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2 Lessons from Be the Best Coaches Convention

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Be the Best Coaches Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. When attending a coaches conference it’s always amazing to me that those coaches that have achieved the most success in terms of wins and losses are the ones who want to learn the most.

 

At the Be the Best Coaches convention there were a number of successful NCAA Division I softball coaches, including University of Tennessee Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly, University of Michigan legendary Head Coach Carol Hitchens, University of Oklahoma’s Head Coach Patty Gasso and James Madison’s Head Coach Mickey Dean. Each one of these coaches was a presenter at some point during the convention, however, when they were not presenting, they were engaged in the various presentations, trying to pull new insights they could use into their program.

 

When I came home from this convention, I did a little research on the success these head coaches have had.  These four coaches have combined for 4,476 wins and 1433 losses.  This is means these four coaches have won over 81% of their games.  While they have achieved the success in terms of wins and losses, they refuse to be satisfied with where they are.  This is common among all high performers, the desire to get better, the status quo is not acceptable.

 

A second lesson learned from each of these competitors is their respect for each other.  This respect is the true focus of competition.  The root of competition is seeking with our opponent to play at the highest level, not competing against the opponent to pull them down.  If the highest achieving coaches can demonstrate this respect, then each of us can do this in our everyday life.

 

This is living with the Competitor’s Heart, the confidence to know you are great, but the desire to become more.  As you work to become more and compete, you respect your opponent to the highest of levels.

 

Continue to build your Competitor’s Heart and remember that everyday is a competition and it is yours to win.

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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.

YES, I WANT 50% OFF COMPETITOR’S HEART TRIBE MEMBERSHIP

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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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Amazing Opportunities

Look around your life. Seriously, take a look around your life and deeply evaluate the opportunities that abound in your life. There are many opportunities, yet the question remains, will you take the step forward and take advantage of these opportunities?

This thought struck me during our family vacation this past week. We rented a condominium in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. When we arrived on Saturday and got settled in to the rental, another family arrived in the condominium right beside us with children that were perfect matches as play partners for the week for our two boys, Simon and Spencer.

As the week progressed, this struck me as an amazing opportunity. Imagine what had to happen for this to occur, I mean my wife, Emily, took countless hours and days to find a rental that matched what was best for our family, while at the same time a family in Pittsburgh was renting the exact same condominium right beside us.

What are the chances?

It does not matter what the chances or the odds are on this happening, but it provided an opportunity for two families to become friends and develop a relationship. It was up to us to take the step and make the connection and take advantage of this opportunity. This is true for us in our lives. Take a look around and look at the amazing opportunities around you, but it is up to you to take the first step. Take advantage of the opportunities that are there, take the next step, make the connection, seize the opportunity, and live a life with no regrets. This is a true competitor, seeking to become the best and create the best competitive life for yourself.

Book Update

 As many of you know, I have been working on a book that can be utilized as a daily reader. This past week, I received the first proof of the book. This marks another step forward in this process, another opportunity for me and the coaches and athletes I am blessed to serve. Additionally, I recently completed an audio program that is made up of 3-5 minute tracks that should be listened to on a daily basis, placed into your daily routine. Since this audio program has been completed and is available, we have a special opportunity happening for the month of June, when you order the Competitor’s Heart Audio Program, we will reserve a book and send it to you FREE when it is completed. Check out the Competitor’s Heart Audio Program Here.

Keep taking advantage of the amazing opportunities in your life.

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What does total Commitment look like?

“If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you’re doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It’s tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on.”

– Lou Holtz, Hall of Fame College Football Coach

Commitment to the process of progress over a long period of time allows achievement and accomplishment to occur. Total commitment is made of mind, body, and soul to the task at hand in the pursuit of the dreams that have been made into goals. When a total commitment is made teammates, coaches, and everyone they come in contact with recognize the commitment in the competitor’s life.

Just as commitment is recognizable and easily followed, lack of commitment is easily identified. Are you looking to go whichever way the wind blows? Are you lacking or always changing your morning or evening routines? Do you have trouble being motivated to complete your training? Are you always looking for an easy way out? Like Hall of Fame College Football Coach, Lou Holtz is saying in today’s quote, total commitment to a goal, total commitment to a team is difficult. Total commitment becomes more difficult when in the face of adversity one of the individuals is looking to “jump ship.” Instead of looking for an opportunity to “jump ship,” look for an opportunity to row harder and push your mind and body to stay focused on the next step.

Commitment must be the strongest in the face of adversity. The Heart of the Competitor expects and embraces adversity as an opportunity, an opportunity to develop and display their commitment. The true Heart of the Competitor appreciates the adversity as a way to grow.

