Four things that help you become great

unnamed (7)

These are things that we were actually told not to do in our youth.  Wait, is this right?  Is Hall on to something here or is this nonsense?
Seems the advice handed down generation over generation is sort of what I call the “auto-pilot” responses.  I mean did I just say that same thing my teacher and my buddies’ parents said 25 years ago?  Has nothing changed?  Are we evolving or are we static?Judge for yourself……….as kids we are told to not be “so rambunctious” and “you need to get along with others better and be nicer”.  My personal favorite is the hyper kid that is told to “just chill out and be patient”.

Bah humbug I say to all of it.  Rubbish!!!  (Rubbish is my new favorite word…its high end and sort of foreign….say it a few times, you will like it).

The 4 characteristics I see that have maybe taken me further than anything (and the traits I see in great leaders) violate all of this.  In fact, no…it doesn’t violate it…that’s too mild. Its 180 degrees opposite of what we are being told.

Is this correct?  Yes it is….here they are:

1.      Energy – Nothing is more important than people that bring energy and enthusiasm to your workplace.  This single thing has probably taken me farther than any other intangible……… in school I was told to “sit still” and that I was “too rambunctious”.  Being rambunctious is really working for me as an adult.

2.      Demanding – Leaders that demand a lot out of people will typically lead to not only getting more out of people but also helps those people grow to new heights.  I have been told I am very demanding.  I have also been thanked by many people later in life when I see them at the Dairy Queen that “you pushed me really hard and I didn’t always understand it, but thanks because you made me better”. In school I was told “you need to get along better and be nicer”.  I was always demanding.  My mom used to tell the kids on my block that “If David is picking on you that means he likes you”.  She was my main defense attorney.  Always had my back.

3.      Impatient for results – I’m not sure there is any great leader I have ever been around that wasn’t wondering “why isn’t that done 5 minutes ago!?” I don’t know a whole lot of great leaders that don’t drive and push the organization on timelines and shortening how long things take. As a kid I was often reminded to “have patience” and “just chill out”.  Fuck that.  I want what I want now.  Works pretty well from where I observe things.

4.      Curiosity – Kids always ask “why” and it gets annoying. I say we should encourage this type of thinking. Faulty thinking is to tell a kid “because I said so”. That is a deflating way to respond and discourages curiosity. In business and as an adult, always challenge (in a good, productive way) and ask the why behind things. Chances are, you’ll get a bad answer and make it better…or get a good answer and learn something.

These four are pretty powerful, don’t you think?

In my experience, some of the things we are teaching young people are the complete opposite of what will make them successful.  Why are we doing that?

Isn’t it odd/coincidental that some of these “undesirable traits” are the ones that lead to the most success? Have we not learned this yet?

Think about this the next time you are influencing others.  You owe people to tell them YOUR thoughts, not what somebody told you 25 years ago.  You’ll be surprised by what you say on “auto-pilot”.


What we can all learn from Jordan Spieth hitting 2 balls in the water


Golf is a really hard game.  And it’s a really hard game when there is a lot on the line.  Keep in mind the key to the blog so far………golf is a GAME. And Jordan Spieth is human.

Golf is not life or death.  It’s a freakin GAME.  As much as the idiotic guys on ESPN radio would want you to think that Jordan is “mentally weak” (what a f-ing joke) or that “Jordan choked”, what we really learned last weekend was much deeper than that.

A little known fact is that although Jack Nicklaus is hailed as a golf hero with 18 major championship wins, he finished 2nd 19 times.  Yeah, that’s right.  37 times he was right there and more times than not, he didn’t win.

So here is a 22 year old kid who already has come through BIG TIME in 2 majors…… the last 5, he has 5 top 3’s……….I think he is doing pretty well.

So what happened last weekend………he didn’t come through.  And it’s really that simple.  This doesn’t say anything about who he is.  This doesn’t mean he isn’t great.  This doesn’t mean he will never win again or that he isn’t extraordinary.   He’s a great kid, with enormous character, incredible work ethic and he didn’t come through on the back 9.  Just like Jack didn’t 19 times in his long career.

What really irritates the staff here at Chatter more than anything are the people that love to talk……….and have no clue what they are talking about.  Get in the arena dude.  Find out what real pressure feels like.  Jordan Spieth is a human being.  He is not a robot.  He is not Superman.  Just like you get really nervous on the first tee when 3 people are watching you hit a shot, he gets nervous when the WORLD is watching him try to clinch the deal.   You call it a choke, I call it total rubbish.

And if it makes you feel better to talk about how Superman didn’t come through, we get it.  It’s human nature to hate on those that seem to have so much and watch them collapse.  Yes, it was painful to watch.  But in a lot of ways it was beautiful.  Because life deals all of us major challenges……some on bigger stages than others……most of our disappointments aren’t in front of the whole world……his was……..and nothing will be sweeter than when he wins that next major and that next Green Jacket and he can turn to the camera and say…….”Wow, it’s all the more fulfilling now because I lived through the other side.”

