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Failure is Fuel for the Fire

Failure and rejection provide the coal to ignite the fi re that is determination.

Humans are born to set a goal and pursue this goal, establishing independence and enduring failure to accomplish this goal. Envision the small infant child moving from crawling to walking. The infant desires to walk because this will provide them with independence and the ability to explore more in the world. The first steps ultimately end in falling and failure. This does not keep the young child from walking. They soldier on with an immense determination to succeed.

The Competitor is going to receive numerous rejections and denials throughout their life and those that achieve real accomplishment, having a lasting impact on others are those that pursue their goals with determination.  This determination is a piece of the journey that drives the Heart of a Competitor.

Enjoy the rejections, the denials, and allow them to build the fuel tank that will propel you to achievement.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

List 2-3 rejections or failures that have occurred recently. Use these as learning opportunities and motivation to push your forward on your journey?

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Who is in Your Community of Competitors?

“Hard work and togetherness. They go hand in hand. You need hard work because it’s such a tough atmosphere. You need togetherness because you don’t always win and you gotta hang tough together.”

– Tony Dungy, football coach

Mental toughness is never a one-man band. Mental toughness is developed through a consistent and persistent march to self-satisfaction that you are working hard on a daily basis and anything that life throws at you is the best way for you to improve and learn.

In the above quote, Tony Dungy calls to our minds the tough atmosphere. He is not just referring to football, the game he played and coached, and he is also referring to the arena of competition as a tough atmosphere.  The Heart of a Competitor views each day as an opportunity to compete against themselves and improve, which takes hard work AND to surround yourselves with other people that have the Heart of a Competitor. This togetherness which Dungy references is this known as the ”Community of Competitors.”

One of the top ways to develop mental toughness is to surround yourself with people of the same competitive drive. In the development of a team with toughness, togetherness will drive the consistent and persistent march toward greatness.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

Do individuals that deserve to belong to a “Community of Competitors” surround you?

What can you do to increase the competition of those around you? (This will ultimately increase your mental toughness and competitive drive.)

 

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What are you willing to Sacrifice?

“He who wants to succeed should learn how to fight, to strive, and to suffer. You can acquire a lot in life, if you are prepared to give up a lot to get it.”

– Bruce Lee, Actor and Philosopher

The Heart of the Competitor understands a key to performing and competing at their peak is the commitment to preparation. The commitment to preparation requires sacrifices. In hearing the word sacrifice, the human mind typically attempts to convince itself that it would prefer the most pleasurable experience. The true trait of a competitor and a champion is to be able to delay the cheap and instant thrill for the expensive long-term investment that is worth much more. Th is is what is occurring during preparation; the competitor is pushing the cheap easy mind-calming experience and choosing the expensive, mind-building preparation that allows for the distinguished experience of goal achievement down the road.

In Bruce Lee’s words above, the competitor must learn “to fight, to strive, and to suffer.” Preparation encompasses each one of these. True preparation forces the competitor to fight off the voices of quitting, telling yourself that you can accomplish a goal, when the first thought in your mind is that you should just quit. Preparation provides a longing and striving to meet a standard of competition that is just beyond your current level of performance. Suffering occurs during preparation as a result of the fighting and striving to push the body and mind as far as it can and then to go further. However, the suffering is replaced with exhilaration upon the accomplishment of that small step forward.

To continually build the Heart of a Competitor, be prepared to make sacrifices that will pay off in tremendous experiences of accomplishment.

QUESTION OF THE Week:

What are you sacrificing today? As a result of this sacrifice, what will you earn in the future?

 

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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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A Competitor’s Heart is UNLIMITED

The only limits are those that we place on ourselves. Humans remind themselves why they should not be doing something or why it will be difficult to accomplish. We create reasons why we should step aside and maintain the status quo.

The Heart of the Competitor fights the status quo mentality. The Heart of the Competitor does not settle and accept what is. They understand what is and pursue what they want. The Heart of the Competitor does not impose limitations on what they do and what they are able to accomplish.

To fight the thought of limitations, the Heart of the Competitor creates a daily plan for moving forward. Not just creating a list of things to accomplish in a day, but a consistent movement forward to push the limits. What will you accomplish today? What are you going to do to propel yourself through any limits that you or anyone else has tried to place upon you?

Remind yourself on a daily basis that you are pushing past the possible into the impossible. The Heart of the Competitor says, “I’m possible.” Whatever you can create or visualize in your mind, you can accomplish and achieve.

Question of the Day:

 What are the limitations that you have imposed upon yourself that you need to break through?

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Lean In to the Resistance

Every person has some form of self-talk they engage in.  A conversation in your mind that will drive you to achieve success and pushing forward or will find reason why you cannot be successful, causing inaction and passiveness.  These reasons that can be created in our mind as to why we should stop and not move forward with a project or an idea are resistance.  Resistance can come in many different shapes and forms.  The resistance or pushback may come from outside of you in the naysayers that drag you down and say it cannot be done.  The pushback may come in events that are “perceived” as a reason why we should not push forward.  The pushback may come from within your mind, reasons developed without basis as to why you should stop.

The Heart of the Competitor welcomes this resistance as a challenge to grow and become more.  This pushback is essential to discovering the limitless resources that are located within the Heart of the Competitor.  The Heart of the Competitor engages in positive self-talk and pushes their mind to the reasons why they will be successful in their endeavors, destroying any push-back they may experience.  Average people in the world will talk not only their own mind out of doing anything and being anything, but they will also attempt to drag others down from doing anything and being anything.  The Heart of the Competitor destroys those people, destroys that pushback and uses it as momentum to accomplish great things.

