Let's face it, we've all been there as coaches.
The game seems to be going along fine, and then something I like to call #FieldTilt, happens out of nowhere. Except, if we are being honest, it doesn't really come out of nowhere. It's a pretty common occurrence in sports. The challenge then becomes how do we respond when this moment arrives?
I sat down and penned my take on it.
Read through this short story scenario.
You'll relate to it.
I know I do.
And you'll also have a fresh perspective about why #MentalCoaching is so important in the development of our student-athletes.
What causes it? Momentum shifts and a team begins to play on their heels. But it starts before it becomes a physical problem. It even starts before players get quiet, and it’s a communication problem. It starts when doubt creeps in. It starts when moments of frustration become unwanted momentum.
It starts in the mind.
And once it happens, things get quieter. Touches get less clinical. And the field tilts. It’s as if the actual field is up in the air. The team "holding on" is playing at the bottom of the hill.
When feet get tired, minds must be clear.
Who you are.
Why you exist.
What you believe.
How you do what you do.
All of it working in concert.
Clarity lifts the eyes.
Clears the mind.
Raises the shoulders.
From heels to toes.
From frustration to anticipation.
From holding on to leaning forward.
The field starts to tilt the other way.
Your vision becomes your leverage.
The fulcrum slides, and the match shifts back.
In your favor.
As you honor.
Who you are.
And what you do.
Because at the end of the day…when you know WHO you are, you will know WHAT to do.
So how do we, as coaches, respond?
I've built a model that is changing the game, literally and figuratively, for myself and many others.
The MVP Model.
Mental. Verbal. Physical.
When you are mentally aware of your entire surroundings, and verbally articulate about who you are, and what you are trying to accomplish...only then will you be physically able to live it out.
And the bonus?
When you see and hear how to apply this, you'll be ecstatic!
Don't have a process in place to combat #FieldTilt?
Not sure how to build one?
Wish it was already done, so you can move forward?
Are you looking for a competitive advantage, when your team steps over the white line to take the field?
Done, done, done and done.
Email/call to talk about how to bring the MVP Model to your team.
Tilt the field in the direction you want it to go, instead of looking up later, and realizing you could have.
A physical advantage on the field, starts with a perspective advantage found in the mind.
Ready to learn the MVP Model?
5 Center Street
Fredonia NY 14063
Settling is stopping short.
To settle in is being content.
In either case, where you are may not be where you thought you'd be by now. It may not be where you want to be right now. And it may not be where you know you could be by now.
All of that can either paralyze you, or propel you. It can hold you back, or launch you forward. It can frustrate you or remind you.
Wait...remind you? Of what?
Your past may have played a part in your present, but it doesn't have to determine your future.
There isn't one of us, myself included, that doesn't need to hear this from time to time.
There is value in a little self-reflection, to provide new direction.
It's at those moments that we have to decide if we are going to feel sorry for ourselves, and start settling for less than our full potential. Or...take a deep breath, settle in, and see things from a fresh perspective.
Be fully present where you are, who you are with, with what you have.
And when you start moving forward, bring contentment along for the ride.
Stop settling today for what your past is lying to you about. Stop settling today for who others say you are. Stop settling because the obstacles in front of you seem like they are too big to take on.
To believe your past is your launching pad, because it was your learning ground. To believe who you are isn't determined by the the insecurities of others. To believe your future is what you make of the opportunities you leverage today.
And when you do...
Enjoy the contentment you find when you settle in, because you've committed to stop settling.
Have you ever found yourself stuck?
The kind of stuck that has you frustrated?
We've all been there.
Life throws us a curveball.
We were hoping to make contact, but then we swing and miss.
And after we swing, we realize the pitch wasn't as good as we first thought.
How do we respond in those moments?
The ones where it feels like there is a stadium full of people watching us strike out.
It's been said we can't hit what we don't swing at.
But I think we are missing out on some equally solid perspective.
We can't hit what isn't in the strike zone either.
If the pitch is high and tight, low and away, up and in...making contact is doubtful. And if it's a wild pitch or a pitch-out? Well, you get the point. We aren't getting on base swinging at offerings like that.
We aren't going to make progress by swinging at bad pitches.
I think sometimes we place so much value in putting our head down and pushing forward, that we miss the point. There is a more effective way to move forward. It requires more patience (that's not always easy). It requires more persistence to "foul-off" a few pitches that we aren't sure if they are strikes or not, just to keep the at-bat alive. But in the end, there is a common goal we are trying to reach.
Getting on base.
Listen...if you are finding the pitches aren't there today...stop swinging.
Stand in. Don't leave the batter's box. You can't get on if you aren't in the game.
Be patient. With a watchful eye, value the swings you don't take as important too.
And at the end of it...when enough bad pitches come?
Enjoy the moment when you can...
In the next blog, we'll talk about what to do once you're on base.
That's just as important.
When we change our perspective,
we change the trajectory of our story.
