Coach George Raveling (@GeorgeRaveling) is a pioneer in transcending the intersections of sports, culture, race, and business. He is also the author of War On The Boards: A Rebounding Manual.
What We Discuss with George Raveling:
- George’s process for planning every day with intentionality and strategy.
- Why, even at age 80, George reinvents himself every five years.
- The best place to start with disruption.
- What sets apart great athletes and other high performers from the rest of the crowd.
- George’s three fundamental responsibilities: to coach attitude, behavior, and performance.
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
(Download Episode Here)
(Subscribe in iTunes Here)
When you build your social capital without the expectation of getting something in return, it tends to pay dividends in countless, unexpected ways. And when you live 80 years influencing, mentoring, coaching, and teaching others who go on — in some cases — to legendary greatness, the gold value of those dividends could easily overflow the coffers of Fort Knox.
Our guest is George H. Raveling, known affectionately by some of the world’s best and brightest as “Coach.” He’s an avid reader and passionate life learner who plans every day with intentionality and strategy, understands what sets great athletes and other high performers apart from the rest of the crowd, lives by three fundamentals of attitude, behavior, and performance, and, at age 80, still reinvents himself every five years. Oh, and add the prowess of his social capital to the value of the unique piece of American history he happens to own and he might very well be one of the richest men alive. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
Rhone makes gear for the modern man who demands modern style, comfort, and quality. Go to rhone.com and enter promo code JORDAN at checkout to get 15% off your first purchase!
Want to turn your current work station into a standing desk, treadmill desk, or sitting desk at your command? You can try Varidesk products risk-free for 30 days with free shipping and free returns if you’re not satisfied. Stand more, sit less, and boost your productivity at VARIDESK.com/FORBES!
Are you trying to hire the right person for your business, but the best candidates keep slipping away? Let ZipRecruiter — the fastest way to hire great people — help you screen only the best at ziprecruiter.com/jordan!
To truly thrive in all areas of your life, you can’t ignore the importance of good health. Try Organifi Green Juice for 20% off using code “harbinger” when checking out at organifi.com!
An annual all-inclusive retreat for proven entrepreneurs like you. Join Jordan Harbinger’s Cabin at Fireside and get the $2,500 Fireside All-Inclusive Pass!
More About This Show
With the death of his father and the institutionalization of his mother at an early age, it would seem Nike’s global basketball sports marketing director Coach George Raveling got an unlucky start in life. But a supportive grandmother and the discipline of Catholic school made academics his chief focus and the pathway to later success as a college basketball player, coach, and sports commentator.
Now 80 years old, George explains the attitude that gets him through every day:
“When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is sit on the side of the bed and I give myself these two choices — and these are the only two choices that I’ve had, and I’ve been doing this for 40 years: you can either be happy, or you can be very happy. You’ve got to select one of those two, but that’s it. There’s no other choice!”
Educator vs. Coach
George considers himself more of an educator than a coach. He always worked to teach those he coached not just how to excel in sports, but how to win in the game of life. In fact, when he would recruit, he would tell potential players that if the the only thing they learned in four years at college was to play defense, make jump shots, and win basketball games, they could go anywhere in the country for that. If they came to partner up for four years, it was more than simply winning and losing to George. He felt he had a greater responsibility to young people.
And if he were ever in danger of losing sight of this fact, George could rely on those young people’s parents to remind him. George remembers a time when, after recruiting a promising basketball player for USC, the mother escorted him to the door with these words: “I don’t want no foolishness out of you, now!”
“I knew what she was saying,” says George. “‘Hey, I’m giving you my most prized possession in the whole world; I’m going to send you a boy, and I expect you to send me back a man and I expect you to respect the values that I’ve instilled in him!'”
A Servant Leader
George has worked with thousands of elite athletes over the years, and if they have anything in common, it’s the drive to be better in some way each day than they were the day before.
“The thing I notice about great athletes is their unusual passion to excel,” says George. “They are disciplined and continually work hard.”
Though he technically retired from coaching after a particularly terrible car accident in 1994, George still takes time to mentor young people as a way to give back for the life lessons that got him to where he is today.
“I try as hard as I can to be a servant leader,” says George.
Three Fundamental Responsibilities of Coaching
George reflects on time he spent coaching kids at Michael Jordan’s basketball camp that, at the end of a day of practice, it’s about so much more than basketball. George was serious about the three fundamental responsibilities to coach:
In working with so many who revere George as “Coach,” he found that if you can manage a person’s attitude, then you can manage their behavior and performance.
All throughout his 80 years, George has been greatly influenced by people from all fields and walks of life. He understands how the power of just one motivated individual in the right place and time can change the course of history. Two examples: President Harry S. Truman making the hard choice to use atomic weapons and bring an end to World War II, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his famous 1963 “I have a dream” speech in Washington, DC, which inspired hundreds of thousands of civil rights activists to keep fighting the good fight.
George had the incredible fortune to meet both of these historic figures — and the even better fortune of being close enough to ask Dr. King for his copy of that famous speech at its conclusion. He still has it — after tucking it away for 30 years in an autographed copy of a book by, coincidentally enough, Harry S. Truman.
“To me, both of those people were visionaries, they were courageous leaders, they were willing to take society from where it was to where it should be in the future,” says George.
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about why George has always rejected status symbols as a way to define success, why basketball became George’s sport of choice, where George believes is the best place to start disruption, the importance of trust and respect between a mentor (such as a coach) and a mentee, how George breaks the way his mentees label themselves so they can grow into any role on their own terms, why Michael Jordan refused to let a 12-year-old beat him at basketball, what it was like to meet President Truman, the serendipity that led to George’s possession of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, and much more.
THANKS, GEORGE RAVELING!
If you enjoyed this session with George Raveling, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank George Raveling at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- War On The Boards: A Rebounding Manual by George Raveling
- Coaching for Success
- George Raveling at Facebook
- George Raveling at Instagram
- George Raveling at Twitter
- Remembering Dr. Jack Ramsay, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach by Ed Odeven
- George Raveling Delivers 2016 Villanova Commencement Address
- Michael Jordan Says George Raveling Was Key Guy Pushing Him to Nike by Kurt Helin, NBC Sports
- The “I Have A Dream” Speech by Martin Luther King Jr.
- Inside the NBA: Martin Luther King Jr. and George Raveling
- Harry S. Truman’s Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, National Park Service
Transcript for George Raveling | Coaching to Win the Championship of Life (Episode 43)
George Raveling: [00:00:00] When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is sit on the side of the bed and I give myself these two choices and these are the only two choices that I've had. And I've been doing this for 40 years, and the two choices are you can either be happy or you can be very happy, and so you've got to select one of those two. But that's it, there's no other choice.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:24] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger, and as always I'm here with my producer, Jason DeFillippo. On this episode, we're talking with my friend, George Raveling. This guy, one of the most well-known and beloved figures in the sports world, former basketball coach, former Nike Global Basketball sports marketing director, but that does not do him justice. George is inspiring, he's interesting. He's just, everything about him just makes you want to be a better person. He’s the first African American basketball coach in the pack eight, now the pack 12. He traveled to six out of seven continents. He's referenced by many as the human Google, which doesn't surprise me because I think it reads at least four books a month. He's given away thousands of books. He showed up to the studio with books. He spoke before Congress. Oh no, did I mention he's 80, and still going after it as hard as ever.
