Yesterday Ended Last Night

John Maxwell tells a story about having a sign on his desk that reads: “Yesterday Ended Last Night.” He further explained that this sign reminded him to keep a proper perspective about the past and to engage in the brand new day that God had given him.

Person Facing a Sunrise

Yet, for some people, it is hard to let go of yesterday in order to embrace today. We can be tempted to hold on to the past – especially the great moments – or to be tortured by our failures and setbacks and think that these bad moments define our future. Here are some ways that I see people holding on to yesterday:

  • Lamenting the Past – Some people lament the past and hold on to regrets over what they should have said or done. A bad play, a bad game, or a bad day lead to a snowball of emotions that keep us anchored to a moment we can never change. While we are physically in the present moment, we stay chained to the past mentally and emotionally.
  • Living in the Past – Other people live in the past glory of great moments and continue to relive them over and over again. Maybe, you have a friend who continues to talk about the time he won the Little League championship game, made the game winning shot, or received the promotion at the best company he ever worked for and forsakes the future. These types of people can never get past this moment to realize the opportunity of today.
  • Limited by the Past – Some people are limited by their past. They feel that their past mistakes, setbacks, or performances have created a perceived ceiling on what they can accomplish both today and in the future. I see this with people in sports, business, and life who put limits on their potential based on how they performed in the past.

When we think about yesterday, we must learn from the past. A proper perspective can help us break through improper perceptions that are formed based on yesterday. Bad moments can haunt us and keep us from realizing the potential of today. We have to remember that just like the sign says, “Yesterday ended last night!” There is nothing we can do to change it. Whether it ended well or not so well, we must understand that today is the only day that we have to make our lives count for what matters most. And as John Wooden, the Hall of Fame UCLA basketball coach and mentor of men, said, “Make each day your masterpiece!” Engage in today and all that God wants you to experience!

7 Lessons I Learned From Playing Sports

I began playing sports at an early age. It began with soccer and distance running and then expanded into football, baseball, and basketball. I even played tennis for awhile. In high school and college, I focused primarily on cross country running and basketball, and I still compete in marathons today. I have always loved being an athlete, and I have always been appreciative of the lessons I learned from playing sports. These lessons have served me well in all aspects of my life including business and being involved in my community.

Basketball on floor of empty basketball court

I am a firm believer that sports serve as a great analogy for life. Here are 7 lessons that I learned from playing sports:

  1. To Become Better vs Bitter – Throughout my games, tournaments, and competitions, I had both major successes and disappointing setbacks. There were times when things did not go my way or in our team’s favor and also moments of frustration with outside forces like the competition or referees. Throughout all of those moments of highs and lows, the one thing that has been reinforced over time in my heart and mind is to not allow past events to make me bitter. I see so many people who allow bitterness to spring up like a root in the flower bed of their lives, and it eventually grows into a damaging disruptive force preventing them from becoming the best that they can be. They become anchored to the past and continue on a downward spiral and blame others for their losses and disappointments having an adverse effect on other people in the process. The Bible warns about this in Hebrews 12:15 to not let a “root of bitterness grow up to trouble you, corrupting many” in the process. Instead of bitterness, we must process the disappointment, learn what we can from it, and move on to grow and become better from the experience. It always comes back to what you can do to positively impact your sphere of influence. Focus on what you can control and become better, not bitter.
  2. To Play Every Possession Until The Final Horn – I have written about this in other blog entries, but this principle was instilled in me at an early age as I was usually the one who guarded the best player on the other basketball team. I did not focus on the size, speed, or any other characteristic of the person I was guarding or team we were playing. I only focused on myself and my energy and effort in the process and strived to influence and lead my teammates to do the same. Through experience, I learned to focus on what I could do to make a difference never giving up in the process. If someone was better than me on a certain day or a team beat our team, I wanted to walk away knowing I had given 100% on that day for the entire game or competition. I also learned that I played better when I performed with energy and effort. My high school basketball coach encouraged us and sometimes exhorted us to hustle and “to be quick but not in a hurry,” quoting the great John Wooden and Dean Smith. In working with and coaching athletes as well as business leaders and teams, I have found that when they don’t bring energy and effort to their roles or tasks, they tend to go through the motions allowing complacency and a “good enough” attitude to permeate their performance. It also leads to being tight and stiff versus loose and free, which is where every person needs to be to perform at his or her best.
  3. To Always Make A Contribution – I was fortunate to have some really great coaches in the sports that I played, and they always emphasized this point in some form or fashion. They reinforced the fact that there is always something I could do to make a positive difference and impact. It provided me the space to always find a way to contribute, even on nights where my shot was not falling. Everyone can hustle, play great defense, communicate effectively with teammates, give their best, and bring a great attitude to their team and competitions.
  4. To Take Responsibility And Not Blame Others – In all of the sports I have played and watched, I have never seen an official, referee, or competition judge make 100% of the calls correctly. This principle translates to other areas of life where we feel like someone has done something to affect us or we don’t like what they are doing. As a competitor in sports and in life, I have learned that it does not serve me well to lament the bad (or perceived bad) calls. I also don’t want to waste my emotional energy on using that to blame others in the process or complain about my predicament. As a competitor or coach, I would seek explanation (and sometimes justice) about a call that I did not like and then move on. I knew that it would have a draining effect on me and my team if I generated a spirit of blaming versus channeling our energy in the right direction, which was engaging in and doing well on the next play. I also learned to take responsibility for the things that I did in terms of owning my mistakes and playing with a competitive dignity and demeanor that represented myself, my family, and my coach and team well.
  5. To Move Forward From The Past – Tyler Perry survived a treacherous journey as a child to become an incredibly successful entertainer, actor, director, producer, author, entrepreneur, and positive and powerful influencer! I love what he says in talking about the moments in his life: “If you begin to realize every moment in your life happened for the greater good of who you are…it can really elevate you and change your whole trajectory.” You must remember that every moment in your life – both good and bad – makes you the person that you are. You have to leverage and learn from your moments in order to build momentum in your life. You cannot dwell on or live in the past; you must learn from the past in order to engage fully in the life you have been given.
  6. To Be A Leader And A Great Teammate – Through both individual and team sports, I quickly learned the importance of leading yourself well through preparation, discipline, and effective habits. I also learned how to lead and influence others around a common goal and discover what inspires and motivates them to greatness. As Pat Riley, former NBA player and hall of fame coach and NBA executive pointed out in his book The Winner Within, a true team is the result of a great coach who has the “ability to blend the talents and strengths of individuals into a force that becomes stronger than the sum of its parts.” I have definitely applied this at home, at work, and in my community and have truly enjoyed both being a part of and leading great people and impactful teams.
  7. To Strive For Excellence – Sports taught me a valuable lesson about giving my best on and off the court, track, and field of play. When I realized that excellence was not perfection but was giving my best every day and fulfilling the calling and role that I had been given, it helped me release my fears and unleash my potential. It’s a journey, and there are many times when I fail and don’t achieve excellence in my life, but the goal is to strive for excellence in every area of my life on a daily basis.

Every day, you have a choice about how you process events in your life. I hope that these 7 lessons from sports can help you to think differently about some area of your life and to choose to focus your life on making a positive difference within your sphere of influence. It is very tempting to get so tangled up in the distractions of the day that we miss the opportunities that present themselves to us. Choose to be a leader of influence and impact leaving a positive legacy for the next generation and making your life count for what matters most!

Question: What lessons have you learned from playing sports? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Holding Patterns

A few years ago, I was traveling with my two oldest sons. We were returning from a visit to see their grandmother in my hometown. As we approached our final destination, I noticed that we seemed to be circling the airport but never making any significant movement toward a definitive landing. As we circled again for the fourth time, the captain came on the intercom and indicated what we all knew to be true – we were in a holding pattern, and we would not be landing for an indefinite period of time. He actually said, “We would be landing shortly,” but we sensed that shortly really meant “indefinite,” “inordinate,” and what seemed to be “infinite” and “indeterminable.” Seconds turned into minutes, and minutes turned into hours.

plane in the air

I began to think about holding patterns in my life. Are there ever times in our lives when we are in a holding pattern? The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines a holding pattern as “a state or period in which no progress or change is made or planned.” Many times a holding pattern in life involves inactivity toward a specific and productive goal or opportunity. We wait, hesitate, and circle again and again over our desired destination. All the while, the most important people in our lives wait impatiently for us to “land the plane,” take action, and make a positive impact. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt can breed indecision and patterns of inaction on our part. The inevitable consequence of remaining in a holding pattern is running out of fuel and crashing, never reaching our intended destination.

As we continued to circle for our destination for what seemed like the 20th time, my mind drifted to think about the moment I first jumped off the high dive. When I was a kid, there were two diving boards at the pool I visited – the low dive and the high dive. The low dive was safe and secure while the high dive was dangerous and doubtful. I often jumped off the low dive but never ventured too close to the perilous steps of the high dive.

Then, one momentous day, I found the courage to bravely climb the countless rungs of the “other” ladder. Do you remember this journey and the way your heart felt along the way? Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. Indecision about whether to take the next step. As I reached the apex of the high dive and peered over the end of the board into the pool, my legs felt like I was in cement firmly planted in a holding pattern that was not going to proceed at any point in the near future. As I thought about the moment, a kind voice behind me reassured me that I would be OK. I heard the sound of a female voice below encouraging me to jump. Instead of being trapped by fear and doubt, I decided to take the plunge and found it to be an exhilarating adventure. As I got out of the pool, I saw my mom cheering for me, and I ran to jump off the high dive again – this time allowing myself to enjoy the journey.

All of a sudden, my oldest son shook me out of my trance of holding patterns and high dives, and I heard another female voice.  This time, it was the flight attendant on the intercom indicating that we would be making our final descent into our desired destination.

plan on the ground at sunrise

Are you currently in a holding pattern in some area of your life? Are you struggling to make a decision or take some action that would benefit the people around you? Are you wondering about your purpose and calling, afraid to step out in faith and take the next step?

Don’t allow holding patterns to rob you of the breakthrough moments in your life.  Consider your calling, develop a plan, step out in faith, and enjoy the life God has given you!  In other words, LAND THE PLANE so that you can take the next step and act! Don’t just talk about all of the great things you are going to do and the impact you are going to make. Act now, and take the next step. I am sure you will have a crowd around you cheering you on and so appreciative that you finally broke out of your holding pattern!

Question: What is the biggest challenge that you face when it comes to breaking out of holding patterns in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Punctuate With A Period

I was hitting the golf ball well in practice and trust I can hit the ball anywhere I want to, but I don’t always trust this club and I have been working on a swing change and….

One of my best golfers had just uttered this long run-on sentence during one of our on-course sessions. Somewhere in the midst of the forest of fear and doubt, I discovered some trees of truth and decided to focus on it. “What did you say at the beginning of that sentence?” I asked. She responded by saying, “I was hitting the golf ball well in practice and trust that I can hit the ball anywhere I want to.” I immediately jumped in at that point and said, “PERIOD.” Now, go do it. Feeling a little cut off in the conversation, she obliged, went through her pre-shot routine, and hit an incredible right to left shot that bounced about 7 feet from the hole. As she turned around to look at me elated, surprised, perplexed, and confident all in the same moment, I told her, “You must put the period at the right place in the sentence.”

Period

Some people don’t know how to punctuate a sentence. In fact, if we’re honest with ourselves, we have all made this same mistake at some point in our lives. We string words together and when it comes time to putting the period at the appropriate place we extend the thought with additional, not so helpful connectors and phrases. In my experience in coaching athletes, executives, and entrepreneurs, it looks like this:

  • “I know I have the skills and talent to make this team, but…”
  • “I feel good about the direction I am going, yet…”
  • “I have been practicing great over the last few weeks, but…”
  • “I have a great business idea and know it can be successful, but…”
  • “I feel like I am a great mother/father, but…”
  • “I want to lose 10 (or insert magic number here) pounds, but…”

Don’t get me wrong, conjunctions can be very constructive when used in the right way; yet, we often used them to hedge and limit ourselves in what we are able to accomplish. Or, we allow thoughts of fear, doubt, and a lack of confidence to oppose the truths about our talents and opportunities.

My mom was an English teacher and taught me that punctuation is important. Not ending the sentence in the right place can be very detrimental to our performances in sports, business, and life. Negative self talk can lead you to believe and buy in to a false narrative that causes a treacherous downward spiral in your performance and also your self worth and identity. Make sure that you conclude your thoughts in a way that is constructive and can help you achieve the goals and opportunities before you.

Disclaimers and qualifiers only detract from the impact of a powerful, trusting statement about the abilities that you possess and the opportunities that you have to display those talents to the world, thereby making a positive impact in the process!

Question: What have you found helpful to replace the thoughts of fear and doubt with thoughts of trust and belief? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The Race Of My Life

It was 20 minutes before the gun was to go off signaling the start of the Chevron Houston Marathon. The forecast was not good – rain, 15-17 mph winds, and low 40s. On a side note, I like to race in the low 40s, just not in combination with high winds and rain. As we waited in the corral anxiously anticipating what the day would reveal, the rain began to dump on us dampening any last hope of outrunning the rain. As I looked around at the other runners and surveyed my own emotions, I realized this would be a unique day with plenty of lessons to be learned. Maybe, not the ideal, PR-setting day, but a day of growth for sure.

