Episode #281: George Raveling – Eight Decades Of Wisdom: From Dr. Martin Luther King To Michael Jordan

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Episode #281: George Raveling – Eight Decades Of Wisdom: From Dr. Martin Luther King To Michael Jordan

Coach George Raveling is a national treasure. He’s the definition of a Learning Leader. He’s 81 years old and aggressively striving to get better every single day. Some notable facts about him.

  • Possesses original copy of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech
  • First African-American basketball coach in the PAC-8 (PAC-12)
  • Integral part of Michael Jordan signing with Nike
  • Traveled to 6 of 7 continents
  • Referenced by many as the “Human Google”
  • Reads at least 4 books a month; has given away thousands
  • Spoke before Congress
  • Created the Coaching For Success platform to inspire innovation and the journey towards life-long learning

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“The slave owners used to hide money in books because they knew slaves would never look in the books because they couldn’t read. If someone can control my mind, they can control my body.  I will not let that happen.  Books are my mistress.”- George Raveling

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of sustaining excellence:
    • Growth mindset
    • Immense curiosity
    • High level of self awareness — “It starts within”
    • Great vision
    • Most important = “they execute”
  • Relationship lessons learned over eight decades – “Be a giver, not a taker. Try to genuinely help people.”
    • Develop trust, respect, and care for others — “It’s all about love.  Don’t keep score.  Do the right thing, be kind, but don’t keep score or trade favors.  That’s not how it works.”
  • Standing next to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr for the “I Have A Dream” speech
    • Asking Dr. King for the speech after he finished (and getting it… still has it!)
    • Why he won’t sell of try to profit from the speech despite it being worth millions
    • The power of “showing up early” and “asking for what you want”
  • Why Coach reads so much — “The slave owners used to hide money in books because they knew slaves would never look in the books because they couldn’t read.” — “If someone can control my mind, they can control my body.  I will not let that happen.  Books are my mistress.”
  • Information = knowledge = wisdom = opportunity = growth = success
  • The importance of his upbringing – His dad died when he was 9, his mom was institutionalized when he was 13. He was raised by his grandmother and nuns.
    • “My grandmother taught me to be curious.  She taught me to ask.  She taught me good manners.  She taught me humility. She taught me to help people.  She was the #metoo movement before the #metoo movement”
  • How basketball was the “greatest vehicle for transformation in my life.”
    • Earned scholarship to Villanova — When George was first offered a scholarship, he didn’t know what that meant.
    • Going from player to coach and why he was suited to be a great coach
    • Becoming the first African American head coach of the Pac 8 (Pac 12)
  • The mindset of thinking of yourself as an educator/teacher
  • George is a voracious reader and marks up each and every page of the books he likes (I saw first hand and it’s amazing)
  • The importance for older people to have 4-5 younger mentors in their life.  Ryan Holiday plays this role for Coach.
  • The importance of self leadership – “You must take care of yourself before trying to lead others”
  • Working at Nike for Phil Knight — Helping sign Michael Jordan away from Adidas
  • Focus on being a great decision maker and seeking out growth opportunities
  • Why you don’t need a title to be an effective leader
  • In order to be promoted, focus on being incredibly great at what you’re doing right now
  • The 10 realities of life Coach Raveling values most at age 81
  • Pushing Coach to write a book about living a great life — Tweet him to do this!
  • Why joining The Learning Leader Circle is a good idea
  • Use the “Get To Know You Document

“When Dr. King finished giving the “I Have A Dream” speech, I walked up to him and asked him if I could have it. And he gave it to me.”

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More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 200: Keith Hawk & AJ Hawk — Showing Up, Doing The Work, Earning Trust, Helping Others, Winning The Super Bowl, Celebrating #200

Episode 234: Jocko Willink — Why Discipline Equals Freedom

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