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.
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.
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?
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!
Michael had just won the biggest race of his life, shattering his own world record by a third of a second and winning the gold medal in the Olympics. He thought about all of the training he had endured. He was thrilled that the discipline, hard work, and focus had paid off and given him a quiet confidence to achieve his goals. Most people would have thought Michael had just completed the perfect race. Yet, there was a brief moment during the race that he wished he could have replayed. A brief stumble the third step out of the block made him question how much faster he could have gone.
Moments have meaning. The word moment is derived from the Latin word momentum defined as “movement or moving power.” If you research the word moment, you will find that this powerful word has a diverse set of synonyms:
A split second
The blink of an eye
A chapter in your life
A season of life
All of these words can be used to describe the word moment – everything from a split second to an epoch. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there is a very wide gap between a split second and an epoch. How could one word represent so many meanings? As I reflected on this question and the meaning of a moment, I pondered how a split second moment could impact an epoch. Or closer to home, it made me aware of how an instant in my life could affect generations to come.
Every one of us has a deep longing for moments. Moments in the spotlight. Moments of expression. Moments of meaning and purpose. Moments of impact. Moments where we provide value to those we love the most. Moments filled with potential and promise. Some people have more of these moments than others.
Why do we crave, desire, and remember moments so much? I believe it is because moments comprise everything. Our time. Our choices. Our decisions. Our thoughts. Our relationships. Moments encapsulate all of these components. When we think of a moment, we rejoice over how we invested our time wisely, or we lament the fact that we let the moment slip away.
Moments are filled with issues to be resolved, opportunities to be realized, and challenges to be met. For Michael Johnson, the 1996 Olympics was a defining moment – a moment that determined his place in history. Defining moments can also be moments that help us clarify our calling and give us meaning and direction in our lives. Have you ever had a defining moment? Most people have several defining moments in their lives. The trouble with defining moments is that you cannot predict the exact second that a defining moment will happen. You can, however, prepare for defining moments in your life. Michael had endured countless hours of sprints and time in the weight room for a moment that lasted less than 20 seconds. He had spent 10 years of his life to reduce his time by 1.5 seconds – the difference between mediocrity and excellence. How are you preparing for defining moments in your life?
The 1996 Olympics also represented a lost moment – the stumble out of the starting block he wished he could have gotten back. Have you ever had a lost moment? A moment you didn’t make the most of? Most of us have had at least one lost moment in our lives. The challenge is not to dwell on the moment that was lost but make the most of the moment that you have now. Michael persevered through this lost moment and made the most of the bigger moment.
In his book, Slaying the Dragon, Michael Johnson compares our experiences in life to those of a sprinter:
“Success is found in much smaller portions than most people realize, achieved through the tiniest gradations, not unlike the split-second progress of a sprinter…. Life is often compared to a marathon, but I think it is more like being a sprinter: long stretches of hard work punctuated by brief moments in which we are given the opportunity to perform at our best.”
May you always realize the meaning and power of moments in your life and fully engage in the life you have been given!
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.
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.
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.
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.
To enjoy the moment, I have found three key supporting concepts that can make this principle come alive in your life:
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?
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?
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?
Rafael Nadal was in a fierce battle on the grassy courts of the All England Tennis Club against Gilles Muller, an underdog in this battle. This was Wimbledon, a tournament where championships are earned, heartbreaks abound, and greatness is achieved! They were well into the 5th set of the match when the announcer boldly proclaimed: “The distance between triumph and disaster is just a swing of the racket.” The final set in a match at Wimbledon cannot be decided by a tiebreaking game, so they played until Muller eventually won 15-13 games in the 5th and deciding set.
For many people, the quote from the Wimbledon announcer represents their life. I work with many athletes where success or setbacks hang in the balance of one play, one shot, one game, or one race based on the decisions and choices that they make. Pressure is often at its greatest during these moments, and they must be present and focused in order to bring their best to the competition at hand. Sometimes, they are competing against someone else. Other times, they are competing against themselves wondering if they have what it takes to overcome a misplaced doubt or random negative thought that decided to enter their mind at the most inopportune time.
Triumph and disaster do often hang on the swing of a racket, the follow through of a shot, or the kick of a ball. The key question is: What do peak performers think about in moments like these that will help them achieve triumph over disaster? Here are 3 things that you can learn from elite athletes that will help you consistently perform at your best in any area of life:
Be Present – If you want to perform at your best especially in pressure moments, you have to be present not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. This skill is one of the top priorities that I work with athletes and business leaders on in my coaching. We live in a hyper-stimulated world, and our focus is often affected by distractions that direct our mind and emotions down the wrong path, which leads to less than stellar results. I am sure you understand what it means to be present in a place physically, and you also probably know what it feels like to be absent mentally and/or emotionally. As Fulton Oursler said, “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.” The thieves of fear and regret often kill, steal, and destroy our opportunity for triumph, meaning, and impact. You must be present to be your best!
Be Outcome-Driven and Process-Focused – I have written about this technique in other places, but this is one of the top ways to both be present and also achieve the outcomes and results that you desire. In this epic Wimbledon battle, Gilles Muller never lost hope and kept focusing on serving well, moving his feet, playing with energy and effort, and mixing up his shots. He was not obsessing about the outcome to the point of desperation or worrying about the circumstances of who he was playing against or the crowd who was cheering for Nadal. He stayed focused on process-oriented things that he could control, which led to playing his best tennis and winning the match. No matter what your role is in life, set challenging goals and desire incredible outcomes. Just remember that to achieve these inspiring goals, you should not consume your mind and emotional energy overly obsessing about the outcome that you want. You must simplify it and focus on the process-oriented things that will lead you to the outcome or result.
Be Resilient – Peak performers are resilient and have refined their resiliency through the fires of competition and challenges. People ask me all the time whether resiliency, grit, and determination can be learned and developed, or do some people just possess these qualities while others do not. Based upon our research and experience in working with elite athletes and high performing leaders in business and life, we believe 2 things about resiliency. First, some people possess an innate ability to be highly resilient and possess a stronger will to win than others. Second, no matter what level of resiliency or grit you have been born with, you can grow and develop your ability to persevere in pressure moments. As Angela Duckworth said in her groundbreaking book Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance, “When you keep searching for ways to change your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding them. When you stop searching, assuming they can’t be found, you guarantee they won.” Our research and experience confirm what she discovered through her own process of discovery: Truly resilient people get into possibility thinking very early when facing a trial or pressure moment. They ask “What’s possible?” instead of saying “Oh, this is bad!” and they strive to find ways to persevere. To grow your grit, focus on having a growth mindset, rely on positive “self-talk” from yourself and others, and seek out and discover what’s possible.
I encourage you to apply these techniques in your life as you pursue your goals and persevere in pressure moments. Don’t be fearful or distracted by the weight of the moment. Be present, unleash your talent, and bring your best in every situation inspiring others to do the same. You may just discover, like Gilles Muller, that resiliency and success are found in one swing of the racket (i.e. taking the next step toward the direction of your dreams)!
Leadership is both an art and a science. Many leaders, however, emphasize the science of leadership at the expense of the art of leadership, which often leads to less than desirable results in terms of engagement, performance, and teamwork. Whether you are a business leader, coach, or parent, you know that leadership is hard work but can have a lasting and meaningful impact in the lives of the people you lead and influence when delivered in the right way.
To understand these terms more and explore what effective leadership looks like, it is important to define what the art and science of leadership means. You can apply both of these terms in all areas of life including sports and business. The “science of leadership” refers to instructing and teaching a technical discipline or path. It includes directing and guiding someone on how to do something the right way effectively and efficiently. It is the most common technique that leaders demonstrate, because most leaders were promoted based on their ability to produce and do things well.
The “art of leadership” is more subtle and esoteric and is often forgotten, discounted, and abandoned when trying to get people to accomplish a task or achieve a mission or goal. Yet, the art of leadership is essential, because this aspect of leadership penetrates to the heart of the people you are leading and influencing. It engages their minds AND their hearts and allows them to perform with purpose and passion. In fact, Max DePree, the former CEO of Herman Miller, wrote a whole book on this topic entitled Leadership is an Art. In this great book on leadership, he said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant.”
Here are 10 things you can do to improve your leadership effectiveness through the “art” of leadership:
Encourage the heart of your people.
Reinforce your belief in their abilities.
Empower them by trusting them with opportunities.
Care for them by coaching them and delivering both positive and constructive feedback that will help them grow.
Lead them by communicating a shared vision that includes their contribution to the mission.
Remind them of times when they have succeeded when they are in the midst of a setback.
Instill confidence in them, so they can perform on “game day.”
Listen to them.
Invest time with them.
Be responsible for their development.
