ORLANDO, Fla. — From his All-American athletic career to his rapid ascension through the business world, Ray Weisenbarger has spent much of his adult life around leaders.
He’s learned lessons in leadership from all of them, some of which has carried with him throughout his life, some of which were better left behind on his journey into adulthood.
The Troy Christian High School graduate has taken what he’s learned about leadership and developed a few theories of his own, all of which currently are available in his recently published book, “Defiant by Definition: The Leaders Guide to Defying the Lies.” The digital book is available on amazon.com
“To be honest, I had zero intention of ever writing a book,” said Weisenbarger, who now owns and operates his own sales and marketing firm in Florida. “It was just never one of my goals in life. But I’ve read a lot of different books from a lot of different people about leadership. I read Lou Holtz’s book, which was amazing.
“But I was reading another book written by another coach — who I won’t bother naming — and I remember reading about halfway through it and looking at my wife and saying, ‘This is the worst $20 I’ve ever spent.’ So she suggested maybe I should write my own book. I kind of took that as a challenge and started writing some stuff down. About two hours later, I had the first chapter finished.”
Weisenbarger started writing his book in 2015 and finished late in 2016 before self-publishing it digitally. The fact he wrote a book about leadership at all fits in nicely with one of his core beliefs about leadership.
“I don’t agree with the idea of talking about things,” he said. “I want to do things. A lot of times people will critique things without actually offering any solutions. I believe you’ve got to pony up and do your part … not just talk about it.”
That’s just one of the the many things Weisenbarger talks about in his book.
“Basically, my message is that leadership has been hijacked by fraudulent ideas,” he said. “It’s become milk toast and watered down. I think many people in the business world have a very skewed concept of what leadership truly is. My goal was to debunk those themes and ideas.
“As an example, one of the things I talk about in the book is the idea of ‘some day.’ I tell people that leaders cannot live in the world of ‘some day.’ Some day is reserved for the world of children. The whole point of leadership is to make things happen now, not some day. You can’t talk your way into leadership, you’ve got to do your way into leadership.”
Something Weisenbarger has been doing most of his life. Following his graduation from Troy Christian in 2002, Weisenbarger — who was a state placer as a shot put and discus thrower for the Eagles’ track and field team — went on to Malone University, where he was a six-time All-American in the shot put, discus and weight throw and an NAIA national champion in the shot put.
Following his graduation from Malone in 2006, he went on to earn his master’s degree at the University of Akron, where he used his remaining eligibility to earn All-Mid-American Conference honors for the Zips’ track and field team.
After completing his master’s degree, he went into coaching, where he was a strength and conditioning coach at Akron, the University of South Florida and UCLA.
When his coaching career came to an end, Weisenbarger went into the business field, completing Choice Marketing Concept’s management training program before opening his own sales and marketing company, DMC Orlando. In addition to writing a book on leadership, he has been invited to speak publicly and give webinars on the same topic at numerous events.
While his coaching career took him to nearly every corner of the country and his current job allows him to travel the world, Weisenbarger credits much of his success to his Midwestern upbringing.
“I’m still a Troy boy all the way through,” he said. “I think there is something very unique about growing up in Ohio. I think having those innate Midwestern values beat into you at a young age is a good thing. You learn hard work and how to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. I’ve loved living in all different parts of the country, but it’s a different work ethic than it was in Ohio. I think many of my ideas about leadership stem from what I learned growing up there.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong