Posted on

Leadership Lessons from Winston Churchill

“I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod.”

– Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister 1940-1945 and 1951-1955

Leadership requires evaluation to determine what approach is best for a given situation; genuine leaders do not require motivation or prompting to move into action.

Leaders have learned that leadership is based on action and a continual movement forward. The continual movement forward is controlled, allowing for awareness and response to any situation that may occur. This was true of Winston Churchill during his time as Prime Minister of Great Britain. As time has passed since his two stints as Prime Minister of Great Britain, his legend grows, but it grows for good reason, he was one of the great leaders of the 20th century.   The leadership that Churchill displayed during World War II was based on his staunch belief that Great Britain would never surrender. His repetition of this belief in a variety of sayings continually marched the British people forward to soldier on through the fight of World War II.

For this belief and leadership, Churchill did have to endure his share of detractors and critics, with some claiming that he could convince himself of anything. This might be a downfall for some, but it was the basis for belief and confidence in Churchill’s mind that became his actions. These thoughts and action led Britain to be the first group to stand-up to the opposition in World War II. This leadership created the fight to endure and eventually defeat the largest attempt at extermination and oppression the world has ever seen.

In the life of a competitor, we will never face an opposition as large as Churchill and Great Britain faced in World War II, however, with the Heart of a Competitor, the leadership that Churchill demonstrated with motivation to keep moving forward with belief and confidence can be a model.

Question of the Day:

What will you do to maintain your motivation to be leading you, your team, and your organization forward?

Posted on

The 1 Training You Never Want to Use

Imagine for a second that your training over your entire career was for one event, or one competition. Many may train for a marathon or a Triathlon, to say they have completed one of these in their lifetime. Now imagine this training for the one event or one competition was training you hoped you never had to use, such is the training of a Secret Service Agent. Their training consists of preparing to protect the life of the President of the United States. They train for an event, an assassination attempt on the President, however they hope they never have to use this training.

 

In the current environment of technology, most of the work of the Secret Service can be done through leads and securing areas ahead of time. This was not the case in 1981, when President Ronald Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton and shots were fired. Immediately upon hearing these shots, Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr pushed President Reagan into the waiting limousine and jumped on top of President Reagan. Mr. Parr was performing and acting for the one event he had trained his entire career for. Mr. Parr passed away this week at the age of 85. The New York Times in an article announcing his passing used this quote from him, “I sort of knew what they (gunshots) were, and I’d been waiting for them all of my career, in a way. That’s what every agent waits for, is that.”

 

The Heart of the Competitor trains their skills everyday for events and competitions where they will use their skills, where they will compete. You are part of that community, part of that group who will perform at their peak. Just as Mr. Parr performed in a life and death scenario that he had trained for, you as a competitor have trained for every situation that you encounter. You have prepared your heart to compete.

 

When you perform and compete in such a way, you build your legacy and that is what Agent Parr did in 1981, he built his legacy and it is summed up in Nancy Reagan’s quote about him, “Jerry was not only one of the finest Secret Service agents to ever serve this country, but one of the most decent human beings I’ve ever known. He was humble but strong, reserved but confident, and blessed with a great sense of humor.

 

Live your life to be a humble and strong competitor, exhibiting the confidence to perform when called upon.

 

Enjoy the week and build your Heart of a Competitor.

 

P.S. Look for our next video in building your Heart of a Competitor and the 4 Heartsets that will come later this week.

Posted on

Small Changes Get Big Results

As we near the end of the summer and many parents, athletes, and coaches are preparing for a new school year we can evaluate our goals and determine what changes we would like to make to achieve at our highest level. Many people see the word CHANGE and cringe; they lack the foresight and mental toughness to know that change is continuous and leads to improvement.

Do you know what is great about the changes that occur in our life?

The smallest changes can make the biggest difference. About 15 months ago, I made a small change to my before bed routine, this small change added on average 34 seconds to my bedtime routine.

What was this one small change?

I began flossing. That’s right, I started to floss each evening and it takes about 34 seconds for me to do this. There was very little change in the dentist appointment that I had six months after starting to floss, however, the big change that occurred was this past week at my usual nine month teeth cleaning, the entire appointment from the time I walked in the door until the time I left, lasted a whopping 34 minutes and my dentist informed me that I had a great set of teeth.

Why is it important that you care about my dental hygiene?

The truth is, you should not care about my dental hygiene, but you should care about the small things you can do that will make a big difference for you. It is the small things that we do over and over, that do not seem to matter when we are doing them, that lead to the big results and payoffs in our life.

