“Scott, I have no idea what I’ve gotten myself into here.”
This was one of my coaching students who is in my Pathfinder Coaching and Mastermind Program—Carl. Carl is a law enforcement officer down in Texas. When I met Carl, one of the things that struck me about him was he wanted to do leadership on a much bigger level. Now, this is a guy who has been in law enforcement for 20 years, I mean, he has run some miles, built some scars, and he wanted to play a bigger game. He wanted to do more. When he first saw me speak, he came up to me and said, “I want to do what you do. I want to move people to action. I want to lead at a higher level.” And so, sure enough, Carl, when he started working with me, in very short order, he threw his hat in the ring at the law enforcement organization where he works and he volunteered to start teaching at the academy, not only to teach but they signed him up to develop courses on community policing, on restoring trust, on the intra-departmental communication. How many police organizations around the country could use that kind of training?
Well, Carl, by throwing his hat in the ring, he got selected to do all of this strategic level training. It was a huge thing, but when he saw that it had happened, it scared the crap out of him, but he took the steps that I’ve trained him how to do, he leaned into it and, now, he is an amazing instructor at his law enforcement organization. And guess what? He just keeps going up and up and up, and he will. That is what’s in store for him because he decided to punch above his weight. That is the second installment in this six part video series on mindset of rooftop leadership. The ability to punch above your weight is so important.
Let me tell you what I mean by that. When I say punch above your weight, what I’m talking about is playing a bigger game. That’s it. It’s just playing a bigger game. Every single one of us is on this earth to do that and, if you’re going to lead people—honestly, if you’re going to lead people in these trust-depleted times and you want them to follow you up to the rooftop because they choose to not because they have to, you’ve got to play a bigger game. If you’re just playing the mediocre game, if you’re just running it safe, staying in the bleachers, nobody is going to follow you and, if they do, the second you turn your head, they’re done. That includes your children; that includes your students if you’re a teacher; that includes your fellow law enforcement officers if you’re like Carl. And so, I want you to play a bigger game. I want you to get your mind around that—your heart bought into that—because it is so critical.
Now, what is the biggest challenge to this? Who is the real enemy here? You know who the enemy is? The enemy is what Steven Pressfield calls resistance. It is that internal force that stands between us and playing that bigger game. Have you ever felt it when you’ve tried to lose weight, or you’ve tried to eat healthier, or you’ve tried to start a business, or write a book, or get on the stage? You know what I’m talking about, right? You feel just that inertia—that pull—that, hey, man, you can’t do this. You hear all the little voices in your head, the head chatter. All that starts. That is what Pressfield calls resistance in his book The War of Art. If you don’t have this book, I absolutely recommend it. He defines it as “any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health or integrity” or expressed another way any act that derives from our higher nature—bigger game—instead of our lower, any of these will elicit resistance. It is that internal force that stands between us and playing a higher game and, yes, boys and girls, it is your enemy in that.
The thing I want you to know about this, though, is this is your birthright—playing a bigger game. Have you ever noticed that, like, at night, when you’re still and everything is quiet, you feel in your gut and your heart and you could be doing something bigger? You know it. You know what I’m talking about. You feel it. That is real. That is your birthright. That is actually what you’re here to do. No matter where you are in your life right now and no matter what is going on, you are here to play a bigger game. I totally believe that and I hope that you do, too.
One of the best examples of this is, actually, my dad, Rex Mann. Late in his life, he was diagnosed with Stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and he fought through it, but he not only fought through it, when he got on the other side of it, he took his 43-year career as a forest ranger, as a forester, in the U.S. Forest Service fighting big wildlife fires, and he made a decision to help restore the American chestnut tree which was killed by the blight in the early-1900s, completely wiped off, and it was an icon along the whole eastern seaboard, this tree, just gone, by a foreign blight. Well, dad gets involved in this movement that is like Jurassic Park for trees. He sees a bigger game. He sees a role for him to play. Guess what? That tree has not only been restored; my dad worked with President Bush at the White House to plant that at the White House. Think about that. You talk about playing a bigger game. He wasn’t even supposed to make it through his cancer. This is a mountain boy who had to fight his way out of Appalachia. Whatever you’re thinking is not possible for your life—whatever resistance is telling you—is bull. It is all about you buying into the notion that you’re here to do something bigger and that you’re going to play a bigger game.
Here are the steps that I would like to see you take for this—concrete action steps—right now:
- Go somewhere sacred. Go somewhere quiet around your house and just reflect on that unfilled area of your life that keeps nagging at you. You know what I’m talking about. It is that thing that you keep telling yourself, “Nah, I can’t do that because of the kids” or “I can’t do that because of my job” or whatever. That’s the very thing that you were put here to do. Write that down because there is something sacred in that.
- Then, I want you to list the actions that would need to happen for that to become a reality and you instinctively know what they are. They are the things that you think you should not be doing again. What are those things that “I couldn’t do that” or “It’s too hard”? Pick one. Pick the one that jumps out at you and start.
- Talk to people about what you’re building. That’s the last thing. When you tell your story and you work with me on telling your story, learn to tell people what you’re building. When Carl started telling people he wanted to play a bigger game with leadership and they saw him taking action, guess what? He started developing curriculum. When my dad started telling people what he was doing with the American Chestnut Foundation, they started writing checks. Next thing you know, that sucker is planted at the White House.
That’s how this game is played. That is how leaders without titles punch above their weight. That is what I want to see for you.
Now, just a reminder, we are always training on this stuff. In the fall, we’ve got a rooftop leadership experience coming up, it’s co-ed, power couples come to this thing, women, men. If you want to play a bigger game, if you want to find your voice and tell your story, go to http://www.rooftopleadership.com and start learning how you can get on board with me and the other leaders without titles to lead from the rooftop.
I’ll see you on the high ground.