Life will be challenging; there’s no doubt about that; it’s how you meet those challenges that make the difference, according to Sherry Winn.
This PeopleStar episode is extraordinary, as we are honored to have Olympian, athlete, coach, author, and leader, Sherry Winn as a guest. She recognizes that what matters in life is not the achievements you have under your belt but how you overcame such challenges. Language can do wonders to show us a path or how we describe things, but seeing everything as a problem or challenge can be daunting. That’s why Sherry likes to shift the mindset: success must be seen as an adventure. As Sherry mentions during her work with teams, both organizational and sports-wise, imagination and excitement are two critical components of success.
Success is an adventure into the unknown, so tune in to this episode and enjoy!
Sometimes what you overcame is much more important than what you have achieved.
Language can be a barrier, but it can also show us a path to freedom.
Teams must be open-minded to all possibilities before start shooting them down.
Excitement is a big part of success.
Imagining all the possibilities opens up a spectrum of actions for the teams.
About Sherry Winn
Sherry Winn is a Two-Time Olympian, National Basketball Coach of The Year, and Amazon Three-Time Best Selling Author. She is an in-demand, internationally renowned speaker. She speaks for up to 14,000 people at a time, including companies such as StubHub, AnyTime Fitness, New York Life, Edward Jones, and Technicolor.
Sherry is known as a leader of leaders and a visionary of visionaries. She has written five books, including her forthcoming and much-anticipated book titled Winning Leadership: Seven Secrets for Employee Champions and Sales Superstars.
CEOs rave about Sherry’s ability to weave practical steps with life-changing messages throughout a humorous presentation which keeps leaders and team members on the edge-of-their seats.
With over 34 years of practicing leadership as a National Championship Basketball Coach and a Two-Time Olympian, Sherry is an expert at coaching leaders and team members to championship status. She has successfully taken leaders beyond their comfort levels to “WIN” against competitors who were superior in talent, facilities, and financial budgets. Through her WIN Philosophy ™ and WINNER Principles ™, she shares insider secrets on how to succeed even when the odds seem insurmountable so that your team feels, acts, and conquers their goals like Olympians.
PeopleStar Intro: Welcome to the PeopleStar Podcast. We deliver leadership perspectives from industry experts on their people, architecture, routines, and culture as they solve HR's newest challenges. And now your host, Julie Rieken.
Julie Rieken: Hello podcast listeners, Julie Rieken, host of People Star Podcast. Today, I am so excited. I've got Coach Sherry Winn with us. Sherry has written books about winning spirit and strategies, a two-time former Olympian winning coach. And Sherry, I think it would be best just to introduce you and let you give us some of your background here. Tell the listeners who you are and a bit of your background.
Sherry Winn: Well, thank you, Julie, I appreciate that. So people always want to know, like, what you've accomplished. And I think that, in that, I think the biggest thing is not necessarily what you accomplished, but what you overcame on the way to the accomplishment, right? So a lot of people get stuck in fear, they get stuck in the mud failure, like the muck, in the mud of that. And what's interesting to note is every single person I've ever met, not one single one of them have ever said, you know what? I was born and everything went great. Like, I've never heard anybody say that, and so it's true with my life as well. I think that these accomplishments, I was a college bench substitute, so I wasn't even playing, four years later, I was, I was marching into the opening ceremonies at the 1984 Olympic Games. I was fired in my very first position as a, as assistant coach. And then, just five years after that, I was national coach of the year, right? So when you look at this, you always have to think about what are some of the challenges you've had and where have you risen from those challenges? One of the other things is I was diagnosed with chronic pain at the age of 35, and I could not literally I could not sit, stand or walk without intense chronic pain. I went to 17 different medical professionals, have every test known to mankind with the result of what they told me was, you just, you're going to have to learn to manage the pain. And I said, nope, I want to get rid of it. And so I walked away from all those professionals and I went on my own journey of how do I heal myself. And so, you know, what I'm, what I want people to know is we're going to be challenged, and that is the reality of life, it's the toolset that you have to meet those challenges that makes the difference.
Julie Rieken: Coach, that is such good advice when you think about the toolset that we have to meet challenges. And I think a lot of people in our audience, HR professionals predominantly, although lots of people listen, is how do we, how do we meet challenges as individuals and as teams and how do we see challenges as opportunities? And in fact, you and I were visiting just a few minutes before the podcast, of course, you've written Unleash the Winner Within You, which is great, and you're writing another book called Seven Secrets to Being a Truly Powerful Leader, and I want to know some of those secrets, but.
Sherry Winn: Hahahaha!
Julie Rieken: We all want to be truly powerful leaders! But let's talk about there was one chapter that, that really resonated with us. And, and I want to just talk a little bit about that. And the title of the chapter or the premise of the chapter is Making Success and Adventure, and.
