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How can you create OPTIMISM in 2017?

Optimism is defined as hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. 

– Google Dictionary definition

A competitor with an optimistic outlook hopes that in the future they will achieve the successful outcome they desire.  Hope however is not the driving force for them because in hoping for something to happen, we are implying that we have little control over its’ occurrence, that we are blindly throwing a dart at a dartboard and hoping to hit.

This hopefulness is combined with confidence.  The confidence the Heart of the Competitor establishes is based in their thoughts and actions that develop the confident mindset.  Confidence is taking action.  Confidence is being aware of the limitless possibilities that exist around us.  Maintaining awareness of these limitless possibilities allows the optimist to maintain this hope because they will allows be open and prepared when opportunity arises.

Optimism is a cycle, beginning with the belief in achievement as being possible, a hopefulness that all will work out, coupled with a confidence that when an opportunity arises, the competitor will act and achieve the successful outcome they desire.

Remember this: Optimism may be born with hope, but it is delivered with action.  The competitor’s actions and achievements will drive optimism, which will renew the belief within our mindset.  So, an optimist needs to act, even when they do not believe.  This action will lead to learning and the continual development of confidence in achievement.

Your goal for today: Renew your commitment to action; achievement will follow, allowing optimism to continually grow within you.

Question of the Day:

Write down one action you have been waiting to take.  Commit to taking this action today.  When you take this action be hopeful and open to all possibilities that will come from your action.

Each day is a competition and it is yours to win.

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How will you know when your MISSION is complete?

“How do you know if your mission in life is fi nished? If you’re still alive, it isn’t.”

– Richard Bach, American Writer

The Heart of the Competitor’s mission is continuous, for it is not the pursuit of championships but of excellence. Excellence is the goal in every endeavor that is pursued. Excellence is frequently confused with perfection, however, true excellence is a commitment to continually pursuing improvements through learning opportunities.

The Mission of the Heart of a Competitor is to build mentally tough competitors that are able to continually move forward on their mission pursuing excellence in their daily habits and routines. The Heart of the Competitor desires to be known for their daily work and persistence through adversity to achieve at the highest level they are capable of achieving. A commitment to extremely strong daily routines over a long period of time allows excellence to be achieved. Excellence may be the attainment of several short-term goals or pursuit of a large long-term goal.

The Heart of the Competitor’s mission is never complete. This is not to say that busyness or “getting things done” is essential in a mission; your mission is about completing the right things. You will know they are the right things when your mind and energy are open to the opportunities around you and you are led to pursue these right opportunities.

Your mission will guide you through your life as a competitor to pursue excellence. By taking the time to establish your mission, you are allowing the experiences in your life to happen and learning opportunities to occur for excellence to be pursued.


What is an event or learning opportunity that has occurred in the last day, week, or month that has demonstrated to you that you are on the right track for your mission?

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4 Leadership Lessons from the Army/Navy Game

There are many great aspects to sports and sporting events in the United States of America, but they pale in comparison to the Army/Navy Football Game. This past weekend, I was fortunate to attend my second Army/Navy Football game. I first attended this game in 2007 with my dad. This year, thanks to close friend, Jesse Sabatini this tradition was passed on to my son as Jesse and me took him to experience this tradition that is now billed, “America’s Game.”

Being a part of the Army/Navy Football game is something special. While CBS attempts to capture the special nature of this event to the viewer at home, there is a different feeling of energy at the stadium for this event. This level of energy is only true at this event, regardless of the number of people in attendance. Attending an Army/Navy game with a little over 71,000 people has more energy than your typical college football game.

There were 4 Leadership Lessons that struck me while reflecting on this game.

Leadership Lesson #1: Love and Respect Your Opponent

The Latin Root of the word “compete” is com petire, which means, “to seek together.” The service academies compete WITH each other to perform at the highest level. It is true on the football field and it is true off the football field. The entire week leading up to the Army/Navy Football game is made up of competitions with Army/Navy in the Patriot Games. (Link to a Baltimore Sun Article/Pictures of the Patriot Games.)

This was true throughout the stadium, as Army/Navy fans sat with each other, communicated with each other, loved each other and respected each other.

Leadership Lesson #2: Discipline is King.

In a day and age when our attention can be drawn away and focused on the newest fad, good ole’ DISCIPLINE wins. Army and Navy combined to commit three penalties (three for Navy and zero for Army) the entire game. These service academies understand the need for discipline as the King to achievement. In a game that included 90 rushing plays combined there were exactly zero holding penalties, this is astounding and a testament to discipline.

This discipline can be transferred into our lives as the key to accomplishment; disciplined habits and routines place us on a path to achieve. Discipline yourself, so others do not need to.

Leadership Lesson #3: Know Your Strengths and Push the Boundaries

The service academies understand their strengths lie within their ability to execute in a disciplined fashion. This is the exact reason they run some form of the Triple Option Offense. The Triple Option is based off of disciplined execution and as a fan in attendance; many times it was difficult to understand who had the football. While the Triple Option offense and discipline is their strength, they push the boundaries of their strengths. When Army was behind for the first time in the game, their first offensive play was a lengthy pass play. Army was pushing their strengths because they were playing to win, and in order to win, we must push our boundaries.

