27: Like sports teams, creating a championship culture in business fosters superfans, with NFL Coach Chris Carlisle


In this episode of the Business Superfans Podcast Show, Freddy D welcomes Chris Carlisle, a former professional football strength coach turned coach and author. Chris shares his journey from childhood dreams of playing in the Super Bowl to realizing his talent for coaching and writing. He recounts his path from high school to the NFL, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and setting goals. Chris also discusses his book “Move or Die,” which encapsulates life lessons and challenges he faced, aiming to inspire others. The conversation touches on the significance of team culture in sports and business, the writing process, and the power of storytelling. Freddy D and Chris reflect on their experiences writing books without AI assistance, highlighting their unique approaches and the value of authentic expression.


Chris Carlisle is a Motivational Speaker – Best Selling Author – Football and Strength Coach for 35 years. BS in Secondary Education – Master’s Degree in History (UofArkansas). Chris is the only coach ever to have won championships at every level of competitive football: High School / Junior College / Major College (UofTenn / USC X 2) NFL (Seattle).

Chris works with Corporate Executives – Athletes – Teams – Small Businesses and highly motivated individuals helping them set a Championship Culture and a Move or Die Mindset.

Guest Contact

Superfans Success Tip

Bullet Points

  • Chris’s journey from childhood football fan to professional football strength coach.
  • The process of writing Chris’s book, “Move or Die,” and the challenges and experiences that inspired it.
  • The importance of a team’s culture in winning the Super Bowl and its parallels in business.
  • Chris’s insights on leadership, team dynamics, and the significance of having a clear vision and mission statement in a business.
  • The value of storytelling and different approaches to conveying messages to resonate with diverse team members.
  • Chris’s personal anecdotes of overcoming challenges, including being born with handicapped feet, developing a speech impediment, and battling cancer.
  • The significance of recognizing strengths and weaknesses, effective communication, and humility in leadership.


Cultivating Your Superfans, Accelerating Your Brand, Attaining Your Sustained Success

Best Quotes

Episode Transcript

‘Chris Carlisle’, 00:01:47, “I remember telling Nate, ‘One day I’m going to win the Super Bowl,’ and that was when I was ten years old.”

‘Chris Carlisle’, 00:02:05, “When you write, it goes through your mind; you’ve got to write each letter of each word, and if you have that BS indicator in your head, you know when you’re telling yourself the truth or not.”

‘Chris Carlisle’, 00:08:20, “Every Monday after a win, we would gather up the whole team, and they would put the team’s name that we just beat and then the team that we were playing the next week on the ladder, focusing on one rung at a time.”

‘Chris Carlisle’, 00:15:00, “You need to know so they know, because if you have problems with them, it may not be them; it’s you. You’re not the one who’s setting the tone, you’re not setting the message, giving the foundation.”

‘Chris Carlisle’, 00:17:58, “If the leader of the company uses the ‘Karate Kid’ with Mr. Miyagi and the ‘wax on, wax off,’ the whole point of that is you’ve got to do the little things right, the big things will all come about.”

‘Chris Carlisle’, 00:27:24, “We’ll see about that, because I looked at Ted Williams with the Boston Red Sox at .406—that’s hitting the ball 40% of the time—and he’s known as the greatest hitter in baseball, right? .406, and I had a 40% chance. In baseball, hitting the ball 40% of the time, I had a great chance.”

‘Chris Carlisle’, 00:30:05, “If I’m going to die, I’m going to die coaching my butt off, because that’s where my passion was.”

‘Chris Carlisle’, 00:28:57, “We all have choices, okay or not, and that’s one of the stories from the book where I talked about perseverance and resilience.”

‘Chris Carlisle’, ’00:44:36′, “I’m a fixer; I can see something wrong and fix it. I found my niche in that.”

‘Chris Carlisle’, ’00:49:20′, “Every one of those coaches that I brought in went on to win championships with their teams also because of the work we all did.”

27: Like sports teams, creating a championship culture in business fosters superfans, with NFL Coach Chris Carlisle

Freddy D (00:00:00) – Hello, Chris, welcome to the Business Super Fan podcast show.

Chris Carlisle (00:00:03) – Thank you Freddie, thank you for having me. And I look forward to have an opportunity to talk with your group and and learn a lot from you. I always every time we talk, I learn a lot. And so this is exciting.

Freddy D (00:00:15) – Yeah. Excited to have you on the show. So tell us, how did you get started that led you to get into professional football?

Chris Carlisle (00:00:22) – I was, always involved with football. When I was a kid. It was watching football. It was collecting football card. It was playing football through sports. And I remember a time when I was ten years old and I was playing football with a buddy, Nate Lau, and we’re in his backyard playing, and it was like a Tuesday because Monday Night Football at that time, Howard Cosell would go over the halftime and he’d go over each of the game because we only got three channels at that time.

Freddy D (00:00:48) – Yeah, I remember those.

Chris Carlisle (00:00:49) – Days, NBC and then PBS, of course, but you only were able to watch a couple games and then the Monday night game and then halftime on Monday night.

Chris Carlisle (00:00:57) – Howard Cosell would go through all the highlights of all the games that went on. So me and they allow it go in his backyard and play slow motion football, where we would go ahead and reenact those plays. And I remember telling Nate, about ten years old was about fifth grade. And I said, Nate, one day I’m going to win the Super Bowl. And that was when I was ten years old. And so I started this climb, this desire to go ahead and move through it. And I thought at that time I might play in the Super Bowl. All right. And then after high school and college came realistic to me that I wasn’t able to play at that level. So I got into coaching. And coaching always been something I’d love to do. I was actually coaching baseball teams when I was in my teens, a little league baseball. So coaching has always been part of my life. And so I lived in this idea of coaching, and I went through high school and then junior college and then in the NFL.

Chris Carlisle (00:01:47) – So that was the path I took through playing through to college, graduating, becoming a high school coach, then getting into junior college coaching, and then had the opportunity to be in the NFL for nine years.

Freddy D (00:01:58) – That’s amazing. It’s a great story. What led you to write your book, Move or Die or Die?