[00:01:11] I find George, like I said, so, so inspiring. He's really living his mission. George plans every day with intentionality and strategy. We're going to go through his process for this and why it's been so pivotal in his life. We'll also learn why he reinvents himself every five years. I've never met anyone in his age, especially who is so good at staying relevant. George has some amazing wisdom and stories that are just going to blow you away, so don't judge this book by the cover. If you think you're not into sports or you don't really, it's not going to be like that. Trust me. Without further ado, here's my good friend, Coach George Raveling. I'm curious. I asked why if you were left-handed because you have your watch on your right wrist like I do, but I do it because I'm left-handed. But you say, “Oh, it's one of many contrarian things that I do.” So what's going on there?
George Raveling: [00:01:58] Well, when I was a college student, I noticed that one tended to like the same things, do the same things, go to same places. And I always felt that I wanted to be a contrary and do some things in my life that were unique to me. So I've never worn my watch on the left, even though I understand the logic of it. I can still remember when I was growing up, at the time I grew up in Washington, D.C., it was about 73 percent black at that time. And so there were certain cultural references. And one, if you had a Cadillac that was a status symbol in our community. And so I always thought if I grow up, I'll never drive a Cadillac. I'll define my success some other way. And it probably won't be based on material things and not that there was anything wrong with that.
[00:02:56] And so when I got to the University of Iowa, you got a courtesy car and they asked me if I wanted a Cadillac, and I told him that was the last thing I wanted, and so I ended up driving a Chevy. So I tried to search for things that will take me off the highways of life into the side roads. And so this just happens to be one of them. I tend to be more of a person when everybody's going right, I tend to go left. It affords me a different type of opportunity. I think it affords me a different way to think, and so now I've lived long enough to get in and to live in a social system that's basically being governed by disruptive actions and thinking and behaviors.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:45] So yeah, you're kind of the original disruptor, right? So instead of trying to disrupt a whole industry, you start one step at a time. Look, I'll just wear my watch on the other hand.
George Raveling: [00:03:54] Yeah, that's the best place to start with disruption is, is with yourself.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:58] So it seems, and you do a lot of this stuff even now that you're always looking for different sorts of ways to stay relevant. I'm going to get into that in a bit, but it seems like you had a bit of a rough early childhood, maybe. Your father passed away when you were really young. And I wanted to explore that a little bit because it seems like it would've been really easy for you to get in trouble a lot, instead of becoming a successful person.
George Raveling: [00:04:26] Well, that's an interesting perspective, but when I was a nine, my dad died. My dad was a horse racing. I worked at Delaware racetrack and he was a groom, and he died when I was nine. And when I was 13, my mom had a nervous breakdown, had to be inserted to socialize for the rest of her life. So now the question becomes, what do you do with George? And so my grandmother, who was really to the boss of the family. Nothing in our family, it was ever done without my grandma's permission, despite the fact that she never even graduated from high school. But she had great common sense, and so my grandma worked for a wealthy white family in Georgetown. And so she was telling the lady of the house, this dilemma that she had, did she have any advice as to what to do with me?
[00:05:15] And so the lady's daughter worked for the Catholic charities, and so she told her daughter about it and her daughter said, “Well, I think I can get him in a Catholic boarding school up in Pennsylvania”, and through the Catholic charities. And so that's what happened. They got me into this Catholic boarding school called St Michael's in Hoban Heights, Pennsylvania. And so I did all the rest of my formal education at St. Michael's. And the teachers were all nuns and a priests were the upper administrators. And it was a very strict and part of the responsibilities for each person you had to take on chores. So during the time I was there, I did everything from clean out chicken coops to milk cows, to bale hay, to pick apples, and scrub the chapel floors, work in the bakery and the kitchen, make beds.
[00:06:16] And so by the time I reached a senior, my senior year in high school, I had a lot of domestic skills, and I also came up in a very disciplined environment. And so I really never had an opportunity to be tempted by those typical things that happen in neighborhoods, be they black or white. You only got to go home for three weeks during the summer, and it didn't take long to figure out the best way to get off of campus was to participate in sports. So we only had four sports. We had boxing, baseball, basketball, and football. So I went out for everyone.
Jordan Harbinger: [0:07:00] Every single sports?
George Raveling: [00:07:02] Yes. And I actually boxed into Goldman gloves, but the sport that I ended up being the best in was basketball. So between my eighth and ninth grade year, that summer, I grew four inches in one year. And so I popped up to 6’4”, and if for no other reasons in my height advantage, I liked basketball the best, and so I started to get better and better. The end of my junior year in high school, I can remember waiting for the Greyhound Bus to go back to D.C. for a couple of weeks. And I can remember thinking to myself, God, if I can just graduate next year and become a pilot in the air force, I'll have it made, and so that was my vision. I had never heard of a scholarship. I had no idea that you could go to college and have your education paid for by participating in basketball.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:54] So you never even-- did you plan to go to college or you just know I was going air force.
George Raveling: [00:07:59] And I don't mean this in a mean spirited way, or that I was victim of my parents or anything like that. No one in my family ever graduated from high school. So why would someone in my family think that George is going to go to college? It was unthought of. And so until my senior year, I'll never forget, we’re playing a team called Saint Rose at Carbondale, and I had a real high scoring game. And afterwards when I came out of the locker room, someone came up to me, a man came up to me and he says, “I'd like to introduce myself.” And he says, “Hi, my name's Jack Ramsey. I'm the coach at St Joe's.” And he handed me his business card, and so he said he liked to offer me a scholarship. Well, I had no comprehension of what a scholarship was. And so on the way back on the school bus, my coach said to me, who was that guy you're talking to outside the locker room?
[00:08:53] And I hand in the card, I said it was a coach, a college coach. And so he said, what did he say to you? I said, “He said he was going to offer me a scholarship,” and my coach was a little startled. And so I said, “Coach, what's a scholarship?” So he explained it to me. And subsequently as the season went on, I ended up getting a variety of other offers and essentially, I probably would have gone to Michigan State, because it was a Catholic school, and nuns were influencing me. There was no way I was going to go to St. Joe or Villanova. And so I went down for the visit at Villanova, and they offered me a scholarship, right while I was there. And those days you didn't have SAT and PSATs, or ACTs.
[00:09:43] So you had to take an exam right there on campus. So I took the exam and then that's, I took that on a Friday night. And on Sunday, they offered me a scholarship, and said that I gained admission. So when I first picked up a basketball, I had no idea that this was going to be a transformative mechanism for me and changed my life forever. But it's a long winded answer to how did I avoid getting in trouble. Not that I didn't get in trouble sometimes around school, but you didn't want to get in trouble around there because you had extra chores to do, or teach us would make you stay afterwards and do different assignments. So I grew up in a pretty disciplined environment.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:28] It seems like you took that discipline with you pretty much for the rest of your life. I mean you've done a lot and you've been a coach, a mentor to a lot of people. And I was talking with my wife in the car on the way here, and she said, you know, a lot of elite athletes have coaches, but a lot of other high performing people or just regular Joes, they don't have coaches. They don't necessarily think about getting coaches. Why do you think about what, what do you think it is that a lot of people who aren't athletes, they almost tend to devalue coaching and mentorship? Have you noticed that?
