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Some of life’s journeys are harder than others.

And as a business leader, chances are you’re the kind of person who takes the road less traveled.

If you’re on that path, I’m proud of you. It’s not for the weak.

There’ll be A LOT of times where you’ll find yourself at a crossroads.

But here’s a thought for you, brave soul….

What if I told you there was an easier way to get to where you want to go – no matter how hard the journey?

What’s the secret?

The answer is going to shock you, I promise….

Are you ready?

You sure?

Invest in your map.

Maps are drawn by people who have been there.

They’ve made the journey, maybe even a few times.

And they’ve marked every cliff, every broken bridge, all the peaks, and places where there’s quicksand.

Right now you may be thinking, “I’m independent. I do everything myself! I don’t need a map!”

Trust me, I understand where you’re coming from.

Running a business can sometimes feel like a lone, treacherous journey.

You may feel that the only way to go through your unique business journey is on your own.

And a map written by someone else can feel like a questionable shortcut…

But here’s the thing…

Maps don’t force you on any one path. They just light the way.

Just like a good mentor.

A mentor can serve as your navigator, a guide that shines a light in the dark.

They’ve “been there and done that” and have the knowledge and insight to help you understand the right path to your destination.

Finding your navigator is an entirely different journey.

Can you think of someone, right now, who can help you light the way?

In the past 19 years, I’ve spoken to thousands of teams and organizations, all struggling with similar problems…and I’ve taken those learnings and condensed them for the good of any persons smart enough to pick them up.

Check out my upcoming Bootcamp.

It may be the purposeful way to connect with a mentor that you need right now.

This month, I want you to think about allowing yourself to become vulnerable.

Because it is only through opening up that you can accept generosity.

Your mentor is out there, waiting to help you with a lantern and map in hand.

Want to learn more about The Off Season Bootcamp? Check it out here.

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  If transitioning back to the office isn’t going as smoothly as planned….

….if these months of working from home have taken a toll on productivity….

….if you sense company morale is getting lower….

….if breakdowns in communication are happening more frequently…..

What’s the first step to getting back on track?

It may seem like too large of an endeavor to address all these problems at once. 

But you can start zeroing in on what’s really causing the issues in the first place.

We’ve developed a 13-question test to help team leaders take a frank look at how their teams are REALLY doing – and keeping your people dialed-in, productive, and feeling supported. 

Take the quiz here

An old connection puts you on to a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity.

Drinks with a friend leads to a business idea that could turn your whole year around.

Can you guess what these events have in common?

They’re a direct result of being aligned with the right people.

Well, I’d expand on that…

Some people will tell you that it’s not so much what you know, as it is who you know.

Nearly every major win you’ll experience in this life will have something to do with knowing the right people at the right time.

That’s why this week’s emails are all about relationships.

Be on the lookout for tips on how you can:

  • Recognize and cultivate potential relationships of mutual benefit
  • How to get other people to value being connected with you
  • How the strongest networkers (read “Sharks”) leverage their opportunities

In the meantime, check out my bestselling book “SWIM: How a Shark, a Suckerfish, and a Parasite Teach You Leadership, Mentoring, and Next Level Success in our Shopify store.

Not on our Shark Bite list? Join here.

What do people like Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, and Elon Musk have in common?

Yeah, they’re billionaires and household names. But how did they get there?

Here’s the simplest way to boil it down.

Each of these “giants” tapped into the same power.

One of the greatest powers on Earth, really.

They chose a mission. And then they committed 100%.

Jeff committed his all to Amazon when it was just an office in his garage.

Years before anyone called him “The Oracle of Omaha”, Buffet committed to growing Berkshire Hathaway

Not only did they make obscene amounts of money – they became institutions.

That same power is available to you – but not without discipline.

We talk about training yourself to harness the power of commitment in one of our favorite audio training programs, “Habits and Rituals“. You can check it out here.

And be on the lookout for this week’s Shark Bite, where we’ll be talking about….you guessed it…the importance of commitment.

