Make Your Own Magic
watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you,
because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic
will never find it.
It all started when...
My new bionic hip was newly installed and I was garaged for a while. I had a great idea to write a book while confined to the couch and chair. I knew that eventually I would write something, maybe in my old age I would do something specific to teaching or coaching. Well, old age slipped up on me and into my hips and back and thus I begin the journey to write a book. I have pitched it to one publisher, but they wanted more how-to information and less advice. I have not finished the entire book, but I do have it about 70% completed. Therefore, I am going to release a few chapters here to see what my friends think and maybe one day I will pitch it again.
Make Your Own Magic
Selling, Teaching, Creating, and Living with Passion and Purpose
In my almost fifty years of existence I have spent at least forty-seven trying to entertain those around me. I have attempted and failed this mission more times than I care to admit, but I still keep plugging along this mysterious adventure. I have a genuine interest in the happiness of my family, students, athletes and friends; therefore, I have dedicated an extensive amount of energy and time learning how people react to me as well as other forms of motivation and entertainment. I think about why or how a reaction is displayed or what the deeper meaning of that may be. I’m able to do this in my own life because I have ample opportunities to make people angry and do so often, but I also have been blessed with the ability to make people around me happier. As a coach and teacher, you must accept the fact that some people are just going to see you as a frustration or at least a worthy adversary. I invite you to sit back and follow along with a few tidbits that I have learned over the years as a Teacher, Coach, Dad, Husband, Artist, Salesman, Manager, Carpenter, and Amateur Therapist; you will learn a few of my philosophies on living life with passion and purpose.
At this point a good question would be; what the heck does this guy know and why should I read what he has to say? I am a pretty normal guy that lives a pretty normal life, probably just like you. I am a damn good teacher and wrestling coach and have managed to bamboozle a beautiful woman, Leigh Ann, to marry me and stay married to me for over thirty years! How’s that for being a salesman? I have two awesome children (Zack, 24 and Brittney, 21) who have managed to get through their teenaged years with very few scars; on them, Leigh Ann or myself. I have a burning faith in God and feel that he has led me through this life so far; and yes writing this book is one of those things. I have been a seeker of information my entire life. I have a passion for learning and have become obsessed in doing so. My degrees in communication, education, and a Masters in Sports Science, a little odd but I wanted to learn something new, have allowed me to become an expert in fields that interest me and help me live a really fulfilling life with my beautiful bride and wonderful children. The most important part of life is experience, we hear too often information from theorist who have been involved in a field for a short period of time and because of education or overnight success they have claimed that they are now experts. This rings true in education and I believe that my fourteen years in the high school classroom teaching speaks volumes, above many of the theorist out there, while giving a real life applicable angle. Before becoming an educator I spent sixteen years selling and managing in addition to be in human resources and operations in the corporate world.
In addition, I am a complete and total nerd when it comes to Disney, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and human history and have made a habit of reading everything I can get my hands on that seems interesting. In doing all of this I have gathered a lot of useful information that has helped me over the years. Much of this information relates to Walt Disney and his philosophies, because I find them relatable and inspiring. I by no means live a perfect life!! However, I am a pretty positive guy that tries to see the silver lining and I am truly blessed to live the life that I have. There are warts on my life’s story, but that is what makes this worth reading and hopefully entertaining. I have experienced lows and I have experienced great success (not money success; I’m still waiting on that one) and that leads to what we need in this world; real life answers to real life problems for real people.
This is not a book about the life of Walt Disney; lord knows there are enough of those in print. This is a book that will use some of Walt Disney’s ideas and quotes, along with a few other people I find inspiring, to support ideas that I have about living life with passion and finding happiness within the world we live. It is my goal to help you pursue your dreams through principles I have experienced and applied to different aspects of life through the years. I will intertwine stories of my life as well as stories passed down from my uncle and grandfather; both great storytellers that passed the gift on to me. Life is about storytelling and that ability is extremely important in education, sales, coaching, and parenting. Walt Disney was a superb storyteller and that has kept his company relevant for almost ninety years. Their story is one of great triumph and of failure; we can all learn a little from the life of Walt and Roy Disney as well as the stories they have pushed into the very fabric of American culture and into the increasingly interconnected world culture.