George Raveling: [00:11:00] I think that a lot of it is based on trust. At the core of all our authentic relationships in my mind is trust. I think two ingredients to happen. One, you have to trust a person. You have to respect the person. So coming out of a strict Catholic educational background, and even when I go back to the lessons from my grandma taught me, was you always respected adults. You listened to what they had to say, and when I was growing up as a child, there was this mantra that children were to be seen and not heard. Well clearly that, that wouldn't work in today's society. But what it did, when I look back on it now, it forced you to have to be a better listener because if the two most important ingredients in a conversation, speaking and listening. And so it forces me to acquire better listening skills and also to accept discipline. So as I came along, I think that perhaps the best thing that happened to me was I learned to be an active listener and to listen to understand, because that was the only way I could participate in a conversation. The nuns were like the Pope, whatever they said was infallible. So I had to listen keenly because if they told me to do something, I knew chances were I wasn't going to be happy with the results if I didn't listen.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:34] I can imagine, yeah. I can imagine that kind of environment. I mean, I've only seen it in movies, but there's a reason those stereotypes with the nuns and the rulers and everything exist in the first place.
George Raveling: [ 00:12:45] At Villanova, when I went to Villanova, ‘56 to ‘60, you were not allowed to attend class or eat in the dining hall, and if you didn't have a coat and tie on. And the way they did roll call, you set by alphabet. So everyone would have a sport jacket and khaki pants, most of the students, and you get a clip on bow tie. So it was right before you went in class, you clipped the bow tie on afterwards, you'd take it back off and the same thing in a dining hall. So my life was pretty much regimented. There were innate values that were instilled in me that probably still reside inside of me to this very, very day. So you bring up a great thought for me. I have never gone back and really re-examine what are the things that led me to be the person I am. But clearly, the discipline and the ability to listen has been a huge factor for me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:47] Yeah, I can imagine. And enforcing that, listening through discipline in the first place, seems like it would definitely have to be effective after a while. I can just imagine everybody walking around with a clip on bow tie in their pocket and then, “Oh, hold on, let me throw that on there,” and then run it in. And it's almost sounds like sort of a military-ish environment with a level of discipline everyone had. So if you didn't have a tie, you just didn't eat, is that what happened?
George Raveling: [00:14:13] Yeah. If you didn't have a tie you, you couldn't get in the dining hall or sometimes if someone would forget, they someone would be coming out and you'd say, “Hey, can I borrow your tie?’ I'll give it back to you afterwards. But there was just no getting around it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:26] I've read that you consider yourself more an educator than a coach, or at least as much an educator as a coach. What's the distinction between those two things in your mind?
George Raveling: [00:14:36] I try to separate the two, so I would be constantly reminded that I have to contribute to those young men that I coached over the years more than teaching them how to win and lose on athletic contest, but the teach them more importantly how to win in the game of life. And I would tell all of them when I was recruiting them, if the only thing you learned from the four years is how to shoot a jumpshot, play defense, rebound and win basketball games, you could have gone anywhere in the country and achieved that. If you come and we partner up for four years, I want it to be a unique experience. I want it to be more than about basketball. I want it to be more about winning and losing. And so I try to create an environment that would allow me to see that I had a broader responsibility to each of these young people than, than winning and losing basketball games.
[00:15:37] I remember I was recruiting a kid, this was when I was coaching at USC. And his name was Mark Boyd. He was the only player I've ever coached. It started every game for four years. And I remember walking out of his house after signing the letter of intent, he getting a letter of intent signed by him. His mom walked me to the door, is a single parent, and she looked at me and she said, “Coach Raveling, I don't want no foolishness out of you now.” And I knew what she was saying, “Hey, I'm giving you my most prized possession in the whole world and I'm going to send you a boy and I expect you to send me back a man, and I expect you to respect the values that I've instilled in him.” And so those type of moments helped me understand in a more vivid manner what my ultimate responsibilities were to those young people.
[00:16:30] And like for example, everywhere I coached before practice, I would always have a five minute talk with the team about something that had nothing to do with basketball. I'd always pass out little articles for them to read. And so I wanted this to be a memorable opportunity for them. I have one player who told me a couple of years ago, he said, “Coach,” he said, “Somewhere in my garage, I have every handout you gave out in the four years of practice. And so I can look back and feel good about the relationship I had with my players, and that I tried to fulfill the mission that the each parent or relative bestowed on me. And that was to take a young person and help them integrate themselves into society as adults and become responsible adults.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:22] Do you see people getting less of that now, or do you think that it's just happening in a different way?
George Raveling: [00:17:29] A different way in this manner. I think that the unique opportunity to help a young person take them by the hands and walk them along the paths of life. And as my grandma's said, I know where all the potholes in life or, and if you listen to me, I can help you avoid some of them. The thing that me so much today is, is that from a basketball standpoint particularly, is I think we've lost our sense of responsibility to the whole person. I think we spend too much time allowing kids to feel that the greatest values are our money and material and collecting things. To me, I think the greatest value that you can contribute to a young person's life is, is to help them understand the relevance of education. I have a huge problem with one and done, because I think it devalues education.
[00:18:30] There's no question that they're good enough athletically, but there's an athletic component, there's a spiritual component and there's an educational component. And so much of the talk today evolves around getting to a higher level and making large sums of money. I always told the players, making money is the easiest part. Keeping it and multiplying is a difficult part. And so I worry today if historians aren't going to treat us adults harshly because we did not embrace the opportunity. We had to give young people a balanced perspective about the future in their lives, in their participation in the future.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:14] You're still mentoring people. I mean, there's two guys sitting behind me here who I assume if I asked them, they would say that you have some measure of influence in their lives. This is still important to you even now.
George Raveling: [00:19:24] Well, because I look back at all the people in my life who contributed to, I mean, who saw something to me when I didn't see it in myself. People who taught me important life lessons, people who took me by the hand and introduced me to aspects of life that I would've never done on my own. So at 80 years old, you arrive at a point where you say, “You know, I've had my day in the sun. I had a chance to get to the mountain top. It's no longer can be about me, it's got to be about other people.” And so I just use the same simple format that helped me get through life, and that was other people. And so the life lessons I've learned, I try to share.
[00:20:15] I remember in a sociology class one time, a professor said, “Nothing in life is of any value unless you can share it with others.” And so I'm try as hard as I can do to be a servant leader. And in the early days, I had no knowledge of servant leadership. It wasn't a connotation I was familiar with, but I just tried to follow the success formulas that had worked for me in my life d try to share other people. And hardly a day ever goes by when I don't hear my grandmother say it in the background that if you listened to me I can help you avoid the potholes of life because I know where they are.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:00] I think that it makes it a lot of sense. Although getting younger people, even people my own age, I'm 38, even getting people like me to listen can be its own challenge, I would imagine.
[00: 21:11] This episode is sponsored in part by Rhone. I woke up today to find a whole bunch of new stuff from Rhone, which I was pretty excited about. I got the salient running short sleeve shirt again in a different color, and I got to say it's like I love this product, man. It is so well-made. It looks great. Strategic venting, the salient stuff is great. It's just a really nice shirt. It's really well-crafted, and yeah, I test drove the silvertech, those threads that reduce odor by fighting bacteria. I wore it to the gym. I wore it out for a walk. I was sweating through the thing. It smells totally fine. I can't say the same for a lot of the cotton shirts that I wear to the gym or that I sleep in or that I wear out in the sun and walk around in for five miles. So this stuff, this stuff works, man. So go to rhone.com, that's R-H-O-N-E.com. Our listeners receive an exclusive offer of 15% off their first purchase with the use of the code Jordan at checkout, J-O-R-D-A-N. That's pretty easy. This offer is only available to my listeners, so remember rhone.com, R-H-O-N-E.com. Promo code Jordan at checkout for 15 percent off. Highly recommend a salient running shirt. Pretty much anything they have is going to be a win.
