3 X-Factors For Success In Sports, Business, and Life

In today’s podcast, I share 3 X-Factors that you can use to have success and impact in sports, business, and life. I have taught these principles in my “Mastering the Mental Game of Golf” workshop and have used them in coaching thousands of athletes across all sports as well as coaching entrepreneurs and business leaders. These principles can be applied to any area of life and can help you become more resilient, maximize your potential, and accomplish your goals.

Episode Outline:

  • 4 Dimensions of Peak Performance:
    • Technical
    • Mental
    • Nutritional
    • Physical
  • Use creative tension to be resilient and push through resistance to accomplish your goals.
  • “Most people never get there. They’re afraid or unwilling to demand enough of themselves and take the easy road, the path of least resistance. But struggling and suffering, as I now saw it, were the essence of a life worth living. If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not constantly demanding more from yourself—expanding and learning as you go—you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.” Dean Karnazes, ultra-marathoner
  • Many people operate from this math equation that can hinder your performance:
    • Identity = Performance + Opinion of Others
  • They should be operating from this equation which can boost your performance:
    • Performance = Potential/Talent – Distraction
  • 3 X-Factors For Success in Sports, Business, and Life:
    • Focus
    • I Will Mindset
    • Recovery Time©
  • “What you choose to focus on magnifies in size.” – Mike Van Hoozer
  • Key Questions About Focus:
    • What thoughts are you thinking about?
    • Do you carry bad plays or bad performances in the past with you into the present moment
    • Are you using negative words without even realizing the effect it is having on your performance?
    • Do you focus on the obstacle and the challenge or the target and the goal
  • Volition – Your will or desire to do something; determination
  • “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein
  • 9 Additional Tips For Consistently Achieving Excellence In Every Area of Life:
    • Know Why You Do What You Do
    • Practice With a Purpose
    • Use a Consistent Pre-Shot Routine Utilizing SFT
    • Use Activating/Trigger Phrases in Your Pre-Shot Routine
    • Focus on the Target (vs. Avoiding the Hazard)
    • Play Shot to Shot – Perform in the Moment©
    • Focus 12 seconds at a Time
    • Be Outcome-Driven and Process-Focused
    • Play the Round and Let the Round Play Out

Additional Resources:

  • Catherine Kruppa – Peak Performance Colleague and licensed dietitian, nutritionist, and wellness coach
  • Ben Fairchild – Peak Sports Performance Colleague and trainer for elite high school, college, and professional athletes
  • Jim Guillory – Peak Performance Colleague and muscle activation technique (MAT) specialist

 

Don’t Allow Perception To Dictate Your Reality

We sometimes perceive things that are not really true. This occurs when we attach additional meaning to something that is said or done that is not based on fact. There are some examples where perception can be a good thing like offering a word of encouragement to someone that we perceive is feeling down or avoiding a dangerous situation because we perceive it might cause us harm. Yet, there are times when perception leads us to assume the wrong things about someone’s motives or actions and keep us from thinking the best about a person or situation.

I can do it card

We have to be careful to separate perception from reality and think critically every time we experience a perception, discerning whether it is true and real or not. I see the ill effects of perceptions in my work with elite athletes where they let their perceptions guide actions and even worse, dictate their outcomes. This happens when they allow a wrong or misinformed perception to develop into a misguided perspective leading to an unfortunate reality.

I remember I was working with a high school golfer who was debriefing a recent round with me. This very good golfer told me that he hit a shot off the tee into the woods and then tried to aggressively get out of the woods with his next shot only to have it hit the trees leading to a double bogey on the hole. He then proceeded to tell me that his round was over and was all downhill from there. When I asked him what hole this occurred on, he informed me that it was the 2nd hole.

