A year ago today “On Character and Mental Toughness” was published. I simply wanted to help people to succeed so I shared the story of how I discovered “The Character Way” and the progressive steps I took to teach it to others.
Since publication I have heard from many people in my area and around the world. Local libraries have added it to their collections. Mrs. Muller added it as a suggested reading in her school library in Iowa. The new friends I have made in Canada, Sweden, the U.K., and the Philippines have shared it with their friends, families and students. A principal in Chicago purchased copies for his entire staff as did a coach in New Hampshire. A small business leader bought copies for each of his team members. Old friends have shared it with their colleagues in a variety of organizations. Many special colleagues in teaching and coaching have helped me to spread the message. Some big names have read it and shared it with their teams and staffs. Hell, I’ve even been plagiarized by a few.
But here I am a year out finding myself frustrated. Even though this little pebble of a book has created a worldwide ripple, I want to do more. I want to get out there and speak directly to people. I want to share the power of “The Character Way.”
I have contacted a great many people and offered to help them get themselves and their teams better. I’ve put together a program to help transform people by making them cognizant of the role character plays in their daily decision making and the decision making of their team members. But progress has been slow. College coaches tell me that this program will only work for their senior leaders. High school coaches tell me this would be best for middle school students. Business leaders tell me this would best be applied to schools. Those in schools think I should focus on working with businesses.
Each day I read the news and see a new application for the message. Each day I witness firsthand someone or some organization that could be doing much better if they would take the time to hear me out.
So what stops them? Why won’t they give me a shot to help them? I think they are so busy doing their work, the tactical and technical of their field, that they fail to see how they could be doing it better. They only see a need for “The Character Way” at the end: when they lose the key game, when they don’t get promoted, when they lose a customer or player. Only then do they see how a lack of character and mental toughness came into play.
I know the concept of preemptively teaching character and toughness works. It helped me get my life on track. It helped me turn around a couple of programs I coached. It has popped up in studies I’ve read. It shows up in quotes by the greatest achievers in history. I hope this next year brings opportunities to help others share this vision.
A couple of nights ago I watched a documentary on Hulu about actors and directors called “Character.” In the documentary seasoned artists discuss their journey to success. See that’s the key for me. I don’t care what the field or endeavor is, because to me that is far less important than how people succeed in their particular field. Almost always such research confirms what I am teaching. However, there is always something new to learn. The most revealing part of the documentary was the interview with Charles Grodin. Grodin talks about putting his time in, a decade of work prior to receiving his break. But more importantly he talks about the gatekeepers and how those gatekeepers fail. Grodin talks about the great many wildly talented actors he trained with who never made it. He goes on to say that most gatekeepers (producers, teachers, directors) lacked the ability to recognize talent. That talent then gave up and quit. When he said that I had a wow moment. I’ve been thinking the same thing. The majority of people who I’ve tried to engage have failed to give me a chance. Yet the majority of people who I have been able to engage through speaking and writing have been excited by the message and feel better for the experience.
I’m going to keep knocking on doors, sending emails, having conversations. I’m going to keep trying. There are many who will appreciate the message and the manner in which I share it. Hopefully, a year from now, I will be able to share with you a greater ripple.
Thank you to my friends, old and new, who have given me a chance and shared the message of “The Character Way.” Together we have made a difference. Your efforts inspire me to keep getting better. If you want to discuss how I can help you and yours get better shoot me a text, a DM or an email. I’m ready.
UPDATE: 2 years later and I have met with dozens of business, academic, and athletic organizations where I have presented and facilitated workshops. I also continue to hear from people around the world. I am grateful for these opportunities to share a simple yet powerful message which resonates and endures. I would love to hear from you! –@CoachBillMoore
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