One of the worst parts of my younger years was ironically during the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics. I say Ironically because unless you’re a close friend of mine, you’ve never heard this story. And it really wasn’t that bad looking back, while I was there I was going through utter turmoil .
My videographer friend (Riley Moynes) and I were hired to be the online video bloggers for the Saskatchewan pavilion during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics! What an unbelievable experience I said, you have to do it I said to my self, at any cost. At any cost.
And boy did it cost a lot, but my trade off was I learned so much while being there, a once in a lifetime experience I’ll never forget.
When we agreed to do it we thought we could have a lot of fun doing Rick Mercer style interviews while producing Vice style video blogs. That’s wasn’t what we were hired to do. The Government representative flat out did not want this to come across as fun, no no, she had a much different idea. We were to report back to her with all video ideas before we were to shoot them. She’d send the ideas about to her counterparts in Saskatchewan and decision by committee made our lives pretty shitty for a while. Talk about micromanagement! I loathed it.
On top of terrible working situation I was staying in an apartment with a friend that was a bus, then train ride away to and from the Sask Pavilion. We didn’t have a fridge, 45 minute commute on a good day, a hour and a bit on a bad day. It was hell on earth. I know why people in big cities are miserable a lot of the time, it’s draining to commute so much. Every day the same, every day no more fun just shitty videos. I had to eat out every day on the same budget I was used to in Regina. I ended up using my credit card way to much. But I had no choice, it was a once in a lifetime experience, you don’t give up during those experiences. You bite your tung, you lie to yourself, you say everything will be alright.
I got home sick. So home sick my friend Derek asked if I wanted him to fly my girlfriend out there. It was a nice gesture, I declined.
My saving grace was Riley. He talked me off the ledge several times there, one day I had my head set on leaving early, but he convinced me to stay. We Sushi’d lots, went to a couple Olympic events, and one morning we almost lost him to a riot downtown Vancouver. He edited the videos we shot every day, he was a machine, I really don’t know how he did it. He had to work way more than I did, but that’s why I’ve always looked up to him. That’s why I still look up to him, he did everything I had to do without complaining. Incredible.
Towards the end of the Olympics we started just shooting our own thing. We thought “what the hell! They can’t fire us now, right?!”. Ironically those are the videos you won’t find on Tourism’s Youtube channel. HA! My favourite video to shoot was when Riley convinced me to wear green tights, a green cape and a watermelon on my head, we were going Rider fan hunting!! By far the funnest day. We had people from all walks of life yelling at us, heckling us with most of it in good fun.
Now I look back on it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. A once in a lifetime experience that’s for sure. Most days we had a blast! We went to a curling semi final, women’s hockey game, and got busted one night for bringing a Mickey of rum into the pavilion. (beers were like $100, you can’t blame me, blame Vancouver!).
Kind of a motto around here. “If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far join us.” Stop trying to do things on your own and find an all-star team to help you.
We have a lot of “Super Hero” symbolism around the office. Jordan Mcfarlen told me a story about a time he visited Silicon Valley. He went to a place called “Draper University” and in the incubator part of Draper they had a “Hero Alley”. A place where the walls inspired you to be a hero. To be selfless, humble, hard working and to be a great teammate. We love it and our office will always have Superhero’s in it!
We don’t have one. Over deliver, care more, work harder. At Strategy Lab we believe in being so good at what you do that you don’t have to rely on telling others about it. We want to ensure the work we do is remarkable enough that people will inherently want to talk about it. Permission based marketing.
Over the past few years the podcast as a content piece has seen a major resurgence. Much like the rise, fall, and rebirth of blogs (remember the early Blogger sites?) podcasts have found new life. But why should you as a business or as a person care? Why should you podcast? If you’re reading this instead of listening to the recording above, you’re probably a little skeptical. Here are six reasons why you should stop reading right now and hit that “play” button!
Steve Jobs talked about it, the best educators understand it, and it’s a powerful fact rarely talked about.The fact of the matter is you can learn new things and change the makeup of your brain well into the later years in your life. The “plasticity” of your brain refers to its ability to change it’s makeup.
A professional violinist will have many more neurons firing around where their hands control the bow and violin in the brain. Mark McMorris’s brain would have many more neurons firing where his brain controls balance, and foot control being a world class snowboarder. A NewYork Times Journalist would have thousands of neurons firing in the parts of their brains that control writing, story telling, and reading.
Whatever your brain focuses a lot of time on, your brain will build up sufficient muscle around that particular area. Whether it be conscious or subconscious, you’re constantly making your brain smarter or dumber(if you’re not doing anything of future benefit to your brain).
Common knowledge has always been, what you’re born with is what you get! So if you were born “dumb” or didn’t have a good upbringing, you’re destined to fail. Wrong!
It’s those who realize that they can learn, practice and teach themselves many different skills and ideas that begin to truly flourish in life.
Learning doesn’t stop after highschool or university. This is how our society has been brought up. You go to school, learn, then get into the real world and work till you retire, then die board to death.
What if that’s the wrong way to think about it? What if we were meant to learn throughout our life? What if there isn’t a hard and fast “way” to do it? What if we could keep learning and adapting as we go becoming increasingly more valuable with every new experience?
You can learn anything
Yes you can’t go to the NHL after a certain point, the physical nature of the sport will hold you back. But that doesn’t mean you can’t train a coach, assistant coach, be a trainer, etc. It’s all in your mindset.
We’re great at telling ourselves “we can’t”. “That’s impossible!” a small part of our brains are extremely protective over what we can and can’t do. We love to quit before even trying, after all that is easier.
