It Starts With Courage

With appreciation to Lance Secretan


I remember my first day of kindergarten many years ago at PS 90 in The It Starts With CourageBronx, NY. My mother was an immigrant who spoke accented English, taking me to class two blocks from our apartment on The Grand Concourse. She and my teacher walked me to my desk and offered me the loveliest look that I could imagine. My mother told me that she would be back a little later to pick me up and that my teacher would be looking out for me.

After a while, I learned another lesson. The lesson was that if I were to succeed in school, my job was to shit up, do what I was told, regurgitate a bunch of things when I was told to do it . . . OR ELSE I wouldn’t get into a good college.

Some years later, I attended CCNY in Harlem. I attended my classes and lectures but quickly learned that the lesson of college I was being given was, “Shut up. Do what you are told. Regurgitate a bunch of stuff when we tell you OR ELSE,” I won’t get a good job.

And when I found my job in recruiting upon graduation, I learned a similar lesson– “Shut up. Do what you are told. Regurgitate a bunch of It Starts With Couragestuff when we tell you OR ELSE . . . “We’ll fire you! Is it any wonder that we live in times where people seem puzzled when they dedicate themselves to their employer, do their best and eventually are brought into a conference room and laid off. I have listened to many executives and staff alike lament about having done a great job and feeling betrayed.

“I did a great job!”

“My reviews were uniformly exceptional”

I keep hearing my own voice complaining about getting an B in a class when I thought I deserved an A. There was nothing I could say that would get the grade changed but I was seeking approval from an instructor who disagreed with my view of my work.

Yes, we all have bosses and teachers who evaluate our work. As a headhunter, I reported to the clients who paid me (and job hunters who didn’t pay me thought I reported to them), as well as to a business owner who demanded perfection from my work that was never achievable.

But the truth was I forgot the most important person who was part of my org structure.


You see, I fell prey to all the industrial conditioning I had received growing up wanting me to be “cooperative” or “a team player.” I lost track of myself with the push to be selfish in order to achieve sales goals (actual sales goals and, before that, grades).  I succumbed to the motivation (the external pressure to comply with institutions and systems that were making sausage) of the systems I lived and worked in and lost my inspiration (the internal desire, independent of external pressure for conformity).

I became a high achiever who really didn’t care but did great work. I became someone who kept looking for unique ways to do what I did differently than others yet still meet my performance goals.

I hated it because all I was doing was making “artisanal sausage” and not doing what I really wanted. Maybe that willingness to sacrifice is part of being adult. I just never really found the correct percentage of sacrifice vs. self-satisfaction.

I hope you have.

I was introduced to Lance Secretan and a model he has called, “The CASTLE® Principles










For a while, I wrestled with the idea of authenticity and truthfulness being redundant terms until I grew to see that authenticity was internal truthfulness or being genuine whereas truthfulness was how I might relate with the world at large.

However, as in the word, “Castle,” It truly does start with courage. It takes courage to face oneself and change.        It’s why I now coach instead of headhunt.

As a headhunter, I found too many instances where my truthfulness was encouraged to be compromised and, thus, my truthfulness disappear. It was hard to watch a large check evaporate into thin air after doing so much work.

I found not caring about the people I represented or my clients. The love was lost in what I did and in the people I was hired to serve.

As a result, my effectiveness started to wane, all because I lacked the courage to change.


It started with courage and the desire to live life on my terms according to these principles. I can help you, too.


© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2017


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunterwhat seems like one hundred years. His work involves executive job search coaching, business life coaching for self-employed people who have a lunatic for a boss and leadership coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio” and “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” both available through iTunes and Stitcher.

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Breaking Out

There is a price we pay to have the life and career we want.


I want to speak with you today about this notion I have of playing big in the world. There is a price that you pay where you try to break out of the box that organizations try placing you in. For example, if you think back to when you were young, you are brought to school, told to sit at the desk, do what you were told, regurgitate a bunch of facts or else… Or else you might not get into a good college.

You did your best and then went to that good college, told to do the same thing or else you wouldn’t get a good job. These threats go on and on and on and never stop.

In breaking the mold at this stage in your life, and living a little differently, in ways that satisfy you and not necessarily “the machine,” you are changing the dynamics. As a result, there is a price that you pay for doing that. The price usually is criticism.

People start telling you that you are doing the wrong thing. In their own way, they’re trying to show you that they care about you and don’t want you to be hurt. But their dream is not your dream and you need to live yours.

A lifetime doesn’t last as long as we would like it to. Trust me. I remember talking to my dad before he passed, he missed things they want to have happen in his life. But there were more things they want to do and feel and experience… But time didn’t permit him to do them. The same is true of all of us.

Criticism is that tax or price we pay for breaking out on the confines of that box that institutions you try to socialize us into. If you are willing to pay that practice and face rejection and criticism, there is a potential for hope,

for change for living the life we want to have. There are no guarantees, just possibility of learning the lessons that you need to so that you can live the life that you’ve always wanted.

Your choice. Whatever is good for you is good for me. I would like to support you with it. If you are interested, reach out to me.. My web address is; schedule some time with me.

I would love to help you play big in the world.



Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been coaching people to play their professional and personal games BIG for what seems like 100 years.

For more No BS Coaching Advice and encouragement, visit my website,

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