Unlocking the Best Version of Ourselves
“Are you facing a challenge in your life that is not exactly as you want? How do you make that shift?”
This from Molly Fletcher, a former top sports agent who is often described as the “female Jerry Maguire.” Molly has transferred her success in negotiating over $500 million in contracts for many of sport’s biggest names into her current role as the CEO of her company dedicated to helping every-day people unleash their potential.
We invited Molly to speak with our audience at this year’s Dreamforce event because we embrace her message of personal excellence and how that shapes excellent relationships.
She shared these eight ways to make the shift and “unleash the game changer” in each of us:
1) Believe We Can Evolve
Meaningful change rarely happens in our comfort zone. We need to be prepared to take risks and lean into uncomfortable situations. That’s where change happens. That’s where we grow. Molly recounted the story of John Smoltz, a Hall of Fame pitcher who wasn’t afraid to embrace change. A world-class starting pitcher, “Smoltzy” was asked to shift to the closer role because that’s where his team needed him. Successfully transitioning from starter to closer and back again to starter, John finished his career as the only pitcher to record at least 200 wins and 150 saves. To be successful over the long run, we need to be open to change, even before we face a situation where we need to.
2) Act Like We Have the Business Before We Have It
Envision the shift to your desired situation before it happens. When we anticipate the outcome we want, we can build a plan to make it a reality. Molly harkened back to her early days after college (where she competed as a student-athlete at Michigan State.) Young and low on funds, she was looking for ways to make and save money while doing what she did best, play tennis. She lobbied for the tennis pro position at a local apartment complex in her new town, a position that was already filled.
Undeterred, she formed a relationship with the owner of the pizza shop across the street and brokered a deal for free pizzas once a month on tennis lesson day. In return the pizza shop would get free advertising with people in the large apartment complex. She went back to her prospective employer ready to pitch her idea, only to find the existing tennis pro had resigned. Not only did she get the tennis pro job, with the pizza deal in hand, she negotiated free rent, (which she enjoyed for 9 years!). Imagine the new opportunities we could uncover for our organizations and our careers if we traded pizza for tennis lessons…
3) Identify Gaps That Need Filling – In Situations and In Ourselves
Before we can make meaningful change, we must first have the courage to pull back, identify gaps, gather data to understand them and then use the insights gained to make the optimal changes. That’s what NBA superstar Kevin Durant did. At the top of his game, Durant hired an analytics pro who used data and statistics to identify inefficiencies in Durant’s game and tailored his workouts to address them. Two years later Durant was voted the NBA MVP. The best performers in business do what Durant did – get better and better by being open to their biggest gaps, and using data to form a plan to rise above.
4) Are We Building Relationships or Conducting Transactions?
Do we have the courage to ask the really tough questions when striving to close a deal or make a change we believe is for the better? It’s so easy to get transactional in our fast-paced business world. Molly represented current NBA coach Billy Donovan during a deal that would have taken him from the University of Florida to the Orlando Magic as the team’s new head coach. The deal fell apart at the last minute. While on paper it read like a dream deal, Molly learned that she didn’t ask Billy the hard questions, like, “Are you ready to look the players you recruited in the eyes and tell them you are leaving for the pros?” After heartfelt introspection, Billy would have answered "no" long before the deal had advanced. Molly’s lesson was don’t leave big hairy problems unattended. We grow meaningful relationships by asking the hard questions.
Molly Fletcher, Founder and CEO of her self-titled company, is seen in her home with some of her favorite sports gear.
5) Manage Energy Effectively
Molly suggested that managing our energy is equally or even more important than managing our time. She asked a very provocative question (and one in the business world we should consider more than we usually do), “What’s at risk if we let things go and put our energy somewhere else?“ She illustrated this concept when she made the decision to transition from a highly successful sports agent to owning her own business. She had to ask herself that hard question. She also challenged herself to evaluate if she didn’t make the change, would she achieve her inner goals and use her talent to the best of her ability. As she states in her blog, “finding your “essentialism” allows for the blossoming of your most meaningful relationships and activities. It’s the best alternative to the stress of an endless to-do list.
6) Be a Pro at Bouncing Back
The best of the best have an ability to recover from adversity better than the rest. And they always have hope that greater achievement is possible. As Molly stated, “Resilience shrinks the gap between talent and success.” She recounted the story of having dinner at the Masters with Butch Harmon, the highly respected swing coach. She asked him what he thought the difference was between good and great golfers. He said it was “the ability to recover from adversity faster than everyone else.” This short-term memory mindset was exemplified by Bubba Watson, winner of the 2014 Masters. The year before he suffered a 10 on hole 12. The next year he took only 11 total shots over the four times he played that hole. So too leaders in the business world thrive and develop successful relationships because they understand and practice resilience.
7) Win the Day
Sure we have big goals we strive for, and they take time. In between there’s every day ways we can win and celebrate as we make progress. It keeps our momentum and focus. Molly loves the Oregon Ducks “Win the Day” motto. She respects the everyday approach to success. That it’s about attitude and mindset. She explains it this way: “Kelly (former coach) preaches a single message to his team, and it’s this: Win the day. Who cares about tomorrow, who cares about yesterday, all that is demanded of you is that you win the day.”
8) It’s a Mindset
We should wake up every day and ask ourselves:
- Do I believe in my ability?
- Do I act like I already have what I’m striving for?
- Do I see gaps and use data to help fill them?
- Do I prioritize my relationships over quick wins?
- Do I know where I want to spend my energy?
- Do I recover quickly?
- Do I live in the moment?
Molly offered great parting advice to the Dreamforce audience. Things move fast in our world. We often find ourselves in tough personal and professional situations that we want to change for the better. We have the power to make positive change happen. It starts by knowing ourselves and being authentic. Identify the gaps, compare them to what we’re good at and what we like to do. There we will find the opportunity to unleash our potential.