Believe Like Steve

By: Alex Shattuck

Before you, or your team, can reach the next level you desire in your industry you’ll need to fight the battle of current belief systems. If you, or your team, have limiting beliefs you’ll find your business limited with its accomplishments. 

If you were to ask my nine year old son what he is going to be when he grows up he would tell you he’s going to be a professional football player. He even has some insider information on which team he’s going to be drafted by! I haven’t had the heart to tell my father that it will not be the Detroit Lions. If you were to ask me that same question at his age I would have most likely told you the same thing. If you were to ask me that same question in middle school I, again, would have responded the same way. It was some time in high school that I determined that having my sites set on the National Football League wasn’t a reasonable expectation. 

What was your nine year old goal for yourself? Professional athlete? Rockstar? Famous actress? All of the above!?!? At what age did you stop believing? I’m guessing most of you were still all in throughout elementary school. I’d be willing to bet that at least half were holding strong to that belief throughout those awkward middle school years. For the remaining dreamers you probably came to grips with your fate in high school, a few may have stretched those dreams into the college years. 

Many would argue that coming to terms with the reality of the hands we were dealt isn’t a bad thing. I’d probably be in the that camp if I didn’t happen to witness something truly amazing within this example I’ve laid out above. There’s one boy that had a crazy nine year old dream, he kept it through middle school, he held on strong in high school, he almost let go in college but refused to quit. He was dealt the same hand we were dealt, no advantages, no gifts that stood out. There was one of us that continued to believe- I’d like to introduce you to a boy named Steve. 

Although Steve peaked at the right time and had a very strong junior and senior year, he was not a highly recruited goalkeeper coming out of high school. He did end up walking onto Oakland University, a small division one school outside of Detroit. Steve had a lot of ups and downs during his time at Oakland. During these years we’d speak often on the phone about the struggles we both were having while trying to balance college sports, school and relationships. I’ll never forget when he told me had been evicted for throwing a monster party in his apartment. He was out of money and refused to ask his parents for help so he lived in a tent in the woods until the end of the semester. 

Steve continued to fight with an underdog chip on his shoulder. He eventually went onto earn the starting spot, along with a scholarship. He, once again, peaked at the right time and had a real strong junior and senior year but went un-drafted by the MLS after graduation. Not being drafted may have disappointed Steve but it certainly didn’t stop him. He landed an opportunity to try out for the MLS’s Real Salt Lake but was cut from the team. Another setback but he didn’t quit. He did what only Steve Clark would do and he started backpacking through Europe. He literally cold called teams in hopes of landing an opportunity to play soccer at the next level. He believed he was good enough when nobody else did. 

The hard work eventually paid off and Steve ended up on a team in Norway and started to show the soccer world what he knew to be true the whole time. 

“I just realized that I needed new eyes on me, because I really believed in my abilities to play goalkeeper.” Clark said. 

Once again, Steve fought until he secured the starting spot proving he was capable of playing professionally. This success in Europe grabbed the attention of the Major League Soccer world back home and Steve was given a shot with the Columbus Crew. He soon became the starting goalkeeper and made it to the MLS cup in 2014. Steve has continuously played professionally in, both Europe, and the United States ever since. 

So am I one of those guys that’s going to tell everyone to forever recklessly chase their dreams? Should you still be unemployed trying to get your rock band to take off while living in your parent’s basement well into your 40’s? Probably not. If that’s what you’ve gathered so far, I’ve failed to deliver the point. (or you missed it) My point is that complacency kills our belief system and being a high achiever in business, and life, we need to first believe we are both capable AND deserving of accomplishing our goals. 

Limiting beliefs are learned so I believe they can also be unlearned. I could go back and change one thing about the goals I set for myself at a young age, regardless of the goal, I would have kept the the extremely high goals that I had set myself LONGER. As for the business, I would have set higher goals for the business SOONER in my career. Even if you are unsuccessful in pursuing a lofty goal you’ll find yourself, and business, in a far greater position for chasing it. If the goals you set for yourself, and your business, don’t draw some criticism and doubt from those around you- you are playing it safe. Playing it safe may save you from embarrassment and maybe save you money in the short term but it also may cost you much more money in the long term and is guaranteed to kill your dreams.

To achieve the mission of decreasing your hours while increasing your profits you must be willing to set high goals and relentlessly pursue them. Killing complacency in your, and your team’s, belief system is a must win. Here are the steps to get buy in from the team:

  1. Set clear goals 
  2. Communicate them to the team
  3. Explain why you’ve set them
  4. Share what’s in it for them to achieve them
  5. Discuss and work through the limiting beliefs they may have
  6. Take action
  7. Continue to coach the activities, track results and hold the team, and yourself, accountable

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You probably started your business with dreams of having a high income and freedom. You may have found that you sacrificed one, if not both, of these objectives. In this book Alex masterfully applies the brutal lessons he learned in Iraq to business here at home.