Chris Carlisle (00:02:05) – I’ve been writing a book for 25 years. It’s been a process with me that I’ve been writing. I love to write. It’s a way that I clear my head of things that get in there. And when you speak it, when you think it, it goes through very few filters. But when you go to write it, then it goes through your mind. You’ve got to write each letter of each word. And if you have that B.S. indicator in your head that you know when you’re telling yourself the truth or not you, when you’re writing it, you really feel it. And so I was able to go ahead and get into a situation where I kept writing and writing. So after I finished my coaching career, I had a lot of time because write a book.

Chris Carlisle (00:02:42) – And this was handwritten, typed. There is no I at that time, it was not something that I put in a computer, spit it out, and it was a process I went through. Here are the problems that I went through in my life that took me from a high school football coach to NFL Super Bowl champion, and all these problems I had. As I went out speaking, I found people more and more people had these same problems. So I thought, let me go ahead and write this down so people that haven’t heard me speak can go ahead and say, okay, at this part of his life when he’s just starting. Here’s the problem we had. Chapter eight is called Leave Your Mark about what you do after you retire, and just sit back and wait until you die. Or do you move on from that profession into another step in your career? And that’s where I was. I went into another step in my career. I had already had a planned out. And to leave your mark mean, how can you move everything farther ahead? And all your information you gathered in your life? How can you hand that out to other people to help them move along their path?

Freddy D (00:03:46) – It’s the same thing when when I wrote my book, I didn’t use any AI tools or any of that stuff.

Freddy D (00:03:52) – I actually did it during the pandemic, and I created the first version and I passed it around and get feedback before I went too deep into it. And the feedback was I was lukewarm, wasn’t nothing exciting? So I basically scrapped it and started all over. And that’s when I got the idea of a sports team has got superfans that got their faces painted. They’re wearing the jerseys, they got the banners, they’re cheering, they got the bumper stickers, they’re promoting that team. And the idea was, can businesses create that same fandom as a sports team? And that’s when I started throwing this ideas of creating business superfans. And they’re basically brand advocates, but I call them superfans that out there promoting a thing. I didn’t do it exactly like you, but what I did is I started writing some stuff down, and then my fiancée, I’ll go back to her and says, hey, I threw 600 words today. Oh, I had 1200 words. And so she was my cheerleader to say, okay, how many words did you throw down today? And so now it became a contest of how many words I could do.

Freddy D (00:04:55) – And it was bit by bit. And I eventually put it together to where I have the book Creating business superfans. So you did it over a course of a lifetime. I did it over the course of a year. So the different approaches.

Chris Carlisle (00:05:08) – But I think they both work for us. Yes. I think that’s what when we start doing writing a book, you don’t have to follow one methodology. It’s best doesn’t fit your style of writing. Is it right a little bit every day or is it take the compilation of all the writing you’ve done, or all the things you’ve done through your life, and make it into a book? And I think too many people get caught up on, I can’t do that. If I can do it, anybody can do it. Sure, I was not great grammatically. That’s why I did hire an editor. I did the same thing.

Freddy D (00:05:41) – I did the same thing.

Chris Carlisle (00:05:42) – Because if not, it was too much how I spoke. And sometimes that is not relatable as you read.

Chris Carlisle (00:05:49) – And so she was able to put her magic into that book. I enjoy reading her because I gave her 600 pages of material by about 11 pages, and it turned into a 186 page book. And she said, all this information is great, but just this much fits into what we’re talking about. And that’s a great thing, is really give them more than you’re going to need so they can go ahead and take that outside or that third person looking and say, okay, if I’m reading this book, this is how I’m looking at it. And so that helped me. That really made it a quick read and easy read, easy to understand, easy to follow.

Freddy D (00:06:29) – Sure. Okay. So let’s go back to sports here. And how important is a team’s culture to win that Super Bowl.

Chris Carlisle (00:06:39) – If teams don’t win it’s because of culture. Everybody has the same opportunity to pick the same athletes. It’s not like college. It’s it was when you’re able to recruit and everything. If you have better facilities, if you have a winning team, you could recruit a little better today.

Chris Carlisle (00:06:56) – If you have enough bankroll, you can go ahead and buy athletes. That’s what they’re more worried about. But in the professional level, you get the same number of picks as everybody else. You have the same choice as everybody else. And so when you’re picking the same type of athlete, then you turn to your culture. Culture starts on top. All right. Yeah. The person on top has to have a great foundation because if you don’t have a great foundation, you can’t build a structure. Best architecture, same thing in sports, same thing in business. If you don’t have a firm foundation, if you don’t understand why you’re there, what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it, not going to work. And so as a leader, that structure goes all the way down from the top to the bottom and in order to get people. To buy in. They have to trust you. Trust comes out of consistency if you’re consistent in the way that you show how to work, in the way that you speak and the way you react to other people, then you can get people to buy in to your culture if you’re all over the place, if you have no idea where you’re going the next day, making stuff up as you go, then the people who are working on it don’t understand where you’re going.

Freddy D (00:08:07) – Yeah, we had talked to Beaufort, so about that, the latter. And of when you guys were this team got knocked off. That team got knocked off. Share that story with us. Because that made a huge difference.

Chris Carlisle (00:08:20) – When I was at the coast of Tennessee in 1990, we were able to win the national championship. And at that time, on the wall outside the locker room, there was a ladder. And every Monday after a win, we would all gather up the whole team and they would put the team’s name that we just want, and then the team that we were playing the next week and it was, don’t look ahead. We don’t know what it’s on. The farther up in the ladder. We’re just focused on this one room today. And when they put the score up out of the game from the previous week that we’ve cheered, they put them up. Oh, you’re going to get. So we go to work and we have that great focus. Everybody can go ahead and message that throughout the facility.

Chris Carlisle (00:08:55) – But the next step one step at a time. Don’t get ahead of yourself. No caught up in all this stuff because we have that many rungs to go. Just focus on the next rung. And it worked. It worked great for the former, had it tuned in and we won the national championship, and this was the year after Peyton Manning had left. So this wasn’t Peyton Manning’s senior year. This was the year after he left when Tim Martin was a quarterback and so still had a bunch of great players the next year. And we pretty much the same, same roster coming back. But we’re really good. And all of a sudden Coach Fulmer comes out of the spring walking with a walking stick and his card beautifully ornament this. This is now East Tennessee. You’re in the you’re in the Smoky Mountains and there’s great woodworkers there. So yeah. And and so he had this and he called it the synergistic. And everybody’s trying to wrap their mind around the words synergy. All right. He tried to explain it and it seemed like he didn’t have the whole grasp of what she was talking about.

Chris Carlisle (00:09:55) – And so we went back into the weight room and went into it was hard to go ahead and message his message. And so people took it in different directions, and it was never centered. That synergy is about working together and bringing everybody in into a commonality. And that was not really understood. And it was hard to teach to all the players. And so there was a kind of a dysfunction that the culture of the team. Had shade. Now I jump ahead to USC in Seattle under Pete Carroll. Same culture, same belief. It didn’t matter if you came in year one or year nine, USC or year one or year nine. In Seattle, it was the same belief system, the same always compete was a philosophy. We had the three rules always protect the team. Be early. No bitching, no whining. Complaining. That’s a wooden thing. John Wooden that he got that from. But those were his three ideas. Then he had the style. What was the style of the organization anyways? Told the story every year.

Chris Carlisle (00:11:00) – It didn’t matter where we were at in this on this told the same story that. If my best friend came to practice, I’d never seen his practice before. This is what I’d like him to say to me when he came after it. They have great effort. They have great enthusiasm, play smart. And they’re so tough. Right after your enthusiasm, play smart. Great, tough. This is when. And so when he told this to the team. Hey, this is what I. This is our style. This is what we want to be. We want a great effort. And so the players go okay I can I can do that. And so when they weren’t doing that hey, that wasn’t great effort. Not part of our style. Oh okay. Boom. Click into it. And so for 18 years I worked with Pete Carroll at USC and Seattle. Same story. If you look at my notebooks and I took copious notes every meeting, if you start at the beginning of the season each year for 18 years, it was the same meeting, the same issue, and you’re going to go, well, people get bored with that.

Chris Carlisle (00:11:56) – No, because every year the roster would change new coaches, different players. And he had to make sure he reminded the old players and taught the new players. This is how we do things. That way everybody’s on the same point in the culture and everybody can message the same way. He didn’t like we did in Tennessee, he didn’t change the message. He kept the same message all the way through. So there was a consistency of thought. So we could have trust all the way through everybody throughout the facility who speak the same language. And that’s why we were successful at USC. That’s why we’re successful in Seattle was because we had the same culture all the way through.

Freddy D (00:12:38) – Yeah, and that’s something that transcends into business. Same aspect is in the business. It’s got to be from the top down that the management empowers the employees. I really don’t even care for the name employees. It really teammates. Right. And getting that culture in that company transcends into when they’re talking to prospective customers, the tonality that’s going on there, the energy comes across and becomes more attractive.

Freddy D (00:13:07) – And so with everybody on the same mission, understanding what the goals are and not changing them all the time. Like you said, this is the same thing. Repeat and you got new players. You make some adjustments. That’s in turn, you start creating superfans of the team members and that transcends into customers becoming superfans. I would think a team creating superfans because of their performance, the things that they’re doing, the recognizing their fans, they’re waving, they’re doing things like that. So that in turn is attracting more superfans as well. So-and-so just acknowledged me and made eye contact with me. Those are huge. So yeah, it’s very important. The culture is paramount for a company as as it is in sports.

Chris Carlisle (00:13:51) – I just spoke with two small businesses, and I’m working with a lot of small businesses right now because they’re starting to understand companies like Amazon and Google. They’ve always brought in speakers, they’ve always brought in people to go ahead and re message their message so that the employees all get this being inundated.

Chris Carlisle (00:14:07) – We did it with Seattle. We’d have Bill Russell come in or Steve Kerr come in or Clint Bruce come in. And Clint Bruce, if you’re not familiar with the name tremendous speaker was the Navy Seal, played in the NFL, played college football. And he had a great message about not being average because average has no secret. His point in being is that you can be elite or you can be poor, but don’t be average because average has no secrets. But these businesses I spoke to and they and we were talking about, I said, now when I come in, what are we working on? Who was your target for me to be there? I’m not going to walk into a business and put my philosophy out there. What I want to do is message what the leader of the office is wanting to get done. So they’re talking about this person and that person and this person and that person and all this problem. And I said, okay, what’s your vision? What’s your mission statement? What’s your philosophy? No, I don’t know what is right.

Chris Carlisle (00:15:00) – You need to know so they know. Because if you have problems with them, it may not be them. It’s you that you’re not the one who’s setting the tone. You’re not setting the message, giving the foundation. Now, you may know where you’re going, but if they don’t know where you’re going, then they can’t get there with you. So they’re going to go ahead and take it upon themselves to do what they think they need to do to get their job done. It may not be the way, it may not be your style. They may dress differently than you want them. They may talk on the phone to to potential clients differently than you want them to speak. Don’t get mad at them if you haven’t taught them. What I’ve seen is that sometimes these small business owners who’ve been in a 5 to 10 years and starting to expand their business and bringing people in, they forget to teach that next level of people, their style, their their vision, their statement. And so they rely on their employees, other teammates to go ahead and pass it on.

Chris Carlisle (00:15:58) – Nobody knows it like the person who planted the seed. When we’re talking about like, wineries, nobody knows the vineyard like the vine master. You tell people, some people know what the red grapes are and the white grapes are, but only the person who is over control of everything understands their age, their maturity, and what kind of fruit they.

Freddy D (00:16:17) – Yeah. The other thing, too.

Chris Carlisle (00:16:18) – Is to touch everybody. Who knows what kind of wine you’re making.