Sherry Winn: Yes.
Julie Rieken: Success can be wonderful, and they can be scary, and they can be unknown and all, just tell us about that chapter. Why did you write about making success and adventure?
Sherry Winn: Well, here's where I think. I think that we even used our own language. Our language creates barriers to us even getting to what we want. So we walk in and we go, oh, this is a problem, this is an obstacle, this is a barrier. And automatically people get that stuck feeling like, oh my gosh, it's just going to be hard, it's going to be difficult, it's going to be long. But when we switch to.
Julie Rieken: Oh, my gosh, you're so right. We see it that way, don't we?
Sherry Winn: We do. And then by creating, we're already, because we create that our mind, we're stopping ourselves from moving forward. And why don't we just make success an adventure? And that means with every obstacle, barrier, challenge it comes our way, it's not what we call them, as we say, it's an adventure. What adventure are we going to go on today? What is that going to look like? We're going to come, you don't, I was telling you that before we started, it was like we rarely know what a vacation's going to totally look like. Like we're going to plan to go to Disneyland. Do we know every single ride, what every single ride looks like, what it feels like, how long it takes? We don't know. Part of the fun is the adventure of being on something that's a little bit unknown. How would it be if we all knew exactly how our life was going to lay out? Like a lot of us wouldn't even start it. We'd be like, oh no, that's way too hard, not going there. But if you think about it is an adventure because it is, it truly is. When we start out, and we believe it's an adventure, we create that whole, that idea around it, like we're going on something we don't know about, we're going to find things we've never found before, we're going to see things we haven't seen. And then it becomes different, like just the feeling of it becomes different. And that's part of the battle right there.
Julie Rieken: That's a really important perspective, and I'm kind of relating this to something that we have going on in, in our business. And I'm just thinking about one particular area where something's, let's just call it, a dust bunny, it's in decline. We need to shift the perspective on that. It's not going the way that we'd wanted it to go, and we need to, we need to look at it in a different way, and I don't know if I even presented it as an issue. How would you reframe something like that? Like, like a challenge like that? What would you say to a team to say, hey, let's take this thing that's been in decline and turn it around into something that isn't. How would you help a team?
Sherry Winn: Well, the first thing we have to know is like, look, you're all, you all have great ideas, you're here because you're creative, you're here because you're innovative, you're here because you're smart. So let's look at, let's look at all the things that we know that are possibilities. And so, what I want you to do is stop the limitations in your head, like stop going, well, we don't have the money, and we don't have the time. No, no, no, no, no. All possibilities. Let's focus on all possibilities. So let's get those out there, because I really believe in you, and I believe that we can find the pathway to the best solution through all of us. So let's just start, like there's no, like I said, don't, don't limit your thinking here. You've got unlimited thinking, let's start on it, and let's just shoot some of those possibilities and let's circle the top three, and let's go from there, let's figure it out together. So we're not going to focus on what we know won't work, right? Or we're not even going to say that somebody has an idea and somebody goes, oh, with that. Well, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We're not going to start with what won't work or what's not possible. Let's have an all possibility lane. And when we get excited about it, then we'll figure out how it's going to work with the possibilities we presented, but we have to get excited about it. Nobody's going to move action without excitement.
Julie Rieken: That's a really good point. Without excitement. Well, how do you create excitement? Okay, I'm thinking this through, all right? Now, I've got a thing, we're going to, it's a dust bunny, we're going to reverse its angle, we're going to put some possibilities and we're going to create excitement around it.
Sherry Winn: Well, I think that's a leader's job, though, Julie. I think that's truly a leader's job, right? Like, if you, if you are the one who's excited about the possibilities, if you're the one that's thinking about man, look, let's imagine and this is a great word to use, let's imagine what will happen as a result of us figuring this out. Let's just, let's put our imagination out there. So let's forget about the problems that are in front of us like … bumps, problems, obstacles, barriers that we've created. But let's imagine what it looks like. So let's say that we create this thing that we know can happen, what does it feel like having been completed? What does that, what does that look like to you guys? Just describe it to me, talk about it with me. So if I was coaching a team, right? So I used to coach basketball for, for 23 years and now I've had coaching CEOs and C-suite execs, so if I could get your imagination where it's like, oh, that would be so much fun, can you imagine what it's going to look like? And you feel that? Can you see that? This is what we're going to do, this is what's going to take us. This is, oh, I'm going to I'm going to be able to do X, X and X. This is going to be like, if I can get you in that place where you've already achieved it and you're already feeling it, then you're excited about it. But if we're just stuck in the drudgery of the step by step stuff that we've got to get through, nobody's excited, it's too hard. I'll guarantee you this, look, when I was first dreaming about being an Olympian, I did not think about the 10,000 miles, you know, I had to run between now and then. The, you know, the number of practice hours I'm going to have to do, how many steps, how many pushups, how many, how many skills I'm going to have to repeat until I just get started again. That's not what I thought of. What I was thinking of was, ooh, I get to march to the opening ceremonies.