Think about all the success you had last weekend.  Probably some good stuff in there right?……how would you like it if we replayed your worst 5 minutes over and over and over for the world to see?  5 minutes?  I bet it’s not pretty.

Here are the top 3 things I learned that no one is talking about from last weekend:

1.       Jordan Spieth made ONE MILLION DOLLARS for overall playing great golf last week.

2.      At the age of 22, he has put himself in the “winning a major” arena 6 times already.  He has 2 of them.  Way ahead of any golfer ever.

3.      By my count, if he puts himself “in the arena” 34 more times, he will break Jack’s illustrious major championship record.  It’s a numbers game.

How does this apply to mere mortals like us in our day to day? Very easily.  Our biggest setbacks create our biggest opportunities.  Always.  And as much as we hate that bad things happen to all of us, I respect the hell out of the way Jordan Spieth handled himself in the face of all of this.  Not only did he birdie 2 out of the next 3 holes after his world was crashing in, he also put the Green Jacket on another man that took what he probably thought was his.  And he did it with class.  And he created a teachable moment for my future kids.   I can hear myself now “Hey kids, watch how this guy handled himself within an hour of his greatest life disappointment……..and this shows you can handle any adversity that comes your way…….because the way Jordan faced the music was beautiful and he is someone to emulate”.

Bad things happen to all of us.  Even Jordan Spieth.  I just hope the next rough thing to roll my way, I can do half as well as him.


Life Lessons at Age 10

unnamed (5)

This week’s installment is long but worth it (yea I said so). So we start off with a Dad and a kid and a life lesson…and then I go on a total rant and people will think “Hall’s being insensitive again”, and then in the end it will all make sense.  Sound enticing?  Ok, well read it anyway.

So I’m 10 years old and I remember it as clear as a partly cloudy dream/nightmare. It’s my birthday and I come home and my mom has all this stuff for me, at school we had cake, etc…all the great 10 year old stuff. Then my Dad comes home and it’s like 8pm and we are watching TV (keep in mind my Dad and I have like the most A+ father/son relationship of all time and we are like best pals). So I turn to him like he’s a brother and say “Dad, I don’t think I’ve seen a gift from you today and ya know it is sort of like my birthday.”  That’s where the greatness begins.

“Ya know boy” (he called me boy)…“I’ve been thinking a lot about that” (as he never took his eyes off the TV so to casually communicate this)…”I’ve been thinking a lot about how lucky your whole life is.  Every single aspect is one lucky break after another.  Basically every day you wake up is like your birthday.  So since every day for you is a birthday, I can’t get you a gift every day right?  So last year was probably the last year you get a gift.”

And that was that.  And it was great.

Cause I got the lesson.  Loud and clear.  Live every single day like your birthday.  No more “today is my big day” bullshit.  Every day is a big day.  Every single freakin day.

Tuesday in the dead of winter?  Let’s have fun.  Sunday before a big week?  Yep.  Bingo.  That’s my birthday too.

And then I started seeing how everyone else was living.  Waiting for a big day to have a big day.  That sort of thinking makes no sense to me at all.  And my Dad, who probably forgot to get a gift that day…or probably genuinely did feel like he told me since I was the son of a Doctor…and his Dad dropped out of school in the 3rd grade cause he was so poor he had to work…taught me one of the greatest lessons anyone could ever teach someone young.  Don’t wait for things.  Go get ‘em.  Make tomorrow like your birthday.  Make next week like your birthday.  Celebrate and work hard and cry and laugh and struggle and celebrate…and do all that every single day.  Experience the MOST you can every day.  Don’t wait until some day in the future.

And when I really started thinking about this deeply…I figured out we had a bit of a problem in this world.  No one was talking about it.  Like it was a secret.   And I thought it was time to put a stop to it.   What is the nonsense with people celebrating their “birthday” 1 day a year vs. every day?  Randomly because you were born 365 days ago from today, today is now your “special day”.  So you will do things for yourself today you wouldn’t yesterday or tomorrow?  Is this odd to anyone else?

“It’s my big special day” you say…cause 365 days ago today I was born.  So “today” I’m gonna really live it up?  Insanity I say.

So I’m gonna go get it today.  Maybe a little cake with some ice cream, 18 holes of golf, telling all the people that I love in this world that I love them, run a few miles, cry during a sad movie, work on my book, then go to bed.  Is it September 14?  Nope, it’s April 10th.  And I’m gonna do even more on April 11th.  Cause they are all my birthday.

Thanks Dad.


March Madness, Metaphors, Mentality, and Miracles


March Madness is a really big deal. In fact, it has become “a thing” in America. It’s not even something you have to explain to anyone. It’s a basketball tournament for kids. And everyone loves it.

