In Episode 85, Dion von Moltke, Founder of Blayze and former Pro Race Car Driver, and Mike Semenza, Lead Blayze Soccer Coach and former pro and college player, talk with Phil about Blayze, their online coaching platform, fostering coaching...
In Episode 85, Dion von Moltke, Founder of Blayze and former Pro Race Car Driver, and Mike Semenza, Lead Blayze Soccer Coach and former pro and college player, talk with Phil about Blayze, their online coaching platform, fostering coaching relationships online, how car racing and soccer have taught them life and leadership lessons, sacrifice, prioritization, resilience, adversity, mental performance, and more. Specifically, Dion and Mike discuss:
Resources and Links from this Episode
Phil: Welcome back to how soccer explains leadership. Thanks again for being a part of the conversation. Thank you for your download. And you know, I just hope with all of these episodes, and I know Paul as we talk about what we're doing here, I really just hope that you're taking all that you're learning from this and you're using it to help you in your leadership to help you in all the things that you're doing, every aspect of life.
And obviously in the stuff you're doing around the world of soccer as well. Today, we have Dion Von Moltke and, and Mike Semenza with us. And as we were talking about before recording Dion was was a race car driver, which is, which is pretty darn cool. I know that my kid plays Mario Kart and, you know, bangs into walls and stuff, and it's a lot less implications when he does that.
But as Dion said, he could probably take my son in Mario kart and I hope so. If in fact he won some, some races about you know, against some guys who weren't a little mushrooms, so, and then Mike Semenza as well. He's, he's got some great experiences as a soccer player. He's a great [00:01:00]soccer coach now as well.
And you know, he did some stuff with the galaxy. You can go check out both of their resumes, we'll have links to the Blayze website. And Blayze is a company that Dion started. Co-founded and Mike is the lead soccer coach in this, and you'll find out what that's all about here in a few minutes, but before we, well, first of all, welcome guys.
[00:01:20] Dion: Yeah. Thanks for having us on. We're super excited to be here. I love talking Mario kart love talking soccer loves talking leadership. So we hit all three right off the bat. No,
[00:01:28] Phil: I try to please. That's my job. That's I'm trying to make it as easy as possible for us
[00:01:33] Dion: to have this conversation. I guess.
I think it's a success right off the bat. I think we're good to go then. Right?
[00:01:38] Mike: Game of Mario Kart.
[00:01:41] Phil: Ah, I got it. I better practice. I better practice. I got to get, and I think we're still on the Wii in our house, so I don't know. Yeah, so we're, we're old school. We were doing, you know, Wii fit and stuff.
That's how I stay in shape, you know, whatever it takes. So by the way, that obstacle course I'm pretty money on and not gonna lie. All right. So, I just love always [00:02:00] just to start it off by saying, Hey, I just want to hear your stories. We got both of you guys here If you want to find out about Dion's racing days, you can listen to his Ted talk, which we'll have a link to that.
It was kinda, it was a cool Ted talk to just hear some stories about how you overcame some, some different things. We'll talk about a little bit of that later. But just your story, how you got to be where you are today and just really how you got to be passionate about helping train up youth in the, in the respective sports that they're, that they're a part of.
[00:02:28] Dion: Do you want to kick things off on your end?
[00:02:30] Mike: For sure. Happy to? Yeah, so obviously a big part of my life. Even as a little kid, but I came through the club rank system. I played high school soccer. I played NCAA division one soccer. Played some semi-pro soccer played a little bit of professional soccer, so I can kind of consider myself to have experience in pretty much every rank at the game.
And you know, it really helped shape my life growing up, the lessons that I learned from the people throughout those stages. And then to bring me into [00:03:00] my coaching career. That's the quickest, shortest bio I can give you as the soccer player, as a soccer coach, but yeah, I grew up in San Diego and then ended up right here in south lake Tahoe.
And who knows where I'll be next? Oh man. We're neighbors.
[00:03:13] Phil: I didn't realize you were in Tahoe. Cool. I'm right down the street and Folsom, so
[00:03:17] Mike: awesome. Oh,
[00:03:18] Dion: cool. Very cool. And then I, you know, my background, I know it's still the ones thinking why is a race car driver on this podcast? Right. So I grew up, you know, driving and we grew up playing all the sports and play soccer at a very, very young, small level.
It was always a passion of mine as well. But took a different path is I realized I had a decent talent and, and at the time carding, which sort of, kind of most race car drivers start and within a year started winning state national championships, competed at world championships and competed professionally for 10 years there and fortunate to drive for some of the top teams in the world when some of the biggest races in the world.
And, you know, I, as that career started to wind down, I did put a lot of us did a lot of professional athletes do, which is coach. Right. And that's where I [00:04:00] started to notice in initially I thought this was all motor sport, specific problems. It's like where our little weird bubble in the entire sporting ecosystem.
I've since learned some of the things that I was seeing or. Challenges exist across the sports world and beyond the sports world. And what I started to know was just when I went to sort of your amateur grassroots track day events, think about this, like a high school or middle school soccer game in the middle of the country somewhere.
What did I found myself coaching this sort of, one of the top premier coaches in our industry was often the exact opposite of which. YouTube guru or local gurus would be teaching. And then let's take a step back. So why, why are people learning from kind of nonprofessional and hotdog high quality coaches?
It usually comes down to accessibility. Who are they? How do I make in contact with them and affordability? Good coaches are really expensive. At the same time, I had a lot of my peers that were professional coaches that world-class of what they do, but actively chose not to coach because your average coach in the United States makes $35,000 a year.
And how am I going to support my family, be able to do that. [00:05:00] And I'm really passionate about coaching. I think it makes a massive impact in someone's life, whether it's a good coach or a bad coach, they're going to make a big impact. So how do we get more good coaches, make them more accessible, make them more affordable and help those coaches make a better a better kind of life and living.
And that's where it kind of, the inspiration behind blade is really kind of picked up. And I actually kind of decided, because I was building blaze to take a step away from competing professionally and pursue building this full-time because it was really where my passion
[00:05:29] Phil: was. Yeah. You want to just continue on that and just share about, you know, what Blayze is.
I mean, obviously you have the website on, I think it's just Blayze, B-L-A-Y-Z-E.io. And so you can go there. We'll have that in the show notes, but can you share about what it is exactly? And then so people can get, get involved with it if they so choose.
[00:05:48] Dion: Yeah. So essentially what our major goal here was, and we took a step back is when we look at sort of how coaching should work, what proper coaching is, the professional level, it is one-to-one and very [00:06:00] personalized each and every learner.
And when you looked at sort of what the current coaching ecosystem looked like is you had a lot of. Sort of non personalization or non-quality in person that was still really expensive. And then if you look at the online ecosystem, it's all of these very generic courses where, you know, it's you know, for the basketball Steph Curry teaching how to become a better three point shooter, right.
And as much as I want to become a better three point shooter, I can't go watch a course and just immediately get better at it. Right. There's a little bit of learning she could do, but for, for someone to really take it to the next level, we've got to see what that person's doing, how they're doing it, how they implement what I say as a coach, and then, you know, iterate off of that, right.
To enter into process. So what we want to do at blaze was. Essentially, how do we build an online infrastructure? That's still, one-to-one exclusively focused on each individual person, connect them directly with high-quality professional level [00:07:00] coaches, and then how do we help those coaches scale themselves?
So it's all built around video analysis, which the secret here is video analysis has started to become more known in amateur sports. But the secret is if you go learn on the professional level across almost any sport it's used every single day, if I'm working with someone in person I'm using video analysis.
So I essentially said was, I could do all of this in person, but in person, you know, it's at the low end for a good coach, a hundred dollars an hour at the high end, it's easily more than a thousand dollars an hour as a coach. For me to, for me to scale my business, I have to, I only thing I could do is charge more, but the more I charged, the less people I can work with and the secret was, well, I could do all of this remote as long as it's personalized.
And by doing this remote, I can then fragment my upfront cost as well. So the way that place works is after. Of any skill level any age you can come to our platform and they can get connected with the dedicated coach. Someone like Mike Semenza himself. And [00:08:00] we, we started in car racing. We have, you know, indie car drivers.
We have hymns the weather, WeatherTech drivers. Most of them are still competing at a professional level. We're now really focused on the soccer and basketball market. So we have some amazing athletes of the NWSL and people like Mike, and we don't just go get a professional athlete and say, Hey, you're a coach.
Yeah. Mike personally checks every single coach on our platform, curates every single coach on our platform. We have them do practice coaching sessions, where you can see how they coached and curate them. And so the way it works is this athletes can film themselves, whether it's running through training drills on the field and their backyard, or if they've got game foam from their huddle VO, or even filming off the phone, they send that through to our coaches, our coaches.
So then remotely deep dive into what that athlete's doing. The video of that athlete recorded a very personalized coaching session, 10 to 15 minutes long, but that is available for you to watch rewatch any time and maybe have some premium features built around that so that you can hop on an intro call with your coach monthly calls with your coach chat messaging with your coach [00:09:00] individual weekly training programs and every single week that are based off of what those video analysis coaching sessions say, and then what you could be doing to improve so early.
What we're building here is a platform that replicates, you know, the relationship that professional athletes have with their coaches that one-to-one depersonalization, we're making it more accessible, we're making it more affordable so that anyone can access that level of coaching.
[00:09:23] Phil: For sure. And just for, for you, Mike, I mean, as far as. You know, Dion, you obviously, you said you played soccer as this kid in the youth levels and stuff, but as you're getting up in the ranks and you know, they're obviously playing on teams, they're going to have other coaches. So first of all, how have you seen what you're doing and been able to do through blaze?
How do you, get that interpersonal relationship through the, through the video? I mean, we've, we've kind of learned a little bit during, during COVID that zoom is, is effective in a lot of ways. And then it's, it's, it's tough in that kind of interpersonal sitting across that you can only [00:10:00] get from having lunch with someone or just, you know, how to calm or be in there, you know, in, in different ways.
But then also how are, how does this compliment, I'm going to make an assumption there compliment that the team that they have and the coaches that, you know, to not be in conflict with, but to be supplementing and complementing to.
[00:10:20] Mike: That's a really great question and a really good point on top of that.
And I'll follow up the question and address that point. But you know, for me having that experience, like, you know, starting out as a kid, first of all, we, I think we can all agree that having video analysis and your individual training or even team training was pretty much unheard of growing up. So Dion is right.
And when he says that, you know, this is kind of a market that's taking off in the professional sports realm, and then especially, you know, we're trying to keep up with that progress at a youth level. And so yeah, not having experience with it at all, w as a player growing up, it was [00:11:00] very, very interesting to making that transition as a coach, to when I stepped in at the LA galaxy and seeing how many resources that these kids had available to them, filming every training session, filming every game, breaking it down for an hour after training.
The intensity that went into that was, was so refined and so dedicated to that athlete. And you know, when I finally stepped away from the galaxy, it was hard for me to find something that, that, you know, in the coaching realm gave me that availability to be so on top of the athlete and such a big part of their development on a every day perspective and even every hour perspective.
I mean, we were, you know, training three hours in the morning and then going to school and then having film sessions and gym sessions. So that was like the deepest dive I could have taken into being so hands-on with an athlete. And then when I moved away from that professional realm, it was kind of hard to find that again.
And that's [00:12:00] where my story with blaze kind of begins. Having those features as a coach. And like you said, Phil, you know, COVID definitely impact your availability to be hands-on with an athlete and give them that, you know, that knowledge and everything that you have for them. And blaze was the first place that I found that online, I could really do that.
I could become a part of what they were, these athletes who were doing that home become a part of what they're, you know, thinking about off of the field, you know, having that connectivity with them, the availability to have a messaging platform on our system, that I can reach out to that athlete and vice versa.
They can reach out to me at any time if they're working with me and always have those feedback loops in place. And so I think that blaze was the first place that I felt like I was kind of back at in the realm of the galaxy, you know, like in a professional investor just giving everything you have to us players.
So, but yes, there is, [00:13:00] there is that fine line between, like you said, in your second point of what are they doing in their team trainings and how do we not step on their toes? You know, you want to be another coach for that kid, but you don't want to be sending conflicting messages from what they're hearing in their team environment.
So, you know, Dionne and I have kind of spent a long time refining this process of how you pass on knowledge to an athlete and do it separate from the team learning environment versus the individual learning environment at home. And I think, you know, we're getting to the point of where we have that down with our app.
So we're really excited about that. Yeah.
[00:13:41] Phil: You know, I, I think of that as you're talking about that, and it's a similar deal where I have as a high school goalkeeper coach and. And, you know, when I talk with my keepers, I say, look, if I say anything here, that conflicts with what you're learning from your personal trainer or your coach at your [00:14:00] club, let's talk about.
And I'll give you why I teach it this way and you tell me, you know, and you can ask them the same and they'll share it and you choose, you know what, and that's your decision and, you know, and, and if it doesn't work for you and you don't choose my way, I'll tell you that I was right. But
[00:14:14] Dion: I think just to jump in there, right.
The important part here is the level of personalization that our coaches like coach Mike can do and can take the time to understand, Hey, what is like, what is the system that you're running in? What are your coaches expect out of you? And because we have that level of personalization, we can wrap that in.
And one of the things that we're hearing kind of on the, on the school side is a lot of schools have players that are going to individual coaches themselves. But have no oversight on the quality of those coaches, what they're learning, what they're accessing. So sort of the, the kind of the next iteration of blaze that'll maybe in six months from now is where the schools that had coaches themselves can start to get insight into.
If they're working with blaze, who their coaches are, what they're learning, what their training programs [00:15:00] are in a way that's not more work for the head coach, right? Because that coach has focused on systems and the entire team practices less on the individual players. So let us take over that individual technique building, but because of that personalization, that wraps up underneath the program and how the head coach wants to coach,
[00:15:15] Phil: All right. Well, cool. Well, we'll definitely have the info to get, you know, you guys gave a great rundown on, on blaze. There we'll have the link there. We can go in and if you're interested, there's all kinds of different sports there. Car racing, you have go-karting you got basketball and soccer and I'm know I'm missing one or two, but but you can go and check that out and we'll have that link there, but I want to get into a little bit more of the leadership conversation, so you guys are now, you're leading different aspects, you're leading the, the blades that fully, and then you're leaving different aspects of this and, and, and innovating and dreaming up stuff. And as you said, I mean, even there, I love the idea that you say we're continually tweaking and we're, we're learning.
And we're we're using, which you know, is, is a, is a big leadership lesson to have that posture of learning and humility. but I just want to talk with you both, and maybe we'll start with Dion here since we just had that [00:16:00] conversation with you there, Mike, but start with you, but be thinking about it.
Mike is coming to you next, but what, what about, you know, car racing? I know, I will say one of the most, you know, recommended documentaries on the saw how soccer explains leadership has actually been F1 drive to survive, right? Great series. Right. And I've, I've, you know, as I've said, I have to watch it when, you know, really on low volume or with my headphones on, because it is loud.
And I usually watch things at night. My wife wouldn't be happy with that. But I feel
[00:16:29] Dion: like the sabot race cars to help you drift asleep, though. Exactly.
[00:16:33] Phil: Yeah, exactly. It's just, it's so constant too. So that's, what's so nice about it. but what have you learned from car race, your experience in car racing and in, in, in the, the team aspect of car racing that a lot of people don't see as well, but what has it taught you about life and leadership?
Just the actual car racing. Gosh. I
[00:16:52] Dion: mean, to be honest with you, it's just so much, right. Like my life was motor sports growing up and it's, I could go [00:17:00] in probably a thousand different directions. So I think the first thing is, you know, what you just touched on there is a lot of people don't realize how much of a team sport, motor sports is.
Right. You don't see you know, other drivers within the team on the pitch working together. Like you wouldn't see the soccer field, right. But behind the scenes, you know, our teams were 20, 20 people often at the low end where it's crew members, mechanics, truck, drivers, engineers, team owners. Sometimes I had in some of the racing, it's sort of like a relay race where you might see a runner passed the Baton.
When we come in for fuel the tires, we would actually have drivers switch out cars. So, you know, first and foremost, it's the leadership ability to, as the driver, you're often the face, the leader of that team, right? You're the one out there in the equipment making it perform. So first and foremost, Understanding of how to communicate in a way that drives people forward.
Right? There is. If you're not having a good weekend, A lot of that can be down to car performance, but it can also be down to driver performance. Right. So if the, let's say the car is maybe not [00:18:00]doing that well, how do as a driver, how do I work with the engineers? How do I communicate properly that I don't hurt morale, that I bring up morale, same thing with our crew members.
So we have a bad, like a mistake. How do I help them forget that and move onto the next thing? Right. So I think that the major part here is that I learned was communication. But the other second part of this, I would say is compartmentalization being able to, you know, as an athlete, you know, when you've got a life outside of the sport, right, you might have, you know, life issues, relationship issues, interpersonal issues.
How do I separate those away from performance and not let those bring me down and bring the people around. So if I had to look at like the two major things, I would say that those are the two kind of pillars that I would say that I learned in motor sports that helped me today.
[00:18:44] Phil: Yeah, I love that. All right.
All right, Mike you're up and then I want to come back to you D on to talk about a few of the things in that, in that Ted talk too, and I'm sure Mike you'll have things that it will jog for you on soccer, but what about you? What did you do a couple of the lessons that you learned from your years, whether it's playing [00:19:00] coaching just from the game itself that you use in the leadership and just outside the game?
[00:19:05] Mike: Yeah, for sure. Like, like Deon said, you could go a million different ways with this, but I think something you said Phil in addressing this question, when was the word humility? And that really stuck out to me when I was making that transition from a playing career to a coaching career. And I had to quickly separate my mindset of.
Thinking that my approach was the best approach as a coach and kind of, kind of taking a step back and thinking like, I can't give every kid that I'm working with. Exactly what I did growing up, because like Dionne just mentioned every single athlete that you work with, every single coach, every single parent, everyone is different and you have to take a different approach and you have to adjust your approach to that person.
No matter who it is. And so, like I said, making that, that transition from a player [00:20:00] and where you're in that position where you're trying, you're like a sponge, right. You're trying to absorb all this information from coaches, parents trainers, all these people like Dion was thing that goes into a single race or a single match.
And then stepping out of those, those playing shoes and going into coaching shoes and learning that, you have to then take all of that knowledge that. Years absorbing and trying to learn about, and then figuring out ways to communicate that to, to the athletes that you work with and know at the galaxy was upwards of 50 athletes that I had to manage on a daily basis.
And that was like a shock to my system. You know, I went from managing myself as a player and the teams that I played on, like the onset, figuring out ways to fit into the team environment learning how your skills matched, what the team needs to all of a sudden being in charge of all that as a young kid, really as a 23 year old kids.
So, that was a huge learning lesson for me. And to me, it showed me that the lessons that I learned along the way, it made [00:21:00] it so easy for me to become a role model. For those kids that I was working with those 13, 14, 15. That crucial time in that soccer career where it's, you know, where we know Phil it's really make or break at that age in Europe.
And it's starting to become that way in America here. And, and being able to be in that position of being a role model for those kids was something that really struck a chord with me. And, you know, still to this day, that's, that's kinda why I do this. That's why I've joined blaze and, and trying to figure out more ways to take all of that knowledge and keep reaching more and more people throughout the world.
And obviously online is the best way to do that.
[00:21:37] Phil: I love that. And I just love hearing that. What you said is that realization and leadership that the people that you're leading, the people that you're working with are not. Right. And, and so as a coach, as a captain, on a team, as a player and as a player, so the players, if you're listening, you know, young players right now with your parents [00:22:00] listening right now, or by yourself listening right now, first of all, kudos for listening to this, cause this has been a few lessons, but remember that, like you're not your coach and, you know, and to ask the questions and to make sure they understand who you are and are coaching you and not just, you know, and I think teachers need to learn that too.
Like, you know, your students are not you as a parent. I need to know I have five kids and. Three of them are wired completely different from me. And so, you know, two of them, I mean, one's my mini me and I, I can know him, you know, and but the others, I had to learn them. I really didn't even the one. I mean, I joke with my mini me, like I have to learn them and we have to do that.
And that's such a great lesson that sports absolutely can teach us if we let it. And that's a lot of these lessons that we're talking about here. And, and on that note, Dion, I want to, I want to come to you and you said something. in your Ted talk, that that was a great lesson. And I, you know, I'll come to you Mike, after it too, just cause I know you'll have some stuff to say about it too, but the idea of [00:23:00] sacrifice and prioritizing in our lives, like we need to do that in leadership and in life in anything we do.
But I think one of the things you said in, in the auto racing was it was in the context of you saying I went from wanting it to happen to needing it to happen. First of all, and I want you to talk a little bit about what you meant by that in the, in the Ted talk and you say it in the touch. And some people aren't gonna listen to that.
But then also what that, how that played out in the implications of that when you were in college and in a fraternity and you had to make choices and all athletes have to make choices and all leaders have to make true. So can you talk about that, that idea and that concept as an athlete and as in life, I actually
[00:23:36] Dion: just want to jump on that what kind of, to hit on your last point on the personalization a little bit more one of the things that I'm, I love about kind of learning more and more about what we're doing here is we really try to leverage as much science as possible.
And there's a really fascinating study that came out called Bloom's two Sigma problem. And essentially what, what this researcher found was when he took kind of [00:24:00] a normal student athlete and you have your sort of conventional one size fits all learning. And what he did was. Started to apply this sort of the one-to-one focus for every one of them.
And the results from this were the closest thing to a superpower of ever seen. So what they found was when you took your average line with the one kind of in the 50th percentile and you gave them access to the one-to-one coaching on average, they went from the 50th percentile to the 98th percentile in terms of competition, a two Sigma increase, which is like a ridiculous amount of improvement just by unlocking giving them individualized coaching, individualized learning, which to us as sort of.
Y we are doing what we're doing today and the need of that personal. So I just want to tackle that because this is such a fascinating study that came
[00:24:56] Phil: out. Yeah. I love that. You said two Sigma and then you, you, you [00:25:00] clarified it for, for us non studies plus amount, ridiculous amounts folks. That's all you need to know.
So that was good from the
[00:25:09] Dion: 50th percentile to the top 2%, exactly like crazy jumping on from the, you know, one of the things that sort of an unlocked for me was that like, I want it, but I don't really need it. And I don't even, it's really hard to put the difference there into, towards like what, what that looks.
