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Glass Ceilings Destroyed (Part 2)

Glass ceilings are made to be broken. We look all around us there are limitations that we placed upon ourselves in that others place upon us that need to be destroyed. Last week we looked at College programs that were eliminating their own glass ceilings.  The Millersville University baseball team is now #1 in the country and recently captured their fourth straight PSAC East division title.  This is an amazing accomplishment for a program that just 10 short years ago did not have a field on campus and about .5 scholarships available.  The Millersville softball team is entering their first ever PSAC conference tournament, and the York College of Pennsylvania softball team achieved the highest number of wins in a season since 2010 with no seniors in their program.

This week we look at the high school programs that have committed to developing their heart of a competitor and how they’re breaking through their own glass ceilings.

In the Lampeter-Strasburg Athletics program, the softball team and the girls’ Lacrosse team are actively developing their Competitor’s Heart.  The softball team is focused on their Core Values of Heart, Energy, Focus, Trust, and You (HEFTY).  They are constantly reminding each other to be true to these core values and compete with them in mind.  Take a look at this picture recently taken during a game and you can see their Heart hanging in the background.

The Pioneer Lacrosse team is currently playing their best Lacrosse since the inception of the program.  These ladies have committed to building each other up by reading a concept a day from the soon to be published book: A Competitor’s Heart and this has kept their focus on competing and getting better each day.

The Hempfield Softball team is destroying their glass ceilings by attacking their lofty goals on a pitch by pitch basis.  The Penn Manor Baseball team has also jumped on the building of their Heart of a Competitor by focusing on becoming a not just a team, but a Tribe.  This Tribe is developing their own legacy to be marked by the #Tribe94 as the 94th edition of the Penn Manor Baseball program.

Lastly is Elco Baseball and Head Coach Chris Weidner.  Coach Weidner recently  was recognized for his 200th coaching victory.  The theme for the Raider Baseball Family is #Selfless and they continue to compete and play this way.

Glass Ceilings are meant to be destroyed.  Keep building your Heart of a Competitor and you will destroy the glass ceilings in your life.

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Destroying Your Glass Ceiling (Part 1)

Community of Competitors member, Mike Hershberger, shared a great story on Facebook this past week about his daughter Lexi. Lexi took it upon herself to live a life with no regrets and build her Heart of a Competitor by breaking through a proverbial Glass Ceiling. Last year about this time, Lexi and her father discussed with me the possibility of her moving from playing Softball to playing on her school’s baseball team. Lexi mapped out a plan to prepare for this challenge, playing on a baseball team last summer and then in a winter indoor league. She is now a contributing member on her school’s Junior Varsity Baseball team, with the goal of improving every single day. Lexi is breaking a Glass Ceiling, a barrier that is in place, but nobody acknowledges.

Each and every member of the Community of Competitors is faced with their own glass ceiling and it is our job to break through these glass ceilings. The great thing is when we open our eyes; there are a number of people and programs breaking through glass ceilings or limitations that we all place on ourselves.

Millersville Softball is example of a program breaking through a glass ceiling. First year Head Coach, Jen Propst, has guided the program to a first-ever Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament berth. They have been playing softball at Millersville since 1979 and have only had ten seasons where they finished with a record of .500 or better. This group of competitors recently swept a doubleheader from a Top 15 program. There is no precedent for this success, it is based on the individuals breaking through from where they are to where they desire to be.

The York College of Pennsylvania Spartan Softball program is also busting through a glass ceiling. In a program with no seniors on the roster, they are entering the Capital Athletic Conference Softball Tournament as the #4 seed. As of the writing this post, the YCP Spartans have already amassed 24 wins, their highest since 2010. In her 4th season, Head Coach Jen Petteys is steadily guiding this program to be a consistent challenger for the Conference Championship based on building the hearts of the competitors in the York College Softball Family.

Millersville University Baseball is another program destroying a glass ceiling. Head Coach and close friend, Jon Shehan has this program on the verge of shattering a number of single season records. With two conference weekends left, they are sitting at a hefty 35-3 overall and 18-2 in conference, currently ranked as high as #2 in the NCAA Division II Poll. While these numbers are impressive, the most impressive part of their work is the program’s commitment to focusing on a present and process-focused approach. They have allowed their process to be a guide to the current and future successes. This includes various breathing and visualization exercises combined with a selfless and relentless culture that not only expects, but allows their members to perform.

