence instead in the county of Wise and the quaint village of “anding.”

You, leader, are working in the midst of wolves. Toggle wisely…

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I love happy surprises. This weekend, one surprise counted as a “score,” if you will. You see the “s” in the BTL acrostic, O.P.U.S., stands for your scorecard for significance. We want our family, friends, and clients to establish a scorecard for their opus that tells them they are on the right track and making progress toward their labor of love. For me, one of these metrics is around being surprised by someone our work has touched. I scorecard emails, voicemails, texts, cards, letters, calls, and conversations where a client, former client, or someone who just reads these rants, reaches out to me in a way that aligns with our purpose at BTL.

So, when checking voicemails over the weekend one registered as a score. It was quite the surprise. “I just came from our Church service and thought of you. The speaker was Dr. Clarence Jones, a former advisor of MLK jr’s. He was outstanding and shared much that I know you will enjoy. Check it out and we’ll talk soon.”

A client took the time to help me. He knew this teaching would serve me. He’s really busy running a company, a family, and simply running himself, yet still he reached out. Here’s the funniest part. He’s an atheist. He doesn’t believe in God but he knows I do. What a wonderful, gratifying surprise. Score.

“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 is the defining statement of our work at BTL. This is why we believe we’re here. Yesterday, a distinctly different man from me, took the time to bless me. FM, baby. No compensation changed hands. No new records were set. No public recognition registered. Yet, for me and my opus – score.

How do you keep score, friend?

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Hedgehog and fox, leader…

I’ve got a client named Dub who admires Warren Buffett. His opus is becoming a master investor/leader like the famous 88 year old from Omaha. In my mind, he’s well on his way.

So, I’ve decided to study a little Buffettoshish to broaden my learning a little further in the financial field, if you will. Most of my study isn’t focused on the financial as there are many coaches/advisors better equipped than I’ll ever be. However, only seven pages into the book Outsiders, by William Thorndike, I’m feeling very much at home. The eight top CEO’s of all time are highlighted in this read and right off the bat it sounds like most of ‘em followed the BTL model unknowingly. All of them were humble, matter of fact types who avoided the spotlight, believed in decentralized power and authority, defied conventional protocol and instead were positive deviants who didn’t follow their peers.

I’m digging this read and funny, I thought it was gonna be all kinda boring like most of the other Harvard Business Review reads of my previous experience. I guess like the eight iconic outsiders, I might need to slow down my judging brain and not judge the book by it’s cover. So good to read outside your comfort zone, friend. Sometimes you study like the hedgehog and stay in the lane of your mastery’s domain. Sometimes you study like a fox and learn about many different things. For me becoming foxlike involves studying finance. Remember, great leaders are hedgehogs and foxes. Iconic leaders are operators and investors. What, leader, are you studying outside your stated domain?


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Where do you do your best work…

Sigmund Freud summarized his worldview into two words – “Grow up.” He believed humans are alone in this world and traced most mental disorders to messed up belief systems. He believed religion was delusional. The scientific method, he believed, was to be trusted.

C.S. Lewis summarized his worldview into two words as well – “Wake up!” Lewis was an atheist up until he turned 31 years old. He came to faith, according to him, by examining the evidence. His awakening drained his mind of depression and unleashed his creative spirit as reflected in his broad range of writings.

Grow up. Wake up. You decide.

Where do you do your best work? Where you are free to be who you are or where you are told what to say, how to say it, and play all nice and politically correct with fellow professionals you work alongside but never know? Let me help you out with some scientific data. According to Gallup, one of the most trusted organizations in one of the most trusted countries in the world, their research suggests that 90% of American workers do their best work outside of work. Huh? Yup, it’s true. When surveyed by Gallup, workers in our free country confirm they do their best work where they are not paid – namely for charity, for community, and for family. Why?

Because they “believe in” the purpose of the charity, community, and family – their company, not so much. What kinda company are you building, leader? One where humans open up, and become distinct and deeply connected? Or one where humans shut up, leave their whole selves somewhere else, and just do their job.

Open up. Shut up. You decide.