[00:22:20] This episode is also sponsored by Varidesk. Traditional static offices are a thing of the past, or at least soon they will be, especially out here in Silicon Valley, people sitting on fricking balls and stuff.
I don't know what's going on over here. The bottom line is companies and employees want an active workspace. And Varidesk helps people reimagine their work environment, transform their office design and become more active at work. Standing more, sitting less. Sitting is the new smoking, I'm sure you've all heard that. And this stuff can improve your employee health. It can boost your energy, boost your productivity, which is kind of the whole point when you're getting stuff done, whether you work from home or in an office. And Varidesk active workspace solutions make it easy to encourage more movement to any workday. They've got their new ProDesk 60 Electric standing desk.
[00: 23:05] This is a bomb standing desk, commercial grade materials, stable at any height. It's not going to fall over when you have it up in the standing position and you lean on it, for example. You can assemble the thing and under five minutes, and it's built so well. It's commercial grade, it's going to last forever. It's simple to set up. You can move it after you build it, which is, look, that should speak for itself. We've all built stuff and then tried to move it and it's like, “Eh, now this is broken.” You're not going to have that problem with the Varidesk. You can try Varidesk products, including the new ProDesk 60 Electric risk-free for 30 days with free shipping and free returns if you're not satisfied. Learn more at varidesk.com/forbes, that's V-A-R-I-D-E-S-K.com/forbes.
[00:23:48] Do you look for people who are going to be better listeners? Like are these two guys just better at paying attention or do you pick somebody in whom you see potential and you get it through to them somehow, some way?
George Raveling: [00:23:59] I don't know that I really have chosen anyone and said I want to mentor that person. I think they probably have chose me, with one of the young men, [indiscernible][00:24:10] Ramsay who's in a studio. It really was an assignment from my wife. She came home one night with the school newspaper from Santa Monica, and there was an article about it, and she said, “I want you to read this.” And I read it and I said, “Okay, I got it. So why did you ask me to read it?” And she said, “Because you shouldn't mentor him.” He wants to be somebody in life, and a lot of young people have no idea. He knows what he wants to do in life, and you should mentor him and help him get where it is that he wants to go.
[00:24:42] So I used that as an overt example of people choose. In that case, he didn't really choose me, but in most cases it's been someone else who’s through our relationship or they walked into my life, or maybe I just observed them and said with a little tinkering here or there, this person could really be special. And I think all of us can be special in life, but most of us don't see ourselves as unique human beings. And we get caught up in all these labels that people put on you. And the other young man, I had a recent opportunity to hire someone else to work with me, and it was an intern position. And as I prepared to do the interviewing, and the more I realize that the first thing that I had to do was drop the connotation intern, because intern puts a lot of fences around a person.
[00:25:40] If for example, if you're familiar with the King and I, if you're going to play the part of the King, you'd have to be ball headed. And so if you're an intern then you try to play the part of an intern. And so it puts fences around you, it doesn't allow for someone to reach their outer limits. And so as I said to Nick, I said, “Look, this is not going to be an intern position. You can make this job anything you want it to be and you can have whatever title you want. But what I want to do is to give you the freedom to grow and for us to be able to work together.” And so what I thought was important to take down all the fences, take the label off him, let him take this job and crafted to his skill set in that. And so I've learned a great lesson about labels that are put on people. To me, the labels, once you put it on you, you become a prisoner of that label. And so I felt to get the very best out of him, I had to give him the freedom be who he was, not who Coach Ravs wants him to be, but who he wants to be and still excel.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:49] You've worked with thousands of elite athletes over the years, so what do you find are some of the most beneficial or useful habits that these people have cultivated or daily rituals, or particular types of things that these people have done each day to get better? If you’ve seen something dramatically pay off that you can sort of trace a line through these guys.
George Raveling: [00:27:10] Well, let's use Michael Jordan as an example. I was a system coach for the US Olympic team twice in 1984. Olympics were in Los Angeles, and Bob Knight was the head coach. And in 88, I was assistant coach to the United States Olympic basketball team. John Thompson was the coach, and the Olympics were in Korea. So I can deliver relationship with Michael Jordan that we still share to this day. And so, Michael came to me shortly after he was a rookie in the NBA, and asked me if I'd run a basketball camp for him, and I said “Yes.” And so that gave me an opportunity, over 23 years to really get to see a basketball icon, probably an icon in all respects of life. That things that I noticed about a great athlete is their unusual passion to excel, their discipline, immensely hard workers.
[00:28:19] I'll tell you an interesting story that happened at Michael's basketball camp. And each session he would do on lecture, on offensive basketball. And then he would conclude, he'd pick a couple of young people out from the camp and say, “You play me one-on-one. And if you beat me one on one, you'll get a lifetime supply of Jordan brand product.” So kids would go, so this one year the kid gets off to a good start and he's up 2-O. And so now Michael, he starts backing them down into post and until he gets a tied up. So he backs them down like a pro guy. And then he scores and then a finally, he takes a three point shot and it goes in, and he wins. And the camps booing, and everyone’s like, and so I'm driving him back to the hotel and I said, “MJ, let me ask you a question.” I said, “Why didn’t you let that kid win? He said, “Why would I let him?” I say, “Kid is 12 years old, you’ll make his day. He said, “That's just a point, Coach.” He said, “No one in the world will ever be able to say that they beat Michael Jordan on one-on-one. He says, “Yeah, so now he's 12 years old for the rest of his life, he's going to hang his banner on. I beat Michael Jordan one-on-one, it ain't happening. And so they’re unusually competitive, and they're great students of the game. Honestly, they're easier to coach than you think. They are opinionated, they’re stubborn. They want to step out outside the rules. But at the end of the day, it's not about teaching them about basketball. I think you have three fundamental responsibilities as a coach. You coach behavior, you coach attitude, and you coach performance.
[00:30:01] All the X and no stuff is, is not anywhere as important. If you can manage a person's attitude, you can manage their behavior and their performance, then you're going to be successful and have a great relationship with them. But the great ones you hear coaches say, I coach all my players alike. I don't believe that. I think that you have to craft a strategy to get the best out, and the great ones, sometimes you have to just throw rules to the win or make them up along the way. But a guy like, God bless him, he is hopefully in heaven, Dean Smith. But the one big criticism about Dean Smith when Michael played at Carolina was Dean was the only guy that could hold Michael under 20. And so sometimes the system of play restricts a great player, and from reaching your outer limits. So I've always felt the great wins. You have to be more tolerant and you have to take down the fences and allowed them to pursue their outer limits.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:03] You've met a lot of brilliant and inspiring people. Like you mentioned Michael Jordan, even Harry Truman, Martin Luther King comes to mind. That's when in fact, I think that's how we were introduced through one of those stories. What are some of the practices or wisdom that you've seen from them? You know, the athletes, they teach us one set of habits, discipline, performance, and things like that. What are you seeing from some of these other folks that you could share with us?
