O.K before I start, anyone who has come into the room, there is a handout that is worth having if you are going to stay in here. Well folks, one day I was coaching, and the very next I was a construction superintendent, making double the money I ever made in coaching and there is a lesson to that. It does help to be related to your boss. From being worried about stroke techniques and various conditioning programs that got people ready to swim from anywhere from 20 seconds to 15 minutes, spending basic no more than ever four hours a day coaching. I worked 10 to 12 hour days when we had work and zero hours when we did not have work. From dealing with young people, who thought it was really neat to get blitzed every weekend and smoke grass, I still don’t know what that means, to people, adults, young, middle-aged and senior citizens that drank and smoked weed at every opportunity, whether they were on the job or off the job. From dealing with people that knew twice as much as me about what I was doing. From dealing with people that allowed me to have tantrums, to people that made me back them up when I was stupid enough to have one. From worried about a small group of about twenty people to organizing and operating a construction site with over 500 men and women coming on each day. The world changed for me, and I thought I wanted out of coaching when I went. I was not even that disappointed when I got fired. I tell the story, always wanting to be first at something. I became the first NCAA coach to be fired for NCAA violations and folks, that wasn’t what I wanted to be first at but I was first and that’s probably what I’m going to be remembered for. But I had to learn a brand new trade. And I had to learn it so that I operated and made things work on a construction site. What I learned about very quickly was to delegate, something I never did in coaching up to that point. And I learned about a thing called quality control, and I think there were things that we in coaching don’t do a very good job of. You have 500 people and over 100 different trades coming on each day and you’re in production.
Well I worked for a company that was in production. I went in on a field that had nothing built, no roads, I watched the roads go in, I watched them stick dynamite in the ground to blow up all the rocks underneath. I watched them take the graders in, grade then right behind them, I watched them rough grade, fine grade, right into the getting ready to put the first foundation down. One day after the foundation was down, in came the framers. Right behind the framers came the plumbers. Right behind the plumbers came the electricians. I just watched these buildings go up and your job when you’re running 500 people, is to make sure that each day they have an area, where they can work and not run into somebody else. It’s like being a general. 500 people. In the military, they give you a 10 man squad. They let the second lieutenant run that. 10 people. That’s how good second lieutenants are. They even let them stay through first lieutenant. When they become first lieutenant, they get to run, what they call a company. That’s about 10 squads. 40 men. It just goes up as the ranks go up. And their job in the military, is to have their people prepared so that they can do their job.
The job of construction superintendent is to see things are laid out, and it’s not real easy. If you think it’s been tough where you are and you think you’ve had trouble with your parent groups, your board of directors, they are pains in the butt. No question about it. Any time you put parents in control of anything, you’re going to have a pain in the butt that will never let go. But then you get these county supervisors. You get the inspectors coming in. These are all ex-contractors, who couldn’t make it out in the field and they like nothing better than putting your boss down. They can do that by not letting the job go forward. So when you run you have to delegate.
I had five foremen working for me for these 500 men. We had to inspect every inch of the property each and every day. We had to make sure that when we called for inspections, we passed, because we had trades stacked up ready to come in right on top of one another. Right behind each other. Every step you had to delegate authority or you would go absolutely crazy, and I learned for the first time in my life to trust some other people. But with one fine line, and I’m going to make this point to you, this is one of the lessons I learned. There better be quality control. When you finish your project and everything is built, the only things that count is did it get built first on time, and is it functional. And what I mean by functional is very simply that within the next 10 years, is anything going to fall apart? Because if it falls apart, the people that come into those condos are going to sue you. It cost you $10,000,000.00 to build your project. They will sue for $30,000,000.00. It’s dangerous work to be a contractor. So you have to have a system of quality control. You had good subs. You subbed everything out. There is no God. There is nobody existing that runs his own construction company with his own people. They sub the work out. And when you sub the work out you get good ones and bad ones. The bad ones, you let them build an inch at a time and then you inspect it. Another inch. Inspect. The good ones, you turn them loose to get the job done. It means proper quality control and proper inspection.
I would think this is pretty close to coaching. When they are going good. Get out of the way. When they’re going bad, step in and start coaching. That’s what you get paid for. What is tragic about this sport in some instances, and I still see it, probably worse than when I left the first time, is you got a lot of people there. When you win, coaches I’m talking about, and when they start going south, you can’t find them. The coach never shows up. I’ve always tried to do it the other way. When there’s success, step back and let the young person have the success and when they go really bad, that’s when I step forward and share it with them.