That thought popped into my head today. I took off towards my office to write it down, so I wouldn't forget it. When I got there, more came to mind. I wrote, or rather scribbled...feverishly...so as not to miss any of it.
Then I pushed my chair back slowly...and stared at the words in front of me. Bits and pieces of clarity came the longer I looked. And this is what I ended up with.
3 ways we can tackle the obstacle in front of us...
With that said, I have no idea which of the three you relate to most. But I have a sense that you do. I have a feeling one of them sticks out to you, like one of them did to me. And whatever one does, it's time to act on it.
Because for you, me, and everyone else around us...it's what we are being called to do.
I'll leave you with one last thought.
If we know that progress waits for us on the other side of our obedience, why is it that we are so addicted to our preference?
Might it be that we are so comfortable in our obscurity, that we really only like the idea of change...not the implementation of it? We need to get to the point where we see our obscurity as the obstacle that is keeping us from walking into our destiny.
Whether we need to...
Look under it, move around it, or climb over it...
Just get it done.
The trajectory of our story depends on it.
And if you still need motivation to do it?
If we act, it can impact someone else's life for the better. If we stay put, we value our preference more than what someone might get as a result of our obedience.
To be grounded, is to stay connected.
To a source, not a whim.
To a vision, not a version.
If we are ever going to be able to start saying "no" to the things that we need to, it'll start by committing to a well articulated vision.
Here is what I mean...
Have a filter.
Making decisions without one is emotionally, financially, and culturally dangerous.
It's hoping to get lucky.
When you know WHO you are, you will know WHAT to do.
You'll base decisions on who you are and why you exist.
You'll build relationships with people who are willing to sacrifice their personal preference, so that something bigger than themselves can be created.
So how do you know if you are making solid decisions?
If you are alone, you are much more likely to make a call you'll regret later.
If you have a team of people to walk with you, you've got what we all need.
You'll stop running in 101 directions when you have a relational connection.
You'll replace chaos with focus.
Have you ever been in a situation where something is said
that feels like a personal attack?
It's possible it's not about you,
but rather a reflection of something someone else is going through.
You can dig your heels in and prepare to win the argument,
or soften your tone with a presence that deflates the tension.
We've all been there.
The next time you are, try this approach...
Don't take it personally, think through it critically.
Solve the problem, don't attack the person.
Offer a solution, instead of defending your position.
And above all...
honor the person in front of you the entire time.
Deflating the tension starts with proper perspective.
Value the person in front of you,
over the position in the argument.
Ambivalence is the barrier to excellence.
Make the intentional decision to commit to your vision,
or you'll end up frustrated unable to make a good decision.
As you start your week, focus on your filter.
Who you are.
Why you exist.
What you believe.
How you do what you do.
Anything else is a hurdle you don't need to jump over,
in a race you shouldn't be running in anyway.
More on the images you see in a minute.
How does this word feel?
If you have ever tried to recruit anyone to anything, that word makes you cringe.
In four simple words, this is what it means.
Attrition is frustration that could be avoided.
Think buffet vs. steakhouse.
"Eyes too big for your stomach" is how most recruiting works. We pile on the plate, and toss out what we don't want later. Lots of waste involved in that process. Everything looks great at first, and then slowly we lose our appetite for it. Quantity rules the day, and waste is considered a necessary evil.
Be specific, clear, and say no to most options so that you can get the best fit for you. Be patient...it takes longer to prepare a better product. Time, seasoning, careful attention to detail. Quality is what we are after. Quality food. Quality fit for our taste buds. Waste is considered insane. It's too good to leave anything on the plate.
When we recruit like a buffet we end up losing people because "they can't cut it". The real truth? Them not cutting it later says more about the recruitment process than it does about the person leaving. When we recruit like a steakhouse we end up building an amazing culture that attracts the very best. The right fit means the best experience.
So the million dollar question...
HOW DO WE FIX IT?
Here are 5 things to get us thinking
about how to fix the process,
and recruit like a steakhouse.
1. Culture - Is there one where you are? If you don't have a clearly articulated vision and core set of values that EVERY SINGLE DECISION is based on, you don't. A culture is a group of people with a common set of beliefs, expressed through a common language. BOTH. Not one part. BOTH. And if you do have a culture now...who buys in? Who doesn't? Separating those two camps will tell you what your organization has to build on, and what it needs to politely excuse itself from. (P.S. That's not a bad thing. Holding on to staff that doesn't buy in not only hurts your progress, it robs them of the opportunity to link up with a team somewhere that they are sold out to. Life's too short. Help them find their team...and yes, that means some will have to be let go from yours).
2. Themes - Look at both ends of the spectrum. Those that are clicking on all cylinders within your team. What drew them to you? What drew you to them? Those that are constantly in a state of friction within your team. What changed for them since they started with you? How have you changed since they came on board? Find the themes...and you start to find a path to repeat. One for people who love who you are and why you exist and want to sell out to your vision. One to be able to refer people away from your team as early as possible. It's important for you, so that your team stays on point. And it's equally important for them, so that they can keep moving to find the team they were called to join.
