Recently I read, “A person becomes the average of the five people closest to him.”

The statement caused me to stop and take inventory with regard to friendships and relationships in my life. Perhaps you should do the same?  Studies show that we spend like our friends spend, talk like our friends talk, live like our friends live, kids play on the same team … the list goes on and on.

I know for me personally, the books I read, the environments I frequent, where I eat, the words I communicate are all affected by those closest to me.

Last year I went bowling with my son. Wow what a great experience that was! However when you stop and think about it, the value of friendship is a lot like bowling. Have you been bowling recently? If so, perhaps you noticed that some people choose the option of bowling with bumper rails in their gutters, usually the smaller children.

The bumpers are designed to keep the ball on track and make the game more enjoyable for the little ones. Occasionally, adults who are bad bowlers will even volunteer to bowl with the kids just so they too can be protected by the bumpers. 

Don’t you wish they offered bumpers on the other areas of your life? Actually, they do. They’re called friends, and they determine the direction of your life. If you are surrounded by friends who value character and integrity, you are much more likely to stay on track yourself. If you isolate yourself and go it alone, chances are you will soon find yourself continually in the gutter.

As a leader, you may be tempted to think, “It’s lonely at the top.” But let me remind you that loneliness is a choice. I’ve heard it said before: “If you want to have a friend, you must be a friend.” I would take it a step further by saying, choose friends who value character and integrity. Because remember, stupidity is a choice too. 

You weren’t designed to lead alone or go it alone through life. Find yourself some friends to be your “bumpers” who will keep you on track. Your integrity and influence are on the line!




Happy New Year 2018!

I truly hope 2018 is the best year of your life both personally and professionally. As a baseball scout or coach I’m sure you realize that you have influence. You have the unique ability to impact others around you. However one of the most important characteristics that you must display for maximum influence in 2018 is Integrity.

Integrity is essential for a leader, because people will not willingly follow someone they cannot trust. And trust is built when you consistently act according to your beliefs. When you have integrity, you have what Peter Drucker called “the final requirement of effective leadership.”

Recently I heard a coach say, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Quite honestly, that is one of my least favorite sayings. It’s a catchy, but destructive thought that does more harm than good, and here’s why: You can’t truly “make it” if you don’t have integrity. And integrity is the opposite of fake. It literally means being whole and undivided – being the same on the inside as you are on the outside. If “fake it ‘til you make it” is a philosophy that you live by, then you’re setting yourself up for failure in the long run.

However I understand why people have embraced this thought. We live in a culture that rewards image – often over integrity. We promote people who appear to have their act together, and encourage others to do the same. Never mind any warning signs about their character. As long as they look good while they produce, our culture is satisfied. Why is that? Why do we reward image over integrity? The answer is simple: Image is easy. Integrity is hard.

So in 2018, how can you make sure you are building your integrity in a culture of image? Here are three questions you should ask yourself in order to maintain your integrity:

AM I BEING TRUE TO MYSELF?  Living with integrity begins within. The only person in the world you can’t hide from is..you! To be a genuine person, you have to be able to live with yourself and the decisions you make. If your actions would cause you shame or embarrassment if they were ever found out, then you’re not being true to yourself and your values. If you feel the need to hide your actions from others, the first person you’re deceiving is yourself.

AM I BEING TRUE TO MY MENTOR?  Mentors are the people who have chosen to invest in you. They believe in you and your potential, and have shared their time and wisdom to help you maximize it. If your actions would disappoint them, then you’re not putting enough value on your mentor’s investment. You’re shortchanging the process, and hurting both yourself and your mentor.

AM I BEING TRUE TO THE PEOPLE I AM INFLUENCING?  You are surrounded by people who are affected by your actions. Be they family, friends, athletes, coaches or colleagues, your choices and decisions impact them on a daily basis. If you are not living a genuine life with them, it will ultimately damage the relationships that you need to thrive.

It’s easy to believe that integrity doesn’t really pay off. In fact, that seems to be the message our culture champions! Why do things the hard way when you can just “fake it ‘til you make it” – especially when so many people seem to succeed overnight through shortcuts and shams? It’s tempting to believe that you can or should do the same. After all, everyone wants to get to the top, so why not take the fastest route?

Here is the reality: the fastest way to the top will not keep you there. People who shortchange their internal character inevitably fall. It’s not a matter of if, but when. And when they do, it’s always a long drop back to the bottom – and a much steeper climb the second time around. If you want to get to the top and stay there, the key is integrity. Sure, it takes time, and it often feels like an unnoticed effort, but be patient. Integrity will pay off in the end.

Your integrity is the foundation for lasting achievement. If you build it, success and significance will come. And you’ll be able enjoy them for a long time.

Happy New Year 2018!





