Molly Fletcher - The Power of a Pause

Molly Fletcher
November 17, 2020

Molly Fletcher

Female Jerry Maguire, CEO, Keynote Speaker & Author
Sports Sports Media Celebrity Agent Athletes Athletes & Sports Community Business Women in Business Motivational

Transcription

Intro:

Welcome to Beyond Speaking with Brian Lord, a podcast featuring deeper conversations with the world's top speakers. I'm Brian Lord. And on the show today, we have the female, Jerry Maguire, Molly Fletcher, as she shares how to negotiate a contract for yourself, the power of the pause, and how being a woman helped her in the male-dominated world of sports agents. Molly Fletcher has negotiated over a half-billion dollars in contracts for athletes. So I began by asking her how she got her start in the agency business.

Brian Lord:

I come from Big 10 country. So my mom went to IU. I grew up in Indiana. You are Michigan State through and through. What kind of got you started into this path of becoming an agent?

Molly Fletcher:

Well, yes, I'm a Big 10 person too. And a Midwesterner grew up in Michigan, went to Michigan State, played tennis there. And when I graduated, I looked at my parents who were very close and I said, "You know, I think I want to try to pursue the sports business." And they said, "Okay, honey, well, you know, what are your thoughts on how are you going to sort of do this?" And so I taught tennis all summer in Lansing, Michigan, and saved enough money to move down to Atlanta live on the sort of couch of a girlfriend from high school, his apartment for a little bit. And while I did, my coach from college had given me the names of people in Atlanta who taught tennis. And she said, "Look, I know you don't want to be a tennis pro, but call these people up and talk to them." And I've always believed, and I sort of speak about this, that, you know, when we ask for advice, we get a job. When we asked for a job, we get advice. I think it's true in business with salespeople, right? Sometimes in business, when we ask for the business, we get advice and we ask for the advice we get the business. And so fast forward, I get down to Atlanta and I connect with these tennis pros and sort of do this, ask for advice and, and build some great relationships and found myself in a unique situation where I had discovered through some of these conversations, that there was an apartment complex in Atlanta that needed a new tennis pro and tennis is so big in Atlanta that people actually sort of get a reduced rate on the rent in exchange for teaching tennis. And so I'm 21 years old. I have 2000 bucks. You know, everything I own is in my Honda Accord, I'm sleeping on my friend's apartment couch. And, and I go in and negotiate this deal at this apartment complex to teach tennis there in exchange for my rent and sort of navigated that in a way that allowed the entire one rent to be waived completely. So I took kind of an initial offer of, "Hey, we'll take 500 bucks off the 850" and got it completely waived and moved in and lived in this apartment complex for free for nine years, which was pretty cool, which gave me the bandwidth, Brian, to answer your question, to have a little space to, you know, I'd removed one of my bolts for the primary, monthly fixed expenses in rent. And now my two grand could go a little bit farther and, and again, sort of tried to get in front of great people that I thought could give me advice. And my first job was I answered the phone at the Super Bowl host committee all day. And so here I am in Atlanta, I would drive in to this sort of dark cement office in downtown Atlanta with this team that was the host committee and, and "Super Bowl 28. This is Molly" all day long. And in that experience though, I met some incredible people that were involved with the Super Bowl executives in Atlanta with Coke and Bell South at the time and Home Depot. And those people were kind enough, too, to spend 20 minutes with me and give me advice. And long story short, I found myself in the office of an agent, a small agency in Atlanta, there was about a half dozen NBA coaches and a couple baseball players. And he brought me on to help go get endorsement and appearance deals for the clients that we had in place. And that was right during the Olympics. So I was running sort of Lenny Wilkens around and to his appearances, he was the head coach of the Dream Team for the Olympics. And I was escorting him to these appearances and, and it was an awesome opportunity, and then from there began to sort of understand that there was a gap that we could recruit more players and grow the agency by getting more athletes on our management to negotiate their primary contracts with their teams. And fortunately the, the owner of the business gave me the green light to do that. And so there- there's a long answer to your question, but that was sort of how I got into the agent space.

Brian Lord:

Now, did you... Was it tennis that drove the selection of Atlanta or, I mean, cause you could have gone to LA or maybe Dallas or New York or Chicago, you're obviously a lot closer to Chicago. What drove the move to Atlanta specifically?

