Be Grateful

I encountered a person at Starbucks last week who demonstrated a true spirit of gratitude in his life.  His final comment to me as I was leaving with a mocha in my hand was, “I can’t believe I get to do what I do!” It made me think about the opportunities in my own life. As an entrepreneur, I sometimes stress over where the next client is going to come from. I pray for provision and persevere through moments of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. These moments, while mostly brief in duration, can cloud my vision and crowd out a spirit of being grateful for the opportunity to “do what I do!” In my best moments, I am grateful for the variety of clients that I get to collaborate with, the nature of the work that I do, and the calling that God has led me to.

Grateful name tag

This moment also made me reflect on other aspects of my life for which I am grateful including:

  • A God who sent His Son to save me
  • A wife who loves me
  • Five boys who look to me for guidance and wisdom
  • Friends who encourage and inspire me
  • Moments of opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of other people

What if, instead of focusing on the stress that screams for our attention, we committed each day to be grateful for things we have been given, the relationships we have been entrusted with, and the opportunities that have been presented to us. Being grateful positions us with the right spirit to:

  • Give – back to others and share what we have learned
  • Grow – the opportunities we have been blessed with
  • Guide – the people we lead and influence through our example of thankfulness and our engagement in their lives
  • Go – for the eternal and not the temporal and fleeting things of this life

During this time of thanksgiving, I encourage you to make a list of the things and people that you are grateful for. In fact, this is a great habit to do on a daily and weekly basis. Even on the worst of days, you can be grateful for something in your life. When you physically write down what you are grateful for, it can lift your spirits and inspire you to be resilient, persevere, and strive to make the most of the moments that you have been blessed with. Being grateful also pushes you to be the best version of yourself to those who need you most.

What am I grateful for sign

Through our work with high achievers and great leaders, we have found that the best leaders are grateful and practice gratitude as their foundational attitude. Gratefulness for this life and all that it brings with it can be a powerful force in our lives.  Seek first to enlarge the lives of others and all of the things that we so often worry about will take care of themselves.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Houston Astros with trophy

Congratulations to the Houston Astros for an incredible season, playoff run, and World Series Championship! Your perseverance, grit, determination, and teamwork have been inspiring to a city that needed it after the effects of Hurricane Harvey! Thanks for the moments!

The Importance of a Deep Commitment – Podcast: S02E008

In today’s episode of Monday Morning Moments, we focus on the importance of “sowing” at a deeper level when it comes to relationships in our lives, especially our relationship with God, and the adverse effects when we “sow” at a shallow level. The principle of sowing deeply can be applied to any relationship in our life.

Episode Outline:

  • BIG IDEA: We desire what we cannot have and become complacent with what completes us.
  • Idolatry – when what we admire takes the place in our lives that only God deserves – the idol becomes number 1 in terms of our time, talent, and treasure.
  • A shallow commitment leads to frustration, misplaced expectations, and impatience which results in idolatry.
  • “Sowing at a surface level results in reaping an unfruitful harvest…in our own lives and in the lives of others.”
  • “Every idol makes two simple and extravagant promises. “You shall not surely die.” “You shall be like God.” ― Andy Crouch, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power
  • Call to Action:
    • Nurture patience in our lives based on who God is and what He has done in our lives
    • Use God’s gifts for His glory
    • Pray and appeal to God on behalf of other people
    • Invest in our relationship with God
    • Know Him, trust Him, walk with Him
  • “I am also practicing cello to wean myself from power and accomplishment, to place myself back in the posture of a learner, cultivator, and creator. To become a bit like a child. To detoxify from the too-ready recognition and privilege that accompany even the most modest forms of success, to become available again for something surprising and new. Just as children flourish by growing into adults, so adults flourish by cultivating childlikeness, avoiding the spiritual hardening of the arteries that comes with competence and experience.” – Andy Crouch, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power

3 Lessons From The 2017 Houston Astros – Podcast: S02E007

Congratulations to the Houston Astros who defeated the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees to advance to the 2017 World Series! We have been through so much in Houston over the last several months including the damage and effects of Hurricane Harvey. This Houston Astros team has been a breath of fresh air and an example of what it means to be Houston Strong. Their resilience and grit has been inspiring! In today’s episode of Monday Morning Moments, we focus on 3 lessons that we can learn from the Houston Astros in their pursuit of another trip to the World Series including their epic Game 7 win over the Yankees!

