Volume 8, #12 ~ The Service Professionals Resource ~ December 2012 · $2.95
"How Would You Act If You Didn't Know How Old You Was?"
by Mark Matteson
Middle age is when your broad mind and narrow waist trade places. That sentence always gets a smile and sometimes a laugh. It's funny because it's true. Have you ever heard the phrase, "Age is an attitude?" It's also a decision. You are as young as you feel. How old do you feel?
I think I inherited my passion for sports and athletic abilities from my late father, Bob. His other gifts to me were his height and hairline, but, hey, every rose has thorns. My dad was an extraordinary athlete. For two summers, he played for the Dayton, Ohio Mud Hens, a minor league affiliate of the World Series champion Cleveland Indians. He picked the wrong team to break into Major League Baseball. They had the best pitching staff in the country. The year was 1948, the same year Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier as the first black player in the MLB. A flood of gifted athletes soon followed. My father told me there simply wasn't room for him on the Cleveland Indians pitching staff crowded with icons like Satchel Paige and Bob Feller. Paige was a 42-year-old rookie! He was the best of the best and the first black player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Satchel had a wonderful attitude about age.
His quotes have become famous:
My pitching philosophy is simple; keep the ball away from the bat.
Don't look back; something might be gaining on you.
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.
Avoid fried foods, which angry up the blood.
I ain't never had a job. I just always played baseball.
Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter.
Age IS a state of mind. Age is an attitude.
My good friend, Kevin Thomas (the guy with two first names), is a little older than me, but younger than me in attitude. It's one of the reasons we have been friends for over 20 years. He sent me a happy fifty-fifth birthday e-mail last week. Here is what it said:
"Today is a blessed day. Today we celebrate the birth of Mark Matteson. Today a big man with a big heart turns double nickels. LA LA LA!"
That last is a reference to the Seinfeld episode where Jerry must decide whether to use a silly voice or stay with a girlfriend who hates when he uses it.
I replied, "Hey, I am so old I don't even buy green bananas anymore!"
He laughed and wrote back, "I am so old the candles cost more than the cake!"
To which I replied, "I have gone from having a four-head [forehead] to an eight-head and now, a twelve-head!"
Kevin came back with, "I'm so old that when I was a kid, rainbows were black and white!"
Now it was on. Not to be outdone, I wrote, "I am so old I remember when the Dead Sea was sick!"
He replied, "I'm so old that flowers scare me!"
I retorted, "I am so old, I remember when gas was twenty-nine cents a gallon and the attendant would run out to your car and clean your windshield, check your oil, offer up a kind word, a smile, and thank you for the fifty-cent sale!"
Kevin ended it with a quote from the immortal Satchel Paige, "How would you act if you didn't know how old you was?"
The year I discovered Bruce Springsteen was 1977 (early January, at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, to be exact). My new friend, Omi, was from the island of Kauai and loved rock and roll. We were listening to "Born to Run" one day, and I was trying to explain to him the wonders of snow. I failed miserably. He couldn't grasp the joy and uniqueness of a winter wonderland. I was frustrated and sad for him. Omi might never know snow. The next day it snowed. It was a holiday miracle! We built snowmen, made angels on our backs, and had a snowball fight. It was magic. He understood.
Last night, I dragged my friend, Bill, to hear Bruce play with his E Street Band at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia. Before the concert, I tried to explain how the experience would play out and what to expect. I began with the word IMAGINE.
"IMAGINE," I said, "the sheer joy of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. IMAGINE the spiritual intensity of Billy Graham. IMAGINE the physical endurance of a gold medal Olympic decathlete-say, Bruce Jenner, B.K. (before Kardashians). IMAGINE a singer with the gospel sensibility of Aretha Franklin, the heart of Buddy Holly, and the mind of Bob Dylan. IMAGINE the fervor and passion of a young Elvis Presley. IMAGINE the story telling ability of Abe Lincoln. IMAGINE the audience participation of a David Copperfield magic show blended with the emotion of an old-time tent revival. IMAGINE a guy who gives you way more than you expect, and you begin to understand what is about to happen."
