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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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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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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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How can you LIVE and COMPETE from the Heart?

“The heart is the first feature of working minds.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect, Writer, Educator
Building the Heart of the Competitor is an incremental process of continually building every skill needed to be mentally tough, having an enduring spirit, and constantly moving forward regardless of the struggle or adversity.

Nobody other than yourself can know what is in your heart.  However, others will be aware of what is in your heart by your everyday actions.   Your everyday actions to do your job and do it to the best of your ability will be the outward representation of what is in your heart.

Are you being the best teammate, coworker, husband, friend, mother, child, etc. that you can be?

Are you focusing on every moment, drill, and interaction to the fullest?

Approach everyday with this spirit and focus in your heart and you will live a life that exemplifies what is in your heart.  The heart is the living muscle that pushes the competitor to new heights and provides passion to continually be moving forward.

The Heart of the Competitor is mentally tough because their heart is fully immersed in pursuing the mission and enjoying the journey.  The heart is essential to maintaining life and the heart is essential to engaging our minds and enjoying the present moment.

Frank Lloyd Wright created numerous historically creative buildings.  Creating unique buildings that shared a message was in his heart.  His passion and mental toughness to handle adversity and challenges were evident in the buildings he designed and the projects that he was involved with.  Frank Lloyd Wright had the Heart of a Competitor, which allowed his mind to work wonders in creating buildings that have stood for hundreds of years.

You can have the Heart of the Competitor to allow your work to create a legacy that will stand for hundreds of years.

Question of the Day:
How do you do your job and build the Heart of a Competitor legacy that will stand for hundreds of years?

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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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Living on the EDGE

Writing and completing A Competitor’s Heart has been an exercise in creating a totally unknown path.

This is the great part of inventing our life, we are on a totally new path every single day, and with every single step we take. For many people the new way and the new path create anxiety and they make a decision to fall back to the comfortable and known way. This is why we have so few high performers in our world; we fall back into the comfortable and easy way of life. This is why building your personal Heart of a Competitor is essential to being the person and Competitor you desire. Building your personal Heart of a Competitor is NOT about making radical changes and overhauling what we do, it is about making a small step in the right direction at just the right time. When we live a life that is on the edge, willing to experience this anxiety, our personal Heart of a Competitor is open to these small moments in time where we can take that small step that will eventually lead to an enormous impact.

Another reason many people stop building a Competitor’s Heart is because it is a deeply personal journey that NEVER ends. If you are reading this piece, you believe in the following words: There is NO limit to self-improvement. The continual path of improvement is a road that is traveled by few; however, those that do travel this road live a fulfilling life. They are living on the edge of their capabilities and are inspired by those they connect with on the journey to Competing from the heart.

A Competitor’s Heart is your guide on this journey. This book is your textbook to developing A Competitor’s Heart over 369 Days. The first question people ask is, “Why 369 Days?”

My answer is always the same, “Why stop at 365?” However, it goes deeper than this. This book is made up of 41 concepts we would love to establish with our lives. These concepts include confidence, optimism, quietness and habits. Each of these 41 concepts has nine days/lessons/thoughts associated with them. These nine days are the guide, the PROCESS to self-exploration and establishing your personal Competitor’s Heart.

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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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Memorial Day: No Man Left Behind

For many the Memorial Day weekend signifies the beginning of summer. The community swimming pools open, school year’s wind down, and family gatherings abound. Memorial Day is steeped in the tradition of recognizing the sacrifices that so many people have given to provide the freedoms that we enjoy in America today. The traditions and rituals of honoring and caring for those that have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty is a powerful reminder of the teamwork and commitment to each other that is a part of a soldier’s service to the American people.

The United States military branches are well known for “never leaving an American behind.” This is true for the fallen American Soldier as well. A fallen soldier is accompanied by another soldier on the flight home to Dover Air Force base and remains with them until they are returned to the family. We must continue to recognize those that have given their lives to support our freedoms. It is what Memorial Day is built on.

(Yochi Dreazen and Gary Fields wrote a powerful piece on the returning home of the American Soldier. The article entitled, “How We Bury the War Dead” appeared in the Wall Street Journal on May 29, 2010.)

Creating teams with the Heart of a Competitor can learn two lessons from the way United States Soldiers are treated:

  1. Each member of the team is valued.

Regardless of race, ethnicity, or rank, each soldier is treated with dignity and respect. Their service to the country is honored and recognized.

  1. The struggle within your own team can change the way you treat each other.

The Civil War was a major reason the treatment of the fallen soldier was changed. Congress decided that those soldiers that fought for the country deserved to be recognized for their sacrifice and set up the national cemeteries that we have today.

Know that the struggles you face as an individual, a team, or an organization will change you. These changes we undergo are essential to becoming the people, team, or organization we are destined to become.

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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.