So, I hope that as you read this book you will find it entertaining, educational, and inspiring. After all, we are put on this earth by God to serve a purpose, let’s enjoy it while we have it and not wish it away. Take the lessons learned and the stories told on these pages and move forward in this life without regret. OK, without too much regret; regret is inevitable if we truly live a normal life.
Story time: My Life
Although I had no real control of the start of my life; I will start here with my first story. I was born in the small town of Waco, Georgia in 1968. It was the same small town my parents had met and within which my father was born and raised. My parents had moved back after his time working for the Internal Revenue Service in Tallahassee, Florida. My father was a very intelligent man that was able to leverage his education, knowledge, and experience into a job managing a “large” bank in another small town. That small town was Acworth, Georgia which happened to be a suburb of Atlanta and within one of the fastest growing counties in the southeast. This move in 1970 brought me to the town I would spend all of my years up to this point.
My mother was a stay at home mom, which was the norm for the time, even though she had attended college and had the capacity to pursue a career of her own. This decision would prove invaluable for the events that unfolded over the next few years and ended in the ultimate death of my father at the age of thirty-five. My memories of my father are all mostly pleasant; I was only five at the time of his death and with the exception of a few flashes in this remembrance he was good to me. Unfortunately, he was an alcoholic and this disease destroyed his life and could have done so for our entire family. His father was an alcoholic as well as his father, so we had a definite cycle building that both my brother and I have been able to avoid. My mother was and is a rock, she was able to stand tall and raise two boys (ages five and ten) alone in a city that had no other family members.
I was always a very rambunctious and rebellious child; never tell me I can’t do something and Leigh Ann and I have found the same to be true of our beautiful daughter. I have always had a thirst for learning and discovering how things work. I have destroyed more toys and have even dissected a few dead frogs in my time and had a fairly unhealthy lack of fear. This curiosity has driven me to live the life that I have and also to accomplish many of the things that I have over time. Getting married at the age of eighteen was one of those things and Leigh Ann and I have made that work like a slightly twisted fairytale love story. My mother was forced into the unenviable task of being father and mother to us and she made every effort to involve the men in our family in my life as well as my older brother’s. My grandfather, the Reverend Ralph Henry Broome, was one of the most influential men in my life. My mom had the foresight to make sure that I spent as much time with the old time Methodist preacher who would ultimate teach me more through storytelling than he probably ever intended. In addition to Granddaddy, I had my Uncle Jim Broome who was my mom’s older brother and was fortunate in inheriting the storytelling gene from his father. We also had a few neighbors that would put up with a curious child following them around like a new puppy at every chance. Joe Griffis was the city manager for our little town of Acworth as well as being a Korean War veteran and a great man. He allowed me to tag along and I spent a ton of time at his house asking questions and learning valuable life lessons. My adult life has been tremendously impacted by the smartest man I know and a great role model for fatherhood, my father-in-law James Hill. These people have helped shape the person I am today and have imprinted their knowledge and philosophies which I carry with me to this day.
My teenage years were a time of rebellion and exploration. I was a horrible high school student that only cared about social education and sports. I chose a few classes to be interested in and those classes ultimately led me to become an English teacher. My mentors included a one of my wrestling coaches, Paul McMahon, and another that had absolutely nothing to do with sports, Cliff Biggers; I like to think that I have emulated both of their styles into my teaching. I place a premium on the relationships I build with my students and athletes and that has been my real key to success as a teacher and coach. I discovered early that if you are not likeable, they will not listen to you and in turn will not buy what you are trying to sell them. Education is not an information dump on your captive audience, you must sell the product and entice them to use the knowledge you are selling them. Just like these teachers that have inspired me, I try to inspire as many students as possible.
The best part of my teenage years involved meeting my future wife and best friend. We met during my senior year and it was the classic fireworks and instant connection. She was only a junior in high school when we met and we married the week after her graduation from high school the next year. It was not a shotgun wedding as some people will ultimately deduce; we genuinely wanted to get married young and we felt it was the right thing to do. Although it is hard to see at times, it has truly been a fairy tale story. My wife is the ultimate planner and she has corralled my free spirit into one that plans with loose guidelines. Another secret is that both of us have grown up together rather than growing separately. That has been the key to our thirty plus year love affair. Not always easy, but always done together.
