I was recently reading about an athlete that had dreams of playing college football. In high school, he played quarterback in west Texas. As a sophomore, he threw a pass to his receiver but got deflected and into the hands of the opposing team for an interception. The quarterback ran him down and tackled the player but not before injuring his shoulder which would prevent him from major college offers. When it came time to head to college, the options were limited to a couple of small colleges, or walk on at a major college about an hour down the road, which is what he decided to do. After a few days, the coach decided that he would not make the team, but he liked his curiosity, as he was always peppering the coaches with questions so the head coach asked him to be a student coach and be part of the staff at age 19. A few years later when the coaching staff at Texas Tech was replaced, one of the coaches was hired to be a head coach and brought the young coach to join his staff as offensive coordinator at the age of 27, then later the University of Oklahoma called to offer him the offensive coordinator position, and then made him one of the youngest college football head coaches at age 33. His name is Lincoln Riley and is considered one of the premier college football coaches in the country.
I share this story because Coach Lincoln Riley could have chose many different paths such as taking the easy road to a smaller school to play football, or responding negatively after being cut by his college team. But he didn’t do that… He just kept finding ways to add value wherever he was. He kept pursuing his dreams to be around football.
What are you doing to add value in your organization? Do you believe… in yourself and your organization?
I remember when I was about 24 years old bowling in the US OPEN. I had dreamed about being in this tournament since I was a child. I had enjoyed success locally, but now it was time for the national stage. To save this from being a long story, I failed miserably. I bowled terrible all week and finished in the back of the pack. When I look back, I realize that I lacked belief… It’s the one thing that can move you to another level. When you believe in yourself, you can make things happen in all areas of your life. But how do we get that belief?
- Surround yourself with the right tribe. Lincoln Riley was surrounded by some of the best coaches in the country. People that will encourage you and help you achieve your dreams.
- Believe in yourself. Coach Riley had goals of being on the biggest stage which meant having the courage to walk on, or relocate when opportunities presented themselves. He had to believe he could do it.
- Never stop learning… Coach Riley peppered his coaches with questions. Head Coach Mike Leach liked him being around the players because he modeled the importance of curiosity. He wanted the others players asking questions to help them get better.
So, what’s your strategy to next level success? Are you surrounded by the right people? Are you showing up where you need to be…? Are you asking your team leaders questions? Do you believe?
Find your lane, add value, believe in yourself, and accelerate… Big things are ahead!
Quote of the week: “My job is to know what creates value.” Caroline Carter
Call to Action: Is there something in your department that needs to be changed? Policy, process improvement? Assess the problem, then go have a conversation with your team. Ask questions, and see what happens. Make this part of your daily discipline and people will notice your curiosity and just might add you to their next level leaders list! I believe you can do it… do you?
This has been A Relocation Minute on “Next Level Leadership” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call