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.
“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. I faced the obstacles. I 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.
“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.
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:
People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book. –Malcom X
Do you remember the first time you read your favorite book? The moment you closed the final page and felt satisfied in finishing its greatness while simultaneously feeling sad that it was over? That is how a great book should make you feel. It should leave you a different person than when you started page one.
I’d set out for 2016 to read one chapter of a book a day. I love to read, but over the last number of years, my books per year declined as I poured more of my free time into work. This was my year to make a change. I started strong, but the last couple of weeks, I let the chaos of life knock me off course. The days – and chapters mounted – and I fell behind. Fortunately, I had a trip planned and the time flying & downtime on the beach gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up.
And I couldn’t have asked for better books to read. I’d started following Chris Brogan’s advice of, “Don’t finish a bad book,” and had given up on a few recent reads. Fortunately, the ones I chose to take with me turned out to be some of the best books I’d ever read.
The following is a brief overview of four of the five books & a quick review for you.