Billy Graham once said, “I look forward to death with great anticipation” and “My home is in heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.” Today we say goodbye to the great evangelist who is now home.
Some amazing facts about Billy Graham:
He was one of the ten most admired men in the world, appearing on the list more than anyone.
Most of us are surrounded by more stress than ever before. It often starts the minute we get up as our devices feed us headlines. Our jobs require instant and continued results, and yesterday’s accomplishments seem to be remembered less and less.
I recently spoke with Ama Marston about her research into resilience. Ama is an internationally recognized leadership expert who has worked on five continents with global leaders. She is also the founder and CEO of Marston Consulting.
“And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore.” -Barbara Kingsolver
You start your new book with a gripping account of a car accident that impacted your lives. How did this awful accident impact your life’s work and result in this book?
For my mother, the process of having to recover from sever injuries and learn to walk again ultimately shaped her path to becoming a psychotherapist and stress expert. I was three at the time, but the accident also forged an even stronger lifetime bond between the two of us.
Decades later that led us to support one another while each of us separately faced the financial crisis as business owners, the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, family and health crises, etc. Through ongoing conversations we supported one another and also sought to better understand the convergence of personal, professional, and global turbulence. These challenges were something we were facing ourselves, but that we were each seeing in our respective professions. This was occurring in corporations and in the halls of the United Nations. It was on the minds of our clients and colleagues, global leaders, and our friends and family. So, while it took decades for the impacts of our car accident to come full circle, in some respect it planted a seed for a lifetime of learning about Transformative Resilience together and ultimately collaborating and writing Type R.
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” -Albert Einstein
I remember her sitting on the couch, telling her story. My mom was listening, nodding her head and taking it in. This woman had a tough life and she recounted stories of abuse, of hurt, of neglect. My presence barely registered as she poured out her pain. Only a few, carefully chosen questions, that was all it took from mom. Like a skilled surgeon piercing infected skin, she used a question like a scalpel, surgically timed and designed to alleviate pain.
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” -Shakespeare
It’s funny how I can recall the room so clearly now: the curtains and wallpaper in the room, the sofas, the layout, the piano nestled in the corner. It’s all etched in my memory. Also etched in my memory is the story. It was different from others, sure, but in so many ways it was the same.
My family took people in; mostly people in trouble; people in need; people with histories, pain, and shame. Though we were not the wealthiest in the world, there was always room for one more at the table. Some came for a single meal while others would stay for years.
As I listened to the particulars of this woman’s story, I felt for her. You couldn’t help but be affected as you heard the details.
When an entrepreneur starts a business, a tremendous amount of time, effort and (often) money is spent and great sacrifices are made at the expense of friends and family. That is a fact. It is also a fact that losing (ruining) a business after all that sacrifice can be an extraordinarily painful experience. What most people don’t realize is that they can significantly mitigate the risk of failure by learning from the mistakes of others before the clock starts and the stakes are for real. If you truly study brands, you will see a pattern of common-thread mistakes that most businesses both past and present seem to share in common. The ones who are willing to recognize a mistake and quickly adapt, adjust and modify will survive, the rest disappear.
“Only brands willing to recognize a mistake and adapt, adjust and modify will survive.” -MJ Gottlieb
It’s not that aspiring entrepreneurs don’t want to learn from failure, I think society is simply focused too much on the end result (the success) and is viewing things through rose-colored glasses. Most of the information that I come across focuses on the small percent who are succeeding, as opposed to studying and learning from the vast majority who are not.
Statistics show 90% of start-ups fail and 70-80% of all businesses fail within 10 years. Despite these facts, the market is flooded with how-to books and courses on how to succeed. Here’s my concern with this. Every business is different with its own unique blueprint to success, so there is absolutely no way you can tell someone how to run their business. You can, however, find the key mistakes that most businesses seem to share in common to start to swing the percentages in the other direction and give more hope to the entrepreneur.
Learn From Adversity
How has adversity helped make you who you are?
I think it’s all about one’s perspective on the word. Corny as it may sound, I have come to crave adversity and look at it as yet another great opportunity to grow. The only reason I can see that perspective is because I operated from the other side for a very long time. When I was young, I ran away from everything and accomplished nothing. It wasn’t until I was able to turn around and look adversity in the face that I was able to take the power away from it and use it to my advantage.
I think adversity not only makes you a stronger person but also is the only way to see what you are truly capable of. I think there should always be adversity to some extent, as it will always challenge us to grow. Without adversity there is complacency, which I think is a four-letter word. I always want some goal ahead of me that I have not yet achieved or some stumbling block I have not quite yet moved aside.
“It is just as important to know where you are as it is to know where you want to be.” -MJ Gottlieb
For example, basketball was my salvation, and I played every day until I couldn’t play anymore and had to get my hip replaced. I still do two hours of physical therapy every night because I not only want to get back on the basketball court but also want to dunk again. The doctor says that is most likely not going to happen. I say it most likely will. While he is showing me the adversity, I choose to take it as a challenge and an opportunity.
Take me to the dark days after your first business failed. What were you thinking?
How do you take talented individuals and turn them into a winning team?
How do you create a winning culture?
Is it possible to use adversity to your advantage?
What team is the greatest of all time?
I asked Ted Sundquist all of these questions and more.
Ted Sundquist played fullback at the U.S. Air Force Academy, winning the 1982 Hall of Fame Bowl and the 1983 Independence Bowl. He later served as a flight commander in Germany before returning to the Academy and coaching. In 1993, the Denver Broncos hired Ted as a talent scout. Ted was named General Manager of the Broncos in 2002. Today, Ted is an analyst for the NFL network, a radio personality, a commentator and a blogger. This year, he added author to that list with the publication of Taking Your Team to the Top.
Ted, you’re known for grabbing talent others passed over. How were you able to see potential where others saw problems?
I think first and foremost you have to identify the talent pool that you’re dealing with. Understand where the best and the brightest come from that can contribute to your industry. In professional football, that’s dealing with the entering college football player pool, as well as players already in the NFL, and those available on the street (free agents).
Leading a team in any capacity is not a right but rather a privilege. -Ted Sundquist
Then you have to have a VERY good understanding of what traits are necessary in these individuals in order to execute the plans & procedures required to pursue your mission. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to football, and I’m sure that’s the case in other arenas as well. We had prioritized our requirements prior to searching for those individuals to fill our positions of need.
You must be as detailed with the back end of your prospect list as you are with the top candidates. Look for those individuals that fulfill your priorities in the Critical Factors, those traits which run “vertical” through the organization and are analogous for every person on the team, regardless of position. Know which factors are most important and which you can “live with.” Then have a thorough breakdown of the Position Specifics, those skills necessary to fulfill a specific task required of the candidate.
Ensure that the positions are evaluated from various angles within the organization and not from a single viewpoint. This eliminates personal bias and provides for a crosscheck of opinions. Mistakes made on the front end of the selection process are difficult to correct once the player is on your team.
Greeting linebacker and team captain Al Wilson after a hard fought win on the road.
If you take the time to do your homework, finding the pool of talent, identifying what’s most important to your team to accomplish the mission (Critical Factors [vertical traits] & Position Specifics [horizontal traits]), and then implementing an evaluation system from multiple angles & crosschecks . . . your chances of making mistakes are minimized and you’re more apt to find the best and the brightest talent to execute your plans towards goal achievement.
“The culture should reflect the mission.” Ted Sundquist