I can remember watching SPECIFIC GAMES during March Madness 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago……..I bet you can too. And there are some great reasons for that.

Why we love March Madness:

1. It’s a metaphor for life. Be prepared or you will get beat. Come with your A game or go home. There are no 2nd chances. One and done.

2. If you aren’t ready, your heart will get broken. All of your dreams that pertain to putting a ball in a basket rely on you preparing better than the other team.

3. Make adjustments and think on your feet. If you aren’t flexible in your approach, you will get beat.

4. If you think really big and ignore people that are “realistic”, you can be a Villanova or NC State and carve a place in the heart of an entire generation.

5. When you lose, learn from it and do it with grace. Don’t be a sore loser, this will take you far in life.

For me, March Madness is thrilling because you have a chance to watch someone do something that “the experts” say you aren’t supposed to be able to do. Underdogs. Long shots. That really gets my blood flowing.

Whether I talk about the Butler half-court shot that went in and out, Phi Slama Jama, Dereck Whittenburg, Coach Valvano, Keith Smart, Mario Chalmers, George Mason, Christian Laettner (did you think about him kicking the guy or making the shot?)… undoubtedly have an image etched in your mind attached to March Madness. It’s an image of possibility and of hope. Aren’t those the things that “jazz us up” the most as we live life?

As we wind down March Madness, let’s celebrate and discover the things that get us “jazzed up” about life. And tap into them DAILY to make our lives richer and more fulfilling.

Wait, the madness doesn’t have to end when March ends? Hmmm….let’s think about that one.

Who would have thought a basketball tournament for kids could teach us so much about how to live life day to day.

Wishing you your own April Madness. Go create it.


Bunnies, Eggs and Mentors

unnamed (4)

Happy Easter (for those that celebrate)…..for those that don’t, Happy Sunday.  Either way, what a great day today is to be alive.

More than anything that I have learned over the last 45 years, is “how people talk to themselves” (conversations we have internally with no one to talk back and say “that’s crazy”) dictates more about who someone becomes than anything (who you surround yourself with is a close second).

So with that…….isn’t it amazing the things we tell ourselves?  And because there is no one to interrupt us we say “ok” to the most ludicrous things. I mean ludicrous!!

Examples you say?  Of course you do…

These are my top 5:

1. “Hey I’m not the worst one on the team.  That other guy is doing worse than me.  I’m doing ok because there is someone worse than me.”

2. “I need to slow it down a little.  If I work too hard they will expect this from me all the time.”

3. “It’s ok that crazy things happen at bachelor/bachelorette parties. It’s my last hurrah before the wedding.”

4. “I worked out today so I can eat these cookies.  In fact, gimme a handful of those chips too.”

5. “It’s ok that I drink a ton of alcohol, at least I don’t do drugs.”

These things happen in people’s heads.  And there is no one there to stop it.  So what’s the point of all this?  Great question….let’s get to the lesson.

Get a mentor.  Today.  If you don’t have one, call someone today and say “I’ve decided you are my mentor”…….then when these crazy things go thru your mind, you have someone to call to talk through them.  When you say things out loud that are typically lodged in your head, its different.  Trust me.  It is.

Imagine if you had to say these things out loud and get verification from a “right minded” human being?  Yeah, I think the results of our takeaways would be different.

Justification of insane thoughts can get in your way….on your way to greatness. Get a mentor and share everything.  And then EMBRACE THE FEEDBACK!!  You will get better in everything you do.


P.S.  Even if you are 85 years old, you can still have a mentor.    And that mentor can be younger than you.   You don’t need to be a certain age to have wisdom.

Do you know what’s going on in your business, or do you just work there?


I think all businesses are susceptible to failing because of the details they don’t take the time to pay attention to.….things happening right under their nose.  Whether it be the CEO of Delta Airlines who has no clue what is happening on his flights from a service standpoint, or big companies that have voice prompts from hell that half their customers hang up on. It goes on everywhere and it takes someone very “maniacal” to really own and be ALL OVER their business in every aspect.  And that’s why there are so few businesses like Disney, because they are rare.

So let’s bring it back to me.  In my past life, I used to huddle my team weekly and we would listen to calls from competitors. If you don’t do this in your business….you should. You will learn a lot and you will also hear hilarious things other people do (which will entertain you)…and you’ll also hear great ideas you can steal.   You will be both entertained and informed.

What I heard when we secret shopped a competitor was something I considered a normal routine day…until what I heard also happened to me.

We called a bank and asked them for their 30 year fixed rate. The loan officer on the other side said the rate was 4.25%. The secret shopper mentioned to the loan officer that the rate on their website was 3.99%. The loan officer just brushed it aside and said “Yeah, that’s just our marketing. I have the accurate rates right in front of me.”, and he continued the call.   When I played this clip for my team we busted out in laughter. It is a classic case of the front end not knowing what the back end is doing. It comes from people only focusing on what they do and not how it impacts others and no one looking at the entire picture. Not being all over the details of your business.