Freddy D (00:16:21) – And the other thing that you bring up is it’s important to have that documented SOP standard operating procedure, because word of mouth gets diluted. We only remember 20% of what we’re told at best. So if you’ve got, as you just described, somebody who comes into the company and they’re doing it what they think is the best way because they don’t know any better, or they got verbally trained and so they don’t remember exactly because there’s no handbook or procedure guide or if this is what you do, I’m sure in football you the plays are written out, you can go back.

Freddy D (00:16:56) – And what was that maneuver? What’s that thing? It’s not verbally taught. It’s diagrammed. And this is this is the count and all that stuff. I play a little sports in my time. So the same thing with business is they need to have a playbook to run the company.

Chris Carlisle (00:17:13) – I’m going to put this on there. If you just hand a new employee a book with your standard operating procedures in there, how many are going to actually take it home and take time to read it? Very little. Here’s what I did. When I’m coaching and I bring a new coach onto my staff therewith, they’re going to stand next to me. They’re going to listen to me, they’re going to watch me because this is the way I want it done. Now, my second in command, my my right hand guy. Then I would after a couple of weeks, I passed the new person off to them so they could hear it in a different way because you don’t want to mess it the same message as the top guy, because if you keep telling the same story all the way down the line, it becomes static, right? And I always use this example.

Chris Carlisle (00:17:58) – So if the leader of the company uses The Karate Kid with a mr. Miyagi with the wax on, wax off with, and the whole point of that is you’ve got to do the little things right, the big things will all come about. Okay? So take your time. Do little things right now. If I message you same chronic did. And so does a receiver coach in the running back coach LMA and the defensive coordinator. Then all of a sudden it becomes static the next time the head coach stands up there. And that’s how we’ve heard this all before. But if I come in and I say, okay, got a story for you. There’s two bowls standing on a hill, an old bowl on a young bowl, and the young bowl comes up to the old bowl and says, hey, let’s run down that herd of cows and get ourselves a cow. And the old boss nods and goes, how about if we just walk down the hill and we get them all? Okay, same function now we’re talking about.

Chris Carlisle (00:18:50) – We’re going to take our time. We’re going to go ahead and do this right. And in the end we get everything. Okay. Right. I don’t have to tell the Miyabi story. I can tell my bowl story. And the linebacker coach will tell his story. The wide receiver coach. And so now they’ve heard different stories, but they all go to the same meaning, the same message, the message, same message that we’re messaging from the head guy all the way down because we understand what his message is, that we’re going to go ahead and do the little things right, and the big things will come out of that. And so many people wanted to just go ahead and be parents. Don’t be parents. Help your teammates, your next in line. Come up with their own stories. And that’s where you can sit around after work. You can talk about your philosophy to everybody and then have them give you feedback about what do you think about when I say this, and then you help them develop their stories? Yeah, it takes a little bit.

Chris Carlisle (00:19:43) – But if your company is really important to you, that takes a time, right? Why not? If your future, this is your vision, your passion, everything you want to have. That’s why you started that business. So absolutely.

Freddy D (00:19:54) – Correct.

Chris Carlisle (00:19:55) – Absolutely correct. And help grow it from the inside.

Freddy D (00:19:58) – Yeah, it’s absolutely correct because now you get everybody rowing in the same direction. But you can’t be rowing a boat with multiple people with individual oars, and not everybody’s in sync because the boat’s not going to go any place, or if anything, it’s going to go in a circle. Exactly. So it’s paramount that everybody’s going in the same direction with the same message. And I agree, different versions of the same message is important, but the message has got to be consistent. Yes. And so that’s important. So that brings me up to I think we talked earlier about it. One of Phil Jackson great basketball coach talks about the strength of the team, in which is each individual member and the strength of each individual member is a team talk share story, how that applies in your professional football career.

Freddy D (00:20:46) – Well.

Chris Carlisle (00:20:47) – Phil Jackson actually stole that from Rudyard Kipling when Rudyard Kipling said the strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf. And so I’m going to go ahead and give Kipling his background.

Freddy D (00:20:57) – Okay. I didn’t know that. So I’m going. Great. It’s all good, man.

Chris Carlisle (00:21:02) – I love the way you said I was the greatest thief of coaches. I didn’t have many original ideas of how to do lifts or how to do technique, but when I put it together, that’s where I was unique and what I did, I was a little bit different in that way, and it did pay off. When we look at a sport and you can imagine that if you know the game of American football, if the offensive line does not sacrifice for the quarterback, then the quarterback will get hit every time. Okay? But the quarterback will also sacrifice for the offensive line. He will get them out of bad plays called an audible. He’ll get up. He’ll call them out of bad plays that we’re going to go ahead and get blown up.

Chris Carlisle (00:21:41) – And so he’ll put them in the best situation with the best blocking scheme, and that’s where the individual helps the pack. And then the pack helps the individual. And we go back to Pete Carroll’s rules. And Pete Carroll had three rules. Rule number one is always protect the team and always protect the team. Was was what we’re talking about when the with the pack and the individual protecting the team. Don’t take a cheap shot in practice that when your teammates wide receiver gets up in the air and a defensive back can cut them in half, you don’t have to do that. Just show that you’re there. All right. With that in the game okay. That’s the whole thing. Get your body right. Run through the run pass person. And we all know he had got him. He didn’t have to do it. Also protect the team. Mean when you get in front of the media make sure you’re going ahead and protecting the team there. You don’t need to to grind your knife against another player by bagging him against the media.

Chris Carlisle (00:22:36) – Don’t talk down about the team. Always put out the positive message. If you have a problem, then let’s go sort it out. You can either go to the individual or go to the head coach, you or your or your position coach, and you can sit down. Let’s go ahead and find out if there’s something here we can. Yeah. Because it’s protecting the team. Well the team is always first. And so the individual sacrifice a lot that team. But at the same time that team is supporting and giving everything that you need at the individual. And so that goes back to the symmetry of a team and a individual of a employee of a business that if you’re not taking care of your teammates, your employees, then don’t expect them to step up when it comes to doing extra work for the team, for the company.

