Fletcher: Recovering quickly from adversity leads to long-term success

One difference between the stellar and the so-so is resilience — the ability to recover from adversities and letdowns.

That was the message Molly Fletcher, keynote speaker for Dairy Strong’s fifth annual convention, had for hundreds of dairy farmers and others in dairy businesses, many of whom are feeling the effects of long-running low milk prices.

Fletcher, 47, a Michigan native, served for 20 years as one of a handful of women sports agents. CNN likened her to Jerry Maguire of the movie by the same name. She negotiated $500 million in contracts for professional athletes, including baseball players, NBA players and coaches, and PGA golfers.

Spending time with these superstars gave her the opportunity to study them and learn from them.

“I was like a sponge,” she said. “I watched the way they dealt with challenges and adversity.”

Fletcher saw firsthand those who rose and those who didn’t, and she learned from their successes and their mistakes.

She asked PGA golfer Butch Harmon what he believed to be the biggest difference between consistently excellent and just OK golfers.

“He didn’t even hesitate. He said, ‘The best of the best, they recover from adversity really fast,’” Fletcher said. “You know, when you think about moments, we all have tough moments, tough meetings, tough days, tough years, but staying focused on our ability to recover is key.”

‘Decide who gets your energy’

Fletcher stressed to the audience members the need to be protective of their energy.

If something — a client, a gadget, a relationship — leaves you feeling completely drained after each encounter with them, for example, it’s time to cut the cord.

“Decide who gets your energy,” Fletcher said, describing the sinking feeling in her gut that she felt whenever the phone rang and she recognized it as a constantly dissatisfied client, calling to criticize. “You hang up and you’re exhausted.”

If the problem — a nasty or chronically complaining customer, for example — is bigger than the payoff, you may want to end that relationship.

‘Relationships matter’

Twelve years ago, when then-college basketball coach for the University of Florida Billy Donovan, told Fletcher he thought he might want to work for the NBA, Fletcher landed him a gig with the Orlando Magic. Shortly after a highly publicized press conference announcing he planned to take the job, Donovan called Fletcher with some disappointing news. He’d decided he didn’t want to take the job.

“I said what do you mean you don’t want the job? You just announced to the world that you’d take it,” Fletcher told Donovan. “Now you’ll never get a job.”

Naturally she felt upset after that call, she said. But reflecting on the situation, she admitted she’d made some mistakes with her client.

“I was too transactional,” she said. “Never once did I ask him, ‘Are you ready to walk into the locker room and tell those players you’ve coached for years that you’re leaving?’”

She failed to focus on getting to know him, she said. “Relationships matter.”

Messages resonate

Convention-attendee Regan Sweeney, who works for the Idaho-based MWI Animal Health, said he appreciated Fletcher’s humor and lively style of speaking.

“She was very passionate and dynamic,” he said. “I liked the message about blocking out your own problems and focusing on the task at hand.”

Renee Jacob, who works for a microtechnology company in Amarillo, Texas, said she’s taking home Fletcher’s message about relationships.

“Associate yourself with the person you are working with,” she said.

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