What I Learned from DeShawn Fontleroy


The first thing I ask my podcast guests and my clients is what does ‘find your tribe’ mean to you? To me it can mean anything to someone and changes depending on where you are at in your journey. While interviewing DeShawn he stated that, “finding your tribe means having a group or a collection of people that you can turn to whether it’s hard times, whether you need more information or knowledge, whether you’re going through some type of a hardship or just having people in your corner that you can lean on.”

My curiosity got the best of me since he is a sport/athletic coach and I am a business coach so my million-dollar question is: Are we in a similar business or is our ‘coaching’ polar opposite?

I believe that both of our clients come to us for a multitude of reasons; most of my clients come to me because:

  • They need to lean on someone for guidance.
  • They need someone to keep people accountable.
  • And we make sure they’re achieving their goals.

DeShawn told an interesting story that sounded very similar to one of my business clients’ struggles.

“Well you know it’s interesting. I was working with an athlete about three years ago and he’s African American male living in affluent community in Camas, Washington and he felt that he wasn’t getting the best opportunity to perform. There was a time when he was considering transferring schools to a local school in Portland. His dad let him make the decision.

We didn’t pressure him. I just told him that whatever decision you make is the right decision. Here are the pros and the cons. If you go to the school in North Portland, you’re going to be the only black male over there with a car so you’re going to make a lot of friends and you’re going to have a lot of distractions immediately. If you choose to stay at the current school that you’re at, you know what to expect. If you only get three or four plays a game, you have to make those the best three or four plays that you get from an offensive standpoint. So he decided to stay at the school.

So with that, I had to help him build a strategy from week to week to be successful and that’s pretty much how the sports mastery program started where I started doing all these research on sports psychology, mental toughness and then that led us to goal setting. So essentially we would set goals from week to week. If there was times were he made mistakes or he may be failed at a certain play or performance, we will go back and look at that. The goal was to keep him in line throughout the whole season in terms of having a positive mental attitude. At the end of the day when the season was over, he led the team in rushing with 50% of the carries. He led the team in touchdowns and then he was one of two kids that got a scholarship. Today he’s at the University of San Diego, which was one of the top schools academically on the west coast.”

DeShawn also stated, “I’m an architect of human performance plain and simple”.

Which I would love to steal this statement from him since I also feel that I am an architect for human performance but I am also a business consultant. Not only do I want you to personally succeed but I want your business to be successful too.

My goal is to get my clients business performing at its highest level for the stage your organization is currently in.

One of the issues both DeShawn and my clients have is they do not understand what stage their business or physical bodies are in. What stage is your company current in?

  • Are you revamping?
  • Are you looking for quick or more strategic and steady growth?
  • Are you at a personal breaking point because you do not understand the mechanics to enhance your business?

So as I sit here and reflect on our conversation I realize that we are very similar in the way we coach our clients whichever it may be a student athlete or an adult entrepreneur. We are both looking to enhance our clients performance both mentally and physically, we have concerns about our clients continuing to go out and be leaders in their community and we want to help build resources for our clients so they may continue forward with their journey.

Thanks DeShawn for the knowledge BOMB! 

Annie Weller