Leadership Lesson #4: Celebrate Success

The celebration that ensued on the field following Army’s victory on Saturday was something to behold in person because it was NOT just the cadets of West Point that were celebrating it was EVERYONE, from top military brass, to enlisted soldiers, to retired officers and soldiers. It was not a surprise to see the cadets storm the field, but Army fans from the entire stadium celebrated the victory on the field.

This celebration was 15 years in the making; imagine waiting 15 years to accomplish a goal, you should celebrate the success. Great Competitors celebrate their success.

Success is celebrated because we love and respect our opponents; we have been disciplined and worked like crazy utilizing our strengths, and pushing our boundaries.

Enjoy the week and keep COMPETING.



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How can you LIVE and COMPETE from the Heart?

“The heart is the first feature of working minds.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect, Writer, Educator
Building the Heart of the Competitor is an incremental process of continually building every skill needed to be mentally tough, having an enduring spirit, and constantly moving forward regardless of the struggle or adversity.

Nobody other than yourself can know what is in your heart.  However, others will be aware of what is in your heart by your everyday actions.   Your everyday actions to do your job and do it to the best of your ability will be the outward representation of what is in your heart.

Are you being the best teammate, coworker, husband, friend, mother, child, etc. that you can be?

Are you focusing on every moment, drill, and interaction to the fullest?

Approach everyday with this spirit and focus in your heart and you will live a life that exemplifies what is in your heart.  The heart is the living muscle that pushes the competitor to new heights and provides passion to continually be moving forward.

The Heart of the Competitor is mentally tough because their heart is fully immersed in pursuing the mission and enjoying the journey.  The heart is essential to maintaining life and the heart is essential to engaging our minds and enjoying the present moment.

Frank Lloyd Wright created numerous historically creative buildings.  Creating unique buildings that shared a message was in his heart.  His passion and mental toughness to handle adversity and challenges were evident in the buildings he designed and the projects that he was involved with.  Frank Lloyd Wright had the Heart of a Competitor, which allowed his mind to work wonders in creating buildings that have stood for hundreds of years.

You can have the Heart of the Competitor to allow your work to create a legacy that will stand for hundreds of years.

Question of the Day:
How do you do your job and build the Heart of a Competitor legacy that will stand for hundreds of years?

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THANKFUL for Challenges and Failures

On this Thanksgiving, many will take the time to recognize and name that for which they are thankful.  If you are like most people this will begin with family, health, and the list will go on.  I am thankful for the immediate family of my wife, Emily, our two sons, Simon, 7, and Spencer, 4, the extended family of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I am also thankful for the blessing of health that my immediate and extended family enjoys.  Moving from there, I would be remiss if I did not mention that I am thankful for a steady career as a teacher and the colleagues that I am blessed to work with, many of whom I call friends.

I could continue to list the things that I am thankful for, but there is one thought of thankfulness that continues to build a space in my brain and that is to be thankful for challenges and failures.  Challenges and failures have led me to enjoy the successes that have blessed my life.

I am thankful for the failures of previous relationships prior to meeting my wife, Emily.  These failures forced me to become a better person, knowing that relationships and ultimately marriage takes work and commitment.

I am thankful for the challenges and failures as a coach.  The many losses that I endured as a Collegiate Head Baseball Coach forced me to evaluate myself and my Core Values.  This failure challenged me to become more and focus on the connections with others and how I can serve others, rather than having them serve me.  These challenges led me to the Core Values, of Learning, Teaching, and Serving.

I am thankful for the times as a young coach that I lost control, breaking a clipboard, throwing a fungo bat, or going into a general tirade.  These situations have demonstrated to me the need for control and have allowed me to become a better father when responding to Simon and Spencer, a better teacher when working with a lethargic student, and have increased my ability to respond using logic and training rather than emotion.

I am thankful for the challenges and failures of positions I applied for and did not get.  I once found out I did not get a head coaching position from the person who got the job.  (That was awkward.)  I went to an interview in a neighboring school district with no portfolio or examples, totally unprepared.  I interviewed for an Athletic Director position, as a finalist and received no communication, not an email, or phone call from them for 3+ months, until I received a form email saying they had filled the position.  I also interviewed for another Athletic Director position and was told in front of another candidate that neither of us would get the position.  I am thankful for all of these failures and challenges because they fill my life with appreciation for the teaching position that I have at Lampeter-Strasburg High School because I am part of a staff that landed itself in the Top 1% of schools in Pennsylvania for improving the performance of their students in Algebra.

So when we sit down and list the things we are thankful for today, your challenge is to list a couple of failures and challenges you have experienced.  Look at how they have been a blessing or how they can be turned into a blessing because right around the corner from that challenge is the blessing.

Thanks for being a part of the TRIBE of Competitors.  Check out our launch of the Competitor’s Heart TRIBE Membership that is 50% for a LIMITED TIME.  It makes a great gift for the ELITE Competitor in your life.