I thought I was working hard. Like I never thought I wasn't working hard. I always consider, I always heard like, Hey, you're kind of a mature kid. You're working hard. Like you're one of the better ones and sure. But when I look back at kind of the difference that jumped for me, I looked like I was not working harder.
I didn't know what hard work was. Right. A lot of us like, you know, my soccer days, I want to my team practice. And when the team practice was done, I had fun. I didn't know what staying after practice meant. I didn't know, training outside of, of normal [00:26:00] team practices and all of that. Isn't like, that's just the bare minimum that you should be putting in.
Right. Even if you're just out there to have fun and you're doing multiple sports, it's putting in an extra work. And so this is kind of core to what we should be doing. And for me, that unlocked came after, you know, I was competing at the professional level and I wasn't doing really well. And I came off a really rough race where I was at, had a big crash and my dad kind of sat me down and was like, Is this going to work?
Like, do you really like, do you think you can actually do this? And to me, that was like my biggest supporter at the time you'd never questioned or anything like that. Having your biggest supporter to start questioning if this, if you can do it is a shock to the system. So that kind of heart re hardwired my brain a little bit.
And I was like, screw this, like, yeah, I can. And. The fact that you're questioning me, pissed me off a little bit. And then that'll and then that kind of unlocked a new sort of frame of mind where I didn't care how much work it was going to put in. I needed to put in as much as possible for me to go out there and prove myself if I can do this.
And it's, it's all in little things, [00:27:00] right? It's not all of a sudden I went from, you know, in the gym one hour, a day to 10 hours a day, right. It's studying film in the previous race week and understanding like the super finite specific things. The difference between good to great is not a thousand percent.
It's 1% it's little bits each and every day, but you've gotta be able to have that switch to the mind that brings up the intensity. And, you know, if I could give you an example, like when we started building this company from a one to two, from a want to have it to a need to have it is obviously, you know, my, when I started this and we started in motor sports, You know, it was a professional athlete.
I'll admit I've got a little bit of an ego. Right. And now that I'm trying to build this company, or we're trying to, you know, talk to race car drivers over about what we do, and we're struggling with it a little bit and have this mental switch on, like, I just gotta be able to get out there and do whatever we need to do to get the name out there.
And I remember, you know, there was a big go-kart in events and I got flyers put a shirt on. I went out to this [00:28:00] go-kart and event and here I am someone that's won some of the top races in the world. That's competed at the highest level, just at a local go-kart event, passing out flyers, being like anybody else.
Right. And that's, that's a big hit to the ego to kind of admit, like, I just need to go out there and be this dude passing around flyers of off my history. But that, to me, isn't like that flip from if I just wanted it. Do that probably not right. But I needed it. I had people relying on me. I've got investors in the company of people like coach Mike, I have employees.
I gotta go out there and do whatever I need to do to not make me successful, but make us as a company successful. And that's the kind of mental switch.
[00:28:36] Phil: This is interesting cause to, to take it to life outside of sports, that was the same idea I was leaving.
I was an attorney for eight years and I was leaving the law firm and I was in this process of raising funds because it was a nonprofit And I had a fall, which was a pretty darn well paid fallback that I kept saying to people, as long as I had a fallback, I would fall back to [00:29:00] it. Right. And it's that same idea of if I want to go work with the nonprofit, that's one thing.
But if I need to, which was basically I had my fourth kid and I just, I just ended up for, for several reasons, much longer story. This isn't about me. So, but it was this idea of, I need to, and so I left the law firm. And then it was a totally different motivation, a totally different motivator where you do those extra things.
You make the extra calls, you do whatever you have to do to make it happen. And I think that's a big difference. And I think that is, like you said, and I love what you said about the difference between good and great. We talk about that all the time with our kids is look the difference between you as a high school player, even, and the best of the best soccer players is consistency, because any kid can, can crack a shot upper corner once, but to be able to do it over and over and over to be able to trap that ball on your foot, like your foot's a pillow that's practice, that's [00:30:00] consistency, same with golf.
Everyone has that sweet golf swing. It's what keeps us coming back. You can do that once and around, but to do it over and over and over in the midst of battle in the midst of that. That's that stuff that, that makes the difference that. Needing it brings about, right. And it also kind of go in to the, to the, that other point of the sacrifice.
Maybe I'll go to you on that mic just as far as you know, to do what you did, as you said to play even D-1 college, which is the 7% of all youth soccer players go play anywhere in college. And, you know, 1% gets scholarships, all those different stats that we know, but what are the sacrifices and how do you prioritize that?
And at what point does it become that where, you know, you choose soccer and to train rather than, as I told my son the other day, he's, you know, he's 10, so I'm giving him some grace, but you know, when he had an afternoon and he just hoverboard and around, which is awesome. I love it. He's being a kid, but, [00:31:00] you know, and then he asked me two hours later, just so happened.
Do you think I can play pro? And I said, well, you know, do you have skills that and talent to be able, and he's a straight left footed striker, so there's already more odds. But I said, it's going to take a whole lot more work. And what makes those pros is when you're hover boarding, they're out juggling, they're out shooting, they're out doing these things at some point now.
So there is the balance. Right? So anyway, so with that, what does that look like? And what did that look like for you? And what has that taught you also about now that you're doing what you're doing with blaze? What did that, those lessons teach you to.
[00:31:34] Mike: Yeah, well, I think you're right, Phil. It really starts at a young age.
You know, I grew up in a family of five kids and doing the same thing that, you know, your kids are probably doing. I didn't watch TV. I was kicked out of the house during the day and said, go find something to do, you know, and, and you play a hundred different sports with the kids on your block growing up, depending on where you grew up, obviously.
But that's how I grew up. I grew up playing street hockey. I grew up playing street [00:32:00] soccer. I grew up playing beach volleyball, and you're right at, there was a point in my life where I looked in the mirror and kind of just said, like, what, what am I, what am I going to go for it here? I always knew I was athletic playing all these different sports and kind of standing out and I'm respectively, you know, out of a younger age and I got to high school.
I, it almost feels like first day that I stepped out to play football and got Kraft one time I was athletic, right. So I was the freshman quarterback, Hey, this is this guy getting past, this guy can move, you know, he's mobile. So go, Hey, it's QB, sneak it up the middle on JV practice. And the first time I got Kraft, I was like, oh my gosh, you know, that, that was a wake up call on.
And I remember going home and just kind of looking in the mirror and being like, what do I really enjoy most? And I always knew it was sports, but I didn't know which one it was. And, I stepped into high school realm and having to make that [00:33:00] decision. I started surrounding myself. Um, Who would become known on campus as the soccer people.
Right. And kind of stepped away from that, that football lifestyle really quickly. When the season ended and found myself hanging out with a new group of people who were talking about new things playing different sports and they just so happened to be into soccer. And I, I fell in love with not only this group of people, but that sport as well.
And so I made that decision. Kind of push some of the other things behind that I had done growing up and really, really focused in, on, you know, honing in on my skills that were required to, to Excel in that sport. And as soon as I took that deep dive into soccer, I did, like I just said, I started realizing it was more of an on the field thing.
It was when you stepped off the field, who were you? What, what were you doing? Who were you hanging out with? Who are you [00:34:00] surrounding yourself with? All of these things matter in the development of your skills, your mindset. And your whole approach into like your son just came to you and said, I think I want to go professional.
That's that's a quick thing that jogs into your mind, but it's years of training, it's years of investment, of money, of time of, you know, geez. My parents' time driving five kids around to the sports fields all the time. So yeah, there's, there's so much that goes into it, but I think the biggest lesson that I took, that my really wake up moment.
