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Do you need Confidence?

Act Confident. Breathe Confidence. These actions will develop the feeling of confidence.

“The confidence which we have in ourselves gives birth to much of that which we have in others.”

– Anonymous

Confidence is a feeling and while it is a feeling, we can take actions to develop this feeling. Picture the way you walk. Are you taking the “Loser’s Limp?” A slow walk with your eyes focused on the ground. Or are you taking the “Winner’s Walk/Successful Strut?” A powerful walk/strut with your head up, shoulder’s back, making eye contact and saying, “Hello” to anyone you come in contact with. Walking with a purpose and confidence is a simple action to do.

Focus on your breathing to develop confidence. When you breathe, breathe in positive energy. Feel your body breathing in the energy and strength that you require. When you exhale, you are breathing out the negativity and doubt that has crept into your body.

These two simple actions will allow you to develop confidence in yourself. This confidence in yourself will build and compound into something bigger because once we have confidence in ourselves, we will develop stronger confidence in our teammates and coworkers. Imagine what a team would be like if everyone walked off the bus at an away game with the Winner’s Walk. Your team would be ahead before the game even began.

Lastly, some of the greatest performances of all-time occurred when the performers were less than 100% Confident.  We love to build our confidence, but please know your confidence does not need to be fully charged to perform in the present moment.  Be strong with your body language and go COMPETE!!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

Today, focus on the Winner’s Walk/Successful Strut and Breath in Confidence.

At the end of the day, reflect on the change in the way people respond to you.

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

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Powerful Body Language = Powerful Competitors

“Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our actions are the bedrock of demonstrating our philosophies, attitudes, and beliefs. Included in our actions are the body language we portray in stressful and pressure packed situations. When working with young athletes and discussing their body language the typical discussion centers on the way we handles ourselves in competition and the effect our body language has those outside of us, when the real focus of our body language and our actions should be on the messages we are sending to ourselves with our body language.

This is a small, yet monumental shift in the view of how the Heart of a Competitor looks at the way they “speak” to our spirit and soul. It is a change in looking at competing from the inside to the environment outside of them, rather than the outside to the inside. Amy Cuddy reinforces the importance of our actions influencing our mindset in her book, Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self in your Biggest Challenges. (I was challenged by Coach Bru to summarize this book in one tweet and it read like this: “Presence reinforces the effect we can have on ourselves, using Power Poses to change our thinking and engaging in being Present.”)

Amy Cuddy utilizes countless pieces of research and experiments that demonstrate how the use of Power Poses just before big presentations, pressure packed interviews, or anxiety producing environments we are prepared and unfazed by the environment, demonstrating confidence and performing at the top of our abilities. I encourage you to add this book to your library, however if you cannot, here are a couple ways Cuddy notes that expanding our body affects our mindset:

  • Expanding your body language –through posture, movement, and speech – makes you feel more confident and powerful, less anxious and self-absorbed, and generally more positive.
  • Expanding your body causes you to think about yourself in a positive light and to trust in that self-concept. It also clears your head, making space for creativity, cognitive persistence, and abstract thinking.
  • Expanding your body frees you to approach, act, and persist.

Amy Cuddy is a Professor at the Harvard Business School and gave a TED Talk in 2012 that has over 33 Million views. You can find the TED Talk here:

Amy Cuddy – Your body language shapes who you are.

Stay tuned to the Community of Competitors Newsletter over the next couple of weeks for an exciting announcement of an upcoming event open to youth athletes where they can learn how to develop their Heart of a Competitor, including the body language and Power Poses Amy Cuddy outlines in her work.

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It’s Not the Plays, It’s the Players

“Extreme teamwork developed when they transitioned from depending on plays for confidence to depending on one another.”

– John Eliot in his book, Help the Helper

The Heart of the Competitor realizes the importance of selflessness and understands that selflessness is truly self-sacrifice, the giving up of things for others.

For a team of individuals to reach the pinnacle of performance as a unit, there must be self-sacrifice.  When the words sacrifice is brought into the equation, it conjures up images of losing something.  The true competitor realizes that selflessness and teamwork are actually giving everything that we have to developing into a better person on a daily basis.  This giving is a total commitment to the team’s goals, a confidence in teammates, and a realization that a team will accomplish exponentially more than individual.

