For the ninth year in a row, I returned to my television roots this month and produced the general sessions and awards celebration for a franchising company. The keynote speaker was Alan Stein, Jr., who works with NBA and college athletes. Here are the highlights of his 60-minute talk – delivered without a single PowerPoint slide!
Full Commitment: Alan asked Kobe Bryant to put him through his typical workout. Kobe: “Sure, we start at 4.” Alan: “I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.” Kobe: “4 a.m.” Alan arrived 15 minutes early to make a strong impression. Kobe was already dripping with sweat, having spent 90 minutes warming up. “Kobe wasn’t the greatest player of his era just because of talent. He outworked everyone and never got bored with the basics.”
Strong Habits: Forty-two percent of everything we do is auto-pilot. “We do things either ‘because of’ or ‘in spite of’ our habits.”
Flexibility: “If you’re not agile, you’re fragile.”
WIN: “What’s Important Now.” Stay in the present moment, let go of what just happened and refocus on what’s next. “Always choose a response that moves forward and improves a situation.”
Motivation: Steve Nash was a two-time MVP – and while an exciting offensive player, those skills might not be his greatest contributions to his teams. The Hall of Famer led the League multiple times in ‘emotional deposits’ – high fives, fist bumps, pats on the backside. “Those are just as important to success as scoring and assists.”
Leadership: Put 10 rubber bands on your wrist each morning. Every time you compliment a team member, move one to the other hand. At the end of every day, all of them should have switched positions.
Developing Trust: “It’s not about me. It’s about you… and how I make you feel.” Alan said he met legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski for a few minutes at a practice. Several days later an envelope arrived at his home. It was a thank you note from Coach K. Toward the end of his talk, Alan took a note card out of his jacket and said, “This is that note. It made a tremendous impact on my life.”
When the session finished, Alan handed me a pair of basketball-themed dress socks and a note card: “David: Thank you so much for your amazing help and support… and for being so awesome to work with! Let these socks remind you to ‘be where your feet are’ and live in the present moment. I appreciate you.” That felt really good.
Later I told him that our son had played high school basketball and watched many of his videos. Alan asked for his address. Within a week, Kyle received a similar pair of socks, a hand-written note card and a copy of Alan’s book.