The truth is most people will not do the small things that are seemingly insignificant but will lead to success.

How do we know this? According to the American Dental Association, 50% of Americans DO NOT floss daily. That means that 50% of the people refuse to do a little thing that leads to greater health.

Those that perform at their best on a daily basis, the Champions of Competition, commit to do the small things that do not seem to matter, and they commit to doing them with uncommon focus and energy.

What is a small thing that you can change, add, or adapt in your life as we prepare for a new school year?

Share your one small change with me, by simply commenting on this post.

Posted on

Our Minds are NOT Machines

This past week, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of an awesome team. It was a team of volunteers and workers that were tasked with getting the Golf course at Lancaster Country Club prepared each day for the United States Women’s Open. Preparing the course each day is a major undertaking, which consists of basically mowing every single blade of grass in the playing area on an over 6,400 yard golf course. Our team included over 100 volunteers and workers and countless pieces of equipment, including over 10 fairway mowers, and numerous mowers designated to mow the greens, tees, and the treacherous rough. The entire process is nothing short of amazing.

 

Fortunately, I was assigned to work with a team of individuals that would mow greens. The greens mowers were set to cut the grass on the greens to 1/10 of an inch; these are finely tuned machines, calibrated each day and night. If we got to a green and the mower was not cutting properly, it was returned to the maintenance building and a new mower was brought out to use. On Friday morning, on the greens mowing crew I was with, we changed our greens mower three times because it was not cutting the grass properly.

 

These machines were not performing to the proper expectations and were discarded at that time for a new machine. This sounds a lot like our mindset at times. When we face adversity, we want to discard our current approach and look for a new one. We however, are not machines and cannot just go out and find something that is supposed to function better. We are humans and we must develop our mental toughness to endure any situation and perform to the best of our abilities. Performing our best includes developing the confidence we have in ourselves, with an optimistic mindset with positive energy to mindfully live in the present moment.

 

This week, stick to your process, not discarding it. Focus on your process of development, not discarding it for a new machine quickly when adversity hits.

 

Enjoy the week and grow every day.

 

Posted on

2 Ways to Prepare for Pressure

Our family spent the last week on a much anticipated and well-deserved vacation.  We spent the week in Avalon, New Jersey, a beautiful little town on the Jersey Shore.  We have been to portions of the Jersey Shore before at various times during past summers.  This past week was NOT the peak of summer tourism, as a matter of fact, many Jersey schools had just finished their school year, so the summer buzz was starting, but overall it was quiet compared to previous visits we took during the months of July and August.

While the number of visitors like myself was lower, the intensity of the lifeguards on the beach was higher than I have ever seen.  In other words, they were preparing for the busy times that lie ahead.  On our second day there, right as the lifeguards came on the beach at 10 AM, there were many whistles being blown and a number of lifeguards running up and down the beach.  The first thing that popped into my mind was the concern for those they had to rescue at other locations, when in reality they were training themselves to work as a team and prepare to save a person life.  There was a lead lifeguard right in front of us that would blow his whistle at random times and the neighboring guards would jump out of their chairs, grab their buoy and run down the beach to the next station.  It was impressive to watch.  They were always on watch, expecting the unexpected.  Thus, when something out of the ordinary occurred, they hopped into motion without hesitation.

Then an amazing challenge occurred, right in front of us, a “rescue.”  The lifeguard whistles blew and they hopped into action swimming out to save a “person” that had gotten caught about 50 yards out from the shore line.  As the crowd gathered, the lifeguards swam out to the person in distress, and quickly brought them back to shore.  While the other lifeguards cleared an area, the practice dummy was brought to shore and given CPR.  These lifeguards were practicing experiencing pressure.

These lifeguards were building habits, so that at some point this summer, when they are called upon to save a life, they have prepared by expecting the unexpected and practicing under pressure.  The challenge to the Community of Competitors is to in our lives, expect the unexpected and practice experiencing pressure.  We learn these from great performers in athletic events to the daily jobs that many of us engage in every single day.

 

Following the completion of this challenge and practicing saving the life of the “practice swimmer,” the lifeguards debriefed on the beach.  This was just another example that we are all COMPETITORS in life.

LifeGuard_Debrief

Posted on

Love the Present (It’s a Gift!!)

“Anxiety is the space between the ‘Now’ and the ‘Then.'”