He looked at me like my friend Omi did in 1977. He didn't believe or understand. Then the lights went down and 19,000 disciples in Rogers Arena roared like BC Lions.
To get a well-written account of the three-hour event, read the link below:
As I was dancing in the dark, I thought to myself, "Forgive me, Bruce, for I have sinned. It's been thirty-two years since my last (rock and roll) confession!" I recalled dragging eleven people with me to the Arena in Seattle in 1980 to hear Bruce Springsteen. Eleven! Most of them were not "true believers", but were a Doubting Thomas one and all. They left converts. Bruce will do that to you. No one told Bruce Springsteen 63-year-old rock stars aren't supposed to play a concert for over three hours a night. He is doing it again in Portland tonight. He continues to raise the bar and do what he loves. He is in great shape and the show was better than I remember. Like Satchel Paige, Bruce Springsteen is a 63-year-old rookie. He doesn't act his age and neither should we.
Leadership Lessons from the Boss
1. Pay the price of leadership in advance.
Ten years or 10,000 hours.
2. Do what you love and never retire.
3. Find your bliss. Why you are here on earth?
Surrender to it.
4. Commit 100 percent to that purpose.
5. Be a student, a sponge, have a "Hungry Heart".
6. Master your craft. Bruce is a world-class
b. guitar player
c. producer/mixer in the studio
d. band leader
e. marketing and sales professional
f. stickler for sound and lighting quality
g. generous leader who shares the gains
with his band and team
7. Know where your tour bus is going. Have a plan.
8. Be willing to risk it all. Believe in yourself when no
one else does!
9. Be willing to change. When Bruce met Sting and saw
what he was doing after The Police, he decided to
stretch his comfort zones and change.
10. Reward your team with praise, money, and love.
11. Be authentic and humble at once.
12. Remember who pays the bills. It's about the fans.
What do THEY want?
13. Build your team. Surround yourself with the very
best people you can find and spoil them rotten.
14. It's about getting great at marketing and sales.
When Bruce played the Super Bowl in 2010, a
reporter asked him why, at 61 years old, he was
doing the halftime show, the Boss replied, "I have a
new album out!"
15. Remember where you came from. Bruce does benefits
in Freehold New Jersey; he donates time and money.
16. Give back. Bruce still does a PSA for homeless
shelters and food banks, and single-handedly saved
the Vietnam Vets Association.
17. Take care of yourself. He is in great shape at 63 years
young. He works out, doesn't do drugs or smoke.
18. Ignore the critics. Love the haters.
19. Age is an attitude.
My dad had a great sense of humor. His all-time favorite concert memory was of Lionel Hampton at Birdland in New York City in 1949. Lionel was the Springsteen of jazz in his day. My dad would have liked this article. He wouldn't have laughed. Instead, he would have just leaned back in his chair and smiled, all the while memorizing what I just wrote, and used it later as if it were his own. He borrowed well. I guess I got that from him, too. The difference is I give credit where credit is due-most of the time.
What if you set a goal to get into the best shape of your life in 2013? Age is an attitude IF you do three things: exercise every day, cut your portions in half, and improve the quality of your food. It's simple, but not easy. Next month I will show you how! Stay tuned. Make it a great month. The best is yet to come! Just ask "The Boss."
Book of the Month
by Peter Ames Carlin
This sweeping biography of one of America's greatest musicians is the first in twenty-five years to be written with the cooperation of Bruce Springsteen himself. With unfettered access to the artist, his family, and band members-including Clarence Clemons in his last major interview-acclaimed music writer Peter Ames Carlin presents a startlingly intimate and vivid portrait of a rock icon.
For more than four decades, Bruce Springsteen has reflected the heart and soul of America with a career that includes twenty Grammy Awards, more than 120 million albums sold, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. He has also become an influential voice in American culture and politics, inspiring President Barack Obama to admit, "I'm the president, but he's the Boss."
Mark Matteson gives over 75 presentations each year. Book him now to secure the inspiring message that will spark your group's success! To watch Mark's demo video, go to: www.sparkingsuccess.net. Call 206.697.0454 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.