Sept. 2, 2021

Accountability, Mindset, and Marketing with Will Russell, Founder & CEO of Russell Marketing

Accountability, Mindset, and Marketing with Will Russell, Founder & CEO of Russell Marketing

In Episode 45, Will Russell, Founder & CEO of Russell Marketing and Executive Director of Russell Gives Foundation, talks with Phil about his work with Street Soccer USA, lessons he has learned from soccer and Premier League managers, success...

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In Episode 45, Will Russell, Founder & CEO of Russell Marketing and Executive Director of Russell Gives Foundation, talks with Phil about his work with Street Soccer USA, lessons he has learned from soccer and Premier League managers, success measures, his “why,” and the sacrifices needed to reach elite status. Specifically, Will discusses:


  • How he developed his passion for soccer and leadership, and how he got to be where he is today (1:51)
  • His work with Street Soccer USA (3:57)
  • Lessons he has learned from reading biographies of great managers that he has applied to his marketing work and other areas of life, including accountability and shared mission, vision, and values (7:32)
  • Lessons he has learned from the beautiful game that he uses in his marriage and marketing business, including fixed vs. growth mindset (21:53)
  • How different managers measure success and how he measures success in his life (33:11)
  • Whether sacrifices are needed to reach elite levels in sports and other areas of life (41:12)
  • Will’s “why” and how he lives it out in his life (50:29)
  • His recommendations (58:58)

Resources and Links from this Episode


Phil: Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Thanks again for your download. Thanks for being a part of this show. I am Phil Darke. You're a host and I absolutely love doing what I do. I love having these conversations. I love sharing them with you. I hope that you guys are enjoying this as much as I am.

I hope that you're getting out of it as much as I am, because I am getting a whole lot out of these, these conversations I get to have. And on that note, the more you engage, the more you'll get out of it. So I'm hopeful that you will take the opportunity to join the Facebook group that we have, how soccer explains leadership.

You can join that group. We can have deeper conversations. There also email me if you have any questions, if you think you'd be a great guest, if you think that, you know, someone who'd be a great guest, I would love to hear that from you. In fact, today we have someone on with us who reached out to me and said, Hey, I'd love to be a part of your show.

I'd love to be able to share some of the [00:01:00] things I've been learning along with you and your audience. And now we're here today doing this conversation. So we'll get a little bit more after the interview, as far as ways that you can get in touch with us. But right now I want to get right to this interview with Will Russell and Will, how are you doing?

[00:01:18] Will: I'm doing very well. Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to, to bring me on today.

[00:01:22] Phil: Absolutely, absolutely. Well, you know, if there's one thing I love doing, it's getting stories. It's hearing where people came from how they got passionate about this game that we love, and really just how you got passionate about leadership as well.

So can you just share that with us shortly, how, how you got to be where you are.

[00:01:41] Will: Sure. Yeah. So I grew up in the UK, but I live, I live in New York now. I moved to the US in 2009. And originally I was coaching soccer. I was coaching soccer in Michigan for a while. Coaching soccer in North Carolina for a while. After [00:02:00] doing that for year or so, I had a longing to get to California and I flew across to California.

I couldn't find soccer coaching work. So I got office office work in, in marketing. And so soccer coaching became more of a hobby outside of a profession. And over the years I've moved around a little bit more and find myself now in New York. And now. I run a product launch marketing business. So we help folks.

And we have a five-step system that we use to help folks launch their products or their events or their courses or their brands. And again, soccer coaching is more of a part-time thing. I always have a, an aspiration one day to launch my own summer camps out here. I did some summer camps. I launched the summer camps in the UK when I was living there and it was, I had a blast.

So one day I hope to, to turn the soccer coaching back into a profession in some capacity, but for now [00:03:00] I'm using what I've learned over those last couple of decades. As you discussed in, in leadership and then taking those lessons from soccer into my, into my company, Russell Marketing.

[00:03:11] Phil: Yeah, that's something that we will definitely get into throughout this conversation.

We will definitely get into those lessons that you've learned, not just from the game playing and coaching, but also from reading you and I are both avid learners in different capacities. And so we're going to talk about some of those books. You've been able to engage in over the last few years too, but you also, you know, you, you briefly mentioned, but I want you to talk a little bit about your Street Soccer USA, this nonprofit that, that you have, and helping kids all across the country.

Can you talk a little bit about what that is and what you're hoping to do through that?

[00:03:47] Will: Well, so Street Soccer USA. Yeah. That's a, a nonprofit based out here in New York and with locations around the US and essentially, they make soccer [00:04:00] more accessible for, for youth around the country. They do a lot of homeless work as well.

They have the Homeless World Cup in soccer, so they make soccer accessible to those who perhaps can't afford to be involved. Youth soccer in the US is pretty expensive for some folks to travel teams. So street soccer, USA is a, is a great nonprofit that puts on soccer coaching. Soccer tournament's for folks who may not have access to it and a key part of the curriculum and why I think they're so relevant for you and your audience, Phil, is there the focus they have on what lessons are being taught on the field too, and how they relate to real life. So when I first started coaching with them, must've been six years ago now, I think they, they put all of their coaches through training and in that training, you're going through the curriculum and making sure that the soccer skills and the soccer expertise you bring to the table from a coaching [00:05:00] standpoint is aligned with the curriculum and the lessons they want to instill in the players that are involved.

A lot of these players are immigrants. For example, they've come over to the country. Maybe they don't speak very good English. They've come from tricky backgrounds and they may not have had the, the youth experience growing up, how a lot of us have. And so some of these lessons. That we may consider part and parcel of our education.

Haven't been, haven't been instilled there. So talking about things like discipline, work ethic, working for the team, looking for opportunities, all of these things that we do on the soccer field the, core purpose in the Street Soccer USA is to make sure that as a coach, you're instilling those lessons for players off the field as well.

And there's some great analysis surveying, you know, making sure this impact is working in six years ago, or so when I first started coaching with them, they're [00:06:00] a much smaller organization. And now they've, they've really grown. They have several former us soccer players on their board, and they were very well known for their homeless world cup and, and they do great stuff.

