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The Value in Being Alone

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.” 

― Rollo May, Author of Love and Will

The Heart of the Competitor beats on its own, engaged in the current activity, driven to be successful with an awareness of what is occurring around them in every action that is taken.

Creating quietness is essential to the process of development.  Quietness occurs when we are engaged in our activity with an intense focus and awareness of every action, sensation, and feeling associated with our work.  When we begin this process of creating quietness in our life, of being mindful of our actions, it can appear to be immensely lonely.  However, the Heart of the Competitor develops an understanding that the focus and engagement that results from our mindful actions is best for our performance and ultimately the team’s performance.

In today’s quote, author Rollo May noted that in order to be creative, in order for him to write, he had to “overcome the fear of being alone.”  This is true for the greatest of competitors, to create the performance that is desired, the Heart of the Competitor must overcome the fear of being in the arena of competition alone.

Establishing mindfulness of our actions in every activity creates the comfort level in what can be the silent pursuit of success.  This moves the Heart of the Competitor from fearing being alone and focusing on the task at hand, to enjoying being alone and focusing on the task at hand, whether that is rehearsing a skill or competing in a game situation.

Question of the Day:

Find one activity that you typically do alone and engage in this activity.  Enjoy the engagement and solitude.  Send me an email sharing your experience.

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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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Go With Your 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.

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Trusting Relationships = Winning

This past weekend, I shared a short time with members of the 2005 Franklin and Marshall Baseball team as they celebrated the 10-year anniversary of our conference championship. I have had a number of opportunities to be on coaching staffs of teams that have been successful, but the group of players on this team always sticks out as an example of what it takes to function as a unit. The members of this team have moved on to successful careers in medicine, law, investments, and real estate, to name a few. This close-knit group had success on the baseball field and enjoyed many memories off the field as well and I asked them to reflect on their experience ten years later, by pondering this question:

Did the winning lead to the relationships or did the relationships lead to winning?

The discussion around these questions ended up being a circular argument, with no definitive answer. However there was agreement from the players that their relationships were strong and the success they achieved as a group provided relationships that have lasted.

Strong relationships of trust among a team are essential because so many things happen over the course of a game, a season, and a career that are out of our control and the strength of a team’s relationships provides the needed support system to achieve the wins and championships. In sports and life, there are many factors that influence winning, which leaves much of it out of our control. The one thing we control is our self and our relationships on a team. Building the relationships on the team will produce a strong environment for individuals and the team to thrive.

The discussions that took place this weekend among the members of the 2005 Franklin and Marshall College Baseball Team were all focused on their experiences as a member of a team. Their memories were based on the experiences they shared and the relationships they built, rarely mentioning single wins or achievements of an individual. If this is what is remembered 10 years later, then as a coach, we called to create an environment where these relationships are paramount.

For those players reading this, build relationships based on trust throughout your team and great memories will be made.

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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.

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Enjoying the Journey

“Success is a journey not a destination. The doing is usually more important than the outcome. Not everyone can be number one.”

– Arthur Ashe, Hall of Fame Tennis Player

Society will tell us that we are only successful if we have achieved a championship outcome. We will be glorified for reaching the pinnacle of our chosen pursuit, whether it is the “A” in the classroom, the state championship, or winning the Super Bowl. We become inundated with this focus on the outcome because it is plastered all over social media, filling our timelines and eventually our mind. We eventually become ill with “Disease of Destination.” Fortunately there is a cure for the Disease of Destination and it is called the Journey.

Our journey is our progress and development over time. Having developed the Heart of a Competitor, we understand that given the time to focus our development we will see progress. In addition to this progress over time, the time allows us to enjoy the experiences that result from our development and progress this is the journey.

The journey is built of the friendships that are forged as result of our commitment to the doing. The journey is the places that we experience and see because of our opportunities. The journey is made of our reflection and pride in a job well done and in the work that lies ahead. The journey is not about being number one; it is about being the best you, having your best Heart of a Competitor.

Focusing on enjoying the journey allows a great journey to be made because our minds are open to the opportunities. We are pushed, pulled, and prodded to experiences that we can barely imagine, but fully experience. The journey to the Heart of a Competitor is calling you.

Question of the Day:

What experience or experiences have you been given the opportunity to have through this journey to the Heart of a Competitor?

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10 Ways to Have the “Luck of the Irish”

Four_Leaf_Clover_03

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, this weekly newsletter contains 10 Irish Proverbs or Blessings that Championship Competitors can use to mold the Heart of a Competitor.

  1. May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgetting. -Irish Blessing

Playing in the present moment is about letting go of any past performances that keep us from performing at our potential. Learn the lessons from the past and focus on the present moment. You are meant to be in this present moment.

  1. Praise the young and they will blossom. – Irish Proverb

Be positive with our kids and they will grow to have the Heart of a Competitor, focused on what they can control, giving all out effort, and doing the little things that are needed to be successful.

  1. There is no luck except where there is discipline. – Irish Proverb

Habits and routines build a discipline that allows the Championship Competitor to “be in the right place at the right time.” Create championship habits and routines in your daily life.

  1. If you do not sow in the spring, you will not reap in the autumn. – Irish Proverb

We must place priorities in our lives and work towards accomplishing these priorities. Accomplishment is rooted in working hard on the priorities that you have established. True achievement occurs over a long period of time.

  1. It is a long road that has no turning. -Irish Proverb on Life

Success is a journey and becoming a championship competitor is about enjoying the long road of life.

