The higher you go the more talent you find. Today Perry and Chris talk about what separates one talented person from another.

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Perry Holley:    Welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:     And I’m Chris Goede, Vice President with John Maxwell Company. Welcome, and thank you for joining. Listen, we are here to add value to leaders, and we believe that leadership is influence. All of us have influence, and all of us are leading in one way or another. If you’re interested in learning more about the blogs that Perry writes for us to go along with these podcasts, maybe if you’re interested in learning a little bit more about our one-on-one coaching, or some training and consulting with your organization, don’t hesitate to go to There we have a form. Fill out that form, let us know what your needs are, and we’ll be in touch with you, one of our team will reach out. So, thank you again for joining us. Today, we’re going to talk about, and those that follow us know that Perry comes up with the content and the titles and I love them, right? As he’s laughing. But I’m really excited about today and today’s topic is, from Pop Warner to the pros, talent is never enough.

Perry Holley:    And let me just jump in here and save you the introduction because this one’s going to be a little personal and I want to let him know, telling you right to your face, this is not an intervention. This is not something but this is going to be a bit more personal for Chris than a normal podcast would be. But as some of our listeners may know, Chris’ son, Rylan plays for the now national championship University of Georgia Bulldogs.

Chris Goede:     And see what he’s wearing today.

Perry Holley:    Go dogs.

Chris Goede:     Go dogs.

Perry Holley:    Some time ago Chris and I were talking as Rylan made his way recruited heavily to be at the University of Georgia. I just found it interesting having played myself at a lower levels. Chris played at the highest levels, and we got the talking about, as you go from as a Pop Warner, which is a junior league for football in the United States if you’re not familiar with that, to a junior high school team, to a high school team, to be recruited to a college team, to hopefully be recruited to a professional team, every level talent increases, but at certain levels, I think especially and I’m biased because we’re in the SEC and it’s very high level of talent if recruited. But you’re recruited at the highest levels that it seems like talent becomes the difference between the talent.

That’s what I was asking Chris. It becomes very narrow at that point. What’s the difference maker? What’s the differentiator? So, as you continue to climb in the business, obviously we want to make this in your business world that you continue to develop your talent, but is talent enough?

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    And you say, “Well, I’m pretty good at what I do. Actually, I’m the best at what I do.” Is that enough? And I thought when Rylan went from high school where he was an outstanding head above shoulders performer, now he’s in an SEC school.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    Boom. Why did he do that? But then he’s there. And then now the next level, boom, but how he’s just there I’m thinking. So, I want your insight on that.

Chris Goede:     Well, I appreciate it. I think for me, there’s so many lessons to learn. It’s just personal from sports in the leadership world. And so, sports are very limited time and then you move into your career, but I love this because as we were going through it, I was thinking about man, how do we relate this and the principles of what Rylan has experienced and his mom and I are super proud of him to what does it look like every day for us to be leading people, influencing people, being in the office? And so, we’re going to tie this in today and I think it fits really, really well. Man, it has been an incredible ride for us this year to watch our son participate in a team that has won a National Championship and to be part of that forever and then watch him celebrate.

He’s still finding his way on the team, played in six games this year and is just being patient. We’ll talk about this a little bit later, which we as leaders need to be at times, we may want more than what’s there for us right now. But one of the things when you said this was as he was recruited, he knew what he was getting into, all right? He had several options that go different places and he knew where he was going, which was a very competitive team, a very competitive practice. And so, I think at any level, when you begin to move your way up your career, whether it’s your peers, leaders specifically here, the talent is at the highest level and what begins to separate them from each other at that level is that now there are some outliers, let me say this.

There are some outliers that just have immense amount of talent that don’t work hard. It’s eventually going to catch up to them when they take that next step to the pros as you mentioned. But I think the difference is, and like John says is that talent is never enough. Talent is given, but you must earn the success behind that talent that is given. What I love about this is one of my favorite books John ever wrote was that talent is never enough. I think the title has changed. I can’t remember the title of it right now, but it also reminds me of a quote from an NBA coach, Tim Notke, it said “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Perry Holley:    So, I’m just going to go through, I’ve thought through four or five, maybe five ways that-

Chris Goede:     Perry loves the number five, which is why he and I still are in the podcast together. That’s right.

