SOAL 15
SOAL 31: The Love of Leading with Your Soul
SOAL 31: The Love of Leading with Your Soul

subscribe

Jeff Sanders is a former NBA basketball player, mentor, and motivator that believes it’s never too late to reinvent oneself into excellence. Jeff mentors young athletes around the world and is also the President of the Former NBA Retired Legends Association in Chicago. Jeff’s passion is teaching the youth of today the fundamentals of basketball and the fundamentals of life. When maneuvering through this life, accountability is key. Sanders is a passionate leader who always teaches the value of hard work and perseverance. Jeff encourages us all to go out into the world and be a positive presence in someone’s life!

You gotta put some time in, you’ve got to earn your stripes.

As you maneuver through life, you’re going to come across a lot of different things that you’re going to have to be accountable for.

Always go outside and keep some sunshine and a smile on your face.

You got to be a positive presence in a person’s life, or you’re not doing anything.

You’ll Learn

  • Success is not created overnight. You have to work hard to earn your stripes.
  • You have to hold yourself accountable, accepting the person you see in the mirror.
  • Always try to be a positive presence in someone else’s life.

Resources

Transcript

Eileen:
Hello, and welcome to Soul of a Leader podcast, where we ignite soulful conversations with leaders. In today’s episode, Dr. Alicia and Dr. Eileen sit with Jeff Sanders to discuss leading beyond sports.

Alicia:
Welcome to Soul of a Leader podcast. On today’s episode, we have a long time friend of mine. He has been a former NBA player, so he’s no stranger to sports. Also, he was a former Athletes Against Drugs advisory board member. He also leads his own organization, the Former NBA Retired Legends Association. I don’t know if I have that right, Jeff, but you’ll correct me. And then he used to be the president of the NBA Chicago Chapter. And he’s just a great all-American retired NBA player who was always in support of doing great things, not only for our youth but for good friends. So welcome to the show, Jeff Sanders.

Jeff:
Thanks for inviting me, it’s a pleasure.

Alicia:
One of the great things I like about Jeff, I think he was really mild in his approach and leadership, but he has a sense of passion. He also really trains and develops a lot of young kids that want to become involved in sports. And Jeff knows on average, all of them, but he treats them all equal in that sense when he’s training them. So my question to you is, what is the passion behind that? When you go and work with those kids, what motivates you? Where’s that passion lying at that point for you when you have to go and work with youth, who want to become what you were, an NBA player?

Jeff:
Well, I think the passion behind teaching the youth how to prepare for being an athlete, or whatever for, is they have to put the work in. And a lot of the youth today don’t understand that. We have so many different distractions with video games and the things we watch on television. Some of the kids just think that they can just walk outside and do it. They don’t understand, you gotta put some time in, you’ve got to earn your stripes.

Jeff:
So my passion for that is teaching them that, and then also letting them know that you may not make it in this sport. Most of you probably won’t, but I’m not fitting out to be a role model, but just trying to be a mentor and help guide them in a positive direction. So, I mean, that’s my passion. I didn’t have this growing up, as far as being able to reach professional athletes. You have your neighborhood friends and guys who you look up to at the park you watched play basketball, football. Because, you know, I played football as well. So I just try to make myself available for some of the youth out in the community and work with them, which you know I’ve done quite a few camps and different sessions with youth.

Eileen:
And with that, Jeff, there are so many distractions today for young people. And when we were younger, we didn’t have the cell phones, we didn’t have the social media, we didn’t have the YouTube’s, we didn’t have the On. How do you guide or coach them on, telling them or sharing with them or, to put the work in, because those distractions are there? And sometimes this generation, different generations want things fast, quickly.

Alicia:
Right.

Eileen:
Sometimes they’re called the microwave generation, right? So if you could share a story or how you lead or try to coach people to make that change.

Jeff:
Well, actually, if I work with the youth I try to teach them the fundamentals of basketball and fundamentals of life. I try to teach them what it means to be a teammate and how to utilize that in life itself. And as I work with them on drills and different aspects of the game of basketball, they learn it or they see it. Because every kid I work with they all say they can do certain things until it’s time to do it and then when it doesn’t work, they don’t understand. So, as I said earlier, once you teach them something and they learn it and they get it, the response that they give you and the respect that they give you after that I think is very gratifying.

