Monday, May 6, 2013

Being there... Guest Blog Post by Sonny Ritacca

Guest blog post, by Sonny Ritacca:

Being there….
Greetings, One More Step Nation. 
It has been a privilege to read, live, love, and grow with the One More Step Revolution, and watch it evolve into what it has become today.    
However, having the privilege to have Taylor Scott in my corner for over 12 years, there is little I haven’t already seen put into action, on our playing field, better known, as “life.” These are not just words or concepts to him… They are his way of being.  
The greatest lesson learned and one that has been pivotal in my leadership journey is “being there”. 
I can’t think of one important day in my life, where Taylor has not been there in some form or fashion.  Whether it’s a promotion, graduation, heartbreak, loss, screw up, or simply to bounce off an idea or strategy; I don’t remember every beer we’ve enjoyed together, or all the antics that have ensued over the years (well I remember most), but I certainly remember every time he was there for the aforementioned moments. 
Not only does he celebrate with me, he cries with me; a true measure of one’s character.  Being there” synergy is often the common denominator in our trusted circle of our Band of Brothers (we hit it off and immediately became the best of friends during and following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.)  Perhaps that’s why we have such closely knit, trusted group. 
In leadership or friendship, I truly believe that “being there” is what separates the good from the great.  To establish trust, loyalty, and partners that will go shoulder-to-shoulder with you, this is the right way to get there.  Be there for our people at the times that are most important to them and when they need it the most. 
As a leader, do not confuse this with the ability to have the tough talks with your people or an excuse for not holding your people accountable.  If your people feel that you love them and that you are there for them, the tough talks and measures of accountability become easier, and with greater impact.  How?  Because they understand that your position comes from a place of love for the person and the business.  They will walk away from it, feeling they let you down, and an unbridled hunger to do better and tear down the walls for you.
Furthermore, they will understand that you will be right there with them.  If they are not the right fit for the business, they will understand that you made every effort to get them there, before it’s time for separation.     
In his book, Leadership, Rudy Giuliani passes on a lesson he learned from his father: “Weddings are discretionary and funerals are mandatory”.  I love this lesson.  While being mindful of crossing personal boundaries for those you lead, understand when you need to “be there”.

One for the road...

We took the month of April OFF, from writing OneMoreStepRevolution blog posts.  

I talked to Sonny the other day, and he said he hadn't seen a post in a few weeks.  I told him I was taking a break after feeling a bit discouraged, down, and even disappointed in a few outcomes as of late.  As usual, Sonny had some encouraging words, picked me up, and even went OneMoreStep in sharing some of his encouraging and passionate words with OneMoreStep Nation.

Thanks, for being there, Sonny...thanks for bringing us back. 


Have a great day.


A few weeks after we first met, both Sonny and I experienced the 'not so magical' side of a breakup.  Two weeks later we found ourselves bonding at a Jimmy Buffett concert together in Manassas, VA on September 9th, 2001...cheering each other right up.  (Needless to say, we grew even closer just days later after the events of 9-11-01.) 

He grew up in Chicago loving baseball, and I grew up in Kentucky loving basketball.  He always appreciated the rich tradition and heritage of the Kentucky Wildcats, and I grew up with a fascination with Wrigley Field and watching the storied Chicago Cubs on WGN.  

We clicked instantly over sports, Disney, and this day we go to games, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Jimmy Buffett concerts...nothing like being there...

We both love Summertime, palm trees, oceans, islands, live music, Disney, and William James Buffett...12 years and upwards of 20 Jimmy concerts later...we seem to always remind each other of the importance of 'being there' for one another; which is how this whole thing started.

The more things change, the more they stay the same... 


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