You can apply these lessons or principles in any area of life:

  1. What you choose to focus on magnifies in size
  2. Have an I Will Mindset
  3. Be Process-Focused

 

Peak Performance Nutrition With Catherine Kruppa – Podcast: S02E005

In today’s episode of Monday Morning Moments, I am honored to interview my longtime friend and peak performance colleague Catherine Kruppa. Catherine and I have delivered workshops together, referred clients to each other, and also shared advice and counsel as we pursue our athletic goals. Catherine is one of the top nutritionists in the country and works with elite athletes, age group amateurs, and everyday people seeking to live a healthy lifestyle. I know you will benefit from today’s podcast.

Catherine Kruppa (MS, RD, CSSD, LD) earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences and Master of Science in Nutrition from Texas A&M University. She is a registered, licensed dietitian, and wellness coach.  She is also Board Certified in Sports Nutrition and specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, endometriosis, heart disease, and pediatric nutrition. She served as the Director of Nutrition for US Diving for 11 years.  Catherine was a member of the Texas A&M Varsity Diving Team and is currently an active member of the running community in Houston. She has competed in 6 triathlons, including two ½ Ironmans, 16 marathons, 3 ultramarathons and is a 12 time Boston marathon qualifier. Catherine provides nutrition tips for Houston’s KSBJ FM 89.3 and nationally syndicated KLOVE radio.

Catherine is a frequent speaker for many organizations and businesses. She speaks on various topics in the area of nutrition such as: healthy eating, weight management, disease prevention, nutrition and exercise, and osteoporosis. She has also presented programs for Channel 13 News Health Beat, Channel 2 News, Channel 8 Midday Show and Fox News. She appears regularly on the LiveWell Network, a home, health and lifestyle channel owned by ABC. Catherine worked as the local dietitian for the Dr. Phil Ultimate Weight Loss Program and the dietitian for the 2004, 2008 and 2012 US Olympic Diving Teams as well as for Former President George H. W. Bush, Olympic Gold Medalists Laura Wilkinson and David Boudia.

You can learn more about Catherine and her incredible team of nutritional coaches at Advice For Eating.

Thoughts-Actions-Behaviors

The Blessings of Forgiveness – Podcast: S02E001

Welcome to Season 2 of Monday Morning Moments! We took a few weeks off to close out the summer and recharge and hope you have had an excellent summer with family and friends. We had over 2000 downloads in just a couple of months for Season 1, and I truly appreciate your support for this podcast! For this new season, we will continue to focus on topics that help you perform at your best in sports, business, and life including interviews with experts and colleagues and episodes that challenge you to think differently about maximizing your potential and achieving your goals.

In today’s episode, I share a talk that I recently gave to our Ranch Bible Study about the blessings of true and deep forgiveness. Grace is a wonderful thing when we receive it at a soul level and not just a surface level. Psalm 32 in the Bible gives us great insight and wisdom from King David who experienced the blessings of grace and forgiveness once he had confessed his sins. The big idea is that we must receive grace and forgiveness deeply, specifically, and completely in order to receive the blessings of peace, rest, and mercy.

 

Your Thoughts Matter

Do you see obstacles or opportunities? And, how do your thoughts shape the way you think, feel, and act in a given situation? Our thoughts do matter, and they play a very important role in how we see ourselves and the world.

Thoughts Image

In working with peak performers in sports, business, and life, the place we often begin in coaching our clients is with their thoughts and their mental approach to what they are doing. Their thoughts and mental models can help or hinder their performance based on how they rely and depend on them. Too many negative thoughts and old ways of thinking can often blind us from realizing the truth and seeing a clear path forward. As Dee Hock, the former CEO of Visa said: “The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out.”

Based upon the organizational behavior research and experience of Peter Senge at MIT and our own sports psychology experience, we know that mental models shape our thoughts and affect our actions. We all have “mental models,” as Senge refers to them, and we must carefully examine them to make sure they are valid. A key question that can be helpful is:

What assumption, mental model, bias, or perception am I making that is limiting my potential – that is limiting my possibilities?