The only way a general contractor today in construction can exist and survive is through quality control and delegation of authority. You delegate it out, you get the subcontractors to sign off their work, as they sign off their work, when you go to court for the functions that don’s work later, the appropriate person gets sued. If you know anything about lawyers, they go for deep pockets, so you always get called in as the general because as general contractor, you make the most money. But if you have a proper quality control and a check off system, then you, and one of the reason’s I was successful, I actually got away with murder. One because I knew how to motivate, that I brought from coaching, and then I got my subs to take full responsibility for their actions, and I got them to sign off on a legal form that they had done the work that was supposed to be done. I checked it every step or my foreman did. I got my foreman to sign off so that my boss couldn’t come get me, and I got the subs to sign off so we could go get the subs before the people came to get the general and my boss didn’t necessarily like me.
Of course I was married to his sister, so you know what that means, you know what I was doing to her, right. So very simply, by having this sign off system in all the projects he’s built and it was right here in San Diego, the only project he has not had a lawsuit in is the one just up the road. I had a simple lesson, since I didn’t know what I was doing, I made the subs tell me what they were going to do and how they were going to do it. It’s amazing that construction is like coaching. There’s a lot of common sense in it. Very simply, when they could explain to me what they were doing and it made sense to me, I let them do it. When it didn’t make sense to me, then I went and got some expert advice, and I would tell them how I wanted them to do it. You know what, I’ve had a lot of pretty damn good swimmers in my career, and I’ve got several right now. And you’d be surprised that they can tell me what they’re doing. Every one of my great ones, knows what they’re doing. And I’ve learned to listen to them. That young man who stood up earlier today and said nice things about me, I still don’t know who Steve Austin is, but other than that you know I learned everything I know on coaching on that poor young man’s body. I almost destroyed him. I’ve been a pretty good coach since then. I learned a lot, but Tim Shaw taught me a lot, and at the end I listened to him, and he that wasn’t a mistake he got a silver medal. I almost blew it, Tim didn’t blow it. I almost blew it, Tim did what he was supposed to.
I got people to correct bad work just by just a motivational tool I learned in swimming. And I was the only person that my brother-in-law ever hired that could get that done. I got fired, I’ve been fired three times in my life now. Never got fired, got fired at NCAA, I went to work for my brother in law, I got fired because in that program there was only going to be one star and all of a sudden there was a new star coming. Well I got fired because he went down and told one of the subs to top out a building, that’s plumbing, they told him to go to hell and then he told me “you get it done” which he was going to laugh when I couldn’t get it done. I went down and said the right words to the man, and the man topped the building up. I came back, and I was fired 2 days later. Only one star. I can even understand that. It makes perfect sense to me. My brother-in-law’s problem was that he couldn’t delegate. Besides being a jerk, that is.
What I did in construction was I gave little compliments. I started doing the things I talked about doing in coaching. What I saw in my brother-in-law, is I saw a lot of me. And I saw a lot of things I didn’t like. So I decided I’d change. There is a lot of you who don’t think I’ve changed, but I’ve changed drastically. I don’t get in your face until you’ve done something to me about 3 or 4 times now. It used to be I used to take anything that looked as a slight, and I was in your face. Now I’m an easygoing person. I found out such things as “Nice Job,” “Great Work,” “Great to have somebody I can count on,” “Good thinking,” “What do you think?,” “Is there a better way?,” “Have you considered this?,” “Thank you?”.
Worked like crazy in the construction industry. I had Hell’s Angels working for me. I had the brotherhood working for me. Black and white. Put them at different ends of the construction. Twenty-three acres I built at the last one at different times. Saved me race wars. I add drinking. No drinking allowed on the site. But just by simple things, when we finally had to screw up, I could go to that person and say “How can you do all this well, and then give me this piece of crap? I won’t tolerate it, you’re a better man than that and you get this fixed.” And they fixed it for me.