Was what I said was, you know, I, I was playing football. I felt like I wasn't hanging out with the right people on campus. I was getting a, sort of a reputation that I, that I wasn't comfortable with with getting. And so I made that decision to push those other sports behind dive into soccer and really take that approach of like, okay, I need to be a good person.
Like we talked about before, you know, I started becoming like in search of the best coach [00:35:00]and I couldn't find it. And I, I started looking for the best training and I couldn't find it. And so I kept diving deeper and deeper into it. And the more I learned about the sport on the field, the more I learned about it off the field as well, and how it can impact your life.
So it just sinks. I was awakened.
[00:35:16] Dion: One of the jumps been really quick. So I think there's one thing that I've now from working with thousands of athletes. I think it's really important to call out, you know, both Mike and I talk a lot about how we had this focus to get to the professional level. And one thing I think it's really important to call out here is even if you have no aspirations of playing at the professional level, even if your aspirations are just making the team, making the JV team, making the, you know, the varsity, whatever it is, this all applies, right?
This is all the same stuff you don't need to want to play at the professional level. And that's like kind of one of our big things from a branding perspective and whatever we're big believers is, we don't want to be here for just the elite level athletes. We want everyone, regardless of where you are to be able to get that level of coaching, [00:36:00] because you're going to take these lessons and apply them elsewhere in LA, here I am apply this to business.
I never would've thought anything I learned in motor sports would help that. And they gotta be doing this, you know, 10 years ago or five, just about three years ago. Right. So it's not, it was really important to
[00:36:12] Phil: call that out. No, absolutely. And I, I think it's why we're doing this show actually. I'm glad you did, because that's really a, a promo for this show really is.
Look, there's lessons we're learning from this even if you play for two years or one year, and you, you learn life lessons from soccer and other sports, which is why, you know, as you said, what am I doing? I've had a basketball that UCLA basketball coach on here. I had a, you know, a couple other, a lacrosse coach on here, you know, to be able to say, look, it's not just soccer.
Now soccer has some unique lessons as does auto racing as does basketball. Okay. But these are lessons that if you're not learning them, you're not getting the most out of the sport. And it's not just about getting physical fitness. It's not just about maybe getting a scholarship someday, which is, that's why.
[00:37:00] Stop it that's ridiculous. But it's to say, how can we, and I, I remember just a few episodes ago, actually, Jayda Merritt, who played over in England and we played on the us national team, you know, he said, look, the problem with most of our coaching is we're coaching to the 1%, not to the 99%. And so how can we do both?
And, and I loved that, that quote that, you know, and just talk, we were talking about specialization. We were talking about the fact that, you know, yeah, there are some, there is that 1% that we say, yeah, you need to specialize because you know, you want to go pro and this is, you have that special something.
But most kids, I mean, I remember the stat I saw with urban Meyer at Ohio state when he was the coach. he had 93% of his players were three sport athletes. That's at Ohio state. So, and, and what we remember him, and you talked about it, Mike, when we were kids, we played every.
It's the best settle, all the best. All, anybody who ever went to college was a three sport athlete. You know, it seems now I'd also remind you brought PTSD to me about my high school days when you're talking about getting a hit like [00:38:00] that, that I it's funny. I was a keeper and I'm a five-eight keeper. So I was a little crazy.
Right. And I, I loved contact in, in soccer. I love the collisions. I love going in. You have to be a little crazy. You have to have a little crazy. So I always see a keeper that good, that gets hurt right away with it. Like you can't be keeper. You gotta, you know, it's not going to happen. Sorry. But, but I remember in football, people were like, man, you love it.
And some about now, The two guys that had hitting drills, again, both of them played in the pros. So I was, I grew up down in Michigan. So, you know, you know, you know, back in the day I was south orange county, so it was football country and yeah, they were huge. They were big old, massive dudes who beat the crap out of me.
But but anyway, that's a whole different story. So, but I, I look at this and I go, I love hearing what you guys are saying. And especially given what you're doing, the fact that, you know, look, some of these players will go on some of the, you know, and it's part of our jobs as coaches is to be able to [00:39:00] speak truth into the lives of these kids and, you know, not to crush dreams and say, oh, there's no way you're ever going to do anything.
No. It's to say, look like here's the reality. You know, as I said to my son, who's five, eight, you know, kid who, yeah. He can shoot three pointers as well, but. Uphill battle to play college basketball right now. He's a great soccer player too. So he's just going to go play next year in college, but a whole different conversation.
But let's, I want to, I want to kind of finish off this conversation of, of leadership lessons from your various respective sports. We talked about resilience a lot on this show. A lot of coaches, you know, they say what's the main thing you want your players to have and know, and they say resilience overcome adversity.
Let your kids overcome adversity, but I've never talked to them. Auto racing guy about this. Right. So I love, I mean, we talk about it in soccer, like overcoming adversity is, is sitting on the bench, you know, and not playing that game overcoming adversity in car racing, as you said, is crashing into a wall and potentially having your car on [00:40:00] fire as flipped four times.
So I think that's a little different, so I just loved it, you know? And you literally crashed into a wall on a race that you
[00:40:07] Dion: were in a lot of, a lot of walls in my Ted
[00:40:10] Phil: talk. You showed the video of hitting a wall when you were leading and you know, you're going to win and then, yeah, sorry, what am I fighting?
[00:40:16] Dion: Sorry to
[00:40:16] Phil: rip the wound off or the band boom. But but that's, that's some adversity. And so can you speak to that as far as, cause you talked about adversity too, that you've had overcome with blaze. I mean, handing out flyers at a go-kart race, like that's, that's some, that's overcoming some stuff. Right.
So what did you learn from that in the, in those crashes, literal crashes that you got to overcome and get back behind the wheel, you know,
[00:40:42] Dion: So, you know, resilience, it's like literally my middle name at this point and everything I do, it's never easy the first thousand times. Right. Funny enough, the, the, the crashes is what most people think about when it comes to resilience, but to be completely honest with you, that the more challenging times for me personally, [00:41:00] the things that were harder for me to get over was the, on the opportunity side, going to have conversations with team owners and them not giving me the opportunity to be in their car, to be on the sidelines, watching the race happen and not being out there.
And that to me was the much harder part. And it, I mean, I would be completely lying if it didn't, if I didn't stay, it affected me to some level. Right. And what made me different than kind of anyone else. It's hard for me to say, to be honest with you all, I can only know my own perspective. I think if I have to kind of distill it down and take a step back, like, how did I, how do I deal with resilience?
I think there's probably like a two or three step way that I think about it. First I was really lucky to go to some training centers that focus on kind of mental performance, but I look at performance as an athlete overall performance, anywhere it's always technique mental, physical. And I think that the mental starting to get more notice, but it's still way under [00:42:00] noticed and just the ability to learn about.
How the breadth affects the entire system. How I can leverage the breadth of state at present, what present is, how the alpha beta waves in your brain work and just kind of the whole performance ecosystem there. So when I start to feel that stress and I start to feel that anxiety, I know I have a way to deal with it.
I have a pathway and I go to focus on my breath. I focus on meditation and I know a lot of meditations decided free, free, free word. And it's like, you know, you're a vegan and this and that type of weird stuff, right. For me, it's just square breathing, understanding what square breathing is, understanding the science behind it.
There's science behind it. So step one, right. Step two, I think is then be able to take a step back and understand the why I'm in this situation, but what went wrong? What I could've done better from it. It's sort of the observation and utilization of it and then direction from moving forward. I think we're a lot of people will kind of get stuck is they don't take the time to understand what happened [00:43:00] and to really critically think on what could I have done better?
How could I have changed the situation and what am I going to do better the next time? And as soon as I go through that process, whether it's the crash, which I did all the time, I have to analyze what I did wrong and what caused the crash and what can I do different from it. So as I move on to like, what do I do different from it?