Perry Holley:    The choices that talented people need to make if they’re going to move from talent to success, and I think that I will present these and maybe you could just give the insights of what you’ve seen from Rylan, but also how we apply this to our corporate life and to growing as talented people in the workplace. But number one for me was, and I’m fortunate enough to know Rylan and be able to ask him a few of these myself, but number one, believe in yourself and your talent. Do you believe in yourself to do that? How important is that?

Chris Goede:     Well, let me first start by saying you won’t always believe in yourself. There’s a transition time. And whether you get a promotion, whether you get moved to a different team or whatever, there are going to be times in your journey that you don’t believe in yourself. There were conversations that I’ve had with Rylan along the way, especially when he first got there, right? And he started looking at some of the older, upper classmen going.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. Because he went high school where he was [crosstalk 00:06:34] a big dude. But when he got to Georgia, he’s not that big anymore compared to these guys and he can… Is it do you doubt yourself?

Chris Goede:     Oh yes, absolutely 100%. And he actually received some coaching from some of the older players and said, “Hey, you’re going to go through times and you’re going to be sitting on your bed going in the morning, do I even belong here? Can I compete here?” And so, there’s going to be a transition time, no matter what role you’re serving in to where you’re going to have some of those doubts and that’s why I want to just say the other thing which is I think there’s a lot about not only believing in yourself physically, whatever that might be in this case, it’s competing on the field, but also making sure that you believe in yourself mentally, because we were just talking about this. We had the opportunity to play golf a little bit and we were talking about just the mental approach and what we tell ourselves turns into the action of really what’s happening.

So, do you believe those thoughts that you’re telling yourself? And so, I think there’s a mental approach. Do you believe that you belong at that table? Do you believe that you belong in that meeting? The last thing I’ll say about this is I would say that, man, you got to believe in yourself and your talent, even when you’re defeated daily, right? I mean, you and I have had the opportunity to lead at high levels and there’s not a day that doesn’t go by where we go, “Yeah. Well, we screwed that up, right? We messed that up. We didn’t have that right answer.” And so, I think that if you prepare yourself to understand that you are going to be defeated daily from a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint and learn from it, that will help you tremendously. Because there were many phone conversations that Rylan and I had where there was both mental and physical disbelief, I guess, maybe and so we had to have a few conversations.

And it’s interesting to see him now to where I began to get phone calls into his first season and now even in today where he’s like, “Hey, I think the game’s slowing down a little bit.” And I go, “The game’s not slowing down the game. Have you seen Georgia’s defense lately which he goes up against [inaudible 00:08:38] every day? The game’s not slowing down. Your ability to compete at that level is beginning to come up so believe in yourself, right?” And so, same thing with us, we’re going to walk into meetings and be like, “I don’t belong in this meeting. How did I get here?” And so, you got to have that approach.

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Perry Holley:    [inaudible 00:08:54] all time coach, the people we coach or high level. Who am I-

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Who I’m I coaching?

Perry Holley:    I’m on the stage in front of an… Who am I be? Well, I’ve worked hard but I’m still learning, but I love that.

Chris Goede:     You and I had this conversation just last week. We have an organization, the CEO, founder, family running a very successful business. And I said, “Perry, I need you to coach as individual.” And you go, “I don’t know.” Right? And I was like, “No, you got to do it.” So, I think this is relative for us even, well, some of us are older than others, but as we get older, yeah.

Perry Holley:    Okay. Number two, initiative. I feel like the talented people sometimes sit back and say, “I’m the talented people.” But I think if you make a choice for success, that you’re really going to take the initiative, you’re going to jump in. You’re not going to wait to be noticed. You’re going to take actions. I’m thinking about Rylan been tempting to go stand on the sidelines and wait to be invited. But how do you see this ability to initiate with both Rylan and in the workplace?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. I think a couple things come to mind here. There’s two examples that right away come to mind from an initiative where I think you want to make yourself available to your organization, to your leaders, to do additional things, whatever that might be. It might even be outside your job scope and your job responsibility, right? But take the initiative to do that. And so, there’s two things that I think about with Rylan. The first one is as he was coming up and he was a senior in high school, he was invited to the US Army, all American kind of combine and camps, all kind stuff. And so, we went out San Antonio and they had two sessions for players to participate in. And you got to imagine like the level of what’s going on at these camps, everybody’s trying to get attention and run reps and all kind of stuff.