My brother-in-law, they’d lip off, they’d argue with him until he took their paycheck, because that’s the other difference between coaching and the real world. One they are doing it either because mom and dad are sending them there, and they’re paying you in most cases, and they’ll do what you’re telling them to do out of some respect, whereas in construction you’re controlling the paycheck. These are compliments. A lot of people call them white lies. I don’t lie. I may exaggerate a little bit, but I don’t lie. And what I found out, and very simply when I’ve come back to coaching is that when I found people that didn’t mind my compliments, that didn’t get turned on by nice job, way to go. I fired them, because if they couldn’t accept a compliment, they were working for one reason and one reason only. They were working for pay. They did not care what they did as long as they got their money. If you forced them to do good work, they’d give you good work.
If you didn’t force them to give good work, you’d get crappy work but they were always there for their paycheck. How many swimmers you got like that? Way too many. You know a long time ago, I came to this convention. It was a lot of years ago, before I got fired, this is before firing and after firing. And I said that we had dollar lanes. And we all got to make money. But you people better learn about dollar lanes. You stick all the rumps, the rough people, the bad people, you stick um all in the same lane. Let them do whatever they want to do. Get them out of the way of the good people. The people that want by your compliments go with them. The people that don’t believe fire them. Get rid of them. They are going to be an anchor, they are going to be a drain. You’re better off with a smaller team. Go get another job. Just continue to coach. And pretty soon, tough kids will come to you. Good people will come to you. People that buy compliments, you can get to their pride. You can get to a woman or a man’s pride. You got them. If you can’t get to their pride, you don’t have them. If you get to their pride are you abusing or using. No. I’ve spent this time, I’ve attended very few lectures here. I’ve gone out and seen all my buddies in the construction industry. All the guys high fiving. All kinds of people. Because they knew I would tell them the truth. They know that I protected them from my boss. I didn’t shift blame. If I told them to do something I stood with them, when we got both of our butts chewed for doing the right thing. And to this day, I have friends that are still in the construction industry. Once you have a person’s pride, you have them. The job and management is to motivate people to be the best they can be. You cannot do that until first they trust you. Once they start trusting you they will respect you, and once they respect you, you can get inside them and help them be everything they can be. It’s not just a slogan that the United States Army came up with. It is a great slogan, and it can be true.
Coaches can do that better than anybody else. I know. I went into a field I didn’t, look I know how to drive a hammer nail and work a saw. That was it. And I’m putting down concrete. You should see this stuff I did. I still don’t know what the heck I was doing. You know what I could do, I could get people to bust their ass for me. Bear with my language please, I have certain words I use all the time. It’s like the word God damn. I use that word all the time because I thought that was my first name growing up. My dad always said God damn you Dick. Goddamn Dick, so it’s just part of my vocabulary. So please bear with me. If you have people that won’t pay the price. That don’t buy your compliments, fire them. Get rid of them. You’re not going to get along with all the people in the world. There’s always a program someplace for them. Just don’t make it yours.
So now I’m doing pretty good at construction. I’m doing really well. And I have to have that little confrontation with my brother-in-law and all of a sudden, I’m out in the wilderness again. Now he fired me about three weeks before the whole industry here in San Diego, and all over California, went down. So I was going to be laid off in three weeks, he just got a shot at me and took it. And I don’t really blame him because he and I at the end were not really getting along very well, and I can be a total, there’s a description that describes a part of the body that is a pretty good description of me. When people call that to me I say “thank you” usually. Because it is an apt description.
So we were going to be out of work shortly, and we were going to have all kinds of hours. I went six months then, I’m 50 years of age, and I’m out looking for a job. Let me tell you what’s out there. If you’re old, and you don’t know computers, and in my briefcase I used to carry shoes for a change on the deck and a stopwatch. Now there’s not a lot of room in this country, not a lot of jobs being offered for a guy, whose expertise is yelling at children, using an old fashioned Minerva stop watch that I still use, and can change his shoes and tie bow knots. There’s just not a lot of room in the industry and everything is going to computers. You can’t go into any field without learning computers. So I started interviewing. I saw every pyramid scheme that is known to mankind. Because there is all kinds of jobs for 50 year olds, but they are all tied up in you selling something and somebody above you that brings you into the sales force gets a piece of you, and the guy behind him gets a piece of it, and the guy behind him gets a piece of it, and you can make real money if you can only bring in another 150 underneath you and you’ll be making a lot of money. There’s a lot of coaches selling insurance. And I decided I wouldn’t be one of those. So everywhere I went I said this is an insurance company? Oh no. There’s no insurance companies out there folks. Everybody was financial planners. So I’ve signed with New England Life Insurance Company. They forgot to tell me that last part of it. So I went in, found out I’m a life insurance salesman. And now I’m really down. I’m at the bottom of the barrel. It’s the worst. Screwed my life.
