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Speaking From a Place of Passion and Motivation THE COACH MENTALITY
This month, we wanted to feature one of our colleagues and friends, attorney Todd Bailess, and share his perspective on what it means to be a leader. Todd runs his own law firm in West Virginia, and after meeting Russell a few years ago, the two formed a bond over their shared passion for their profession, experiences overcoming obstacles, and backgrounds in sports. Here’s Todd to tell you more of the story.
off over our shared experiences in athletics and the mutual respect that comes from recognizing someone who is as driven as you are. We have similar philosophies, we’ve read similar books, and we are united by the drive to be successful, not for ourselves but for the people we represent. A while later, Russell called me up and asked if I’d be interested in teaching a course in an organization we were both involved in. It was a big call for me. I was at a point where I was feeling stagnant in my law practice. I was searching for something that brought me more fulfillment, and teaching provided that. Being able to teach a course with Russell was an incredible experience, and it got us to connect even more in terms of how we approach life. It’s a connection that continues today. Russell and I are both continuous learners, and it’s not uncommon for us to send each other a text at 4 a.m. because we know the other person is up and getting ready for their day. We’re like coaches for each other, always checking in and asking the other person, “What’s your one big thing today? What do you want to get done? What can I help you with?” Our friendship is like when you’re out jogging at 5 a.m. and see the one other person up at that hour out jogging just like you. You nod your heads at each other, acknowledging the commitment you’re both making. You’ve both made a personal decision to better yourselves, and you respect the commitment of the other person. You know that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s also like the way athletes exchange high-fives at the end of a game. It doesn’t matter that they were competing a few minutes earlier. They both recognize the commitment the other person has to being the best they can be. A while ago, I got the chance to visit Russell and his firm and see it all in action. It is so efficient, and everyone working there is so committed. There’s this team atmosphere that is apparent from the
I came to know Russell a few years ago at a conference in Dallas. There were probably around 50 attendees, and we were set up in a ballroom full of tables. All of a sudden, I hear this voice coming from a table behind mine. The voice was the first thing I gravitated toward because I thought, I’ve heard this voice before, but I’ve rarely heard this voice. It’s the voice of someone full of passion, motivation, and drive. It’s the voice of someone who really feels what they are talking about. It’s the voice of a coach. Being raised by a coach and growing up playing sports before becoming a coach myself, it was a voice I was familiar with. Coaches speak from a place of passion and motivation; they inspire their team to make the play, take the next opportunity to score, and give their all in the next game. In my experience, only coaches speak with that level of passion and motivation. We call it “coach talk.” After I heard Russell talk, I said to myself, “He was either a coach or played athletics at a high level.” So it wasn’t surprising when I learned Russell had played competitive basketball in college. We didn’t get the chance to meet at that conference, but several months later, Russell was an instructor for a class I’d signed up for. I realized I’d have the opportunity to talk more with him, and we hit it
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