In this episode of the End Game Podcast, join Dr. Ryan Wakim with special guest Jose Jefferson, director of operations for the San Antonio Brahmas and founder of the College Gridiron Showcase, as they discuss how self-awareness is essential for success in both personal and professional life.
Through Jose's own experiences from helping young athletes and founding CGS to opening up more job opportunities for them, they highlight the importance of self-awareness and situational awareness in identifying one's strengths and weaknesses, and how to leverage them for growth and development. They also discuss how failure can be a part of the journey toward success, and how self-awareness can help individuals learn from their mistakes and become better versions of themselves. He also shares his experience with Hines Ward, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star, now coaching at XFL.
Tune in to learn how self and situational awareness are vital in progressing one's career. Check out cgsallstar.com for inspiring stories of various players and coaches, including Jose's own, and remember: it's not where you play, but how you play.
00:00 - Highlight
00:35 - Topic Introduction by Dr. Ryan Wakim: The Importance of Social Situational/Self Awareness; Guest Introduction: Jose Jefferson, Director of Operations for San Antonio Brahmas and Owner/Operator of College Gridiron Showcase
02:40 - Key Characteristics that Helped Jose Elevate in His Career
04:46 - The Evolution of College Gridiron and pivotal moments of Jose
10:30 - How Being Self Aware helped Jose in Networking, Building Relationships, and Having a Strong Work Ethic
14:32 - How Situational Awareness helped Jose while in CGS and XFL
17:19 - Jose's positive experience working with a great coach in Hines Ward
21:06 - Getting to Know More about CGS; its website and great documentaries
Connect with Jose Jefferson and CGS here: https://cgsallstar.com/
Thank you for listening!
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The most important thing is to, to not be afraid to fail, and I think that's a huge component. I've failed more than what I've succeeded, but they only see the successful parts. I think that's important for anybody who's doing any business or sports or anything to understand that failure is part of success.. You know, you have to understand what it's, you can and can't do, what you should and shouldn't. And move forward from it.Dr Ryan:
Hey everyone, welcome to the Endgame Podcast, where I bet you didn't know, which you didn't know. I'm Dr. Ryan Wakim, successful entrepreneur and your endgame coach. I'm here to talk to you today about a critically important characteristic and often one that has to be kind of trained and honed over time, but this idea of both self and situational awareness. And how that plays into kinda long-term success in both your personal and professional lives. With me today, I actually have the director of operations for the San Antonio Brahmas the XFL team, as well as the founder, owner and operator of the College Gridiron Showcase. And that is Jose Jefferson. So, Jose, welcome to the Show. Sorry for messing that up. It's the Gridiron Showcase.Jose:
Oh yeah. You're not the first person to say that. It's fine. I, like I said, it's, that's why we shortened it down to cgs. This is, it's like Kentucky Fried Chicken, kfc. Everybody knows what KFC is, but if you ask 'em what it means, nobody knows what it means, but they know what KFC is, so, no, not a problem at all.Dr Ryan:
Yeah. Perfect. Well, thank you for joining us today as we, as we kind of think about and talk about social situational self-awareness. Obviously you didn't get where you are today as the director of operations for an XFL team. All the work you've done in college and professional football and sports, and again, the, the founder of the CGS, as you say, you didn't get to this point being completely socially inept and incapable of, or at least I don't think you probably have. And having met you before, I'm gonna go out on limb and say that's not the case. Obviously, as you think about what's, what are some key characteristics as you elevate in your career? As an entrepreneur yourself, to me, you know, social situational self-awareness, strike a, a notable chord, but what does it mean to you? Or, or give me some examples of, of what that's looked like in, in your path so far to where you are today.Jose:
I think the, the most important thing is to, to not be afraid to fail. And I think that's a huge component, especially in this day and age. I talk to my sons about it, you know, cause they don't wanna try anything cause they don't wanna fail. And, and that kinda bothers me a little bit. Cause when they, people see, see the result, you know, and, and not the process. And that's why people wanna be a part of the, and not the process. It, when I, when I think about it, I, I, I tell them all the time, quality, if time spent is quality. If you don't that you're not gonna, the quality, I've failed more than what I've succeeded, but they only see the successful parts, and I think that's for anybody who's doing anything, business, sports, anything, to understand that failure is a part of success, you know, you have to understand what it is you can and can't do what you should and shouldn't. And then move forward from it.Dr Ryan:
I think that's very well put. We've actually talked before on this podcast around the idea of, you know, not necessarily failure, but opportunities and, You don't become successful and stay successful if you don't learn from those opportunities. So the brain often focuses on the negative. And we don't usually pivot to the positive, but you can always learn something from whatever mishap or hurdle you may experience. And you're right, people often remember you for the failures or the lack of success, whereas you should be able to turn those into becoming successful. As you think about you know, your career and how you've gotten to where you've gotten having developed what you've done. Well actually first, why don't you tell us a little bit about CGS. I understand it to be an incredibly impactful. Showcase for many college athletes and you know, Mary is our mutual friend. Mary's told us a lot, told me a lot about it. But why don't you give the listeners a little kind of taste for what CGS is and, and why it's been so important to you in your career.Jose:
Well, CGS, it's, it's a simple concept. We basically, it is a, and I say basically is because it's a college all-star event football seniors that are coming out to the draft, and how it got formulated was watching one of the smaller events that it doesn't exist anymore. But somebody was trying to do an all story event and I was very disturbed with how it was presented, how the players were treated, the, the line of the format. And not everybody can go to the Senior Bowl or the Shrine Bowl. And so I wanted to do something for not only the main star kids, the SEC, big 12, big 10 kids, but the, the lower level kids where I came from and You know, how it started was something very innocent and, and I feel the need. And now in year 10, which is, you know, for a startup, a business kinda unheard of to be in 10 years. CGS is the largest post-season college, all started that in the country and it was never my intention to do that outside of just filling a need for players that have my background. I mean, my background is not illustrious when it comes to football, but I ended up playing for five years, just scrapping and, and trying to understand the process. And CGS is not only the field component, but it's also the education process. Educate the players and their parents of the draft process cuz you're only gonna be in that draft process once, whether you get drafted or you're free agent. You're only gonna go through that draft process one time, and so we try to give as much information on and off the field as possible. 60 Scouts, I think in the first year or two now we do over a 150 a year. We get over a 125 agents. We have all 32 teams that are there and we try to give it a big feel, experience for the players. So when they go to these n NFL teams or they do interviews or what have you, they, they're coming equipped with information about the process as opposed to not knowing the process. And that's what we try to bridge is that gap between the parents and, and the kids. Cuz unless you have a parent that played pro football, And even since then, it's probably changed. But that's where the disconnects lie. And that's where, you know, you see kids make bad choices with agents or you see parents get frustrated with their kids and they disconnect because, you know, they, they're not in the know with information. So I enjoy it. It's went from a hobby to a nice part-time career. It's parlay me into the current position I am with the XFL because they came and noticed what, what I was doing with it and, and I didn't apply for this job with the XFL I was, I was recruited. They, they talked to me for a while and offered, and I was flattered by it. But a lot of the reason was is because the event when we host over 350 college seniors, and currently now I take care of 51 players, and a staff of 20 which is a lot smaller plus my staff and NFL scouts and agents to narrow this down to some people. So that's where that's come from.Dr Ryan:
Like you said, 10 years, right?Jose:
Yeah. I know. I'm, I'm, this is a 10 year anniversary. I'm still kinda blown away by that cuz I didn't plan on doing it. I, I planned on doing one event and, and calling it good. And then when you have teams and colleges that, that are like, oh you're gonna do this again and I don't know. And it went from that to, yeah, we're coming back. Okay. You know, we're, we'll look forward to it. To where now we've become. A mainstay and I, I don't know how long, I'll, I'll keep doing CGS, but I imagine if I stop, somebody will pick up the manhole and do something else, you know, something similar. Nobody does an event like we do, because we don't play a game, we don't do the gala. You know, where they get their, the guys there two teens, they stay there for five days and they play the game. Nobody wants to play those games anymore. You know, the kids don't, I mean, look at the NFL Pro Bowl. Those guys don't wanna play that game anymore. But it's all about evaluation, on and off the field, interviewing education. So that's where I focused on and, and from a guy who's coached for 25 years, I wanted to continue to coach, and now I've noticed that I'm a networker. You know, I connect players with scouts, scouts with players, scouts, with agents, agent wants, players are sponsors with scouts, are sponsors with agents, parents with agents, parents with scouts, and I mean, you're just connecting people. And, and I've, I've found great joy doing that, but I also have knowledge of football. So it was a great combination to be able to talk to all those levels of people and, and be helpful. Be able to contribute to their needs, wants, and at the end, the day, that's all it's is, is we brought the buyers to the sellers.Dr Ryan:
That's an incredibly powerful story. To your point, only 1% of the population can even start a business, let alone have it be successful after a year. I would imagine in that story, there's been many moments of time where you had to be either self-aware or you had to have notable situational awareness. One such event might be when you realized, hey, a one and done isn't actually what you're shooting for here. Can you look back over the last 10 years and think about like one prime example of when you had to be either quick on your feet about your own self-awareness or just situationally a aware about why you might have done something differently or, or how you got to that next level with where you are today?Jose:
Instantly, after the first year of CGS, we were on Comcast. We had 3000 people at our game because I ran a game the first year I ran it just like the, you know, traditional get two teams do the gala, you go bowling, you go to outing, and then you practice and then you get on tv and then you play the game. We had 15 guys to the combine. 10 guys drafted. I think we had 26 teams there, like I said, 60 Scouts or whatever. And everybody thought I was a success and, and I was miserable. Totally miserable because I did nothing different than the seniors trying the nflpa except for it was just me. I'm still a here. So for, for me to compete with those guys, I couldn't do it. And at that moment, you know, I went back on, on what I was always told in. Trying to do things cuz everybody always wants to be number one, but nobody wants to be first. And that hit me. And after that first year, totally revamped CGS. It was a total different event in year two. And since then it's grown and it's always transformed to get better. And we've always added stuff. And so in terms of. Doing things. That's the first thing I always tell myself is, you know, I wanna be the best at it. I wanna be number one. But I, I don't do, I wanna be first because the first person through the wall always gets bloody. Always gets bloody. And I did, you know, I, I took it in the shorts monetarily. Physically it took a drain on me because it was a lot bigger task than what I thought it would be, and I got smarter with it being self things I can't do. What's to humble yourself a little bit and look at it at 30,000 feet rather than 30 feet. And, and look at the totality of the event on everything that you need, every from the last little like detail and figure out what it, you can't do and can't do. But it was instant after, as soon as, cause it's in Fort Texas and I live in Wisconsin, which is right outside lacrosse. It's 14 hour drive and I have 14 hours to sit in that vehicle and revamp everything. Had this hit me like a ton of bricks. And by the time I got outta the car I was ready to get another event done because I was gonna change it and I was gonna make it better. So that's basically where that. That came from, well, again,Dr Ryan:
there's 14 hours of self-reflection and self-awareness. Certainly again, to your point, it was an inflection point. It seems like it, it really changed your trajectory and you quit trying to be number one, you, you were first. And, and now look at where you are today. So, incredible story. Again, 10 years of that. Let's parlay that into, you said the, you know, you told a little bit about how that then led to the XFL. I know you've, you had done some work in internships and such with some NFL teams kind of in the remote past 20 years ago or so. You took on the Gridiron the CGS, and then now XFL. So explain to me a little bit. That transition? Cause I know you're still doing both. I know they're not mutually exclusive. But what has that meant for you in terms of a transition? What are you finding in terms of joy there? And again, maybe. Not to add too much to the question, but give me an example this season of where either situational or self-awareness you know, became a critical point in that day and time.Jose:
It was interesting. The cause I said didn't apply for the job. You know, they came to CGS, they got all my information and. Initially I was going to bid for their showcases that they have all around the country, and I did, and it got second. They liked what I did, but I didn't have like all the bills and whistle After about four months, After meeting them, I, I got a phone call from my current boss, Mark Ross. And what I just thought was a follow up checkup call after four months was a phone interview and he said a few more people were gonna call me. And I talked to probably about another handful of people over the next day. And then I didn't hear it from anybody for like two days. And I think, I dunno what happened here, but I sent an email and thank you for your time, blah, blah, blah. And then I was an associate athletic director for college. I