Mary Kay, my wife, and I joined the Baylor Club last week. This allows us access to the restaurant overlooking Baylor’s new football field. The food is great, the view outstanding and we get a 25-percent discount on food. (Can it get any better?)
On Friday, I took my son, Marcus, there. His wife and daughters were at a museum for the day. Mary Kay was having a company lunch, and instead of having a hotdog from the outdoor stand on the corner, I asked Marcus if he wanted to try a new place. It was better than I could have imagined! (The food, view and the discount!)
We are both huge sports fans—even though he is a Raiders’ fan. (Perhaps they’ll be a team again someday like they were in the Kenny Stabler, Howie Long and then Bo Jackson days. I hope so for him and the Raider nation)
I was telling him about some of the players who graduated from Baylor. RG III and Mike Singletary came to mind first, then I mentioned Josh Gordon, a receiver with the Cleveland Browns. Look at some of Josh’s accomplishments, according to Wikipedia:
- Pro Bowl (2013);
- First-team all-pro (2013);
- NFL receiving yards leader (2013);
- Cleveland PFWA Player of the Year (2013);
- Ranked No. 16 in the Top 100 Players of 2014;
- Only player in NFL history with consecutive 200-yard receiving games in the regular season;
- Most receiving yards in a four-game span (774) in NFL history;
- Most receiving yards in single season (1,646) in Browns’ history (2013);
- Most receiving yards in single game (261) in Browns’ history;
- Most receptions in a game (14) in Browns’ history; and
- Most 100-yard receiving games in a single season (7) in Browns’ history (2013).
By now you are thinking, “what a talent,” right? Yup. He is. He is also suspended for the 2015 season. Josh’s issues with drugs and alcohol go back to his Baylor days in 2010 and 2011. They eventually got him kicked off the team and he left the school.
Similar things happened to him with the Browns. Hard core sports fans simply say, “What a waste of talent. A million dollar plus contract and he might lose it all.”
This comes on the heels of Aaron Hernandez, Patriots receiver with a $40M contract, being convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Another waste of talent.
Stop dreaming about a $1 million or $40 million and go look in the mirror. Really—go look in the mirror.
Do you see a leader? If not, why? What is holding you back from being a leader?
Is it education? Abe Lincoln only went through one year of formal schooling. Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College after one semester. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard after two years to start Microsoft with his childhood friend, Paul Allen. Today Gates is only worth $79.3 billion.
Are you too old? According to the Kaufman Foundation, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the last decade has been by those aged 55-64. Last year alone, 35 percent of new businesses were started by people at least 50. Colonel Sanders was 65 years old when he decided to franchise his concept. More than 1,000 people said “no” to him before someone in Utah finally said “yes!”
Did you have a tough upbringing? Oprah Winfrey was raised by her grandmother. She wore clothes made of potato sacks and was made fun of for it. At age six she moved to Wisconsin with her single mother but, again, was sent away because her mother couldn’t afford to take care of her and her half-sister. When she was nine she suffered sexual abuse. None of this stopped her, obviously.
What about your race or gender? We all have too many examples—regardless of our race or gender to let this hold us down.
Are you having a pity party for some other reason? I tried this excuse at one point of my life. What I found is that no one came to my pity parties—so I just quit having them. Sure made life easier!
Go back to the mirror. What do you see? Who do you see? If you are not seeing a leader go to “Google images” and enter the words “self portrait—tiger.” You will see an image of the framed picture I have next to my desk. Mary Kay and I saw this in New Orleans several years ago and she had it framed as a Christmas present. First you have to “see” the leader inside before you can become that leader. After you envision it, do something every day to drive your progress toward that goal.
It will probably entail reading biographies of others. It may mean that you will need to have some of the most difficult conversations of your life with employees who are not doing what they need to be doing. Stepping up to be a leader is very difficult sometimes. You have to hold yourself accountable as you make strides to be the person you can be.
We all are in danger of wasting our God-given talent—just like Josh Gordon or Aaron Hernandez. The more we look in the mirror, however, and see the tiger instead of the kitty, the quicker we will start realizing who we are and what we can accomplish.
Have a great week. Roar.