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Every Day is New Year’s Day

Now that we are 1 month into 2016, consider this thought as you attack the first day of February:

“New Year’s Day is to refuel life with a new enthusiasm that energizes to take everything in a more positive way and helps to stay committed to attain excellence that inspires everyone straightaway.”
– Anuj Somany 
 
New Year’s Eve is always celebrated with vigor around the world.  Millions pack into New York’s Times Square to see the ball drop, fireworks are set off at the Opera House in Sydney Australia, and countless other celebrations are held on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the coming of a new year.  This celebration represents the enthusiasm that everyone has for a new start to a calendar year.
 
The competitor treats every day as a holiday, to refuel with a new enthusiasm and energy.  The positive approach to every day allows the Heart of the Competitor to continue to pursue excellence.  When excellence is pursued, it attracts excellence from others.
 
The challenge for the competitor is to treat each day as a holiday, as New Year’s Day.  In treating each day as New Year’s Day, the competitor attacks that day with an enthusiasm that is unknown to mankind.  They search out opportunities to help others, to energize others to a level that was once thought impossible to attain.
 
Many people make resolutions at the beginning of the new year.  The competitor makes commitments and develops habits in the new year because they understand that excellence and greatness is a journey. 
 
Make a commitment to greatness today!!
 
Make today your New Year’s Day!!
 
Question of the Day:
 
How can you celebrate today like it is New Year’s Day?

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Learning from Dabo Swinney’s Response

Our focus in the month of January for Community of Competitors Newsletter is to set up 2016 for success by focus on our response.  As many of you that have heard me speak know, my first mantra of success is as follows: We have no control over what goes on around us, and we have total control over how we respond.

Our lives are built around how we respond.  Last week, we provided an example of a back-up quarterback, Bram Kohlhausen, responding when he was given the one opportunity to start a game in his last collegiate game, after five years as a back-up quarterback.

In honor of Monday’s National Championship game, our focus on responding comes from Clemson Head Football Coach Dabo Swinney.  Coach Swinney’s career path has been made up of RESPONSES and it has landed his program in the National Championship game.  Coach Swinney has made the progression from walk-on player, to Graduate Assistant, to Assistant Coach, to Commercial Real Estate Agent, to Assistant Coach, to Interim Head Coach, to his current position at the Head Football Coach at Clemson University.  In November, the Washington Post released an article outlining Coach Sweeney’s career path.  (Washington Post Article: Dabo Swinney was the best shopping center leasing agent in Alabama)

An individual with the Heart of a Competitor is the sum of their RESPONSES and when we respond with authenticity and enthusiasm, we will be successful.  When a competitor that lacks heart RESPONDS with negativity and a lack of self-control, they will spiral downward and fail.  The Cincinnati Bengals performance and subsequent loss on Saturday were an example of this lack of control.

Continue to RESPOND with the Heart of a Competitor in 2016.

Check out last week’s post on RESPONDING:
Your Response = Your Success 

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Enthusiasm is a State of “BE”ing

“If you just hang around, do things with uninterest, griping for everything what is there, your life will be bitterest.  Laziness, tiredness will follow, your life will be pure agony, constantly griping about job, family, friends will have disharmony.  However, if you perk up, doing everything from the heart, with pure interest, go about like a dart.  I do not mean ambition, when you step on others, but do everything happily, not like losers.  Your life will turn into lights and happiness, when you make yourself enthusiastic with cheerfulness.  Specially when you stop opposing everything, sliding thru the days with happy glowing.  It is up to you what you choose.”

– LaSoaphia QuXazs

In today’s society we are pulled in many different directions, being called to multi-task at every possible moment.  Our minds love this because rarely does the mind desire to be still, it must have something to focus on, a problem to be solved.  However, this is not an effective strategy to be an effective present moment Competitor.  The Competitor must engage on the task at hand, they must “be where their feet are” and do things with interest.

Review the quote above and LaSoaphia provides strong words to BE engaged by “doing everything from the heart, with pure interest.”  This is true for the person with the Heart of a Competitor.  When you are doing homework, BE doing the homework and BE doing it with enthusiasm.  When you are calling a client, talk with the client, BE in the conversation and put your heart into the conversation.  When you are at practice, working on your skills, BE at practice and BE working on your skills.

Enthusiasm is a state of BEING.  Once we start engaging in enthusiasm, it permeates through our being and as written above, “Your life will turn into lights and happiness, when you make yourself enthusiastic with cheerfulness.”  The Competitor chooses to BE enthusiastic; this choice brings happiness and light into their lives.

For me, this is the basis of all that Heart of a Competitor is about.  The Heart of the Competitor lives with ENTHUSIASM and ENERGY in everything they do and everything they engage in.  This enthusiasm and energy will spread to those around you creating a network of energy that is unbeatable.

Questions of the Day:

Observe your attitude and comments today.  Are they comments of compliments and happiness?  Are they comments of complaints and bitterness?

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Maintaining Your Mission

“Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity and fear of others. Never decide to do nothing just because you can only do little. Do what you can. You would be surprised at what “little” acts have done for our world.” 

― Dr. Steve Maraboli, Author of Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

 

The Heart of the Competitor’s mission is to create amazing and tough-minded individuals to pursue their own personal mission with energy and enjoyment of the journey. Maximum positive energy and relentless enthusiasm is needed to methodically move forward on the journey to fulfill your mission. Your mission will provide countless opportunities and experiences if you are willing to maintain positive energy and relentless enthusiasm.