In this moment, he allowed a real situation – not scoring his best on a hole – to become a perception that his round was over and that he would never catch up to the other players in the round, therefore leading to more bad shots and holes. His misguided perception led to a misinformed perspective which spiraled down into an unfortunate round of golf, which could have been avoided by questioning his initial perception in the moment.

we are what we believe sign

I have also seen this occur in other areas of life including work, home, and communities. We often receive what we perceive as “truth” instead of dealing in facts and reality. When we allow a bad perception to become a truth or reality in our lives, it limits us from maximizing our potential and achieving our goals. We box ourselves into a false mindset which leads to tentative or passive behaviors that result in outcomes that are less than optimal and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Breaking the cycle of a bad perception or perspective is essential to having a growth mindset and becoming who you were meant to be. But, how do you do that? Here are several things that you can do to create breakthrough moments and avoid allowing a misguided mindset to dictate your reality:

  • Question the Perception – Any time you have a perception about a person or a situation, question it first by asking: Is my perception about this really true? Discern fact from fiction or your perceived meaning that you may be adding to the situation. While the gift of discernment can be a very good thing almost like Spiderman’s “Spidy Sense,” I think it is always good to analyze the facts and question whether they are real or not and what conclusion they lead you to.
  • Discern the Truth – Once you have questioned the perception, it is important to discover and discern the truth about a given situation or person. Are your teammates really mad at you and consider you a failure about not coming through in the clutch, or are they just upset that the team did not win knowing you gave your best? Maybe, your kids and co-workers are really listening to every bit of wisdom you are sharing with them! One of the best ways to discern the truth is beginning with a mindset that believes the best about people. This starting point allows you to more accurately seek the truth in every situation and avoid misleading assumptions.
  • Break the Cycle – Break the cycle of buying in to bad perceptions by replacing the perception with statements of truth about you, your strengths, your past accomplishments, and the opportunities that are in front of you.
  • Develop a Growth Mindset – Replace your problematic mindset with a possibility mindset. Think in terms of what’s possible, not your perception about what is not. Developing a growth mindset is a process and depends on your determination to unlearn bad habits and negative thoughts, and replace them with new thoughts that lead to growth and grit.

Don’t allow perceptions to limit your possibilities. Unleash your potential in all areas of your life, and create a reality that you can be proud of and that makes a positive difference within your sphere of influence!

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

Be The Change

I am going to make a difference today!  You can too!  And I’m not talking about some pie in the sky “Change the World” mantra that most people forsake out of frustration, because it is impossible for somebody to change the behaviors of six-plus billion people that live in this world.  You can’t change the world, but you can change your world – your sphere of influence.

Be The Change Picture

What if each of us asked this question every day:

How can I make a difference?

So many people just go through the motions tackling the tasks of the day without ever wondering how they can make a difference.  Sometimes, they consider a question like, “Am I making a difference?” but the question, and its potentially disappointing answer, quickly disappear as the urgency of the day engulfs their potential for productive self-reflection.

The truth is that you can make a positive difference and impact within your sphere of influence regardless of your title, position, or role. It’s a choice that requires a different mindset.  It is not hard, but you have to proactively consider 3 things:

  • Your Talent– You have been uniquely created with gifts and talents that were meant to be shared with people in your story. Do you know and recognize the gifts, talents, and strengths that you have been given, and are you embracing and leveraging them to make a positive difference every day?
  • Your Time – We all have the same number of hours in a day.  High capacity people are able to maintain focus of their top priorities and maximize their impact.  You can be effective and maximize your moments if you choose to. Who are the people that you need to invest in, and what are the things that you must do based on your roles and priorities in every area of your life?
  • Your Sphere of Influence – Every person who is in your story is there for a reason.  They are beckoning for your influence and impact in their lives. You must understand their needs and goals in order to help and serve them in the right way. Also, as a leader, you must be able to discern their motivators – what are they passionate about – and their activators – what will move them to action – in order to influence and impact them in the right way. Who is in your sphere of influence that could benefit from your positive impact in their life? Likewise, who is in your sphere of influence that can help you learn and grow?

Making a difference is not a one-time thing; it is a one-life moment! At the end of your life, will they say:

You made a difference!

Kobe Doing Work

Around midnight, he was still in the gym.  For an hour and a half after the game, he took shot after shot after shot.  This was not some student trying to practice harder on his home court to maybe make the varsity squad.  This was someone who a month prior had won the MVP award of the NBA All-Star game and will go down as one of the best players of all time.  This was Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Doing Work

Who does that kind of thing?  I realize that he missed a shot late in the game earlier in the night that could have helped the Lakers win, but no one stays late in the opponent’s arena after a loss on the road and continues to practice.  At best, the ones who care usually get on the flight to the next arena and act on what they could have done differently to achieve a different outcome.  Others just go on to the next game never learning and growing in the process.