 -Richard Abell

Competing in the present moment requires focus and concentration. Focus and concentration must be practiced and rehearsed. It is the training of the mind and body to work together in a way that demonstrates thought and movement connection. This connection begins with the thoughts.

The largest inhibitor of a thought and movement connection are the thoughts that come into our mind that drag us away from the present moment, the here and now. Our mind is made up of thousand and depending on our age, millions of experiences and images related to the event or activity the competitor is currently engaged in. When facing competitive situations, our mind replays the previous experiences that were had in similar situations. Our minds do this to maintain some semblance of calm for the mind, since the mind relies on the status quo, resisting change. This creates a gap between the present moment, the “Now,” and the past, the “Then.” As quoted above, this creates anxiety.

The Heart of the Competitor removes these past images and engages in the present moment to create a new script, one that has not been written. The first step to engaging in the present moment is a deep breath to push out the past images and experiences, thus placing your mind where your feet are. The deep breath brings the competitor into the “Here and Now.” This leaves the “Then,” knowing it has occurred and cannot be changed, the “Here and Now” is wholly controllable and it is the Heart of the Competitor that engages in the present moment, where true memories are made.

The second step to engaging in the present moment is utilizing a focus word or saying that will prompt you to be in the “Here and Now.” Choosing a focus word or saying allows you to bring yourself a calm and laser-like concentration to the present. The focus word or saying is effective because the competitor believes in it and engages their mind in the word or saying.

Question of the Day:

Choose your focus word or saying? Why did you choose this word or say? What does it mean to you?

Posted on

5 Books for Your Summer Reading

5 Books for Your Summer Reading List

 

Summer School is in. It is a time to focus on continually developing ourselves and those that we come in contact with. Here are five books to add to your summer reading list.

 

  1. The Hard Hat by Jon Gordon

 

Jon tells the story of George Boiardi, a Cornell Lacrosse player that died on the field during the season of 2004. Over time, many stories have been told of how George was a great teammate. After telling George’s story, Mr. Gordon outlines 21 ways to be a great teammate and how George exemplified each and every single one of them. This book is a powerful and compact read.

 

  1. Performing Under Pressure by Hendrie Weisinger and J.P. Pawliw-Fry

 

The first quote I noted from this book is as follows: “Pressure is the enemy of success: It undermines performance and helps us fail.” This piece goes on to outline how our performance suffers during pressure packed events, however, we can learn to manage pressure and that the strategies to live and perform under pressure can allow us to “unleash our creative and intellectual potential.”

 

This book contains countless simple to implement strategies for handling pressure. These strategies are broken down into quick fixes and long-term strategies by developing our COTE of Armor.

 

  1. How to Think Like A Freak by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

 

The authors of this book are well known for their work in economics and searching for different ways to approach economical questions. This piece is a fascinating read that discusses how they have approached the problems they have been asked to consult on. The first two quotes that I captured from this book are as follows:

 

  1. Until you can admit what you don’t yet know, it’s virtually impossible to learn what you need to.
  2. The key to learning is feedback. It is nearly impossible to learn anything without it.

 

Key Point: There is an endless supply of fascinating questions to be answered.

 

  1. The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

 

This powerful piece written by two women focuses on the development of confidence in females. The authors outline the history and DNA behind a female’s confidence, and most importantly, the reader is provided with a number of strategies to develop confidence. If you are a female, coach females, teach females, or have a daughter, this is a must read for you. An essential quote from the beginning of this book is:

“Success correlates more closely with confidence than it does with competence.”

 

  1. The Legacy Builder by Rod Olson

 

This book provides five key points to leadership in a fable format, rather than merely outlining them in a dry leadership book. These five key leadership “secrets” are “taught” to a struggling CEO from his high school football coach. It is a great way to be reminded of the impact that a coach has on the players they are entrusted with to coach. A key reminder in this work is as follows:

 

“Remember things that are built to last are not built fast.”

 

The Community of Competitors is being built to last. The group of people receiving this newsletter is growing on a weekly basis. This is a result of the sharing that you, the Competitors have done. Please continue to share these weekly messages with everyone you feel is competing to become the best they can become. This Community of Competitors is growing and is built to last. If you can think of one person that may enjoy this newsletter, please forward it to them and encourage them to sign-up.

 

Sign-Up for the Community of Competitors Newsletter

 

Bonus Book:

Specifically for baseball and softball coaches and players, check out the programs from Mental Game VIP.  This is a great resource for those serious about learning form some of the best minds related to baseball and softball peak performance.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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?