Welcome back brew nation!  It’s the “Friday Coffee Guy” coming to you with a new edition of The Champion’s Brew, a weekly assembly of material I am reading, listening to, watching, or thinking about that is designed to equip and call you to uncommon leadership.  I often add my own little spin based on my takeaways and would love your input as well.  Any of the points especially impact you?  Drop me a note at [email protected], or comment on the blog to keep the conversation going!  I believe you will discover that the format is not only useful, but also that you can consume it within the time it takes you to enjoy your daily ‘brew’!  Become a member of the Champions Brew Nation by subscribing here!!

Here is your weekly sip of what I have been reading, listening to or watching to equip me to:

At 20, Damon was the starting quarterback at the University of North Texas when he suffered a career-ending injury.  A few years later, Damon got hooked on methamphetamines, and he became the mastermind of a burglary ring to support his addiction.  Eventually, he was arrested and sentenced to 65 years in a Texas maximum security prison.  In prison, Damon got sober (and beat up a lot!) and went through a spiritual awakening. 

This is NOT a normal story, but one worth investing an hour to listen.  My note pen was busy as Ed Mylett interviewed Damon and he delivered jaw dropping story after story.  Today Damon is a sought-after speaker and an author.  Here are a few of my key takeaways from this podcast:

  • On purpose – “God doesn’t set bushes on fire anymore; he sets people on fire.” – You don’t have to go to prison to have this happen, but God has a plan for you.  Damon talks about his story of the SWAT team coming to get him and saving him by arresting him.  That is quite a perspective.  None of us should need a story this difficult to light a fire underneath us to live out our plan.
    • On adversity – Damon shares 2 things about the adversity he experienced while in prison:
      • “Adversity is never as bad as I make it out to be”
      • “I’m always capable of way more than I think I am”
    • On mindset –  What is the mindset of an addict? – “The mindset of an addict is that they give up their GOALS to meet their BEHAVIORS.” – The addiction doesn’t have to be drugs.  The addiction for us as leaders could be negative thoughts, your phone, social media or some other time stealer that consumes your time. 
    • On fear – “You don’t have to win all your fights but you have to fight all your fights” – Again, this isn’t just prison fights.  The fights we need to fight often are with ourselves.  We have fears to overcome.  We hear hearing ‘no’.  We fear losing our comfort.  We fear being told we are not good enough.  You don’ have to win all those fights, but you do have to fight all your fights!
    • On controlling the controllablesThere are four things you have control over – 1) What you THINK, 2) what you FEEL, 3) What you SAY and 4) What you DO

I love the energy, passion, spirit, and heart that Damon exudes throughout this 75-minute podcast interview.  Do you have a commute coming up?  A long walk?  This story is worth that investment.  You might even end up purchasing Damon’s book, The Coffee Bean.    I did.

  • #NoUnsolicitedAdvice – Leaders… coaches… friends… – Others don’t want to be told what to do.   I must say that this has been a theme placed in front of me many times this week.  My good friend has even named his mantra for 2022 to not give unsolicited advice.  As coaches, our job isn’t always to give someone the answer to the question they ask.  Steve Scanlon, CEO of ReWire Inc and host of the Insights podcast, posted this on LinkedIn this week: “If there is one thing I’ve learned during my time as a business executive coach, it’s that people don’t want to be blindly preached at and given the answer that WE think is best for them.” Why is that?  I believe there are a few reasons why:
    • They want to learn – The most common descriptor for this condition is “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” – Sometimes we may know the answer, but how can others learn if we continuously give them the answer.
    • They want someone to listen – Sometimes the person just wants someone to listen – Did you every find yourself giving advice to someone and they respond with “I didn’t want advice.  I just wanted someone to listen to me, or I just wanted to vent.” – AWKWARD!  This fun video illustrates that scenario well:  It’s Not About the Nail
    • They want someone to care – Often, you really are unsure the response that is desired.  If you are unsure of your friend or colleague’s request, it might be prudent to ask: “Before I respond, are you looking for me to give you advice or my opinion, do you want my help in steering you toward a solution, or are you simply asking me to listen?” Clearing that up right up front can help the conversation remain productive and they will know that you care.  “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – John Maxwell
  • Work Hard – How prepared are you?  Don Yaeger has an online course outlining the 16 habits that successful leader do uncommonly well.  The discipline I read about this week was to Prepare Powerfully and Don had some great tips:
    • If you want to consistently see a positive outcome in anything you do, you must spend time on the front end getting ready
    • Preparation is being intentional about how you approach the task at hand
    • “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” – John Wooden
    • Too often our default setting is to do just enough to get by and hope no one notices.
    • “Can you name even one time in your life when showing up unprepared was your BEST option?” – General Bernard Banks
  • Quote – “Winners do common things uncommonly well.” – Don Yaeger

What you need to do:

Call to Action:  One of Damon West’s comments really challenged me personally this week: “The mindset of an addict is to give up GOALS to meet BEHAVIORS.” – What is a behavior that you often repeat that is getting in the way of one of your goals?

I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Champions Brew. If you did, I would appreciate it if you would share it with someone who might enjoy it as well and ask them to subscribe! I will make sure they automatically get this email every week.

Until next time eat healthy, read more, be a light and Grow Champions!

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To become Champion leader, we have to be on a continuous improvement journey for ourselves and others.  We have to be able to take advantage of the precious seconds that we have each day.  
There are things that I come across each week that help me, inspire me, relax me, motivate me, and are sometimes are just funny that I want to share with you so that you can smile more, build faith, think positively, network well, exercise often, eat healthy, and grow daily.

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