Confidence On Parade – Marching To Your Own Beat

Confidence On Parade – Marching To Your Own Beat

1963. Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech College. (Yes, it was still a “college” back then). Jones Stadium. Texas Tech vs. Doesn’t matter. My guess is, like most games during my tenure at TT, the game was a loss but, that is not the story I want to tell.

Win or lose, the halftime was always better than the games during those dry years at Tech. The “Goin’ Band From Raiderland” would take the field…all of it… at halftime and, literally, the fans would stay in their seats. They would go to the bathroom and get something to drink or eat during the game but not at halftime.

The band, that day, was doing their usual fine job of marching and playing while intricately maneuvering up and down the field in patterns that mystified those of us that had trouble walking in a straight line while NOT playing an instrument.

My friend, Larry Glazner, played the bassoon in the regular band and something else in the marching band. Larry’s dad, P.T. and my Dad worked together so I knew Larry better than most people in the stands that sunny day in Lubbock. Well, the band was in the middle of one of their maneuvers and Larry pivoted on his heel and turned exactly the opposite direction of the rest of the 150 or so other band members.

O The Humanity! Nothing that exciting had happened in The Hub City since the senior class at Lubbock High put twenty pounds of detergent in the demonstration irrigation pump pool in front of Irrigation Supply Company on fourth street and flooded the entire area with six feet of suds.

Well, instead of scrambling back into formation, Larry, man of confidence that he was, began doing maneuvers of his own as if he was right and the other 149 were wrong! Absolutely hilarious! Here he was, ten yards straight, turn smartly to the left for five yards then, pivoting to the right and down the field further and further from the band. OMG! Forget the game people! This was mesmerizing entertainment!

I can’t even begin to describe all of the machinations Larry went through as he moved left and right and backwards and forwards for at least two minutes until the unimaginable happened. As the band was crossing the fifty-yard line for the umpteenth time, Larry spun on his heel, took a hard right and joined back up with them in the exact spot he vacated two minutes before. Awesome.

The 40,000 in the stands of Jones Stadium erupted!

What would you have done that day if you turned the wrong way in front of 40,000 people? Scramble madly back into your position chasing the band down the field?

Or, would you, with confidence and style, march to your own beat and let the other 149 members catch up with you? Sometimes we simply have to make the best of a difficult experience. Remember Larry when that happens to you.

What Do You Bring To The Game?

There are many times when I catch myself wondering, ”Exactly what do I bring to the game”. Maybe you’ve had the same thought. Well, if you think about it you will discover that you have some of the puzzle pieces that other people need in order to complete or at least bring more clarity to their particular puzzle.

When you come to the table to meet with a new contact it’s like you have your sack of puzzle pieces over you shoulder, speaking metaphorically of course, and they have theirs. And, as you talk and begin to relate life stories, business backgrounds, relationships, community and non-profit involvements, the puzzle pieces begin to come out of the bags and assemble on the table.

Before you know it, you begin to see how the pieces fit together to form a new picture. It is the picture of how you and the other person can help each other connect to a relationship or a resource that will get closer to your destinations. To be successful at this “puzzle building” game, you must be willing to give (put your pieces on the table) and take the risk that you might not get an equal return. Or any return at all. It’s called giving FIRST. That’s how you build a successful network.

Can A Relationship Change Your Hearing?

The sound created when a metal bat makes violent contact with a rawhide ball has never been pleasing to my ear. That sound just didn’t agree with me. But that changed when that tinny irritating sound came from a metal bat wielded by my Grandson, Parker. Now, it is absolute music to my ears. Now, there is no sound so sweet as the “ping” of the metal bat coming in contact with the ball followed by the shouts of parents, coaches, teammates and assorted family members as he scrambles to the safety of the big thick rubber island known as “first base”. Or, if it’s a BIG “ping”, second or third base! Or more!

The observation is this: The same sound that was an irritation somehow changed to being a beautiful sound, not by changing its sound, but rather by my being in relationship with something or, in this case, someone I love that was making that sound.

What a testimony to the power of relationship! It can change your heart, your mind and even your hearing. It can change your thinking and opinions and even drive you to the sporting goods store to buy…you guessed it…a more expensive metal bat.

As you are building your personal and business networks, make sure that you give the relationships a little runway before you make any snap judgments. Something that is not pleasing to you, their actions, words or looks, may just fade into the distance once you get to know them and build a relationship.

Staying Ahead In The Relationship

Always look for ways to stay ahead. Whenever you invest in a person by giving them something they need and then they return the favor, you need to immediately start looking for another way to invest. Your goal is always to stay ahead in the giving, whether it is an introduction, a resource, whatever. This puts you in a position to ask for something if and when needed. You may never have to ask and, and, if you do, you may not get any help. That is the chance you have to take. But, it’s about the giving anyway not the taking. Continue reading

Water Circles & Scar Tissue

Guys, in your house, does your wife have a place for absolutely everything? You know, all of the little things that adorn every flat surface to the point that, when you want to put a book or, God forbid, a glass on a table, you have to make a decision on whether to move the little ceramic hand-painted rabbit from Budapest or one of the fourteen silver picture frames? You know the ones. They show you 40 pounds ago when you had hair. And, if you do decide to move something, and then you don’t get it back in the right spot, pardner, you’re toast. Continue reading

Trial By Fire

I was an art major in college. Not a degree that’s been all that useful over the last 40 years in business. However, some of the lessons that I learned getting that degree have been important even though they were not directly related to the coursework. For instance, I learned that getting “fired” might actually work in your favor. Continue reading

Tracking The Chicken Through The Python

When I was a kid my Grandfather, who was a big-time hunter, had a friend that would go on African Safari and bring back incredible movies and an occasional live specimen. Not to mention all of the mounted animals in his gigantic home. It was like an indoor wild animal park with a kitchen. On one of his trips he returned with a 17 foot Python. How cool was that? It was on display in a glass cage lined with chicken wire at the entrance to the Lubbock high School Auditorium where he would show his movies to the public. Believe me when I say that in Lubbock, Texas in the fifties this was a big evening of entertainment! When the huge snake would give you that glassy-eyed stare it closely resembled the wood shop teacher, Mr. Blanton but without the glasses. Continue reading

Trapeze Artist Or Ladder Climber?

Jim Lawrence, CFO of Unilever said, “It’s not a corporate ladder; it’s a corporate trapeze. You jump from one swinging trapeze to another. If you’re lucky, you catch a new trapeze as it’s about to go up, and then swing to an even higher one.”

My life and career has been a non-linear journey rather than the typical point-to-point trip.  To put this into a more visual context (the only way I can truly grasp concepts) think of a trapeze artist versus a ladder-climber. Continue reading