Molly Fletcher:

Well, the Olympics was coming to Atlanta. The Super Bowl was coming to Atlanta. You know, there's a couple of pro teams, a bunch of college programs of course, around the city. And I had a friend that was living in Atlanta, who I could sort of live with for free. A lot of my college friends and, and student-athletes that were there at Michigan State when I was there, went to Chicago as well. That was another option. But because there was so much sports activity with the Olympics coming, I picked Atlanta and I'm super grateful to the city of Atlanta. It's been very good to me.

Brian Lord:

So how do you actually- what's the process of asking... So, so let's say you're talking to somebody right now who's 22, 23, or maybe they are just starting off their careers. You're talking to a group that is a, you know, sort of an incoming, you know, future leaders type of group. What advice would you give them on how to make those connections? Like what's the steps. How do you make that ask?

Molly Fletcher:

You know, for me, it's about identifying the gaps in the lives of the people that you want to connect with. And, and sometimes those are gaps that they don't even know that they have themselves. And so when I walked into the apartment complex manager, for example, her gap is she wants to fill those apartments, her gap is she wants to have a hundred percent occupancy in a perfect world. So if I could be a tool and a resource to help her close that gap, then she's probably going to find a way to insert me into our world to help her. So I sometimes believe you have to act like you have the business before you have the business. So behave in a way that sends a message to the person that you want to work with. That this relationship really matters to me. And this relationship is really important to me. And in fact, it's so important to me that I'm going to start delivering value to you before we actually work together. And so I negotiated with this pizza restaurant across the street from the apartment complex to bring over free pizzas once a month, for me to give to the residents, to kind of entice them to come to the clinics. And I'd have written these tennis tips in a newspaper, a little magazine in Lansing, Michigan when I was there. And so I thought we could repurpose those tennis tips, put them in the newsletter that I had seen when I was there, that they were, you know, this is '93, right? So they would put these newsletters at the doors of all these apartment complexes. And then I called my buddy at Wilson sporting goods who gave me rackets and gear in college. And I said, "Hey man, will you hook me up with a bunch of Wilson stuff? I'll do like a hit for prizes program on the court with people that come to the clinics." So my messaging to the manager was, gosh, you know, you know, when you've got people that come in to check out the property, have them come to the clinic, right? Like I'll get them immersed in the community, get them excited about it. We'll have pizza, we'll hit for prizes for Wilson gear. We can give them a newsletter with tips. And so this lady is like, look, I've never had anybody, you know, it's sort of all in like this with this tennis deal. And, and so, you know, to me that was a model truthfully, Brian, that I really laid over top of recruiting, about 300 athletes and coaches over almost a 20 year career as an agent. It was, it was how do I find the gaps in the lives of, of Tom Izzo, who I recruited and signed or a Jeff Francoeur or, you know, Mark DeRosa. So it was, it was really that to me, it's not complicated. It's as simple as getting in their head and, and truly in their heart and saying, "What's the gap, what's a gap maybe they haven't seen." And I think that translates very well to salespeople as well, certainly.

Brian Lord:

What you're doing sounds simple. And it sounds logical, but hardly anyone does it. Where does that come from? Is that something that you learned from your parents or your grandparents? I know, I always like people that have some sort of farming background, I think you said your grandparents were chicken farmers or something like that. And so is that something that has been part of your family or other people in your family like that bold and creative like that?

Molly Fletcher:

Well, you know, I grew up with twin brothers that are five years older than me and one of them was a fighter pilot and the other one flew C1-30s. And now they're both in the, in that airline, I'm sort of flying in with Delta and UPS. And so, you know, they always treated me, candidly, Brian, a lot more like a little, little brother than a little sister. And I had a father who was a sales rep for Ro, she sold pharmaceutical and my mom was a speech pathologist. And I think, you know, all that together probably helped me want to close the gap and serve people. My mom has a really big heart and a real servant heart. And my dad, I think is very inherently curious about other people. And, you know, for me being an agent was more than anything about capturing a very unique window of time that an athlete has in their lives or a coach has that that's really special. And they make a, an exorbitant amount of money in a really short period of time. And the opportunity to maximize that window of time for them was my goal. And to do it in a way that was authentic, that was anchored in the relationship most importantly, and anchored in taking this moment in time and, and, and serving them in a way that was unique and different than anybody else. And, you know, the truth was being a female was really a secret weapon because I could really represent the whole family, not just the athlete, if it was a male athlete, it allowed me to connect with the entire family and serve all of them, not just for example, the pitcher or the middle infielder.

Brian Lord:

In addition to sort of being you know, obviously ambitious and curious and driven as an agent, you actually really liked to teach others. And in one of your books is The Winner's Guide to Negotiating, and you're actually doing seminars that teach people how to do this. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Molly Fletcher:

Well, yeah, you know, I, after about 20 years as an agent, I started to see a process that worked around negotiation. And I think it doesn't have to be something that we battle. And I feel like, you know, I think the statistic is 86% of the people in the world sort of have self-taught, you know, have taught themselves how to negotiate. And many people want to be taught the skills and the tools and the tactics to negotiate. And, and so I started to see that the negotiation was really about building connection more than anything, that it didn't need to be a battle, and it didn't need to be something that we feared. And so after negotiating sort of seven and eight figure deals for an extended period of time, I began to, to get clear on a process that I had experienced in real life. And so we framed that up in a book and then have now since that we've now deliver that all over the world to corporations in-house and we do have public workshops periodically as well. And, and it's about teaching and giving people the tools to, number one, increase the quality of the relationship of the person that they're negotiating with and two,, improve the quality of the deal, right? Like if we can enhance the relationship, improve the quality of the deal, and we can help people close deals more quickly, if we can do those three things, it's pretty powerful. And so we're doing that you know, all over the world now to thousands of people every month, and I'm watching sort of that needle move in their lives and we're watching people exceed quota, we're watching people exceed their goals and that's, you know, to me again, that's what it's all about.

Brian Lord:

How would you approach someone negotiating a better contract or a better deal for themselves?

Molly Fletcher:

Well, I think first, it starts with what we call setting the stage, which getting really clear on who are you negotiating with? I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when they negotiate is they spend a lot of time thinking about what they want and not enough time thinking about what matters- really matters- to the other person. And who are they? You know, I had a general manager that I negotiated with a lot and I always sort of thought he was a jerk and probably many people listening are like, "Yeah, I know I've got somebody like that in my life, too." And what I realized, candidly- after the fact when we built this course was that he really wasn't a jerk. He was coming at it totally fiscally based. And I was coming at it a little bit more strategic and relational. And so what we have found is people approach negotiation in four sort of ways, right? They're either financial, strategic, logistical, or relational. And when we know how we show up, are we more relational? Are we more logistical or more strategic? Are we more..? And who are they? And then most importantly, how do we adapt? So my advice to you would be, get really clear on who she is and how does she approach it. And we teach people these tools in the workshop, and then I really teach people, how do you really ensure that you find common ground with that person as you approach the conversation, how do you prepare? And at some level begin to build a, you know, almost add value to their lives before- similar to that apartment complex story- before you actually have to ask for what you want, because if, we know how we show up and we know how they show up and we add value to their lives a little bit before that ask has to happen, then we can ask with confidence and not sort of have this word vomit that a lot of people have after they ask for what they want. I mean, that was one of the biggest... I had an outfielder. I was negotiating a contract for once and, and we had gone months in conversation with the general manager. And it was the night before we were leaving to go to arbitration. And so it was 11 o'clock at night. And we hadn't come to terms. We're going to have to put the athlete in the room through arbitration, which I never liked to do. And it's 11 o'clock at night. We, we definitely, you know, set the stage. We'd found common ground, we'd connected. We added value. We'd done a lot of those things. And we'd asked for what we want. And I had asked for what I wanted with confidence. So he calls me at 11 o'clock at night and he said, "Look." And this is before, you know, you could do this, but he called, he goes, "I called my buddy at Delta." He goes, "You're on that airplane. You're going to Phoenix tomorrow for this arbitration case. I can't believe it. I really thought you were going to call him and cave." And I said to him, I go, "No, man, you know, we're where we are." And I just stopped talking. And I think that is one of the most powerful things you can do if you've put the work in on the front end and you have a strong relationship with somebody, and you've been clear about what you want and why, and you've understood their own gaps. And then you can ask and, and pause. And inside of that moment, you send a lot of really powerful messages, certainly. So that is one of our, we have the 10 best practices to negotiating, which is something that we teach that's incredibly powerful as well. And that is one of them, right? The power of the pause and how important it is to ensure that we pause along the way.