So what I decided I would do is I looked at it. You can actually be a financial planner if you’re willing to give about a year of your life to education and doing certain things. You learn the markets you learn how they get people with the estate plans and do other things. So I just took six months with it, and I did about 300 hours of college work so that I could actually not cheat somebody selling them insurance or getting their money for investments. That’s the time that I found out that the Good Lord, there is such a thing as God, don’t worry, I’m not going to preach to you, other than to tell you that he has a hell of a sense of humor, he had a great laugh at my expense, so I’m just telling you that I wasn’t going to be an insurance man if I hadn’t sold lots of insurance. I don’t know where I’d be because my family would have gone broke.
After six months I finally made my first sale. Their training program is what I’m here to talk to you about, and there’s things that they do in sales that would benefit you. I don’t recommend any of you get fired and have to do what I did.
It’s not a pleasant experience. But I’m going to recommend to you that you might want to take a look at some of the sales literature out there and how to sell books, because they do some things that when they were trying to get me to do this, I just said Jesus I wish I’d had some of that when I first came up with coaching. I could have taken some of the edges off and some of the hard knocks that I had to go through because I’m a person that learns best the hard way. I know there’s nobody else in the room like that, and you’re to be congratulated, but me first if you tell me you want me, if you want me to do something say you can’t do it, and the second thing is watch me find a way to do it, but after getting knocked on my butt about 20 or 30 times, I just know. Never been raised to quit. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it.
Well the sales training program, first I went through it, and after 3 years in insurance, I actually started teaching some of this stuff. The sales training programs were based on the following. This is not the flash-by-night situation out there. This is the good program, and New England is a good insurance company. First they teach you to listen. That’s something I never did in my entire life. I was so busy talking. And believe me that my systems, that I never really listened. I listened to my swimmers, but I didn’t listen to my wife or a lot of what my assistants or other people had to say. Second thing they started teaching you was sharing. That’s just a simple way of saying understand what others are saying to you. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Next one was condition. Is this O.K. with you. I never coached that way in my entire life. Here’s what we’re doing today. Can you imagine me saying to anybody what do you think…do you want to do this today I still don’t do that. Present offer solutions to their problems not yours. Do you know what? That’s really good. That’s what you should do. You offer solutions to your swimmers, not how you’re going to look better to the parent group. You always come down on the side of kids. And if you believe that you’re always going to come down, almost always, 90% of the times, you’re going to come down and make yourself unpopular with a parent. Nature of the beast. And finally to ask O.K., How does this sound…What do you think. What do you prefer? Do you think this will work. Then talk them into what you want to do.
Now that hand out I gave you says client, style, date and it says RL, and if you go down and you take your first reaction, and don’t write on that piece of paper, and I’m going to tell you why. It’s because if you buy what I’m about to talk to you about, then you’re going to want to use this. You want to go home and copy it. I was going to charge every one of you $1.00 for this thing because it cost me $200.00 to get it. But I decided since I’m one of the last of the really big spenders and a great human being that I would just go ahead and give it away. O.K., because I think there would be a rebellion in this room and I’d probably be talking to myself, and I do want you to hear this.
If you don’t go down and mark that, and then you go down and put it in those boxes X, R, M & L, you’ll see that there are numbers in a square box at the bottom. Then you turn the page, and it says there are four kinds of people. There are analytical, there are drivers, there are friendly people and there are expressive. And there are. It’s amazing. I resented the hell out of this when they first did this to me, then I started going out and watching.
