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Embracing Diversity

Over the last two weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak to the competitors at the Adidas Future 500 Soccer ID Camp; the top rated College ID Camp in the USA.  The three different camp sessions have included over 1,200 players from around the world.  The picture above is of Jed, Gaincarlo, and Gabe with Camp Director, Mark Wagner.  These three players traveled from Hong Kong to attend this camp.  During the girls session, we met a competitor whose father is in the Marine Corps and is stationed in Germany.  She traveled with her mother just to come to this camp.  We had competitors at this camp that could speak French, Arabic, Italian, to name a few of the many languages.

The competitors that attended these camps were a diverse group.  They were a diverse group based on ethnicity, language, ability, and many other traits.  We could learn a lot from those that attended the Adidas Future 500 Camp that could be used in our society today.  During one of the most contentious times in the history of the United States, these campers looked past any differences and enjoyed the opportunity to connect and compete at this great event.  This is why athletics is an integral part of the development of our young competitors, to come together and look past differences in skin color, nationality, languages, and occupations.  Even if this only occurs for a short four days at a soccer camp, we are learning the importance of making connections with other human beings and appreciating life and the endless opportunities it provides.

This is what we can learn from these young competitors, we are all human beings enjoying this life experience.  Those with the Heart of a Competitor are called to share these great opportunities in our life, regardless of our differences because when we do, we make connections that open new doors for us.  This is what the campers at the Adidas Future 500 Soccer ID Camp were doing, opening new doors for themselves.  They opened the door to new friendships to those from around the world, all while opening the door to possible collegiate recruitment.

The challenge for you this week is to open doors.  Literally stop and open the door for someone that is different than you, make eye contact with them, and greet them.  While you are stepping out and opening this door, you are figuratively connecting with them, creating richness in the human connection.  We do not need more friends or followings in a social media world; we need more connections in a human world.  Step out of your comfort zone and connect with someone that is different, embrace the diversity that surrounds us.

 

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Memorial Day: No Man Left Behind

For many the Memorial Day weekend signifies the beginning of summer. The community swimming pools open, school year’s wind down, and family gatherings abound. Memorial Day is steeped in the tradition of recognizing the sacrifices that so many people have given to provide the freedoms that we enjoy in America today. The traditions and rituals of honoring and caring for those that have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty is a powerful reminder of the teamwork and commitment to each other that is a part of a soldier’s service to the American people.

The United States military branches are well known for “never leaving an American behind.” This is true for the fallen American Soldier as well. A fallen soldier is accompanied by another soldier on the flight home to Dover Air Force base and remains with them until they are returned to the family. We must continue to recognize those that have given their lives to support our freedoms. It is what Memorial Day is built on.

(Yochi Dreazen and Gary Fields wrote a powerful piece on the returning home of the American Soldier. The article entitled, “How We Bury the War Dead” appeared in the Wall Street Journal on May 29, 2010.)

Creating teams with the Heart of a Competitor can learn two lessons from the way United States Soldiers are treated:

  1. Each member of the team is valued.

Regardless of race, ethnicity, or rank, each soldier is treated with dignity and respect. Their service to the country is honored and recognized.

  1. The struggle within your own team can change the way you treat each other.

The Civil War was a major reason the treatment of the fallen soldier was changed. Congress decided that those soldiers that fought for the country deserved to be recognized for their sacrifice and set up the national cemeteries that we have today.

Know that the struggles you face as an individual, a team, or an organization will change you. These changes we undergo are essential to becoming the people, team, or organization we are destined to become.

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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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Selflessness = Your Mission

“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 is the compounding of energy. Relating this to basketball, the feeling that five are stronger than one, when five play as one. This is true of our hand, each finger plays an important role, however individually they are weak. When these fingers are placed together and work together, they become an important piece of a tool that accomplish great things.

Question of the Day:

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