Or the next. I'm starting to get excited for the next time, the next opportunity. Right. And now what you've done is you've taken this big negative emotion and you've turned it into a positive emotion, and now I'm going into the gym, the gym, I'm excited for that next opportunity. So I think that if I could distill it down to some core areas, it's the focus on breath, how to deal with anxiety and, and all of that type of stuff, which everyone has.
And then from there, it's sort of that process of analyze or observe, analyze, and direction of moving forward.
[00:43:46] Phil: Yeah, absolutely. And Mike, do you have anything to add to that?
[00:43:50] Mike: Yeah, I would say in my career with soccer, obviously, Phil, you know, Dion, you know, as well it's a very, you know, the higher you get in the level of soccer, [00:44:00] the more tactical it becomes.
But the earlier you can understand those tactics, the quicker you're going to progress up those ranks and accomplish your goals. So for me, Finally, when I got to high school and I started hanging out with all these new people who understood the game better than I did. I was always faced with a problem solving scenario on the field where I was always one step behind and figuring out the tactics that everyone else already knew about because I had never taken soccer seriously.
So I fell in love with that problem solving side of the game, that decision making side of the game, and, you know, taking it a step further now as a coach, that analysis of your decision making with video analysis it's such a powerful tool. And now to be able to go back and relive that moment where you have to solve that problem like that immediately, right?
You don't have time to sit there and think about it on the field. You get the ball and you have to make [00:45:00] it happen immediately. And you have to know before you even get the ball, right, Phil. So, yup. Taking that lesson. And then again, moving it, transitioning it to off the field and becoming a problem solver, becoming a wise decision maker in your life, you know, that can teach you a lot of things about being resilient, again, both on and off the field.
That's part of being an athlete, right. You're faced with so many other things off the field, keeping up in school, all these sacrifices that we had to make keeping up in school you know, making sure you're spending time with your family, your friends, having that balance of your life, but also just being fully invested in that game.
To me that was something that was really powerful about the sport of soccer.
[00:45:41] Phil: Yeah. You know, I mean, if, if folks, if, if you and or your kids, you know, depending on why you're listening to this are not Understanding the value of these different lessons really go back and listen to what these guys are talking about, because these are things that, that we, you know, we talk about all the time on this, [00:46:00] on this podcast, but you know, to hear it, I love how we have two disciplines here too.
So you're seeing that this isn't just a thing that, oh yeah, well, I don't play soccer, so therefore it doesn't apply. No, of course these are things that think about how you can learn these lessons in whatever sport or, you know, look, I tell people all the time, this, this applies to teams, so orchestra, you know, drama theater, like what are the lessons you learn from team and from involvement in teams, because you're going to take, you're going to be in a team someday in whatever you're doing, you know, families, our teams, you know, businesses, our teams.
And so, those are things that I really love hearing from both of you guys and just hearing the prayer of parallels between the both like. Right here in real time. So that's, that's really cool.
[00:46:44] Dion: Alright, here we complete each other's sentences almost. I don't know much about soccer. He doesn't know much about auto racing, but performance.
It's not this really complicated thing. It's actually pretty simple. It's this [00:47:00] consistency around the simple, simple things. And like, we had no clue about each other, but right off the bat, we know how we know things because of that.
[00:47:07] Mike: That's that, that problem solving. You know that quick decision-making that's sports skill transfer and that transfers immediately and directly into your life.
And yeah, it, it, you know, it's becomes a part of who you are and like the onset, you know, you, you dive so deeply into that game or sport, and it really shapes who you become. Like you said, Phil, you know, you, you learn so much about other people so much quicker and, and you create these relationships that lasts a lifetime.
[00:47:36] Phil: So yeah. Now for sure. No, and that's the whole side of it too, that we didn't talk about here, but just the friendships that, you know, we can point to some best friends. My best friends are still to this day are from my soccer days when I was seven, you know, which are really, really cool. But now Deanna, I thought you were, I wonder if anybody else had a picture of Jerry McGuire when you said, you know, we complete a post, I thought you were going to say, you know, [00:48:00]completes me.
And I always just thought that moment with you guys.
[00:48:04] Mike: Yeah. If I was his guide driver, don't you have a passenger, it sounded like rally
[00:48:12] Dion: car driving while
[00:48:14] Mike: I was just going to say, if it was me sitting there, you'd be crashing into walls all
[00:48:20] Dion: so well, it's do I do
[00:48:21] Phil: it on your way? That's true. That's what I saw.
That's what I saw
[00:48:25] Dion: the evidence you saw from me. Right,
[00:48:27] Phil: exactly. Right. I did not go to watch other footage of the victories, so, that's all I know, but you know, I, I still felt like I shared a moment with you guys there, so that's good. Even though you complete me you had me at hello, whatever it is, you know, so, so anyhow, all right.
Let's move on to a few questions. I asked, you know, pretty much every guest that comes on and then the first is, you know, what, what is your personal, why, you know, your purpose statement that you have, you know, why, why do you do what you do and how are you living that out
[00:48:57] Dion: for me? My, why is I want to. [00:49:00] To myself.
I can do it to be honest with you. Like, everything like now starting this company. I know that I could be kind of a world-class leader of an organization on the business side. And the why I get up every day is to be able to prove myself that I can do it. I have the inner belief, but now I've got to be able to prove, so for me, am I always today?
Or why is I just, it's the, it's kind of the picture I've built with myself and now trying to prove to myself that I can actually do it. It would be probably my oddest inner why.
[00:49:29] Phil: Okay. Yeah. How about
[00:49:30] Mike: you? Nice. I like that. To be honest, it's sort of changed and transformed itself over the years. So, you know, if you asked me this question five years ago, you would've got a completely different answer, Phil, but I think now you know, with the way that the world is Perhaps three years, what we've experienced.
I think a lesson that stood out to me is in athletics in general, every athlete and a coaching perspective as well, every athlete can either become a [00:50:00] better athlete, a better person for both of those things. And as a coach, I've kind of transformed my approach. Like I said of, yeah, when I was at the galaxy, everything was tailored towards me becoming a better soccer player, becoming a better move for in the gym and all of these things that I knew went into to getting them to the next level.
But I realized as I stepped away from that, I could have been giving them more right. About. All of these things that you learn off of the field that shape again, who you are and what kind of person you are. Because again, if you ask me personally, as a coach, now, that's one of the first things I look at.
If I'm selecting a player for a team that I'm going to coach, what kind of person is this kid in school? You know, what kind of background does he come from? Who, who, you know, how was he raised? All of those things are very important too. So, you know, again, I think in the last couple of years, that's kind of transformed my approach to how I approach each [00:51:00] athlete is like, not only here to make you a better athlete, a better move for, keep you safe from injury.
Teach you about the game, teach you, help you get recruited. I'm here to make you a better person simultaneously to that because everyone can still become a better person. And hopefully that will change and transform our world going forward. Because again, that's flit sport does for people, it can change your life, right.
When you take this deep dive into it. So for me, yeah, that's my wife's statement. I think every athlete can become a better, a better athlete, a better person or both of those things. And so why not help the person become both of those? Yep,
[00:51:36] Phil: absolutely. I absolutely love that. Love that. All right guys, last couple of questions.
The first is, and we talked about this a little bit in the context of what the game has taught you, that you've used in your, your leadership of the organization or of other parts of it. But you know, this question is more tailored to what lessons learned directly from sports, whether it's auto racing, soccer or something else you played have you used in [00:52:00] your personal relationships outside of the.