was coaching track and I was driving to a track meeting during the drive. My boss called me back and he's like, Hey, how would you work for the XFL? And I was kinda thrown off. Cause you know, you see the, the version 20 years ago the version three years ago that they had. And so I was a little skeptical at first and, and. The, the, the things he talked about that he liked is when we were talking about the job. He goes, you never mentioned salary. And I go, no. Cause I have to, like what I do, I have to like, who I do it around. When they came to getting assigned to teams, I was asked if I had a background with any of these coaches, the current coaches in the XFL. I had to say no, my dunno, any of, and Mark Ross had the with to match me with Coach that has very much the same personality as I do, which is Hines Ward, and. I tell you, he's like, well, Hines gonna call you in a week. And, and I really, you know, I kind of spaced it a little bit because you just don't know how real it is. And then about a week later, you know, Hines Ward calls me and, and it was a great conversation. He acted like he know, he is known this, he's an epitome of a guy who's never met a stranger. Never. He, he, he, he talks to you like he's known you for years. And since then, it's been great. You know, obviously nothing that that wins couldn't cure. But, you know, if, if, if we're going through a season like this, I, I couldn't pick a better coach and a better support staff to go through with because he's, you know, very passionate about what he does. We are likelike personalities in terms of demeanor beliefs wants, and it's just been great. Like I said, minus, minus one lost record. You know, I couldn't ask for a better situation.Dr Ryan:
And I also couldn'tasked for a better situation for you.Jose:
You know, I have my friends who are probably a half a dozen or so who are die hard Steeler fans. They want me to get him to sign this, get him to sign that. I said, absolutely not. I'm not gonna do that. But, but you know him. I said, yes, and that's why I'm not gonna get him to do that. Are you kidding me? I mean, and, and I just, just really hasn't, I don't see him, I see him such in a different light than, than a lot of other people. I mean, he's, he's a down earth guy. Hilarious. You know, I mean, just, it would just. If you were in some of our meetings and things, I mean, he's just, he's hilarious. And, and but to sit there and say, here, sign this. I said, you've gotta be kidding me. I, I just, you know, if you want something from him, go up to him. He is so approachable and so welcoming of all that stuff, but people don't see that side of him. And so they think, you know, when they probably had some bad experiences with former celebrities, athletes or whatever, like, hey, can signers, like, oh, goes off or whatever, and he is, I've never seen him do that. I have taken more selfies with people with Hz probably in the last six to nine months that I've probably taken selfies of myself. You know, because there's just a lot of people. I mean, it's amazing. He is, he is the, the most popular coach in the X F L regard of where he goes and people are booing us. The other team still wants pictures with him. You know, they're other fans, you know, they got these Steeler jerseys, they hate us, you know, the Bravos, but they love him with the Steelers. So those are kind of some funny things that I, I think that not only has helped our team, but has helped the XFL. And what I mean by helped our team is, you know, he's going to be, you know, a figure, but he's proving to people that he can coach, you know, that he has passion about the sports, not just a guy that smiles dancing with the stars and you know, that guy, he knows football. And that's impressive. You know, that was impressive to me, like sitting and talking football. It took us a long time to get to that point and when we do it's great and, and first year, you know, we both have bumps and bruises, but we'll get it right and when we do, you know, the XFL be very fortunate to be able to hold on. So just because he's on that trajectory, you can just tell.Dr Ryan:
Well, that, that story right there actually pointed out a few different moments of both situational and self-awareness, right? So the idea that you're not gonna get things signed for someone else is actually, I'd say a very, very poignant to the conversation of self and situational awareness. But anyway, incredible stories. 10 years with the CGS and then now you know, like you said, taking some bumps and bruises along the way, but still progressing the sport, right, progressing the league which I think, you know, is obviously a, a more umbrella or a larger vision for what y ou both, you and, and Hines and the team probably have again, just all boiling back down to minutes and moments of awareness that frankly you don't get to where you are today if you don't have it. Whether you, whether you can pinpoint exact moments in your career or just constantly that theme throughout, you know, your stories, which you, you have a bit of both, which is incredible. If I were to point someone, let's say someone's listening today and they wanted to get more information about cgs or you know, is there a website or some media platform? You know, do you want to give us that and we can make sure to add it to the show notes too?Jose:
Sure. It's cgsallstar.com and you go there and I think our documentaries, we are actually on. we're on our fourth documentary. The documentaries are great. I was pretty fortunate about being part of two of the bigger Cinderella stories in the NFL. Fred Jackson, played for the Buffalo Bills, played for me. in Souix City, Iowa Indoor Football but they wanna see these other stories of these kids. Where they come from. We have a, a domestic violence speaker. Come speak to these, to these guys. And her story is fascinating. Brenda Tracy is her name. We have former pros that are my staff and that come in, Will Shields comes into our event and talks, you know, these hall of famer. So I tell my story and then Will tells his story. I mean, it's, it's a lot different dynamic, but the, the documentary talks about thewhole event in itself, you know, from top to bottom, in and out a lot of laughs and things of that nature. But if you, the, the bottom of the event, you know, are slang, slogan, slogan or a logo slogan is it's not where you play, it's how you play. So, you know, you could be from ha Alabama or North Alabama or Alabama state doesn't matter, you know, I mean, If you're a good player, we'll try to find you If we've expanded, you know, our rosters in three 50, and then that's not even a cap. It's just that, you know, if, if I, my goal is to be able to do it with 500 guys, but I wanna be able to do it efficiently because we've tagged ourselves as a scouts event. To what? Want scouts to come. We want scouts to dictate what we're doing them. We want them back. We want them to be comfortable because if the scouts are comfortable that means they're gonna come and if the scouts are there that means we gotta bring better players And so have we have four pros.. And our alumni with CGS. We currently have 80, 85 guys active in the NFL right now. 45 in the CFL. And then currently the xfl, there's 60 active former CGA players that are out. So it, it's we played yesterday, obviously lost an overtime, which was a bummer, but there was probably a half a dozen to 10 guys that were from CGS and every seen the last one of them came up to me. You know, especially from the other team and, and thank me and greeted me and, you know, from the other team was bitter because, you know, they won. But it, it, it helped, you know, made it, helped it a little bit to know that, you know, I helped this young man and he's playing and obviously was successful and, you know, that's what you do. And I guess it's like that, that Bob Dylan song, you know, you know, you might be the devil. You might be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody. I've always had a service nature. So it, it's, it's therapeutic for me to be able to help anybody that I can. And not that I'm so great saviour want-to-be just that it's you know, it's written in our constitution, you know, and a lot of people got overlook at it. I'm not saying the Constitution was written for me or men of color or anybody different, but there's a tagline in there that applies to everybody that says, if you have the ability to do something or help somebody, you have the responsibility to do so. And I, I, that's probably the most powerful thing in that whole document. You know, If you go by that, that eliminates a lot of illusion you know, with all the rest of the stuff because if you can, you should, you know. Pretty simple. That's, that's a self-awareness one. Yeah.Dr Ryan:
It's, yeah. It's those are all critically important pieces to your whole pie. Right? I mean, so those those bits of information and interactions and what you've done in your career make up you, Jose, and Undoubtedly someone who's been very successful and, and quite frankly, based on your ability to be aware, both self and externally, likely to be very successful on, you know, hence forth. So no incredible stories and just really helps our listeners and, and frankly, The help you're giving to all those athletes. Right. To your point, I mean, I just kind of rough estimating in my head. It sounds like you have, you know, 150 football players in between the three different, right. Between the three different leagues. SoJose:
that's pretty close. And, and that's not including the Japanese ex league or the indoor football league, the champions Football League. I mean, we, our, my goal is to get these guys a job. Yeah, we just get 'em a job, you know? I mean, if you, if you can make a job or do a job playing a sport, you know, regardless if you're making 250 bucks a game, which, what the IFL does, or you're making, you know, 1.5 million as a onsite free hr, it's still a job in football, you know? And that's the other thing we do at CGS is that we give them another vehicle because we have companies that come to CGS just to interview the guys or get their resumes or get their names. Because the percentage, I mean, the only draft went 256 a year, and I just got through saying I have 350 at my events. So guess what? Even on, even if the whole draft was based on CGS, About a hundred guys are not gonna get drafted. So what are they gonna do? Well, that's where you got the XFL, that's where you, the football leagues where League CFL. To where these guys can fall out. And then after that, then once