The art of leadership is about helping individuals or a team perform on “game day” with trust, belief, and confidence. Yes, the science of leadership is important, but once people have a base level of skills and mastery of something, leaders must demonstrate the art of leadership to help them unleash their potential and consistently perform at their best. As DePree also said, “In a day when so much energy seems to be spent on maintenance and manuals, on bureaucracy and meaningless quantification, to be a leader is to enjoy the special privileges of complexity, of ambiguity, of diversity. But to be a leader means, especially, having the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who permit leaders to lead.”
By applying the ten tips mentioned above, you can become a more effective leader, and the people you lead will be appreciative of your interest in their growth and dedication to their development!
Jordan Spieth found himself in a playoff. Just moments before, he was leading the 2017 Travelers Championship Tournament and just needed to finish strong. As he gathered himself and focused on his tee shot, he attempted to clear a tall tree and instead hit the tree, which yielded a fortunate bounce into the fairway. He could have been wondering what happened – not only on this shot but the shots and holes that forced him into this playoff hole. Why did he hit the tree? Why couldn’t he finish the deal? What was happening?
It’s in these moments that we truly discover what we are made of! Character, grit, and resiliency are refined in the midst of setbacks and struggles. We can either become determined or disillusioned, and it only takes a moment to tilt the balance of confidence one way or the other.
In the midst of challenges in sports, business, and life, here are at least 3 things that we must do to accomplish the goal:
Clarify the Goal – When something happens that you did not expect and “perfection” is not achieved, you can tend to react with dismay and disillusionment, because your expectations are misguided. You try to control the outcome of everything you do and forget that there will be moments where you are less than perfect. You press in to control, which leads to being tight, tense, and terse. This is not the way to win a golf tournament, lead your team, or accomplish your goals. It is in these moments that you need to reassess and clarify the goal. For Jordan Spieth, the goal was to win the playoff hole and the tournament…not hit every golf shot perfectly, and he re-focused his energy and effort appropriately to achieve this goal instead of worrying about past failures, which he could not change.
Simplify the Process – Especially in moments of strife, I often tell my golfers (and other athletes) the following mantra: “Sometimes, it’s just about getting from point A to point B to point C.” In other words, when things are not going your way, simplify the process to achieve the goal. If a certain part of your game is not going right, play to your strengths and what is going well for you on that particular day. Don’t overanalyze what is not working and why. Also, consistently ask: What am I trying to accomplish? This question can help you get back on task and on target. Finally, be present and process-focused which should lead to the best result you can achieve on a certain day.
Stay Engaged – When a bad moment happens, the result can shift our attitude into a superlative mindset. “I can’t hit my driver.” “I never play well in these situations.” “The people I lead don’t listen to me.” “I will never accomplish my goals.” I have a superlative rule that I use with my athletes and business leaders that I coach comprised of a superlative: Never use superlatives to describe your performance or limit your potential. Stay engaged and dedicated to the process with energy and effort. Anything can happen even in the midst of challenging circumstances, and you must live your life with a possibility mindset.
So what happened next for Jordan? After hitting the tree on his tee shot, Jordan sprayed his approach shot into the sand trap next to the green. Daniel Berger, his opponent, hit his shot onto the fringe of the green but far away from the hole. This hole was not going according to plan for Spieth. Or, was it? Jordan had hit a great up and down shot out of the bunker on the 18th hole just moments before to save par and assure this playoff hole. The reality was that he had confidence hitting out of the sand – a place that no one wants to land – and he just needed to be present in this moment and hit a great golf shot.
Jordan assessed the situation, developed a strategy, and visualized his shot as he grabbed the appropriate club for this moment. He trusted his shot and the ball lifted out the sand trap and softly bounced on the green and rolled into the hole. He tossed the winning golf club out of the bunker and chest bumped his caddy, as the crowd cheered in excitement and amazement!
An incredible shot that ultimately won the tournament for him! In the article “Why Jordan Spieth’s Tee Shots Didn’t Matter,” the Wall Street Journal chronicled his day in this way:
“The result was Spieth’s 10th victory at the age of 23. Since World War II, only Tiger Woods got to double-digit wins at a younger age….The lesson isn’t that power off the tee doesn’t matter, or that it matters less than what a player does on and around the green. It’s that there is more than one way to win in golf, and to lose….There is no disadvantage that can’t be countered by enough excellence in other parts of the game. Especially if you can hole a bunker shot in a sudden-death playoff.”
Whatever your role and your goals, there is a lot we can learn from the example of Jordan Spieth’s tournament victory including playing to your strengths, developing a growth and possibility mindset, and staying focused on the right perspective and process to achieve success and impact even in the midst of a temporary setback.