You’ve been given a gift.
A moment in time.
It may not seem like it when your alarm goes off at 5am. When it seems like you are the only one lacing up your shoes to go train. When it’s the middle of the night, you are up studying, and you glance over to see your roommate peacefully sleeping.
You arrive at a place where you get to do what you love, and somehow wish you weren’t there. You wish for the simple. To sleep in. Eat whatever, whenever. Yet…if you were granted that wish, you’d be miserable. Because the passion in your heart to compete is more powerful than the pleasure of temporary satisfaction.
So how do you deal with the mental ping-pong of those thoughts?
Embrace your platform.
You’ve been given athletic talents. You have an opportunity to use them to help others. You are living out your calling, & inspiring countless others to do the same in the process.
Progress doesn’t come without struggle. Success doesn’t happen without sacrifice.
So the next time you feel like giving in, give more. When it feels like you’ve reached a breaking point, think back to where you started, and use it as the motivation you need to make this an all-in launching point.
You were made for this.
For such a time as this.
The air smells different the higher you climb. Not everyone is made to thrive in that climate. But you are. You are hard-wired for it. You thrive on it.
That is your gift.
You know the difference between thriving and surviving. The stark contrast between creating and caving. The clarity as to what it takes to achieve greatness, and the easy path to laziness.
You’ve got this…even when it hurts. You’ve got this…even when others don’t understand. You’ve got this…even when doubt tries to push you down.
And lest you think the only result that matters is…
The lowest time.
The best score.
The gold medal.
The top platform.
Those will never determine the end result. That is for you, and you alone to say.
Don't get me wrong...I'm a competitor through and through. I don't like to lose.
I'm not minimizing the effort that goes into winning, or the pain you experience as a result of losing. I've been on both sides of that coin, many times.
What I feel like you need to hear...deserve to hear...is that as time passes, the lesson of competing as a student-athlete has roots that run far deeper than one moment in time.
You'll begin to ask yourself these questions. And if you can say yes, you'll have gained far more than momentary recognition.
Did you give your all? Did you honor every person on the journey? Did you show humility? Did you act gracious to your competitors? Did you sacrifice your personal preference for the betterment of the team? Did you come a little early, and stay a little late?
Would you do it all over again?
If for no other reason than the relationships you made along the way.
Just to spend those long hours training with them. Just to ride the bus with them again. Just to laugh together, cry together…experience all of it together…again.
Because at the end of the day…
That is the truest definition of winning that I know.
Make the decision to be intentional about building relationships, so that you create a team of influence.
When that is seared into your soul,
you can do far more than win a sporting contest.
You will be ready to change the world.
So please don't throw in the towel when it gets hard. We need you to learn every lesson you can along the way. For the calling that is on your life will be accomplished because of what you learned from them. Without them, life on the other side of sports gets harder. With them you are equipped to take on every challenge thrown your way, in a way that only you can.
Because of that...
You ARE ready to change the world.
No time like the present. Lord knows our world so desperately needs it. And you?
We...those you know, and so many you may never meet...
WE. BELIEVE. IN. YOU.
For it's in the lessons of competition you will begin to understand your calling's destination. And when that happens, run in that direction with every ounce of passion your heart can muster.
You’ve been given a gift.
A moment in time.
Now, and in the future.
You, student-athlete, were made...
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.
It's Saturday night.
I'm on my porch writing this blog post.
We've just finished day one of a two day tournament in the Buffalo, NY area. The weather was perfect, the competition stiff, and the company fantastic. For a "soccer head" like myself, it was the perfect way to spend a Saturday in the summer. And the fact that two of my three kids were playing in it was a fun bonus.
I've been either watching, playing or coaching soccer since I was about 10 years old. That means I am over the 30 year mark of experiencing the world's most popular game. And every time I slow down, sit down, and pause...I realize more and more about what this beautiful game brings to life.
See...it's not just about the sport itself.
I've been on the winning side, the losing side, and the draws in between them. I've smiled, cried, laughed, and been puzzled more times than I can count.
The game is fun.
The game is beautiful.
The game is expressive, creative, and artistic.
But the best part isn't the ball in the back of the net, it's the people in and around it.
Here's my take on what soccer does to you, in you, and through you. And anyone who's experienced it, can completely attest to it.
Now, for all of you who "can't stand soccer", think it's boring, and think ties are crazy-train...stay with me. You might just change your mind when you hear why we love it so much.