Freddy D (00:23:21) – Absolutely correct. And you hit a really strong point there that I want to reiterate is when a player was on camera and really focusing on talking positive about the team, because the worst thing that they can do is chastise a fellow player publicly in front of everybody.

Freddy D (00:23:40) – But the same thing when a business owner, instead of pulling an employee individually and having a conversation with them, calls them out in front of all the other employees. Now that creates a double whammy because number one, that person is embarrassed and they feel awkward because they’ve got chastised publicly. Second of all, the rest of the teammates are going, wow, that could happen to me. So now all of a sudden, you got an apprehensive culture that you’ve just converted from an energized culture to an apprehensive culture. And I’m not anything extra. I’m not going to go beyond because I could get myself chewed out in front of everybody. And I don’t want that.

Chris Carlisle (00:24:20) – Over it 100%. We always talked about, if you make an if you make a mistake, make it 100%. Don’t just halfway trying to hold somebody. Maybe go ahead. And if you’re protecting the quarterback then pull the defender down. If you’re getting beat on a pass, hold the wide receiver down. We’d rather take a 15 yard penalty or a ball spot penalty than the touchdown.

Chris Carlisle (00:24:41) – And so when you go ahead and give your team the ability to make mistakes, then they’re going to go ahead and try harder for you. And they’re going to play closer to the edge, which you’ve got to be on the edge when you’re playing or when you’re working to get away from being an average. Go back to Bruce because average has no secrets. And so the great ones, if you look at the top corporation, the Amazons and the Microsofts and all the all those people. Chukchi. Took risk and sometimes they blew up and they went, okay, we know that’s not the way we’re going to go. Some of them paid off in bundles of money. So if you want your employees to always be working the edge, give them a little bit. And within the framework, of course, we’re not doing stuff that makes sense on your own within the framework of the organization, because we message the right thing. This is our style within that message. Then we know that the employee, the team or team member can go ahead and be their best.

Freddy D (00:25:40) – So let’s jump back, Chris, to the book. What’s the book about?

Chris Carlisle (00:25:43) – The book is a step through life of peers and mistakes that you can make. And here’s why we can, or how we can go ahead and solve those before we make them. It’s simply just stories from my career, from my life, from being born with handicaps. I was born with two handicapped feet. The doctors told my parents, your son will never run like the other children. And my mom said four words to him and I can repeat them. She said, we’ll see about that. That’s how how much we didn’t worry about that. Why I was growing up. Because it didn’t walk well. It fell down quite a bit, knocked my two front teeth out just as a sort of starting to learn how to speak. I developed a speech impediment. Remember, in fifth grade were sitting outside the parent teacher conference. My mom’s in this room with the speech therapist, and she says he’s never going to be a public speaker.

Chris Carlisle (00:26:32) – My mom said four words. We’ll see about that. All right. 2000 I was diagnosed with cancer. Everybody goes, oh, how did you take that? Well, I for work because they gave me a 40% chance to survive. We’ll see about that because I looked at Ted Williams with the Boston Red Sox at 406. That’s hitting the ball 40% of the time. And he’s known as the greatest hitter in baseball, right, 406. And I had a 40% chance in baseball and hitting the ball 40% of the time. I had a great chance. And you’re not going to tell me, because other people with the same situation I had didn’t make. That’s okay. That was there. I knew who I was, right? So when they stuck the needle in my arm and started pumping me with the first dose chemo, the nurse said, this is some bad and I’ll clean it up. This is some bad stuff. You’re not going to be able to work through this because you’re that far down the road.

Chris Carlisle (00:27:24) – We’ve really got to be aggressive with this. All right. Two weeks after I started my chemo, I get a call middle of the night. It was Friday, 2 a.m., so it was really Saturday morning. And I pick it up and this guy is just all hyped up. Hey, how are you doing? I don’t get it. I just had chemo on that Friday morning. And so I was going through that process of the metallic taste in my mouth and being fatigued. And he goes, This is Pete Carroll. I’ve never met him before. I just got the head job with University of Southern California, and I want you to be my strength. And I said, coach, I need to tell you, you know, transparent. I was just I was been diagnosed with cancer through second break. And he goes, is that going to change you as a coach? I said, no, sir. He said, can you be here on Monday? So remember now this was Saturday at 2 a.m..

Chris Carlisle (00:28:10) – And so I got up the next morning. I didn’t sleep much of course. Packed the bags, got on a plane on Sunday. On Monday I was standing on the floor at 5 a.m. getting ready for my 6 a.m. group. Now, I had a choice in that situation. We all have choices. We can go ahead and say, oh coach, I’m going to try to battle this and I don’t know if I can. I’m going to see how this all turns out. Or I can say, no, we’ll see about that and hop on the plane and go out there. Now, I knew it, Mr. Day at work. I didn’t feel good, I was sick, I was nauseous, but I never working. And here’s another thing. There are only two people in the building that knew I had cancer myself and the head coach. If I said, I don’t want anybody to know about it, I don’t want anybody to treat me differently and feel sorry for me. I want them to come at me.

Chris Carlisle (00:28:57) – And so I go to work now because of this, because I pushed through, I didn’t think about it for one minute during the day. Now, of course, I was nauseous. I didn’t feel good, but that’s okay because we all have choices, okay or not. And that’s one of the stories from the book in that I talked about perseverance and resilience. I could have taken the doctor’s words. My parents could have said, okay, you can’t run, so we’ll just put them in a chair and hopefully develops. Or I had speech impediment. My parents didn’t sit there with flashcards with word and make sure I went through the words and pronounce the words properly and learn how to speak. And I wouldn’t have taken the job as a tour guide at his historical park in western Nebraska, Fort Robinson. So I spoke to hundreds of people a day, forcing myself to learn how to breathe properly and speak. Those were all choices I make, and everybody that’s listening has that same opportunity. You have that choice either to accept what you’re doing and live somebody else’s dream and work for their dream, or live for your dreams and work towards what you want in life because you want to hear this.