Alicia:
So one of the things I want to ask you because I know you’re really familiar with this, and the culture and the things that are happening currently with the NBA and the NBA players. What’s your viewpoint of where sports is headed? Because obviously change is present right now and it’s a little challenging. As you know, some of the teams didn’t get down to the bubble. So what’s your thoughts about that from a leadership perspective on how the impact of this change is happening for those who want to come into the NBA?

Jeff:
Well, to tell you the truth, I’m steady learning myself because this is a difficult situation and really not easy to understand because you really don’t know what to say about sports as it exists, because we’re trying to do some things differently now. So I’m learning just as well as some of the youth would learn. We don’t really know what’s happening. I mean, I’m enjoying watching the playoffs, but we don’t even know when the regular season will start back up. Is pre-season going to start up when this is over?. So everything is still kind of up in the air. So I’m just waiting, trying to see what’s the next move.

Eileen:
And with that in these changing times, and you’re leading retired players in your organization. How is the partnership or the synergies between your organization and the act of players aligned?

Jeff:
Well, we’re still trying to create a better relationship with active players.

Alicia:
Right.

Jeff:
Because I think the most important aspect is getting the active players to understand that at some point they’re going to be retired players.

Alicia:
Right.

Jeff:
Being that this was a small fraternity, I think we have that respect for one another. Although they may think that today is different than my day when I played because I felt the same way when retired players would come and talk to us and it wasn’t that popular then. But I also felt like, okay, well, this is going to be different for us because you guys went through this, we’re not going to go through that. But even still, it’s always prevalent as far as the same circle, the same cycle. And a lot of times the guys don’t get it when it happens and until they’re a retired player. So I think we are getting more involved with some of the current players.

Alicia:
We really enjoy talking … Jeff is always this mild-mannered, big 6’7″?

Jeff:
6’9″.

Alicia:
6’9″. So this is just his demeanor, but you truly are a leader in your own right. And you do do it for the love of not only the youth and the love of the game. So as we get ready to end, what are some words of wisdom that you would like to leave with the Soul of a Leader listeners? For Dr. Eileen and myself? What’re some words of wisdom that will actually always be aired, because you never know who’s going to go back and listen to your little nuggets. Words of wisdom.

Jeff:
Accountability, because as you maneuver through life, you’re going to come across a lot of different things that you’re going to have to be accountable for. Just as well as we wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, you’ve got to be able to accept that person. If you cannot accept that person, nobody else is going to accept that person. So I believe in that. My grandmother used to say when we were young, if you can be a positive presence in someone’s life then you’re not living. So I always try to be a positive presence. I came up with a slogan that I heard from a comedian, sort of kind of from a comedian named Richard Pryor, who played the role of Mudbone, and he said, “Always go outside and keep some sunshine and a smile on your face”. So I try to do that daily.

Alicia:
Oh wow.

Eileen:
Oh my gosh. Yeah. Sunshine and a smile on your face.

Jeff:
Exactly.

Alicia:
Wow. Okay. Sunshine and a smile on your face.

Jeff:
You’ll be amazed by how that’ll make you feel daily.

Eileen:
And others around you too.

Alicia:
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. And it’s important that you … So you did something that was extremely valuable. You brought up your grandmother. So she instilled something that now in your, years later in your years, you’re thinking about what she’s told you. You got to be a positive presence in a person’s life, or you’re not doing anything.

Eileen:
And that’s really leading with your soul.

Alicia:
Yes.

Eileen:
The soul is energy. And that’s why we’re doing this podcast and having you on because you are leading with your soul. It’s to ignite a transformational consciousness to the world about living in the positive frequency and being really humankind. That makes all the difference. And you just shared that in your words of wisdom so, thank you so much.

Alicia:
Thank you so much for that. Yes.

Jeff:
No problem. No problem.

Eileen:
Thank you for joining us on the Soul of a Leader podcast. We are igniting a new way of leading with your soul and interviewing ordinary people with extraordinary impact. Thank you for listening to the stories of our leaders who will help and guide you on your leadership journey. For more information on our podcast, please visit our website at www.soulofaleader.com. Thank you for listening.

 

With Dr. Eileen & Dr. Alicia

Conversations with ordinary people, with extraordinary impact on strategies, success stories, spirituality and leadership.

With Dr. Eileen & Dr. Alicia

Conversations with ordinary people, with extraordinary impact on strategies, success stories, spirituality and leadership.