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Conversation with Sam Walker, author of The Captain Class

In July, the Competitor’s Heart TRIBE was blessed to welcome Wall Street Journal Editor and best-selling author, Sam Walker.  Sam shared awesome insight into his study of the captains that led great teams. You are encouraged to check out the recording of this call using the link below:

Competitor’s Heart TRIBE Coaching Call – July 16

Check out Sam Walker’s best-selling book The Captain Class.

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Time is a Precious Resource

Every so often, we experience events in our lives that are reminders that can steer us in the right direction.  For me, that reminder occurred over the last two weeks, while my family was on vacation…Time is our most precious resource that we have and that we can give to our self and others.

When my wife started talking about taking our usual summer beach trip and extending it to two weeks instead of our usual one-week, I was a hesitant to agree.  However, about the time we were discussing this, I read a little piece by my good friend, speaker, best-selling author, and Executive Coach, John Brubaker about the importance of using time off and the number of unused vacation days within our country.  As a teacher, speaker and author, the temptation is there to use the summer months as a time to work on writing and connecting with various programs that I am blessed to work with, and when I read Coach Bru’s piece, I thought, “Let’s invest the time and go away for two weeks.”

The two weeks away was the best thing that ever happened for our family.  As a father of two young boys, I had dedicated time to take them to the playground and basketball courts every single day.  We also had quality time in the ocean jumping waves and riding waves.  Since we were away during the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals, we had excuses to stay up late into the night and watch these events.  All of the time we were together is an investment in the building of our family.  Of course I still woke up in early in the morning and did some work, but everything that was done, was an investment of time.

Time is our most precious resource; we can either invest the time or spend the time.  Early on in my coaching career, I would have considered vacation an expense of time, something that I avoided; now time away with the family is an investment.  So the challenge for every Competitor is to look at their time and recognize the investment of this precious resource, time.

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

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What goes at the end of this sentence?

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all talk to ourselves. Many people even joke that as long as they are not answering themselves, they are ok. While this may be a little bit humorous, it strikes at the heart of a needed area of improvement for an athlete to compete at the peak of their abilities.

Self-talk can take on many forms and the first step to addressing and driving our self-talk to be the talk of the Heart of the Competitor is to recognize what we are saying to ourselves. If we sit down and evaluate what we are saying to ourselves, we would be appalled. In many sessions and workshops with teams, I have given post-it notes to players and had them write down things they have said to themselves when they were struggling and they read as a laundry list of vulgar and foul language. If you were to use these words to a friend, they would quickly not be your friend, so why do we talk this way to ourselves?

Over the next week listen to your self-talk and what message you are providing to your inner being. A simple evaluation can relate to the punctuation that would be included at the end of the statements that you make to yourself. Do your statements end in a question mark or a period?

When your statements end with a question mark, you are creating a conversation in your mind, which leads to doubt in your skills and performance. As you are evaluating your self-talk and you notice these questions, make the transition to making statements in lieu of questions. Th is is a simple step in driving your self-talk to reinforce the Heart of a Competitor that you are creating to maintain this heartbeat during competition.


Over the last day or week, what are some statements that you have made or questions you have asked of yourself?

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


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Even Will Ferrell Trusts “The Process”

TRIBE of Competitors,

“Win Forever means to aspire to be the best you can be, or to “maximize your potential.” But Winning Forever is not about the final score; it’s about competing and striving to be your best. Competition is the central theme of Carroll’s football program and life, and the day-to-day thinking is driven by one thought: to do things better than they have ever been done before. If you want to win forever, you must always compete.”

– From Pete Carroll’s story behind his web site.

Focusing on the process to achieve greatness is at the center of the Heart of a Competitor. Achieving greatness and competing is about taking every single opportunity to improve, to find a better way to do something, and knowing that achieving at a high level is about consistently adhering to the process of finding methods to advance ourselves.

The central theme of Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll’s Win Forever philosophy is written above.This philosophy is a true testament to maintaining a focus on the process. Coach Carroll began to develop his Win Forever philosophy after his first head coaching position in the National Football League ended in his being fired. While he was out of work, he took a long hard look at his philosophies and decided that if he got another opportunity to coach he would focus his day-to-day thinking on doing things better. Ironically, when Coach Carroll began to implement his Win Forever philosophy, which focused on competing and continually improving, his teams achieved more success on the field of competition against their opponents.

The Heart of the Competitor maintains laser-like focus on the process of maximizing their skills to the highest-level possible, to always compete. While the competitor is competing, they understand that true competition is with themselves to get better, to improve their skills to a higher level than they were at the beginning of the day. When continued improvement is the goal, the process is front and center in our minds and achievement will be higher than even expected.

Will Ferrell was the 2017 Commencement address speaker at the University of Southern California (USC).  You can watch the full commencement address here:
Will Ferrell USC Commencement Address

During this address, the Actor/Comedian talks about enjoying the process and near the end of his address he says, “Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result.”  Today, and this week, enjoy the process of living each day in your search to become and develop a Competitor’s Heart, without succumbing to the pressure that can be placed on you related to the results.


Pick out one thing that you are going to focus on today and find a way to do it better. Write the one thing down and a plan to make it better.

Every day is a competition and it is yours to win.
Yours in Competition,

Coach Swarr

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What does it mean to Compete?

I am trying something a little different this week.  We recorded a short video for this week’s message.  Please take the two plus minutes that encompasses this video and think about what it means to Compete.

I am sincerely interested in your feedback to answer the question:

What does it mean to Compete?

Click Here to answer the 1 Question Survey: What does it mean to Compete?

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

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Distracted By Talent

We are living in the age of distraction.  At any moment, we can experience a notification on our smartphone tellings us we need to check a social media update to an important email just begging to be answered.  While technology provides us examples of the various distractions that can invade our life, we are also distracted by talent.  In business, human resource offices are getting makeovers and renamed, including the word talent offices and in sports, we are constantly looking for the next great talented individual that will be an instant impact.  Fans, coaches, and even competitors get distracted by talent.


The North Carolina versus Kentucky NCAA Tournament game that was held yesterday included high level talent, and it is easy to be distracted by the talent in the game.  Just watch the last minute when Kentucky made some unbelievable 3-pointers and will be amazed at the talent that was on display.  Former walk-on, Luke Maye, made the game-winning shot for North Carolina with 0.3 seconds left in the game, and let’s be clear, Luke May has talent.  North Carolina does not offer a walk-on roster to spot to anyone off the street, but Luke Maye’s name is not going to be one of the first names you mention about the current North Carolina basketball team.  Maye’s post-game quote was a perfect example of why we need to be less distracted by talent and more focused on what we do a daily basis.  When Luke Maye was asked about making this last-second, game-winning shot, he answered, “I took that shot, just like I do everyday in practice.”


Herein lies our focus that great Competitors do in the spotlight what they do everyday outside of the spotlight.  We may be distracted by talent, but great performances do not just happen, they are prepared for and worked on every single day.  As we work on a daily basis, we are building the focus, the passion, and the talent that is on display.  Let us understand that talent is built, it is worked on, so do not be distracted by talent as something that is bestowed upon a chosen few.  Go out this week and build your talent and change the world because if you build your talent, soon we may be distracted by you.