Chris Carlisle (00:30:05) – Anybody goes, oh, what? When you were diagnosed with cancer, what went through your mind? You’re going to die? We’re all, I’m sorry, but everybody’s going to die. We’re all going to die. So if I’m going to die, I’m going to die coaching my butt off, all right? Because that’s where my passion was. That’s where I needed to be. It was my own mental health, and I was taking care of them. Not sitting in bed, not having people worry about worst thing could happen. You fall into that soft spot that oh, woe is me, because everybody else is worried about me. There must be something wrong. Oh, you got cancer. You’re going to do one of two things. You’re either gonna beat it. Are you gonna. Or are you going to get in a car accident or just, you know, not wake up one day? Whatever the hey, when I go out, I’m going to go out. They’re going to say, man, that guy lived everything.

Chris Carlisle (00:30:49) – There was a book, John Kennedy and Unlived Life. And I thought, I don’t want that. You got a lot of things you wanted to do.

Freddy D (00:30:54) – Sure, I want to. I want to slide into that box.

Chris Carlisle (00:30:58) – I’m going to go in when I get there to the pearly gates. If I get that far. All right. And they’re going to look at me and go, man, you just did all of them, didn’t you? Because I got scars. I got to titanium. That story is in the book. I’ve got all my issues and scars and internal scars, all the dragons that I find every day. But I thank them with voices because I’m a big voices and choices bully. The choices you make come from the voices that are in your head. They’re all negative. You’re going to have negative choices. You’re going to make bad decisions. If all everything’s been telling you you’re terrible, you’re not good enough, then you’re going to believe that all of a sudden. And we’ll see about that.

Chris Carlisle (00:31:36) – It was like, okay, nothing can stop me. You get what you’re.

Freddy D (00:31:38) – Focused on, so you focus on negativity. You’re going to get negativity. You focus on positive stuff, you’re going to track more positive stuff. It’s weird, but it works. Yeah, it really does.

Chris Carlisle (00:31:50) – It does.

Freddy D (00:31:51) – Yeah. I remember I used to go to a Mercedes dealership and I would go sit in a 500 SL because I wanted one. I didn’t have the means to getting one. I was manifesting it and I’d go in there and it was my car and I got to know the whole car, all the insides. Worked everything else and one day situation came up and I ended up getting a used one. And the guy goes, you want me to go through the cast? No, this is my car. I know this baby already. It was just, like, dumbfounded. He didn’t understand what I had mentally prepared myself. So I totally get what you’re saying. Because you attract the right type of energy, right? And you look at people that are that feel victimized, that it’s look at all this is happening to me.

Freddy D (00:32:36) – This isn’t fair, and this is that I’m blah, blah, blah. But the reality is you’re attracting that stuff.

Chris Carlisle (00:32:43) – You have a choice. You have a choice right there when all this bad things are happening to you. Okay. I can’t oh, that’s a bad thing. Or is this a challenge to me being better? I didn’t get that job. That’s okay. Because it was a challenge. Okay, so I’m trying to learn my lesson here because that’s what life is. There’s a bunch of lessons that we get to learn to everything that doesn’t work out. The way is a lesson that you can learn. Hey, next time I know I need to be better prepared, I’m going to use an example with you and I. So the first time you and I talked, my speaker, my microphone didn’t work, my lighting was terrible. Everything was wrong. So what I do this time, I came on 15 minutes or 10 minutes early to make sure I check the lights and checked my volume, checked everything.

Chris Carlisle (00:33:28) – So when we came on this time, I knew everything was going to be right because I did not want to mess up our opportunity at the time that we were going to be together. Because I wasted 15 minutes of our time. Last time, 15 minutes. I can do so much with 15 minutes a day. It tore me up that I wasted your time with my foolishness, that I didn’t get things right. So this time I came in ready to go. When I was ten, I was going to win a Super Bowl. Now, it took me 40 years to do that. All right. How long will it you. And I’m talking to your your fan base. How long will you hold on to your passion if it doesn’t happen this week, do you go. There you go. If it doesn’t happen, that opportunity, you just throw up your hands and you go on to your next opportunity. I learn Nelson Mandela said. I never lose. Either win or I learn, I never lose, I either win or I learn.

Chris Carlisle (00:34:17) – And that’s how I’ve adapted as one of the voices in my head that if things don’t turn out, that’s okay. What do they learn out of this? Exactly? Get better doing so. The next opportunity come, I’m ready to go. And we have that choice. But to many people, when you see it right on the head, when you talked about the negativity that black people bring upon themselves, that they didn’t get it because somebody else’s problem. No. I take total responsibility for everything I do. If I fail is my fault. If I’m successful, I give all the credit to somebody else because they help me get to work. Because I took the time to go ask the questions.

Freddy D (00:34:54) – Yeah, it’s it brings back to my computer days. I was teaching at a college, a local college, and they had bought the computer system from our company whose computer aided engineering. And I was teaching the class. And one of the things that I had an epiphany was instead of them coming and asking me the questions, first off, I told them, look it up in the manual to take a look and figure it out.

Freddy D (00:35:18) – So they became self-sufficient. And if not, ask a colleague because then both of you are helping one another because a colleague’s got to take a look at it, because he wants to get the right information. I created a team environment in a classroom where people were helping one another to learn the material, and I ended up having the highest success rate and people signing up for the advanced class because they learned the information that they needed to learn to be able to do computer aided design work on a computer.

Chris Carlisle (00:35:53) – And that’s just part of the process right there. And it came as an epiphany in that it was different than the way you thought before. Yes. And so, again, I talked about in my book, the first chapter of the Three Deadly Bullets I carried with me. Okay. Arrogance, ignorance and inflexibility. All right. I was so arrogant when I graduated from college. I didn’t even apply for an assistant job. Why would I want to sit behind somebody? I knew more then. That’s how arrogant I was when I came out in the profession now.