The negativity that others and even your own self-talk will provide is akin to the stretching of a rubber band.  A rubber band is only useful when it is stretched to its’ maximum length.  The rubber band is performing to its’ full capabilities when it is stretched and at this full-length, it is experiencing maximum resistance.  When it is let go at this maximum resistance, it does its’ greatest work.

Question of the Day:

What is the greatest resistance or push back you have experienced?  How have you found a way to overcome it?

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Engaging the TRIBE of Competitors

As we enter the first week of 2017 take the time to pause and reflect on the year.  As you reflect, try to do this impartially, allowing your mind to observe what occurred.  These events and your progress will eventually be labeled as successful or not however, we challenge you to truly reflect on the progress that has been made in your life.  If you do not see progress, make a commitment to use your strengths in 2017.  Notice I said, use your strengths, not improve on your weaknesses.  It is commonplace for people to choose a New Year’s resolution in an area of their life they are dissatisfied with, an area of weakness.  This approach is a set-up for failure.

This week, I challenge you to a new way of thinking for the year 2017, choose a word that will provide clarity and direction to your life for the entire year.  (This process is outlined in the book One Word the Will Change your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page)

Over the last three years, I have utilized the process of choosing a word that you will live out and engage in for the year.  This process has provided clarity and direction.  My word for 2014 was “Enjoy.”  Throughout 2014, my focus was enjoying every moment that was gifted to me.  While my word for 2015 “Growth,” I have been blessed with immense growth throughout the year.  Here was my post for the beginning of 2015 post on the word “Growth.”

For 2016, the word “Respond” chose me.  This word chose me because our lives are made of our responses to what is occurring around us and as I reflect on 2016, my responses were focused and the awesome piece is that I enjoyed personal and professional growth throughout the year.  You see the process of living out a word that has chosen you does not end with the change of a calendar year, the words stick with you.  Here was my post for the beginning of 2016 post on the word “Respond.”

So for 2017, the word that has chosen me is, “Engage.”  As competitors and agents of change, we are called to engage with every person or experience that comes into our lives.  In writing this weekly newsletter, my goal is to engage with the TRIBE of Competitors.

We are looking for you as a member of the Community of Competitors to help all of us RESPOND in 2017 and ENGAGE in the process of choosing a word that you will live out for the calendar year.

This brings us to you.  What do you want out of 2017?  Over the next week, as you mindfully progress through your work on a daily basis, observe what is occurring and what you want for this year.  Forget the easily broken new year’s resolution and choose a word that provides clarity and direction for your life.  When you have decided on a word, email it to me, share it on social media with a message to me, or comment below with your word.

Check out the book that outlines the process of choosing one word: One Word the Will Change your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page

If you would like to receive this newsletter directly to your inbox, use the following link to join the Community of Competitors:

Community of Competitors Weekly Newsletter

Enjoy and grow throughout this week.

Yours in Competition,

Jeff Swarr

Chief Competition Officer

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How can you create OPTIMISM in 2017?

Optimism is defined as hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. 

– Google Dictionary definition

A competitor with an optimistic outlook hopes that in the future they will achieve the successful outcome they desire.  Hope however is not the driving force for them because in hoping for something to happen, we are implying that we have little control over its’ occurrence, that we are blindly throwing a dart at a dartboard and hoping to hit.

This hopefulness is combined with confidence.  The confidence the Heart of the Competitor establishes is based in their thoughts and actions that develop the confident mindset.  Confidence is taking action.  Confidence is being aware of the limitless possibilities that exist around us.  Maintaining awareness of these limitless possibilities allows the optimist to maintain this hope because they will allows be open and prepared when opportunity arises.

Optimism is a cycle, beginning with the belief in achievement as being possible, a hopefulness that all will work out, coupled with a confidence that when an opportunity arises, the competitor will act and achieve the successful outcome they desire.

Remember this: Optimism may be born with hope, but it is delivered with action.  The competitor’s actions and achievements will drive optimism, which will renew the belief within our mindset.  So, an optimist needs to act, even when they do not believe.  This action will lead to learning and the continual development of confidence in achievement.

Your goal for today: Renew your commitment to action; achievement will follow, allowing optimism to continually grow within you.

Question of the Day:

Write down one action you have been waiting to take.  Commit to taking this action today.  When you take this action be hopeful and open to all possibilities that will come from your action.

Each day is a competition and it is yours to win.

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How will you know when your MISSION is complete?

“How do you know if your mission in life is fi nished? If you’re still alive, it isn’t.”

– Richard Bach, American Writer

The Heart of the Competitor’s mission is continuous, for it is not the pursuit of championships but of excellence. Excellence is the goal in every endeavor that is pursued. Excellence is frequently confused with perfection, however, true excellence is a commitment to continually pursuing improvements through learning opportunities.

The Mission of the Heart of a Competitor is to build mentally tough competitors that are able to continually move forward on their mission pursuing excellence in their daily habits and routines. The Heart of the Competitor desires to be known for their daily work and persistence through adversity to achieve at the highest level they are capable of achieving. A commitment to extremely strong daily routines over a long period of time allows excellence to be achieved. Excellence may be the attainment of several short-term goals or pursuit of a large long-term goal.

The Heart of the Competitor’s mission is never complete. This is not to say that busyness or “getting things done” is essential in a mission; your mission is about completing the right things. You will know they are the right things when your mind and energy are open to the opportunities around you and you are led to pursue these right opportunities.

Your mission will guide you through your life as a competitor to pursue excellence. By taking the time to establish your mission, you are allowing the experiences in your life to happen and learning opportunities to occur for excellence to be pursued.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

What is an event or learning opportunity that has occurred in the last day, week, or month that has demonstrated to you that you are on the right track for your mission?