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Enjoying the Journey

“Success is a journey not a destination. The doing is usually more important than the outcome. Not everyone can be number one.”

– Arthur Ashe, Hall of Fame Tennis Player

Society will tell us that we are only successful if we have achieved a championship outcome. We will be glorified for reaching the pinnacle of our chosen pursuit, whether it is the “A” in the classroom, the state championship, or winning the Super Bowl. We become inundated with this focus on the outcome because it is plastered all over social media, filling our timelines and eventually our mind. We eventually become ill with “Disease of Destination.” Fortunately there is a cure for the Disease of Destination and it is called the Journey.

Our journey is our progress and development over time. Having developed the Heart of a Competitor, we understand that given the time to focus our development we will see progress. In addition to this progress over time, the time allows us to enjoy the experiences that result from our development and progress this is the journey.

The journey is built of the friendships that are forged as result of our commitment to the doing. The journey is the places that we experience and see because of our opportunities. The journey is made of our reflection and pride in a job well done and in the work that lies ahead. The journey is not about being number one; it is about being the best you, having your best Heart of a Competitor.

Focusing on enjoying the journey allows a great journey to be made because our minds are open to the opportunities. We are pushed, pulled, and prodded to experiences that we can barely imagine, but fully experience. The journey to the Heart of a Competitor is calling you.

Question of the Day:

What experience or experiences have you been given the opportunity to have through this journey to the Heart of a Competitor?

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10 Ways to Have the “Luck of the Irish”

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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, this weekly newsletter contains 10 Irish Proverbs or Blessings that Championship Competitors can use to mold the Heart of a Competitor.

  1. May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgetting. -Irish Blessing

Playing in the present moment is about letting go of any past performances that keep us from performing at our potential. Learn the lessons from the past and focus on the present moment. You are meant to be in this present moment.

  1. Praise the young and they will blossom. – Irish Proverb

Be positive with our kids and they will grow to have the Heart of a Competitor, focused on what they can control, giving all out effort, and doing the little things that are needed to be successful.

  1. There is no luck except where there is discipline. – Irish Proverb

Habits and routines build a discipline that allows the Championship Competitor to “be in the right place at the right time.” Create championship habits and routines in your daily life.

  1. If you do not sow in the spring, you will not reap in the autumn. – Irish Proverb

We must place priorities in our lives and work towards accomplishing these priorities. Accomplishment is rooted in working hard on the priorities that you have established. True achievement occurs over a long period of time.

  1. It is a long road that has no turning. -Irish Proverb on Life

Success is a journey and becoming a championship competitor is about enjoying the long road of life.

  1. You will never plow a field by turning it over in your mind. – Irish Proverb

Championship Competitors create plans in their mind AND take action. Nothing gets accomplished in our mind, those with the Heart of a Competitor take action.

  1. An old broom knows the dirty corners best. – Irish Proverb

Experience is a great teacher. Championship Competitors learn from their experiences and tap into the experiences of others.

  1. Count your joys instead of your woes. Count your friends instead of your foes. – Irish Proverb

Focus on the positive relationships in your life and be rid of those that bring you down.

  1. May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live. – Irish Blessing

The Heart of a Competitor is competing to become the best they can become. The Heart of a Competitor is focused on competition and not comparing, not wanting what others have, but living a life that is full of what is best for them.

  1. “Old Irish Blessing”

Always remember to forget the things that made you sad.

But never forget to remember the things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue.

But never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget the troubles that passed away.

But never forget to remember the blessing that come each day.

This week, may you be blessed with the good fortune of the Irish. The good fortune that comes from remembering what has made you glad, those competitors that are in the fight with you, and the blessings that are in your life.

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Believing in You

Optimism is a way of life in everything we do as a competitor. We must believe that our goals and dreams will be reached; it is what motivates us on a daily basis. The belief and open-minded alertness that we will have numerous opportunities to do something that will help us achieve at our highest level.

Your beliefs and hope will move you forward each and every single day. Optimism is the drive to believe in the positive outcome of your process, your daily routines and habits. Developing optimism is the building block of accomplishing the large hair-brained ideas, goals, and dreams that we visualize.

This Far Side comic is the epitome of the large hair brained ideas, goals and dreams the competitor visualizes. There is always the “If.” The competitor allows this “If” to be present, but the Heart of the Competitor utilizes the optimism to know that when the hair-brained ideas come to fruition and they are accomplished, the rewards of accomplishment will be reaped. For what the competitor “sows, they also shall reap.” Sowing our thoughts, words, and actions with optimism, we will reap more than proceeding with a passive and negative approach.

