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  • Jeff Eben - The How Many Wins Guy

When They Make the Movie of Your Life Will They Get it Right?

I've been away from working on a school campus for three years now, but one thing never changes;

I still enjoy the summer break for the opportunity to recharge my batteries and refocus my leadership perspective.

If you've heard me speak, you know I'm big on having a strong belief system. I’ve worked hard to clearly articulate my "Feel the Love" paradigm, and I hope you have benefited from that to find clarity for yourself, your staff, and your students.

I’ve had a lot of feedback that makes me feel good about the consistency in my work. But the question that I still I ask myself is whether or not the message I think I give is the same one that is received.

Very few of us have the chance to step outside ourselves and watch our lives unfold to see what others see.

Now I have been able to do just that.

And out of all the strange and unexpected things that have happened in my life, this is one of the biggest.

This summer the stage play, “Guppy, The Musical” premiered and ran for two weeks in San Francisco. It was billed as the “hilarious and uplifting true story of former star athlete, Jeff Eben, who pulled his life back together after tragedy.”

For real.

A play.

About me. And my life.

Guppy, The Musical - the early life story of Jeff Eben and How Many Wins

How did this happen? A theater company in Palo Alto discovered my book “How Many Wins Have YOU Had Today?” and decided to turn a section of it into a musical theater production.

Photo from A Theatre Near U

In my speeches, I talk about learning to lead at a young age due to a catastrophic event in my life. For the first time, though, I wasn’t in control of the story. I sat and watched people I don’t know interpret that same event.

Weirder still, people paid to see it and left that theater with an understanding of who I am and what I represent!

I could only hope that this story matched my years of sharing my life on the speaking circuit.

For the record, it was beautiful. The cast and crew were amazing and this was two weeks I’ll never forget.

But I came away with a deeper appreciation of a few things, and I am re-committed to sharing the truth, about leading others.

Here is what I learned:

First, I am a lucky dude.

I was mentored well and have told the story of my coach and friends to audiences around the world. This play, however, reminded me of other leaders in my life that haven’t gotten enough credit. My mother and sister are two of the most important influences in my lifetime.

As I shaped my own philosophy, it was surprising to me how much I gleaned from them.

Second, team is awesome, but a team with a plan can change the world.

I always appreciated what my friends did for me through my rehabilitation and throughout my life. Until I watched it unfold, it never dawned on me how much detail they put into it. They had schedules and roles that were executed to perfection.

By sharing the responsibility, they were able to last over time.

Photo courtesy of my sister, Suzi Eben Erickson

Finally, I saw the mood of the play change at one point and my friends that attended with me said it was an accurate portrayal.

There was a time when a group of my close pals were talking to my mom. She said things weren’t going well for me in rehab, and it caused a bit of a panic. The group, about a half dozen teenage boys and girls, decided that the answer to my problems was an increase in THEIR efforts. They figured that my life was changing quickly and they could provide the consistency in my life.

So, they stayed present.

Call it what you want, but that is what love looks like.

If they made a movie out of YOUR life, what would the message be? Would it be a one-person show? Or would it be an ensemble? A cast of thousands?

Who would be the star? You? Someone else? Or would it be your team in life?

You can spend the summer dreaming about the critics raving about your movie, but now summer is over and it’s time to get back to doing what we as educators do best: providing a future for our students.

(If I can help you do this, reach out to me now. I still have some speaking availability for the fall. Plus, ask me about my new year-long Culture-Development and Team-Building Coaching program.)

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