3. Scarcity - If you aren't willing to be exclusive, you are leaving value on the table. And let me be VERY clear about this. This is not being exclusive at the cost of inclusive. It's a "both-and" posture. Very simply put...you need to be exclusive first, so that you can be inclusive later. If you let every person join your team...regardless of their vision, you'll have a massive disaster in short order. If you are diligent about selecting those that believe what you believe, care about what breaks your heart, and are willing to go all in for your values...the conversations later can be 100% inclusive of every person's opinion in the room. Why? Because you will have already separated personal opinion and preference from the process. Why is that important? Because the vision leads, and every idea tossed on the table goes through that filter. Without that filter, you have a mess on your hands. Think back to the buffet example at the beginning. Lots of waste. Translated to what you do? Waste of time, energy, and resources. And bluntly...A TON OF MONEY! According to the people at SHRM (really, super-smart HR professionals)...It costs about $3,500 per year to recruit, hire, train and retain an $8.00 per hour wage employee. And those numbers are from 2006! So that figure has to be conservative. Still don't think it's important to get it right up front?
4. Invites - Start life earlier in the process with your potential new recruits, and you do a few things really well. You start to develop a relationship with those you want on your team. You honor the time of those who won't ever be a fit on your team. And the third reason is HUGE. You begin to create a culture of brand ambassadors that will cast your vision as well. It's like having a seas of sales reps on the road. You won't be the only ones telling your story. It will reach more. When it reaches more, the quality goes up. More people fight for the top spots. It gets harder to get in. It becomes a little more exclusive. And when you reach that tipping point? You'll have a dream team that is explosive for all the right reasons. Momentum and progress unlike anything you've ever seen.
5. Net Casting - This will allow you to go further than ever before, differently than ever before. Think digital. Virtual. Instead of waiting to get a sense of who someone is when they meet you in person, you'll have already begun to develop a relationship from a distance. That allows a free-agent to sign on the dotted line on a first visit. It implores a college student to make their deposit on the day they meet you in person, on your campus. You won't lose that rock-star employee to your competition, because their first in person visit with your team confirms they are "home". Skype, text, email, and video vs. job and career fairs, table set up in HS hallways with free pens (because that's unique), etc... When you cast your net(s) intentionally where the fish you want are you stop dropping a net for sheer volume not knowing what fish are even there.
Those 5 things start the conversation. The one thing that weaves them all together is the secret sauce that makes the meal undeniably created by you and your team.
Culture. Themes. Scarcity. Invites. New Casting.
Learn from those 5, and let them inform your story-telling process.
Every great book, movie and experience is re-told for one reason...
I hope this has jump-started some brain-storming juices for your team. If you are stuck, don't be a stranger. I'd love to hear from you. I'd be honored to work with you. It's why I do what I do. Your recruitment is a reflection of your commitment. I know your heart is in the right place. Sometimes it's just hard to get the story to match. I'd love to help.
I exist to help other people discover WHO they are, so that they will know WHAT to do.
And I'd love to help you articulate your story, so you can dominate your space.
Let's have one last look at the pictures we started with...
Is there really any doubt which experience you want your recruiting, hiring, training and retention process to resemble?
The "attrition special" on the left is cheaper. But something tells me the cost of the "choice culture cut" on the right is worth every penny you'll invest in the process.
If you leave enough change behind...
eventually you'll hand your future to someone else.
Small change becomes a sizable deposit at some point.
Change is here. It's all around us.
It's either going to be in your future, or someone else's.
What change will you make, based on the challenge(s) you face?
Don't leave your opportunity on the table for someone else to take.
Invest in yourself...your team...your future.
Start your week with a purpose...on purpose.
Embrace the change that is in your hand,
instead of leaving it behind in fear.
Your future will thank you for it later.
Take a good look at this picture.
In a minute...I'm going to ask you to look at it again.
For now...let's talk about the title of this blog post today.
How do you handle a question you don't have an answer to?
Questioning and doubt aren't a sign of weakness,
they are an indicator someone on your team is searching for their purpose.
You can either embrace them in that moment,
and encourage them to seek,
or become their weakness by dismissing their feelings.
It won't be good enough to say later (when they've left)..."I had the best of intentions".
I'm asking you as a leader, to choose intentionality.
Choose to live in a space where you may not have an immediate answer, but you can offer immediate comfort and encouragement by simply listening.
When you place the value on relational connection, you see the value in the question.
And when the timing is right the question will get answered. For both of you.
Their doubt isn't a weakness, it's an opportunity for you to lead well.
Choose the person. Embrace the question.
Trust the journey...and the timing of an answer.
Then...and only then, will you see the question mark as a footprint.
Look at the picture again.
Do you see it from another perspective, now?
The willingness to walk with your team when they question, rather than walk on them because of your need to be right...be in charge...snuff out all questions.
That makes you an authentic leader...
who will earn a devoted following.
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.