I can't, I can't praise them enough for, for number one, just making soccer so accessible across the country to people who may not have been able to otherwise, but also number two, which I know we'll get into, making sure that the right lessons are being taught and we're using soccer, not just as a way to play and an exercise, but we're really using soccer as a way to guide and demonstrate to young players, young people what, what being active supportive effective member of society is, is all about right.

[00:06:48] Phil: Yeah. And let's just go there. Let's, let's talk about that. I mean, you just mentioned the lessons that we want to make sure being learned, the lessons that you've learned, the lessons that I've learned. But you've also been reading a lot of biographies. You've been [00:07:00] reading, I know Wenger's and or Wenger's and, you know, how you use those principles in your marketing work other areas of your life, and also what you want to be instilling in those kids that you are coaching, you know, can you just talk about a few of those lessons and then we can just kind of follow up on any things that I, that I think you may also have that that you may have not mentioned.

[00:07:22] Will: Certainly. Yeah. Well, let me introduce a couple of the ones that the street soccer USA focuses on, and they have a bunch which you can share, you can access on the website, but a couple of them that they really. Create training programs around the things like taking the space, you know, and they use these soccer terminology for it, taking the space and soccer, find the space.

You know, we're taught that from a very young age, find the space so you can pop, get the ball past you and then move the team forward. And so take the space in itself. If any of your listeners have soccer, coaching [00:08:00] qualifications they'll know that. Dozens and hundreds of technical or tactical exercises that you can do in a training session around finding space.

But at the same time, we can shift the mindset a little bit and consider how take the space means. Take the opportunity and making sure that players are aware that the space on the field means opportunity. And there are opportunities in day-to-day life that when presents itself to you, you should, you should take the initiative and you should grab those opportunities.

So if there's space on the field, take that initiative, fill that space and, and take that step forward in progress. And the same applies to things off the field. You know, when you're living your day to day life opportunities, which we can call space will arrive. And it's important to, to feel confident in yourself, believe in yourself and take those opportunities.

So, so take a space. One that rang true to me when we first talked [00:09:00] about this. And the second one that, that I think is really relevant with streets USA is the accountability element accountability. One of the components of this, the soccer coaching that I was doing with Jusuf USA in the past was we would take kids in certain neighborhoods, in certain areas who wouldn't get an opportunity to play competitive soccer and we would train them and we would pay for them to be parties, participants in leagues.

And that for some of them was their first real experience being part of the team in a competitive environment. When I always remember when one of the, one of the first things you noticed, or I noticed when training is this one group, everyone wants to be Messi. You know, everyone wants to be Ronaldo and the lack of teamwork is quite astonishing.

And so that's something we work hard on. And, and when you put them out on the field in a competitive environment, however good, they all were as individuals. And some of them were very, very good. They got absolutely sorted when we put them on a soccer [00:10:00] field with people who weren't as good technically, but worked as a team.

And that was a real big wake up call for them from a soccer standpoint. But I think again, yeah, Take that away from the soccer field and consider that you have teammates everywhere. You have teammates at school, you have teammates at home with your family. You have teammates at your job when you grow, when you become an add-on and get it gets a job.

And in the same way. Working as a team, being able to rely on each other and being accountable to each other is, is important on the soccer field. It's also great are the important off the soccer field too. And you're only going to get so far as the, they learn in that first game they played in their competitive league, their skills individually are you going to get them so far? It's really when they work as a team that they're going to start seeing success. And one of the best things about coaching, as you may know, and feel the same way as you can [00:11:00] see that development, you know, when, when kids are younger they learn very quickly and because you see them week over week over week, and you can really see that change and that development happen.

And it's less tangible off the field cause we don't spend time as coaches with them off the field, but to see and to see them understand and to see them click with what that means on the field. You know, one way, one would hope and assume that those lessons reach them off the field too, as long as we continue to kind of emphasize that and reiterate that.

So those were two really good ones that Street Soccer USA, as it, as a nonprofit organization, used to push or use to promote a couple that I was thinking, I just want to

[00:11:45] Phil: jump on suddenly first, before we move on. And I know there are others for sure, but I want to just take those lessons and I want to hear how in your, now your [00:12:00] business in your day to day marketing work and you own that company.

How are you using just those two? And what does that look like with accountability in particular? I want, I want to talk about, and I'm assuming this is the case. I know it's the case in the teams. Obviously we need to have values and we need to have a vision. We needed to have a mission to be able to hold people accountable to something, because otherwise we're just, you know, you can't keep someone accountable, something that you haven't made clear what that is.

Right. But it's not very effective. What does that look like in your business? What does that look like in, you know, life outside the game, because that's obviously what this show's about. And I think you're, you are actually doing that, right? I mean, you have, and I, I wonder if you've seen, and maybe you have, maybe you haven't, we haven't talked about this, but you've seen companies or, you know, whether it's your business or other ones that you've seen or studied or worked with.

[00:13:00] Didn't really work as a team and, and similar to a soccer team that doesn't play well together. Have you seen what that looks like versus teams that are keeping each other accountable to a shared vision shared values?

[00:13:12] Will: Yeah, and I would, as a business owner, as someone who's started a business, I think accountability, or another way of saying that perhaps reliability or trust might be another synonym is huge in taking a step beyond me and being we. So, in the marketing space, you get a lot of folks, especially in his past year with remote work and COVID, and, toughness in the employment world. You get a lot of folks who freelance kind of start their own little, little agency, little team where they have a handful of contractors or freelancers working on the same projects.

And that's wonderful. That's great. [00:14:00] One thing I've noticed, cause that wasn't me when I started. And one thing I've noticed is how some people who start like that are able to create a team and create, as you say, a vision or a group of individuals focused on the same value, part of the same community who are moving in the same direction versus a bunch of individuals who work together in certain matters.

But I still ultimately an individual and by themselves and isolated and siloed, and there's no kind of community goal to move towards together. And one of the biggest pieces of that is accountability or trust. My team has always been remote even before, long before COVID we've, we've never had specific locations.

We work across the us. And the biggest challenge with that was finding people and creating an environment of [00:15:00] accountability. And I think one of the biggest ways I've been able to do that, or try to do that is just purely through trust. Giving people, empowering people trust to do what they're good at giving them the support they need.

