Never have there been so many books, blogs, and videos on leadership as we have today. Many contain useful information, but I find that several have been written by those who have spent little time in leadership or whose experience is limited to only one industry. Many authors and motivational speakers share phrases like, “don’t quit,” “never give up,” and “always stay in the game,” but they never tell you HOW to make it happen.
At 70+ young and investing five decades in the arena of leadership across multiple industries, I have gathered several successful principles to help move leaders forward. Over the next few segments, I am going to share what I have found to be strategic keys consistent with those who move far beyond leadership into what I call “Elite Leadership.” I am going to show you HOW I have done it. It begins in the brain; you must know HOW TO THINK TO WIN to become an Elite Leader.
The first step was to gather the money to produce the videos, which demanded I form a limited partnership of investors. Time after time after time I would share the idea with potential investors only to get a firm, “NO, NOT INTERESTED!” It was close to a year when I had the funds required to begin filming. Second, I needed a sports sponsor to see the value and want to tag each of the tapes with their logo. I flew out to Nike, Gatorade, and every company related to football gear. Over and over and over I would receive a resounding, “NO, NOT INTERESTED!” Finally, I flew to Atlanta where I presented the importance of why a company should be on these tapes given to every school in the country. After a thirty-minute presentation to the marketing managers, I received a signed check for $50,000 to begin a partnership with a company called . . . Coca-Cola!!
A few years back, I had a dream to start a business called “Coaches Video Network” or “CVN.” The concept was to take the top-ten college football teams and interview the specialty coaches in several different positions. For example, the defensive end coach from Notre Dame, defensive middle guard coach from Nebraska, the offensive line coach from Oklahoma, etc. I would fly the coach to Tulsa where I had a camera crew set up to film the coach’s teaching techniques and skills for each position. My dream was to have a set of ten tapes in every high school and college in the U.S., plus parents buying the tapes for their sons.
Some people reading this are currently trying to create a new business. You are sharing your concept over and over and over again only to receive multiple NOs. You may begin to feel defeated, become tired of the mental drain, and even start to believe your opportunity will never take off. But Elite Leaders are willing to fail to win. They are eager to keep their focus on the dream rather than the possible daily defeat. They believe in their idea and product and refuse to stop until they have achieved their goals.
ARE YOU WILLING TO FAIL TO WIN?