I have explained a few extremely brief moments of my life that have shaped the thought process and the philosophies that I have followed through the years. They have not always been a straight and narrow road, but they have been consistent. Through living an ordinary and extraordinary life at the same time, I have been able to grow and learn many life lessons that will be helpful to making the most out of your life. I have experienced setbacks, actually several, and these have made me gain a unique perspective into living life and truly making magical moments out of a seemingly regular existence. I think that within all of us we have the ability to dream big dreams and we all have potential to impact our personal lives as well as the lives around us.
Make Your Own Magic - Chapter 1
Selling, Teaching, Coaching, and Living with Passion and Purpose
“The way to get started is to stop talking and start doing.” – Walt Disney
What better way to start the book than with a chapter titled: Get Started. This means more than just getting off the couch and doing something, this is the biggest obstacle you will face in life and most people don’t realize its difficulty. We all think about the things we want to do or accomplish; unfortunately, we rarely ever begin the process of actually getting where we want to go. Think of all the times you have wanted to do something and have let that something just fade into the past. It is human nature for us to take the easy route and the easy route is always the one we are currently traveling. Changing course or taking that first step can be daunting and nerve-racking.
One of the easiest ways to kill a dream is to fear that your idea will not work or your dream is unrealistic. We are trained as children to distrust the unknown and to stay away from things that we do not feel comfortable. However, fear is a learned behavior and sometimes we must break out of that mold. Now, I am not telling you to jump into fire or do something stupid; I’m just saying that we must adopt a tempered childlike lack of fear. Fear is a crippling emotional response that keeps us from acting. We must attack fear as if it were our enemy when it relates to our goals and dreams. Calculated attacks are often the ones that give the best returns; when we fear something and we refuse to attack, we are admitting defeat. I hate to lose, at anything!
My wife and I were married shortly after high school and I went to work for the local power company right after I graduated. It was a good job and it paid the bills and put food on our table. However, I was never satisfied and felt that I should be doing more with my talents. Did I mention what a horrible high school student I was? Well, attending college was the last thing people around me thought I would enjoy after working and being out of high school for five years. I told my wife that this was something I felt I needed to do and she agreed! I was scared to start, but I refused to let my fear win. Within a few weeks I had signed up for a few classes and I have been involved in education since that day in some capacity. Getting started was tough, but I knew that it would only happen if I took that first step. I won!
As I have explained before, I consider myself a lot of things. First and foremost, I am an educator and coach, but I dabble in many things and am actually quite good at creative endeavors and I like to build things with my hands. What I am best at is procrastination! I am a freaking expert when it comes to the art of putting things off and creating reasons why something can wait for another day. Unfortunately, procrastination is the killer of vision and dreams. I recognize this and do my best to put those things in perspective when it comes to things that are really important. Obviously yard work is low on my list of importance, as well as many of the other domestic chores my wife really wants me to perform. When we allow procrastination to dictate when we start our dream or vision, we give power away to an entity that will keep defeating us time and time again. When we pursue our goals, the thing we have the most control of is the start. We control when it happens and how it happens. At the start of any project, we are in the most control.
I have heard many people make the comment “If I can’t do it right the first time, then why even do it?” To me that is a cowardly excuse and only leads to an unfulfilled life. If you have children, think about how long you would have waited to make sure you set everything just right? If you had waited until your finances were perfect, your home and career were just right; you most likely would have never created the most precious part of your lives. The same applies when chasing your dreams; perfection is rarely achievable, but something close is better than giving up. Imagine if Walt and Roy Disney had waited until everything was perfect before creating Disneyland. It would have never been built and we would not have these wonderful experiences that have become such a part of so many lives and ingrained in the fabric of our nation and the world.
Getting started can be made less intimidating through knowledge and experience. Remember, you have control over the starting line. Do the work in order to get started, read books, plan the process, and get off your butt. Planning and knowledge is not convenient to develop or gain; it takes time and work. I will talk more about using experience and gaining knowledge, but this is always a good start to any project. If your dream is to build fine furniture, you start with small and simple projects. As your skills grow and you learn the nuances of woodworking, you will be able to better develop plans for more complex designs. The key is getting started and seeing the vision and dream in front of you as a challenge.
I am a very competitive person. I love to compete against other people and sometimes my own limitations. Sometimes seeing your dream as a challenge and thinking about it competitively will be enough to spur you toward the starting line. I often challenge my students to compete against each other and find that many will step farther from their comfort zone because the challenge of competition has been thrown down. In order for us to chase our dreams and realize what we have envisioned, we must step up to the challenge and compete. Figure out your own buttons and triggers, use those against yourself and you will find that self-motivation is much easier.
