MAKE THE BIG TIME WHERE YOU ARE
Frosty Westering is a local legend. From 1972-2003 he was the head football coach at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). PLU is a private Division III university in a town in the greater Tacoma, WA area called Parkland (the first 5 years of my life, I lived right across the street from the university…some call it the “hood,” – that’s where I got my street cred). During his tenure at PLU, Frosty lead the Lutes to 8 National Championship games, winning 4 titles. His overall record of 305-96-7, made him the winningest NAIA coach of all-time, and 9th in wins among all college coaches…not bad huh?
What made Frosty Westering a legend, wasn’t just in his winning record. Frosty taught his players more than just football, but about life – how to be a good citizen, father, brother, friend, and teammate. Being a private Christian college, PLU gave Frosty the platform to talk about his faith in Christ and making that the center of one’s life. Frosty’s belief of unselfishness, service, and brotherhood gave his players the skills to win not only on the field, but as men outside of collegiate athletics – as husbands, fathers, and contributors to society.
Frosty was an inspiration beyond just football and was a sought after motivational speaker. He shared his philosophies in a book entitled, Make the Big Time Where You Are. There is only a limited number of copies made, so if you look on Amazon.com you’ll find even used copies are going for $43 (the lowest price I found). When Frosty passed in 2013, this book was selling for over $1,000 on Ebay!
I unfortunately have not read the book (those babies are tough to get!…it’s on my to do list though), but I love this concept of “Making the Big Time Where You Are”. This phrase really resonates with me. I interpret the “Big Time” to mean being the best version of yourself, maximizing your talents, and positively impacting what ever sphere of influence that makes you the most happy (this could be on a micro or macro level).
Growing up in Puyallup, which is near Parkland, and being friends and childhood teammates with Frosty’s grandson Jason Johnson (who I later competed against in high school at my rival, Rogers High, and later at the University of Arizona), I met Frosty several times, I saw a few of his games, and I knew dozens of his players (I even worked with PLU’s all-time touchdown leader, Chad Barnett, who is also one of my favorite people of all-time). Ask anyone who had ever played for Frosty, and they’d say that their lives were changed forever. Frosty’s secret wasn’t game planning, X’s and O’s, and recruiting (even though he was very good in those areas), his championships and records had more to do with love, passion, and above all – his unwavering faith. Frosty was about impacting his players beyond just football…but isn’t that what the best coaches, teachers, and leaders do?…affect us on a deeper level; connect with us beyond the sport or job; love us unconditionally; and inspire us to be our best?
When I hear the phrase, “Make the Big Time Where You Are,” this is my interpretation: everyone has different aspirations with their life and career. For some, the “Big Time” is influencing people on a grand scale (macro) through either leadership (CEO, management roles), entertainment (the arts, athletics), education (research, teaching) entrepreneurship, or service (doctors, lawyers, public service, etc) . In contrast, many are content and fulfilled by staying closer to home (where are my stay at home moms at?…you’re the REAL MVPs!) as a “worker bee,” not trying to climb the corporate ladder, but enjoying their level of employment and receive job fulfillment utilizing their own unique set of skills. Both aspirations are perfect and needed for each respective area. Everyone’s job and career fulfillment is different.
For any career, there are three questions that one must ask themselves when deciding on a job:
- Does it fit my LIFESTYLE (hours, travel, time from family or friends, etc.)
- Does it provide the COMPENSATION needed for me and my family
- Does it provide JOB SATISFACTION (is it what I love to do and are skilled at?)
So, what does “Make the Big Time Where You Are” have to do with these three areas of choosing a career? IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH IT! Make the “Big Time” at whatever level you choose. Do your best through having excellent effort and attitude. One can lead at any level within an organization. You don’t need power to have authority and influence. Modeling service, compassion, respect, and generosity earns trust and “positive persuasion.” One of my College of Education professors at WSU, Dr. Morgan, used to always say, “Take care of the cooks and janitors first!” What he meant was, treat people at all positions and levels like they are the CEO, president, or principle…that’s what true leaders do. You don’t need a title, to inspire, help, and provide hope to others…you just need the right heart.
So let’s say your aspirations are on a more macro level. You want to be the next Bill Gates, Tom Brady, Adele, Hilary Clinton, or Mark Zuckerberg…you aspire to have influence over hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions. In order to reach this level and sustain internal peace and professional longevity, you must take care yourself and those closest to you first, in order to reach the masses on a much larger scale:
YOU: Self confidence, love, gratitude, and healthy mental & physical habits is where it all starts.
FAMILY: Their is nothing more important that serving/putting your family first.
FRIENDS/TEAMMATES: Life is about people not things. Being a loyal and generous friend must be a vital priority. Being a trustworthy and productive teammate/coworker falls into the same category (many of us spend more time with our teammates/coworkers than any other group).
COMMUNITY: Life is much better when it is lived in community. Getting involved in a local church, serving and impacting your city, county, maybe even state or country (depending on your aspirations) is the next progression.
WORLD: Many are called, few are chosen. Are you called to impact the world, to reach a global scale of influence?…the previous spheres of influence must be obtained first.
To make the “Big Time” at any level you need to have the proper priorities in order. Life is all about juggling multiple balls…however, they are not made of the same material.
All of these categories, with the exception of family, are like rubber – they have the ability to bounce back. They’ll still be there in some form or another if we drop them. Our family is made of glass, and it’s crucial we treat it that way. If we neglect our family and not make the “Big Time” by prioritizing our spouse, children, and putting our family first, we are missing on what’s most important in life. Lives have been shattered, because people have been focusing on the wrong things for too long. Some people are seduced by money, power, status, and privilege, and in turn, their family suffers. Treat your family like glass…protect it, savor it, adore it like your most prized possession… that is truly making the “Big Time!”
I hope this post inspires you to impact those around you in a positive way. Serving and loving others is the only way. Starting with yourself, then your family, and working your way out (friends, co-workers/teammates, community, and world – based on your aspirations) will give you the perspective needed to create happiness for you and others. This type of approach would definitely earn you an, “Atta way, atta way!”…from Coach Frosty!