An analytical is a person, and you can read all this stuff, I give it to you, it’s my gift to you, who must understand visually in order to function. Sometimes this type of person gets so wrapped up in facts and figures that he forgets to do anything. He will never take an action unless he can see it. He has to visualize. He loves graphs. He loves stats. He loves facts, and he loves scientific proof. He’ll have eaten up that last lecture. They like structure. Order. System programs. They will ask specific questions, and they want specific answers. They want to understand everything before they will do one thing for you. Very simply, I had one of those. Dodd Wales. We went to Australia and they gave after every race, they had a five-page thing that they handed to everybody, and it had the first seven and a half yards then it had 7 to 15 meter mark then it had this. You should have seen the figures on this. I never understood things like that. But he ate it up. He sat down, and then he finally came to me and he goes, Dick, the problem is you haven’t been telling me the right thing. I said, well Dodd, what’s the problem. He said, well look, according to these statistics, I’m really sucking from the flags to the wall, and then from the wall to the 15 meter mark, and you haven’t told me. I said, well Dodd what have I been telling you?. And he says, well you been telling me that I have to go to my wall, and the second stroke up off the wall I’m floating up instead of really powering up. And, I said, and what’s that mean that I suck from the flags to the wall. He finally heard it. Is that his fault? Or is it my fault? And I think there’s something to be said that it’s my fault. I have to learn to talk more than one way. So what I have here in this hand out is I have a four personality systems. They intermingle. They intermingle. But if you only talk one way to a human being or to a team, guess what. You’re going to have 25% success and 75% failures. That’s going to happen. It’s just the way it’s going to be. You’re going to turn 75% of the people off. And you know what in sales, if you don’t learn to talk to different types of folks than just yourself, then guess what…you’ve cut a lot of people out of the sales process and you might as well get ready to go broke. Because that’s what’s going to happen.
A driver. I’m a driver. I’m doing it this way now. Well there’s a way to deal with them. I’m not going to read this thing to you. You’re all educated, and you can all read.
The friendlies. The amicals. They drive me nuts. You can coach a kid, but he wants a friend. Your coaching and some of those guys just want you to be their friend. They need a friend. Can’t we just get along? Gotta like those kinds of kids. They drove you nuts… Tom Wilkins is one of these guys. He’s a cross between a driver and this kind of guy, and so Tom wants a friend. He’s swimming really fast. I’ll be his friend. I’ve got no problem being his friend. If I’m going to make the Olympic staff, Tom is going to be one of the reasons I make it, I want to be his friend now. We’re going to be buddies.
The expressives. They just want you to approve of them. So when you go with the expressives, you do everything through a group with them. It doesn’t make one person better than another, but there’s ways to move and groove. Sales people have understood this for years. Coaches haven’t. We have our way or the highway. I’m one of the worst at that. I just told you if the kid doesn’t buy your compliments, fire him. But, before you fire him, try a couple of different systems here and see if one of those won’t work. One won’t grab. You know not all drivers are talented. Not all analyticals are talented. There are some of those that are friendlies and expressives, and as much as I don’t like those type of folk, if they’re fast, I’m going to find a way to get along with them now. And it’s really opened up who I talk to and how I talk to people.
This is a pretty good hand out. This is a course that would cost you $240.00 to take. Losardi, you ought to take it. You really ought to take the course. It opens some eyes to you, and sales people, they don’t care what they sell you. I’m one of those strange people, who wouldn’t sell a contract to anybody unless I thought it was going to work for you. But that has nothing to do with sales. Sales is selling and making a living and pressing your buttons. What is coaching? I hope what coaching is, is that you really care about the kid that you are coaching, but really when you get down to it, you don’t have to like them they just have to swim fast. And that’s pushing buttons. That’s getting people communicating with people so they hear you and what you have to offer. And you only can do that if you’re willing to talk their language. So if you got somebody who wants to be your friend, be his friend.
Let me tell you a story about being a friend. This is me at my worst and my best. But we had a dean, when I first went to Long Beach and followed coach Gambrel at Long. Beach, we had Tom Dean, and Don hadn’t got along with him, nobody got along with Tom Dean. One day Tom Dean found out I was sneaking Shaw into the college workouts. NCAA violation, but what the hell, it was good to have a kid swim fast. So he was up with the, I have a lot of the kids in the college work out, but this is not Shaw but that was a pool that we used in the morning. So, we’re training him, and Tom Dean walked in and threw everybody out of workout. He was going to take my pool away from me, and folks if you don’t have a swimming pool, and you’re a swim coach, you’re in trouble. So I went in to Luke Homer who was my athletic director and started crying and moaning and groaning. I wanted Tom Dean out, I wanted a confrontation, and Luke Homer said it best to me. He said Dick, Tom Dean signs our checks. Tom Dean controls all the facilities for all my teams here. Tom Dean has total control and respect in this University. Tom Dean has no friends Dick. Let’s you and I be his friend.