you're are done playing, you have to kind of step out on one lane and get into another lane. If you know, I, I just had this conversation with my son because he doesn't know if he wants to go to college. Little apprehensive about it. And I said, no one says you had to go to college. And he goes, well, I wanna, I want a job like you where you like your job and you do this. And I said, well, that's, you got half the right there. And he goes, what do you mean? I said, the secret. Life with jobs is two things. It's find something you like to do and then find somebody to pay you to do it. That's it. Now, did I say go to college? Did I say be skilled in this? Did I say no? Like something, find somebody to pay you to do it. And That's what I did with CGS is I liked something and, and I found a way to figure out, to have somebody pay me to do it. And apparently lead to another job that I really like, the XFL director team operations I get to work with great people, great athletes.. And they pay me to do it. I mean, it's a great situation in life and. I think, I think it's really overblown when people wanna be rich and they think monetarily but I think I am rich in experience and I'm rich with experiences that I have and things that I can improve value on. I sit here was giving my coworker a hard time, sitting we on hand, you know, cause of, you know, just silly things. But then we have to put our head down and work it gets done and that's what I love about this job is that you're always learning something regard how small or how great it's. You're taking something away every day. You know? So that's why, like I said, when it comes down to all that stuff, I, you know, I'm glad you, you feel I'm successful. You know, success isn't what others consider to be great. I just, it's what I consider to be right. I don't harm anybody. I, I don't rock anybody and I work hard and, and I try to be the best at, at what I can do. I'm flattered. It's humbling. So thank you.Dr Ryan:
Absolutely. Your ability to be both aware and reflect. Well, like I said, I believe we'll continue to serve you as you serve others. You know, into the future. For sure. Jose, any final words before we close out the podcast today? I mean, again, your story's incredible. Your, your ability, your ability, therefore responsibility to help others is you know, again More so than I've seen in most. And, and clearly you are successful and likely will continue to be because of your characteristics and your, and your purpose and, and your drive. But anything for the, for the audience,Jose:
just, you know, it's, it's, I've been in the spotlight before and, and I feel privileged to be in the position that I'm in. Just due to the fact I, another self-awareness moment is that I've become a better king maker than a king and I enjoy the room, be able to help somebody else get success and not make it about me.. And it, it's really weird. I used to like glamour, you know, for the, for the spotlight or for the attention and, and with my age seems like I tend to shy away. Like a kneejerk reaction, you know, not that I can't take praise or, or compliments or anything, but I know my hard hearts that I didn't do it by myself. So it's tough for me to just take all something as opposed to I contributed, this is what I've done, I sure things that I was supposed to do, can't do, well do, and it worked out great, you know? And it's, it keeps me. Humble and, and grounded. But like I said, it's, it's a service mentality and, and I'm happier when I do it that way. And not that I can't make decisions, not that I can't firm and not that I can't know it, put it on somebody when I need to, but the whole thing is all about serving and being obligated to people in a good way. Cause sometimes, sometimes people think obligation is a bad thing, but but I grew in a generation where we play sports and it's about obligation and responsibilty. We feel obligated to be on practice everyday. Where we play responsible for our teammates where we feel responsible for our coaches, sometimes i feel someone that gets lost in this early, in this later generation, especially cause of the social media. That's, like I said, it's, I just try to help with myself understand that, you know, all of it can be taken away. Byte thing in this or grace God or you know, by something that intentionally unintentionally dunno. I try to stay as grounded as I can.Dr Ryan:
Well, I appreciate all the wonderful information and humbling words. I will, we'll make sure to add your website to the show notes for those to be able to follow you from here. And we'll also make sure if there's any other information you want us to add, we can get that from you after the show. So Jose Jefferson, director of operations for the San Antonio Brahmas and the founder, owner operator of College Gridiron Showcase. Again, thank you for all your humbling words and, and you know, wealth of wisdom. Thank you all for listening. If you like the podcast, make sure to like it, subscribe or share. Again, we will have some show notes for you as well to share. Again, I'm Dr. Ryan Wakim, successful entrepreneur and your endgame coach I'm here to teach you how to exist today. So that you may expand tomorrow and create the ultimate end game of your wildest desires. Thanks again and talk to you soon.