I have always admired Kobe Bryant’s work ethic, his will to win, and the 5 NBA championships that have resulted from his fierceness.  But, this event made me think even harder about how we can apply this kind of dedication, preparation, and perseverance in our own lives in any role that we play.  Consider the following questions and how they might apply to your life:

  • Do you give up too early when things get hard? – When things become difficult in a relationship or on a project at work, do you check out, give up, and walk out? Or do you show resilience and grit to persevere through the difficult moments?
  • Do you want the ball in your hands when the game is on the line? – As a parent, are you investing in the lives of your children and preparing them for the next stage of life?  As a leader, are you using your platform and sphere of influence to mentor others?  As an athlete, are you embracing pressure and focusing on the opportunity to perform at your best?
  • Do you give up on your teammates? – Do you write off people when they let you down, or do you extend grace and mercy knowing that you are not perfect either? Do you look for opportunities to make people better?
  • Do you go the extra mile to become the very best? – Are you doing everything you can to become the best you can become?
  • Do you have a commitment to lifelong learning and growth? – No matter how talented or successful you are, are you constantly striving to grow, learn, and get better even when you feel you have “mastered” your craft?
  • Do you focus on the little things? – Are there times in your life when you go through the motions, or do you place a priority on doing the little things that matter on a consistent basis?

I believe that true champions wholeheartedly commit to preparation, effort, and hard work. They “sweat the details” of the things that they need to do to maximize their potential and achieve their goals in sports, business, and life. John Wooden, one of the greatest coaches to ever live, said, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

In other words, it has little to do with others and has everything to do with you!  Commit to doing the work necessary to achieve the results you want!

Living A Life of Humility

A theme can bring energy and passion to your annual goals.  A theme also provides a summary that encapsulates everything that you are going to do and be about in a particular year or for your whole life. A few years ago, I used the theme of “Be Humble and Hungry” as my theme for the year. I also often text this to the people I coach in sports, business, and life.

As a competitor, it is often a fine line to walk between being humble versus being self-confident bordering on arrogance. Your competitiveness and drive give you your edge to succeed, but you don’t want that to tip to arrogance and pride where falls and paths to destruction often occur. As a leader, you need to command the respect of your people and that is often seen as competence and mastery, but you don’t want to come across as a “know-it-all” and someone who is not open to ideas and input from others.

Humility Sign

Humility and vulnerability are words not often associated with the best competitors; yet, they are essential components of the character of champions. Specifically, there are 3 aspects of humility that champions embrace on their leadership journey and allow them to separate from the rest of the field:

  • The Definition of Humility – C. S. Lewis defined it this way: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”  In all my endeavors, I want to engage and fully utilize my God-given strengths, talents, and passions to maximize the opportunities within my sphere of influence.  I believe that is what fulfilling your purpose is all about.  As you consider your strengths, talents, gifts, passions, opportunities, and sphere of influence, I encourage and challenge you to fully embrace them in a way that makes a positive impact on others vs solely promoting yourself.
  • The Spirit of Humility – Humility also demands a spirit and attitude of gratefulness.  It means to accept opportunities with enthusiasm and be appreciative of all that God brings your way.  There are many things that have happened in my life that can only be explained through the power and presence of God in my life.  My faith provides the main foundation for my life and is the cornerstone for everything that I do.  I thank God for this moment called my life, and I want to make it count.  Having a spirit of gratefulness allows you to enjoy the journey. When you are grateful for what you have, you are more generous to offer what people need.
  • The Product of Humility – Finally, humility promotes and produces a pursuit of excellence in all that we do.  If you are appreciative of the moments in your life, you will do all that you can to excel and do your best knowing that not everyone receives an opportunity to do what you are uniquely gifted to do. You will lead more effectively serving the needs of others in the process. You will pursue your goals more passionately knowing that the outcome is worth the journey, and you will do it in a way that leads to impact in the lives of the people you lead and influence. In essence, the more humble and appreciative you are, the better you will embrace your role and carry out your responsibilities! That’s the way that I feel about my work and my life.

Humility is not cowering low; it is charging forth with the right attitude and actions toward a mountaintop of opportunities and moments to make a positive difference and accomplish meaningful work! Living a life of humility is all about serving the needs of the people who are in your story with the unique talents and opportunities that are in your journey.

If you want to develop more as a leader who humbly serves the needs of others, connects with people, develops other leaders, and makes a positive impact within their sphere of influence, check out our Invisible Hand of Leadership© Program.

 

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

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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