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-My name is Clay Clark, business coaching trainer. I'm the CEO of thrive15.com. And today I am joined with the NBA hall of fame living legend two time gold medal winning and two time NBA championship winner David Robinson. And he's going to be teaching us today a little bit about the concept of excellence when it comes to wanting to grow your business.
Now if you get a chance to Google search David Robinson you will quickly find that he has been as successful off the court as he was on the court. You see this guy has lived an entire life with this pursuit of excellence, this idea of doing more than he's supposed to do. And although he's a human that makes mistakes he's aimed high. And he's lived a life of excellence. So who better than to teach you an I about the concept of living at our peak and living in a spirit of excellence than David Robinson?
At thrive15.com we believe that knowledge without application is absolutely meaningless. So as you're watching today's business coaching episode you need to go ahead and ask yourself what do you need to do to specifically apply these principles in your own life and business. Otherwise today's episode may just prove out to be more meaningless than an ejector seat for a helicopter.
Dave Robinson, how are you sir?
-Clay, good to see you today.
-Hey, thank you so much. We're here to talk about excellence as it relates to branding and how to grow your business. And I know it seems kind of like a weird topic. But you stand for something. I stand for something. So whether we want to or not when people hear the name David Robinson they hear something. They immediately get either a visual, or an attitude, or a perspective that comes to their mind. And all of us this is true. And so some of us are known nationally. Some of us are known locally. Some of us are known within our neighborhood. But we all stand for something.
And what we're talking about is how to stand for excellence. And David the co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, famously said, "we don't get a chance to do that many things. And everyone should be really excellent. Because this is our life." In your mind why is it so important to be excellent?
-Because it inspires people. It draws people to you. It gives you credibility. It expands your influence and your community. There's a lot of reasons to be excellent. Business coaching truth: The problem is that it's not that easy to be excellent. And it's not that common to be excellent. But certainly the benefits will outweigh any of the cost of being excellent.
-What if I'm an entrepreneur watching this business coaching episode? And I say I am doing something I'm not excellent at it. And I want to do something else that I'm not really excellent at. And I kind of want to do something else. And so we will look around and we go, wow I'm pretty below average in all these areas. Would you encourage me to then focus on one area where I could be excellent? Or is it important just to choose maybe a few things that you can focus on?
-Yeah, absolutely. I mean being a jack of all trades and the master of none is I think a negative. Because if you can do a lot of things then you should be able to do one of two things very, very well. If you're naturally gifted, being a jack of all trades means you're naturally gifted at some things. But that you just haven't committed yourself to working towards those things. So I would always encourage people to focus. Find out what you're really good at. Find out what you like, what you think you have your most potential in. Because there's always signs that point towards one thing over another.
But you can't multitask. Everybody talks about that. I don't think that's a real thing. We are all gifted in certain areas. And I know almost no one who's gifted in every area. Business coaching tip: So it's the best for you to find those one or two areas where you can be excellent, where you could be the best, and zone in. And go ahead and work on those.
-And just to make sure that people watching this business coaching episode are understanding a lot of times we hear of Steve Jobs. And we say, well he started Apple, and he ran Pixar, and he-- And we say and, and, and. What we don't realize is he ran Apple for a long amount of time, we're talking 15, 20 years he was focused in one area. And then he went into the next venture for years. And so when we look at your career when you go on Forbes and you look at your bio it says David Robinson gold medal winner, hall of fame basketball player, and it lists all that. And then it says you started a school. And then it says, well now you're doing an equity fund. And it's easy to go, well see he's doing everything.
Each venture takes years. And each venture takes a certain level of commitment to be excellent. And I don't know who said it. But I always think about if it's worth doing, it's worth doing in an excellent way. So for me if I was going to play basketball my goal was to be the very best basketball player. So I committed time, energy, focus towards being the very best basketball player. When I opened a school I said I want to open the best school. So we got the right teams together. We spent the time in planning, and putting it together, and bringing in the right community partners to be excellent.
So every venture as I started my private equity fund my partner came from Goldman Sachs. That's the gold standard in private equity, in capital. So I said let's be excellent. Let's put together a team that is going to do an outstanding job. And I know what my talents are. I bring my talents to the table in each equation. But excellence is my goal in each area.
Learn more about how to grow your buisness with mentors like David Robinson
-Let's just give a little context to it to help with business coaching. You played basketball, essentially, from, what, your junior year of high school? Or when did you start playing basketball?
-My senior year in high school.
-Senior year of high school. You didn't play until your senior year of high school.
-My last year, I grew three inches a year and by the time I was a senior, I was six seven and I said, well, it probably makes sense for me to play a little basketball.
-That is so amazing. OK. But you played basketball then in college. And so you basically played 20 years of basketball from high school to when you finished playing in the NBA.
DAVID ROBINSON: Yes.
-And then you started the Carver Academy. How many years did you do that where that was the only thing that you were really focused on?
CLAY CLARK: Yeah.
-Well, it was one of my main focuses while I was playing. So I had a focus to play and to maintain what I had achieved and accomplished, but Carver was a very strong focus. And it has been now for the last 12 years. Some of my responsibility is less now that it's a charter school and it's run by a charter management organization.
My focus now is to building the brand and to raising funds in San Antonio and building the number of schools we want here. So each project, each thing, requires a certain amount of commitment and time and energy from me in order for it to become excellent. But I'm committed in each project for it to become excellent.
