Posted by Kate Ropchak

Erik Beckler - CEO of Afila Group

Erik Beckler, CEO of The Afila Group, spoke about his journey from depression to success at the September 19th meeting. In March 2018, Beckler received a call from the Timberwolves letting him know he had been named Junior NBA Minnesota Coach of the Year. By that point, he had been coaching youth basketball for 15 years, and immediately called his family and players to thank them.
Just 7 years earlier, in 2011, Beckler had stopped coaching and was caught in the deepest part of a high functioning case of dysthymia, a type of depression, which affected his ability to be a good father to his kids. To find strength, Beckler often reflected on times he was truly happy, such as his time coaching at Hamline or hanging out with family, and noticed four main themes: love, respect, service, and fun. He decided to consistently practice these four themes, and see what happened.
4 years later, Beckler was ready to start coaching again and implemented his four themes with his 6th grade A team, telling them they had his unconditional love. Of course, they reacted as you would expect sixth graders to–blank stares and a couple giggles. However, Beckler began to build the team’s foundation on his four forces of leadership, and noticed changes in the way they communicated and cooperated.
Erik Beckler explains that love, as a force of leadership, means kindness and empathy for humankind. Instead of romantic love, it is love for the process, for the mission that you’re on. Respect, in terms of leadership, is looking at things differently to get a new perspective and set ourselves apart. Service involves making yourself and others as successful as possible, as well as holding yourself accountable. Finally, fun drives people to collaborate and innovate. Using all these forces in tandem helps organizations thrive and transform.
The forces don’t just apply to youth basketball teams–they help bosses learn how to love their teams at work, they create connections between players and coaches, and they help improve character at work which in turn improves processes and KPI outcomes. The four forces, honed and developed, and catalyzed by leadership, are what sets one employee apart from another–even in the same position at the same workplace. People who utilize the forces have higher goals and aspirations for themselves, especially prominent when leaders find and empower the four forces in all their employees. Helping others find success, and communicating on the same frequencies as them, leads to increased productivity and future reciprocity. Beckler’s consistent practice of the force of leadership helped him establish a power-trust dynamic with his players, as well as hit the ground running and pull himself from his depression. 
Future meetings:
  • October 3—District 5950 Governor—Jewelie Grape
  • October 17—Bill Goodwin—Priority Living –“Live 2 Lead”
  • October 31—Superintendent Josh Swanson —“100 years of Eden Prairie Schools”
  • Volunteers for the Peoples’ Patchwork Community Garden watering are needed. Please sign up via Lori Thrune’s email.
  • Winter clothing drive. Snow pants, coats and mittens are needed. Clothes can be dropped off at the bin at Fat Pants or at Blake & Lori’s home.
  • Pickleball Social will be held on September 24 from 9:00 am—12:00 noon at Staring Lake. All are welcome.
  • Eden Prairie Gives will be held September 28 from 6:00—8:00pm at CMS. We will have a table there. Janna will request more volunteers to sit at the table, if needed.
  • The Rotary International Site Team will be in the Minneapolis area September 27 & 28. Minneapolis is one of two finalists for the 2029 RI International Convention. Sam Thompson gave further details.
  • Habitat for Humanity volunteer opportunity with the Eco Club will be held October 12 & 13. Volunteers will be installing solar paneling on homes. John Goergen will send an email with further information.
  • Swallowship in October is tentatively scheduled for October 12 at the Flying Dutchman Distillery.
Happy Fives:
  • Jenifer Loon celebrated her 60th birthday on Sunday. To honor her birthday, Jen and her husband traveled to Colorado and climbed a 14,000+ peak. Jen is also happy to have recovered from a recent bout of Covid.
  • Holly Link is happy to introduce the new Development Director for PROP—Matt Dymoke. Holly is also happy to announce that she will be a grandmother again. Holly’s daughter is expecting a baby in March.
  • Sharon Borine is happy to announce that today is National Voter Registration Day.