Optimism and positive energy is a way of life. In order to begin thinking in an optimistic, the competitor must observe their way of thinking and the words they use. Are we using the self-talk of encouragement? Are we using the self-talk of persistent pursuit of our goals and dreams? As a first step in the optimist walk is recognizing what is said within our own head. Observe these words and when a negative thought enters your head, replace those with the optimistic, positive words.

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An Inconvenience = An Opportunity

When a forecast of a measureable snowstorm is broadcast over the local news stations, there is typically a rush to the grocery store.  People fear they will be stuck inside for an extended period of time and run out the needed supplies.  People generally complain about the winter weather and the inconvenience of snow.

Snow provides the perfect metaphor for our lives as competitors because in every inconvenience is an opportunity.

Many times we will wait for the conditions to be right to remove the snow.  We think that we need to wait until the snow is over or it is warmer and the snow will melt.  We rely on the weather or the conditions to become perfect.  This is our mind delaying and avoiding the work that needs to be done.

If the conditions never become “right,” we will never act, so another approach is to look around and see if there are other people that will clear the snow.  We take this mindset into competition, looking around to see if other people will step up and do what needs to be done.

The third option to clearing snow is TAKING ACTION.  Get to work and start shoveling.

The Heart of the Competitor is called to get to work and start shoveling in their competitive lives.  The Heart of the Competitor does not sit around and wait for the “conditions to be right.”  The Heart of the Competitor takes action and knows the conditions will never be perfect.  The Heart of the Competitor is taking the lead and moving forward, blazing the trail.  Have the Heart of a Competitor and take the first step.

This week, TAKE ACTION.

Is there something that you have been waiting to do?  Go for it, take a first step, then the second, then the third, and enjoy every inconvenience that occurs in your steps because within the inconvenience is the opportunity.

Is there something that you have been looking at others to do for you?  Take ownership back and TAKE ACTION.

As a competitor, the conditions will never be perfect; TAKE ACTION and you will create the optimum conditions for your best performances.

Create action and share this action on Facebook, Tweet about your action, or simply respond to this email.  I love to hear about COMPETITORS taking action and creating their best performances.

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Maintaining the Mission

“Every mission constitutes a pledge of duty.  Every man is bound to consecrate his every faculty to its fulfillment.  He will derive his rule of action from the profound conviction of that duty.”

 – William Lloyd Garrison, Journalist and a founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society

Goals are merely checkpoints on our journey that is our mission. A defined mission provides focus and determination to move forward, enduring setbacks as learning opportunities and successes as springboards. Establishing a mission creates a focus and mindset to be open to opportunities that are available to pursue our mission.

When on a mission, goals are needed, however they are merely checkpoints in this pursuit.

The mission of the Heart of the Competitor is to create the thought process within every individual that they have the ability to become the best they can be. It is about competing with yourself to become 1% better everyday. The Heart of the Competitor maintains the mindset of minuscule improvement over a long period of time, which allows greatness and excellence to be achieved.

The Heart of the Competitor is not about winning the athletic or competitive lottery; it is about a daily devotion to maintaining positive energy with focus and attention on what can be improved on a daily basis.

It is the purpose of the Heart of the Competitor daily readings to maintain the mindset of marching forward each day. This reinforcement is needed because the world around us will invade our thought process at times and provide doubt and distractions from our mission and goals. It is at these times the Heart of the Competitor is needed the most, to kick those doubts and questions out of our mind and focus on doing what we can to improve on that day.

Commitment from the heart to the mission will direct all of our work to improvement, which will lead to achievement and accomplishment.

Question of the Day:

What have you done to kick the doubts out of your mind and focus on your mission?

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10 Lessons for a Talk with Best-Selling Author Jon Gordon

Thanks to Columbia University Head Baseball Coach and good friend, Brett Boretti, this past week, I had an amazing opportunity to hear best-selling author Jon Gordon speak to the Columbia University Baseball and Women’s Lacrosse teams.  Jon Gordon’s book The Energy Bus jumpstarted my thoughts and beliefs in building the Community of Competitors as a goal in my life.

The following are ten pieces from Jon’s talk:

  1. Culture drives a team to achieve.

Teams achieve great things as a result of the culture they build.  A culture of teamwork and positivity will drive the habits that produce daily energy and progress.

  1. Goals do not take you anywhere.

Goals are great to have and we all need them, however a commitment to the process of improving is what moves us and takes us to great experiences and achievement.

