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Category: Grow Your Influence

What If There’s Nothing Special About Me?

But there’s nothing special about my story.

I remember telling my coach that early in our time working together. I was new to public speaking and had hired his team years ago to help me elevate my craft to better serve my audiences. I had goals of becoming a household name as a speaker, but mentally, I was struggling to see myself as one. I wasn’t able to connect my stories with everyone else who carried that “speaker” title. I’d never been homeless. I hadn’t overcome a powerful addiction or had a near-death experience, and I didn’t “live in a van down by the river.” By all accounts, my life was very, well, normal.

And that normal thinking was keeping me in neutral at the starting line instead of taking action for my goal. Normal doesn’t change lives – or so I thought.

No One Is an Island

“For a long time, I convinced myself that I could will my way to a dream. As long as I wanted it bad enough, I could make it happen. But if there is one great truth I learned from this great game, it’s that no great accomplishment is ever achieved by yourself. Being successful is contingent on others, and it always starts with someone taking a chance on you.” – Kurt Warner, PFT

I heard retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner say these words Saturday night during his enshrinement into the NFL Hall of Fame with his fellow 2017 classmates.

“…no great accomplishment is ever achieved by yourself.”

I believe a lot of us love the idea of reaching our goals and claiming that “I did it.” I put in the work. faced the obstacles. won. Our (long) roads from Day One to eventually reaching our goal can many times feel, well, lonely. We remember the early mornings we woke up and went to the gym, alone. We think about the times we drove cross-country for our dream, alone. And we think about the struggles we went through financially, alone.

Yet, through all that time, we were never actually alone. And the reason we got to that goal was never just us.

Be Their Reason Why

People all around us are searching for inspiration.

They scout their social media feed, multiple times a day, for the right quote, the right picture, the right spark to help them. The world around us gives enough reasons every day to question if we actually “have what it takes.” Buy this. Do that. Believe this. Each and every one claiming to be the missing ingredient we need, the source of inspiration. They hear the doubts whisper in and wonder, “can I really be a Competitor if I think this?”

They’re desperate to believe that “yes, they are a Competitor, and yes, they can win.”

So what if you were the reason why they did believe?

Competitors Don’t Cheat Themselves

“All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.” – Scott Alexander

I still remember my coach’s face when he caught me and a teammate cheating reps during our workout.

It was a mix of disappointment and pure hell-fire anger.

Brad and I had cut our 3 sets of 10 reps short by a few here and there. Our coach had been watching us the entire time and waited until the whistle blew (signaling time to switch stations) before using us as an example to the rest of the ninth grade football team.

“Jake, did you and Brad complete every rep before stopping?”

I looked at Brad sheepishly, knowing we’d been busted. He looked back at me with an “oh sh*t” expression.

Be Someone’s Roger Bannister

It’s funny how our mind works.

When many of us face obstacles, we tend to believe we’re the only ones facing that obstacle. So we don’t talk about it. We internalize everything. And because of that, we feel alone in a battle with a Goliath we can never beat.

In all reality, there’s hundreds – if not thousands – of people out there going through the same situation, if not much harder ones – yet they’re overcoming it. Because we don’t know about them, we assume we’re alone. And we believe our battle to be an impossible one.

Leadership Lessons from The QB

Tom Brady engineering the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Deshaun Watson leading the Clemson Tigers down the field to upset Alabama in the college football National Championship. The quarterback position is the most celebrated – and criticized – position in sports.

I recently finished The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks by sports writer Bruce Feldman. Football is my favorite sport, always has been. Quarterback, my favorite position and where some of the best memories of my youth were created. It was an insiders’ perspective to the current quarterback training industry, as Feldman spotlights a number of the nation’s premier trainers – and sport’s up-and-coming talent.

The QB didn’t disappoint. The book provides a behind the scenes look at the current quarterback training industry, through the eyes of Feldman, as he spotlights a number of premier trainers. It provides a great read, but even more so, it provides a powerful blueprint for what makes a great leader – something of immense value for you.

Numerous articles were released around the book’s publication detailing how it revealed leadership lessons, but I believe these four to be the most valuable takeaways from his book.

The best business leadership lessons from The QB that can be immediately applied to your life are:

My 3 Words for 2016

What will define your 2016?

Each year, I anxiously anticipate Chris Brogan’s “My 3 Words..” blog post. It’s become tradition to read the post, meditate, and set the theme for my own key words of 2016. It also become my annual challenge to live outside of my comfort zone because these three words are to hold me accountable for the next 365 days.

Here’s how it works (taken from ChrisBrogan.com):

Who Am I To Speak Up In This Situation?

I read and reread this post at least six times before hitting publish. Maybe ten. Part of me says write to just get it off your chest. The other half argues back that there has to be someone out there feeling the same way – and feeling just as alone when issues like today arise to the forefront of the news.

I don’t really feel as though I have a platform for this. Many of you will check out 1-2 sentences into today’s post. Others may doubt my credibility on the subject matter. I am a white, middle-class American male. I have seen racism & profiling first hand. I’ve seen friends pulled over for nothing more than being of a darker skin color. I’ve seen applicants passed over because of their gender. I’ve seen a lot, but I haven’t been the victim of racism myself. I feel inadequate for what I’m about to write, but am so compelled to do something.