And I would say the biggest hurdle folks can't overcome who wants to create a bigger team or a bigger business, but can't is they just can't release that control. They can't trust. They can't hold a belief that other people will be accountable to their same vision. And that is a challenge.

So I think from an accountability standpoint, the biggest thing is, is making sure that I'm building a foundation of trust and building a foundation reliability. And most importantly, I lead by example. You know, when we have sticky situations, sometimes in the marketing world, you have to do some really laborious task, you know, like going through Excel documents.

And if we have to do [00:16:00] that, or if we have to do these manual tasks in preparation for launch, I'm going to be the first one to put my name forward. You know, I will always be reliable, be, be accountable to everyone and support everyone in their roles. And over time, I think people appreciate that and people appreciate the trust we place in them and the support you place in them.

The empowerment is something, both Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger talk about in their books. Empowering people, giving them that belief and faith is what allows them to feel that, that they will be accountable to you without fear of punishment. For example, there's accountability with, with punishment and accountability, kind of through someone's own intentions to be, to be accountable and not just because they want to prevent a punishment.

And I think in the remote world, in the post COVID world, in the, in the kind of world I live in with my business where you are not in a central location and [00:17:00] teamwork, isn't physical face-to-face then that trust that reliability and that faith and empowerment of everyone is really what has led to me being very fortunate in having a team around me who are already accountable and can be held accountable not because they're going to be in trouble if they, they aren't because they're 6,000 miles away from me. But, but because they innately know, Phil, they will want to be part of this to say that they want to pay back the respect that everyone else gives them.

[00:17:32] Phil: Yeah. And I think that's exactly that hits it on the head. As far as the, you know, with accountability. Again, you talked about it in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team or The Five Healthy Behaviors of a Team. Patrick Lencioni talks about it. The trust is absolutely the initial requirement. You have to have that trust, which allows for the vulnerability that allows for the [00:18:00]accountability.

But if any of you try to skip steps, you're not going to get it again. If you're not going to have accountability without trust, you're also not going to, you know, and you think about it. I mean, we, we can see it on a soccer field or football field. Right? You see the fact that when teams trust each other, you know, where your teammate's going to be when you put a ball.

No, you don't have to even look there. You look at, you know, I mean, I hate to say it, but yeah, he does it masterfully. So I'm going to say Kevin DeBruyne with city as hard as it is for me to say that I wish he was on United, but he's not. And you're sitting there with an Arsenal Jersey right now. So I'm like, I'm totally struggling right now.

I'm not. But you know, you look at think about DeBruyne, right? He doesn't even look and he just pops the ball, knowing that he's going to curve it. Beckham did it back in the day, right. He put balls on a dime and he knew that dime is where the player was going to be to put a head on it or to put a foot on it or whatever.

Right. And he can do that because he's practiced enough and they've trained enough. And they built that trust over game, you [00:19:00] know, but if you put that ball there 10 times and they weren't there, that would break the trust. Right. Same thing in any business, in any family for we're doing things that we know are the right thing to do.

And no one's there, you know, we're gonna, we're gonna struggle. We're not going to be able to trust that. Right. And so now we can still train in our own way and do the next right thing. My daughter, you know, she struggled on some teams where she's put a ball through and they haven't been there. And I just said, keep putting in the right place.

You'll eventually be with people who will be, you put it there. Right. So I think there is that sense of, we still need to develop individually in our skillsets, but know that, you know, if we're really going to hit on all cylinders, if we're really going to thrive and flourish, we're going to have the people around us who are gonna make us better and we're gonna make them better.

Do you agree with all that?

[00:19:51] Will: Yeah, absolutely. It makes me think actually, do you remember five years ago, seven years ago, Jack Wilshire's goal against Norwich. If you remember, I don't know [00:20:00] if you have, if someone's listening. You can just Google Jack Wilshire's goal against Norwich and, it's kind of telepathic and the ability of the team to move through four or five Norwich defenders simply by anticipating where their teammate would end up in a very, very quick kind of quite great speed.

So yeah, I mean whole holding people accountable in a sense of making sure you are creating that space on fulfilling that commitment or your obligation as part of the team to do that is a separate factor. But just as important as you mentioned, is someone's own ability, your own technical ability to make that pass.

But one without the other, isn't going to be much use. And that Norwich goal just comes to mind is a great example of both our technical ability to find that pass and make those passes. But also the fact that none of that [00:21:00] beautiful movement would have happened without the players being accountable to each other and putting themselves in a place to receive those passes.

So as spot on, yeah,

[00:21:10] Phil: yeah. Let's, let's move on. Wait, we can talk about this alone for hours, but we're not going to but you were starting to mention before we, we kind of elaborated on the accountability part, some other things that if you don't remember, I can, I can kind of, help you out there.

But what are some of the other lessons learned from the game that you use in your business that you've used in your marriage? I mean, this is something that we normally have is kind of our last question, but I know we've had conversations about it, things that we've talked about. So I just want to kind of camp out on this and hear some of those other things.

[00:21:43] Will: One of the, one of the most. Hot topic for me, I suppose, attributes that relates to sports and soccer, but also life is the growth mindset phenomenon, which [00:22:00] I think it was probably existed for a while, but it's certainly the last few years it's become much more prominent. And it's from a, from a soccer standpoint.

I mean, I think one of the things I mentioned, she was how was the kind of players out there who touted as being the next best in the world. And they're young teenagers in their, you know, their technical abilities are insane, but they don't make it. They don't, they never become who they could have become because, because of the work ethic and the belief of improving themselves, whereas someone like Cristiano Ronaldo who.

You hear lots of stories about him when he came to United, he always had a belief in himself, but he worked his socks off. And I mean, he's 36 and he's in the shape. He's in, obviously he worked his socks off to be, to be that level at that age. So, so the idea that you have abilities that can be learned and improved and, talent isn't [00:23:00] set is a really important one that I think about a lot from my standpoint, just like any business owner, you have rollercoaster, you know, some days are very, very down.

Some of these are very up and when you're down, it's really easy to fall into that fixed mindset trap of maybe I'm just not good enough. Maybe this isn't something that should be doing. Maybe I'm just not someone who can score goals or I'm just not someone who can make sales. And that's a very easy place to fall into when you're thinking negatively.

But the whole growth mindset concept is one that, that I often try and. Stay top of mind. I have posters all around my office. I don't, you know, you can see them, but lots of quotes and posters around my office to remind me of that, to remind me that if you're not good at sales, then you can work on it. You can improve your ability.

If you're not good at [00:24:00] interpersonal relationships, then it's something you can work on. If you're not good at public speaking, it's not that you're never going to be good at public speaking. A lot of people feel that I'm just not very good at that. A lot of people who I'm just not very good at languages.

Now, these are all things that you can work on. And so on the soccer field, just like you can become a much better player just through sheer hard work. The same applies to, non-soccer. And then the world we live in relationships and things aren't fixed. Things are malleable and we can create the environment.

That we want to create if we believe in ourselves and have that and have that work ethic. So that growth mindset, whenever I read a story about a player that didn't make it, or whenever I read a biography from, from a great leader in the game, and that's something that I always think about, I always think about how the belief system of someone who's 15, 16, maybe even younger, you know, because that's when they're [00:25:00] really, if you're a 15 year old, 16 year old, 17 year old playing professional soccer, or coming up into professional soccer in the UK or Europe, those are the years when your friends or everyone else.

It's focused on, you know, having fun and the lack of discipline and the other concept of perhaps growth mindset is something they leave in the classroom and don't want to think about outside of school. But the players who make it the best players, those ones, they're the ones who from a very early age, recognize that the world is not fixed and static and they have the power to change it and change themselves.

And so when they put that work in, in the earlier years, yeah, in the later years, it's puts them on a trajectory that, that people can't catch up with.

[00:25:52] Phil: Yeah. And I think right along with the growth mindset too, I mean, that's something that I I've thought a lot about growth versus set, obviously Carol Dweck with [00:26:00] Mindset. Brad Miller.

If you want to go listen to a old episode, he talked a lot about that on this show as well. One of the things I always think about with growth and fixed too though, is, and I, I went out golfing yesterday. It's a great example, too, in soccer football. The fact is if you're great at some one thing, there's a good chance.

You're not going to be great at the other, right. You're going to have to continually be working on something, right? If you have great endurance and you can run forever, chances are, you're not the best sprinter, vice versa. Cause we have fast twitch and slow twitch. So you could say, well, I can never run long distance.

And I I've been known to say that at some point, right. Or I could say, no, I need to work at it. A second faster on the mile. I can get a, you know, I can go do one mile today and then maybe in two weeks I can do two. And to have that, like, if I work at it, I'm going to be able to do it. [00:27:00] I'm not going to be great at everything right away.

I might be a great striker of the ball naturally. You know, I know my son's that way, but he have to work on the juggling more. He's going to have to work on, you know, that touch that first touch because chances are, if you're a great striker, you probably have a heavy touch, right. So you could say, well, I'm never gonna have a good touch or it's no, I need to work on that.

And it's, it's easy when you're really good. It's actually easier when you're super good at something. I think part of it's just the way your mind is set. I realized, but I think when you're super good at some things, I think it's easier to then say, well, I'm not good at those other things. Yeah. You just assume everything comes naturally to you.

And then I see that a lot in these kind of naturally athletic people is, if it doesn't come know part of it's personality. Yes. And people that listen to the show know that I talk a lot about personalities. I realize some of that is personalities are more prone to a growth mindset with certain personalities.

But I also think that [00:28:00] it's something that if you're really good athletically, like you just become good at stuff we'll have that I can get to that next level. I don't know if you've seen that hope. I mean, I don't know if that makes sense to you, if it doesn't, I can clarify what I'm saying, but I think it, it, hopefully it makes sense that you can kind of speak to whether you agree with that.

And you've seen that.

[00:28:18] Will: I think so. I think something as well, when you were very talented in a particular sport or with a particular attribute when you're young, because you're in your little ecosystem of your own high school, it's easy to think you were at the top. And this is again, another example in soccer.

Less let's compare Cristiano Ronaldo to who was the chap that Ravel Morrison. So if you don't know who Ravel Morrison is Google him. He was, had the potential to be a very good player and has admitted that he wasted his opportunities. At 17, he was at United getting to the first team at when Cristiano Ronaldo was 17.

He was just moving [00:29:00] to United or just about to, to United. And, and I always remember a story about Ronaldo who, if you recall, I believe that the story goes that after United played Sporting Lisbon, in, in the Champions League, The United players went to Sir Alex and said you got assigned. Cause he was so good.

And so he went to United, obviously being a really hot prospect, but I've heard stories that he would use to train with weights around his ankles to speed up his foot work. And if you saw Cristiano Ronaldo, when he was 16, 17, his footwork was astonishing, you know, kind of and see him, but he still believes there was more to do.

And so it's easy to fall into a trap of if you're the best in your high school then. Okay. No worries. I'm done. Yeah. You know, that's it. But, but even when you're good at something and you have a very talented in one particular attribute, think wider field and think that you can always still be better, you know, that's not even satisfactory to sit back on your laurels [00:30:00] by being the best striker.

Right. And not worry about your defense, but you can always be a better striker too, even, even if you're very good at the first time. So I think it's it's growth mindset, right? Forever. I was actually, I was thinking yesterday I was, I didn't know. I had an imagination that life was, it was like a video imagined life is like a video game.

And, and what would completing the game be? You know, what would the completion of life would it be being happy or would it be, you know, having a home and a wife and husband and her kids, would it be fulfillment at work if you were to have a completion of a game? And that was like, what would it be? And I thought to myself, there, there isn't, there is no, there's no moment in life.

Surely when I can sit back and think, oh, I've done it. I've completed it game over because. Every day. There's another opportunity every day. There's something even better every day. There's more you can do. So that's, I mean, that's growth mindset for when you're six years old or 76 years old you [00:31:00] can always be better, always do more and always improve on the areas you're good at as well as the areas you're not so good at. So this growth mindset, I think it lives in soccer abundantly, but it's every day in everything we do.

