Saturday, September 12, 2009

Where were you?

I remember where I was when President Kennedy was shot, so do you. I remember where I was when Bobby Kennedy was shot, so do you. I remember where I was when Dr. King was shot. I will always remember the day I watched Neil Armstrong take that first step on the lunar landscape. You have to be a mature American to recall all those events.

You can be a child as young as 12 and remember the most significant event since the shot heard around the world that was fired at Ft. Sumter, South Carolina somewhere around 1861. That event was September 11, 2001. The Ft. Sumter event was the impetus that led to the most blood ever spilled here in America since the Revolutionary war.

When those planes flew into the World Trade Center and our Pentagon approximately 3,000 innocent Americans shed their blood, innocent, collateral damage in a cowardly act of terrorism. Since then one of the most evil dictators in history was captured, tried and hanged. Our soldiers still are taking it to the terrorists and those who have harbored terror. Many additional lives have been lost in an effort to make you and I feel safe once again.

I was in Baton Rouge, La. with DuPont. I had flown in on 9/10. Myself and 2 colleagues were doing software training for 2 cardiology groups assembled at the Baton Rouge Hilton. I had been to breakfast and had read a little article in USA Today about the establishment of 911 as the emergency number for the nation. Some sort of commemoration was scheduled somewhere on 9/11 to apply a little numerology. When I left my room to go down to the meeting room my colleague, Roger, came out of his room with a funny look on his face and announced that an airliner had just flown into the World trade center. I thought back about the article I had read and I said " No that is just some sort of gimmick to promote the establishment of 911 as the nationwide emergency number." Boy was I ever wrong.

We went to the meeting room checked in with our management and called off the training and went to pack. I was fortunate enough to think about getting a rental car. I had National Car Rental on speed dial. After I speed dialed it about 10 times I was able to successfully reserve a car. By the time my colleague from Birmingham, who had driven down, got us to the airport all airports across the country had been closed. Air Force One was heading to Louisiana, where I was. I had a guy at the rental car desk offer me $1000.00 for my rental car. He was trying to get home to Los Angeles. My other colleague and I drove the 8 hours back to Tallahassee and then he went on to Sarasota. We were scared. I just wanted to be home with my family.

I remember my daughter stood in line in Gainesville at the University of Florida, along with her room mates, to donate blood. People went to church in droves. Retailers sold out of flags. The mood of the country was anger towards the terrorists.

Where are we now? Blood donations have become a way to buy dinner for some. People stopped going to church in droves. Republicans hate the Democrats. Democrats hate the Republicans. Everyone hates the war. Tea parties abound. GM's principal owner is the U.S. Government. Financial institutions are owned by the government. The government wants to own health care.

What scared us to death back on 9/11/01 is now just a bare memory. If you fly into New York City there are new structures going up to replace those twin towers. It is hard to remember what they looked like in our mind's eye.

The same resolute planning that effected 9/11/01 is still going on in some Al Queda camp somewhere. Death to America still motivates people to strap bombs on thier children and send them into a crowd.

I wonder when and what the next 9/11 will be. Sure makes you pause and reflect doesn't it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Coaching, the key to success

I have been thinking about the importance of coaches in our lives. I have occupied the role of coach off and on over my 63 years of life more than once. I have been the coach and I have been the recipient of coaching. I suppose that successful parents, teachers, legislators, executives, sales people, the list goes on exponentially, all have elements of coaching within them.

A member of the media once asked the legendary coach, Paul ' Bear' Bryant what made him such a great coach. The Bear answered back simply " Great players." I am not so sure that is the fact. There is just no doubt that it takes a special gift to be able to get the best out of people.

I remember a great baseball player named Jim Abbott. He was a gold medal winning, Olympian baseball pitcher. The fact that he only had one arm was of special note to the media and to anyone who watched him pitch. Not to him. I remember reading an article about him in Sports Illustrated many years ago. The one thing that stands out in my memory is the tribute he paid to his parents. They instilled in him a belief that he could do anything he wanted to. He went on to play in the Major leagues and was a notable contributor to his team.

What is it that makes us believe in ourselves? That is the essence of coaching. To make someone believe that they can do something special. Why would anyone be worth $4 million dollars a year to coach. Yet we have two great examples of that moving into the 2009/10 collegiate football season. Coach Meyer at University of Florida and Coach Saban at University of Alabama both command those sorts of salaries. Why? Because they have proven that they can make young men believe that they can win.

Let's face it, not many of us have the talent to golf like Tiger Woods, hit a baseball like Chipper Jones, pull down a rebound like Charles Barkley, lead a winning football team like Tim Tebow, serve a tennis ball like Roger Federer. These are flesh and blood human beings who are comprised of the same elements you and I are. Now I wonder how well Tiger Woods could hit a 90 mph fastball? We all know how well Charles Barkley plays golf. Betcha Chipper and Tebow would not get far in the U S Open in tennis. Federer would most likely fail at executing a high powered offense in football. Yet in their own element they have the mindset and belief that they can win.

I remember a scene in Return of the Jedi. The little lizard like Jedi Master, Yoda, used the force to raise the X-Wing fighter out of the swamp of Degobah and set it on dry land. Luke Skywalker had tried to do the same thing a few minutes before. As he watched Yoda do what he could not he exclaimed, " I don't believe it ! " Yoda retorted, " That, is why you failed."

My son was a pretty good little baseball player. I coached him from the time he could walk. I coached him 'til he was 14. I then turned him over to Coach Bill Lord. He went from being about a 5 or 6 on the baseball player index to an 8 or 9, almost immediately. He went on to play shortstop at Lincoln HS. He made All Stars in every league he ever played in. Of 50 + walk on attempts at Tallahassee Community College my son was the only one who Coach McLeod kept. Coach Bill Lord made my son believe that he was better than I ever could. That same man coached me when I entered the Real Estate business. He made me believe that I could do it. I have done it. I have been successful in real estate sales.

Realtors are coaches. They take sellers or buyers and help them put forth the best elements of their real estate offerings or desires. They think Win-Win. They teach begin with the end in mind. They teach others to put first things first. They help people synergize the elements they possess to buy or sell. They seek first to understand and then to be understood. They set an example of proactivity. Then, throughout their careers they sharpen the saw. Those are the Seven habits of highly effective people. That book stays on the table beside my bed. I read it and the scriptures regularly.

Do not go into the game of selling or buying real estate without the coach. You will win if you do. You will lose if you don't.

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