Fly Me To The Moon
Art was quite simply a pain in the butt. There’s no other way to describe him. I’d never had to coach someone like him. Right from the beginning of our relationship he challenged my way of thinking and deliberately pushed my buttons. He pushed all of my buttons as hard as he could.
He’d get right up in my face. “Who do you think you are? Don’t you know I’ve already worked with the best,” he’d declare rather than ask. “I’ve been personally trained by Anthony Robbins. What makes you think you’re as good as him!”
Art was challenging in more ways than one. When he wasn’t rubbing me the wrong way or intentionally testing the limits of my patience, he questioned my intelligence. Normally, I could care less about my intelligence being questioned because I could cite IQ test results where I’d been evaluated as having an IQ of over 180 (that & ten bucks will get you a coffee at Starbucks). But Art was not your typical coaching client you could back down by showing him your IQ rating.
Art was literally a rocket scientist doing work for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was listed as one of the top 10 most influential space thinkers by New Scientist. He and I would have spirited talks about space travel and research on how technology might enable us to bend space and time. I would usually hold my own with Art until he got into the finer details of celestial mechanics and chaos theory methods he used to track objects in outer space that would skip in and out of their orbits, essentially disappearing for significant periods of time.
Art was also the first person I’d coached who insisted on getting the biggest result he’d ever pursued in his life at that time; a result he said he hadn’t achieved with Anthony Robbins. Art was demanding the very best of me, and he certainly wasn’t going out of his way to help make it any easier. There were many times Art pushed me to the brink of wanting to quit.
But something inside me said to not give up despite Art’s combative nature. I’d done my homework on him and knew he was a rebel in the scientific community. His theories were widely ridiculed and rejected by NASA until he used his revolutionary ideas about capture dynamics and chaos motions to single-handedly save Japan’s space program by rescuing a crippled multi-million dollar satellite and guiding it to the moon to complete its mission.
Despite this incredible achievement, he was still a lone wolf of sorts, and I could see why he challenged conventional thinking every step of the way. Conventional thinking and the status quo kept his pioneering work on the sideline most of the time. I couldn’t quit because I believed in Art and felt he deserved a coach who wouldn’t give up on him like the scientific community had.
Obviously, I could never tell him that. Art wouldn’t accept someone who he believed felt sorry for him. He operated on intelligence, guts and determination. I actually didn’t feel sorry for him, but I did feel deeply he deserved better than he’d received. His ideas were too far out there for most people to give a fair chance. So, now he was focusing on raising more venture capital to continue developing his pioneering research via his own company.
My task as his coach came down to this: Art wanted a breakthrough in raising more money in less time. He’d grown weary of doing presentations, wooing investors and having to follow up with them for weeks on end to get a fraction of what he really needed to fully bankroll his innovative company.
After going through the specifics of how he approached investors and analyzing his entire process of delivering his presentation, I could clearly see the one item missing that was preventing him from achieving his goal. I was excited to deliver the news to Art.
Come back tomorrow for part 2 of Fly Me To The Moon