[00:31:15] Phil: I totally agree with that. And that's, it's a great way to put it. There's always a way to grow. There's always way to learn. I mean, that's why we hear leaders are learners, right?

I mean, continually be learning new things. And when we stopped learning, we're dying, you know what I mean? We're, it's, it's not, and that goes for whatever you're doing it. Literally, whatever you're doing, there's people you can learn from. There's different things you can learn from. And the nice thing today.

I mean, sometimes it's a bit daunting, but there is no shortage of incredible resources for us. Whether it's these podcasts, like the ones we're doing here, or books or documentaries, I mean, jeez, you can go pretty much watch a documentary on anyone. If you want to listen to an interview with Alex Ferguson, you can find [00:32:00] on YouTube, right.

You know, from one minute to two hours. Right? So these are things that we have access to people. And unfortunately I think we waste a lot of our time on, on whether we're getting likes and whether we're getting other things online rather than learning things that can really help us to flourish in different ways.

I think that leads into something else that you and I have talked about a little bit is the idea of measuring success, right? Are we measuring success by how many likes we get from people we don't even know on some you know, social media platform? Or is there some other measure? I hope there's some other measures of success that you have, but what's yours in any, you know, what does, what, what can we, you know, learn about how even the different managers that you look and the different clubs that you look at, how they measure success?

How can we, what can we learn from that in life? And how are you measuring success in yours? [00:33:00]

[00:33:01] Will: That's that's a big one. Isn't it? I mean, the first thing to emphasize is that as you point out success is different for everyone. in my life, you know, honestly, there's a, there's a, there's a speech, Arnold Schwarzenegger did, which I love.

And I might've mentioned this to you before. He did it in an Australian conference, maybe six or seven years ago. Again, I would YouTube it if you haven't. But anyway, he talks about how he never fails. Not because he never falls and he never makes mistakes. He falls a lot, but failure is only failure if you don't get back up and if you get back on, then you are a success. And so if I use that as context and success for me is perseverance. Success is commitment to, to work to, to others, to, to life. [00:34:00]Success is creating an environment that you enjoy and you thrive in a success in the business world. A lot of people look at it as is financial and sales.

We don't see it like that success for our team this quarter, this quarter, we're about to hit yeah, summer here in the, Northern hemisphere. Success is basically how few hours we can spend in front of our computers. We have a real initiative and intention to spend our summers outdoors. We're doing the things we want to be doing with the people we want to be doing them with.

So for me, for this team in the next three months, our success isn't, financial. She obviously you need money to live, but that's not where we kind of put our flag in the ground. We put a flag in the ground, right? I do a lot of time tracking and I track my time and success for me is working less hours every month as I grow older and year over year, month over month, if I can spend less time working on things I [00:35:00] don't necessarily want to be working on a more time working on things that I do or doing things that I do, like volunteer soccer coaching as an example, that's success for me.

And so on measuring success, just in terms of, I guess, what portion of my time I'm able to commit to things I feel are meaningful and positive versus things that I feel are not That's. I mean, that's how I personally, personally, because success is very different on the field when you have points to win and a table and relegation to avoid.

But I think the underlying concepts can be the same, you know, even if your team doesn't win, it doesn't mean you can't be successful in your role. Gary Neville once said his pure intention in big games was not to let the left midfielder get the ball in the box that he has a right back.

His pure intention was him. One-on-one his success that day was not to let that it was not let that winger [00:36:00] put the ball in the, in the box for the strikers. So his team might lose, but if he can, Do his job and everyone can do their individual jobs, there's their individual success outside of the team success, I think.

And how do you feel about that? Because in football, in soccer, there are very tangible wins and losses, you know, and, and it's hard not to attribute success to that competitive side of things.

[00:36:23] Phil: It's interesting for me that you say that because that's something that I have even talked with this year with my, the soccer team that I coached the high school team, and we're talking about.

The one thing that if we did not achieve one thing this season, would have failed. Okay. So that one thing, the team was struggling though, because they're like we want to win league, but the mission of the team is to help others to fuller or help themselves. And others flourish in soccer and in [00:37:00]life.

So they said we could win league and be terrible people. We can win league and have a terrible culture on this team that would not be success. So they created this both/and where success only happens when we win league and we have a good culture and that's the true success. Now, what I know in my heart of hearts for me as a coach is even if they don't win league and they are great people when they leave my program, I'm okay with it.

Yeah. That's success for me. But that's different from the pro team that is really, needing to win their games. Like you said, the stay up or, you know, get promoted or whatever it is, or make champions like make top four, make Europe with Europe, whatever it is that that [00:38:00] goal is that success measure is I think there need to be secondary goals as well beyond the initial, like the one is of course that go, but to also know, cause otherwise you are going to potentially be, struggling with depression and struggling with, we're never making it because you make these goals impossible to attain. I think there are those big, hairy, audacious goals, but we need to create these, you know, I guess there's a great book, Atomic Habits where it says stop focusing on the goals, focus on the systems to get you to those goals.

Right? So that's where your system, as you said, you have those small goals of, of, and I, I think you talked about it too with like making little bets as you've got that, to where it's the smaller things, the smaller measures of success of maybe you're working less. Yes. Now last for the sake of, we can all work less the measures that you [00:39:00] need to attain that are part of that longer term goal.

But if you're doing that in the short-term, it will lead to those longer term goals too. So for me, I see. The success for me is it's attached to my why. And I'd want to also talk to you about that. What's your personal why. And so, while you're thinking about that, I'll remind the audience of mine, the idea of my why, and if you haven't already thought about it, I don't expect you to formulate in the next minute and a half.

I might help others to flourish and to make good things better. Okay. So my, success measure goes directly to that. If I'm not helping others to flourish, if I'm not making good things better, then I'm not succeeding now, right. Can look a lot of different ways that that applies to my family.

That applies to the ministry that I run that applies to the DISC training that I'm doing to the coaching program that I have. It applies to all of those things. If I'm not doing those things, then I'm not succeeding. It also helps me [00:40:00] to filter things that come into my life. And opportunities, great opportunities.