Businessman Running with Umbrella

Distractions are a part of life. We can embrace them, be annoyed by them, or strive to ignore them, but they always seem to appear at the wrong time. No one plans for a good distraction in his or her life. They don’t pull out their iPhone and schedule a good dose of fear or doubt at 8:07 am. Distractions appear from behind the curtain unannounced, uninvited, and unwanted. Here are three things that I learned from one of the hardest races of my life that apply to all areas of our lives:

  • Distractions Can Bring Focus – The distraction of being wet and running in the rain actually helped me focus on the next step in pursuit of my goal. I was not thinking about the 3-plus hours that I would be running or the 26.2 miles that I would be traversing. I was just focused on the next step in front of me. Step by step and stride by stride was my mantra, and it served me well in reaching my goal. In order to achieve your goal in anything in life, you must learn – sometimes “in the moment” – how to narrow your focus in the midst of distractions and focus on the next step in the journey.
  • Distractions Can Reveal Faith – During the race, I was praying that God would carry me through this race. It was not like I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my training as well as the gear I was wearing to weather the “storm,” but it was in the midst of this distraction that I re-discovered where my real strength comes from. It is in the midst of a distraction – major ones like cancer, death, sorrow, broken relationships – that we discover the source of true peace, joy, and perseverance and how faith can help us conquer our fears.
  • Distractions Can Fuel Fulfillment – While I did not reach my Boston Marathon qualifying goal on that particular day, I truly appreciated what I and thousands of other fellow runners accomplished on a day such as this. To look back and say, “I conquered that!” brings a great sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. When I look back at other times in my life when I have faced even greater life distractions than a little bad weather, I always appreciate the way that I grew from that experience, what I learned in the moment, and what resulted from that moment.

Your trajectory can tremendously change when you learn to discover that distractions are a part of life. Don’t be shocked when a distraction drops onto your doorstep. Stay focused on your goal, allow faith to conquer your fears, and look forward to the fulfillment that you will feel when you persevere through this moment!

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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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Your Past Does Not Dictate Your Future

This disclaimer is usually tagged as a footnote to investment literature that touts how great a mutual fund’s returns and performance have been over the past year. I, however, am often called into situations where this quote plays a vital role in helping someone rebound from a period of underperforming below their elite talent level. It’s amazing to me how the past often haunts us as we dismiss the progress that we have made and selectively frame the pictures of poor performance.

For example, many of the golfers that I work with as a peak performance coach are haunted by the past. Past rounds, past holes, and past shots. They are seeking perfection, and when they do not hit the perfect shot, doubt often creeps in. If they are not careful, they begin a pattern of spiraling downward in performance allowing the past shot to dictate their future opportunities for success. In other words, a bad shot leads to a bad hole which leads to a bad round. This pattern can also happen to you in the roles you play in life. For example, how does a woman go from moments of incredible impact in the lives of her children to feeling that she is a horrible mother – just because of one imperfect moment?confused-signs

The key to breaking through this vicious downward spiral is what I call “Recovery Time©” defined as your ability to respond and rebound from moments you did not expect to happen and move into the next moment. Others might refer to this quality as “grit” or “resiliency,” and we believe that it can be developed and improved.  Using a golfer again as an example, I work with my athletes on thoughts, tools, and techniques that will help them play shot to shot, perform in the current moment, and respond when they miss shots they know they should have made. Part of this process involves developing “trigger/activating” phrases that help them to replace thoughts of fear and doubt with thoughts of trust and belief about them and their talent.

We must also learn from the past, not live in the past. The past must be an ally pushing us onward and forward, not an adversary rising up against us at every turn. Your past may not involve a missed 4-foot putt or a bad round of golf. Your past may include:

  • Being laid off at work
  • Feeling inadequate as a parent
  • Feeling disconnected to your spouse
  • Wondering if people even know you exist
  • Being rejected over and over again
  • Struggling to tap into your talent
  • Striving to pursue purpose and meaning in your life

Whatever you are going through today, know that you can recover from miserable moments. It begins with realizing that “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Just because you have had a bad past doesn’t mean that you are destined to have a terrible future.

If we truly comprehend the meaning of this quote and conquer our doubts of past performance, we will learn to embrace the current moment with arms wide open. We will understand how opportunity and possibilities are waiting at the door if we will just relinquish the overwhelming memories of times where we did not perform at our best.

Strive today to “learn from the past, prepare for the future, and perform in the moment” (quote taken from my book Moments: Making Your Life Count For What Matters Most).

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