Mentoring

Mentoring is the process of pouring your life into the life of another person. Mentoring involves a true commitment to care enough about the life of another person to help them reach their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. A good mentor shares wisdom learned from successes and failures. A true mentor listens well, shares advice when necessary or prompted, and leads by example. Sometimes, just being in the presence of your mentor can provide you with the energy and enthusiasm to accomplish your goals, persevere through trials, and conquer your fears. It is not always what a mentor says but the intensity with which he or she listens that can provide the answers.

I remember the last year that I spent with my grandfather provided me with a wealth of inspiration and insight. At this point in his life, he was trying to persevere through cancer, and his faculties were not as sharp as they once had been. Just being in his presence, however, brought back the memories of every wise word he had said, every noble deed he had done, and every magnificent moment he had leveraged to listen to my hopes and dreams.

Pat and Me

I thought about the times he took me to meet his friends for coffee. This regular ritual was a mentoring group before the word was popular. I was barely old enough to know what coffee was, but he took me along like I was “one of the boys.” His friends accepted this minor intrusion on their time out of respect for my grandfather. If he said it was ok, then it must be.

I also thought about all of the values that he instilled in me like a hard work ethic, integrity, serving others, humility, authenticity, and a love for God, your family, and other people. My grandfather did not speak a lot of words during his last year on this earth, but his life and the time I spent in his presence spoke volumes.

Who has been a mentor to you? Who are you mentoring? Mentoring is the kind of thing that must be paid forward. During the Thanksgiving holidays, I encourage and challenge you to do two things. First, reach out in some way to the people who have made an impact in your life – your family, friends, co-workers – and say thanks. You could even take the time to actually write a note or letter and mail it – something that is not done as much these days given the proliferation of e-mail. Second, set a goal of serving as a mentor to someone.

The funny thing about mentoring is that the mentor many times becomes the true learner.

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Shoot Your Shot

It was the 1997 NBA Finals. The Chicago Bulls with their dynamic duo of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were playing the Utah Jazz with their tandem of John Stockton and Karl Malone. The score was tied 86-86, and the Bulls called timeout with 28 seconds left to discuss their strategy. During the timeout, Michael Jordan leaned over to teammate Steve Kerr and told him that Stockton was probably going to come over to double team him. Kerr thought about the underlying message of what Jordan was communicating to him in that moment and responded, “If he comes off, I’ll be ready!”

Jordan got the ball, took a few dribbles, and the play developed just as Jordan had envisioned it. John Stockton left Steve Kerr to double team Jordan, who passed it to his open teammate. Steve Kerr was indeed ready, shot the ball in rhythm, and sealed the victory for the Bulls’ 5th NBA championship.

Basketball about to score

So many times, we don’t take the shot that life presents to us. We either freeze up due to fear of missing the shot, or we are not prepared for the moment when we receive the ball. Whether you are playing in a big basketball game, parenting your children, or leading your team at work, here are 3 things we can learn from Steve Kerr’s most memorable moment as an NBA player about shooting your shot:

  • Be Prepared and Stay Ready – As you will see in the video below, Michael Jordan looked at Steve Kerr and thought about what he was going to say before he said it. He knew he wanted Steve to be prepared for what he believed would eventually happen. While Steve admitted later that he was not as confident as he sounded in the moment, he received Michael’s belief in him and was ready when the moment came. As Kerr walked onto the court, he probably recalled the thousands of jump shots that he had taken over the years and was ready when he received the ball. While you cannot always predict when defining moments will happen, you can be prepared for them by developing your strengths, practicing daily, and growing in experience.
  • Embrace the Moment – I often wonder what Steve Kerr must have been thinking when Michael Jordan, one of the best players and closers of the game, communicated that he might pass to him. Amongst all of the potential thoughts of pressure and fear, Kerr embraced the moment and told Jordan he would be ready. In life, we cannot shirk our duties, responsibilities, and our opportunities. Opportunity doesn’t always knock twice, and when the phone rings, we must be ready and willing to answer the call knowing we were made for this moment. Embracing the moment involves understanding the importance of the moment and the part you can play to make something happen. Whether you are a parent, an athlete, or a business leader, there are people in your life that are counting on you to embrace the moment to make a positive difference when the “game” is on the line.
  • Shoot the Shot – Finally, we learn that Steve Kerr took the shot. He didn’t hesitate or freeze up, and he didn’t pass the ball like a hot potato to someone else. He stepped into the pass and took the shot without ever thinking that it might not go in. When opportunities present themselves, we must be ready to “shoot the shot.” We can’t be thinking about all of the things that might never happen and having regret over shots we haven’t taken. We must take action in the moment that has been given. We must engage mentally, emotionally, and physically in the current moment and perform.