Not on our Shark Bite list? You’re really missing out. Sign up here.

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Who Are You, Really? – 2 Minutes

“What happens to you, happens to me”.

No matter your political views, your racial background, or your personal beliefs, we all can agree on one thing:

That tragic video set our world on fire.

Across the globe, millions are calling out, demanding immediate change.

But Sharks, change is a funny thing.

Real, earth-shaking change – the kind that brings better leaders, better communities, makes better human beings – starts on a battlefield only you can see.

Real change starts with addressing who you really are.

Not the social media version of you. Not who you show to your employees, your coworkers, your clients, or even your friends. The REAL you.

Today, I want you to take an honest look at how you stack up against these Four Qualities of Real Leaders.

Don’t let the moment pass.

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To Love and Genuine Change,

Walter Bond

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In my coaching program, I gotta cost, a concept called the “Black-Tie Effect”. Oh, I wish I had more time. It’s called a “Black-Tie Effect”. If you don’t own your own tuxedo, and go to at least six to ten black-tie events in your market, you suck. There’s no better way, for you, to distinguish yourself as a top business leader in your area, than to go to black-tie events. I didn’t say fundraiser. Black-tie events attract the top businessmen in your area, and what happens at a black-tie event? You sit at the table, and in America we ask two questions. What are those two questions? What is your name, and what do you do? What is your name, and what do you do? What would happen, in your local marketplace, you became known as a philanthropist? What would happen, in your local marketplace, you were known as being charitable? What would happen, in your local marketplace, if all the other business owners, who are highly successful, not only know your company, but they know you personally? Can I ask you a question? How many black tie events do you go to? When I stopped playing basketball, I had no money coming in, and all I would do is go to black-tie events and be around highly successful people. But I would sit at the table, and they would ask me my name. The second question I was waiting for. What do you do? Well, I’m a former NBA player, but now I’m a motivational speaker. And at those black-tie events, you know they attract not only successful business people, they attract the good guys too. See, snake business guys who only care about money, they don’t go to black-tie events. People who go to black-tie events care about the community. People who go to black-tie events make a difference in their community. Let me tell you something, I noticed right away at the black-tie events, these were the successful people that I wanted to know, and I began to build leverage, I began to build a brand by building relationships with the top business people in my community because I was willing to go to black-tie events. There’s nothing more important you can do, business owner, than to buy you a tuxedo to go to black-tie events, because everybody in the building, is gonna ask you your name and they’re gonna ask you what you do. What would happen if your company became endeared to some charity in your community? Ladies, what better way is it to build the culture? Some of you wives, why don’t you drive this, he’s busy trying to make money, you drive to charity, you found the organization, and you make sure that your company is synonymous with some philanthropic area in the community. There’s nothing better than changing a life! There’s nothing better than blessing somebody who’s less fortunate! I’ve made a commitment, I looked in the spirit of people who were trying to get to that next level. Start your business with charity, there’s no better methodology than that.

