Two More Magic Moments

Tuesday, January 31, 2012, it was the Greeneview Rams hosting the Springfield Catholic Central Irish in a high school boys’ basketball contest. It was a special night and once again it was my privilege to be “The Voice of the Rams.”

After scarfing down a couple slices of pizza in the hospitality room, I was cornered by Athletic Director Mark Reinhart, who had a secret and a special assignment.  A player on each team was about to reach a career milestone, 1000 points.  At the high school level, this many points is not an everyday occurrence.  Twice in the same game is unthinkably rare!

Greeneview High’s Evan Bradds, a junior, needed 14 points.  Catholic Central’s senior forward Brian Kelly needed 13.  Apparently both players knew they were close, but not exactly how close.  Neither knew about the surprise that was in store.

Only a handful of people were briefed: the head coaches, the referees, and the officials at the scorers’ table. Jane, the lovely Greeneview scorekeeper, was responsible for monitoring their progress.  When either player reached the milestone, she would alert Kenny, the reliable and steady timekeeper, who would hit the buzzer to stop the game. Then, yours truly would have the privilege of announcing the player’s name and his outstanding accomplishment.  The fans would cheer and the players and coaches would celebrate as athletes do with high fives, chest bumbs, knuckle bumps and a few hugs.  Then, the game would resume and the process would continue hoping for that historic second milestone.

Here’s how it played out.  Bradds scored his 1000th point with 1:45 remaining in the 2nd quarter. Kelly followed suit in the 2nd half. The script played out just as if we had rehearsed it — two 1000-point celebrations in the same game!  What made it exceptional was seeing the sportsmanship of rivals enjoying each other’s accomplishment.

17 years ago, when Athletic Director Bob Roach entrusted me with the job of public address announcer, this special game was not on my radar screen. How could it be?  Evan Bradds was either an infant or a twinkle in his father’s eye. Clearly I did not seek this job in preparation for this moment or any other specific highlight. My long-term vision is not that acute.  Motivation for the job was to improve my skills and audition for an announcer position at a Division 1 college program. That opportunity never materialized.  However, with perfect 20-20 hindsight I’m glad it didn’t.  Each time another magic Rams moment comes along I’m reminded how grateful I am for the opportunity to be the man behind the microphone in my hometown.

“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills
so that when important occasions arise, you will have
the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.”
— Jim Rohn, Motivational Speaker

What opportunities are you looking for?  What opportunities are looking for you?  What are you grateful for?

How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 2)

This series continues based on the premise that effective leadership requires certain interpersonal skills and many of these same skills are necessary to advance any career.  So where should we go next with the discussion?  I don’t know if it matters.  Let’s just dive in and see what happens.

The book “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi reminds me of the countless lunches I had alone in my office.  Sorting through email, reading, listening to the radio, playing hearts on the network, or getting caught up on paperwork all seemed like good uses of the lunch hour. Sometimes I worked out at the gym, which is a good thing.  But, for 26 years few of those five-per-week lunch hours were spent meeting new people and making professional connections.  It seemed unimportant at the time.  As I was putting the finishing touches on this post, I received the following from Brian Tracy:

“A recent IBM study found that each contact in a person’s network was worth $948.  In other words, that person you know with 100 more LinkedIn contacts than you could, on average, be worth $100,000 more per year! …  In an age when professional success belongs to the highly networked, a new blueprint is needed.”

Today, I’m asking, “What if?”  What if I had received an email like this 10 years earlier?  What if I had learned the art of business networking in college?  What if I had heard John C. Maxwell’s definition that “leadership is influence?”  What if I had understood that good business connections can help my career AND provide more opportunities to serve others?

“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.”
– Mother Teresa, humanitarian.

What if I had used networking to improve my communication skills?  What if I had realized that networking can be fun, even for introverts like me?  What if I had treated networking as a strategic career-building tool?  Some weighty questions, for sure.

“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”
– Keith Ferrazzi, author.

Fortunately, even without Mr. Ferrazzi’s book, I eventually discovered business networking.  Since then, I’ve learned that limiting networking is career limiting and that those who intentionally and strategically develop professional relationships have significant career advantages over those who don’t.

“Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.”
– Margaret Wheatley, author.

Here are three questions for reflection:

  • “Are my business networking practices sabotaging my career?”
  • “What is my networking template?”
  • “What opportunities might I find by altering my approach?”

God bless,