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Fear is a Passenger on our Journey

Over the last four years as I have had the opportunity to work with numerous teams, individuals, and businesses it’s evident to me that those that are most successful compete with courage. Courage is one of the five fundamentals of building a TRIBE.  Courage is not an absence/lack of fear, or not acknowledging fear. Courage is looking that fear in face and utilizing that fear as a passenger on our journey.

Many people say that we should live without fear and I take a little issue with this because we will experience fear or that little doubt that creeps into our mind.  Fear might pop up in the form of things that we do not like to do or things that really do scare us. When we compete from the heart and build our Competitor’s heart we are taking those small things that we might struggle with and might place doubt in our mind and we are using them to propel us to great things.  We have the ability to create the competitive life that we desire and quite frankly we deserve.

As we work with teams to move to a TRIBE and become something bigger than just a team, we must demonstrate and live out a competitive life of courage. This courage we are referencing does not mean that we will be saving someone’s life by the way we compete and play in a competition, but great competitors put their self on the line in every competitive situation we encounter. When I say competitive situation I do not mean every game, you see everyday is a competitive situation and it takes courage to go out and embark on the unexpected.  

Being a great competitor means utilizing the fear that comes with the uniqueness and unexpectedness of every day as a welcomed passenger on your journey to excellence.

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Changing the Question

What if we take a risk and it does not work out?

This was the question I was asked by one of the competitors this past week when I spoke at the Adidas Future 500 Soccer ID Camp at Eastern University.

This question is a common question that young competitors have floating around in their mind. What if we take a risk and it does not work out?

This question is focused on the failure or lack of success that are possible in any risk that is taken and the mindset that is pervasive throughout society that gets pushed into our young competitors’ minds. It is the goal of the Heart of the Competitor to change this mindset and ask a different question, “What if we never take the risk, what would we miss out on?”

This is a striking change in perspective.

The original question is focused on the failure and lack of success, as measured by society and it is the narrative that many competitors, young and old have floating around in their mind, the fear of failure and at the same time, the fear of success. The original question is focused specifically on fear. The challenge is to move from fearing to enjoying the experience that is our life, our competition. Our life is a competition with our self to get the most out of it. We are blessed with the opportunities that are presented to us and we are blessed to take action on these opportunities. The actions we take allow us to learn and then apply this learning in future opportunities. Taking action creates an abundance of opportunities for us to increase the experiences available to us.

So ask yourself the question: “What if we never take the risk, what would we miss out on?”

Then, go and do the thing you have been holding back on. When competitors young and old look back on their lives, they will regret more of what they did NOT do, than more of what they did do.

If you are a coach reading this, allow your competitors to take risks and be there to provide the learning context from their action.

If you are a parent, support your child’s coach in taking risks to build a great program AND support your child in their risk taking.

If you are a player, go out and perform, freely, enjoying the experience and learning from each opportunity, in other words, go out and COMPETE.

Enjoy the experience that is your Competition.

 

 

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Filling Your Fuel Tank of Faith

“Faith is believing in something that sometimes doesn’t always seem logical.”

– Anonymous

Faith must overcome the naysayers, the nonbelievers, and the recently termed “negaholics”, those people addicted to negative thoughts.

These non-competitors are quick to point out all of the reasons why an idea or venture will not work. While these non-competitors, the losers, are sitting on the sidelines of life, the person with the Heart of a Competitor is engrossed in their dream and making it a reality.   The non-competitors are working for other people, making others’ dreams come true.

The Competitor’s faith will be tested as a result of the words of others, the questions the non-competitors will ask, placing doubt in your mind. However, it is the faith, the choice to believe in your dream, the confidence to continue to move on and make daily progress toward a goal that appears unachievable that drive the Heart of the Competitor.

Making the commitment to read this program on a daily basis is a part of the process of developing faith in a goal or dream that may not seem logical. As you complete these writings and answer the Question of the Day, you are filling your tank of faith. It is imperative to fill your tank of faith because things will occur during the day that will drain a little fuel from your tank. By filling your faith tank on a daily basis, the Heart of the Competitor will never experience an empty tank.

Question of the Day:

In addition to reading today’s post, what else will you do to fill your Tank of Faith?

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On Leap Day, Take a Leap of Faith

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”

– Norman Vincent Peale, Author of The Power of Positive Thinking

The strength that is needed to develop the Heart of the Competitor comes from within.  In competition, the only faith that matters is the faith in your own abilities.  A coach, a teammate, a boss, or a supervisor might show faith in you by giving you a high-profile assignment, but true accomplishment and achievement is rooted in the faith that you have in your abilities to be able to accomplish the objective.

