3 July 2022
It was a throwaway comment. There were five of us on the call, and three who worked for our business partner wanted to know, “What will you be doing next?” I snap responded, “I’m going to work on my book.” Their reaction was unexpected. Excitement. Enthusiasm. “Wow. I want to know when it’s published. Let me know. I want one of the first copies.”
My position was eliminated effective June 30, 2022 and I'd already grown tired of responding to a question to which I didn't have a good answer. Yet. The business decision came as a shock but not a complete surprise. Cuts were being made and very few expected my name to be on that list. Including me. Nobody is immune, but I’d been with the company for 12 years and on the senior leadership team for a business unit I started 7 years ago. That throwaway comment with our business partner became one answer to a question I’ve been asking my entire life. “What’s next?”
The Give Team started in earnest in 2015 when Akim and I ran the BattleFrog obstacle course race (RIP, BattleFrog). But it REALLY began 13 years ago, the last time I was in a similar but very different position. It was the middle of the Recession. The industry where I've built a career - financial services - was hit hard. In 2008 I left the comfort of another member of the Fortune 500 to help start a new business unit with a small technology company. A few months after I started, my ex-wife declared her free agency, leaving me on Good Friday as a single dad to my two boys. The divorce was finalized in December of that year. The few weeks following closure were spent pulling together holiday crafts, organizing decorations, and getting kick ass gifts to place around the tree. The big gift that year was the foosball coffee table, placed in the center of the room in front of the metal saw horse which was serving as our entertainment center (TV on top, Play Station on the floor underneath). Immersed in the season, I looked forward to the new year and a fresh start.
On December 30th I fielded a call from my boss. Effective January 1, 2009 they were unwinding the business we started and my position would be eliminated. A fresh start. Just not the one I expected. Nobody was hiring. Financially, things were less than comfortable. But we had a roof over our head. Three months of severance. And a fresh start. If the glass doesn’t appear half full, just keep pouring.
My youngest son has ADHD and a huge heart. He was in third grade and wound tight. To alleviate his anxiety (and help address mine) , I told him we could get almost anything in the world we want. It involved three simple steps: (1) Set a goal; (2) Make a plan; and (3) Execute that plan. That became the foundation of The Give Team program (later adding the fourth step - Overcome challenges). Simple, and not particularly original. The goal needs to be the right goal. The plan needs to be one that fosters the right rituals and is realistic. And to sum it all up, you have to work hard for it. The program has since evolved with several other concepts pulled from years playing high school football, college rugby and serving in leadership roles in businesses focused on growth. It also leverages much of what I've learned from smart people, either through books or association.
And about that book I need to write? It's been rattling between my ears for years. It’s the story of the young men and women of the Parramore community of Orlando as I’ve come to know them. I play a role because I’m holding the camera and a pen, and am ENGAGING to offer what I can. It’s the story of a community rich in spirit. It’s the story of people overcoming challenges. It’s the story of facing adversity with pride. Perhaps it can serve as a playbook on how LEVERAGING adversity and challenges can serve as a SOURCE of strength, and how to avoid the trap of succumbing to the inevitable challenges we'll all face by helping each other when we need it. It's about how to build STRONG COMMUNITIES by building strong teams. It's about ENGAGING. It's about GIVING, even if you don't have anything left because that's how we ALL get stronger.
For the next 90 days the Give Team will establish momentum heading into the school year and the Fourth Quarter. To borrow a term coined by Joe De Sena, our "date on the calendar" is December 10. That's the date we'll run the Spartan Beast. We have other targets including the GoRuck 50 Mile Star Course on November 4th (for qualifying Give Team Members) and a road trip to ATL for the Driven Games on October 1.
We’ll leverage lessons learned in prior seasons and take into account the dynamics each team member presents. Each teammate will pursue two goals: (1) a physical goal; and (2) an intellectual / academic goal. We’ll gather every weekend on Saturday (sometimes Sunday) to get in some work and ENGAGE to determine what’s working and what isn’t on the path to greatness. We'll add workouts during the week on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the summer.
EXPECTATIONS of Teammates
It’s simple. Participate. Keep your commitments. The harder you work, the more consistent your effort, the stronger you get and the greater the reward.
- Participation in workouts earns the ability to participate in events. No more freebies. And if there’s an event where we have a cap on participation, priority will be given to whoever has participated most. Participation in face-to-face workouts earns 2 points.
- Get in work on your own. Participation in your own workout (a photo or video must be sent to coach) earns 1 point. If you commit to a workout but don’t show or answer your phone or doorbell, -2 points. If you commit to an EVENT and don’t respond, -3 points.
- 2 workouts a day, morning and evening. This is that part where Coach says, "I do everything I expect the team to do." Well, I'll be doing MORE than I expect from anyone. Lead by example.
- Clean eating - zero alcohol / zero added sugar
- Weekly YouTube videos
- Develop Give Team Program framework with supporting research.
- July 23: Trip to DC to support Jaala and Wes as they pursue the World Record for Distance Rucked with 20 Pounds over 24 Hours
- Daily blog: Accountability. Each blog will include a GIVE TEAM RULE OF THE DAY.
So help me answer the question. What's next?
If you’re a member of the team in Orlando, reach out with any questions. If you’re part of our extended community and want to get involved in any way, let’s talk. This is about building a stronger community, and we’re far stronger together than we are apart.
Want to get stronger by giving a little to help The Give Team? Get a STRONGER TOGETHER! Patch with a $15 donation, or check out any of our other gear on The Give Team store. Every little bit helps!