Leaders are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.

I recently had the opportunity to listen to one of the most impactful leaders in my life, Cael Sanderson, speak on his leadership and life principles. I value, as much as anything, simply being around great people. It’s like that thing I learned about in 9th grade biology, osmosis. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but osmosis had something to do with absorbing something or other from another thing (tells you how good I was at bio).

The most curious aspect of Cael’s leadership is the calm demeanor with which he approaches it. He’s not your average alpha male dominant athlete.

My friend Kelly and I attended the event as “fanboys” of Cael. As wrestlers, he is the epitome of greatness in our sport. Furthermore, he has transcended his accomplishments on the mat to the coaching realm; he’s in the early stages of becoming one of the greatest coaches of all time.

But it’s not his accomplishments that commands my respect. It’s the ease with which he goes about his daily life. He views himself as normal. He doesn’t exaggerate his importance to the world. He simply puts forth his best, most honest effort in everything he does.

For the sake of brevity (and not to dispel his secrets!), I’ve highlighted a few of his principles that resonated most with me and added my brief take on each one:

  • Always focus on the big picture – Don’t get offtrack with the inconsequential details that will bog you down.
  • You’ve got to be satisfied being unsatisfied –┬áThe process truly has to be the fulfillment.
  • Constant improvement is vital – Not even Cael has it all figured out, and he’ll be the first to tell you that.
  • By focusing on others, you take the pressure off of yourself, and, in turn, create a better overall environment – I have to remind myself often to stop thinking about myself.

Cael is a man of values and he truly lives them, day in and day out; that is why he has such a dramatic effect on everyone around him. “If you don’t want your guys to swear, you can’t swear.” Simple, right? But how many times do we falter in that regard?

I’ve formed a relationship with him over the years, and I’m blown away at the sincerity he shows in asking questions and listening. It’s a reminder that good people do win.


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Thanks for reading and listening!