Monday, November 4, 2013

#033 Being a Pro's Pro

In the past two weeks, I had the great pleasure of sitting down and talking with Coach Bob Chmeil.  If you don't know that name, it's okay.  He's not a household name.  However, you have probably heard the names of the three Head Coaches he served under as Assistant Coach and Head Recruiting Coordinator:  Lee Corso (Northwestern), Bo Schembechler (Michigan), and Lou Holtz (Notre Dame).  I am not the type of person who is easily impressed by someone's credentials alone, but how many people do you know who have recruited and coached TWO Heisman Trophy Winners and helped lead multiple teams to National Championships?  Yes, Bob Chmeil is pretty famous in the NCAA Division I football community.  He's darn good at what he does, and I learned a lifetime of information from him in a very short amount of time.

Bob is a new colleague of mine in my new role as Head National Scout for NCSA Athletic Recruiting.  Bob is one our national speakers who travels throughout the country motivating young men and women to reach for their potential in order to make their dreams of playing sports at the collegiate level come true.  In my job, I am doing the same thing but with individual families who reach out to us for help and support.

I could write a half dozen blogs about the lessons I learned from Bob and the stories he shared with me, but I am going to focus today on the three elements Bob shared about what every young person needs to truly reach their potential while becoming a great teammate along the way.  They are the key elements to what I call being a Pro's Pro:

1.  Attitude
2.  Loyalty
3.  Enthusiasm

When you simply read those words without putting much thought into them, the list does not sound like an earth-shattering revelation.  You might even be saying "Well, duh Coach, of course those three elements are important!"  I'd feel the same way if I just read them.

Fortunately for me and my new colleagues, Coach Chmeil, is a natural motivator.  When he told us those three words, he did so in the context of what a wonderful gift we've been given to be able to change the course of a young person's life.  In my role as Head Scout, I can just as easily positively affect a 17-year old for the rest of their life as I could make them give up on their dreams in the course of one conversation.  Attitude, Loyalty, and Enthusiasm are not just words a coach uses as props.  They are the characteristic differences between doing a job and changing a life.  Quite a significant difference...I think.

One of my former players just recently signed a contract to play professionally in Portugal.  He's been there about a little over a month, and he recently mentioned some struggles he's having in one his emails to me.  I could tell by his words that he was having trouble walking the fine-line that American players often have to walk when going to a new country to play.  He likes his teammates and coach very much, but he doesn't always understand why decisions are made on the floor during games.  He's not the most confrontational person in the world, so he often will stay quiet before speaking up and maybe addressing a concern directly.

I had just met with Coach Chmeil before reading his e-mail, so I took advantage of my new knowledge by writing an e-mail back with this question: 

On a scale of 1-10, how would you evaluate your relationship so far with your club, coaches, and teammates from your perspective in these three categories:
1.  Attitude
2.  Loyalty
3.  Enthusiasm

What I really wanted to find out was if he thought about how much he had demonstrated to his new family that he wanted to be there.  When we got a chance to talk on Facetime a few days later, and I reminded him of that question, I could tell that he had put some genuine thought into the answer.  He wanted to say that he was a 10 in each of those efforts, but he knew the truth was far from a 10.  He's one of the kindest and most generous kids I have ever been around, so the idea that we always personally have more to give to those around us was a good reminder to how he could do more to overcome the challenges he was facing.

As I could look back at my former and present jobs and relationships, I know that most of any frustrations about others I had often stemmed to my lack of genuinely expressing and acting with loyalty, a positive attitude, and enthusiasm.

So, the next time you are having a frustrating day, take a second and rate your loyalty, attitude, and enthusiasm before you judge someone else.  I think you may find that your next course of action will be greatly changed in a good way.

Matt Rogers
Twitter:  @madcoachdiary