And you know what. The day I took the job in Arizona, Perry Seymour, one of the most famous athletic directors in history, fired me that day. I went in and gave him my letter of resignation, effective August 31st so I could be paid for the rest of the year. He accepted it and cut off my paycheck. I ran over and cried to my friend Tom Dean, and I had my paychecks all the way through August. It works. Somebody needs a friend, be their friend.
The systems, the systems of selling are extremely important, and they’re worth you learning. That flyer is worth the few minutes you’re going to be in here. And by the way, if I talk for a full hour, I’m going to tell you everything I know, and I’m going to repeat myself at least twice. And so you don’t have to worry about going an hour and fifteen or an hour and thirty, I’m not that smart.
The one lesson that was the same in the real world, and let me tell you a little bit about the real world. You’re already in it. You deal with parents on a daily basis. All club coaches deal with them. College coaches deal with them. You don’t want to and you think you’re away from them, but you’re never away from them. Parents have ways, they have these modern inventions today called telephones, and they have no qualms about getting on them. They have no qualms about going over your head if there’s anybody they can go over to, to get you in trouble. You will do it their way. I understand parents because I am one. I’m the guy that when they didn’t play my kid on the first game of football, I got the coach at the 50 yard line. I mean I’m the worst age group parent that ever lived. I condemn them, but I understand them because I’m just one of them. But it’s a tough world out there. And were not doing youngsters any favors the way we coach right now. We favor them. We do it their way. We don’t do it our way. We try to hit compromise with them. You have a system that works. Use it. Kids that want to be there will be there, and the kids that don’t want to be there, you can’t talk them into it anyhow, so get rid of them.
This world, I hired for New England the last year I was with them, and in the insurance business only 20% are going to make it. If you sell a premium and it’s $1,000.00 for the first year, that the premium, you get half of that, $500.00. Then over the next eight years you get the rest of the $500.00. If somebody cancels before 13 months, you have to pay the whole $500.00 back. But there are people in the insurance industry that go to work, get up every morning, they already know they’ve made $200,000.00 for the year, just in renewals. It’s a good living. Especially if they’re really good at it. And that’s what I learned. If you’re really good at it, it’s a good way to make a living. I’m almost sad that I threw so many insurance agents out of my house. All those years because it’s a good way to make a living. They can do a real good thing for you, I’m not asking you to sell. I still sell if anyone wants to come up afterward, but what I am saying to you is that if you are really good you can make a difference. If you’re really good at it. If you work it, and you learn it.
What I watched in construction, the way I survived in construction is, I went to the old timers who knew the business. And I listened to them, and I let them point me. I told my kid when he came out of the Air force Academy, the first time he went in, the first command he got, I said listen sergeant will tell you when you’re ready. Three months later, the sergeant says you’re ready. But he listens to his sergeant. My kid was a hell of an officer when he was in the Air force. Same thing, I was a hell of a construction guy because I listened. The best, I went to the best. I went to the best. I went into the insurance industry, I talked to all the old timers and you know what I found about those old people? They were using all the modern stuff. None of you young guys were anywhere in front of them. If, in fact most of the young people that I hired, got fired real quick because they thought somebody owed them something. They thought somebody was supposed to compromise with them. They thought somebody was going to take care of them, and in the real world nobody is going to take care of you. Nobody cares about you. The day you are born, those are the two that are going to care about you, your mom and your dad. If you marry well, she’s going to care about you about 50% of the time and piss at you the other 50% of the time. Your kids are going to love you until they’re about 3 years old, and then they find out that you ain’t all that they thought you were. And if you buy a good dog, he’ll like you all the time.
So these kids, the average life span going out in this workforce, is three jobs before he finally settles in and gets one he can handle. Because he finally figures it out. You’re not doing these kids any favors. The most important lesson, I already knew it, and the lesson that I learned out there and back in it are about con men. There’s always somebody out there with a better system, an easier way, and he will be willing to sell it to you for a real fair cost. He will make you money, if you will listen to him. And those of you who buy into that system, they were there when we came up out of the sea, and they’ll be there when this world cancels holding your money, and you will get nothing from them. There is no easy way. There is a right way. And the right way is never easy. There is always a cost. What you get for nothing is usually less than nothing. Because it costs you something down the line. That’s the lesson I learned. I knew how to bust my ass. I knew how not to point a finger at somebody else. I knew how to accept blame. It’s one of the reasons I tell you the NCAA story right at the front end. I want to hear that crap. I got knocked down, I was wrong, I got up. That’s how you measure me. Did he get up. That’s how I measure people. Did he get up? Is he back? You’re damn right I’m back. You guys got to compete against me. And I don’t plan on losing. And you shouldn’t accept that you should decide that you can whoop me.
