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Q: What does 2015 hold? A: Nobody knows.

“There is no limit to self-improvement.”

– Jeff Swarr

 We have no idea how good we can be. Because we have no idea how good we can be, we must soldier onward and work to push our limits every single day. When we drive our limits forward every day we will see improvement and growth. The Heart of the Competitor realizes this growth will be incremental and even microscopic. Competitors must develop their hearts and minds. What are you doing to develop yourself? What are you doing on a daily basis to push your limits? This must be part of our routine as competitors.

As you wake, spend 15 minutes each day on development of your mindset, your inner being. Your inner being is not connected to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, your inner being is about the development of your mind. If you are reading this piece, you are committed to being an elite competitor. This commitment is a daily commitment; you must sell yourself to yourself everyday. When you commit 15 minutes to your mindset everyday, you are developing a mental toughness that will seep throughout your world. Choose a book and commit to reading it for 15 minutes every morning. If you are having trouble doing it for 15 minutes, start with 5, then progress to 10, and eventually you will reach 15 minutes. By choosing to read for 15 minutes a day, you are committing to read about a book a month, thus in a year you would have read at least 12 books. Imagine the improvement and lessons your Heart of a Competitor will gain from reading 12 books in a year.

This is the beginning of your self-improvement that has no limits. In order to be an elite competitor, an elite teammate, you must be an elite you, an elite individual. Self-improvement is not about being elite when you start, for each elite competitor was once a beginner, must you must start in order to become elite.

In November of 2013, I decided that I would read The Holy Bible. I had researched the one-year readers and decided that was too much and did not allow for digestion of what was read. Since November of 2013, reading an average of 2 Chapters a day, I have completed the New Testament and am through Isaiah Chapter 10. The Holy Bible is the best performance enhancement/mental toughness book around. There is a verse in Ecclesiastes that reminds us to focus on the present moment: Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come? Ecclesiastes 8:7 NIV We do not know how good we can be, we do not know the future, nor does anyone else, so we can commit to becoming our best and pushing forward with our development.

Focus on your present moment, engaging in developing yourself in 2015.

Question of the Day:

What is the first book you will commit to reading?

In addition to the Holy Bible, I am currently reading The Hinge by Dr. Rob Bell.

Comment below with your first read of 2015.

 

 

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Winning the Growth War in 2015

Read the list at the bottom first!!
In last week’s message, we focused on choosing a word to live out during the year 2015. I chose the word “Growth”. By making this public declaration of my word, I expect each of you as members of this community of competitors to hold me accountable to growing.  In addition to this accountability from sharing our word, our minds will be open and aware to every opportunity to live out our word.Since writing last week’s message sharing my word as Growth, my life has been enriched by the growth of the athletes and young people that I am given the opportunity to work with. On Wednesday, we wrapped up six weeks with the ladies that are part of the Spooky Nook Softball Academy. The coaches and competitors that are part of this program demonstrated growth in their ability to focus on the task at hand, do the little things that are easy to do, and think and act confidently.  They are prepared to direct and produce each day of 2015, like it is their own television show.

On Thursday I was fortunate to work with three young athletes that have lofty goals. Not only have they set these lofty goals, now they are matching their daily effort to improve and reach their goals. These young people are growing right before their parents’ and their coaches’ eyes.

Friday provided an opportunity to grow in my life. I had the pleasure of attending my first ever indoor track meet.  This meet was held at Franklin and Marshall College with numerous teams attending. It was a pleasure to watch hundreds of athletes compete against themselves using the tape measure or a stopwatch. The specific athlete that I was there to watch competed with confidence in her thoughts and actions.

Why do I tell these stories? I tell them because the growth these young people are experiencing in their approach to competition with a confident growth oriented mindset will not only increase their ability to be successful now, but also in every endeavor they will pursue later in life.

These athletes evidenced 3 skills essential for success:

1. They set lofty goals that push their limits.
2.  They commit to working on a daily basis to improve their skills and progress toward their lofty goals.
3.  They understand that confidence comes from within.  They think and act confident.