George Raveling: [00:31:26] Well, let's take the two vivid examples that you lobbed up. President Truman and Martin Luther King. I'm not sure any president in the history of the United States other than perhaps Abraham Lincoln had to execute and render a more difficult decision than President Truman. Because if we go back, okay, the dropping an atomic bomb on Japan, and that had to be just an absolutely, and now use this term advisedly, a horrible decision to make for him. The lives that are going to be affected by this, and so I'm sure he grappled with it before he made the decision during the decision and afterwards. But he was a courageous enough leader to make a difficult decision. The same thing with King. The thing that fascinates me about Reverend King was he did all this between the age 26 and 39.
[00:32:35] And so he accomplished an lot and in many cases things that he would have been much happier just being a pastor of the church. Harry Truman would have been much happier back in his family clothing store. But there comes a time when a touch comes from somewhere out there and a great [indiscernible] [00:32:58], and it's your moment and you have to make a difficult decision. And most difficult decisions are made by courageous leaders. That understand that the end of the day, I'm going to get a lot of criticism. At the end of the day, this might be a mistake, but I have to utilize my best judgment at this moment. In King's case, I'll always remember something that he said. If a man or woman hasn't found something in life that you're willing to die for it, then perhaps they're not fit to live. And so he felt so deeply about his responsibilities that he was willing to put his life on the line for it.
[00:33:39] And I often think about that often. How would I react if I knew that the ultimate crisis I might have to give up my life for it. So to me, both of those people were, they were visionaries, they were courageous leaders. They were willing to take society from where it was to where it should be in the future. Truman, I wish I had got to know him better. I was just a chance circumstance that I got to meet him in Independence, Missouri, my senior year at Villanova, I played East-West All-Star game that was in Kansas City. And they took us out to Independence, Missouri to meet President Truman. And I always remember his office was a replica of the oval office. And so when we walked in, I noticed to the right, there were a couple of long tables with books stacked up on them.
[00:34:38] And so after he spoke with us and took pictures with this on the way out, he gave us a two set of books that was a volume on this presidency. And then when I got back to the hotel, I opened them up, and I noticed that they were personally autographed. I room with a guy named Johnny Cox, who was a great player at Kentucky. And so I said, “Johnny, you open your books.” And it says in there to George Raveling from Harry S. Truman, and it has the date in there. And so I still have those books to this day, but the connection that between Kenyon and Truman was that when I was able to get the original copy of the I have a dream speech, during the March on Washington. I put it inside of that book because I knew I'd never throw those books away. Just how many people can say they have a personally autographed book from one of the president of United States. And so that was my vault, and now the speeches in vault. But in those days, the vault was what was inside the King, I mean inside the Truman books.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:45] Yeah. I want to get that story in a little bit. I'm glad to hear the speeches that evolves. I was worried maybe it was under a couch cushion somewhere in the house.
[00:35:54] This episode is sponsored in part by ZipRecruiter. Are you hiring? Good.Posting your position to job sites and waiting and waiting for the right people to see it, not so good. Pretty lame to get 7,000 or zero applications from non-qualified people. And I will say, look, ZipRecruiter learns what you're looking for. They get it. It identifies people with the right experience. It invites them to apply for your job. It doesn't just throw it out there and go, “Hey, are you unemployed because you can't show up to work? Sign up here.” They find the right people. In fact, 80 percent of employers who post a job on ZipRecruiter get a quality candidate through the site in just one day. So they're going to do some of the filtering. They got their own interface. The right candidates are out there, and ZipRecruiter is how you're going to find them.
[00:36:37] Businesses of all sizes, trust ZipRecruiter for their hiring needs. Small businesses, big businesses alike. Right now, our listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free. That's right for free. Just go to ziprecruiter.com/Jordan, ziprecruiter.com/Jordan.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:36:52] Hey Jordan, was that ziprecruiter.com/jordan?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:54] It sure was. What's their tagline, Jason?
Jason DeFillippo: [00:36:57] ZipRecruiter, the smartest way to hire.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:00] This episode is also sponsored by Organifi which I'm literally drinking right now. Here's the deal, o truly thrive in all areas of your life, you cannot ignore the importance of good health, or if you've got to take it power lunch in five minutes while recording heads for the show, try some Organifi. I've learned this firsthand. For many of us, time is our most valuable assets and that's why I love Organifi Green Juice and their protein stuff and their red juice. The Green Juice though, it's an organic super food green juice powder. You just add it to water, get your greens anytime, anywhere, and it's not just any green juice. It's organic, hence the name and upgraded with 11 super foods. Quick and easy nutrition on the go. You can throw it in your pocket, not the powder, their little pouches that fit into your pocket, or when you go into a conference or something like that, you can literally just squeeze one in a notebook. It ends up being about two bucks a juice, which is what 10 percent of what a juice cost when you go get a fresh one from the store. And when you invest in your health, you gain more time, you get more energy, you get more focus, and it actually tastes good, which is surprising. So try it for yourself. Use the code firstname.lastname@example.org to receive 20 percent off your order. That's O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I. Use the code Harbinger for 20 percent off.
[00:38:15] You say that you plan every day with intentionality or strategy. Is that an actual process that do you write this down, do you have some sort of formula for this, or do you just wake up and think today I'm going to get something done?
George Raveling: [00:38:28] I have it written on a tablet and in my mind is when I get up in the morning, the first I do is sit on the side of the bed, and I give myself these two choices. And these are the only two choices that I've had, and I've been doing this for 40 years. And the two choices are you can either be happy or you can be very happy. And so you've got to select one of those two, but that's it. There's no other choice. And so then the next thing that I do is that I try to plan out my day.
[00: 39:02] And so my day really evolves around three or four things Energy management, time management, environmental management, and productivity. And so what I try to do is a plan my day out, and now I only will focus on four things per day. And it comes down to something that wanted to presidents at Nike said many years ago. He's at a leadership meeting. He said to us, “Would we be better off doing 25 things good or we'd be better off doing five things great?” And so I try to declutter a day and say, okay, if I can get these four things done today, and they fit in the framework of energy management, time management, environmental management, and productivity, the productivity. The productivity is the byproduct of the first. And so that's pretty much how I govern my day every day. And I try to make sure that sometime during that day that I have an hour of think time, where I can just sit and have a deep, rich, constructive conversation with myself.
[00:40:16] I think the most important conversations that we can have on a daily basis are the conversations that we have with ourselves. But we can get trapped into all of these clutter of things that do, and we go through a 24 hours and we never had a real conversation with ourselves. And so what I've found is it's helped me in so many ways, if I can just sit somewhere for an hour and think with a pad and a piece of paper. Because as I've gotten older now, my memory is not as good. So I try to write down things and even reading books, I destroyed a books because I had notes written all over the pages. And I finally realized about six months ago that, that all of these books have, have four to five empty pages might be in the beginning or the end.
[041:11] So I go back and put notes on those and so forth. If you simplify your day, you know if you break the day down to 88, it comes out to 86,400 seconds. So at the end of the day when you go to bed, the fundamental question I asked myself, what did I do today to make myself a better person that I was yesterday? And if I had 86,400 seconds, and I have to say to myself that I didn't do anything to make myself a better person than I was yesterday and then shame on me. I just blew a golden opportunity to grow as a person and contribute as a person.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:50] When you're having those conversations with yourself, what are you thinking about? What are you writing about? How do you pick the subject? Did you just sit down and something pops into your head, or you usually have it planned in advance?