Faith and confidence are used synonymously by many different people, including well-known author and preacher of positive thinking, Norman Vincent Peale.  In the quote above, Mr. Peale references this faith as belief.  He also adds a layer to faith, confidence, and belief, when he places a label of these three being humble.  Confidence and faith does not need to be boastful, however, many competitors interpret humble as passive and shrinking.  When used as an adjective, humble can also mean lowly.

True humbled faith for the competitor is rooted in the depth of the Heart of the Competitor that is respectful of all that can be accomplished in our lives.  In choosing humble to be respectful, the competitor is respecting of the power of their faith and confidence.  In giving this respect, we know that great things can be accomplished when there is faith that comes from the Heart.  Faith is aggressive, knowing that a continued pursuit of excellence will yield unbelievable results.

Question of the Day:

What did you do today that resembled humble, yet aggressive faith in your or another person’s abilities?

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3 Ways to Bloom Where You Are Planted

“Bloom where you are planted.” –Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva (1567-1622)

 

As a competitor, we are “planted” in every situation to experience every challenge we are given, so we can bloom where we are planted. In a day and age where many people are looking for the next great opportunity or the new fad that will push them ahead, many times we fail to realize the beauty of where we are in the present moment.

In writing the Community of Competitors Newsletter, I am here to tell you that when you bloom where you are planted, you will live a full life, one that makes an impact on others and one that will be recognized by others.

This was truly evident while I was attending my uncle Frank “Gus” Robins memorial service this past week. Gus was not like many of the people that read this weekly newsletter, he was NOT a businessman, he was NOT a coach, he was NOT a straight A student. Uncle Gus was a genuine human being, utilizing all of his God-given ability to impact others and give to others. As a vocation, he was a custodian in a local school district for over 30 years, not a glamorous position, but one that he utilized to “bloom” where he was planted. He bloomed where he was planted to the point that his memorial service was forced to start 20 minutes late as a result of the number of people who wanted to pay their respects to his family.

The message in this newsletter is that you do not have to be a person in a leadership position, a Division I athlete, a head coach, or a high-ranking corporate warrior to have an impact. We read blogs and stories all the time of high and mighty coaches, business people, or high-level athletes that trumpet their ability to handle adversity and rise to the top; these are great stories, but it is the daily warrior that impacts the most people and creates a lasting legacy. When you “bloom where you are planted,” you impact those around you.

Here are three simple ways to “bloom” where you are planted:

  1. Use what you currently have, not what you wish you had.
  2. Be a giver. Share more than you take.
  3. Do the little things that do not seem to matter.

You are called to accept the challenge of blooming where you are planted. You are called to have an impact and leave a legacy in all of your endeavors. As a member of this Community of Competitors, you are committed to blooming where you are planted. This analogy by Saint Francis de Sales was not chosen or used by accident, where one flower blooms, there are many other flowers that follow. The same is true for people, where one competitor blooms, other competitors will grow and bloom. This is a Commandment of the Competitor, bloom where you are planted and others around you will bloom.

This week, look around; enjoy your current challenges and opportunities to bloom where you are planted.

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Turning Lemons into Lemonade

“One of the major keys to success is to keep moving forward on the journey, making the best of the detours and interruptions, turning adversity into advantage.”

– John C. Maxwell, Author and Leadership Expert

Successful people, groups, and teams move forward, continually focusing on what can be done better. On the journey, the Heart of the Competitor is reminded that within every challenge is an opportunity and it is the job of the Heart of a Competitor to find this opportunity.

In today’s quote, noted author John Maxwell has termed this, turning adversity into an advantage. Mentally tough individuals are prepared to turn the adversity they have faced into an advantage. This advantage may be the mental toughness that is developed from the experience or a lesson learned from a situation that is now applied to be successful in the next game, presentation, or sales pitch. The experiences for the Heart of the Competitor are now the advantage for the Heart of the Competitor.

On the journey to developing the Heart of a Competitor there will be successes and there will be failures. The successes that have been and will be experienced are enjoyable and create great memories, however, the failures and adversity that we experience are the greatest teachers and lead the Heart of a Competitor to the greatest successes.

This perspective on adversity is essential to being able to move forward on the journey to developing and continually building your Heart of a Competitor. Keeping in mind the following quote from author, Robert Updegraff, “Happiness is to be found along the way, not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it is too late.” Continue your journey to the Heart of a Competitor.

Question of the Day: 

How have you turned the adversity you have experienced into an advantage?

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Our Minds are NOT Machines

This past week, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of an awesome team. It was a team of volunteers and workers that were tasked with getting the Golf course at Lancaster Country Club prepared each day for the United States Women’s Open. Preparing the course each day is a major undertaking, which consists of basically mowing every single blade of grass in the playing area on an over 6,400 yard golf course. Our team included over 100 volunteers and workers and countless pieces of equipment, including over 10 fairway mowers, and numerous mowers designated to mow the greens, tees, and the treacherous rough. The entire process is nothing short of amazing.

 

Fortunately, I was assigned to work with a team of individuals that would mow greens. The greens mowers were set to cut the grass on the greens to 1/10 of an inch; these are finely tuned machines, calibrated each day and night. If we got to a green and the mower was not cutting properly, it was returned to the maintenance building and a new mower was brought out to use. On Friday morning, on the greens mowing crew I was with, we changed our greens mower three times because it was not cutting the grass properly.

 

These machines were not performing to the proper expectations and were discarded at that time for a new machine. This sounds a lot like our mindset at times. When we face adversity, we want to discard our current approach and look for a new one. We however, are not machines and cannot just go out and find something that is supposed to function better. We are humans and we must develop our mental toughness to endure any situation and perform to the best of our abilities. Performing our best includes developing the confidence we have in ourselves, with an optimistic mindset with positive energy to mindfully live in the present moment.

 

This week, stick to your process, not discarding it. Focus on your process of development, not discarding it for a new machine quickly when adversity hits.

 

Enjoy the week and grow every day.

 

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2 Ways to Prepare for Pressure

Our family spent the last week on a much anticipated and well-deserved vacation.  We spent the week in Avalon, New Jersey, a beautiful little town on the Jersey Shore.  We have been to portions of the Jersey Shore before at various times during past summers.  This past week was NOT the peak of summer tourism, as a matter of fact, many Jersey schools had just finished their school year, so the summer buzz was starting, but overall it was quiet compared to previous visits we took during the months of July and August.

While the number of visitors like myself was lower, the intensity of the lifeguards on the beach was higher than I have ever seen.  In other words, they were preparing for the busy times that lie ahead.  On our second day there, right as the lifeguards came on the beach at 10 AM, there were many whistles being blown and a number of lifeguards running up and down the beach.  The first thing that popped into my mind was the concern for those they had to rescue at other locations, when in reality they were training themselves to work as a team and prepare to save a person life.  There was a lead lifeguard right in front of us that would blow his whistle at random times and the neighboring guards would jump out of their chairs, grab their buoy and run down the beach to the next station.  It was impressive to watch.  They were always on watch, expecting the unexpected.  Thus, when something out of the ordinary occurred, they hopped into motion without hesitation.

Then an amazing challenge occurred, right in front of us, a “rescue.”  The lifeguard whistles blew and they hopped into action swimming out to save a “person” that had gotten caught about 50 yards out from the shore line.  As the crowd gathered, the lifeguards swam out to the person in distress, and quickly brought them back to shore.  While the other lifeguards cleared an area, the practice dummy was brought to shore and given CPR.  These lifeguards were practicing experiencing pressure.

These lifeguards were building habits, so that at some point this summer, when they are called upon to save a life, they have prepared by expecting the unexpected and practicing under pressure.  The challenge to the Community of Competitors is to in our lives, expect the unexpected and practice experiencing pressure.  We learn these from great performers in athletic events to the daily jobs that many of us engage in every single day.

 

Following the completion of this challenge and practicing saving the life of the “practice swimmer,” the lifeguards debriefed on the beach.  This was just another example that we are all COMPETITORS in life.

LifeGuard_Debrief

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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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The MOST Important Japanese Word

Creating an environment where everyone can grow, develop and ultimately achieve is the goal of every, parent, teacher, coach, and leader. An environment that promotes performing outside of our comfort zone is essential to growth and development. This is difficult in the American Society that is based solely on winners and losers, rather than development.

 

The development mindset is commonplace in Asian culture. The cultures of the Far East value pushing each other to take risks and improve weaknesses. In the Far East, there is a focus on improving a weakness and persisting through the agony with patience and dignity.   The word that is used in the Japanese language for this concept is “gaman.”

 

Many people outside of the Japanese culture view this as introverted, reserved and showing no emotion, however in the Japanese society it is considered a show of strength in the way they attack a weakness or endure the suffering that comes with this in their development.

 

In their book, The Confidence Code, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman reported the term, gaman, when it is loosely translated means, “keep trying.” In Far Eastern cultures, it is expected that you keep trying and learning as you endure and persist through any agony with patience and dignity.

 

Build on a weakness this week. Keep trying, endure, and persist through your struggles, for those that win are likely those that continue on the longest.