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1 Surefire Way to Grow in 2015

one-word-poster.php

As we enter the last couple weeks of 2014 take the time to pause and reflect on the year.  As you reflect, try to do this impartially, allowing your mind to observe what occurred.  These events and your progress will eventually be labeled as successful or not however, I challenge you to truly reflect on the progress that has been made in your life.  If you do not see progress, make a commitment to use your strengths in 2015.  Notice I said, use your strengths, not improve on your weaknesses.  It is commonplace for people to choose a New Year’s resolution in an area of their life they are dissatisfied with, an area of weakness.  This approach is a set-up for failure.

This week, I challenge you to a new way of thinking for the year 2015, choose a word that will provide clarity and direction to your life for the entire year.  My word for 2014 is “Enjoy.”  Throughout this entire year, I have been called to enjoy every moment in my life.  Choosing “Enjoy” as my word provided the direction for me to enjoy the building of this weekly message to reach numerous people in building a Community of Competitors.  It is and continues to be a labor love to receive the feedback from you on a weekly basis.  (This process is outlined in the book One Word the Will Change your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page)

Maintaining the word enjoy throughout the year has allowed focused time together and tremendous growth in the life of our family as we treasure each moment we have together to watch our family progress and our boys to develop.  Enjoy was also in the front of my mind when coaching and working with the young people I have the opportunity to come in contact with on a daily basis.  I have enjoyed seeing these young people accomplish great things and not just endure, but overcome adversity.

This leads to the choice of my word for 2015, “GROWTH.”  I have chosen growth as my word because of the need to use my strengths and grow in every way possible.  I want to view every opportunity as an area of growth.  In my family life, we can see how much growth we can have to make progress together as a unit, enjoying life and improving every single day.  As a performance enhancement coach and grower of young people, I look forward to growth they can achieve through every opportunity to learn.

I am looking for you as a member of the Community of Competitors to help me grow in 2015.  Pass this message on to someone and grow the Community of Competitors.

This brings us to you.  What do you want out of 2015?  Over the next week, as you mindfully progress through your work on a daily basis, observe what is occurring and what you want for next year.  Choose a word that provides clarity and direction for your life.  When you have decided on a word, email it to me, share it on social media with a message to me, or comment below with your word.

If you would like to se receive this as an email directly to your inbox, use the following link to join the Community of Competitors:

Community of Competitors Weekly Newsletter

Enjoy and grow throughout this week.

Yours in Competition,

Jeff Swarr

Chief Competition Officer

For more information on choosing your word, check out the following resource:

The Official web site of the book: One Word the Will Change your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page http://getoneword.com

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Saying “NO” = Saying “Yes”

“The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.”

 – Brandon Sanderson, Author

The March to achieving the Heart of the Competitor is a consistent process of development. This March will not be completed at break-neck speed; it should be a daily devotion to improving or pushing yourself in an area of your life. The March is meant to simplify your development as having the Heart of a Competitor.

 

Simplifying the process is essential to a leader’s life. Often times, leadership is interpreted as being out in front of the pack, needing to make all the decisions and commit to being a part of every operation the team or organization undertakes. It is not possible for a team or an organization to be successful by relying on one individual to head up every single endeavor. Leaders will increase the team and organizations strength and influence by stepping back and not just delegating tasks out to others, but flatly saying, “No.” When you are saying, “No,” you are also saying “Yes” to something else. For the athlete, when faced with the decision to say “No” to hanging out with your friends after school, they are saying, “Yes” to working out and improving their skills.

 

Understanding it is acceptable to say, “No” is also a skill to be learned. Since most high school students are given the message that colleges look at not only their transcript, but also their involvement in the entire student body, the highest achieving students attempt to be involved in as many activities as humanly possible, stretching themselves to no end. They are involved in as many clubs, activities and sports’ teams as possible and end up dividing their time without doing any of them to the maximum of their capabilities. This is an extremely impressionable time to teach the skills of saying, “No.” This is not an advocacy for sport specialization or limiting yourself to one club or activity, it is the understanding that when you say, “No,” you are emphatically saying, “Yes” to another commitment.

In order to write the One Year March to the Heart of the Competitor, I said, “No” to sleeping in, and “Yes” to writing this March by setting my alarm to 4:45 every day.

Check out a great podcast by Michael Hyatt on Saying No using the following link:

http://michaelhyatt.com/027-how-to-say-no-without-feeling-guilty-podcast.html

Question of the Day:

What has been or will be one thing that you will say “No” to? When you say “No,” what are you saying “Yes” to?