Chris Carlisle (00:36:23) – I had my epiphany when I was driving the school bus home and we were one and three. All right. I didn’t know the thing about football. I didn’t. I knew how to play, I knew plays, I didn’t understand how to coach. So I went back to work. I actually told them after that, that first year, I’m the wrong guy for this position. I’m not going to help this school be better. So I went off, became an assistant. I still carry the ignorance with me because I still thought I knew everything, and I also carried with me the inflexibility the inflexibility came from. I grew up with three mentors and coaching that I watch Bobby Knight from Indiana, the basketball coach who throws chairs across the gym floor, Bo Schembechler from Michigan, and Woody Hayes. Okay, and Vince Lombardi, of course. So those four guys were the guy. And here’s two things they had in common. They won championships and they yelled. So I took the yelling from them that if they yelled and if I yelled more louder and longer, I’m going to win more championship after 11 years.

Chris Carlisle (00:37:27) – This is how will it work? I had 33 wins, 77 losses in one time. So if you hired me, you got three wins every year because I was following the pattern and I got into that box ready where I thought, it’s not me, it’s not me. I don’t want to get on the pulpit too much. I believe that God goes ahead and nudges you into your lane that you need, and then you’ll nudge, nudge and nudge, okay? Eventually he’ll roll up a newspaper and hit you across the nose. Okay, that you know, now you got to get over it and he’ll try to change. Like, I was so stubborn. He had the chicken chicken house fan, which that was a chicken house in the weight room of the most recent head coaching job at Subiaco Academy. So I plugged it in when I walked into the weight room and barks came out and the cord was all frayed and mama did not raise an idiot. I’m not going to take that cord again. I’ll switch it off at the motor.

Chris Carlisle (00:38:27) – And so when we were going outside, I looked at the motor and I looked over the top and there was no switch on this side, so it must be on the other side. I leaned in and that the fans, which are this by this and turning it thousands of rotations a minute, flushing my skull. So this go ahead that runs down here. Oh wow. This is all titanium okay. This whole part of my face is all titanium. Crushed my skull tore, the brain sank. Shards of skull are put into my brain. So I just got. This happened in June. first practice happens in August. I’m getting ready for practice. And the the neurosurgeons going through. Okay, you can’t strain, because if you strain it, causing plenty of pressure, it’ll kill you. You can’t hold a sneeze in intracranial pressure. Kill you. All right? You can’t lift weights because the strain check, all right? And you can’t yell. I checked my coaching toolbox, and he took my sledgehammer away.

Chris Carlisle (00:39:24) – How was I? How was I going to coach without my biggest tool? So that first practice I went to with my brand new team. I couldn’t speak any louder than this. You know what happen for any? For the first time in my career, in 11 years of coaching, players weren’t being listened to. They wanted to be coached. They wanted to hear what I had to say.

Freddy D (00:39:47) – Dynamics change, intimidate them. Our dynamics changed. There you.

Chris Carlisle (00:39:51) – Go. And the epiphany came. Now, from that point of having 33 wounds and 11 season, I ended my career with over 285 wins and championships at the high school level, at the college level, at junior college level, and in the NFL because I changed the way I did it. Now don’t wait for a chicken house and to hit you in the head to change the way you go about your operation. All right. That’s a long story for the moral right there. And that’s also is and that’s what the book is. The stories of this is how I did things wrong.

Chris Carlisle (00:40:22) – This is what happened to me. But here’s how you can save yourself from the chicken house fan, right? Be open to new ideas and be willing to say that might be the problem. Let me go talk and ask people. So I become the king of stupid question. I will go out and ask anybody. If I don’t know, I will ask the people, hey, what about this? How does this, how does this work? So my degree is in history. I have a master’s degree in history. My undergrad is in social science. I became a straight conditioning coach. I never took a physiology class at the average called a movement class. But I went to the best people in the world and sat down with them and with and took the time and grind it out and learn and became the student again so that I could learn everything. Then I took what I got from there, and I brought it to somebody else, and they helped to find it out. And then somebody else, and they narrowed it down, and all of a sudden I had a great package that I could take to a team that could help them to become what they wanted to be and help those athletes become who they wanted to be.

Chris Carlisle (00:41:23) – And so that’s that was my path. And that’s what the book is about. It’s hard to say in a sense. The stories in there are applicable to here’s what happened in my life, but you can do it better.

Freddy D (00:41:34) – Very cool.

Freddy D (00:41:34) – Yeah, that brings me my reminds me of when I first became a sales in the computer industry. I went to a company and all I had to do was get them to renew the monthly subscription of the software that they were using. That was it, nothing more. They started asking me about this competitor that they were looking at and everything else. So what did I do? Start talking about all the negative stuff. Needless to say, they called me up one day and says, we’re no longer using your stuff, so you need to come pick it up. My district manager just blew up and rode me up and down verbally and made me go pick up the equipment, which back then was a tech support guy that would handle that. I had to go pick it up, and I at least had the wherewithal to ask the guy, why did you not renew with us? And what would somebody else? He goes, all you did was talk all the negative stuff about the the competitor that we bought.

Freddy D (00:42:30) – And what they did was they talked about all the great things that you do. But here’s why they’re better. It was, you know, two by four right across the forehead.

Chris Carlisle (00:42:40) – Or chicken out saying.

Freddy D (00:42:42) – Yeah, because it was like I’d never looked at it that way. I was they can’t do this. They can’t do this. But I never really edified our product and how it could help them with their business. That was a monster teaching moment, because from then on, I won numerous sales awards because I changed my approach completely to talking about where the business wanted to grow. And my tool was just a vehicle that would help them to get there. So I started creating superfans from customers because they were achieving their growth. They were gone from a 40 man tool and shop to 120 man tool, and I shop because I was helping the owner achieve their vision. There’s times where they would say, hey, can your software do this? And says, no, but go and buy this package because it’s what they specialize in and we don’t specialize in that.

Freddy D (00:43:39) – I gave me the credibility and in turn, they were my super fan to where I could turn around, says, Hey Chris, call Bob at this company up in Rockford, Illinois, and I’ll tell you about how our technology is helped grow their business. Same approach is what you’re talking about is those epiphany moments, if you realize them and capitalize them, can change the trajectory of everything.

