While I am all for the focusing on strengths approach, this needs to be tempered with some major self awareness. As the old saying goes, “If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail” which basically means if you only have one way of resolving issues, you will likely fail.
If you are going to lead a team, whether as a coach or a manager, you have to start with you first. If you are a one-trick pony, you are going to lose the faith of your followers quickly. You need to develop your own skill set as much as possible, allowing you an entire tool box of solutions, instead of just one blunt instrument. The approach of trying to pound things into submission only works in certain cases, and if you want success you need to add to your own repertoire of options.
After thirteen years as the Head Coach of ASU Racquetball, I have learn a myriad of things that have made me a better person. Patience, Empathy, Tough Love, Kindness and many other skills that I was, let’s call it “deficient” in, have been improved during the course of my time there. I have an entirely new group of kids and team mentality from when I started, and I have had to evolve accordingly. This journey as Head Coach has been the most personally rewarding thing I have ever done, and I look forward to more of it for as long as possible. I think I have a maintained a younger mindset because of my affiliation with college kids, and I have learned as much from them as they have from me.
I can apply the same thoughts to my sales approach as well. I have evolved into a much more empathetic person, changing the mission from hitting sales goals to helping others choose the best solution for their problem. I firmly believe in my company’s service as the best, and therefore it is easy for me to sit in conference room of a large corporation and share with them the reasons they should choose our service. I have made a living taking business from competitors, and outshining them when going head-to-head for a client new to the services we offer. This didn’t happen overnight; it took a lot of work, and a major mentality shift of my own. I am in a better place mentally and spiritually than before, and it shows in all that I do. That has been my evolution, my skill sets improving. I do a better job now than before in pretty much everything I do. I impart better information, as a coach and a salesman, than ever before.
So in retrospect, I used to be a hammer. Everything I did was done in the same fashion, many times with the same selfish intent. I wasn’t deliberately screwing people, but I know that I won business deals and coached matches with me in mind first, instead of the right thing first. I try not to lose sleep over that fact, and pray I didn’t set a bad example in the beginning. There is nothing I can do about that now, other than learn from it. Now I work on continuing to improve myself in effort to offer more, do more, and always do the right thing. That is a platform I can preach from; now I am setting an example that can be followed. I have learned to be more adaptable, to consider what others have to say, and incorporate best practices from all angles to my own pursuits.
I am working towards Swiss Army Knife status
What I want to is be multifaceted and have much to contribute in more than one area. For my Public Speaking, I want to have a long list of talks on a variety of subjects. I don’t want to be a specialist; I want to be a highly skilled generalist. I firmly believe that my approach to excellence in one area applies to almost all others, and regardless of the topic, my approach and insight will be helpful to those who listen. I still am a work in progress, just like everyone else. However, because I have been afforded the luxury of the life I have led and the relationships I have, I want to share as much as I can. I KNOW that I have been very fortunate to have had the struggles that I’ve had, just as much if not more than the successes. You don’t know who you really are until you’ve gotten knocked down and see how you deal with it.
It is my mission to help as many people as possible in effort to pay back the life I have been given. I hope to expand my opportunities in the coming months and years, and I will keep you posted along the way.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.