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My college career was over. I got offered a job to become a hospital administrator. Two-year program, $75,000 job. And right before I took the job, my daddy called me on the phone. Let me tell you about my daddy. When I was a little boy, my daddy would always pick me up. When he came home from work, he picked me up, when he saw me in the nursery after church, he picked me up. No matter how long he works, no matter how tired he was, my dad would always pick me up. So, when I had my kids, I would always pick up my kids. When I got home, sometimes I was tired. They have a bottle in one hand, and they just lifted up the other hand, and they knew what daddy was supposed to do. My job was to pick them up. This a spiritual interaction. When you pick up a child, it is a spiritual transaction. When you pick up a child, you change their perspective. When you pick up a child, all of a sudden, they can see the world the way you see it. I don’t care what your children have done, there is nothing they can do for you to stop picking them up. “Well my daughter’s a drug addict,” I don’t care, pick her up. “My son messes up,” I don’t care, pick him up, I don’t care. You pick them up. That is your job, mama, that is your job, daddy, that is your job, grandma, that is your job, granddad. Your number one job is to pick them up and change their perspective. My saddest day, is one day my daddy looked at me said, “Boy, you too big, I can’t pick you up anymore.” When he couldn’t pick me up physically, he would pick me up emotionally. He would pick me up spiritually. I had a great dad because he would always pick me up, he would always change my perspective. So, my daddy called me on the phone, he asked me a question. He said, “Son, you had a tough year. What’s next?” I said, “Dad, I’m gonna be a hospital administrator.” He said, “Not bad, but let me ask you a question. Son, do you believe you’re an NBA player? You cannot produce your self-image, son. If you don’t think so, go take the job. But if you believe you’re an NBA player, go for it.” My dad had the self-control and discipline and waited for my answer, and my answer was yes. “You’re right, Dad. I can work the rest of my life but playing in the NBA is a dream I’ve had ever since I was a little boy.” He said, “Go for it, son.” I limped back into my coach’s office with the cast on my foot. I said, “Coach, what do I need to do to play in the NBA?” I asked that question four years in a row. With tears in his eyes, he said, “Son, I heard you was a mama’s boy. But I’m here to tell you, you’re just like your daddy.” But what, what do I need to do to play in the NBA? He said, “Do two things, and you can play in the NBA. Lose 20 pounds and shoot the three-point shot with range, and you can play in the NBA. I think you should be a motivational speaker son, but if you lose 20 pounds and shoot that three-point shot with range, you can play in the NBA.” I lost 20 pounds and every day, I would shoot 500 shots a day, every single day. I got invited to training camp with the Dallas Mavericks, and not only did I make the team, I became the first ever undrafted rookie free agent in the history of the Dallas Mavericks to start opening night. Could you imagine what was going through my mind? I’d not started a basketball game since high school! I got to the arena, and they dim the lights, they put the spotlight right on me. Right through the spotlight, I saw my mom, my dad, and all my brothers and sisters. They surprised me at the game. Then I saw my dad. I just pumped my fist and he pumped his fist and tears streamed down my face. Thank you for all those timeouts. Thank you for making sure I was always home when the streetlights came on. Thank you for making sure I could always hear your voice. Thank you for always changing my perspective. I know what it feels like to sit on a bench. I know what it feels like to get knocked down. I know what it feels like to have a hope and a dream and nobody believes in it, but a few people. Go for your dreams. Don’t live life with regrets, go for your dreams. Don’t live life with regrets, go for your dreams. Don’t live life with regrets. I could always have my daddy’s voice. You have children, you have grandchildren, can your children and grandchildren hear your voice? I could always hear my daddy’s voice. He would say go out have a good time, play with your friends, but don’t let the streetlights beat you home. When I started my motivational speaking business, I called my dad and said daddy I’m gonna be a motivational speaker. He said, “Son, you think you can be successful at it?” I said, yes sir. “You think you can make a lot of money out of that?” I said, yes sir. He says, “Go for it.” That’s all my daddy said to me, was “go for it”.  So, when I think about life, when I think about my goals, one thing he did for me as a father was to make sure I was always where I was supposed to be. He would have me write my goals down, and he would check in periodically, basically asking me, “Walter, where are you supposed to be?” Fathers, do you realize how powerful that is? If you ask that question of your kids. What are your goals, what are your future, who do you want to be when you grow up? And every now and then, check in by asking a simple question, “Where are you supposed to be?” The bell is ringing, and I came to ring your bell and ask you the question, father, where are you supposed to be? And ask that question to your children. Where are you supposed to be? And don’t you quit, until you’re number one.

