It drove him crazy.
Several years after he retired from the NBA, Magic Johnson became the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
It didn’t last long.
Because when you’re great, you know what it takes to be great. You know the work that needs to be put in. The focus you need to have. The mindset. The hours. The sacrifices and commitment. The not-so-positive feedback you need to hear.
So when he had a bunch of guys on his team who said they wanted to be great, but they simply weren’t interested in being and doing what it takes to be great, it was pretty much impossible for Magic to not come unhinged.
His players lacked discipline. Instead of putting in the extra work on the basketball court, they’d rather play video games all day and hit the clubs at night.
They were all talk, no action.
VIPs at the club, but didn’t make the playoffs.
Needless to say, Coach Magic didn’t return for the next season.
He lasted all of 16 games.
That was the year 1994.
Fast forward to 2022, when our participation trophy generation with their oh so fragile feelings is all growed up …
These days, to be a coach is to walk on eggshells. It’s living with an ever-present underlying fear that you’ll say the wrong word, with the wrong tone, with the wrong look on your face.
It’s having to ask for permission to give your honest feedback.
“Hey, do you mind if I, uhh, tell you the truth?”
Coach Magic’s team lacked discipline. These days, people don’t just lack discipline, they’re just plain soft.
Over these past few years, I’ve seen a lot of popular online business coaches smile and tell their group coaching clients how “amazing” their really bad ideas are. It’s like group coaching calls have attained “safe space” status.
I can’t blame them, though. Because there have been many times when I was afraid to say what I really thought on a coaching call, out of fear that the individual on the receiving end of my honest feedback — not nasty feedback, just honest feedback! — would bawl their eyes out and ask for a refund.
I don’t like refunds.
And I don’t understand how anyone can possibly improve at their job, business, sport, whatever, when they:
a) don’t have the discipline to actually do the work required to make improvements
b) can’t handle feedback other than “you’re amazing!”
Is it just me?
Apparently not. Because last week I stumbled upon Jackson State University head football coach and NFL legend, Deion Sanders, expressing the very same frustrations in a YouTube video.
Who would have thunk that the infamously loquacious Deion “Prime Time” Sanders would ever have to censor himself in a locker room full of 18- to 21-year-old men who can all bench press at least 300 pounds … while being emotionally made of glass?
“Hey team. It would really make me feel happy if you worked a little harder on defense. Please apply more pressure to the quarterback. Pretty please. Thanks in advance. Love you.”
Today on the podcast, Coach Prime Time kicks off a 3-episode series on having the DISCIPLINE to become as great as you say you’ll become, and being open to the honest feedback that will ultimately make you better at what you do.
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