God, I love the scientific method. Thanks, God, for giving it to us…

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Arousal emotions…

Last night, during practice 69 with a team of grapplers, we learned a little more about emotions and the elite. We heard the story, again, of how Nato has become an Olympian and Kyle an Olympic champion and arguably the best grappler in the world. They both love the sport and this is where we usually focus. Last night we focused on anger, namely anger directed toward their “current state.” The elite use anger to motivate them to move away from their current state. Your current state (getting comfortable here) is the enemy to your dream state.

I told the team the story of Kyle showing up at the 3PP following his freshmen year loss in the NCAA finals. He didn’t look angry, but he was. He attacked our workout, designed for little peeps, like he weighed a buck fifty. The intensity inside changed, his brother Kevin said last night. He kept a picture of his opponent dancing after defeating him. More fuel to move.

You see, friend, anger directed inward is one of the best ways to move you out of your current state. Use it here. I use this kinda righteous anger all the time on myself and my clients to move them out of the comfort zone. Many of them are comfortable with their progress, naturally. Since they’ve gotten busy on themselves and their teams, they’ve transformed – gotten better, a lot better. My job, as their builder, is to keep pushing them to do what they can. Your job, leader, is to keep moving. I mean, come on man, would you follow someone who’s sitting still?

I use righteous anger to move good people.

At BTL, we understand that good is the enemy of great. So, I push. Hence the nickname Angry bird (I’m really not). Once moving, we quickly switch to love and focus on the dream state – their opus. Opus, remember, is Latin for labor of love. Anger jolts us out of our status quo, our current state. Love enables us to envision a better state and keeps us productively acting as we build. Use both, leader. Use emotions to move you and your team toward your dream state. Logic alone is not enough. Passions fuel purpose, remember?

Look in the mirror. Be honest about your current state. Look out the window and dream big, imagine your dream state – your opus. Baby step your way one PA (productive action) at a time. Use your emotions. Use your arousal emotions. Do not let worry, doubt, and anxious thoughts use you. More on this in the next rant…

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The English word Emotion, is derived from the Latin word Motus. Motus means to move. Emotions are meant to move us. If you want to move toward becoming elite, excellent, or the ever popular – best version of yourself, you need to tune your mind to pay particular attention to your arousal emotions.

Your primary arousal emotions are negative and positive. The elite use both. Anger, albeit squarely in the negative camp, has fueled many spectacular performances throughout history. Use this as fuel when you lose. Use this as fuel in spurts. Use this when you are dissatisfied with your current state. Use anger to your advantage. Do not let anger, however, use you. Anger, unbridled, will be burn you out and eventually burn you up. Use with caution.

There’s nothing like love to get you up and after whatever is your pursuit. Bathe in love. Love your pursuit. Love the climb. Love the competition. Love the building. Love the practice and the acute pain. Love the smallest of incremental gains. Love your work and love your team. Use all the positive vibes/emotions that follow loves lead. Use these positive emotions for a lifetime.

The elite know the enemy of excellence is found in the passive emotional states. The elite do not allow contentment or sadness stay for long. These emotions tell you to sit and feel good about the progress you’ve made or, worse yet, tell you it’s ok to feel sorry for yourself. Normal humans are far too easily pleased said a very wise C.S. Lewis. Don’t be normal. Your best version is not your norm. Use your emotions. Use your reason. Figure it out. I mean come on man, God gave you both emotion and reason, it makes no sense to not use both!

Today, a few elite grapplers are gonna hear about arousal emotions. I’m gonna stir ‘em up as they head into the most important time of the year – the offseason. Victory is decided well before champions are crowned. Victory is mostly decided when no one sees. What are your emotions telling you, friend? Remember, the normal brain defaults to energy save mode. Don’t be normal. Instead use your arousal emotions and sound reason to keep working toward becoming your best self.

There was a little anger and a whole lotta love in the 3PP this early am. Six men failed for four quarters. And, six men kept getting back up. Six men made each other better by moving in new ways. None of us would have done it with only our reasonable minds. Our emotions fueled our failed attempts and more importantly our desires to keep reaching, stretching, and giving it our best, full effort. The same holds true for you. Use motus. Do not let it use you.

Keep moving, friend. Keep working. Good…

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