George Raveling: [00:42:01] No, it usually things pop into my head, and I think about it. Yesterday, I was having a conversation with myself about habits. And so I started to write down bad habits that I have, good habits that I have, and habits that I need to have but don't have. And so then I try to build a strategy around those things. Most of the conversations I have are at least 95 percent a positive. But if I get in a conversation with myself and I can feel that it's being negative, then I immediately come to a stop and try to as quickly as possible get out of that negative conversation into a positive conversation. So as a result, I don't spend a lot of time focusing on being happy because I'm happy every day. Some days I'm just more happy than others. And when you get to be 80 years old, you're just happy if you wake up in the morning and you can go to the bathroom, but that takes a certain discipline. But what I've really come to understand is how much of a control we have over our lives. It just takes courage to take our life back from society.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:16] What do you mean by that, to take your life back from society? I noticed on your website it reads, the hardest battle one has to fight is to live in a world where every single day someone is trying to make you a person you do not want to be. When I reflect on my 80 year journey, a large part of my life was determined by other people's expectations, opinions, and validation. If I had to do it all over again, I would be far more mindful of controlling my own destiny and taking back my life. What do you mean? Take back your life?
George Raveling: [00:43:44] Just take labels. People put labels on you, and then the minute there's labels on you, they put fences around you. We're dealt huge everyday with edge, values, someone every day is trying to get us to do something that we don't want to do. To buy something that we don't want to buy, to go someplace we don't want to go, to eat something that we don't want to eat or don't know that we shouldn't be eating it. And so I think that there's this universe call me, and then there's this broader universe called the world. So the world puts its values and its rules and regulations on us. But in this world, call me, I control like community. For example, I live in Ladera Heights, but basically it's in Los Angeles. So there's this inner me, and I can control what I read, what I eat, I can make my own rules.
[00:44:41] I can decide who's going to be a part of my life, who's not going to be part of my life. I can set the path forward for myself, not someone else telling me how to get to the future or not someone else telling me this is the way to do it. And what I found is once you take control of your life, your thought process is changed and you're in control of decisions. It’s not someone or the people in your relationship circle whose expectations are you should do this, you should do that because if you have a broad enough relationship circle, you'll be spending every day trying to meet other people's expectations and their validations.
[00:45:22] To me, the motion port and validation is what does George think of George? It's not what do all my friends think of me, and when you get in to that mindset, you also start to understand that you're nowhere as good as people think that you are.
[00:45:39] Here, I am 80 years old right now, and I'm trying to figure out what it is that I don't know, but need to know so that I can stay relevant in this ever changing world. I was in Philadelphia a few weeks ago and then went to University Penn bookstore. And I decided, okay, on this trip I'm only going to buy books about the future. Everybody's talking about the future. So I'm trying to learn what the future is going to look like and what are the skill sets that I'm going to have to have to remain relevant in this ever changing world. But the choices, we either create a path forward or someone else's going to create it for you. Do you have your hands on the steering wheel of your life or someone else steering the steering your life for you? And I just feel like that I spent a whole lot of time with false values, accumulating money, material things, collecting things, trying to be popular with people.And at the end of the day I realized that the price I have to pay to do that, it's not worth it.
[00:46:48] First of all, I have to figure out who am I, who am I really, and why am I on Earth and what can I contribute? I think those are the three most relevant questions everybody has to grapple with in their life. Who am I? Not who everybody else tries to make me be or think I am, but who am I? Why am I on Earth? What it was that I have to contribute in life? And so I just wish when I was much younger, I realize these things because I would've spent a hell of a lot less on clothes and collectible. All these things that everybody thinks is important, that at some point in your life you'll come to realize it's not about all the toys we collect and all the money we make. And that it's really about what a lasting legacy, a positive legacy am I going to leave when I pass by? Did I spend my life trying to help other people become better? Did I spend my life in search for who I am instead of who somebody else wants me to be?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:52] I've never met anyone your age who's as good at staying relevant as you. You're on Twitter, Instagram. I don’t know, are these guys just doing it? Okay, and that's the secret.
George Raveling: [00:48:01] Well, it comes down to if you know me, but you don't know me as well as you could, and one of the things that you'd come to conclusion is I never see Coach Raveling around people his own age. I do that on purpose. I have friends my own age, but I don't spend much time with them, because if I spend time with people my own age, I'm going to be residing in the past. I don't want to talk about UCLA, I don't want to talk about Washington State. And so the people who understand where the world is going are young people. And I find out that young people are my best mentors right now. I can go to them and ask them questions and while they think I'm mentoring them, they're mentoring me too. It's a shared relationship. And so I spent as much time as I can around young people because there's a certain naive this about them.
[00:48:57] They think they know a hell of a lot more than they do, but I listened to them and probably 50, 60 percent of the time that they're right. The one thing, I discipline myself to dune last 10 or 12 years is to ask them their opinion and respect their opinion. It doesn't mean that I have to agree with it, but the two men that work with me, I asked them for their opinion, and I respect your opinion. And in a lot of times what'll end up happening, I'll say, “Damn, I didn't think about that.” Or they'll give me a different perspective or a different evaluation platform. So to me, at 80 years old, you're going to see me hanging around with all the young dudes I can. Now, I'm not into the rap, I'm not into a lot of things that they find entertaining, but what I am into is their head, and their intellect because they're teaching me a lot.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:53] I heard that you reinvent yourself every five years. What's going on with that? Why, why bother doing that?
George Raveling: [00:49:59] I have this theory that, that every 10 years we have to reinvent ourselves. So at 80 years old, I'm not the same George Raveling I was when I was 60 years old. Society dictates change, your age dictates change, your interests. And so what I do is I take the 10 year increment and I divided into two, five year quadrants. And so right now, I'm at 80, and so I have a strategic plan for personal growth over the next five years. That'll take me to 85, if you listened to the insurance [indiscernible] [00:50:36], they say that the average American will live to be 89. So if I hit the lottery and I get lucky, so I get to this, I'll be 85. So then I'll plan it out from 85 to 90. I feel it gives me a distinct advantage because less than 5 percent of the people on this Earth live their life strategically.
[00:51:00] And so I have a personal growth plan for myself for the next five years on things that I want to achieve over the course of the next five years. If I were leaving today to go to San Diego, I would have to map out, at least in my mind, I know we have GPS. But in my mind, how am I going to get to San Diego? And am I going to fly? Am I going to drive? And then what am I going to do when I get there? So what I find amazing about people is we spend more time planning our vacation than we do plan in our lives. When we're going to go, who's going to go? How much is it going to cause? Where are we going to go? All these things. We'll spend hours planning out our vacation, but we won't spend that same amount of time planning out our lives. And I think those people who live their lives strategically, their personal life strategically. I think have a huge advantage over the rest of the population because most people just live that. They get up every day and they just go through life living. But to me, I want to live a life of fulfillment.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:04] So what's the next reinvention for you? Do you have kind of ideas on what you want to achieve in the next five or 10 years?
George Raveling: [00:52:12]The next five or 10 year, I want to be the most enlightened 80 year old on the planet, on how to get to the future first. And what role does AI robotics, all these things play. Because five years from now, I think there's going to have to be this marriage between the human and the machine, but the AI is going to take a steer. So how does the human and the machine work together in a collaborative manner to create a better society? So I'm trying to learn how I can still remain relevant in, in this new technological society.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:01] It seems like it would be really easy to say, forget it, I'm 80, I don't need to be relevant anymore.
