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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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Living on the EDGE

Writing and completing A Competitor’s Heart has been an exercise in creating a totally unknown path.

This is the great part of inventing our life, we are on a totally new path every single day, and with every single step we take. For many people the new way and the new path create anxiety and they make a decision to fall back to the comfortable and known way. This is why we have so few high performers in our world; we fall back into the comfortable and easy way of life. This is why building your personal Heart of a Competitor is essential to being the person and Competitor you desire. Building your personal Heart of a Competitor is NOT about making radical changes and overhauling what we do, it is about making a small step in the right direction at just the right time. When we live a life that is on the edge, willing to experience this anxiety, our personal Heart of a Competitor is open to these small moments in time where we can take that small step that will eventually lead to an enormous impact.

Another reason many people stop building a Competitor’s Heart is because it is a deeply personal journey that NEVER ends. If you are reading this piece, you believe in the following words: There is NO limit to self-improvement. The continual path of improvement is a road that is traveled by few; however, those that do travel this road live a fulfilling life. They are living on the edge of their capabilities and are inspired by those they connect with on the journey to Competing from the heart.

A Competitor’s Heart is your guide on this journey. This book is your textbook to developing A Competitor’s Heart over 369 Days. The first question people ask is, “Why 369 Days?”

My answer is always the same, “Why stop at 365?” However, it goes deeper than this. This book is made up of 41 concepts we would love to establish with our lives. These concepts include confidence, optimism, quietness and habits. Each of these 41 concepts has nine days/lessons/thoughts associated with them. These nine days are the guide, the PROCESS to self-exploration and establishing your personal Competitor’s Heart.

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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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Fill a Need and you will always be NEEDED.

This post is not an advertisement to shop at Target.
I felt like that needed to be the first line of today’s Community of Competitors Newsletter because this is not about Target making a decision to serve a specific type of customer that enters their doors.  This Community of Competitors Newsletter is about listening to those around you, even the lowest people on the lowest rung of the ladder of your organization.

Caroline’s Cart is a shopping cart that is designed for the parents of children with special needs.  The cart is designed so there is no need for these parents to push a wheelchair and a shopping cart through the store.  Drew Ann Long created the design, when she knew her daughter would outgrow the traditional shopping cart.  Target became aware of Caroline’s Cart when a local Target store employee brought it to the attention of the local store operations team.  Thus it was implemented at the local level and in the month of March 2016, Target expects to have Caroline’s Cart in each of their stores. Story on upworthy.com

I write about this in the Community of Competitors Newsletter because this idea was NOT hatched in some huge corporate boardroom by a bunch of high-level executives, those in the trenches launched it, those with their boots on the ground.  Caroline’s Cart was created by a mother who had a need.  Caroline’s Cart was then introduced to Target by an employee who had a need.

Fill a NEED and you will always be NEEDED.

This is true on every team and in every organization.  See what needs to be completed, what needs to be done and serve an important role.  In my coaching experience, there were countless times that our bench players were able to pick up the signs of the other team.  These players were not starters, but they saw a NEED, filled the NEED, and they were NEEDED.  These players were an essential part of the success of the organization.

In the life of the Competitor, there will be needs there will be problems.  Individuals with the Heart of a Competitor look at the problems as opportunities to find solutions, while those that are losers are stuck in the problem identification stage, refusing to identify a solution.  Great teams find solutions and great individuals fill a need.

Fill a NEED and you will always be NEEDED.

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Enjoy Your Growth as You Respond

Respond

As we enter the last week of 2015 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 2016.  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 2016, 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 two 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.  As 2015 comes to a close and I reflect on my word of “Growth,” I have been blessed with immense growth throughout the year.  Here is last year’s post on the word “Growth.”

If you look back at last year’s message on the word “Growth,” my goal was to use every opportunity as an area of growth, utilizing my strengths to continually grow and in turn see those that we have been blessed to work with will grow.  As I review 2015, I can emphatically say that I have been blessed with GROWTH throughout my life.

For 2016, I have chosen the word “Respond.”  In going through the process of having a word choose me for the year, I kept coming back to our lives as Competitors being built NOT on what is happening around us, but how we RESPOND to what is occurring around us.  If we look around at the Competitors that have been successful and achieved their goals, they respond with a focus and determination that is unmatched.

We are looking for you as a member of the Community of Competitors to help all of us RESPOND in 2016.  Pass this message on to someone and grow the Community of Competitors.

This brings us to you.  What do you want out of 2016?  Over the next week, as you mindfully progress through your work on a daily basis, observe what is occurring and what you want for next year.  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.

If you would like to se receive this as an email 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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Maintain Your Shoreline

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to each and every one of you. I am so thankful that each of you has decided to be a part of the Community of Competitors.

This past weekend, our family spent the Thanksgiving Day Holiday at the beach in Cape May, NJ. The New Jersey beach holds a special place in my family’s heart. When I was a child, we would vacation at the Jersey Shore and we are continuing this tradition as we raise our family.

This weekend included numerous days with temperatures above 60 degrees, which is absolutely unbelievable as we near the end of November. On Thanksgiving Day, we took a walk on the beach and a thought struck me as we walked, the shoreline looks much different now than when we come down over the summer. The normal gradual slope down into the water was not present, but a jagged and bumpy shoreline was. This is interesting because during the “off-season” at the shore, the beach is hardly used; there is very little traffic, so you would think it would be pristine and manicured. The reverse is true. Over the summer, when the beach can be crowded with numerous tourists and sun worshippers, the shoreline is manicured and ready for use everyday. It is ready for use every day because it is worked on every day.

 

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These are true in our lives as Competitors, in times of great use and intense focus, our minds are right and we are prepared, ready to go. However, if we look at something as an off-season and we let our guard down, the waves will destroy our shoreline. The secret for us is to maintain our routine, lead ourselves, constantly and consistently feeding our positive mindset, placing small challenges in front of us.

Rome was not built in a day, but it was worked on every day.

This is true for the Heart of a Competitor; we must work on our mindset every single day. This small commitment to fill our mind with positive and thought provoking challenges everyday builds the shoreline, builds our mindset for excellence. As we wrap up the month of November focusing on Leadership, lead yourself every day, for you are building a legacy that will last longer than the Roman Collesseum.

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Perfection is NOT the Goal

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Diamonds are a precious resource and are a great example of what it means to be a competitor.

  1. Diamonds are formed about 100 miles deep within the earth, where it’s hot and there is a lot of pressure. This is true for us as individuals and as a part of a team, we are forming and preparing in the heat and under pressure of competition.
  2. Diamonds are brought to the surface of the Earth as a result of a violent explosion that propels them quickly through the earth, cementing the Carbon bonds in place. (A 1 Karat diamond has billions and billions of bonds.) When you are experiencing adversity, you are being propelled through the heat and pressure and you are cementing the bonds of a team or the strength in your competitive mindset in place.
  3. Lastly, Diamonds are used as a sign of commitment and strength. It is a commitment based on bonds, and it is a strength that is so strong, it is used on blades to cut through bricks or pavement or in life to signify the commitment of one person to another.

Diamonds are seen as these valuable resources and gems, signifying commitment and strength, however it is important to note that diamonds are rarely ever perfect. Approximately 26,000 kilograms of diamonds are mined annually and a fraction of these are considered “perfect” when they are pulled from the ground. Even after they are mined, they go through many processes and cuttings to be built into the fine jewelry that is sold around the world.

This is true for all of us in the Community of Competitors; we are being formed through heat and pressure and are far from perfection. We are undergoing change on a daily basis to be chiseled into a fine competitor. Just like the strength of a diamond, we have the strength and the beauty to be chiseled away into a valuable competitor. This chiseling and process that we undergo does not lead us to perfection, but enhances our growth and allows us to become more than we ever could have imagined.

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1 Simple Tool to Jumpstart Your Day

The conclusion of June marked the end of the second quarter of 2015 and the halfway point of the year. At this point, we should take an inventory of the first half of the year and evaluate what adjustments we need to make.

Based on the feedback from previous weekly messages, many of you have chosen a word for the year. My word for the year is GROWTH. For me this word was chosen to represent the challenge to take risks and push to grow. As I reflected, there were times during the year that my focus on growth had led to trying to do too many things. I forget where I heard it, but a saying that creeps into my mind describes what can happen in our society is that we wear “busyness as a badge of honor.” Busyness is not a badge of honor and she should be able to slow down and live our life, enjoying it to the fullest extent.

Since July 5th, I have been using something called a “Daily Register.” It is a combination of a Mission and Goal-focused, Attitude of Gratitude, and Success Journal al wrapped up in one

 

Click here to download and use the FREE template of the “Daily Register.”

 

Each morning, take the time to create 3 goals for the day. This may be a to-do list for you, or simply a mindset that you would like to maintain. (One day last week, my goal was as follows: Say Yes whenever the boys ask me to do something with them.)

The next portion of the daily register is to write down the daily quote that is posted on Twitter. These quotes are delivered at 6 AM everyday and they are a service to you to help focus your mind for the day. (One recipient of the newsletter told me these quotes are his alarm.) Click here to see today’s quote on Twitter.

The next portion of the Daily Register is the 3 X 5 strategy from Jon Gordon and it is labeled the Attitude of Gratitude portion of the Daily Register. By the end of the day, you should be able to come up with 3 things you are grateful for by 5 PM. (I must admit, I cheat on this strategy; I usually complete this just before I head to bed, which is usually after 5 PM.)

Lastly, complete the portion that includes the one success or one lesson learned. The lesson or success that is reported can be as big or small as you want it to be.

Imagine if you completed this Daily Register for the last two weeks of July, what a powerful momentum builder that would be the reminder of 2015. Now is the time to get started.

 

Click here to download and use the FREE template of the “Daily Register.”

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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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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.