Look for the adversity; look for the challenges as your way to grow your commitment.

Question of the Day:

What challenges have you encountered in the last day, week, or month that have allowed you to develop and display your commitment?

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Perfection Does Not Win, Competing Does

“Challenges are the doors to success and failure is only part of the journey.”

 – Eric Wong

Perfectionism is a huge roadblock to development.

Each challenge that presents itself is an opportunity to test your development and is not meant to be a demand for perfection. Perfection is never the goal. Pitching a perfect game in baseball has only been accomplished 21 times in the modern day game of baseball began being played in 1900.

Perfection is never the goal, competition is. The journey that we enjoy as competitors is filled with successes and accompanied by failures. The true Heart of a Competitor learns more from the failures than from success. We are not seeking failure however, we are pulling lessons from these failures and progressing to become the best version of ourselves we can become.

The cure for perfectionism is to seek out challenges. Push yourself to edge of your limits, enjoying the challenge and providing the best opportunity to test your ability. You are meant to be experiencing the challenges you are currently experiencing. You are meant to be pushing yourself to find out what you are capable of accomplishing. This is the journey, the doors that are opened when you are focused and open to every possible experience that is presented to you.

Knock each roadblock, remind yourself that you are developing the Heart of the Competitor and you are on the journey to being the greatest competitor you are capable of becoming.

Question of the Day:

 What has been holding you back on your Journey? What have you been avoiding? Seek out the challenge and attack it.

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Give and Compete from the Heart

As you give more of your heart, you get more in return.

As you give more of your heart, your influence expands.

As you give more of your heart, you are called to give more.

As you give more of your heart, you develop strength.

As you give more of your heart, you have the courage to COMPETE.

 

Competing takes courage. The courage to test your limits. The courage to step outside of your comfort zone and place your abilities to the test. The courage to fight the societal pressure of wins and losses. The courage to compete with yourself instead of comparing yourself to others.

The Heart of the Competitor is a courageously driven machine to become the best it can become. You have the Heart of a Competitor and are driven to create and use every possible situation as a learning opportunity.

In his book Choke, Sian Beilock details the need to prepare for performance in stressful moments by training with stressful situations. Police officers that are trained to be able to shoot and hit a target while being fired upon are much more successful than those that have only ever practiced without return fire. This is a must for the Heart of a Competitor, training in mentally and physically stressful situations. For the Heart of a Competitor, the number one way to create stressful situations in practice is to keep track of your progress in an area and that is done by keeping score. If you want to get better at something in a competitive situation, keep score of it in a practice situation and hold yourself accountable.

As you give more of your heart and focus in practice, you will get more of your heart and focus in a competition.

Question of the Day: 

What are you going to measure in practice that will increase your competitive performance?

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Fill a Need and you will always be NEEDED.

This post is not an advertisement to shop at Target.
I felt like that needed to be the first line of today’s Community of Competitors Newsletter because this is not about Target making a decision to serve a specific type of customer that enters their doors.  This Community of Competitors Newsletter is about listening to those around you, even the lowest people on the lowest rung of the ladder of your organization.

Caroline’s Cart is a shopping cart that is designed for the parents of children with special needs.  The cart is designed so there is no need for these parents to push a wheelchair and a shopping cart through the store.  Drew Ann Long created the design, when she knew her daughter would outgrow the traditional shopping cart.  Target became aware of Caroline’s Cart when a local Target store employee brought it to the attention of the local store operations team.  Thus it was implemented at the local level and in the month of March 2016, Target expects to have Caroline’s Cart in each of their stores. Story on upworthy.com

I write about this in the Community of Competitors Newsletter because this idea was NOT hatched in some huge corporate boardroom by a bunch of high-level executives, those in the trenches launched it, those with their boots on the ground.  Caroline’s Cart was created by a mother who had a need.  Caroline’s Cart was then introduced to Target by an employee who had a need.

Fill a NEED and you will always be NEEDED.

This is true on every team and in every organization.  See what needs to be completed, what needs to be done and serve an important role.  In my coaching experience, there were countless times that our bench players were able to pick up the signs of the other team.  These players were not starters, but they saw a NEED, filled the NEED, and they were NEEDED.  These players were an essential part of the success of the organization.

In the life of the Competitor, there will be needs there will be problems.  Individuals with the Heart of a Competitor look at the problems as opportunities to find solutions, while those that are losers are stuck in the problem identification stage, refusing to identify a solution.  Great teams find solutions and great individuals fill a need.

Fill a NEED and you will always be NEEDED.