The Struggle Is Real

10 07 2015

In middle school and high schooled I played football. I wrestled and participated in track and field as well to stay in shape, but my main sport was football. As is typical of American football players, I made fun of soccer players, I think the term I used was, “grass ferries.”

Not trying to justify my stance, but from my perspective soccer players were a lesser form of football players. Soccer players faked injuries where as football players played through them. Sure football players had pads, but that’s because we tried to lay hits on the other team so hard that their mommas would make them quit. Sure soccer players ran, but not while taking hits and delivering hits. Like I said, I viewed them as lesser athletes. That was until I played soccer.

The college I went to was a small college in New England, if you blinked as you were driving by the school you’d miss it. As you can imagine, a school that small didn’t have a football team, they didn’t even have a flag football team, all they had was a club soccer team. The choice wasn’t an easy one. I was an athlete, I needed to play something, but soccer? I finally set aside my prejudice and decided to play. I can honestly say, soccer was one of the most difficult sports I’ve ever played. It’s a different kind of difficult. I have never run so much in my entire life! By the end of the season, I had a whole new respect for soccer players.

In this season of life, I have had a similar revelation. I’m in sales. Sales guys don’t have the best of reputations. I mean really, how do you view sales guys? A necessary evil? Even less so now with the advent of the internet. To make matters more difficult, I like to consider myself an honest sales guy. I’ve done my research, I know the better products from the lesser products, but I also know when the lesser products are good enough for the situation. I know when you really should go with the better products, but no matter what I suggests, I feel like I’m put on the other side of the table.

Sales people don’t just have to know their products, their competition’s products, how to provide exceptional customer service, but they also have to learn to become trust worth and likeable in a short period of time. My income is dependent on all of these factors, what is more, my job is dependent on all of these factors. Do you know what happens to a sales guy when he doesn’t sell? He becomes an unemployed sales guy.

Recently I’ve been struggling to sell. The traffic in my store is down, so I have to do more with less. People come in and for a majority of them, they feel like all I’m trying to do is to get them to buy the most expensive product I have. So I go back to football – after the Green Bay Packers lost a game, Vince Lombardi went into the locker room, held up the pig skin and said, “men, this is a football.”

His message was simple, lets get back to basics. So that’s my goal, go back to the basics of what made me successful in the first place. My ability to connect with people, make a friend, and if the timing is right, make a sale. I mean I’m struggling to make sales now, the only difference this back to basic approach does is now, even if I don’t make a sale, at least I’ve made a friend.


Leadership: Beneficial for the long run (The 222 factor).

26 03 2010

2 Timothy 2:2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (NASB)

This may seem trivial to some of you, but for others you will know exactly what I’m talking about.  The coach makes all the difference!  For those of you who are not very big sports fans please bear with me for a moment as I explain why this is a big deal.  When a professional sports team is not doing well one of the things they will do to improve the organization is to fire the head coach.  Now this seems silly since it is the players who are not performing up to their potential, the coach can’t MAKE them run faster, he can MAKE them catch balls, he can’t Make them tackle better.  In fact he can’t MAKE them do anything.  All he can do is plan, teach, and invest.

So what is the point?  When I was in my junior year of high school I had a defensive tackle coach who observed my strengths and my weaknesses and then equiped me with information and tools to succeed.  My senior year I had a different coach who told me I had to have my ready stance a certain way (different from junior year) and that I had to approach the tackle a different way.  Now his methods weren’t bad, in fact he played football as a tackle for Notre Dame and for the Washington Redskins, but for me they didn’t work.  Looking back, the issue wasn’t the methods the issue was that he did not take the time to understand my strengths and weaknesses nor did he invest the time to show me how to adjust the new methods for the way I was built.   

This is going to seem like bragging for a moment, but it’s not, it is to support my point.  My junior year I had 50 tackles in 9 games, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 sack, in a 4-4 defence (meaning it was set up for the defensive tackles to occupy the offensive line and the line backers to make the tackles).  I had a great season!  I was selected all-district defensive tackle, had colleges interested in my game films, it was awesome!  Now enter my senior year with the different coach.  I failed miserably, I was having one of the worst seasons of my life!  I just couldn’t succeed in this coach’s style.  It worked for him, but not for the player. 

Paul tells Timothy, commit or entrust what I have taught you to faithful men who will teach others.  You can tell, show, and encourage someone to do a particular action.  But if you are going to commit and entrust the knowledge of what you know to them, you MUST take the time to invest!  Investing is not a “once and done” deal.  It is a process which requires a leader to effectively communicate and entrust their knowledge to the other person.  This is what I call the 222 factor (pronounced the two twenty-two factor cause it sounds cooler than 222 factor), simply explained it is exponential growth; 2  x 2 x 2 (2 timothy, chapter 2, verse 2)  When you take the time to teach and entrust those under you, they will do the same for someone else. 

I could have adopted and perfected the new method, but I had no training, I had no one on one time.  I was told, shown, and then expected to perform.  As a result I had the worst year in football ever.  I’m not blaming it all on the coach, there were other factors, one being me, that resulted in a bad year.  But as we all know, leadership can make all the difference.

Leaders, take the time to invest in your people.  Teach them what you know, don’t assume they will hear it or see it and know how to perform it.  It will benefit you in the long run!