Greg Smith Keynote Speaker

Leadership Expert on Resiliency and Inner Strength – Greg helps leaders and teams “Go Full-Strength!” for maximum productivity.

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Inner Strength insights from the world of sports, disability, entertainment, business, politics and everything else I’d like to share with you.

“Ready, Break!”

Borrowing a football chant of unity and inspiration for the real world.

By Greg Smith

As we kick off the 2013 football season, I am throwing some appreciative love back in time over 100 years to men named Paul Hubbard and Amos Alonzo Stagg. Hubbard was a deaf quarterback at Gallaudet University. Stagg was a visionary player and coach who is credited for innovations such as the padded goalpost, hip pads, the position of linebacker, the forward pass, the lateral pass and many others. But in my opinion, players today can be most appreciative to Hubbard and Stagg for one of the most important developments in the game: The Huddle:

Some say Stagg invented the huddle. But don’t let that be read off your lips by anybody in the Gallaudet family or you will have a fight on your hands! They say Hubbard realized that sign language signals could be intercepted by the opposing team, so they gathered in a tight circle to block the signs from view.

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You don’t have to be a football fan to recognize a huddle. It’s when players get together for communication about the next play, and to hear words of inspiration before the next snap of the football. The huddle started in football but has spread to every sport. At the end of the huddle, after instructions have been given, teams will “break the huddle” by shouting something useful in loud unison.

“Ready, team!” Or “Ready, teamwork!”

Or maybe it’s a simple team motto like like “Ready, All In!” And sometimes, teams take it all the way old-school and say what Stagg’s teams used to say: “Ready, break!”

Last Thursday, I was on the phone with my friend and associate Dr. JR Harding. We had scheduled this meeting to share resources and to support each other in the pursuit of our career goals. Dr. Harding is seeking to further his speaking and consulting career. And I wanted to tap into his vast contact database for possible speaking engagements.

The meeting was productive and inspirational. I gave him some great feedback and introduced him to some people that can help immediately. And he gave me introductions to contacts that are very likely to become new clients.

Not only did we share resources, but we also got each other fired up! Both of us filled our role to inspire the other and make each other visualize successful outcomes of what we had planned. We scheduled a follow-up meeting and then it was time to get off the phone.

“As soon as we hang up the phone, I’m going to do this…”

“Okay, man and I am going to do this…”

“Alright dude, let’s push each other. Let’s make sure we see this stuff happen for real!”

“I’m with you brother!”

Then the words jumped right out of my mouth without any planning: “Ready, Break!” And before I could finish saying the second word, JR spontaneously responded on cue: “Break!” And we just hung up the phone!

I was so fired up after that conversation that I went on to have one of the most productive days in recent memory. I kept all of my commitments to JR, and he kept all of his to me.

Dr. JR Harding – My Teammate!

I think Dr. Harding understood exactly where I was coming from because before he was quadriplegic, he was offensive lineman. His neck was broken when he turned to walk away from a fight and a young man attacked him from behind, throwing his head into the ground. 15 years later, he broke his neck again in a vehicle accident. But since then, he has enjoyed a successful career, earned his doctorate degree, and found the love of his life. His complete story is told in his autobiography, “Now What?” You will learn more about JR in his guest blog on this site coming soon. JR is one member of a tight network of people that I consider to be my teammates. They care about me. They push me. I care about them, I push them back. And we all have enjoyed success.

From now on, every time I get off the phone with a teammate, I’m going to end the conversation the same way I’m going to end this article. We’ll see if it catches on. If it becomes a national trend, just remember where you learned it.

“Now get out there and give it 110%!”

“Ready, Break!”

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