Your life is filled with opportunities for you to make a positive difference within your sphere of influence every day. Step up, and shoot the shot!

The Journey For Perfection

“I’m just ready to hit the perfect golf shot!” As I processed this comment from one of my golfers, I sarcastically but respectfully responded, “Well, I’m not holding my breath until you or any of these other elite pro golfers that are out here does that!”

Janell hitting a shot

It is a quest that has no end; a journey without a final destination. We all strive to be perfect at something. I have seen this trait in a lot of the people I coach across the domains of sports, business, and life. Elite performers falsely believe that every shot, every word, and every action should be perfect. And when it is not, they begin to question and doubt their talent. Sometimes, it lasts only for a split second moment. Occasionally, it can endure for what seems to be an eternity.

Determination and striving to be our best at something can be a powerful force in our lives. The notion of perfection, however, very often leads to pressing, which involves increasing the importance of a given moment. Your life has enough stress and pressure in it without you mistakenly thinking you have to be perfect. As I tell my golfers, sometimes accomplishing the goal is as simple as getting from point A to point B to point C.

What makes us arrogantly assume that we can be perfect? Even in Michael Johnson’s greatest race in the 1996 Olympics when he won the gold medal and shattered his own world record – a race many of us would have called the perfect race – he stumbled the first few steps out of the blocks. Bob Rotella, the guru of sports psychologists, wrote a whole book about this topic entitled Golf is Not a Game of Perfect. Bill Walsh, the Hall of Fame football coach of the San Francisco 49ers taught his players to strive for perfection knowing that excellence was within their grasp.

Perfection is what we all seek but will never achieve. We can only hope to strive to do our best moment by moment. I teach my golfers as well as my other athletes to be outcome-driven and process-focused. Every one of them is graded and judged by a metric, so we work on developing an inner will and determination to pursue that outcome. But then, we let it go, and focus on the process to achieve the outcome by:

  • Playing shot to shot/moment by moment
  • Playing to their strengths
  • Recovering well when setbacks occur and things don’t go as planned
  • Being resilient and responding with your best effort in the very next moment
  • Focusing on the little things that can make a big difference

What about you? Are you striving to achieve something that will never be conquered? Are you placing unrealistic expectations on yourself? Are you basing your performance on perceived expectations? Are you trying to be perfect?

Don’t let the perception of perfection keep you from being the best you can be in every role that you play. Choose today to focus on the process to achieve the outcome you desire, and enjoy the journey!

Check out our coaching programs to help you maximize your potential and achieve your goals in sports, business, and life.

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What You Choose To Focus On Magnifies in Size

Distractions are a part of life. I see it all the time in working with my golfers. Creators of the best golf courses design the holes with distractions in mind. They put trees, sand, water, and other kinds of hazards in interesting places to channel your focus away from the target. Golf would be a much easier game if there was a wide open fairway with a flat, monster-sized green and a giant sign that read “Hit it here!” Instead, the sand, the water, and the trees call out for your attention, even if it is only to cause you to think, “I hope I don’t hit it there.”

Golf hole with sand traps

We use the following math equation in sports performance to help our athletes focus on the goal:

performance-equation

This is true in golf, and it is true in life. Life distractions come in many forms. These distractions are often things we cannot control like the weather, other people’s attitudes, traffic, a death in the family, an unforeseen illness, etc. Some distractions are things that we can control like how we use our time, our attitude and response to circumstances, and the choice we have to live in faith or in fear.

The key to using the equation above is to stay focused on the principles and activities that will enable you to maximize your potential while utilizing thoughts and techniques that will minimize the distractions in your life…or at least your focus on them. Maximizing your potential involves operating in your strength zone and doing things that advance the ball toward your goals.

In dealing with distractions, we have an axiom that says: “What you choose to focus on magnifies in size.” Going back to the golf example, if a golfer continues to think about the sand, it will become as big as a beach in Florida in their mind. If instead, he or she chooses to focus on the fairway or the hole, these objects will become bigger in his or her mind. It all comes down to choices and putting your mind in the best position to score by choosing to focus on your target.