Ok, now fast forward a few days and my marketing leader busts into my office with a story I couldn’t make up. Apparently our website was displaying the wrong rates.  I think to myself, ‘OK, this is a major problem, but don’t worry, we caught it”. Our team checks our website DAILY (for the reasons I mentioned above) to make sure everything is accurate. So we were all over this glitch. That is until we went to our IT team and let them know about the issue.

When we “submitted a request for a fix” (as the protocol required) we were told it wasn’t “a priority” to get the rates fixed. If a mortgage company displaying accurate rates on a website isn’t important, what is!?!?

Getting a response such as “not a priority” was unacceptable for so many indescribable emotions that I can’t share here on Chatter.

But my team is smart…so they decided to take a different path to get the result they wanted. They told Compliance! There is no faster way to get action than to tell an attorney that we have incorrect information on a website. With a few phone calls and emails, followed by a few clicks of a mouse, our website had the correct rates calculating again.

So the lessons here are vast and never ending-

1.      Never assume things are different in your business than the lunacy you see when you experience someone else’s business.

2.      If you dig deep enough you may uncover things you least expected.

3.     Never stop in your pursuit to “get things right”.  Even if people in your business don’t care like you do.  Cause most won’t. They really do just work there.

4.     If you want to get something done, alert the attorneys that there is a problem…they will light people up.

5.     If you love business like I do, enjoy the never ending journey.
There is no finish line.


Spring Forward Weekend

unnamed (2)

Spring forward weekend always gets me feeling a bit nostalgic… as we turn towards spring I think of great memories and lessons learned…which brings me to our first installment of:

“Lessons from an old mentor”

Many years ago I worked with a very successful business man that told me this about giving people feedback on their performance… “Hall, not all feedback is sweet, tasty cough syrup… sometimes the information needs to be administered at the end of a very long needle.”

That stuck with me.  And it was important… As I am now very aware of HOW I give feedback.

Does this person need calm or cool?  Do they need a jolt of energy?  What will be the most effective?

These are questions we need to ask ourselves instead of using the “1 size fits all feedback (cause I’m a robot)” methodology I have seen so much over the years.  I love how some people like to say they are “consistent”……funny…..your people think you are boring.

Let’s face it, humans like dynamic people that can’t have their reviews snored through. Keep your people alive.  Be a good leader.

Deliver your medicine in many methods.

Thanks for the lesson to my old friend.


Sunday Night Critical Questions

unnamed (1)

This is the “who you surround yourself with” principle that chatterinthehall has been advocating for years.  We have gotten a lot of positive case studies out of this one.

Now be careful.  You might want to lie to yourself just a little. You will want to “fudge” your answers a bit. So if you aren’t ready to really go “extreme on truth”, you don’t want to continue from here.

These are the some of the important questions …….and great questions to ask young people (I like using these with new hires as they are typically not aware of why they have chosen their peer group)….you know we only have 700,000 hours here on planet earth anyway….we should make them worthwhile.

Here they are:

Who am I around?  Do they challenge me?

Do they use words I want to use?

Do they think about things that are healthy for my brain to think about?

What am I becoming?

Then the key: Is this what I want and am I good with this?

Make decisions from here.

We have gotten good feedback that it’s good to write down your answers to these questions. More importantly, do this exercise with a young person you care about. You may find the changes you help them make are key to their future.


Extraordinary isn’t a big enough word


Ron Clark is BIG TIME. Truly inspiring. I would love my kids to go to his school one day.

Innovator, disciplinarian, fun, tough. All great words to describe what is going on here.

But more than anything else…..he is creating a CULTURE of PROGRESS and more importantly of GROWTH.

You watch this 5 minute clip and tell me this guy doesn’t “get it”.

Let’s see, if we inspire people, make it super fun, create real life examples of their future, give them rules and trust and push them, and build secret doors and put bunjee jumping in the middle of the hallway, that will get their attention? Yea, for sure. I love it.

This is much more than extraordinary.


You can’t nap your way to great

imageThis week’s edition for your “weekly fix” of my nonsense is short and sweet. Now I have new stuff to yell around my house randomly – “Get your butt in the gym”… I am so into this coach.

She is the bomb. Totally “gets it.”

“Get your butt in the gym!!”

“Nobody wants to watch that.”

It’s a metaphor for life, for you and your people, for your kids, for me and for my friends as well as for my future children and EVERYONE.

Get your butt in the gym. No magic formula. No secret potions. Put the phone down. Stop tweetin’! You can’t nap your way to being great.

Watch it 3 times today. And tell me it doesn’t kick ass. It does.

I love it.