Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The three W's

Who are you?
Why are you?
Where are you?

i was going through my bloglines last night and saw sethy g's post on kevin garnett's interview with john thompson. i am not a fan of the NBA. nor am i a fan of paying attention to things that last more than 10 minutes. good news is, this indescribable interview is nine minutes. so i watched. if you can spare nine minutes, watch this now. you won't regret it. it's quite possibly the best nine minutes i've spent in a while. more woolardspeak after the jump.

this video is a perfect illustration of what i call the three w's of life. not sure how long i've been using this framework, but it's come into play in most of my life decisions. if you get these things answered, you're good. most of us though, can only answer one. or two. and that's where the kilter is thrown.

kevin garnett simply answers the "who are you" question. he's a winner. he is a leader, passionate and dedicated.

he's answered the why: "I was built that way." beautiful statement. seth asks the question, "What are you built for?" and i think that's a great question. but it's only one part of this larger line of action. where kevin is coming up short is WHERE he is.

alright, i know i'm getting sappy on you, so without heading into deep water here, i'll lighten this for a second.
  • if you hire people, make sure they talk like kg.
  • if you manage people, make sure you notice when they get pissed off. angry. hurt. it's the ones who accept losses that you need to worry about. the restless ones can change your organization...or leave for, as coach thompson says, "greener pastures."
  • if you're looking at your own life, figure out what activities/people/professions charge you up to the point that you could show the type of raw passion kg shows.
so back to the three W's. Who are you? Why are you ________ (enter profession/passion/goal)? and finally, Where are you?

when i used to talk to college folk about finding their first job, the "where" was always the focus. find people you love. find a place you love. be part of something. find a culture. the company you keep, as your mom used to say, is still important.

finally, a focus on the reason for kg's statements: he's losing. sure, it's not the entire issue here, but it's the straw that breaks down all the emotion you see in the interview. i'm not sure when people decided losing was not that big of a deal. you know those people? those who sugar coat it. throw blame around. find excuses. it's "a learning experience" or "not our fault" or "nice being second." no, it's losing. it's not winning. whether you're getting schooled on the tennis court or had creative shot down in an internal review, a loss is a loss. and sometimes, the harder, the more personally you take it, the better the next attempt will be.

but kg's right: you can't teach that. you can't make that. people are built that way. some people can take a loss. some people can't. figure out which one you are and then surround yourself with similar hearts and minds.

what if we approached today - our jobs, our family, our friends - with the passion kg shows? the absolute aversion to anything but the best. a hatred for coming up short. what if we demand it of ourselves, and we demand it of our peers? that could be a helluva success.


Anonymous sg said...

I wanted to go on and on like you did, but couldn't find the words last night. Nice post. Can't we all be a lot more like KG?

4:53 PM  

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