Brian Lord:

Why is that so hard for people? Like, that's one I know I had to learn, but why is that so hard for people?

Molly Fletcher:

No, I think people are uncomfortable with silence period. Right? I mean, you know, think about your first date with your wife, right? I mean, it's just weird when you're in the car and there's silence. And so I think you have to be pretty comfortable with yourself with what you're asking for, with how you're showing up with how you've connected in this relationship along the way, to be able to have the comfort. You know, my husband and I have been married for almost 20 years. I have no problem sitting in a room and being quiet with him. Cause I feel really comfortable in that space. And that's probably that way for you and your wife. And so I think that pause is easier if the relationship is stronger but it's hard when it's not. It's hard when it's not, and it's a very normal thing. I shot all the time throughout my career.

Brian Lord:

One of the other things that you talk about is knowing when to leave, which I think, I don't know if that's the hardest part, too. A lot of the things with negotiation, I think are just difficult for a lot of people. And you just mentioned that too, that you had actually booked a flight to go to arbitration. When, when does that decision go into your mind and maybe, do you have any stories of when that's happened?

Molly Fletcher:

Sure. I mean, I definitely do. And I'm a big fan of using curiosity to overcome [Inaudible]. Along the way, you know, we, aren't always going to see eye to eye or we're not always going to be perfectly aligned. And that's when I really advocate for people to get really curious, to get- ask lots of questions and get inside of their world so that you understand what matters most to them. And so along the way, as you're doing those things and we teach the 10 Best Practices as they're going through that experience, you know, to me, Brian, when do you walk away? I'll tell you a story. I recruited a kid by the name of Andrew Jones, who was an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves forever. Stud, comes up through the minor league system, one of the youngest kids to hit a bomb and, you know, the World Series and, you know, a really gifted athlete. And so I recruited him for almost two years and we'll get all kinds of stuff. You know, when you talk about sort of acting like you have the business before you have the business, I, you know, we, we did things like rent a plane to take him to the All-Star game. You know, lots of dinners, endorsements that we brought him to, to sort of begin to add value. A camp that I created for him, for kids. You know, his wife, I did a lot of things for, and so for 23 months, I go through this whole process of recruiting him and really had a great relationship with Andrew and his wife. And so then it was sort of about a month or so before free agency and we needed to lock it in and sign the contracts. And so we're at dinner and we're kind of having a great dinner and talking about all the fun stuff we've done over the couple years. And it's sort of an automatic thing, right? Let's lock this thing in so we can start talking to teams about you and your contract moving forward. And, and in that moment, he looked at me and he said, "You know, Molly, I got to tell you," he said, "I just can't leave the guy that I'm with." And I mean, oh my gosh, you know, I thought, "Wow, what, what, what do you mean?" And what I had not done a good enough job on is that the front end of the relationship was asking the difficult questions and really understanding why he was with who he was and how important that relationship was. The gentleman that he was with was like a second dad to him. They were tight, there was no gap. And so one of the things I advocate for people to do is to, we want to build common ground and connect with people, but we also have to be open-minded and curious and ask real questions along the way so that we can understand if there is a crack in the door or not, right? Because you can put a lot of time and energy toward a relationship. And, and if you haven't asked the tough questions along the way, you may be wasting your time. So I encourage people to do that. I tell a story from the stage a lot about negotiating Billy Donovan's contract, who was a head coach of the University of Florida. He had won a couple of National Championships, wanted to go to the NBA, and we sort of took him through this process of negotiating his contract with the Orlando Magic. And we did it quickly. The terms of the deal were good. You know, the contract was a 27 and a half million dollar deal loaded with great stuff, great bonuses, perks, et cetera. And after he executed six original agreements, the next morning, he said, "I don't want that job. I can't do it." And, he needed to walk away from that. But however, at, as I reflected on that, I think we at the agency should have done a better job of asking him difficult questions along the way to really understand and help him get clear on what this shift might really look like. And I think that confidence comes over time in all of our careers. We get a little bit more comfortable asking tough questions. But I always advocate for people to try to do that whether they're in sales and leadership, when you have that moment, when you think, "Boy, I'm so excited, I think that these guys forgot and forgot to ask us about our fees. They forgot to ask us about what percentage we take." They're thinking it, ask the question in a safe and kind way. But inside of that question, often you drive greater connection, I think.