-I want to bring this up because I'm talking to an entrepreneur right here, he's watching this business coaching episode, and they're getting this, OK? It's the guy who has a landscaping business and he's also doing power washing and he's also going to be teaching taekwondo. And he's got all three going and he's got all this [INAUDIBLE], which is great.
But it's really important-- and I know for my career, I do, basically, marketing. I help people grow their companies through marketing. So I can stay in that zone of marketing and it's fairly easy for me because I do believe that I've got to a point where I'm fairly excellent at that job. But I know where I'm good at and I kind of stick there. But it takes years to do that. And I think that if we're not careful, we might think that serial entrepreneurship might be a great thing, but, really, I mean, it's focus.
-Business coaching truth: Well, the problem is that you're only as strong as your weakest link. So if people know you as a business owner that doesn't provide good service, and that you were a cheapskate, and that you cheat people, then that will really to your other businesses. If people knew me in the financial world and they said well he loses your money, well then everything else that I try to do, they would relate that. And if they knew me as a basketball player and they said he's a guy who cheats, who doesn't give good effort, why would I ever give my money to a guy like that?
So they know me as a person who has tried to give to his community, tried to give to his team, try to be excellent, not only individually, but as a team. So why would I not carry that excellence on to the financial world? I know how to put together a team and I know what it takes to be the very top level team. So why would that not apply to my next venture? So branding is important and a great business coaching tip.
-You're going to go to a NBA playoff game to go watch the Spurs play and the Spurs have had a certain level of excellence for almost two decades now.
DAVID ROBINSON: Absolutely.
-And yet, there's a ton of mediocrity in the NBA. Just like in anywhere, there's a ton of mediocrity in the NBA, in business, in life.
DAVID ROBINSON: There is.
-Why in your mind is mediocrity so common? Why is it that a guy can get drafted in the first five picks and just not apply himself? And he's like, trying to pursue the rap career and he's not good at that. And he's trying to pursue the basketball career, not really good at that. And why is mediocrity just so common in the NBA and other areas? What's that all about?
-Well, you're asking the kind of a loaded question. Mediocrity, by its business coaching definition, means that most people are in that category. So it's common because it's mediocrity. It's half of the people. That's what most of the people are doing.
-Business coaching lesson: So in order to excel, to be excellent, to distinguish oneself from the pack, one needs to outperform the average. So that's part of the challenge. Everyone else is doing what? What do I need to do to be above average, to reach above mediocrity? Those are the questions you need to ask yourself.
-David, Aristotle, the famous philosopher, he says, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." This is a great business coaching quote. So it sounds like-- let's just say that you were-- you obviously do well in the NBA but now you're running a school. You basically, what, look at all the schools? What are they doing? Let's do it better. And every area let's make it a habit. Is this kind of the idea? You're just looking at what everybody else does and do it better?
DAVID ROBINSON: Oh, absolutely. You have your own ideas, obviously. I have my thoughts of how it might be best to encourage these children, to point them in the right direction, what they need for success. And there are certainly the things that distinguish me from the next guy, inherently, but I can also use those other tools in my hand by surveying the landscape.
What's the competition doing? What are the comparables? And how can I be more efficient, more effective? Those are great things. But also, as a person, I just believe that if I'm going to educate a child, I need to educate them physically, spiritually, mentally, every way I need to get them sharp. Because those things contribute to the whole person.
And that's what's going to make a productive citizen, not just teaching them what's in the books. So I have my inherent differences. And then there are some differences that we can all look at and compare. A good business coaching tip is it's important to kind of look at all parts of the equation.
-Is it possible to have a bad reputation but to be excellent? Is it possible? I mean, if you're committed to excellence and have a bad reputation?
-Yes, that's possible in a twisted way. You can be excellent at what you do and people still not like you and not appreciate what you do. There are those people.
[TRUCK BACKING UP]
It certainly, I believe, cuts down your opportunities and other things. But excellence is a habit, and even bad people can't have good habits and consistent habits and be thorough and be diligent and all those things. Yes, that's possible. Business coaching lesson: But excellence, by its very nature, what it means is to be above all others. It's something that I think if you really want to achieve excellence and you want to be above all others, it's a kind of a complete picture. It's not just that you do something better than the other people but that you practice. That everything coming together is above the norm.
-I just want to ask that because I know in the NBA, it's common where a guy gets a reputation for being lazy. And an athlete will start with the NFL. And someone will say this guy takes plays off. And then you hear the athlete say, well, I don't know why I have that reputation. Well, probably because you take plays off. It's sort of your reputation. And I think it's-- you have always had a reputation of being a hard worker, which I think is easy to say, but what did you do on a weekly or daily basis during your career in your attempt to be excellent on the court? What kind of things did you do that were just a little different on a daily basis? What was kind of your routine?
-Well, I mean I think my mindset was really what distinguished me because I felt like I had a responsibility to those-- especially as I become a leader and as I demonstrate a measure of excellence, I am a leader. I am responsible for others that are following behind me. I am a role model. Business coaching tip: I mean, you cannot avoid that and I think that's what drives you to excellence. Because you realize that I have to set a tone.
I have to be a business coaching example. I have to continually improve and grow. Now we can look at college and there's maybe some college players who are excellent, who even have a bad reputation for work ethic, but that doesn't mean they're not excellent. But it doesn't mean that at some point, it's going to catch up to you and you will not be excellent anymore.
Business coaching lesson: So I think excellence also involves continual striving to be the best, to stay above the average. So you know there's a lot of things I think that go into that, and if you really want excellence, if that's in your heart and in your mind, it's an evolving process of continual improvement.
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