In life, if you choose to focus on stress, fear of the unknown, the loss of a job, or your perceived inadequacies, these distractions will become an unbearable anchor around your life hindering you from being successful and living out your calling in life. You can, however, choose to focus on the things that will help you achieve your goals and make a positive impact within your sphere of influence including:

  • Things you are grateful for
  • Your strengths, talents, and gifts
  • Your family and positive relationships in your life
  • Mentors who are investing in you
  • Opportunities that you have
  • People who are counting on you to be a leader in their life
  • The fact that you are still alive

What is distracting you from becoming all that you can be and achieving your goals? Always remember that you do have a choice about what you think about and what you choose to focus on. Use this equation and axiom to pursue your potential and realize the opportunities in front of you. Don’t allow the distractions of this world to detour you from the destination of your life.

 

Question: In your daily life, do you focus more on distractions or your goals? What helps you to stay focused on achieving your goals? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The 4th Quarter

While every quarter matters in a game or in a calendar year, the 4th quarter represents the moment when the pressure is on to finish what you started. Clutch performers always come through in the 4th quarter and show up when it matters most! The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about September being the new January – a time to assess where you are on your goals and recommit to the things and people that are most important in your life. It also provides an opportunity for you to get back to the discipline that you know you need to have in order to make your dreams a reality and be effective in your daily routine for the remaining months of the year.

scoreboard

Yet, we know both in sports and in life that the 4th quarter does not always show progress and a positive score in our favor. Many times, we survey the scoreboard of our lives and find ourselves down, distressed, discouraged, and possibly defeated. We examine the situation and don’t know how we will rebound with the time that we have left. Whether you are ahead of your goals for this year or discerning how you will make a prevailing comeback in the 4th quarter of this year, asking the right questions can often lead to the right answers and solutions to help you accomplish your goals and be successful in all areas of your life. Here are some questions that you might find helpful as you think about the 4th quarter of this year:

  • Where Am I On My Goals? – The first step is take a checkpoint on where you are in relationship to your goals. Many people set goals at the beginning of the year but fail to review progress during the year. In order to achieve your goals, you have to measure your progress. We recommend a monthly review of your goals in order to develop action plans that you can plan weekly and execute daily. We also recommend a personal quarterly retreat that involves taking a day away from your daily routine and physical work and personal environments to think deeply and strategically about where you are and where you are going in terms of your goals as they relate to your life plans.
  • What Course Corrections Do I Need To Make? – Another great question involves the consideration of changes that may allow you to make more progress in a certain area of your life. If you find yourself traveling down a path that is not yielding the results that you want or desire, asking a question that will help you “correct your course” and steer in a better direction is very helpful. Many people just continue to dig in and go harder and faster without ever recognizing that they may be in a situation where they don’t where they are going but they are making great time!
  • What Has Been Working For Me? – This often forgotten question allows you to journal about the things that have worked for you in order advance the ball towards goal achievement. Replicating excellence and being consistently great in your performance is what you want, and it begins with identifying, realizing, and leveraging the things that are working including ideas, actions, processes, and systems. This also involves becoming aware of your strengths and determining how you can continue to collaborate with and delegate to others who have strengths that complement and supplement your strengths effectively.

In addition to these questions, you can become even more focused in the 4th quarter as well as every other quarter of the year by doing the following things:

  • Be Present – physically, mentally, and emotionally in the moments that you have.
  • Be “Outcome-Driven and Process-Focused©” – driven by your goals but focused every day on the process to achieve them.
  • Review your goals and life plan on a regular basis.
  • Schedule your priorities in your weekly calendar versus just prioritizing your schedule and the daily things that try to distract you from what’s important.
  • Ensure that the things and people that you are investing in are the most important priorities in your life.

You only have one life to live made up of monthly, weekly, and daily moments that matter. Be present in the 4th quarter making the most of every opportunity!

We offer group and individual coaching and leadership training workshops and retreats that can help you and your team maximize your potential, achieve your goals, and make the most of the 4th quarter and every quarter of your life. Let us know how we can help you.

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Asking The Right Questions

Great leaders are curious and seek to ask the right questions of themselves and others. Curiosity leads to personal growth and development by forcing you to be vulnerable and open to new possibilities. When you ask insightful questions, you typically receive wisdom in return that you can leverage to maximize your potential and achieve your goals. Also, the best leaders that I have worked with and studied possess a high degree of self awareness and accomplish this by consistently asking great questions of themselves in order to learn and grow.