Brian Lord:

So one thing I think that is also amazing about your story is, is obviously being a woman in a predominantly male, you know, male industry and, you know, talking about like the, you know, the one you're talking about earlier, I think it was Scott Boris, you know, who a lot of people know as well. And, and having to deal with people that, that, that are like that or compete against them. But you actually say a lot of times it can be an advantage. What kind of role did that play in the agent that you became?

Molly Fletcher:

You know, a lot of times I would connect with the wives and the wives didn't have anybody to, oftentimes, to lean on. You know, if a baseball player gets traded in the middle of the season, she is standing there with a house and two cars and she's pregnant and three kids and she needs a doctor and she needs a lot of things. And so I built a team around me to help support her as well. And so, you know, and that was sometimes overlooked. You know, I mean, my phone rang a lot at night with players calling me that their, their child had a fever or the wife calling me about the fever. And there were things that I could do that maybe a male agent couldn't do that helped me connect. I had a baseball player once he was coming into Atlanta for a series- three-game series. And I found out that this guy loved peanut Mn'Ms, and I had found it out through a media source. And so, you know, and I'd been recruiting him and we'd had a fun relationship, was a great guy. And so long story short, he steps into his hotel room and there's a basket of a hundred bags of peanut Mn'Ms in a really cute basket with a big red bow on it that he crushed over the three-day series. But you know, you can't- another dude can't send another dude a basket of peanut Mn'Ms. Right? It's kind of weird. So I used it in an authentic way to connect. and I think you know, these guys are gone guys all the time. I mean, they're in buses with guys, they're on airplanes with guys, they're in the clubhouse with guys. And some of them were married, but some of them weren't. And I think I was sort of this big sister slash you know, not their wife. So I was objective a little bit more maybe. You know, I wasn't a relative, but I cared a lot. So it was a really unique position. I think it was definitely helpful. And I think my guys would say the same thing.

Brian Lord:

What, what was it like competing? So, so not just from the client perspective, you know, the, of the athletes and coaches. Were you treated differently by agents?

Molly Fletcher:

You know, agents are so competitive that you're not really sort of in the same room per se, or you're not really overlapping too much, maybe on the golf course you are, or, you know, in games you are a little bit, but I really didn't spend any time or energy worrying about how they treated me or whether they or not, to be totally honest. To me, it was about serving the athlete and connecting and supporting them. And my, I tried to build such great connections with my guys, but they always had my back. And that was a big deal for me. I mean, I would be behind the dugout at, I remember I was in Durham at a minor league game and I was behind the dugout and I was talking to like McCann and DeRosa and a couple of my guys. And all of a sudden the manager started yelling at McCann, I think, or DeRoand he said, "Dude, what are you guys doing? Let's go, you know, quit hitting on that chick." And, and literally DeRo turned around and goes, "Hey, relax. It's my agent." And the manager kind of backpedaled and apologized. And so, you know, where I'd be walking a practice, run out on a Tuesday with Matt Kuchar and, you know, guys might come up to Matt and say, "Your wife, Sybi has brown hair. And Molly, who is that girl with blonde hair walking with you," you know? And, and he would go, "Well, that's my agent." And so they supported me and that mattered. And, but the reason I did, I think was they, they respected me. They appreciated the effort that I put in to support their careers. And it was, it was really like a brother-sister relationship more than anything. And that was cool.

Brian Lord:

One of the questions that my, that your office said that I really had to ask you was to tell us what you found out right before a big lunch with Doc Rivers.