Another very important factor in starting any journey is discovering the obstacles in front of you. Find out if they are internal or external; if they are internal, you are golden! External factors are always going to be the toughest to overcome because they are not in your complete control. The internal obstacles are the one we can work on immediately and we will step through many of these as we move through this book. Regardless of the challenge, identify them and form a plan of attack. How can you defeat these challenges and what can be done to negate their effect on your dream? Money is often a huge obstacle for our dreams, but even that can be overcome with hard work and vision. That is not saying that wishing and dreaming will help you win the lottery so you can do everything your heart has always desired; let’s be realistic and accept the truth of our journey and dream. It takes hard work to achieve a fulfilling life and realizing your dreams, but that is doable and completely within your grasp.
The last step in starting any journey toward your dream is sharing. I will talk about building a team later in this book, but a team is imperative to your success. We cannot reach great heights without having someone giving us a boost or at least loaning us the ladder. Share your dream with someone else. I have always shared my dreams with my wife, I tell her everything that I want to do. But I always make sure to think through those dreams before telling her, because once I have, I feel the pressure to follow through. And that is the beauty of sharing your dreams with someone you love; they are the ones that will ultimately give you the push when you most need it and the ones you will fight hardest not to disappoint. In addition to my wife, I have found that my kids are great listeners and someone I can share my dreams. Next to Leigh Ann, they are the ones that I least want to disappoint and will therefore strive to reach my goals.
Getting started: Here’s the Take Away
1. Take the first step: You are the only one that can do this. Do it!
2. Kill the fear: Don’t let fear hold you back from starting a journey toward your goals.
3. Attack tough goals: Life is tough, in order to get what we want we need to fight for a dream.
4. Procrastination: I’ll get to this when I feel like it! Don’t. You have to put things behind you and do what is important; stop putting your dream on the backburner.
5. You control the start: You will never be in more control of the journey than when you take the first step.
6. Compete and win: Fight for your goal to win; never just TRY to do something.
7. Know your limitations and obstacles: Sometimes life puts huge things in our path. Recognize them and plan their demise.
8. Share your Dreams: Tell someone about your dreams; it will motivate you to finish.
Quick Lesson: Don’t tell me you will try!
“Do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda
I have been a high school wrestling coach for the last fourteen years and have experienced some degree of success at every school I have served. I have coached some really great teams and I have coached some very bad teams, but all of my teams have been competitive. I have very simple expectations of my teams and of my individual athletes. They must come in everyday with a purpose, that same purpose will be what carries them through the season and into the region, sectional, and state tournaments. Every year, I have to train new athletes to compete at a high level since our expectations are to continue to be competitive and finish in the top four every year. I am not a magician and I do not work miracles; I give athletes the opportunity to succeed through their own hard work and skill.
This philosophy starts with the very first practice of the season. I always make it a point to ask all of the new kids individually why they are in our wrestling room and what makes them want to wrestle. For some the answer is easy; they have been wrestling since they were little and it is just their thing. For others, the answer is often a little more awkward and harder to communicate. However, I can almost always tell you which kids will quit within the first ten days; the ones that tell you “I thought it looked fun and wanted to TRY.” I often answer that statement with one of my favorite lines “we don’t like that word in here, don’t use it.” Here is how I see the word TRY: it is a subconscious way of telling yourself that it is alright to quit if this is something that is too hard. Wrestling is hard, practice can be awful, and your body is not going to like it or cooperate. I am walking proof that the sport can take its toll on you, I have one bionic hip, the other hip is a ticking time bomb, and a broken back to show for forty plus years of abuse. If you have already given yourself permission, by just TRYing, you will not last through the preparation.
Trying something and starting something are very different approaches and one of those is doomed to fail. I am not saying that I never use the word, but I am cognizant of the implications every time it comes out of my mouth. I did not tell my wife twenty-nine years ago that I would TRY to take her as my wife, I committed to it and that has not wavered. Strike the word from your vocabulary, as much as possible, and you will find that you see things a little differently. You will also find that you have carried with you a lack of commitment every time you have used it in the past. Try: we don’t like that word around here, don’t use it.