You and I both have a lot of great opportunities that come into our life that we could be doing, but with our families, with our work, with the other things that we have, if we say yes to one thing we're saying no to another, right. And I forget who it was, maybe it was Jim Collins. It was one of those guys who writes a lot of books, but they said you hear about 15,000 opportunities that have countless really numbers of opportunities come across your, your desk, your mental, or, or figurative or literal desk every day.

it's basically all these things you're saying no to things you're supposed to be doing. And so the only way we can do that consistently towards. Our measure of success, whatever that is is if we are clear on our why. Clear on our mission. Clear on our values. So we can put everything through the filter of those to say, you know, yes, to the things that will get us there.[00:41:00]

[00:41:02] Will: There's a lot, there's a lot. I would like to unpack there. I want to quickly before I talk about why I want to quickly point, because when we talk about goals and success, I think there could be an argument made, feel that the top athletes in the world have a slightly inverted view of success in the sense of, to be the best in the world.

You must sacrifice a lot of other things. And does it, does that make you the best human being? You can be. I maybe yes, maybe no, but, but I think it has, as the kids looking to want to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo, or win the league or win the World Cup, the ethic and the sacrifices you have to put in to, to make that happen.

It must, it must cause consequences elsewhere. And so when [00:42:00] we think about success is definitely yes, there's a success in sports, but is that success for life? I think there's an argument to be made that the focus on being better people, even if, even if that means you sacrifice the potential of playing in a world cup or winning a world cup.

Yeah. I mean, there's an argument to be made that that's really success, I think. And that it doesn't easy to not understand or not recognize. But I took one example. They quickly jumped me that I want to touch on, get those three points. Let's consider two players here, Luis Suarez, who has very much a win at all cost mentality, one of the best players in the world, the last decade, for sure.

But he bites people, you know, and then we have someone like Kante who just won the Champions League with Chelsea, won the World Cup with France and you can't meet a bad word about that guy, you know, everything he does on and off the field, everyone loves him because he's a [00:43:00] good person. He's not a win at all cost mentality.

I think Gary Lineker the old England striker. Never got a yellow card in his career. You know, this, there are players who can be the best and can be successful balancing both the, you know, that winning mentality for three points, but also being a good person and making your team better, making everyone around you better.

I can speak a little bit to why, but did you have any, does that make you think you have anything else that you want to respond to that.

[00:43:24] Phil: I think that you make a great point there. And I totally agree. I mean, I just, I think of Alex Ferguson, I mean, and I will, I will note that, you know, a lot of your examples are Manchester United, so you might want to reconsider your team.

But Alex Ferguson, I mean, I, more interviews I listened to, to him, his being who most people will agree is the best manager of all time came at a cost that I would not have. I would not have done tell me right now I can do, I can have that moniker at the end of my life to be the best manager of all time.[00:44:00]

And I would have had to make the sacrifices that he made in his family. That he did. You know, when he was asked, what'd you do after you won the treble? He said, I got in the di I got in my office the next day and I got to work on the next season. No, he goes complacency as a disease. You got to, and I'm sitting here going, I would have gone on, on a holiday with my family.

Right. I would have been with them. I would have celebrated with my team. I would have done things very differently. It doesn't make him wrong in me. Right. Has me having different values and a different why and a different measure of success that he has and he had. And so that's something that I think we need to be careful to say, he's right.

He's wrong or whatever. But to your point, you know, I had just recently interviewed Clyde Best another. He was my coach. One of the legends of the premier league. He is such a soft, mild spirit, just that it was a beast on the field. But a man that was one of my mentors when I was a kid, [00:45:00] I didn't know of his West Ham legendary status at the time, because he of who he was, he wasn't a guy who ever talked about it as it was even, it was like pulling teeth to get them to do the interviews.

But that's says a lot about him. It also says what he values and what's important to him. And, you know, it was what he did. He loved playing football and he did it incredibly, but that's not who he was. And I think those things are really important to look at because a lot of these players, you know, their why is to play football.

And then when they finished playing football, that's why there's a lot of depression. Unless they can get a job as a broadcaster and talk about football all the time, or coach and coach football all the time. Yeah. Even then it's different. It's hard for a lot of those players that live, breathe and do everything football.

Those are usually the players that are gonna make it to the premier league or make it to the league or make it to the whatever professional ranks is, because that's what it takes oftentimes. And especially in today's game. It's so cut throat. There's [00:46:00] so many people there's so much going on. It's it's, it's so hard, but I would say that we need to not condemn those players who are incredible and just take a step back and go, Hey, look, I don't love it.

It's not who I am. You know, my daughter was one of those players. She has so much soccer talent. She's incredible, but she doesn't love it. And she just recently decided not to play anymore in college. And that was a great decision for her. A lot of people are like, oh, that's such a bummer. It's what she had.

Afterwards that she didn't have before. It's not wrong. It's not right. It just is because her passion, her why lies in a different area. And look as a dad, I couldn't be happier and more joyful for my daughter because I see that she's pursuing what she loves, what she's passionate about, you know? And so if it's soccer great, if not great, [00:47:00] but that's where I think we need to going back to the why, understand that and go those things that we sometimes say I was an attorney for a while.

I was pursuing partnership for awhile and I was looking at some of the partners and I was saying, do I want to be him when I am a partner in 10, 15 years? Is that what I want my life to look like? And I knew the answer was no. Yeah, it doesn't make them wrong. And me, right. It's just, again, my values were doing.

Then that, and that's just is right. And that's something that we, but the, the, the people that I and Alex Ferguson knew that's what his values were. He knew that's what he wanted and that's what he was doing. And he pursued that and he went there and that was his, and that's exactly. And I I'd be surprised if he didn't look back on his life and see, say that was a success I will over again.

I'd be surprised if he, if he would say anything [00:48:00] different personality, part of it is, you know, and I mean, I sure he'd say, I wish I could've done this. I wish I could've done that. But he knew that in order to do what he did, he needed to do those things. And the same way for me in order to, to do what I need to do with my family, I need to sacrifice other things.

Money is one of them I'm not gonna make as much. That partner. I know that trade-off, I'm okay. Making it. So that's what you were talking about. I mean, you get me talking about these things that I'm passionate about and I go on for longer than I should as the host here. Cause it's really about you today.