Sadly, we live in a “Me First” society. Get all I can, can all I get, and sit on the rest mentality. Don’t believe me? Take a picture with a group of people and then look at the picture. The first place your eyes will go too is…Y.O.U!

This week you will make several important decisions, however you will make one particular, very important decision. You will either be a taker or a giver. What is the difference? I’m so glad you asked.

TAKERS: Are self absorbed; Toxic; Complain; Blame; Selfish; Bragging; Negative; Feel entitled; Gossip; Kill the dreams of others; Take from others; User of others; Cut corners; Do only what’s best for them; Are never satisfied.

Givers: Prioritize others before self; Listen; Understand who they are; Take responsibility; Share; Patient; Encourage others; Serve the team’s interest before themselves; Understand that satisfaction comes from giving, not getting. 

You see, there are two kinds of people and leaders in this world: Givers & Takers. The takers may eat better…but the givers sleep better.

This week it’s time to make a decision. What type of leader will you be?  What type of character will define you?  Will you be a taker or a giver?  Only you can make the choice. I encourage you to chose wisely!

Have a great week!



What is one way you hope to be a giver this week?


As a professional baseball scout, one of the most important priorities I park on while meeting with young prospects is regarding Character. It is fascinating listening to these young high school and college prospects define the word Character and what it means to them.

In a sentence, here is a clear definition of the word Character: “The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.”

I believe it is a normal human desire to be concerned about how we look on the outside. Truth is, there’s nothing wrong with that. However what can get us in trouble is worrying more about how we look on the outside more than how we really are on the inside.

Our reputation comes from what others believe about our outside. However our character represents who we really are on the inside. The good news is that if you focus on being better on the inside, than the outside, over time you will also become better on the outside.

Why do I say that? The Inside Influences the Outside. More than twenty-five hundred years ago, the writer of Proverbs noted that “As we think in our hearts, so we become.” That ancient idea has been both echoed by other wisdom writers and confirmed by modern science. Coaches teach the importance of visualization for winning. Psychologists point out the power of self-image on people’s actions. Doctors note the impact of positive attitude. What we believe really matters.

We reap what we sow, more than we sow and later than we sow. What we do or neglect to do in the privacy of our daily lives impacts who we are. If you neglect your heart, mind, and soul, it changes who you are on the outside as well as the inside.

Character is a personal quality that embodies many important traits such as integrity, courage, perseverance, confidence, and wisdom. Unlike your fingerprints that you were born with and can’t change, character is something that you create within yourself and must take responsibility for changing.

When we fail to make the right character choices within us, we give away ownership of ourselves. We belong to others or to whatever gains control of us. And that puts us in a bad place. How can you ever reach your full potential and become the person you can be if others are making your choices for you?

Winning in life is more than just money, it’s about winning on the inside and knowing that you have played the game of life with all you had and then some. If you want to be successful, you must prioritize building your inside ahead of your outside.

Helen Keller likely said it best; “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Be your best this week. Make character the crown jewel worth chasing.

Have a great week!




Earlier this week I stopped by a local Starbucks to get a cup of coffee on my way to an in-home meeting with a 2018 high-school draft prospect and his family.

As I waited for my cup of coffee, I looked closely at the coffee machine with all the beans piled up high in the grinder. I made this elementary perception; “Without the grinder, there is no coffee. Beans are just that, beans.”

Leadership works much the same way. You can spend all of your time trying to stay fresh and on the cutting edge as a baseball coach or scout by saying yes to everything and everyone, however at some point you have to be a strong grinder to not only be great at what you do as a coach or scout … but a great leader as well.

The daily grind gets a bad wrap. I’ve been around some who don’t even like the terminology “grinder.” Few, if any, wake up excited about the grind. That’s because most like taking the path of least resistance.

However what if that changed for you? What if each day you approached the grind as an opportunity to bring value into the lives of your teammate, staff or athletes you lead?  What if you equated the grind with your chance for influence? The grind, is never a grind, if you love what you do.

One of the keys to staying focused on the grind is the ability to say no! This is a skill that may leaders fail at and it impacts their ability to lead effectively. It will actually burn a leader out. They will soon become a “Dead Leader Running.”

As a leader, saying no is OK. You have permission. You must say “no” to some good things, so you can say “yes” to the best things!

If what you’re being asked to take on or do does not line up with your core mission and values as a team, staff, department or organization, it’s OK to say, No!

Walk away. Go the other direction. It may even be a good thing – but it’s not necessarily the best thing. Learn to say no and keep grinding forward.

The best leaders are the ones who consistently show up and discipline themselves to do the little things with excellence. Remember, never perfection, but always progress.

Embrace the grind, stay focused, stay disciplined and learn to say no. Doing so will maximize your influence!

Have a great week!