Coaching, leadership, mental skills, communication

"If you build it..."

It happened on a Wednesday afternoon as we stood at the top of the stairs inside the Hall of Fame at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

"Awesome. Can I pay by credit card right now?"

Just like that, it was real. 

Nine weeks prior my phone rang as I drove from Austin to Dallas to speak at the women's basketball Final Four. 

Without a hello the voice on the other end said, "Okay. I have an idea - and I know you're gonna say yes - but let me pitch it to you anyways. Are you ready?"

It was Molly Grisham, a friend who specializes in leadership development who had retired from coaching collegiate soccer to devote herself fully to the business of cultivating leaders on teams across the country.

As Molly began to speak my jaw dropped around sentence three and by sentence five I interrupted with, "I'm in. Molly, I love it!"

"Good. I knew you would, and as much as we love this, we feel like it's missing something. That something is you. It needs a communication piece, and you're it."

The "we" was in reference to mental skills specialist Tami Matheny, also a former coach who had incredible success with her tennis teams before hanging up her whistle to share her wisdom with athletes of all sports. 

The idea was simple. The concept, unique. The target population, unserved. And the possibility for application was limitless... 

"When's the soonest we can all jump on a call?" Molly asked. "We have nine weeks."

In nine weeks the three of us would all speak at Duke University to the coaches attending Dan Tudor's National Collegiate Recruiting Conference.

Which brings us to the top of the stairs inside the Hall of Fame at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina on a Wednesday afternoon.

"Awesome. So can I pay by credit card right now?"

We'd just unveiled the first copies of  "Start Strong for Freshmen" - a program which harnesses the power of stories to help incoming student-athletes develop the mental, leadership, and communication skills they'll need for a strong start in their collegiate careers.

Feedback from the test group of coaches we'd sent drafts to the week before confirmed our belief that we'd created something special. 

The line forming behind the coach to whom I'd just shared our pricing with for the very first time confirmed that coaches understood the value.

It wasn't Iowa, and no baseball players emerged from a cornfield, but time did seem to slow for a Field of Dreams moment. 

 "If you build it, they will come"

And, here we are.