  1. Optimism is a competitive advantage.

Teams and individuals that maintain a positive outlook work harder and achieve more.  Optimists believe their hard work will pay off.

  1. We are being refined, not defined.

Optimists are not defined by their failures; they are refined by their failures.  They take the lessons learned from a failure and refine their thought process or actions improve.

  1. Visualize the outcome and focus on the Process.

Champions love to visualize and feel the dog pile of a championship, however true competitive champions know the process is what drives the progress and allows championships to be achieved.

  1. Distractions are the enemy of greatness.

Like the great scientists who have made discoveries with Microscopes, great teams can zoom focus on the task at hand and what is needed to get 1% better everyday.

  1. You do not have to be great to serve, but you have to serve to be great.

Great competitors and leaders are always serving and looking for what they can do for others.

  1. When you know your why, you know your way.

When you have a purpose in life, you will find a way to make things happen.

  1. I am not who I am.  I am who I am becoming.

We are always learning, always gaining experience.  We are being molded into the great competitors we can become.

  1. We cannot choose the events in our life, but we can choose our response.

We are born to be great.  Greatness is achieved because we are able to respond in a positive way to every setback and success in our life.

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Learning From a Mess

This is a great time in the year.  It is the first full week of a new year and everyone is excited to start anew on their New Year’s resolutions, goals, or live out their word for the year.  Building on last week, when we mapped out the importance of our routine of self-development and reading 15 minutes a day, I wanted to let you know about the first book that I read in 2015, The Hinge by Dr. Rob Bell.  I loved the way Dr. Bell set-up the book and provided numerous stories of people demonstrating mental toughness and the aspects that make-up mental toughness.  There is one specific piece of this book that hit home for me and it is the following quote:

“Our mess becomes our message.”

As I reflect on my life as a competitor, a coach, the work I am doing now, my mess has definitely become my message.  As a young player, I did not have the mental toughness, self-control, and faith in my abilities to perform at my peak.  There was always a doubt in my mind that I could compete with those that I was against.

This mindset carried over into coaching, always looking at what other coaches were doing and comparing myself to them.  This created the feeling that I needed to win each game because that would prove that I was better.  This is a true definition of a fixed mindset.  This did not mean that I was less than successful, just always pushing.  In December of 2005, I was fortunate enough to be named the Head Baseball Coach at Millersville University, achieving a goal, to be a Head College Baseball Coach.  This was the beginning of my mess, but is now an integral part of my message.  I ended up spending two LONG years at Millersville, with many factors that led to us losing 37 games in 2007.  Experiencing these 37 losses was the toughest thing to endure, but has been the biggest blessing, focusing my mindset on development and improvement rather than the worldly pursuit of wins and losses.

This mess has led me to the message of the Heart of the Competitor, a 1 Year Daily reader that will be completed in the near future to impact the lives of all the competitors out there.  In the next couple of newsletters, I will be providing a glimpse into the Heart of the Competitor.

You are signed up for this weekly Community of Competitors newsletter because you are a part of a group of people that want to get better.  As we approach the first full week of 2015, enjoy the day and grow in any way possible, knowing that your mess, even a mess of a number of losses, can become your message.

Yours in the fight,

Jeff Swarr

I would love to come share my message (mess) with your team in the New Year and my calendar is filling up for 2015.  Email me or give me a call at 717-917-8409.

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Winning the Growth War in 2015

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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

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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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Set Yourself on Fire

“Success isn’t the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”

 – Arnold H. Glasow

Goals that are written down are worth nothing more than the paper they are inscribed upon. They are like many corporate or organizational mission statements, window dressing.

Having the Heart of the Competitor allows for the goals to become passions that ignite accomplishment and achievement. The focus on the process and incremental daily progress toward goals must be the mindset of the competitor. The danger in goals is that they are set and forgotten about, with no action taken toward them. Goals will not be achieved without action; achievement is preceded by action.

Action must be taken on a daily basis to move forward. Search each day for an opportunity to move forward. This movement can be incrementally small or exponentially large, it does not matter. Ironically, an incrementally small step forward repeated over a long period of time allows for exponential growth to occur.

“Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.”

– Adolphe Monod

Each day provides a danger that we will do nothing because we fear that we will not be successful or the actions that can be taken are too small. Choose to take action, to do the small things that will allow you to achieve and develop the Heart of the Competitor.

Question of the Day:

 What action have you taken today to advance toward your goals?