[00:52:04] Mike: Mine, you might laugh at again, it kind of changed a little bit in the past couple years, but one thing I was always told after I started falling in love with the game was play simple. Find this is as a player, right? Find a way to make the game simple for yourself.
And at first, when people told me that it kind of rattled me, right? Cause I didn't really know what they meant. To me the game was very complex that a young age it was hard to figure out it was hard to find joy in and that's why I played all those other sports because they were a little bit easier for me.
But once I stepped into that higher level of the game and continue to. You know, the game becomes more complex as you get older. And as you step into these higher realms of the ranks and you still need to find ways to take a complex game and make it very simple. I knew that when I stepped away from the [00:53:00] game, I had to take that lesson into my personal life to play simple, live simple.
That was important to me, like Deon said in the beginning as a coach, it's not a luxurious lifestyle by any means. So that was a big transformation, right? From going as a player, you have all this attention on you and then going to coach and trying to make an actual career out of it. It's tough.
And so I took that lesson from soccer, you know, and it's so funny because that first, like I said, when people told me, you know, play simple, need to find a way to play more simple, make the game simple. It rattled me so much. I would be so pissed off for lack of better terms. As a young kid, trying to figure out what they meant, but now it makes so much sense to me.
living simple focus in school, get your work done, eat well, sleep well. Train hard, be committed to what you love. And that's really it be a good person. And if you can master all of those things, and like you said, Phil, it's about consistency. It's about [00:54:00] doing those things every single day, over and over again, even though it might become, you know, like clockwork in your head and it might drive you nuts, that's the dedication it takes.
To keep accomplishing your goals no matter what those goals are. So play simple, live simple. That's what I live by now
[00:54:18] Dion: and I love it. That's awesome for me. I think there's two major ones that I look at. I could probably pick 25. One is sort of presence of mind. So essentially being able to take my breath, use my breath.
And if I'm in a moment where I'm feeling a certain emotion, being able to use that, to calm it down and take the time to understand why I'm feeling that emotion super helpful for kind of my wife and I and our relationship. Right. And we all kind of have ups and downs, and I think that's helpful in all sort of interpersonal relationships.
A lot of us are too quick to respond to something, focusing on the breath. Relax down and then introspection of why I have these emotions, I think are really important for me. The second major one, I kinda hit on it a little bit earlier. [00:55:00] Being able to compartmentalize different things, especially when it comes to running a business, you have so many different things going on to be able to just take those out and focused on what you need to be able to focus on even more important relationships.
You know, when I sign off at night, you know, I'll take away if it was a really bad day, not, not having to bring that home or if I'm still coaching or going out and driving and, you know, being able to put away the phone, put away the work stresses, all those, and just focus on being in the moment on the task at hand to the exclusion of everything else.
I think those are the two major things that I would take away
[00:55:32] Phil: from it. Yeah. I love it. I love what both of you guys said. I mean, and a lot of the reasons that, you know, I do these, this, these questions are selfish, right? I want to, I want to have reminders or new ideas. Right. So I just love that. You know, how many think about that folks?
Like just how many. Conflicts with your spouse, with your kids, with friends could you avoid, if you simply took a breath between your thought and actually saying [00:56:00] something because I know myself, you know, I tend to talk and then think, you know, and, and a lot of people are like me in that. Yeah. Yeah. And I can tell that with you Dion, like I think we you know, we're, we're kind of comfortable at a co on that.
And so, but if you just take a, that's why podcasting is so good for me. Cause I'm like, okay, it's not about me. It's not about me. And so, but to be able to take that breath and go, okay, do I really need to say that. You know, and you can do that in a second, right. Or
[00:56:27] Dion: two, why do I feel like this? Right?
Like what just made me cause yeah. Yeah.
[00:56:32] Phil: And so, you know, with my kid, you know, and I, I blew up at my kid this morning. Right. I was, I was working out and, and you know, no, I wish it was something like that. No, this was even stupider than that. Right. It was basically I was working out and, and he, you know, I hardly can breathe, you know, and, and, you know, stress, body stress, my, and he just says, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, you know?
And I'm like, what do you need? And he's like, forget it. I [00:57:00] don't even want to tell you anymore. You know, he's like, I had a story, but I don't even want to go. No, no, no. I've stopped working out. What is it? He goes, no, I'm not going to tell you, just finish your workout. That was my ten-year-old. Right. But, but it's a, you know, it, and then you feel terrible afterwards.
Right. But if I just took a breath and go, okay, what's more. Doing another whatever, or my son's story. Right. Of course. It's my son's story, you know, but you have to think about it sometimes. Right. And it's hard.
[00:57:27] Dion: Oh, of course. Yeah. It's hard. It's simple, but it's hard.
[00:57:31] Phil: I love that too. Like you said, simplify it simple, right?
I mean, life is simple and it's complex, you know, just cause simple does not mean it's easy. Right. And that's something that I love that distinction that we can have, right. Is simple. Does not mean it's easy. It just means we can simplify things and it can be simple and complex both at the same time.
[00:57:53] Dion: there's a thing of business where you're trying to like simplify the product as much as possible, but to fight a simplified [00:58:00] product is a lot of work. You start off with a really confusing, complex thing. And throughout a lot of work, you're able to simplify it down. I never would have known that until we got involved in this.
And I started to realize it's. I think it's a great example of how hard simplification
[00:58:12] Phil: actually is. Absolutely. Well, I mean, you did probably the most. Like , you know, thing that they use as the archetype of simplification, which is a Ted talk, right. It's way easier to give a 45 minute talk than an 18 minute or 10 minute talk because you have to take all these ideas and put them in and have them be concise.
You know, same thing, a lawyer, when I had to write a 10 page brief, rather than I could have read a 20 page brief, no problem. But 10 pages was like, how do I get all these arguments into this little space? You know? So yeah, totally. Same thing. All right, guys, as, as you might could imagine, we could talk for hours on these things, but we do have to wrap it up here.
And so what, you know, the last question we ask is what have you read, watched or listened to that has informed your thinking on how soccer auto racing or other sports explain life and leadership, [00:59:00]
[00:59:01] Dion: man, I feel like there's so much there. If I could think about like a couple of books that I really liked Andre Agassi's autobiography called open is actually one of the best books I've ever read.
It's just his, what he had to deal with in life. What he went through, things that you would never guess, right? Like him giving up the sport of tennis, the height of his career, coming back, all that type of stuff. Really, really good. Overall. One of my favorites out there actually another one is actually in the startup world, but really well.
It's an individual call is name's Paul Graham. He created a major accelerator called Y Combinator, which is companies like Stripe Airbnb. Some of the largest companies that rolled all went through and he has a series of essays that he's wrote. And a lot of them are focused on building companies, but what he's known for, I'm going to bring it back to simplification is simplified a lot of really complex thoughts.
And, and how you can think about different ways and systems of thinkings. And he has some young kids and he writes about this as well. Again, more focused on a [01:00:00] business, but I think it distills down really, really well, that life lessons that you could take anywhere. So those are probably the two that are top of mind.
But if you asked me, I could probably give the list that's much longer than.
[01:00:09] Phil: Yeah, of course. No, of course. Now we all could do that. Right. But that's why I like to just make us think about where those, cause I can't wait to read that Agassi book. I remember I still remember wearing the shoe, the orange shoes that he wore
[01:00:21] Mike: back in the day.
You have the
[01:00:23] Dion: bullet
[01:00:23] Phil: as well. I had all kinds. I had the Boz. Remember the Boz back in the day. Yeah. I had all the hairdos. It was, it was bad. I don't even mind that. That's not even bringing that
[01:00:34] Dion: up bill of that for the image of this podcast.
[01:00:38] Phil: Yeah, pretty much I can, I can get some of those old pictures now.
That's why I've had the same hairdo for the last 25 years, because I am afraid of what I might do otherwise. So anyway, how about you, Mike?
[01:00:49] Mike: This was actually a hard one for me. You know, I'll start out with saying that in, at the galaxy. I was very, like I said, I was a young kid. I [01:01:00] didn't really know what I was stepping into.
But I was surrounded by the likes of people. Like, the like one of them, most world-class players that we know in modern day soccer the dos Santos brothers, if I could go on for days about the players but one person that really stood out for obvious reasons was Sigi Schmidt. And he obviously longtime MLS coach.
He was the winningest coach in history until correct me if I'm wrong, Phil, this past weekend, I think Bruce Arena to surpass and actually wow. But yeah, Sigi Schmidt, rest in peace. Learned so many lessons from him and I maybe spoke to him twice, you know, just being around him, being able to observe the first team trainings every day.
And. He's not this like magnificent soccer mind. He's just this presence that is around the players. And when he's there, he, he brings out a different side of the players and he turns them all into leaders. So if I could give one [01:02:00] example of that, there's Zlatan is one of the toughest players to play with because he's always on the move from different leagues.
And he's always in a different form, right? Sometimes he's coming back from a knee injury and, but end of the day, it's spot-on you give him the ball and he makes things happen. Right. But I watch this on go. people argue he's very selfish. He's very stuck up about himself. I watched Sigi Schmidt transforms Zlatan Ibrahimovic into a team leader for the galaxy and go from having fits in the locker room to settling the team down and big moments and leading them to victory.
And, and, you know, obviously you had an astounding MLS career. It was short, but thank God we got to see him, but yeah, seeing Sigi great. Just bring his presence to those, those world-class players and names and kind of humble those players and make them take a step back and be like, wait, I can have a bigger impact on the team than just my performance.
So that was within the game of soccer, [01:03:00] completely different topic. I've gotten as I've stepped away from the game, I've had to find different things to occupy my mind, to be passionate about. And like I said, I live in Tahoe. So now I'm very passionate about getting out in nature and doing things like exploring and adventuring and climbing fishing, doing all of these things.
And Alex Honnold, I think is his name. He's the farmers, the free solo climber. Okay. Well watch his documentary, his books. He is one of the all-time adventures of our age and he's always, he always has this mindset. Like he climbed El cap with no strings, no attacks. And this guy's still out there looking for the next bigger crazier madman thing that he can do, because he's an adventure, he's an Explorer.
And that's what his life is about. And I read about him. We'll watch about him. He's very entertaining, man. He's got a lot of lessons that we can learn from. And he's just someone that's [01:04:00] just like never satisfied. And I really enjoy that about this adventure kind of lifestyle that I'm getting into now.
So yeah, to, to completely. Yeah comparisons there for you to dive into and learn from.
[01:04:13] Phil: Yeah, because we can learn a lot of the same lessons for both of them, you know? And, and you know, just from that, you know, you gotta know who you are, you got it. And I think Sigi I remember he was the UCLA coach back when I was in high school.
And and he had a, basically a rule. I don't know if it was written, but he, you know, he didn't even look at you as a keeper unless you were over six foot. So I had a dream to play at UCLA until he crushed it. So you kind of, again, brought a PTSD moment. You guys are, you guys are doing that well today. But it turned out for the better, I, I have great friends who played for him and, and I got to live vicariously through them, but I ended up having a pretty cool life that would have been very different if I went to UCLA and played soccer.
So that's all that. Yeah. I've heard similar things from other players who have played for him just to a man who that that's amazing. Cause I remember what you're talking about there. Folks, if you don't know [01:05:00] the, kind of the trajectory of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he's a guy who he named his Zlatan.
The best 11 of all time. I know how people do that. And he had himself at every position
[01:05:12] Dion: and social media is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
[01:05:15] Phil: It's unbelievable. I mean, he took out a full page ad when he came to the galaxy and it said, dear Los Angeles, you're welcome. And I've signed on montage.
I imagine he could go on forever and maybe we'll do a whole nother show of what it was like for a while. That'd be a lot of fun. I'll
[01:05:31] Mike: try and get them on. Yeah, exactly.
[01:05:33] Phil: Now that we can get on together and, you know, you can like tell the true, like, you know, he can say something that's kind of like that, you know, subtitles, but except or interpreting, you can say here's what really happened now, you know?
That would be, that'd be a lot of fun, but, but to take that and, and that's what great leadership does, right. It understands him and who he is and say, okay, how can we harness this? It's to be able to lead and Sir Alex Ferguson did that as well with Rinaldo young Rinaldo [01:06:00] and with these other guys who are all the best of the best.
Beckhams another one, right? These guys who can come and now you say, okay, I see how you're wired. And now I'm going to say, okay, you can use that for this. Or you can actually use it for incredible good, which do you want? You can be an even better player and even better legacy, you know, then you think you already have from scoring a great goal.
But if you're, you know, not a good person on the other side of it, or people don't see you or perceive you as a great person then is that really what you want? And most people don't right. And some people don't care, they genuinely don't care, but most human beings do care about what people think about them as a human.
and. Like you said, I mean, that's, that's, I love to hear that because we don't see that side of it. Right. All we see is, and doing something and pointing to the name on his back or whatever, you know, all those different things. They're even seeing the Manchester United. He was doing the same stuff at Manchester, you know?
So it's not were you there when Gerard.
[01:06:54] Mike: I wasn't, it was right. It was the season after he left. I was so bummed [01:07:00]out. And it was that transition period where everyone's talking about who's going to be the next DP that designated player. But then yeah, when that announcement came out and he took out the whole ad in the paper, everything.
I wa I had chills over my whole body and then he comes in and the first game he played is in, you know what we're playing LASC it's the biggest game of the year. And he scores two amazing goals. That goal
[01:07:22] Phil: was unrealistic. First one was unreal. It was not like 40 yards out or something.
[01:07:25] Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Just call the keeper sleeping.
Yeah. But, oh man. Unbelievable experiences.
[01:07:31] Phil: All right. Now we got to do that other episode. That will be fun. But just all the different players you can get, you're going to be like an expo day, you know? So, it'll be, it'll be fantastic. And then you'll get in trouble for it. So, all right, so thanks again, guys.
Thanks for doing this was so fun. I had a blast. This was this. I hope you guys had as much fun as I did. Hopefully you folks out there learned a lot, but thanks guys. Appreciate it. Thank you for that. Yeah, absolutely. All right, folks. Well, thanks again to you for being a part of this and thank you for just engaging this conversation, these conversations that we [01:08:00] have, hopefully you're using everything that you're learning on this, and you're using it to be a better spouse, a better parent, just a better leader, a better friend.
You know, and if you want to go deeper into these things that we're talking about, I have the coaching, the game, the bigger game program, which really helps coaches, helps leaders on the people's side of coaching as well, because often you get trained in the technical, but you don't necessarily get trained in the people side of the game, which is a lot of what we talked about today.
So if that's something that you want to go deeper on, check out coaching the bigger game.com. We also have with Paul and Marcy Jobson with their warrior way program warrior way soccer. Dot com check that out. We'll have those links in the show notes and we'll have the other links for these guys as well there.
So without any more from me, I just hope that you're taking everything that you're learning on this show and you're using it to help you remember that soccer does explain life and leadership. Thanks a lot. Have a great week.
In Episode 62, we are capping off 2021 and ringing in 2022 with 20 great leadership lessons (plus a couple bonus nuggets) from our interviews over the past year. There is so much more wisdom in the full interviews, which …