I'd like to consider myself an athlete even though I haven't played a team sport in approximately 15 years. But I believe once you have trained with an athletic mindset, you are always an athlete. Which is why I can relate to Jack Stark and his book, The Championship Formula: How to Transform Your Team Into a Dynasty.
Stark, a clinical psychologist has consulted and mentored leaders of top Fortune 500 companies as well as numerous sports teams that have gone on to win championships. He is the authority on understanding what it takes to dominate a playing field and create a dynasty whether it's on the field or in the board room.
Stark says, "Leaders of teams need to inspire hope but always remain vigilant of what causes failure...it can happen quickly." The first time I felt like a true leader was middle-school softball. I tried out in the 7th grade and was cut. Coach Walsh implored those who were cut to return and try again next year. I don't know what made me do it after the bruise to my ego, but I did- I tried out in 8th grade and not only made the team, but was chosen as Captain. Coach couldn't believe the transformation in one year. (Turns out I was too proud to wear my glasses the previous year). It's amazing what vision can do for hand-eye coordination.
Chapter 3 is titled: Dynastic Leaders are Caring & Honest and begins with a quote by Flavia Weedn "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." When I read this quote it brought me back to my days on the softball field. I was ecstatic that when I moved up to high school that Coach Walsh was transferred to a coaching job with the Varsity softball team. He was my first mentor. The first man in my life to sit and talk with me, ask me how I was feeling and what I wanted to do with my life. I felt like when I talked to him that he saw through all the teen-age bull shit and truly understood me. I asked Coach to write me a college recommendation. The best present he could have done was to leave the envelope unsealed. He wanted me to read it before it was sealed and sent off to the University. I only wish I had made a copy so that I could read it again after all these years.
Was our softball team a sports dynasty? Nah. But the lessons I learned, my competitive spirit and my desire to mentor others has carried through to my career. Thank you Coach.
The Championship Formula can be found on Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble.com. A great read if you are looking to get in touch with your inner-champion.