These are the college programs that are destroying any glass ceilings that are around them, from Millersville Softball that has never had a post-season tournament berth, to York College with no Senior on their roster, to Millersville Baseball that is enjoying continued success to focus on breaking through and winning a regional to earn a trip to the NCAA Division II World Series. (Next week I will detail the high school programs that are breaking through glass ceilings.)

These examples beg the questions:

What are the glass ceilings that you are preparing to break through?

 What are the limitations that you have placed on yourself, or your program?

You have the Heart of a Competitor and can break through these glass ceilings, and you just need to reach within and pull the pieces needed to show your Heart of a Competitor. This is where the Heart of a Competitor Programs come into play in working with coaches and athletes to build the mindset of competing from the heart. At the Heart of a Competitor, we have been very fortunate to establish a relationship with individuals like Lexi, to the Millersville and York College Softball teams, and the Millersville Baseball team to name a few. Just like it was for these individuals and programs, the challenge is to take the next step and see yourself breaking through the glass ceilings that are in your life.

The Heart of a Competitor is here to develop you and destroy glass ceilings.

 

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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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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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Enjoy the Journey

“The only journey is the one within.”

 – Rainer Maria Rilke, Poet and Novelist

 “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

 – Lao-Tzu, Philosopher and Poet

The journey each of us engages in to develop our Heart of a Competitor has the ability to be the most rewarding movement in our lives. Our journey is designed to be the individual development into the best competitor that we can become. This journey has no limits. It has no limits because there is no limit to self-improvement. This is the journey that is within the Heart of the Competitor, a journey to reach beyond the current limitations. It is as Rainer Rilke references above, the journey within.

The Heart of the Competitor’s journey is made up of action and risk-taking. This is not haphazard, reckless abandon, but it is pushing the limits and taking action. On our journey it is better to have taken action and failed than to have done nothing. When we take action, we are provided feedback and shown ways we can improve. However, when we take no action, we learn nothing and maintain the status quo. The Heart of the Competitor’s journey is meant to be more than the status quo.

As you read and engage in the march to the Heart of a Competitor, take action. The journey that you are engaging in is one of action. It is the journey of your life, and Lao Tzu writes in the quote above, your thousand miles and it begins with one step. Your one step was picking up this book. Now continue on and take your next step. After this step, you will take another step. You are building a journey of self-improvement that is never-ending, yet continuously rewarding.

Question of the Day:

What is your next step on your journey to the Heart of a Competitor?

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Maintain Your Shoreline

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to each and every one of you. I am so thankful that each of you has decided to be a part of the Community of Competitors.

This past weekend, our family spent the Thanksgiving Day Holiday at the beach in Cape May, NJ. The New Jersey beach holds a special place in my family’s heart. When I was a child, we would vacation at the Jersey Shore and we are continuing this tradition as we raise our family.

This weekend included numerous days with temperatures above 60 degrees, which is absolutely unbelievable as we near the end of November. On Thanksgiving Day, we took a walk on the beach and a thought struck me as we walked, the shoreline looks much different now than when we come down over the summer. The normal gradual slope down into the water was not present, but a jagged and bumpy shoreline was. This is interesting because during the “off-season” at the shore, the beach is hardly used; there is very little traffic, so you would think it would be pristine and manicured. The reverse is true. Over the summer, when the beach can be crowded with numerous tourists and sun worshippers, the shoreline is manicured and ready for use everyday. It is ready for use every day because it is worked on every day.

 

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These are true in our lives as Competitors, in times of great use and intense focus, our minds are right and we are prepared, ready to go. However, if we look at something as an off-season and we let our guard down, the waves will destroy our shoreline. The secret for us is to maintain our routine, lead ourselves, constantly and consistently feeding our positive mindset, placing small challenges in front of us.

Rome was not built in a day, but it was worked on every day.

This is true for the Heart of a Competitor; we must work on our mindset every single day. This small commitment to fill our mind with positive and thought provoking challenges everyday builds the shoreline, builds our mindset for excellence. As we wrap up the month of November focusing on Leadership, lead yourself every day, for you are building a legacy that will last longer than the Roman Collesseum.

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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?