On October 5th, 2015 I found myself sitting the Duke Men’s Basketball conference room waiting for the infamous “Coach K” to come in so that I could interview him and record his voice to be used for the Narration of the movie “Beat Feet” that our company was producing.
While this moment was pretty incredible, what I want to write about today. Because frankly, that moment didn’t teach me anything compared to what I learned in the events leading up to that moment.
On October 3rd, I was talking with some family members and getting my things gathered and prepared for my flight to North Carolina. I remember that most of the people that I told that I was going to get a chance to meet and interview Coach K had two reactions: the first reaction was the jealous disbelief, “no way!? That’s so awesome, do you need an extra hand? I know how to hold a camera!” Then the second was something along the lines of some good-intentioned advice, “Don’t waste his time!” “You better make sure your equipment is good to go, you don’t want to have any mishaps when you are interviewing him.”
Honestly, I don’t remember much of the stuff that any of those people said to me. But, there was one phone call that I got in the evening before going to bed that I will never forget. Mark Richards, called me to check-in with me to see how some medical tests had gone (background: at the time I had been undergoing some tests to see if I could potentially have leukemia. Turns out that I don’t — praise god! All the tests came back negative), and congratulate me on getting to go see Coach K. I remember Mark asking how I was doing, and if i had received any new information. Once I had given him the update, the conversation shifted to my big upcoming trip to meet Coach K. I decided to be preemptive in saying the advice that I thought for sure he would give me as well. “Yeah, I’m pretty excited about seeing Coach K, and have been double checking all my gear and making sure I don’t waste Coach’s time.” All that Mark said in return, was, “oh, come on, Chris! You aren’t going to waste his time, you’ll know exactly what to say and do.”
That’s it, that simple line taught me more about myself and being a leader than anything else that happened that month. It was a very fatherly thing to say, and the thing was I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear that until I had heard it. Up until that point I had been bombarded by people basically telling me not to screw up, and be sure I didn’t talk too much. But, no one had offered the simple, strong and kind words of belief in me as a person as Mark did.
Later that night, I remember, tearing up as I told Natalie about that, because I realized that it is exactly the type of thing my dad had told me my entire life. I learned more about the power of believing in someone in that short five minute phone call then I could have any other way.
The power of belief. If there is one thing that I want the culture of SkEye Studios to have more than anything it is the power of belief. I want the employees of SkEye Studios to feel the confidence in themselves that I felt in Mark’s voice to me. I believe that it is our duty as a culture to give our coworkers the power of that belief. I think that the number one reason that people fall short of their potential is because they don’t believe that they are capable. There are too many people in the world that want to give their own advice and share their wisdom with the younger more inexperienced (I am guilty of this far too often with my own staff). While there is a time and a place for this sharing of knowledge, I believe that more often than not we need to keep our mouth shut unless we are asked to give advice. Most of the time all that people need is the voice of truth instilling that quiet confidence in them, and reminding them that they have what it takes.
I have no doubt that I am the person I am today because I had two amazing parents that believed in me (and still do believe in me). Still today, I am surrounded by an amazing wife, and siblings that know I can change the world.
When you believe you can do something, and I mean when you believe it with your entire being. Every ounce of your body is willing and committed to that belief it is at that point you become unstoppable. At that moment you are on your way to truly becoming the person you were created to be.