But anyway, those are some of the things that

[00:48:39] Will: Arsene Wenger says exactly that in his, in his, in his book, he says, I did not spend enough time with my daughter, with my wife. I was not there enough. And I'm pretty sure he wouldn't change a thing, but he acknowledges that very much that he missed out on a lot by making the decisions he made and being one of the best managers in the world.[00:49:00]

[00:49:00] Phil: Yeah. And again, everything has a trade off. Everything has a trade off. Everything has its shadow is one of favorite sayings out there. And you know, what we don't see is often the part that we wouldn't want to do. And that's why I tell people don't to say, oh, I wish I could have this. I wish I could have that. I wish I could be that person.

I wish I could be that person look, Jim Carrey said, I'd never wish fame on anyone. And it's something that a lot of people would look at him and go, oh, what an amazing, I would love to have his life. What we don't see are the parts that we wouldn't want. Yeah. It goes to a lot of, a lot of people, a lot of things that we think are incredible.

We always hear the grass isn’t always greener. That's true. Everything has a shadow. That's true.

[00:49:49] Will: They say that they say that there's a saying that if everyone puts their problems in a pile and they took out and they could take some back. Everyone would end up taking their own problems back because the [00:50:00] grass isn't always greener.

You know, you put your own firm, everyone's got problems, everyone's having issues. You just see what you see. But if you pay them all in a pile and you get the choice to take yours back or take someone else's and everyone would take their own problems back, which

[00:50:13] Phil: I think is true. That's right. Have you thought about the why?.

[00:50:19] Will: There's a, there's a thunderstorm here in New York. So it's, everything's got something very dark and gloomy in here. So my life's a bit funky. I think, I think the why changes a lot, frankly. My why five years ago, when I started my business was independence. You know, my, why was I wanted to create a life of independence?

And I was, why did, why did now five years later, my, why is a little bit different. We just launched a family foundation this year so that I could take some of the profits from the business and put them into early stage nonprofit organizations focused on racial equity. And [00:51:00] that's at the moment.

That's my, why? I think, you know, I, if I've been fortunate enough to have the life I have, then surely it's my responsibility and obligation to pay that dividends elsewhere and help others create a similar life. So that's my why now? And sure. Maybe in five more years, my, why might involve children, which it doesn't yet.

She, well, that changes perception, you know, once that happens and that it becomes a whole big why so, so I, it changes a lot, but I think whenever I'm considering why I'm doing something, I do often think when I, when I'm, if I'm dying, when I die on my death bed and I look back, what will I be happy I've done and what will I think I shouldn't have done or didn't need to do.

And I know for a fact, I will not look back and say, Will, why didn't you become a billionaire? That's that's never something I look back and regret. But if I look back, if I'm on my death bed [00:52:00] and I have a massive bank account of funds. I will regret why is that not being used for the people to help other people it's just, you know, sitting there.

So my wild salmon, I guess there's an interesting book could, I think it was the E-Myth where they talk about an exercise where you write your own speeches for your own funeral and you write what you want something to say about you. And I think that's an interesting and useful way to live is to think, what do I want people to say about me when I'm gone and that can inform your decisions and your why when you, when you're alive?

[00:52:35] Phil: Absolutely. I, you know, not during this podcast interview, but afterwards I would love, I we're going to have another conversation about a lot of things, but I want to work with you a little bit more on that, because there's so much there in what you just said. And I, I encourage everyone out there and I always tell, even say, I challenge everyone out there because some people need the challenge rather than encouragement on, on stuff like this.

But [00:53:00] what you said about writing your own eulogy, don't just talk about, do it, do it. There's a book called Living Forward. Michael Hyatt, Daniel Harkavy wrote this book called Living Forward. It's about how to create your life plan. Fantastic book that I spent three days going through. That's what they say block out three days.

I did it. It was fantastic. Three days spent because it started with that writing your eulogy, which basically what you do there is you write down. What you'd want people who you love and you care about in your life to say about you at a funeral. Yeah. Each person would say different things, and then you blend those together and you create a eulogy.

I actually read it to my kids and to my wife. And I said, can you guys keep me accountable? Yeah. Yeah. No. And it was, it was kind of weird for my kids. Understand. I mean, it's

[00:53:50] Will: not right, but it is,

[00:53:52] Phil: if you really want to live, you got to know what you live in for. Yeah. Yeah. Right. And so this [00:54:00] idea and what it does is creates these life accounts and then you, you prioritize them and, and then each one you put, you know, your goals and all these other things in there.

So I, I'm not going to go through all of it right now, but I strongly encourage folks. Yeah. Do it, yeah, it does take time. It's hard. And it will change a little bit as you have kids as you have, but that why and that's what I created was the same thing. As any business, we spent a lot of time on vision framing and values and mission and vision and values and purpose of organizations.

And what I find is most people don't take the time to do it for ourselves before doing for ourselves. We're not going to know if it's matching up with the organizations that we're a part of with the different things that we're doing and all these other things. And so I know, I remember Jim Collins when I first did the vision framing for the ministry that I run.

He said basically write down what you think your why is, and keep asking why five times, [00:55:00]and then you'll be pretty close to your actual vision. And really, he said, stop just, just short of make the world a better place. Right. And that is something though. There's so much to. And, you know, even as you're talking about all those different things, I mean so much is going through my head because again, I love to help others to flourish.

And so I, but I encourage you encourage everyone listening to go through that exercise. They're going to help that out. I'd, I'd love to because what I love doing, but anyway, that's not what this is about, but it just made me think about that as you were talking about, because it's so important and it just makes everything so much richer when you see it as part of this bigger picture, your life and other people's lives, right.

That you are purposefully in their life, doing things, you know, for them and for what they can do. And then in the midst of that, it's also fulfilling your why. So it's just really cool stuff. All right, man. Hey, we're coming kind of close to the end here of our time [00:56:00] together, but do you have any other so much we could keep talking about.

Do you have any, just last thoughts on this idea of what you've learned from the game? That if you didn't say it, you'd just be like, man, I feel like we didn't cover what I really wanted to cover here today.

