Go All The Way
2017: Your Winning Season, Part 1

“Coach” Gary Micheloni

If you want to win, get a great coach. In fact, I believe that you might need several—especially if you want to win in 2017.

It’s January, the time when writers and speakers tend to talk about goal setting, about changing the way things have been going, and how to jump onto a winning track.

So… what do most athletic teams do? Assuming that their people are skilled, they make sure that the leadership is up to the task. A good team has a good coach, and a good coach has a good staff. Basic stuff—and you already know this, don’t you?

I have a number of coaches in my own life, and I often share with you some of their wisdom, right here in this column. True again this month—this beginning of the year—and this beginning of your winningest season ever. Yikes—there’s a huge promise!

That said, let’s begin our quest for a winning 2017 by reminding ourselves of the 2016 we have just witnessed. Witnessed? Heck… many of us would say ‘lived though’ or ‘survived’! But, in spite of the political turmoil of a very long election campaign, our country managed to get through the process, just as the founders of our country first imagined, and then chiseled it into our Constitution.

And so it happened. No blood-letting, completely peaceful, exactly as designed. The envy of the world. An amazing thing to behold, and something I reminded myself about over Thanksgiving weekend as I was writing.

“But Coach…but Coach…” I can hear some of you asking… “what’s the election process have to do with a winning 2017?” I’ve got an answer for you…one that is not even political…just realistic. And it’s a lesson you can take to heart, because you’re going to realize how much you, already, agree with it. (Another huge promise!) To do so, I’m going to bring in a couple of my favorite coaches to point you in the right direction.

One of the best television series of all time, and a favorite of mine, is “Friday Night Lights”. It ran six seasons, and frequently featured “Eric Taylor” coaching his players, often going above and beyond. One of those times is relevant to my message today.

He had a great player who managed to screw up his life just before football scholarship offers were made, and he was passed over by colleges previously interested in him. They didn’t believe in him anymore. (Can anyone relate? Ever happened to you?)

But Coach Taylor continued to work with his player, “Brian ‘Smash’ Williams”, who had already graduated, and was working in a fast food restaurant. There was the coach, promising Smash that he would succeed, and that he would get his chance, as long as he didn’t give up, and continued to better himself. He finally did, and had a walk-on tryout with Texas A&M. Let’s listen as the coach gives ‘Smash’ a final word, immediately prior to his tryout.

You listen to me. You listen closer than you’ve ever listened before. You remember that Rutledge game? 4th quarter, you came into that game, you took over that game, play by play, and you owned that game. I watched you play. I said to myself, that kid is going to go all the way. Right now, right here, God has placed you to do what you do best. Go all the way.

I like Coach Taylor, and continue to be a fan, even with the show having been off the air  for several years now. Good stuff. Good advice. Timeless.

But Eric Taylor is of course fictional in spite of the real and practical advice he continually offered. So, let me introduce you to another coach of mine, a real person this time, someone also offering real advice: Coach Jeff.

Seems like most of my coaches tend to be younger than I am, and that’s the case with Jeff, as well. He’s retired Coast Guard, but still about 20 years my junior, and the picture of health. He readily admits having lived somewhat of a screwed up life when he was younger, but he learned from those mistakes, has paid attention to the knowledge available to him, applied himself, and now speaks, teaches, coaches and shares with an obvious amount of wisdom.

This past summer, Coach Jeff had a series of strokes. At his age, completely unforeseeable and unexpected. It impacted him physically along with his ability to speak and to teach or ‘coach’. At least for a while. With some skilled rehabilitation help, he has overcome a lot. But that’s not the lesson I want you to take away. The lesson for you is one that I actually stumbled into. Listen up.

Talking to Coach Jeff a couple of months ago, I said something pithy, like… “Hang in there. This, too, shall pass.” That kind of a thing. He looked at me like I had two heads, or that I had just said the weirdest thing imaginable. He told me that I had it all wrong! That the temporary loss of normal speech and mobility were good things for him, that he was grateful for the experience and wouldn’t trade it away, even if that were a possibility. He had new insight, a greater appreciation for his family—and closer relationships with them—than he ever had before. I was totally stunned. And I value even more highly his coaching advice since his stroke: where I am clueless, he often has insight.

For just a second, consider an event of the year just past: two of the most unpopular candidates ever ran for president. They beat out a group of 18 other potentials and one was elected President of the U.S. Incredible? Perhaps, but what about this? The Cubs and the Indians win their divisions and meet in the World Series. Amazing! And the Cubs actually win? Unheard of!

So… what’s it all mean? Unusual things have happened. Those least likely to win actually have won. 2016 was their year. Why wouldn’t 2017 be ours? With good coaching, it just might happen.

Here’s the thing. 2017 is a much different year, at least here in the U.S. We’ve all witnessed weird things happening. Unlikely teams rising to the occasion and then winning championships. People are expecting and accepting unlikely winners.

Where do you find yourself and your team? Have you had a lackluster or disappointing season? Are people unwilling to take a chance on you? They don’t believe you can do the job? Maybe you’ve screwed up. Does that mean you’re washed up? Of course not!

In the sports world, everyone wants to get a shot at the champ. Especially if you’ve gotten beat by the champ, because you want a rematch. You know what you did wrong, or didn’t do at all, and how you’d do it differently, given the chance.

It’s nice to be likeable, but don’t let your lack of it hold you back. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Donald and Hillary showed is that. If you have some kind of a physical or other disability, don’t let that get you down. Remember what Coach Jeff would say about it.

And if you’ve screwed up your life or a job or even a relationship, remember Coach Eric Taylor’s words: “Right now, right here, God has placed you to do what you do best. Go all the way.”

2017 is wide open for you, your company, and its goals. The people of our country will not be surprised at all with who might win. Have a goal. Have a team. Have a good coach…and a good coaching team.

Go all the way!

Gary Micheloni is a construction company marketer, speaker, author, consultant…and a coach. Get Coach Gary to speak for your group. FullContactTeam@gmail.com. Write him and ask! ©2017 Gary Micheloni