This is the basis for Mr. Eliot’s quote from his book Help the Helper.  This quote was found in his book when he was describing a basketball team.  With a change in ownership, the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA began to focus their mindset on giving to others rather always taking.  Each NBA team has sound plays they believe will allow them to be successful with their athletic ability. In the Trailblazers case, their extreme and unbeatable teamwork developed when they depended on each other, rather than depending on the play that was designed.

This further evidences that true success if not about the play that is called, it is about the players confidently executing the play that is called.  The Heart of the Competitor is called to connect with their teammates and share the energy that connects them together.

This is the compounding of energy.  Relating this to basketball, the feeling that five are stronger than one, when five play as one.  Regardless of your sport or business, you are stronger together than you are individually.

Question of the Day:

Knowing that giving develops confidence and extreme teamwork, what can you do today to give to one of your teammates?

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Filling Your Fuel Tank of Faith

“Faith is believing in something that sometimes doesn’t always seem logical.”

– Anonymous

Faith must overcome the naysayers, the nonbelievers, and the recently termed “negaholics”, those people addicted to negative thoughts.

These non-competitors are quick to point out all of the reasons why an idea or venture will not work. While these non-competitors, the losers, are sitting on the sidelines of life, the person with the Heart of a Competitor is engrossed in their dream and making it a reality.   The non-competitors are working for other people, making others’ dreams come true.

The Competitor’s faith will be tested as a result of the words of others, the questions the non-competitors will ask, placing doubt in your mind. However, it is the faith, the choice to believe in your dream, the confidence to continue to move on and make daily progress toward a goal that appears unachievable that drive the Heart of the Competitor.

Making the commitment to read this program on a daily basis is a part of the process of developing faith in a goal or dream that may not seem logical. As you complete these writings and answer the Question of the Day, you are filling your tank of faith. It is imperative to fill your tank of faith because things will occur during the day that will drain a little fuel from your tank. By filling your faith tank on a daily basis, the Heart of the Competitor will never experience an empty tank.

Question of the Day:

In addition to reading today’s post, what else will you do to fill your Tank of Faith?

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You weren’t put here to SUCK

You weren’t put on this earth to SUCK, you were put here to be SUCCESSFUL.

We are built to be great. We are given the tools to develop the Heart of a Competitor and achieve greatness. If you are reading this message, you believe that you have the ability to live with greatness. Having this ability to achieve greatness and be successful, you also have to believe that at any point, you can just plain out suck and be a failure. It is the struggle that we place in our minds in every endeavor we undertake. This is a battle every single day. Are we going to SUCK or are we going to move toward SUCCESS?

Throughout our experiences there have definitely been times where we have sucked. It is our job to take this SUCK and turn it into SUCCESS. We are one move away from success. This is the fight; this is the fire that burns within, to push forward to be successful. The Heart of a Competitor takes this SUCK and COMPETES with all of their focus on fighting to achieve their success. This might be your physical fight to get into shape or accomplish a physical goal or the mental and emotional fight to push through any resistance that is in place. The resistance can occur outside or inside of you. Any resistance that you experience is the filling of the fuel tank.

We must experience the SUCK to fill your fuel tank for SUCCESS. Successful people recycle the SUCK into a biofuel that fills their fuel tank. Greatness requires a fuel tank that is burning deep within our soul and propelling us forward. Your SUCK is fuel for your SUCCESS. Success is not a one-day effort; it is a continual process of pushing and pursuing. This is why you need a large fuel tank and those that are the best in the world have huge fuel tanks. Novak Djokovic’s fuel tank was filled with the SUCK of being forced to practice on a makeshift tennis court in an old swimming pool. (ESPN.com article) This SUCK was his fuel for SUCCESS.

You have not been put on this Earth to SUCK, but this SUCK is FUEL for your SUCCESS.

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The World Needs More FINISHERS

The Heart of a Competitor is based on being a FINISHER.

While the last two Community of Competitors Newsletters have focused on Pressure and the understanding that pressure situations and stressful situations build us into the competitors that we need to be, this week is focused on FINSIHING.

