In the fall of 1983 when Bo Schembechler was still coaching at The University of Michigan, he gave what has become one of the most iconic locker room speeches about THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM.
I was a senior that year, but had sold my extremely valuable 50 yard line student tickets for a very hefty profit. Hopefully the statute of limitations has run out on getting charged with ticket scalping almost 40 years ago. I probably should have received legal advice before publishing this, but it was 11:30 pm MT last night when I decided to write this blog and my attorney on retainer…aka my father…lives in Michigan where it was 1:30 ET and I didn’t think he would appreciate a phone call from me if it wasn’t a true emergency.
Anyway, I really was a fan of Michigan football despite selling the tickets…and still am although these days I will not forfeit a beautiful fall Saturday in Colorado to watch a game on TV…but I was not a fan of Michigan weather. Sitting outside freezing my ass off and undoubtedly soaking wet from rain, sleet or snow was never my idea of a good time. Besides, that chunk of change I got for selling my tickets bought me a lot of chapatis and peanut butter fudge milkshakes that year at Pizza Bob’s, one of Ann Arbor’s quintessential campus eateries and countless Long Island Iced Teas at Good Time Charley’s, an equally quintessential eatery (and bar of course) just down the street. Hey, it was college…that’s my story and I’m sticking too it.
So what does this have to do with Inauguration Day 2021?
Well, first I need to circle back to a decision I made about two months ago regarding my business, It’s Just Stuff. After 10 years of going in and out of being a full time home organizer and move management specialist, I took a giant leap of faith in myself and, yes, our nation by deciding to finally build my own TEAM and stop trying to tackle (football pun intended) every project on my own.
Even in the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis, I decided it was the only way I was ever going to be able to grow the business so that would be able to work less in it and more on it moving forward. I’m not getting any younger and even though I am still pretty damn spry for a 50+ year old, I need to think ahead to the rapidly approaching time when I will be 60+ and beyond and my body may not care that I still think of myself as a 30+ woman with a ridiculous amount of energy. Climbing over a giant pile of “stuff” may not be something my body will be able to do indefinitely, but I am keeping my fingers crossed for at least a few more years because I truly love the challenges my profession presents and take great pride in how I can be able to change my clients lives by clearly away a lot of “stuff” that only creates chaos. You will never be able to convince me that 99% of the stuff we all have sparks joy so stop trying to convince yourself that you NEED a daily Amazon Prime delivery to feel complete.
Meanwhile, the acrobatics I sometimes need to perform to get to “stuff” definitely make for some very amusing photos and videos…
Taking one for THE TEAM at a recent It’s Just Stuff client’s home
And you know what prompted me to really go all in this time?
A Facebook post on one of the few football Saturdays Michigan played this past season referencing Bo’s infamous speech.
Yep, I basically made one of the biggest decisions to date regarding this business because of a 2 minute pep talk from 4 decades ago that started like this...
“We want the Big Ten championship, and we’re going to win it as a team. They can throw out all those great backs and great quarterbacks and great defensive players through the country and in this conference, but there’s going to be one team that plays solely as a team. No man is more important than the team, no coach is more important than the team. The team, the team, the team!”
I have always been someone who thrives working as a team even from a very young age. Whether while in school, spending summers at camp, participating in various organizations, employed at countless companies and running previous entrepreneurial ventures, I always understood the importance of team work without ever playing on any sports team. No hand-eye coordination and the inability to be able to hit, catch or throw a ball eliminates you from pretty much everything except track which I did try one year and realized I had exercise induced asthma and thought I was going to die every time I had to run the 880.
“If we think that way — all of us — everything you do, take into consideration what effect does it have on my team? Because you can go into professional football, you can go anywhere you want to play after you leave here. You will never play for a team again. You’ll play for a contract, you’ll play for this, you’ll play for that. You’ll play for everything except the team. Think what a great thing it is to be part of something that is the team!”
Actually, here is where I will respectfully disagree with Bo because most of us do end up working on a team as adults. Instead of utilizing a playbook to achieve the goal of winning, we utilize tools like Asana (my current go to project management app) to achieve the goal of completing a project for a client on time…aka “the win”.
“We’re going to win it. We’re going to win the championship again because we’re going to play as a team. Better than anybody else in this conference, we’re going to play together as a team. We’re going to believe in each other, were not going to criticize each other, we’re not going to talk about each other. We’re going to encourage each other!”
Building a team…a really good team…is hard people. You really do need to trust that everyone will do their part individually and at the same time anticipate the needs of your teammates so that you never fumble the proverbial ball (another football pun intended).
But I took Bo’s life lesson to heart on that Saturday a few months ago and decided to believe in myself and assembled my own incredibly winning TEAM. And even though we haven’t all been working together for very long, I know we believe in each other and definitely encourage each other as we make our way to the finish line for every client.
Part of Team IJS at the end of a very long day helping a recent client get her basement organized.
And now, as I sit here the night before one President leaves the Oval Office and the next President will enter it, I cannot help but think about how critical it is going to be for the new administration to come together as quickly as possible as a team with all of the grit and determination that I just poured into building #TeamIJS.
There is no point in rehashing what seemed like a complete lack of cohesiveness these past 4 years in DC and, for that matter, around the nation. It is officially “a was” in a matter of a few hours when Joe Biden gets sworn in and will no doubt immediately start to tackle the giant pile of “stuff” Donald Trump has left behind for Biden to figuratively and literally sort through, declutter and purge before seeing any sense of order again.
For the record, I did offer my services to President Trump…for FREE.
I guess my voting record, though, disqualified me. It’s ok, TEAM IJS is too busy these days taking care of citizens who are truly in desperate need and appreciate the hard we put into every project as a team to ultimately make a dramatic difference for every client. Bottom line, I believe when it comes to organizing and executive functioning skills, we are not all created equal…and that’s ok because I will never turn away a client regardless of their financial status or any other reason unless they are not able to treat my team with the respect they deserve as hard working individuals trying to survive in this crazy world. “When we play as a team, when the old season is over, you and I know it’s going to be Michigan again.” Here’s to a new “season” for us all with the hope that the chaos swirling around us will soon calm down and we all win in the end just as I promise every one of my client’s when they hire me and THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM.