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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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Changing the Question

What if we take a risk and it does not work out?

This was the question I was asked by one of the competitors this past week when I spoke at the Adidas Future 500 Soccer ID Camp at Eastern University.

This question is a common question that young competitors have floating around in their mind. What if we take a risk and it does not work out?

This question is focused on the failure or lack of success that are possible in any risk that is taken and the mindset that is pervasive throughout society that gets pushed into our young competitors’ minds. It is the goal of the Heart of the Competitor to change this mindset and ask a different question, “What if we never take the risk, what would we miss out on?”

This is a striking change in perspective.

The original question is focused on the failure and lack of success, as measured by society and it is the narrative that many competitors, young and old have floating around in their mind, the fear of failure and at the same time, the fear of success. The original question is focused specifically on fear. The challenge is to move from fearing to enjoying the experience that is our life, our competition. Our life is a competition with our self to get the most out of it. We are blessed with the opportunities that are presented to us and we are blessed to take action on these opportunities. The actions we take allow us to learn and then apply this learning in future opportunities. Taking action creates an abundance of opportunities for us to increase the experiences available to us.

So ask yourself the question: “What if we never take the risk, what would we miss out on?”

Then, go and do the thing you have been holding back on. When competitors young and old look back on their lives, they will regret more of what they did NOT do, than more of what they did do.

If you are a coach reading this, allow your competitors to take risks and be there to provide the learning context from their action.

If you are a parent, support your child’s coach in taking risks to build a great program AND support your child in their risk taking.

If you are a player, go out and perform, freely, enjoying the experience and learning from each opportunity, in other words, go out and COMPETE.

Enjoy the experience that is your Competition.

 

 

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Amazing Opportunities

Look around your life. Seriously, take a look around your life and deeply evaluate the opportunities that abound in your life. There are many opportunities, yet the question remains, will you take the step forward and take advantage of these opportunities?

This thought struck me during our family vacation this past week. We rented a condominium in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. When we arrived on Saturday and got settled in to the rental, another family arrived in the condominium right beside us with children that were perfect matches as play partners for the week for our two boys, Simon and Spencer.

As the week progressed, this struck me as an amazing opportunity. Imagine what had to happen for this to occur, I mean my wife, Emily, took countless hours and days to find a rental that matched what was best for our family, while at the same time a family in Pittsburgh was renting the exact same condominium right beside us.

What are the chances?

It does not matter what the chances or the odds are on this happening, but it provided an opportunity for two families to become friends and develop a relationship. It was up to us to take the step and make the connection and take advantage of this opportunity. This is true for us in our lives. Take a look around and look at the amazing opportunities around you, but it is up to you to take the first step. Take advantage of the opportunities that are there, take the next step, make the connection, seize the opportunity, and live a life with no regrets. This is a true competitor, seeking to become the best and create the best competitive life for yourself.

Book Update

 As many of you know, I have been working on a book that can be utilized as a daily reader. This past week, I received the first proof of the book. This marks another step forward in this process, another opportunity for me and the coaches and athletes I am blessed to serve. Additionally, I recently completed an audio program that is made up of 3-5 minute tracks that should be listened to on a daily basis, placed into your daily routine. Since this audio program has been completed and is available, we have a special opportunity happening for the month of June, when you order the Competitor’s Heart Audio Program, we will reserve a book and send it to you FREE when it is completed. Check out the Competitor’s Heart Audio Program Here.

Keep taking advantage of the amazing opportunities in your life.

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Excellence Requires a Little Extra Effort

Sir Walter Raleigh learned the lesson of giving an extra effort. When he was younger, he attended an elite boarding school. He was a competitor and desired to be first in his class. He was consistently second to another student at the school. One night when Raleigh was preparing for bed, he looked across the school and observed that his competitor’s candle was still lit. After a period of time, Raleigh noticed that his competitor spent an extra 15 minutes studying each night. At this point in time, Sir Walter Raleigh committed to studying an extra 20 minutes a night. He did this every night and by the end of the school year, he was the Number one student in his class.

You are competing with yourself every single day to improve and become the best that you can be. The Heart of a Competitor commits to an extra 20 minutes a day to improve their skills.   They find a way to make this commitment and be better than they were the day before.

Sir Walter Raleigh had a goal to be the best, so he took it upon himself to focus on what he controlled and commit to doing the little extra. What is it that you will do a little extra of? Will you commit to visualizing for 20 minutes a day? Will you commit to practicing your skills and conditioning for an extra 20 minutes a day? Will you commit to focusing on your schoolwork for an extra 20 minutes a day?

Set a goal. Commit to a plan of daily effort and then add 20 minutes to your plan. The Heart of the Competitor commits this extra time not as a badge of honor, but with the knowledge that greatness requires commitment to do more than the ordinary.

I have committed to getting up between 4:30 AM and 5:00 AM every single day and this has allowed me to continually move forward on completing a book and audio program that is going to impact the lives of thousands of young competitors.

Question of the Day:

 What will you commit to doing for an extra 20 minutes?

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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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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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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