The competitive world needs more FINISHERS. They need more competitors like old-school boxer Rocky Marciano who finished his opponents. Marciano had 49 total professional fights and finished with an unblemished record of 49 wins and 0 losses from 1948 until he retired in 1956. Even more impressive than his unblemished record was the fact that he won 43 of these fight by knockout. He FINISHED his opponents.

The need for being a FINISHER was also evident during the opening weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Those teams seeking upsets were able to finish their opponent with plays down the stretch, making foul shots, and executing quality possessions at the end of the game. They were FINISHERS, while those games that were won in the final seconds on a tip-in (Notre Dame over Stephen F. Austin) or an inbounds play (Providence over USC) were based on the team that lost not being a FINISHER. These teams had opportunities to throw the knockout punch and finish off their opponent, but they were not able to do FINISH.

Look around in your life and ask yourself, “What do I need to finish?”

For the business people that are reading this, we are ending the first quarter of 2016, be a FINISHER in this last full week March.

For those athletes beginning the Spring Season, during these first competitions, finish each play, each at-bat, each throw; be the FINISHER that you need to be.

In our lives, we are rewarded for FINISHING, not starting. Real champions, real competitors are FINSIHERS.

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Fueling Your Heart of a Competitor

The last edition of the Community of Competitors Newsletter for January will focus on building a mindset that allows us to RESPOND.  Our responses are programmed into us based on what we have placed into our mind.  Our bodies are fueled by the food we take in, our minds are nourished by what we process.  If you want to be a positive, confident, competitive, and trusting teammate, you must associate with positive, confident, competitive, and trusting people.  The Heart of a Competitor is built around creating associations and having inputs in our lives that build up the traits we want to express and live out.

This is based on pieces from the best-selling book The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, and a quote that originally came from Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” 

So, look around at whom or what are you associating with and look at the impact these associations are having on you.  Whether you are a coach, a parent, an athlete, or businessperson reading this post, your associations are impacting your performance.

As a leader, if you desire to be a person who is continually motivating your players, maintaining a positive attitude toward developing your players, look at what you are bringing into your life.

What are you reading?
How are you developing the positive mindset that will translate to your players and program?
What podcasts are you listening to?

Personally, I do not watch or listen to the news, 99% of the news has no bearing on the goals that we are pursuing or those that are around me are pursuing.  There are two podcasts that nourish my mind and I wanted to share them with the Community of Competitors, so you can fill your emotional and spiritual tank:

Dr. Michael Gervais – Finding Mastery Podcast
Dr. Bhrett McCabe – The Mindside Podcast

These two podcasts provide constant reinforcement and connection to the mindset of continuous improvement and high performance.  The format for each of these podcasts is conversational and allows for you to connect to Dr. Gervais and Dr. McCabe. This connection creates a link into these experts as one of the five people that you spend time with.

In this day and age of technology, with increased information and idea sharing, we are able to create a circle of five associations that can dramatically impact our lives and those that we come in contact with or those that we mentor.  The associations the Heart of the Competitor creates in their life impacts the way we the RESPOND.

Players, the same is true for you.  Look around at those that you spend the most time with.  Your attitude is the average of your five closest friends.  Evaluate these influences and determine which are healthy and building you up to achieve your goals.  If they are not healthy, find a way to change it.

As you attack this week with energy and enthusiasm, look around at your associations and what is put into your Heart of a Competitor.  Be aware of these influences and the impact they have on your RESPONSE.  Nourish your mind with that which will build your masterpiece.

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Responding with GRIT = Winning

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.

When the Seahawks took on the Panthers on Sunday, you saw a perfect example of responding.  The first half of the game was plagued with errors and mistakes by the Seahawks that resulted in a half time score of 31-0.  Many people stepped away from this game because they felt the game was over and the score was lopsided.  I decided to continue to watch for one reason, to see how the Seahawks responded.  You see, the Seattle Seahawks and Coach Pete Carroll are one of the most open organizations about their inner workings and approach to player and team sports psychology.  In turn, they are one of the most studied organizations.

It is fascinating to boil down to the deepest levels of sports psychology that Pete Carroll is able to implement within his team.  This past week, there was an article published by ESPN.com outlining the Seahawks “culture of grit.”  (Culture of Grit Article.)  Grit is a term coined and subsequently studied by professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and MacArthur Fellow, Dr. Angela Duckworth.  (You can see her TED Talk here The Key to Success? Grit .)  Basically, “grit” is our ability to pursue long-term goals and is broken down into passion and perseverance.