Molly Fletcher:

Oh, man. Yeah, that was fun. So, you know, my husband and I, we had our first daughter and she was about five months old and was just, you know, as the parents who are listening now and, and as you know is just an awesome gift. And so, but all of a sudden now I felt like I might be pregnant, which, you know, I thought was odd because you know, that is not happening a lot when you- I've just delivered a baby, if I'm keeping it real. [Laughing] And so I took a test and I was, and I thought "This has got... This has gotta be wrong." And, and I took like two more and 10 more and 15. And I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I am. I'm pregnant." And so I called my doctor and I said, "Wow, you're not going to believe this. I think I might be pregnant." And she truly laughed. She's very cool and a friend and she laughed on the other end of the phone because she had just delivered Emma, our first daughter. And so I go- I went into the office the next day with my husband. He met me there midday and she put a sonogram on my stomach as we kind of laid in that little dark room that many of us have been in. And, and I look over on the monitor and there is a baby with arms and legs full on. She said, "Oh my gosh, Molly, you're 12 and a half weeks pregnant." And I remember thinking that that monitor is coming from another room, like that is not hooked up to my stomach right now. And so after kind of a couple of minutes of my husband and I trying to pump each other up, I sort of looked over and she goes, "Oh my Lord, Molly. Look at this." And "Nope, how about that?" No pun intended there, Brian Lord.

Brian Lord:

[Laughing].

Molly Fletcher:

And I said, "Oh my God." And so she looked and there was- she said, "Look at this." And there was another baby on the screen. And she said, "You're 12 and a half weeks with twins!" And I thought, "Oh my gosh." And you know, I mean, you know, three kids in 12 months, I mean, talk about a real-life fire drill! [Laughing]. And so I looked down at my watch. So after about a minute or two, and I went "Oh, man, it's 12:15. I have a 12:30 lunch with Doc Rivers." He was in town playing the Hawks and I'm like, "I gotta go." And I jump up off the little sort of table. And I'm walking down the hallway and she proceeds to tell me, you know, while you're with multiples, you need to be in here every other week. You know, this is, uh... And you know, 24/7 is the agent business. I mean, it sort of never stops. And I thought, "Oh my, how am I going to come in here every other week? I mean, this was just, I don't have time for that." And so I called my mom and dad on my way to the appointment with Doc. And I always joke and say, I really needed to call him to tell him that they were moving to Atlanta to help me. And, but I tell the story when I speak, because I walked into that hotel after I hung up with my parents. And I thought, man, you know, Doc only has 45 minutes. Doc has a lot he needs to go through, he's got a lot going on. And he's a wonderful guy who would love to know this news, but boy, he only had 45 minutes. And you tell somebody that you just found out, you know, you're having twins, it'll derail a meeting for 20 minutes and you probably don't have 20 minutes to do that. So I tell that story because I think there's so many things in life that we can control. And there's certainly plenty of things that we can't, and I encourage audiences to, to recognize what you can control and lean into that. And what I could control in that moment was being fully present for Doc. I could control showing up for him, serving him, connecting with him, supporting him in that moment in a way that I might not have been able to do had I led with this news and, and we live in a world where it's really hard to be present. We all have a lot of stuff coming at us often. And our emails are filling up and our Siri- you know, things are beeping constantly and being present is hard, but it matters because our customers can tell when we're really present or not. And our, our families can tell, our spouses can tell, our kids can tell, and when we're present, we connect. And I always have believed and talk about that when we connect, we get things done.

Brian Lord:

What are some things that you have taken from being an agent and a negotiator that you teach to your kids. So you've got three kids and your family, what are some of those things that you've taken from that and passed on to them?

Molly Fletcher:

Well, I think what, you know, I mean, there are so many things, right? I mean, I've learned so much from all of my guys. I mean, John Smoltz certainly taught me about how to execute when everything wasn't right. I mean, John struggled with lots and lots of injuries, but he always was able to show up and deliver and it was a remarkable thing. I mean, I would talk to them on the way to the ballpark and, you know, I would know that his thumb was hurting or that his hip was hurting or that his elbow was, and yet he would stand out there and throw 70 pitches and just crush it. And so I, I try to talk to my girls about sometimes everything isn't just right. And you still have to find a way to give it all you got and to execute inside of that moment. And, you know, and John was also a guy who- and I tell this story when I speak, went from a starter to a closer to a starter. And, you know, the world sees athletes in the big moments. The world sees them on the mound and, you know, game seven of a World Series sittin' guys down, you know, they, they see them drain a pot on Sunday, you know, to win a million bucks. I mean, that's what the world sees, but for years I saw the little moments in between all that, that got them to the place and the comfort of that. And so I talked to my girls a lot about, you know, little moments of leaning into things that scare us a little bit, create opportunities for bigger moments later. So my daughter doesn't want to go talk to a teacher about a grade on a test. I really encourage them to have those conversations that make them a little bit nervous because all of that, in my opinion, prepares them for when they're 30-years-old and living in Chicago, you know, working toward a corner office that they can walk in and ask for what they want. So the list of things that I learned is, is truly endless. And I'm grateful for that. because I try to drip that on my girls truly every day.