We have used this question with athletes, teams, coaches, business leaders, and high performing companies and organizations as a way to uncover obstacles and discover possibilities. Some of the answers that we often hear include:

  • “I can’t hit my driver.”
  • “I can’t trust my team (or a certain employee) with responsibility?”
  • “I have to score a lot in order for us to win.”
  • “I am not sure if I am a leader or if I have influence.”
  • “This person doesn’t like me!”
  • “This situation is unsolvable.”
  • “We can’t change our culture.”
  • “I have reached a level where I don’t need to grow or learn.”

In many of these situations, these statements are formed based on misguided perceptions, unfounded truths, and a reluctant mentality. Upon further evaluation, these thoughts can be examined, reevaluated, and often removed and replaced with thoughts of truth, potential, and possibilities. The technique we use with athletes is the same one that you can use at work and in your personal life. It begins with asking these questions:

  • Is this thought really true based on evidence and facts?
  • Is this thought helpful and productive?
  • Do I recognize that I have a choice about what thoughts I dwell on?
  • What is the truth in this situation?
  • How can I focus on what I can control, influence what I can, and flush the rest?
  • Am I stuck in a bad mental model, and is there a better way of thinking about this situation that would lead to a different outcome?
  • Who is a trusted advisor or stakeholder that can I talk to who may offer a different perspective?
  • What are my strengths, gifts, talents, and opportunities?
  • What are the strengths, gifts, talents, and opportunities of my peers, teammates, employees, colleagues, organization, and family members?

Man Writing in a Journal

When you walk through some or all of these questions, you begin to identify possible solutions based on a different way of thinking. New and improved thoughts lead to better decisions and actions. But how do you get the old thoughts out? You can’t just press them down and try not to think about them. They will just come back up like trying to press a beach ball underneath the water. You have to replace the negative or limiting thoughts with your new thoughts of belief, trust, confidence, and possibilities. We call this technique Replace, Not Repress.

The key is making sure that your new thoughts are grounded in truth and shaped by potential and possibility. In certain situations, the new way of thinking may be aspirational and forward thinking. You may have never led a team of people before but the experiences that you have had have prepared you for this moment. Other times, you will have to look past the anguish of the current moment to rediscover a time when you have been successful. It is often hard to see through the cloud of doubt to rediscover the clarity of determination, but it is possible for those who dare to think differently and replace the old thoughts with new and innovative thoughts about the opportunity of today and the hope for tomorrow!

 

Overcoming Fear

Coach, that guy’s huge!” There have been a few times in coaching my 5 boys and their teammates in different sports that I have heard this comment or some variation of it. Sometimes, it was a feeling that I sensed was in the hearts and minds of some of my players based on what I saw in their eyes and how they were looking at the other team. Other times, it was an actual verbalization of what they were thinking before game time. Comments like “That team is really big/good/nationally ranked, etc.,” do not help in moments like these, and fear becomes a major distraction keeping us from performing at our best.

No Fear Sign

In his excellent book, Goliath Must Fall, my friend Louie Giglio uses the story of David vs. Goliath to share how we must face the giants in our lives. Whether the giant be fear of an opponent or other things like rejection, anger, comfort, and addiction, he implores the reader to not lose sight of the promise and purpose that God has for our life…in anything you do! Based on advice that he received during a moment of frustration about something that was said about him, he offers this wisdom to us: “Don’t give the enemy a seat at your table.”

When we fear an actual enemy or opponent or the pressure of a big moment, we are giving a seat to that enemy at our table. Our focus becomes misguided by fear, and we become paralyzed from performing at our best. The table that is reserved for us with the invitation of an opportunity that we are uniquely designed to discover, embrace, and seize in that moment, and we get to choose who we invite to the table. I understand that ultimately we may have to face that giant through competition or perseverance, but we should not invite the giant to sit at our table or in our huddle or in our minds haunting and taunting us with comments that we do not have what it takes to accomplish the goal. This kind of thinking leads to defeat before we have even had the chance to compete.