Chris Carlisle (00:44:06) – Without a doubt. Yeah, I’ve had, I think, 3 or 4 in my life that have changed the way I go about. We talked about I went from winning the Super Bowl as a player and I didn’t work out. And then as a football coach, and I don’t think I had all the tool. It was a great dream of mine to be a football coach and win a Super Bowl. But I didn’t have the mental capacity as far as like an offensive coordinator. They need to think 3 or 4 plays ahead and they need to understand they’re juggling a lot of balls, formation, personnel, all this stuff.

Chris Carlisle (00:44:36) – All right. And I didn’t have that ability. I’m a fixer. I can see something wrong and fix it. I found my niche in that I still was following my dream of winning the Super Bowl, but it came in the vehicle of being a strength. Which was perfect for me. It’s where I’m at my best because like I said, I can fix. I can see things that are wrong and I can give the right cues because I’m a communicator. So I don’t tell, I teach. And I think when we talk about being the best, what you do, we need to become great communicators. Problem business. You got to pull people up.

Freddy D (00:45:19) – But the bottom line is our job is to pull people up, right?

Chris Carlisle (00:45:23) – So they communication goes through three phases. There’s the problem. Now where does the problem go? Does it become constant nagging or do we sit down and say, okay, what are your ideas that we can go ahead and change that problem? And it’s just not you.

Chris Carlisle (00:45:38) – It’s it’s everybody who touches the product that is part of this process. And even some people from the outside, they may have, again, like my editor had that third person view that they can look in and go, that’s simple. Take this one right. Then the third phase is problem solved. So you have a problem. You have a bunch of ideas. Now what problem is most efficient in the way that we can do this so that can stick. It’s not just a Band-Aid that it actually fixes the problem, but you’ve got to have that open communication within your organization that you don’t think that you’re infallible, that I don’t know everything. When I was coaching, I hired a young lady named Tatiana Zubkov. Tatiana was from Ukraine, was a triple jumper, went through the Soviet system and in training because at that time Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. They teach and coach at a whole different level. They teach you and they want to break down. They’ll take 10,000 and they’ll break down 9999 to get one, that one super athlete.

Chris Carlisle (00:46:40) – So she comes through the system now she has a degree in business. I hired her as a strength coach because her coaching fundamentals, her understanding and the way that she motivated people was amazing. I brought a guy named Cha Geoghegan, and cha was a national powerlifting champion because he understood how to get people stronger. I didn’t have that. I didn’t have this. I was a speed guy. I stole my ideas from a guy named Vince Anderson who trained Olympic champion. So I got all my information from him. I was a speed guy. Then I got a guy that was a plyometric guy jumping guy. So I brought all these people in because I knew my strength and I knew my weaknesses. When we sat down to organize a program, it was all about taking their input, their communication on how to do this best. Then I took what I do best is, and I took all that and made it into a cohesive program, that we’re able to get all that stuff done. So as a leader, as the top of the pyramid of the culture, you’ve got to be able to be humble enough to say, I don’t know.

Chris Carlisle (00:47:42) – That’s very important. That’s a huge life energy. And the micro leader, the micro manager, has his hands on everything and thinks he knows it all. The micro leader knows what’s going on, but allows you to do what you do best because you understand what it is through the culture of the organization, because of messaging, because of we have our styles, that we have the foundation there. So the structure is strong. He allows you or she allows you to go ahead and be the best person at your job, and you don’t have to worry about them nitpicking. They may sit down with you. Go ahead and explain, I saw you doing this and Pete would call me in and go, hey, I saw the guys doing this. Why are you doing that? And I explain how that turns on the VMO. The vast medial obliques turns on the glutes. It helps with knee support, helps with hip ability, and it turns the glued on so that we we have our hamstrings safe. Oh, I didn’t know that.

Chris Carlisle (00:48:40) – Okay. You would, but that’s why I’m here. And then he would go have fun with that. All right. And we’d go do that. But I understood why we were doing it.

Freddy D (00:48:48) – So I’m going to wrap up here. One things I want to reiterate is the fact that when you brought in those coaches that specialize in different things, you in turn really created superfans from them, as well as the team that you were working with because you were making them better and perform better. So it was always about them being able to perform at the level that they needed to perform to win the games that all tied together in a collaborative team effort.

Chris Carlisle (00:49:20) – And here’s a byproduct of that. Every one of those coaches that I brought in went on to win championships with their teams. Also, because of the work we all did, they took it out and they said, okay. They applied their own magic in it and they were able to be successful. So it’s when you’re a manager who’s lifting people up and wanting them to go ahead and grow within your organization, and when they’re ready to open their own shop, then you’re all for it.

Chris Carlisle (00:49:42) – I’m going to give everything I have to you so you can go ahead and do it, because I believe I can still do it better than everybody. But you go do your stuff. You got your information.

Freddy D (00:49:53) – Great. So how can people find you, Chris?

Chris Carlisle (00:49:56) – I’m on Facebook, I’m on Instagram, my website will have all this, and Freddy will have the QR code when we finish this, but it’s info at the Coach carlisle.com or on on my website is the Coach carlisle.com. If you pull that up my website’s there. You can order my book from there and I will sign it, I will personalize it to you and then you can find my blogs. And I just finished my 100th blog. And so it’s just articles that I’ve had that’s again stories. I’m actually going to take those 100 and make another book out of it. Oh cool. Just step by step and and it goes from the five P’s passion, preparation, practice, performance and perseverance. Those five things that found make up the championship mindset.

Freddy D (00:50:42) – Excellent, Chris, it’s been a pleasure having you in a business podcast show. It’s been a great conversation and we’ll have you back on again because we got more to talk about.

Chris Carlisle (00:50:53) – I got four more stories.

Freddy D (00:50:55) – We’ll get into those, we’ll do it. We’ll get you on another show and continue the continued conversation.

Chris Carlisle (00:51:00) – Buddy, thanks for an opportunity. It’s been great talking to your group and good luck to everybody and go ahead and live your optimal life.

Freddy D (00:51:09) – All right man, thank you.


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