Hey Folks! Tommy “Tahoe” Alaimo here. Welcome back to The Weekly Six-Pack where I share the six best things I’m enjoying, thinking about, and experiencing each week.
Quote of the Week
“If we wasted money like we wasted our time, we’d all be bankrupt.”
– Seth Godin
Here are the 6 things to check out this week:
- This week, I had Kris Rudeegraap on the Millennial Sales Podcast. In the past 4 years, Kris jumped from a salesperson to a Founder of one of the hottest start-ups in SaaS, Sendoso. Subscribe here on Apple, Spotify or YouTube.
- I’ve found a lot of comfort in reading books that remind me how easy I truly have it. The Sun Does Shine tells the amazing story of Anthony Ray Hinton, who was wrongly accused of murder and spent 30 years on death row in Alabama before being released in 2015.
- Shank Tank’s Barbara Corcoran had a great tweet on what her biggest challenge in business was (hint: not competition).
- Two of my favorite thinkers, Michael Gervais and Rich Roll, got together for a great podcast.
- Who to follow: Justin Welsh writes some of the best content on LinkedIn on how to build a tribe and why it’s important to build a personal brand.
- PS – who saw the Skilljar funding news this week? 🙂
I love when I find words that are untranslatable in other languages. When a word in German or Japanese has no equivalent in English – it takes a paragraph to describe. I’ve written about the Japanese term Kaizen, or the path of continuous improvement, before.
I’m not sure there’s a word to describe these “sentence-words”. So for the literal lack of a better term, we’ll stick with sentence-words, or “SW” for short.
I came across one of my new favorite SW’s last weekend. As my girlfriend and I reclined into our couch after a night out on the town eating lasagna and sipping wine, we popped up Netflix for something interesting. A new docu-series, “The Playbook”, following the philosophies of great sports coaches, caught our attention.
Episode 1 illustrated Doc Rivers, the new coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, former coach of several teams including my Boston Celtics. Rivers told the story of how he collected a group of egotistic all-stars and molded them into a selfless, championship team in the manner of 9 months.
The SW that Doc used: “Ubuntu”. Ubuntu is an African term that most closely translates to “I am because we are”. Most famously, Nelson Mandela used the term philosophically to help transition South Africa to a democracy in the 1990s.
I am because we are. Let’s unpack that.
On a global scale, this indicates that we’re all connected. My positive or negative contributions to society will affect others outside of my small circle. That can get heady so let’s break it down even smaller.
Rivers explains how it related to the Celtics:
“I can only be my best if you’re your best. Equally, I don’t get nervous or jealous of your accomplishments. You being better can only make me better.”
This transformed the Celtics’ mentality that year. Everything was team focused. Even a small action like Doc Rivers bringing a hamburger on the plane for only himself – not for everyone – was seen as a small act against the Ubuntu mentality.
Let’s take that to a sales team, a similarly competitive world. Most of our natural instincts tell us that in order to succeed, we want our teammates to suffer. If Kevin loses that deal, I’ll be at the top of the leaderboard this month. I don’t know what mentality that is, but I know it isn’t Ubuntu.
An ancient proverb states that there are two ways to have the tallest building: by building yours to a towering height – or tearing everyone else’s building to the ground.
I suppose the results are equal, but the feeling is completely different.
In one world, you’re at the top of a leaderboard surrounded by defeated, hopeless, and beaten down teammates. And since there’s no challenge, you stop getting better. Your success turns into complacency. Your weak foundation only makes it easier to be knocked off of your flimsy pedestal in the future.
How fun is that?
In the Ubuntu world, you can still succeed. You can even still be at the top of the leaderboard. But the feeling of accomplishing a massive goal surrounded by others who are striving and pushing you higher is a completely different feeling.
It’s the feeling of Michael Jordan finally winning a championship after being hardened by the Detroit Pistons for years. It’s NWA breaking through in the West Coast Hip-Hop scene in the 1980s. It’s seeing your friend release a hit single on Spotify that makes you want to open your own creative project. It’s Ubuntu.
In Win Forever, Pete Carroll says he is grateful for his competition because, without them, his team wouldn’t have a reason to push to get better.
This approach took the Celtics from the worst team in the league to World Champions in one year. Anything is possible.
We can take the same approach.
Our colleague closing a big deal, our spouse who rakes in a big payday, our friend whose book got published before ours, even the celebrity “flexing” on Instagram. These people don’t need to piss us off. We don’t need to tear them down. In fact, their success can help us to become better.
As Rivers said, we can really only be our best if they’re at their best.
This week, let’s follow Ubuntu. Let’s focus on lifting up our building, not on tearing others to the ground.