Con people. They drive me crazy. They always have a system. They’re always taking credit for what you produce. They’re never there when the kid falls on his butt. There’s system after system after system back in that room back there that just closed down. Selling you things, gimmicks, easy ways. You guys part with your money, you’re crazy. Take a look at it. Some of those things are really good. Some of them are just nothing but cons. From first day to last day. There are stroke guys that know their stuff and the stroke guys that don’t have a clue. It just amazes me to listen to them. But I’ve learned my business. I’ve worked under some of the best. Coach Gambrel sitting in the back of the room. One of the great ones. Taught me my best lesson. Ask for it. How simple is that? I didn’t do it until I watched him ask for it. Folks this is not easy to live. It’s tough, but that makes it fun. Don’t buy into the con people. Learn your trade. How do you learn your trade? Don’t buy the systems. Go to work under somebody who knows well. Take a summer off, take a week off, go into a good program.
How do you measure a good program. So and so had a good swimmer. Well so and so has had good swimmers for ten years, you want to start looking at him seriously. Him or her. If so, better yet, if so and so has produced in two or three different places, not just jumping out in front of the firing pin, and leaving nothing behind him but when he left did that program survive? Where he went did he take nothing and develop something. Then you want to start listening to him. Don’t fall for the con people. In every industry. In every sport, they’re there. And they’re bad for the sport. How do you know when you really have one? Well watch success, and you’ll find them. They’re right down at the end of the pool claiming it. And if that swimmer falls on their tail, you can’t find them, but you know who you’ll find down there? The coach that has really done the job with them because they’re the ones that hurt for them. They’ll come down. The people that really cared about them, that worked with them, that formed a partnership with them, that helped them get and realize their dreams, they’ll come down on failure. You can’t find the con people when there’s failure. They’re moving on. They got more people to sell. They’re looking for more suckers out there to take their money.
And that’s the biggest lesson I learned, they’re there. I almost fell for a couple easy money schemes. They don’t work. Pyramids don’t work. What works? Hard work. Opening your brain. Listening. Committing. Self-first. When you commit to yourself and you don’t, as I’ve told people, let me put it this way to you, I like who I shave every morning. There are mornings I get up and I don’t like him. If I don’t like him, I change him. And because of that I’ve been able to be married for 33 years. It’s that simple. And that woman likes me 50% of the time. And I like myself about 75% of the time. So when you call me names, which some of you do, it doesn’t bother me. People want to know why doesn’t it bother you? Because I like me. I know me, and I know when I’ve been an ass, and I know when I’ve been a good person, and I know when I’ve done the right thing. Tom Wilkins brought me in a sign, and it says, what is popular is not always right, what is right is not always popular. It’s on my wall as if I need to be reminded of that. Just reinforces what I believe.
So what have I learned in the outside world? Well stuff I should have known before I got there. I finally grew up at 48 years of age, and I’m a lot more, not quite as opinionated although it’s hard to believe off this talk, and I’m a lot more open to ideas, and I don’t lose my temper nearly as fast, especially when I tried to lose it that time with the Hells Angels, so they threatened to kill me. So I learned that maybe it wasn’t a good time to have a tantrum. Pick your tantrums carefully. But what I have seen is that you need to learn, you need to work at it every day, you need to grow every day, you need to get better every day. You only do that by believing in yourself, opening ears, listening and then tell the truth as you see it. You never have to apologize for the truth as you see it. You can eventually say I was wrong, and I would have done it a different way, but you don’t have to say you’re sorry because on that day you did it the right way.
I’ll answer any questions you have. I told you it wouldn’t take me very long. I got that guy out of here because I wanted you to have some time for questions because I’m leaving at five. So if you have any questions, if you have any points you’d like to make, please do it. Let’s do it. Damn no questions. You guys are breaking my heart. O.K. That’s it then. That concludes this program.