Monday Morning Edge (11/23/2020)

Hello from Charlotte, NC!

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the week ahead—a week to slow down, connect with loved ones, and be thankful.

There’s been a whole lot to be ungrateful for this year, but this week provides us with a time to do the opposite. To pause. To consider all that’s good.

Personally, I’m thankful for the opportunities this year has allowed: more time with my wife than we planned, plenty of new friendships, a new job, and more. I don’t deny that things have been hard, but there’s also been a lot of good.

And that’s something to be thankful for.​

Now, what do you say? Newsletter time?

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​The latest original articles from me.

What does it feel like to get coached by me?​​ (2 minute read)​

It’s not enough to have the best content, to be the most knowledgeable coach out there. 

To become the best you can be, you need to make the jump from considering what you can give the athlete to taking the athlete’s position and asking, “What does it feel like to get coached by me?”.

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Around the Web

The best of what I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to this week.

1. Patrick Collison on the only thing that matters (YouTube, 11 min)

Two weeks ago, I wrote What’s the worst thing about being a coach? where we talked about coaches’ struggles to scale their time and knowledge. While I still absolutely believe that to be true, Patrick Collison (Stripe CEO) talks about why focusing on maximizing user happiness (a very unscalable strategy) is actually at the heart of successful ventures.

How this relates to coaching:

We’re often so wrapped up in improving “efficiency” that we forget to focus on delighting others.

Coaches should try to remember that the players you coach, the staff you work with, and the stakeholders you work for are all people — not robots. 

As we do our important work, it’s important to remember that life isn’t a quest for hyper-efficiency. It’s something to be experienced and enjoyed in all of its inefficient messiness. The coaches who remember this have a leg up in a world that’s chasing the wrong goal.

2. Do Things that Don’t Scale by Paul Graham (Article, 20 minute read)

Along similar lines, this Paul Graham essay from July 2013 highlights the benefits of doing things that you would never be able to do once you reached scale.

My main takeaway from the article was on the importance of your customer’s experience. As Graham put it:

It’s not the product that should be insanely great, but the experience of being your user.

Of course, there’s nuance there. The product should be great, but the experience should potentially be even greater. By doing things that don’t scale, you can radically improve the user experience — the most important thing.

How this relates to coaching:

You can be the smartest coach in the world, but if the experience of being coached by you is bad, all your knowledge is for naught. If you want to learn more, you’ll want to read my latest article (in case you skipped it earlier).

3. Theme Thinking ​(​YouTube video, 6 minutes​)

Shoutout to Greg Revak for reminding me of this excellent video.

As we come up on the end of the year, people all around the world are setting their New Year’s Resolutions. And by the end of January 2021, the majority will have abandoned their resolution.

This video provides a different approach to self-improvement. Instead of locking yourself into a goal, this video suggests that you focus on having a guiding theme for the year.

​How this relates to coaching:

​We can develop our own coaching theme for the year. Here are some possibilities:

  • The year of listening: Being intentional about the way you listen. Choosing to be present in conversations that you might check out of.
  • The year of adaptability: Thinking of your coaching as a series of product iterations that get better with feedback.
  • The year of simplicity​: Trying to reduce complexity to generate greater clarity, purpose, and vision for your team.

​While the theme will be different for everyone, having a general focus for the year can give us some direction that guides our day-to-day actions. 

All throughout the year, we can reflect on how much we’ve grown in our theme and adjust accordingly.

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What, Why, How: The Coaching Framework I Learned from a Former MLB Pitching Coach​ (​9 minute read​)

How to Get Lucky: Focus On The Fat Tails​ (​14 minute read​)

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That’s all for today’s newsletter.

Thanks for giving me some of your precious attention. I don’t take it lightly that you choose to read this over many other competing voices every Monday.

Here’s to a great week,


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