I didn’t always advise the big guys. And I wasn’t always about ‘talent’.
When I was a kid I ran the local youth club. Typically a good youth club had about 30 kids regularly attending, but I grew ours to about 200 kids regularly attending. The whole thing just made sense to me – just remember every kid’s name and give them an experience they can’t get anywhere else, and they will keep coming. And they did.
For the next 12 years I ran programs for teens all around the world, and on the journey was acknowledged in my field. But any time I was amongst a business community, my skill-set was dismissed. I got put in the ‘youth worker’ category. Then one day, a junior swimmer asked if I thought I could help her swim faster. I said ‘definitely’ and for 20 minutes workshopped her through some strategies. Two weeks later she broke two state records and went on to set five world records.
After that, coaches started to call me. Then businesses started to call me. Then the project I had worked on years ago in New York, finally matured and President Obama acknowledged its innovation and success in a speech.
And now, years later, I am still doing what I have always done, but it’s typically now with leaders, businesses and athletes where the goals are ambitious, the stakes are high and the challenges are multifaceted. My job is to have them access a level of talent and strategy they didn’t know was possible.