1 in 6 Billion

The power of the mind

In my early 20s I landed my dream job. I was working for an Australian sports agency that managed some of the world’s best athletes. As the office junior I was tasked with handling office administration and this included managing all the athlete fan mail. No problem I thought, how hard could that be? Turns out extremely hard.

There it was. A huge pile of mail. Colours everywhere. Drawings. Finger paintings. Scibbled cranyons. Spelling mistakes. Glitter. Photos. Sign here. Visit our school. Write me. Please. Regards, your biggest fan. Fans. Multiple.

The amount of fan mail was overwhelming. According to the national post office, one of our athlete’s received more fan mail than Santa Claus did at Christmas time. Ok, so excess fan mail is a good problem to have. But disappointing thousands of fans because you can’t manage it, is not.

I didn’t have the time nor the manpower to open all the fan mail let alone respond. Each letter represented a disappointed fan, at least that’s how I viewed that mountain of mail.

Struggling for a solution, I couldn’t help but think that this problem has been solved before. Most likely by other sport stars and their management. Straight away I thought of my childhood hero Michael Jordan, surely he received lots of fan mail? What did he do? How did his management handle it? I would love to know.

As crazy as it sounds, I couldn’t help but replay that question over and over in my mind — how was Michael Jordan’s fan mail managed?

Fast forward 3 weeks later…

I’m sifting through the mountain of mail when the phone rings. It’s an American woman wanting a poster of our star athlete for her son. Great, I thought, another fan request, just what I need!

Reluctantly I had to explain my problem to her. “Thank you for your request but I can’t promise anything right now as I’m currently inundated with fan requests and I have limited resources,” I said.

She was extremely sympathetic to my situation and I soon found out why. What she said next would leave me staring into space.

“You know, I might be able to help you,
I use to manage Michael Jordan’s fan mail.”


Turns out her husband previously worked at IMG, Michael’s management group. She and another woman (both wives of IMG executives) would go into the IMG office each week to help with Michael’s fan mail.

I was completely shell-shocked. We ended up scheduling a conference call with both ladies and discussed their whole strategy (which was heavily supported by Nike for those interested).

Moral to the story

For 3 weeks I wondered how Micheal Jordan’s fan mail was managed. And then that phone call.

There are over six billion people in the world and the one person responsible for managing Michael Jordan’s fan mail picks up the phone and calls me.

Was this a freak event?

I don’t believe so.

What you think about ultimately drives what you get in life. Thoughts certainly drive your daily actions and maybe, just maybe the actions of those around you, even if they are half a world away.

Title Photo Credit: flickr
This article originally appeared on Medium