Julie Rieken: Oh, that's a big moment. How was that, by the way? Was that pretty awesome?
Sherry Winn: That was a most amazing moment, Julie. Like, there's nothing like walking into a ceremony and to openly say, you know, opening ceremonies with 80,000 people screaming U-S-A, there's nothing like it. Like the, the ground is shaking, you know, the air is shaking. People are all wanting you because it was, it was Los Angeles, right? So it was USA. And that moment when you're standing there and you're looking around at people like, you know, next to you is Michael Jordan, and you're like, ooh, he wasn't great yet, he wasn't the Michael Jordan that we know. But those kind of people, you're surrounded by all people who are dreamers first, who imagine first, who live in that, who lived in that moment long before the moment ever became real.
Julie Rieken: So that's a really important thing that you've just, that you've just shared, I think, is that moment that when you were doing all of the hard work you weren't thinking about I got stuck on push ups, coach. I did. …. I got stuck there. But let's, okay, let's say that those … that you overcame the push up part and then and then you're in that stadium and you imagined the feeling of all of that and it was better than you thought. And I think that's a really important thing for HR, for those of us that are leaders, organizations to think about. Imagine what it looks like at the end of that journey. Because you're right, sometimes, like right now, I can catch myself. I'm focusing overly-tactically, right?
Sherry Winn: Yes.
Julie Rieken: How do we solve that?
Sherry Winn: … Too hard.
Julie Rieken: And it's too hard, and nobody wants it. I want that moment, though, that you described. I want the air to shake. You said the air was shaking.
Sherry Winn: It was.
Julie Rieken: That's the feeling I want to create. And I think that's a really important lesson on how to make success an adventure. What does it feel like at the end? And to remember that when we're, when we're setting up our priorities, building teams around goals, to remember, to imagine what it looks like, to think about the things that are possible, not the things that aren't, and help people see that excitement around getting to that goal. Not just the tactics on how to get there, to build up that feeling.
Sherry Winn: Yeah, who wants to, like, get into the drudgery of all the steps it has to take? But how many people would love to, look, if you can get them to feel what it feels like and to talk about that and to talk about how they're going to feel after they accomplish this, if you can get them there, and then keep taking them back to that space, right then they're going to, then the steps don't seem so hard because the outcome feels so good. So the imagination of it is plays a huge part, right? So Einstein said you cannot create a, you cannot solve a problem with the same mind they created it, right? And that imagination is far greater than knowledge. He said both of those things, right? So if you look at that and you think, well, imagination is greater than knowledge, are we trying to use our knowledge or our imagination to get there? If he said that the same mind that created problem, that you have to change your mind to solve it, you have to change your mind to solve it, you can't stay in the same mindset of the problem, which so many people do. You have to get out of that to get to the solution. So it is all about, all this we're talking about it's attitude, it's mindset, it's the same thing that you would always use.
Julie Rieken: So important. Coach Sherry Winn, it's been a delight to interview you today. I would like to link in our podcast to Unleash the Winner within You, to your the winning leadership company so that people can find you on the Internet. And is it possible, I can't wait to get my hands on your Truly Powerful Leader. Powerful leaders do pushups, I think, do they?
Sherry Winn: Hahahaha. They do mind pushups. They don't mind my pushups.
Julie Rieken: We're going to link that in the show notes to that because that'd be helpful for our people.
Sherry Winn: Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. So you would just find, that, I'm found TheWinningLeadershipCompany.com. That's how you can find me. And the book is not yet coming out. It's, we're hoping, we're hoping that September 1st is the date it'll be completed, not meaning that all the edits will be completed, right? That means my portion has been completed. So it's going to be a great book, I'll tell you, I'm so excited about it. I've interviewed over 200, 200 leaders from the senior vice president of Dell, to the CEO of Linda Lakes, to all kinds of wonderful people who've really given me so many powerful insights to what truly takes to be this kind of leader that everybody wants to work for.
Julie Rieken: I'm excited for it. Congratulations on writing. That is an act of courage right there. And I've got something to chew on, on how to make success and adventure as a leader from now until your book releases. So, Coach Sherry Winn, thank you for being a guest. It's been a pleasure.
Sherry Winn: Thank you so much.
PeopleStar Outro: Thanks for listening to the PeopleStar Podcast. For the show notes, transcript, resources, and more ways to get a seat at the table, visit us at TrakStar.com/Podcast.