Start thinking the opposite. Start thinking you can do anything you want. It’s difficult at first but it’s the same idea as affirmations, the Tony Robbins’ system or “The Secret”. A positive attitude can literally move mountains.
I love the jobs quote from Steve Jobs:
“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. And the minute that you understand you can poke life, when you push in something will pop out the other side. You can change it, you can mould it. That’s maybe the most important thing.”
At a given Volleyball tournament of 12 teams, the first three teams go home happy. One, Two or Three are a nice finish, but anything after that really sucks. So the average coach has a 25% chance of going home happy?!? That’s crazy! Now I’m obviously over exaggerating but your win loss record is only one of many things to focus on as a coach. The problem is that’s the easiest thing to single out as a parent, athlete, spectator, did you win? Why not?
It’s not just coaching, in life we often forget what the purpose is. Is the end goal really just to win the tournament? At what cost? What are you willing to sacrifice? When will one more win be enough? In life, how much do you make? How much did you clear last year? How Any time I hear conversations like that I feel a little worse for man kind.
The money doesn’t matter, just like the win doesn’t matter.
Your goal is to get your team to focus not on the win but the bigger issues at stake in sport.
Are you a team?
Are you contributing to that team?
Are you getting better every day?
These can be very hard to focus on when everyone around you wants a win.
It’s hard to focus on creating something amazing in life when everyone tells you to get a “real job”.
As long as you don’t give up you’re not a failure.
The 75% of the tournaments you leave without a medal makes the other 25% all that much sweeter. There’s a romantic side to sports that Billy Beane talked about in Moneyball and I see on coaches faces time and time again. It seems delusional how much these coaches and volunteers put in just to help the younger generation see a sport through their eyes. It’s really quite amazing to see.
Don’t give up.
I talk to amazing teachers, mentors, and coaches all the time. I feel everyone is on the brink of quitting and getting more “me” time. I crosses every volunteers mind I guarantee it. But the tittle of this post is “It Sucks Being a Coach….Sometimes” because there are these magic moments where you see kids come together, do things they never thought possible, and learn life skills in a completely different way.
This past weekend we has Nationals in Winnipeg. We didn’t do as good as I thought we should (in the tournament), but throughout the weekend I witnessed a bunch of thirteen and fourteen year olds become a team. As a team they cheered on our arch rival at Provincials, Meadow Lake in any game they watched them play in. It’s like they grew up. The crux of the boys coming together was after cheering on a girls team they all went on to the court, lined up to shake hands, and congratulated the girls team on a game well played.
I couldn’t have been more proud.
Life gets hard to teach us a lesson. As long as we don’t cave under the pressure, as long as we don’t throw in the towel, we’ll be okay. The harder the challenge the more important the lesson.
“I now appreciate public transit.” -Conrad Hewitt, 2016
Trying to see peoples’ points of view isn’t something that comes natural to humans. As we’ve evolved, the softer skills in life have become much more important to our survival than the hard skills (fight or flight) as of the last hundred years. In business it’s even more rare. Empathy is a word that is not often discussed in the board room. Love, Kindness, generosity, all words never uttered in the corporate world. Until now.
There are many unforeseen benefits of seeing the world through another persons eyes here are three.
It’ll cause you less stress. You don’t need to constantly be “right”. It’s counterintuitive when you think about it. Usually we go into a discussion to be heard or to get our way, but if you’re smart about it you’ll go in trying to learn and adapt your point of view based on the new knowledge you discover.
The next time someone tries to argue with you try and agree with what they’re saying and come up with a better solution all together.
The smartest people in an argument will change their mind, one of the hardest things to do, on a topic to see the issue through a different lens. This take willpower, empathy and some mental Jujitsu but it a very powerful tool.
Your clients perspective is a great reflection of your business. Your brand is what your customers say about you. Every interaction is showing others a reason to like or dislike your organizations brand. Smart organizations are asking customers what they think, how could they do better, and what they love about their service or product.
You gain empathy when you show empathy to others, when you truly know how people feel about you.
You’re not the most important person in the world. The sooner we all come to grips with this the better. It’s easy in a moment of lost baggage rage to freakout on the airport attendee, afterall, you needed your bag for tonight! Get over yourself.
Nothing can happen to you that is so bad that you have to ruin someone else’s day over it.
Remember, you aren’t the most important person in the world and that service worker that you’re about to reem out about an over charged phone bill could be having the worst day of their life. You never know when showing someone kindness could mean the wo rld to them.
The next time someone thinks you’re about to get really mad at them do the opposite. You’ll see it in their eyes, that priceless look of a genuine human ‘thank you’.
How many small startups have a marketing strategy? I’d venture a guess as very few. No I don’t mean a “marketing plan” I mean an actual strategy with tactics, objectives, and intended outcomes. Rarely do startups care about marketing because if you have to rely on marketing to make your product or service successful you’re not going to be.
How many recent extremely successful products or services have grown exponentially because of a marketing strategy? I’d guess very few. The reason something catches fire is one part luck and one-part remarkability.
Remarkability: The odds that someone will talk about your company, product, service or organization.
Most business owners think of marketing as logos and commercials when really it about getting people to spread your story. There’s nothing traditional about marketing in 2016.
You don’t need a marketing strategy. A lot of people will tell you you do. Professors of marketing, those who’ve never practiced their theories just taught them in the classroom are the worst at spreading the lies about why you need a marketing strategy.
They’ll say you can’t be “off brand” and that every communication you make needs to be consistent.
“Mind your four p’s!” they’ll tell you, even though three out of the four are almost obsolete or useless for your company. Price, Place, Product, Promotion.
Marketing needs to start at the beginning of the planning process of your product or service.
I love the Seth Godin quote “Advertising is the tax for the unremarkable.”