George Raveling: [00:53:07] The minute I say that, I will be irrelevant.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:09] Yeah, I guess you have a point.
George Raveling: [00:53:11] There's so much more that I have to learn. There's so many mistakes that I made that I thank God I've lived long enough to be able to understand. One, I made a mistake in judgment and then try to go back and correct those mistakes. But if there's anybody on Earth that's 80 years old that's happier than me, then I want to meet them because every day for me is, is an exciting journey. And I just want to make sure that I don't have days when I didn't have some aspect of a positive personal growth. And I think there's a sense of selfishness in there, but I think it's necessary to grow and contribute. I don't play golf. I don't watch television. I don't tool a lot of those things.
[00:54:02] If I retired, I'd be divorced in 12 months because I drive my wife so nuts, she wouldn't want to be around me. So I want to do things that energize me. I want to constantly asked myself five times a day, why, why, why? And then try to find out the answer to that why. And then that way I can live an invigorating life and it's my own life. It's not something that's somebody else's imposed on me. I spend zero time trying to meet other people's expectations because most time other people's expectations are going to be in conflict with my expectations. And the selfish part of me says, focus on your expectations, and still be a giver.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:48] A lot of people are going to wonder how you ended up living such an inspired life. And obviously, you've got a lot of history and you've focused and been disciplined throughout your entire life and met a lot of great people, one of which was Dr. Martin Luther King. And I know you've probably told this story a thousand times, but I think it's great to wrap with this one because you ended up in the right place at the right time at the March that you weren't even originally going to go to. Do you want to take us through that?
George Raveling: [00:55:15] Well, look, let's walk back in, and it was a Thursday and a suburb of Wilmington, Delaware called Clayman right on the border state of Delaware and Pennsylvania. My best friend, his dad was a very prominent dentists in Wilmington. And I was having dinner at their house and in the background, the television was on and they were talking about the March on Washington. And so my friend's name was Warren Wilson. And his dad's name was interesting enough, Woodrow Wilson.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:45] I had to look that up, “Wait the president?” and then it wasn't even close.
George Raveling: [00:55:49] And so he asked if we were going to go, and we said “No.” And he asked us, “Why not?” And so we both chimed in, “We didn't have the money.” And so he had the foresight to think that this was going to be a historic event. So he said, “Well, you two youngsters need to be there.”
And so he had two cars. He said, “I'll give you one in the cars and a money, but you need to be down there.” So the next evening, we took off and headed for Washington, D.C. We got in there, at that time, the only interest in exit in the Washington D.C. was on route one. So we came in and route one and found a place to stay in New York Avenue, and so for some reason we said, “Let's drive down there, so we can figure out how to get down there and just see what it looks like.” And we run into a gentleman on that Friday night and he said, “Hey, are you guys coming to the March tomorrow?” And we said, “Yes.” And so he said, “Would you want to volunteer?” And we ask him for “What?” And he said, “To be security guards.”
[00:56:51] And so we said, “Yeah, sure we'd love too.” While both of us were 6’4”. And so I'm sure he said, well, these guys will be really -- so he said, “Be down at 9 in the morning.” So we got down here about 8 o'clock in the morning, and we found them. He said, “Wow, you guys are early.” So then he looked at us again. He said, “We're going to have to triple the security up at the podium, so you guys will work the podium areas, so our size helped us that. So we were up at the podium and it started early in the morning, and Dr. King was the last speaker. Some people would like to suggest that he was the keynote speaker but he wasn't, they held King to last because they know he would hold the crowd. And so at that time, we were told we had an exit strategy just in case there was a demonstration at any time the speakers talk, we were to take them out the back way of the Lincoln Memorial.
[00:57:48] So innate then, they had said when King is done, we immediately form a V around them and we take them out to the back of the Lincoln Memorial. So Dr. King delivered the speech, and just as he was finishing we were told that to start moving in tighter as he comes to the conclusion. And so I ended up right beside him. I actually have a picture of it, and so when he's done, for some reason, I just said, Dr. King can I have that copy? And he handed it to me, and just as he did a rabbi who was doing the closing benediction was saying Dr. King, greatest speech I ever heard. So he's attention immediately shifted from handing me the speech to the rabbi. So what is interesting about it is for first of all, every speaker had an imposed time on number five minutes.
[00:58:37]You were not allowed to go over five minutes and they only wanted to exceeded that was King. And so when you see the speech, you recognize that the speech had no title. You also recognize with a little research that the, I have a dream portion was adlibbed in. Today, you could do it because of technology, but you can hear a female voice in the back say, tell them about the dream, Martin, tell them about the dream, while the voice was Mahalia Jackson, and most people say the greatest black gospel singer of all times, and she would perform in all the Kings rallies. So she had heard King Buddhists in Selma and in Detroit. And so you can see right on the document where he ad libs from the speech and goes into the, I have a dream part, which is interesting enough, became them the most popular part of the speech.
[00:59:30] So when they're done, they go to the white house and when they walk in, President Kennedy says, “Dr. King, I loved your, I have a dream speech,” and the media picked up on it and put that title. I have a dream on it, but it really, when you see the original context that King submitted, it didn't have that in there, but he adlibbed that piece into the speech.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:52] And he just handed it to you thinking, well, I don't need this anymore.
George Raveling: [00:59:55] Well, I don't know what it even thought about it really. Everybody says, well, why did you ask? That's a good question. I have no idea why. And so it took 50 years for it to be put in its a rifle context. I'd say 30 years no one knew I had it. My wife didn't even – we’re married. My wife has no idea I have the speech.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:19] Did you keep it a secret or you just didn't know?
George Raveling: [01:00:21] No, I just never thought about it. How it got public was when I went to the University of Iowa as head basketball coach. At that time, all of the newspapers in the country on Sunday, had a little magazine section. So the young man was from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and he said, we're going to do this cover story on him because I was the first black coach and in the big 10, and that I was so forth. So anyway, he's interviewing me about my background and so forth, and kind of, I call it a throw away question. He just said to me, “Hey, were you ever involved in this civil rights movement?” I said, “Kind of.” He said, “Well explain.”
[01:00:58] And so I had told him about the March on Washington. I told him about the speech and he said, “Oh, you have the speech.” I mean, he got so excited. I couldn't believe he was that excited about it. So he said, “Where is it?” Well, I'd only been here about six weeks, so I hadn't unpacked all the boxes in the house. So I said, it's down in the basement and one of the boxes. And he said, “Can you find it?” Well, I knew I had the boxes names on them. So I've found the ones that said books and I look for the Truman book and it was in there, and got it. I mean, I thought he was going to have a nervous breakdown. He literally started shaking. He said, “Can I call my editor?” And so they brought a photographers down.
[01:01:36] And so for the first time the public knew that I had. But what was interested, it wasn't a big hue and cry about it. Some people are fascinated, but at that time, the speech did not take on the historic significance that it shares today. And so it was written, and still, no, and then a few years went by, and Digger Phelps, who was coaching at Notre Dame and I were good friends, and he was on ESPN, and Martin Luther King Day was coming up. And so he asked me, “Hey, would you come on and talk about this?” And so that was the first time that there was a broad understanding that I had this. And so then my wife got nervous. She said, “Hey, everybody knows you've got to get that thing out of the house because you traveled too much, someone might be breaking in the house trying to steal it.
[01:02:30] And so then we put it in the vault. Well, history is just added to it now, because to get the insurance I had to get some world recognize authorities to document that one. It was authentic, and then most difficult part was trying to put a price on it. And one of the person that was supposed to be a leading expert in the world on these historic documents said, as far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't dare put a price on it. And he said, “Because whatever price I put on, it's going to be incorrect.” He said, “As far as I'm concerned, it's priceless.” So I've always kind of felt like I was the guardian of the speech and so I'd probably become hypersensitive about it.
[01:03:21] I used to do a lot of speeches on doing black history month, or on King's birthday, but I always think someone's going to think that I'm trying to use this to enhance my own self. So I actually stopped doing talks about speeches and so forth. People have called and wanted to buy it, but it's just not who I am. And my grandma, she raised me that life is not about money. Life is about the positive experiences that you have. I look back at my grandma, and she never finished a high school, dropped out in grade school, but she had a college level in intellect, and she just taught me so many things. 80 years old, I can still hear my grandma's saying things to me. Right now, at 80 years old, it happens probably more on a plane than anything because my grandma instilled in me, yes sir, no sir.
[01:04:23] And so when I'm on the plane, if a stewardess asks me something, I'll say, yes ma'am, no ma'am. And I'd say nine out of 10 times it happens, because I usually sit in first class. So on the way out, the stewardess will say to me, or they'll even say why I'm sitting there. “Are you in the military?” I say, “No.” “Are you from the South?” “No.” I say, “Why do you ask the question?” I know what they're going to say, because people don't say yes ma'am and no ma'am or yes sir, no sir. But that was just the way I was raised. And a lot of times when I don't do certain things, I can hear my grandma in the background jumping on me about doing it. Long before women's rights, my grandma took myself and my brother out one day on the street, and she said, okay, the man always walks on the outside, the woman on the outside, you always open the door for a woman. If she sitting down, you always put the chair under in that. And so long before we got to where we are today, my grandma was a feminist before the word feminist was even in the dictionary. She taught us to respect females, and there was a proper way that you treated them. You never sat down at the table before the woman's set down. You never start eating until the woman's starts eating. Now that part, I probably abused, but there's just great lessons that I've learned growing up from people who had an immense influence on my life.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:51] Is there anything that you want to leave us with that I haven't asked you? We've had a pretty full hour here.
George Raveling: [01:05:56] It's the greatest time in the world to live right now. Every day in every one of our lives are replete with insurmountable opportunities for personal growth and in our lives. Opportunities are everywhere. We just to reach out and embrace them, and make them part of our lives. I mean, I don’t mean this to butter you up. But I mean, I go to event, I meet you and we become friends, and our hope will become stronger and stronger friends. But if I don't go to that event, I don't meet you. If I don't go to that masterminds event, I don't learn a lot of things about life that I didn't know. I mean, I've never been in an environment my life where each night when I went to bed, I had a headache. And it was because it was so much new information crammed into my brain at that event that it changed my life forever. Other than the March on Washington, the next single best thing that ever happened to me in that as far as attendance goes, is going to the mastermind event.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:00] Well, I'm glad that I met you there as well. Jason, who runs that event, put us together numerous times at dinner. And I remember, I think it was the first or the second day is you and me, Shep Gordon. I remember sitting there going, all right, I guess I'm not at the kids' table anymore. It is a lot of fun. And there's a line at the table to talk to you guys because your reputation proceeded you for sure.
George Raveling: [01:07:23] How lucky am I to be 79 years old, and I get to attend this event. Once again, same thing, a bunch of brilliant young people. I told my wife that after the first night I said, [indiscernible] [01:07:36], I've never been in an environment with so many smart people. It's intimidating how smart they are, and I said, they’re all young. I'm the oldest dude here by far.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:47] Maybe not by far, but definitely. It was a pleasure meeting you and thank you for coming out today. I really appreciate that.
George Raveling: [01:07:52] I appreciate you having me on, and it's been great visiting with you. You brought out a lot of things that I hadn't thought about in a long time. I appreciate you doing that, it helps me.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:03] Great big thank you to Coach Raveling. If you enjoyed this one, don't forget to thank coach on Twitter. Coach Raveling is on Twitter. That'll be all linked up in the show notes for this episode, which can be found at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. Tweet at me your number one takeaway here from George Raveling.I’m @jordanharbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. And don't forget, if you want to learn how to apply the things you've learned here from Coach Raveling, make sure you go grab those worksheets. Those are also in the show notes, jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
[01:08:28] We've got our Alexa Skill. If you haven't checked that out yet, throw that up on your echo. You can poke around in the Alexa App on your phone, get the daily flash briefing with clips from the show to refresh your memory about things you've already heard, or give you a little taste of what might be next for your commute that day. You can also go to jordanharbinger.com/alexa, and log into Amazon and it'll install it right then and there.
[01:08:48] Oh, I want to do announce something. I'm going to this conference September 6 through 9, 2018, just in case you're listening to this at a random time, September 6 through 9 at Camp Walden, which is in Canada, it's called Fireside, and it's going to be a great time. There's like 400 entrepreneurs going there, you can join me. I've got 16 spots for my quote unquote “cabin”. Don't worry, you won't actually have to share a cabin with me, but your application will skip to the front of the waiting list and you get a 500 dollar discount if you're accepted. So it ends up being two grand Canadian. Firesideconf.com/Jordan, firesideconf like conference.com/Jordan.
[01:09:29] I think it's going to be rad. I think it's going to be super fun. Fireside, it's an invite only all-inclusive retreat for top performing entrepreneurs, founders, innovators, influencers, media. It's got this cool camp and a remote location about three hours from Toronto, 750 acres of private green space on a beautiful Lake. It's going to be fun. We're going to do water skiing, canoeing, rock climbing, yoga, fitness, meditation. There's going to be cool talks, events, lakeside keynotes, mastermind sessions.
[01:09:58] This really is for top performing individuals that want to take their business to the next level. You need to be willing to jump out of your comfort zone a little bit. There's no cell reception, so be aware of that. No tech. It's kind of like a digital detox. There's no VIP. There's no sorry, you're not cool enough to go to this. Everyone's cool enough. We eat together. We stay in these camp cabins together. We learned and have fun together. I think it's going to be super cool. I'm really looking forward to this. There's some great people coming, top angel investors, futurists, and like I said, if you land on my landing page, firesideconf.com/Jordan, we'll link that in the show notes too. You get to skip to the front of the application line, which is always nice and you get 500 bucks off. So you ended up with two grand Canadian instead of 2,500. Firesideconf.com/jordan, and I hope to meet some of you there.
[01:10:43] This episode was produced and edited by Jason DeFillippo. Show notes by Robert Fogarty. Booking back office and last minute miracles by Jen Harbinger. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. If you like the show, please go ahead and throw us an iTunes review. This helps us get some visibility and you know what? It feels good. So write something nice and we'll share it with the team. Instructions on how to do that, jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. You need a unique nickname or it won't let you submit. Jordanharbinger.com/subscribe, and throw us a nice review there. So the whole team can share in the glory of a little bit of appreciation every now and then, that doesn't just come from me. Share the show with those you love and even those you don't. We've got lots more in the pipeline. We're very excited to bring it to you. And in the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on this show so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.