 

Positive energy and relentless enthusiasm will allow you to drive past the negativity and fear of those that are stuck on the sidelines unwilling to take a step into the arena. Those that are stuck on the sidelines, waiting to shoot you down and point out each small mistake lack the Heart of the Competitor. Their heart is used to merely pump blood throughout their body, while the Heart of the Competitor is pumping competitive blood throughout your body. The blood that drives your positive energy and relentless enthusiasm to pursue your mission, doing as little or as much as you can to trudge through adversity and ride the wave of prosperity.

 

Today may be a day that “slow and steady wins the race” or “fast and furious finishes with authority.” Focus on doing what is needed, whether this is a small step or huge leap, either will lead you to moving forward on your journey in your mission to have the Heart of a Competitor.

 

Question of the Day: 

What can you do to visualize the competitive blood pumping energy and enthusiasm throughout your body?

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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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A Coach’s Super Bowl

A mess can become a message. A few weeks ago, I wrote about my mess as a coach becoming my message. I had gone through a difficult coaching experience, wherein I was focused on comparing myself and the program I was running to everyone else; when true competition is competing against yourself to do the best that you can. This experience has led me to the message that is the Heart of a Competitor and the program that is nearing completion.

Over the past year and a half I have had the opportunity to work with athletes and coaches in a variety of sports and it has taken me to a number of different athletic contests. In these athletic contests, the competitive arena, I love to watch the relationship between competitor and coach. The title of coach comes with great responsibility, a responsibility to connect with an athlete and translate your knowledge to their performance. There are a variety of ways to do this, but there is only one time to do it, in practice.

Practice is the coach’s Super Bowl, while the competition should be the competitor’s Super Bowl. The young competitor’s we work with always feel they are being evaluated because they are being recorded and evaluated in competitive situations. Great coaches do record and evaluate game situations, but they use it to teach in practice, not in the middle of a competition.

Using this video in the middle of a competition is a recipe for “Paralysis by Analysis.” Competitive greatness for an athlete is a mind and body connection to perform during competition, leaving the analyzing and judging for a later time. Competitive greatness is not enhanced by being shown where your feet or hands are located at during a movement; competitive greatness is about being connected and focused on performing at your peak.

For all of the competitors that read this message, continue to focus on competing and giving your best effort in the present moment during competitions. Then during practice be focused and connected to your coach and the lessons each of you have learned from competition.

For the coaches that read this message, treat practice like your Super Bowl and connect with and teach your athletes then, allow them to demonstrate their progress and COMPETE in the competition.

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Pride: The 1 Secret to Alabama’s Success

Pride permeates through every aspect of the competitor’s life. Pride in every effort and every endeavor the competitor undertakes, no matter how small it may seem at the time. Pride is doing the best that you can do to become the best that you can become. Imagine placing a sign on the front of your jersey that says the Heart of a Competitor is behind this jersey. That is what you are doing everyday.  (Watch this Nick Saban Press Conference and you will understand the Jersey reference.)

“There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.”

 – John Maxwell, Writer and Leadership Consultant

 

To accomplish a goal and to demonstrate excellence in any field a competitor must have pride in their work and pride in their heart. For a competitor, pride can take on many forms, but best-selling author and speaker, John Maxwell, mentions the most important part of pride above there must be dignity and self-respect. The Heart of the Competitor has the dignity and self-respect inwardly that forces them to pay attention to every small and seemingly inconsequential detail. Pride is the reason the baseball team hustles on and off the field. Pride is the reason the football team hands the ball back to the official, so preparation for the next play can occur. Pride is the reason the team walks together in lines of two coming off the bus to the field.

 

On the other side of the pride coin is the bad pride that seemingly seeps into some competitor’s lives. This is the “bad pride” that is evident when certain competitors walk like they have never done anything wrong. It is not the confident or successful strut, it is the “arrogant” and “I am too good for that” attitude that radiates from their body. The arrogant individual that never helps pick-up equipment or the individual that jogs to the next station. This has no part in the Heart of the Competitor, for the Heart of the Competitor is always asking what else they can do to help themselves and help the team.

 

Coaches and players that have experienced success at a young age must fight the “bad pride.” Those that experience success in the form of wins and losses at a young age have a tendency to develop the “show up and win” attitude that reeks of conceit and arrogance. The players that have to work at the craft develop the Heart of the Competitor because they have always had to fight and prove their will can defeat an opponent’s skill.

 

How have you evidenced “good pride”? How will you evidence “good pride”? (What have you done to show self-respect and dignity toward your craft?)

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Community of Competitors: Enthusiasm is Contagious

My goal is for this blog to provide value and allow you to develop skills to become the COMPETITOR that you desire. Please take a moment to complete a survey regarding Coach Swarr’s Blog.

 Link to Coach Swarr’s Survey

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

– Winston Churchill

Failure framed properly creates learning opportunities.  For each failure the competitor gains knowledge that will help them in a future competition.  This knowledge gained is what keeps the competitive heart beating.  The enthusiasm is what is required to continually attempt to use the knowledge gained from failures.

Winston Churchill provides a glimpse of success in noting that you must keep moving forward and learn from failure after failure and maintain your enthusiasm.  Applied to today’s society, many competitors personalize winning and losing as who they are.  The usual thought process or self-talk goes like this, “When I win, I am a winner.” Or “When I lose, I am a loser.”

To be a true competitor, this must be changed, a shift to understanding that competition is a learning opportunity, as Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski believes, “Each game is a checkpoint in our progress.”  When you have the Heart of a Competitor, you understand the competition is a method for gauging your progress.  Thus, the competition provides feedback that you can LEARN from, act upon, and come out improving upon.

The Heart of the Competitor maintains this view of learning from failure and can achieve success as quoted above by Winston Churchill, moving from failure to failure, knowing that we are learning, maintains our enthusiasm.  When we maintain our enthusiasm, we will achieve at a higher level.