And the first camp was in the morning, Rylan was scheduled. Well, they were bringing in another camp right behind them, another group and he wasn’t satisfied with the number of reps that he got in that first session. So, he sat on the bench, that first group left, he saw that other group came in. He’s like, “I’m just going to join the second group.” I was like, what’s he doing? And literally he ran reps and had more production and learned more and was involved in more plays in that second group because he took the initiative to stay and maybe get some extra work. Now, was he supposed to do that? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. But I love seeing that, right? He’s like, “Hey, I’m here. I’m going to take the initiative.” The other part is while he’s coming up through the system right now and he’s learning, he takes the initiative.

I watch him do this every single game where he knows he’s not going to get any reps unless it’s towards the end of the game right now and it’s a blowout. But he is out at every huddle, he is listening, he know the plays, he’s watching and he’s saying, “Hey, if I were to be in there, what would I do here? What would I do that? What is this?” And so, he is taken that initiative to be a part of that. Same thing, I have team members on my team right now that they don’t have a responsibility, but they go, “Hey, I want to be in that meetings. I just want to observe, I want to see what’s going on.” So, take that initiative in order to be prepared for when your turn comes.

Perry Holley:    And be willing to do what others won’t.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, that’s right.

Perry Holley:    Do the extra work. Number three was around focus that John says, “With focus, your talent and abilities gain direction and intentionality.” There’s no lack of distractions in the SEC. There’s no lack of distractions on my calendar in my office every day. How does you think focus really help talent find success?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Control what you can control. There are going to be things that you can’t control in your career and in your path and where you’re going and in the deliverable of the organization and I think you’ve got to every day get up and just do the best you can and control what you can control. The other thing is I always talk to Rylan about, “Hey, keep the bigger picture in mind. You know what your plan is. You know that, Hey, personally, you’re going to have to work a little harder. You may have to wait a little bit longer, but you know why you’re here and so control what you can control and then it’s going to show up someday down the road.” And so, that’s got to be your focus. Although it’s discouraging, right? They work so hard during practice and then maybe he doesn’t get any reps on that Saturday. That’s discouraging, right?

But he’s got to come back and focus what is your bigger picture here? And so, we may see other team members get rewarded, compensated, get opportunities to where we’re like, “Oh man, that’s discouraging for me. I wanted that opportunity.” But man, just focus and control what you can control [crosstalk 00:13:26] and keep the long picture in mind.

Perry Holley:    I love the bigger picture, it’s huge. Number four, preparation. This may seem obvious, but I’ve noticed that talented people sometimes don’t think they need to prepare. They think they can just wing it. I’ve seen that myself in some of the talent that I’ve worked with, they don’t seem to need to, “I got the natural talent. What do I need to prepare for?” But preparation, I think really puts you. John actually says that talent plus preparation equals a talent plus person. What do you see in how this relates Rylan in the business world?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. I think for me, it goes back to even that example I was just using a minute ago about initiative. He is mentally preparing himself and being in the huddles and understanding what the plays happen and all these kinds of things. Well, come to mind here even outside of Rylan was I remember hearing Peyton Manning speak a couple years ago and he said, “Hey, pressure is something you feel if you’re not prepared.” And I began thinking about what you and I do and whether it’s coaching, whether it’s leading a team, whether it’s doing a keynote speech and man, I know you’re prepared. I know myself, I feel more prepared even coming in here and delivering these podcasts to add value to you. Perry has spent a ton of time preparing and setting this content up.

And so, I think again, if you have the opportunity to meet with peers or meet with leaders or present something, man spend so much time preparing for it that you just feel so comfortable in those meeting, in those moments that you get something out of it, but more importantly, you begin to show your value to the people that you’re either meeting with or speaking to or maybe even playing for on a team.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. I asked when people I was coaching, they told me they hadn’t. I said, “What’d you do to prepare?” And they said, “I really don’t do much. It just comes natural to me.” And I said, “Are you an amateur or are you a pro?” And they go [inaudible 00:15:20], I was a sales guy. I said, “Do people know you get paid money for selling them stuff?” He goes, “Yeah.” I go, “That makes you a professional seller. What do you think professional sellers do that amateur sellers don’t do it?” He got real quiet. I thought, “Yeah, if you’re a pro in the sports or in business, you prepare, you go.” Tiger Woods doesn’t come off the course and go to the pub, he goes to the range with a coach and he works. So, right. Last one, number five, perseverance. I think this was another probably obvious, but almost everyone playing at the highest level has faced setbacks, disappointments along the way.

My question, many may question whether it’s worth it or not and you didn’t mention that. Rylan maybe questioned that. John says you succeed because you’re determined to not because you’re destined to, I love that. That how many times do we want to quit and think I just don’t have what it takes, but where does perseverance [inaudible 00:16:11] in this?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. I don’t want the listeners to miss John’s quote right there. I think, man, that was so good where he says, “Hey, listen, you succeed because you’re determined not because you’re destined to.” So, what is the determination level, right?” For Rylan, I think this is probably the greatest attribute that his mom and I have seen lived out over the last two or three years and just, I don’t know, he just, he has it and he keeps finding a deeper level of it as he faces injuries which he has, it’s kind of the first year and a half, two years and not easy injuries, but it’s always kind of set him back and yet he continues to persevere or even just at this level, the recruiting, right? I mean, that’s what good successful programs do, they recruit at the highest level. Well, by the way, so does your organization, right?

They’re going to continue to bring in talent that allows the organization to continue to lift its lid. And so, I think as I look through this in the way that he has persevered through injury and the recruiting process has motivated me, which is weird where you say, “Oh man, my child has motivated me.” But when I see this lived out, it’s like, man, that’s awesome. If I could have just a little bit more of that in my organizational journey and development, then I would be much better off. I think when you think about this perseverance, John talks about the disappointment gap and he talks about kind of the expectations and reality. So, what I did was I said, “Okay, what is your timing versus what is really going to be reality?” And these kids or us as team members come in and go, “Well, I want to do keynote speeches for IBM and I want to go worldwide, right?” Okay, that’s your expectation. That’s great. But the reality is X. Same thing with Rylan where he is figuring out what that is. In between there is a disappointment gap that John talks about.

So, as you begin to deal with perseverance, understand and set proper expectations of your career journey in order to shrink that disappointment gap. The other thing I wrote down here was as leaders, as people with influence in organization, your compensation now is because of what you have done in the past. And the only way to get to this point is to persevere through all of that stuff, all of the people that have been hired in the organization, all of the people that maybe have come and gone, all the setbacks that you have. And so, as I think about this for Rylan, it’s the same thing. There’s going to be a day where he’s going to contribute more and more and more, and that feeling and that reward and that competition’s going to come through what he has persevered for over the last couple of years with injuries and recruits.

So, before I throw to Perry to wrap up, if you have listened to this today and you just love the, Hey, the content between athletics and leadership, I want to encourage you Don Yeager, who has become one of our thought leaders here at the John Maxwell Enterprise has a Corporate Competitor Podcast and here’s the subtitle. He says, “How sports shaped today’s business icons.” Now some may just use the word icon, right? But he’s not kidding.

Perry Holley:    No, it’s great.

Chris Goede:     It’s great. And the last one I just listened to, Condoleezza Rice was on there. So, I’m telling you right now, if you want to learn more about the influence of sports on business icons and business leaders, tremendous leadership lessons, go to iTunes, wherever you get your podcast and search Corporate Competitor Podcast by Don Yaeger and make sure you subscribe to it. Perry, go ahead and wrap it up for us.

Perry Holley:    Fantastic. Thank you Chris, for being candid and open. I know it’s personal, but we’re all proud of Rylan and the team and what they’ve done, but it is the question to ask yourself is I know you have talent, you’re good at what you do or you wouldn’t be doing it, but are you a talent plus person and are there things you need to do to move from just being talented to actually finding success? And I love some of these lessons on where’s your focus? Are you persevering? Are you determined? Are you being prepared? Are you learning how to add value to others by adding to you? You can’t give what you don’t have, so we want to be pouring into ourselves so we’d be pouring into others. And when you begin to do that and say, “Yeah, I’ve got talent, but I’m not there yet.

I’m in a journey.” All of us are in a journey. And so, we want to be growing, we want to be learning and we want to be finding that next level. And I’ll tell you this what I’ve learned is there’s always a next level. No matter where you think you are, there’s always a next level. So, really grateful that you would be here to share this with us and lot of your pride with your family. And if I didn’t mention it earlier, go dogs. We enjoyed the season, but that’s what we did in the past, [inaudible 00:20:48] we look to the future.

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    And if we haven’t told you lately, we’re grateful that you would join us here. That’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast. Please go to if you’d like to leave us a message or a question. Thank you.

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