Rains: The End Game
Do you remember that famous scene in Jerry Maguire where Cuba Gooding’s character, Rod Tidwell, and Jerry (played by Tom Cruise) are in the locker room? They are having a difficult conversation and Jerry is trying to convince Rod to drop just a little bit of the attitude and remember why he got into professional sports in the first place. “It wasn’t just for the money… was it?”
Then again, maybe it was! Earlier in the movie, as Jerry is losing client after client, Rod starts yelling and dancing in exuberance as he says, “Show me the money!” This all happens as Jerry’s client list drops to exactly one: Rod Tidwell.
Back in the locker room, Jerry reaches the height of his frustration and after a brief tantrum, he begs,, “Rod, help me! Help me, help you!”
Rod is eventually able to describe what he is after: “The Quan.” It’s a made-up word that Rod claims exclusive rights to and that he alone gets to define it. He says, “Some dudes might have the coin but they’ll never have the Quan; it means love, respect, community—and the dollars, too! The entire package. The Quan.” But even with that brief locker room definition, it never gets fully defined. Yet, this may be part of the brilliance of the movie. The viewer is invited to define what their Quan is.
So, let me ask you: What is your Quan? What are you really going after? What is the thread that ties why you got into this industry, became a leader in it, and, for many, became an owner? What were you after and what are you after now?
At first, maybe it was just for the paycheck, for survival. But it likely became more than that, as you began to provide for your family, your team, maybe even give back to your community. Maybe you realized you had an aptitude for this industry and could likely take you far. Or, maybe it was because it’s all you’ve ever known and you wanted to keep a family legacy going.
My Quan really hasn’t changed much since I got into this industry 18 years ago. It was always about giving back. Yes, I had to provide for my family. But I consider that the first way I was able to give back. Then the industry allowed me to support causes in the wider community. In the early days, we sponsored several non-profits, from churches to a youth rugby league. Now, through a friend’s foundation, our family is deeply involved in orphan care on a global scale. But the thread that ties all this together for me is giving back. As the business has scaled, so has our ability to give back in ever-widening circles.
I recently did a seminar at the 2021 FenderBender Management Conference all about the five stages of business development (from having a dream to those chaotic early days to the more controlled process and systems phase and eventually to prosperity and, finally, freedom). It was an interesting discussion and as we talked through each stage, we discovered that, for many of us in the room, freedom means flourishing in all of life.
Yes, financial freedom where you’re rewarded with the dollars for your accumulated knowledge, skill and risk is valuable, but what about those higher-order things—love, respect, community—that Rod talks about in the Quan. Are we flourishing in our relationships? Physically, are we healthy or just a bundle of stress and bad habits? Spiritually, do we have a deep sense of meaning and purpose?
I’ve been asking myself these very questions. I’m in a season where I’m experiencing prosperity and freedom. I’m asking the big questions about what it means to flourish, in all areas of life and not just the dollars. I’m asking, “What do I really want to do with the remaining years I have on this earth?”
The answers have surprised me. Initially, I thought it might be time to get out of this industry. I thought I wanted an escape hatch. Then I thought maybe I should go deeper into it and double down. In the end, what I found is that my Quan still holds true: I want to give back. And I want to remove the obstacles in my way that have prevented me from giving back to this industry on a larger scale. The answers are starting to emerge. As they get clearer, I hope to write more about that in future columns. The best is always yet to come!