Instead of fearing our giants, here are 3 reminders that you can apply from our work with elite athletes, entrepreneurs, and business leaders to overcome fear:

  • Confidence Comes From Within – Many athletes try to derive their confidence from external things or forces. It is an “outside-in” approach to confidence, and it hinges on the word “If.” “If I win this match, I will feel good about myself.” “If I make this shot, I will feel confident about my abilities.” “If my coach says I did well, I will feel good about my identity as a player.” Confidence should be based on an “inside-out” approach and center on the word “Because.” “Because of the preparation I have done, I will feel confident about my abilities and the opportunity before me.” “I will compete and feel confident about this game because of my strengths, gifts, and talents and the hard work I have put in.” And for me, it all begins with the confidence that I have because of the life I have in Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus and what He has done for me, I will feel confident about my purpose in life and the opportunities I have before me. Faith provides the foundation for my focus.
  • Focus on What You Can Control – I always tell the teams that I coach, the athletes that I work with, and the business leaders and entrepreneurs that I coach to focus on what they can control. Many people spend so much mental and emotional energy worrying about things they cannot control. My 7th grade basketball team just completed their AAU season, and we faced many teams that outnumbered us and were bigger than us. Literally, we faced a lot of giants, but we took them down, because we focused on what we could control which was dictating a fast pace, playing an aggressive defense, and moving the ball and trusting our teammates. At the end of the day, we had an excellent season winning many games, because we remained focussed on process-oriented things that we could control and trusting those factors to facilitate playing our best basketball. In any area of life, it is important to identify if you are worrying about things you cannot control and to invest your mental and emotional energy in the things you can control based on your strengths, gifts, opportunities, and people around you that can help you maximize your potential and achieve your goals trusting God in the process.
  • Be Present and Compete – If you have read my blog or heard me speak, you are probably familiar with this quote from Fulton Oursler: “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.” It is so true when it comes to competition or achieving goals in any arena of life. Regret for past moments and fear of future moments can paralyze us from being engaged in the current moment and performing at our best. The key is to Be Present – physically, mentally, and emotionally – and Compete – bring your best to the occasion whether it be sports, business, or life.

Katy Raptors Picture - 2017

Never let fear decide your future. The best leaders don’t shy away from the moment, even when that moment requires them overcoming the obstacle of fear, facing literal giants, and fully engaging in what brought them to this moment in the first place. As you think about your roles in life and the opportunities before you, don’t back down from being the best version of yourself. Others are counting on you and the impact that you can have when you overcome fear and exhibit faith.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

Enjoy The Moment – Podcast: S01E013

Sometimes, we don’t enjoy the moments in our lives. Now, I know not every moment was meant to be enjoyed, especially when it comes to trials in our lives. But, there are times when we are not fully present in moments that were meant to experienced and appreciated! When I wrote my book, Moments: Making Your Life Count For What Matters Most, one of the 6 principles that I highlighted was Enjoy The Moment. In today’s podcast, you will learn why enjoying the moments in your life is important and 3 concepts for how to do this effectively.

Episode Outline:

To enjoy the moment, I have found three key supporting concepts that can make this principle come alive in your life:

  1. The journey is as important as the goal
    • Consider the following questions when pondering the concept of the journey:
      • What did it take for you to reach your goal?
      • Who has helped you along the way?
      • Who has been impacted by your journey?
      • How did your journey affect your growth as a person?
  2. Love who you are
    • Do you love who you are and who you are becoming?
    • Do you let feelings affect your acceptance of core truths about your life?
    • If you let negative feelings affect your thoughts and ultimately your actions, you will never reach the mountaintops that are prepared just for you.
    • Consider the following equation: A = T2 + F
    • Unpacking the equation: Our attitude (A) equals thoughts based on truth (T2) plus or minus our feelings (F). We must maintain a foundation of truth in our lives, and our thoughts must reflect these truths. You have a choice in whether to believe what is true about your life, but your decision does not determine its truth. As Dr. Barry Landrum, my father-in-law and former pastor, says, “The truth is still the truth even if no one believes it. And a lie is still a lie no matter how many people believe it.”
    • What truth is God trying to communicate to you about Himself and about your life?
  3. Love what you do
    • Do I love my work?
    • What are my strengths and talents?
    • What do those who know me best say my strengths and talents are?
    • What am I really passionate about?
    • Do my strengths, talents, and passions line up with what I am currently doing?
    • Am I fully engaged in my work?
    • On Monday morning, do I have a yearning that I MUST be there?
    • Do I make a positive impact?