I can remember the first time I met Jon though I'm sure he won't recall it because of the thousands he's met. I was an assistant coach at the University of Central Florida and was walking through our building and came upon my friend Brendan Suhr who was talking to someone I had not met. Brendan grabbed me and introduced to me to Jon and the three of us talked for about 30 minutes.
Now here's the thing about Jon -- you can't have a conversation with him no matter how short or how long and not come away juiced up about life. His enthusiasm is set on max and it's genuine. His other gift is that he listens with the intent to understand. He cares.
The next day I went to Brendan's office and said "who is this Jon guy?" Brendan asked me if I'd read The Energy Bus. I told him I hadn't and he encouraged me to run out and grab a copy.
Bam! Jon Gordon fan for life. The hardest question to answer? What's your favorite Jon Gordon book? Every book is so unique and impactful that depending upon what you are going through in life will factor into what you book you like the most at that time.
The Energy Bus is even more special when you learn that 30 publishers turned down the book. He literally had to live out the lessons of the book to see it to its unbelievable success. I always keep an extra copy on my desk for instances when I think someone would benefit from reading it.
Our teams in the past have read several of Jon's books including this year's team which read The Power of A Positive Team. Tomorrow, at our first team meeting, they will turn in their reports on the book and we will talk about the lessons we've garnered. Two years ago, we read The Hard Hat together -- an amazing book on being a great teammate.
Today, Jon was on our campus where he talked to our coaches and support staff this morning and he will speak to our student-athletes tonight. This morning I was blessed to come away with five pages of notes and will share just a few of Jon's messages:
Jon started by telling us he was a "student first, teacher second."
In regard to your team or organization, "are you a contagious germ or Vitamin C?"
When the Energy Bus first game out, it wasn't carried in a single book store in the USA. So Jon set up a 28 city tour -- paid for by himself.
"Keep you vision alive and it will keep you alive."
Jon pointed out that most runners quit a marathon around the 20th mile. They are tired yet still not close enough to see the end in sight. He challenged us to find out what our "20th mile was" and to confront it.
#1 Predictor of success is grit. And the key to grit? Connectivity.
Great teams have collective belief. The best leaders transfer belief.
#1 mistake is to allow negativity to exist. You must deal with, transform it, or relieve it.
Rules without relationships create rebellion. Also, tough-love will only work when the love comes first.
Athletics are a training ground for life.
And my favorite take away from this morning: "Your identity does not come from your performance. It comes from who you are on the inside."
If you haven't experience the growth opportunity from reading Jon's books I can't recommend it strongly enough. You will not only become a better coach, but a better person. A great way to start is by visiting Jon's website where you can see all his books. You can also read his newsletter as well as sign up for a newsletter.