The Seahawks select players that have passion, not just in the draft, but also in their undrafted free agent signings.  At one point in the 2015-16 season, the Seahawks had more undrafted free agents on their roster (24) than any other team in the NFL.  Sure, everyone wants to hear about Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman, but the Seahawks are engineered to have and develop passion and perseverance within their players and throughout their organization.

Here is a quote from Pete Carroll that outlines why they trend toward those players that were not as highly touted as others, “They know they’ve got something to prove. This game isn’t all about talent. So much of it is about your heart and how hard you’re willing to work and how you fight through all of it and the passion that your bring. Those guys, we really appreciate those kind of guys.”

For you, the members of the Community of Competitors, I feel the same way.  You have something to prove.  Your success in life is not always about the talent that you have in your chosen area, but how you choose to respond with perseverance and compete with passion.  In this Community of Competitors, we have business people, teachers, athletes, and coaches and members of all ages and our execution of excellence will determine our success.  The challenge for you is to live everyday with passion and perseverance.  Passion and Perseverance are part of your RESPONSE to what is occurring around you.  As a member of the Community of Competitors you are expected to RESPOND with the Heart of a Competitor.  This is the reason you open this message on a weekly basis and the reason you are being challenged this week to share this message with five people.  (Next week’s message will detail why we focus on five people.)

Let me finish by saying this, developing grit, RESPONDING with the Heart of a Competitor does not mean that you are guaranteed to “win” on the scoreboard.  The Seahawks did not win their game yesterday and they did not win in the Super Bowl last year, however in the Seahawks world these experiences are all based on developing the perseverance and passion that will allow them to pursue improvement over a long-term.  If you do not believe me, just check out how Russell Wilson handles his post-game press conference. (Russell Wilson post-game press conference on NFL.com.)

Live this week with the Heart of a Competitor.

Check out previous posts on RESPONDING:
January 10th – Learning from Dabo Swinney’s Response
January 3rd – Your Response = Your Success 

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Your Response Will Determine Your Success

My goal during the month of January is to share stories and examples of great competitors RESPONDING to adversity.  This week’s example about RESPONDING comes from the Texas Christian University Football team.  You can list a number of pieces of adversity the TCU Football team encountered at the Alamo Bowl, from their start starting quarterback getting suspended for the game to falling behind 31-0 in the second half, the Horned Frogs RESPONDED.

The RESPONSE to the adversity experienced was evident and put on display in the 2016 Alamo Bowl, but it was built and engrained in the Horned Frog Culture over the last 10 years.  In 2006, almost 10 years ago, Ivan Maisel, an ESPN Senior Writer, wrote a piece on the TCU Football program’s “Enthusiasm Station.” (Check out the ESPN.com article by clicking here.)  The “Enthusiasm Station” is built into a conditioning circuit the Horned Frogs complete early in the morning one day a week.  This “Enthusiasm Station” dictates how long they continue in their conditioning circuit.  Their RESPONSE in the “Enthusiasm Station” is based solely on their desire to push through and use the adversity in the conditioning circuit as an advantage.  Their enthusiasm was practiced, never left to chance, built for 10 years and displayed at the Alamo Bowl.

The enthusiastic RESPONSE was also evident in Quarterback Bram Kohlhausen.  Kohlhausen is a fifth-year senior who has been backing up the starter, a sophomore, the entire season.  He responded when given the opportunity, in what ends up being Kohlhausen’s only start in his entire college football career.  This only start occurred a little under two months after his father passed away in early November.  Kohlhausen RESPONDED by competing with the Heart of a Competitor engaging in the present moment with confidence.

This is just one example of a person and a team RESPONDING, however there are examples all around us of people and programs RESPONDING to adversity.  We do not control what is happening around us, but and this is a big BUT, we control our RESPONSE.  In 2016, I encourage you to RESPOND, build your masterpiece, and compete with the Heart of a Competitor.  Like Bram Kohlhausen, you may only get one opportunity and your RESPONSE will determine what is made of this one opportunity.