As you begin your week, I thought you might appreciate this list of 7 questions that I use with my coaching clients and team development groups. Most of these questions are self-reflecting questions, but they can also be used in conversations with others who know you well. May these questions keep you curious and serve as a catalyst for your personal and professional growth as a leader in sports, business, and/or life.

Leadership Questions

We offer coaching in the areas of sports, business, and life and would love to serve as a catalyst for your growth. We also offer leadership programs and consulting services to help you, your team, and your organization perform at your best. Connect with me to let me know how we can help.

Question: What questions have you found useful in your personal and professional growth? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Quote Card-Great Mentors

This has been my experience with all of the incredible mentors I have had in my life and what I have tried to give back to others I have led, coached, and mentored! I am so grateful for the investment my mentors have made in me!

Make Each Year Your Best Year!

“Today is my best day!
         – Billy Crystal from the movie “City Slickers”

 

 Bill Crystal Quote
A new year brings possibilities and potential.  The key question is: Will you take advantage of it and truly seize the moment?

 

In order to do this, there are some critical steps that you need to take in order to fully embrace and engage in what the new year offers you:

 

  • Learn From the Past – I have written about this in other blog posts as well as my Moments book.  Success and impact hinge on our ability to learn from the past – both great moments and moments we did not expect – in order to move ahead.  Our human nature often reverts to the bad moments, which can sideline us from ever thinking that we will have success in the future, while we discount and forget about the great moments that we experienced.  As you begin this year, I would encourage you to look back at the previous year being grateful for all of the moments that have led you to where you are today.  Record recurring themes in a notebook and use that as wisdom and inspiration for what you will set your sights on accomplishing this year and the impact that you will make.
  • Identify Your Roles and Priorities – It is very important that you understand each of the roles that you play in life and what your most important priorities are.  When we step away from our daily schedules and think about these, we realize that our calendar is often out of sync with how we should be investing our time.  We travel day by day and week by week prioritizing and reacting to our schedule instead of scheduling our priorities.  In this new year, make it a habit to weekly review your roles and priorities, and ensure that your schedule is in sync with how you should invest your precious time.
  • Define Your Goals – Goals are important in that they give us a marker to measure our progress and growth.  We can either aimlessly wander through life wishing that our dreams would become a reality, or we can write them down, review them often, and advance the ball toward them on a daily basis.  The choice is up to you, but it begins with accurately and succinctly defining specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented, and time-lined goals in order to provide a lane for us to travel.  You are 4-5 times more likely to accomplish your goals by writing them down, because it reveals commitment and trust.
  • Develop Your Action Plan – Dreams become goals, and goals must be supported by an action plan in order to give you specific instructions on HOW you are going to get there.  I may set a goal of reading 24 books in a year, but if I don’t develop an action plan and break my goal down into simple measurable steps, I will be trying to read a lot of books on the last day of this year.  You may want to train for a 5K or half marathon this year, but you have to develop a training plan to get there.  Whatever your well-defined goals are, develop the proper action plan to help you achieve them.
  • Engage An Accountability Group – This last step is for the truly bold.  It is one thing to wish something would happen.  It is another to write it down.  When we tell people about it and verbalize it, our probability of accomplishing it go up significantly, because we now have people who will ask about how we are doing toward reaching that goal.  They keep us accountable in the process and on the days where we don’t feel like going farther, and they cheer us on and remind us when we take positive steps toward reaching that goal.  You may want to form a group or just reach out to a few individuals, but make sure that you incorporate accountability into your plan this year.

 

Goal Accountability Quote

Embrace the opportunity of a new year and make each day count!  If you properly prepare and faithfully execute your plan, you will have no regrets at the end of the new year.  Moreover, you will see how much you have grown and developed which is even more important than the goals you set and achieved!

 

Discover more about how we can help you achieve your goals this year through individual and group coaching as well as our leadership programs.

 

Goal Action Plan

Why You Won’t Reach Your Goal

…And What You Can Do About It!

Set Goals

I hate starting a blog with a negative statement!  I am an optimist by nature, so I don’t like hearing the reasons why I can’t do something.  I am also a coach who helps people achieve their goals by focusing on the path to success.  I don’t like to dwell on the reasons why they can’t or won’t reach their dreams. Having said that, I do think it is important to identify the enemy – the distractions that could hinder someone from reaching their potential and distract them from accomplishing their goals.