I’m going to tell you a great little story. It’s one that I love to share with people.
When I first started out in sports management, I was faced with a problem. The company I worked for managed an Olympic athlete that according to Australia Post, received more fan mail than Santa Claus did at Christmas time! Now don’t get me wrong, excess fan mail is a good problem to have. But disappointing thousands of fans because you can’t manage it, is not.
So there I was sitting in my office as a junior surrounded by finger paintings, drawings and letters from all over the world. I didn’t have the time nor the manpower to open them all let alone respond! Each letter represented a disappointed fan, well at least that’s how I viewed that mountain of mail.
Struggling for answers, I couldn’t help but think that this problem has been solved before by other sport stars and their management. Straight away I thought of my childhood hero Michael Jordan, surely he received lots of fan mail? What did he do? How did his management handle it? Gee, I would love to know the answers.
As crazy as it sounds, for the next couple of weeks I couldn’t help but replay that question over and over. How was Michael Jordan’s fan mail handled?
A few weeks later, I’m sifting through this Olympic athlete’s fan mail and the phone rings. It’s a mother in the USA wanting a poster of our Olympic athlete for her child. Great, I thought, another fan request, just what I need!
Reluctantly I had to explain my problem to her. “Thank you for your request but I can’t promise anything right now, I’m currently inundated with fan requests and I have limited resources,” I said.
She was extremely sympathetic to my situation (which was odd as most fans who want something aren’t) and I soon found out why. Her next line would leave me staring into space. “You know, I might be able to help you, I use to manage Michael Jordan’s fan mail,” she said.
Turns out her husband previously worked at IMG, Michael’s management group. She and another woman (both wives of IMG executives) would go into the IMG office each week to help with Michael’s fan mail. I was completely shell-shocked. We ended up scheduling a conference call with both ladies and discussed the whole strategy which was heavily backed by Nike.
There are over six billion people in the world and the one person responsible for managing Michael Jordan’s fan mail picks up the phone and calls me!!
I don’t believe this was coincidence, I mean what are the odds? No, there had to be a better explanation. Was it the law of attraction? The Secret? Think and Grow Rich? Maybe.
The lesson here is to never underestimate the power of your mind, for what you think about ultimately drives what you get in life. Thoughts certainly drive your daily actions and maybe, just maybe the actions of those around you, even if they are half a world away.