Brian Lord:

One thing I really liked that you just brought up with John Smoltz. So great on change and reinvention. So going from a great starter to a great closer and Hall of Famer in both arenas, in my opinion, and obviously he's in the Hall of Fame and something that you did you know, reaching, you know, the top heights as a sports agent, and now as an author and a speaker, what prompted that change?

Molly Fletcher:

For me personally, you know, I wrote a book because I felt like I was starting to watch the way kids were trying to connect and, and get their dream jobs there, their ideal jobs, and simultaneously I was recruiting athletes and I was watching the way young people would come in and meet with me to sort of try to become an agent. And then you know, at the same time I'm running in this parallel lane recruiting athletes. And I thought, you know, there's a connection here on the way in which you should recruit people that you want to work for and with, and the way I was seeing it work with athletes and coaches. And so I wrote a book about that because the truth was, I, I couldn't meet with every young person that wanted advice and that broke my heart because I believe that it's important to love what you wake up and do every day. And so I wrote a book to help them. And then I started speaking at local colleges, you know, for free to the sports management programs, to the business, to support these young kids. And, and then I wrote another book, cause I started to see a common thread between peak performers. And I thought, you know, there's something here, the way they recover, prepare, deal with adversity and change. And I, and I began to gather that data based on, you know, these moments with some of the best athletes in the world. And so I wrote that book, which was more focused toward business people. And then a lot of companies started saying, "Hey, will you come and talk about your book?" And so I did. And then I found myself with companies coming in saying, "Hey, we want you to do, you know, 18 of these a year for us. We want you to do nine of these a year for us. We want you to do seven of these a year." And I had like 25 or something keynotes on the books. And I was still an agent and I was on airplanes more and guys were going to voicemail and that was hard for me cause they never went to voicemail in real life. And that wasn't right. I didn't want that. And I also, in my heart was feeling like these experiences that I had were really a gift and I was able to redeliver them through story in a way that was moving people a little bit from one place to another. And, and I reflected on my own personal sort of mission in life. And I thought, you know, I don't want to go to my grave and say, "I've negotiated 2 billion or 5 billion or a hundred billion." I want to go to my grave saying that I've changed, people's lives in a positive way. And, and speaking and our workshops and my company have fulfilled that movement of others. And that's what drives me. And so that was what drove the shift.

Brian Lord:

One other thing that you have that, that I really like is you've got your podcast, the Game-Changer Podcast, you've got fantastic guests on there. What started that? And more importantly, what have you personally learned from doing the podcast?

Molly Fletcher:

Oh my gosh. So much. I mean, you know, what, what started it was, I, you know, I've, I think Brian, I'm inherently a really curious person and I love to learn about other people. And so it's been an incredible way to interview some wonderful people and learn so much from them. You know, from Dabo Swinney to- we just had Angela Duckworth on, Adam Grant, and, and boy, to be able to talk to such incredible people one-on-one like, that is so, so cool. So it, you know, from that perspective, it's wonderful. I certainly grabbed some of the stories and the things that I hear from these amazing people. I tell a story that Dabo told- Dabo Swinney told me on my podcast. Sometimes I tell that i my keynotes. And so it's been a wonderful source for new information that I've gotten from these guys and I've built great relationships with them, you know, I mean, Ryan Holiday, I'm trying to see him when I'm in Austin in a couple of weeks. And so they're friendships too, and that's what's fun and rewarding. So I absolutely love it. It's, it's just, you know, I think I love to learn and if I can grab and ask questions to really smart, interesting people that can be redelivered to others in a way that helps them and moves them, you know, it's been just a gift to be able to do so I'm super grateful for it.

Molly Fletcher

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