  1. You will never plow a field by turning it over in your mind. – Irish Proverb

Championship Competitors create plans in their mind AND take action. Nothing gets accomplished in our mind, those with the Heart of a Competitor take action.

  1. An old broom knows the dirty corners best. – Irish Proverb

Experience is a great teacher. Championship Competitors learn from their experiences and tap into the experiences of others.

  1. Count your joys instead of your woes. Count your friends instead of your foes. – Irish Proverb

Focus on the positive relationships in your life and be rid of those that bring you down.

  1. May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live. – Irish Blessing

The Heart of a Competitor is competing to become the best they can become. The Heart of a Competitor is focused on competition and not comparing, not wanting what others have, but living a life that is full of what is best for them.

  1. “Old Irish Blessing”

Always remember to forget the things that made you sad.

But never forget to remember the things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue.

But never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget the troubles that passed away.

But never forget to remember the blessing that come each day.

This week, may you be blessed with the good fortune of the Irish. The good fortune that comes from remembering what has made you glad, those competitors that are in the fight with you, and the blessings that are in your life.

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Believing in You

Optimism is a way of life in everything we do as a competitor. We must believe that our goals and dreams will be reached; it is what motivates us on a daily basis. The belief and open-minded alertness that we will have numerous opportunities to do something that will help us achieve at our highest level.

Your beliefs and hope will move you forward each and every single day. Optimism is the drive to believe in the positive outcome of your process, your daily routines and habits. Developing optimism is the building block of accomplishing the large hair-brained ideas, goals, and dreams that we visualize.

This Far Side comic is the epitome of the large hair brained ideas, goals and dreams the competitor visualizes. There is always the “If.” The competitor allows this “If” to be present, but the Heart of the Competitor utilizes the optimism to know that when the hair-brained ideas come to fruition and they are accomplished, the rewards of accomplishment will be reaped. For what the competitor “sows, they also shall reap.” Sowing our thoughts, words, and actions with optimism, we will reap more than proceeding with a passive and negative approach.

Optimism and positive energy is a way of life. In order to begin thinking in an optimistic, the competitor must observe their way of thinking and the words they use. Are we using the self-talk of encouragement? Are we using the self-talk of persistent pursuit of our goals and dreams? As a first step in the optimist walk is recognizing what is said within our own head. Observe these words and when a negative thought enters your head, replace those with the optimistic, positive words.

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An Inconvenience = An Opportunity

When a forecast of a measureable snowstorm is broadcast over the local news stations, there is typically a rush to the grocery store.  People fear they will be stuck inside for an extended period of time and run out the needed supplies.  People generally complain about the winter weather and the inconvenience of snow.

Snow provides the perfect metaphor for our lives as competitors because in every inconvenience is an opportunity.

Many times we will wait for the conditions to be right to remove the snow.  We think that we need to wait until the snow is over or it is warmer and the snow will melt.  We rely on the weather or the conditions to become perfect.  This is our mind delaying and avoiding the work that needs to be done.

If the conditions never become “right,” we will never act, so another approach is to look around and see if there are other people that will clear the snow.  We take this mindset into competition, looking around to see if other people will step up and do what needs to be done.

The third option to clearing snow is TAKING ACTION.  Get to work and start shoveling.

The Heart of the Competitor is called to get to work and start shoveling in their competitive lives.  The Heart of the Competitor does not sit around and wait for the “conditions to be right.”  The Heart of the Competitor takes action and knows the conditions will never be perfect.  The Heart of the Competitor is taking the lead and moving forward, blazing the trail.  Have the Heart of a Competitor and take the first step.

This week, TAKE ACTION.

Is there something that you have been waiting to do?  Go for it, take a first step, then the second, then the third, and enjoy every inconvenience that occurs in your steps because within the inconvenience is the opportunity.

Is there something that you have been looking at others to do for you?  Take ownership back and TAKE ACTION.

As a competitor, the conditions will never be perfect; TAKE ACTION and you will create the optimum conditions for your best performances.

Create action and share this action on Facebook, Tweet about your action, or simply respond to this email.  I love to hear about COMPETITORS taking action and creating their best performances.

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An Investment Tip

“How you spend your time is more important than how you spend your money. Money mistakes can be corrected, but time is gone forever.”

– David Norris, Irish Scholar

Time is an expensive currency.  Many people view money as their greatest form of payment or currency because it is tangible.  If I go to the store and buy a new pair of shoes, I have paid money and in return I have the shoes that I purchased in hand, a tangible product in return for my money.  When I go out to eat with my wife, we have had the experience of having a wonderful meal together and we have those tangible feelings of good food and fellowship.

When we are concerned about money and that is our focus, we can always make more of it.  We may have to do more work to make more money, but there is always a way to make more money.  However, when we spend time doing something, we cannot get that time back, it has been spent.  So we ask our selves this question:  Are we spending our time or are we investing our time?

The Heart of the Competitor INVESTS their time.  An investment is based on deposits and allowing the deposit to work for you, so it pays off down the road.  The Heart of the Competitor makes the deposits in the competitive bank during practice, strength and conditioning, pre-game preparation, mental conditioning, and every other opportunity there is to improve performance.  These deposits are made with their time, so a withdrawal can be made during competition.

So the question becomes:

Will you focus on investing your time and making deposits?

or

Will you spend your time and have nothing in your trust fund during competition?

Question of the Day:

What did you do today to INVEST your time?