[00:56:17] Will: I think we've covered some pretty meaningful topics. I don't think we've missed anything is critical, but I will reemphasize a couple of things, which I think are the most critical.

I think what we just talked about the ability to reflect and be objective and step away from day-to-day life and really consider the mission values, vision. That's something, as you say, people don't tend to do and has a lot of value to it with both of you. Both of us have referenced a book that tells us to do this Eulogy thing.

It is morbid, but while it's an eye-opener, so those kinds of that kind of [00:57:00] objectivity I think is, something I would emphasize both in soccer and, and in life. And then I want to reemphasize the growth mindset. You know, especially as a kid, it can be very hard to think outside your immediate world and think outside kind of this, this, this mentality that everything is forever and everything is fixed.

And, and it's, Steve jobs has a quote about how, when you realize the world was malleable, it's just a game changer. And I would say the same thing when I, as an adult realized. Wow. I don't have to get on a train and go to work every day in a suit and work nine to five and come home. And just the idea that you can create your own life and you can grow into who you want to be is, is a pretty game changing thing to learn.

And a lot of us learn it too late or later in life than we should. So if that's one thing I could in impart and younger peoples, [00:58:00] is that growth mindset because learning at a young age, that trajectory, it can put you on and compound interest about that growth is phenomenal.

[00:58:11] Phil: Definitely, definitely is something that if you don't understand it, if you, if this idea and this talk of growth mindset, fixed mindset is new to you.

I do encourage you to go back and listen to some of the past episodes of, of this podcast. Go read the book Mindset. It's, it's a great one. It's a reason why a lot of our guests have referenced it and recommended it. But that leads us to our last question that we ask all of our guests, which is what have you read, listened to or watched recently that has informed your thinking on how soccer explains life and leadership.

[00:58:48] Will: I've been watching the Amazon prime documentaries all or nothing. I just watched the city one. I want to watch the leads one. I'm sure. Maybe even listened to a podcast, but this was referenced. I can't remember. Or you referenced it to me last [00:59:00] time, but we talk about. The availability of education and knowledge, you know, and a lot of people at the end of a long day, don't want to read a book.

So if they want to go on Amazon prime or you want to go on Netflix, they're still at home, amazing learning there to go behind the scenes in this season Man City won the title and see how Pep Guardiola talks his players in the changing room and see how they respond and see how they engage with each other.

Engage with him. You get to watch TV and learn a phenomenal amount about both leadership and soccer. So I've been watching those Amazon prime series and I would highly recommend them.

[00:59:40] Phil: I would too. They're phenomenal. I mean, you talked about Netflix, somebody else referenced this, I've started watching it.

I'm, I'm struggling. I'm not gonna lie, but I I've heard there's a lot to learn from it on F1 you know, racing on Netflix. It's all about the teams there and everything. I think it's six part, you know, documentary [01:00:00] series, whatever. So since I've never watched a, I don't think I've watched a single F1 race, the closest I've gotten is watching cars, you know, with my but but anyway, that's, there's another ones, but those, those documentaries being, there's so much to learn from them because they're, you know, again, how much of it.

Do they edit out whatever, you know, but it gets pretty pretty involved in, in, in it. I just absolutely love. And the Leeds one is fantastic. You

[01:00:28] Will: mean, you see, you see the team talks a half and before games, and that's a map to see what pat says to his team. What can you say to Aguero and Kompany and Foden?

They're amazing to see what he says to them is incredibly interesting. Yeah,

[01:00:46] Phil: it was, it was super, super interesting. I, the one on Tottenham was interesting as well, because

a lot about Mourinho and everything I assumed about him was, [01:01:00] you know, again, going back to DISC, he's so task-focused that, you know, that people side, which makes perfect sense from the standpoint of every one of his team. That he's been a part of has gone won something, well, platinum never won, but they imploded after a couple of years.

Yeah. Because when you felt, when you don't, but going back to focusing on people, if you're not focusing on people, either you as the manager, you know, that he is or hiring someone who that is their job, you're going to lose that locker room eventually. Yeah. I agree though. But to see that and to see some of those conversations that were, you know, I don't know if, I mean, I don't know if they're looking at the camera, they forget it's there.

Like these are just conversations with the players. Yeah. It just didn't surprise me to hear any of it. It was really, it was really interesting. So, yeah, so that's a, those are, those are fantastic. And I know you also, we mentioned that you've been reading biographies of, of Arsene [01:02:00] Wenger and Alex Ferguson.

Those are great. I'll put those on the show notes as well. All, anything we mentioned on these, these episodes are on the show notes, but Thanks again. Thanks again. Will, for, for, for being a part of this for being a part of the show for reaching out to me, and I'm so glad you did, because I've enjoyed getting to know you I've enjoyed this conversation.

And then the last conversation we had as well, and I have no doubt that our audience is going to learn, learn a lot from what you've been learning too. So thanks a lot for being. I hope so. Yeah.

[01:02:29] Will: Well, thank you. So

[01:02:31] Phil: all right, folks. Well, once again, thanks for being a part of this show. As I said at the beginning, I'll say again, you know, if you haven't done so already joined the Facebook group, drop me an email.

If you have any questions or have anything that you want to share with me about guests or other things about these episodes that are really touching you and really hitting you hitting you hard and love to hear all of that. The other thing I want to, to mention, and to remind you of is if you're at all interested in learning more about the [01:03:00] DISC training that I have referenced and talk about on this show or about the coaching coaches curriculum and trainings that we're putting together, the mastermind that we're putting together, you can go ahead and, and sign up for our newsletter on the website.

If you go on the computer, I know for sure you can go on the right hand sidebar and you can just sign up for our newsletter there. If you can't find it, just shoot me an email and give me your email address. And I'll add you to that newsletter list as well. And you can find out all the information about the different things that we have to offer.

And I'd love to have you go deeper with me. And other people who have been on this show in those mastermind groups. So without more today, I do hope, that you take everything that you're learning from this this show, this episode here today, as well as all the episodes that we have, you're taking it all in.

You're using it to help you to be a better leader. You're using it to, to help you understand that soccer truly does explain life and leadership. Thanks a lot. [01:04:00] Have a great week.