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The first game of my senior year, I’m in great shape – but unfortunately I broke my foot. I had never been hurt a day in my life. My very first game, I broke my foot. I threw me a pity party. My trainer came to me, says, “Walter, we can get you back for the big 10 season. We can get you back, son. We can get you right back in five weeks.” I said, “Roger, when I come out of surgery, I want you to take me to the stationary bike, put me on the bike, and tape my cast to the pedal. “But Walter, when you come out of surgery, you’re gonna be on morphine, you won’t feel like it, go back and rest.” I said, “Roger, I don’t have time to rest. Can you do that favor for me? Can you take me to the stationary bike, put me on the bike, and tape my cast to the pedal?” As soon as surgery was over, he carried me to the stationary bike, put me on that bike, and he taped my cast to the pedal, and I had a customary workout that was symbolic that I don’t have time to rest. I had tears in my eyes as I pedaled their bike, and I thought to myself: I can’t quit. I can’t give up. I came back in six weeks, we playing against the Ohio State Buckeyes on national TV. They had a guy named Jimmy Jackson at that time. On national TV, me and Jimmy Jackson are going at it. In the first half, I have 15 points, five rebounds and five assists, and as the first half ran out, I pulled up for my patented baseline jump shot, and I felt my foot break again. I’ve been trained to follow through. Every day in practice, my coaches say, “Walter, shoot it like you own it, baby! Shoot it like it’s yours!” Even though I felt my foot break, I still follow through, and my last college basketball shot went in all net, because I’ve been trained to follow through. [Applause] You have to be disciplined every single day, and train yourself to follow through on all your fundamentals, and that’s how you’re going to be successful you have to do it when you don’t feel like it. You have to do it when you feel discouraged. You have to do it when you don’t feel healthy. You have to do it when you’re under the weather. Every single day, you have to train yourself to focus, and commit to your business, and follow through.

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There’s a fight right around the corner, just waiting for you. You better learn how to fight. You got to get up every morning, fighting, clawing, scratching. You got to beat depression, you got to beat anxiety, you got to beat the naysayers, you got to beat that little voice in your head that’s telling you, you’re not good enough. When I think about fighting, I’m not talking about people. I’m talking about situations, I’m talking about circumstances, I’m talking about opportunities, that sometimes you have to fight for. Come on life, let’s fight, let’s go! Come on job, let’s go, come on career, let’s go. I’m gonna go to war. That dream is not going to sit there and wait for you to come and get it, you gotta chase it. Like a man possessed, you gotta go get it. But to win fights, you gotta have stamina. You gotta be ready to fight and bounce back. Punch and counterpunch, jab and jab back. Let me tell you something, life is a series of fights. The worst thing you can do, is run away from your fights, because if life is a series of fights, and you run away? You just ran away from your life. We got to fight, we got to fight. We can’t lay down. When you lay down, you get ran over. When you’re about to fight, you know the fight’s coming, your adrenaline begins to pump, your heart begins to race. Your mind gets right, and say, “Look, I’m not gonna just fight, I’m gonna win this battle, and sucka, you’re going down!” Some of you guys are out there fighting for your life, why? ‘Cause the doctor told you, you have cancer. You better not feel sorry for yourself. You better not lay down and quit. You better get up and fight, because a happy spirit does a body good, like medicine. Fighting for your future. Fighting for your dreams. Fighting for success. When you come over the pressure, you raise your arms like a champion. When you overcome bankruptcy, you raise your arms like a champ. When you come over divorce, raise your arms in victory. Sometimes in life, you get caught with a good one. You didn’t see divorce coming, you didn’t see cheating coming. You didn’t see being fired coming. You got sucker punched. Oh I been sucker punched before, but that doesn’t mean I can stop fighting. We gotta get up, baby. When you get sucker punched, get up! If you get hit in the gut, get up! If you want to win this war, you gotta learn how to fight. One battle at a time. One war at a time. You might not win every fight, but you’ve got to win the war. You got to have the right attitude, the right mindset, the right mentality. Not just to fight, there’s going to be a war, and you won’t quit until you win. There’s going to be a war, and don’t you quit, until you win. Let’s fight, let’s fight, let’s fight, and let’s fight.

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