5 things soccer has taught me about life...
1. How to leverage anticipation: When you can see what's coming before it happens, you respond differently before it arrives. It's the same with life. When you know how you will respond in a conversation, situation, or circumstance before it happens...you bring more value to the moment when it arrives. You'll do that in every relationship you have the honor of being a part of. Whether it's family, friends, or even a complete stranger. The empathy, sympathy, and honor you lead with, becomes an example to live by. Anticipation is the breeding ground for progress. On the field, and off. In a game, and in life.
2. Confidence isn't something you have, it's who you are: I shared this thought with my team in the practices leading up to this tournament. It came to me while I was high on a ladder with a paintbrush earlier in the week, as I was thinking about the soccer tournament ahead of us. I knew my kids needed to hear it. See, here's the thing. We have success because we are confident...not the other way around. And it's not a confidence in our ability to always be right...it's in knowing exactly who we are. And if at any moment...again...on the field or off...that isn't enough to win the game, get the promotion, seal the deal? It doesn't mean we lacked confidence. What it does mean, is that it's ok to see it as a learning experience. It doesn't change the fact that we are created with confidence. It reminds us it's our job to take hold of it, own it, express it, and live a life thankful for it.
3. A loss might shake us, but it doesn't need to break us: For this weekend, so far so good. No losses on the first day. But, again...I've been in many situations where that is how the season or tournament ended. It stings momentarily, but shouldn't reside on the inside of us permanently. I like to think of it this way...failure isn't failing, it's failing to learn from it. We are going to fall down in life. But it doesn't mean we need to fall apart. Getting back up, getting after it, and trying again has a reward, too. It's found in the relational equity built when you are raising up those you care the most about during a time of loss. Shaken, yes. Broken, no. Stronger for having gone through it together...absolutely.
4. Accountability helps us reach maturity: Soccer has the most continual moving parts of any sport I know. If you've got one to rival it, I'm all ears. But I think soccer holds the record. 11 players moving continuously, towards a common goal...amidst distraction, intense pressure, and exhaustion. All of this happens while maintaining a clear focus on the tactical plan laid out ahead of time. (yes, that's a thing. no, we don't just chase a ball around a big field) Patience, diligence, commitment, awareness, and communication all happens simultaneously...IN HOPES...that we will arrive at the planned destination (a win) intentionally. And when all of that happens it's because we've all held one another accountable. Not yelling at, but pouring encouragement into. Being honest when the effort isn't our best, but doing it with a pat on the back, not finger in a face. It's not calling out, it's moving forward. To where we are going, based on who we are. Life is like that. The companies, organizations, ministries, families, schools, etc...that get that? Those are the ones with the silly grins on their face, because they know the best part of their life is found in the safety of accountability. Challenging one another to be their best, and filling in the gaps by having each other's backs along the way. Maturity is something that is full. It's realized. It's joy. We get there when we start here...holding one another accountable.
5. Any place. Any day. Any amount of time: We have this motto on our team. It's that any player will play any position on the field, on any given day, for any amount of time. It's setting aside personal preference to buy into our vision as a team. We can't win a game played with 11 players, one player at a time. It's 11 on the pitch, and 7 supporting on the bench...working together, over time. Ahead of time in practice. When it's time on game day. An office, school, church, family...you name it. It works the same way. Think about anyone on your team adopting our motto. No more "it's not in my job description". There are no descriptions applicable to an individual that preclude them from sacrificing their wants for the team's needs.
As I go to sleep tonight, I have no idea how tomorrow will turn out.
I know how I...we...want it to.
We want to win.
We want a championship.
But this is what I do know tonight, about tomorrow...
If we manage to win the tournament championship, it will be because of the value we've placed on relationships.
As a team.
As a family.
Those are my thoughts tonight.
Those are reflections from a soccer coach.
My hope is that in some small way, it's been an encouragement to you. And yes...that you might see soccer as more than a ball, a field, and a bunch of people wandering aimlessly.
It's the exact opposite.
It's the outward expression of relational intentionality.
In how we leverage anticipation.
In how we see confidence.
In how we process loss.
In how we are accountable to one another.
In how we'll do it all...
Any amount of time.
Those are roots worth putting down, and growing from.
And maybe...just maybe...it's a repeatable process that's way bigger than a win, loss, or draw. Maybe it's the model our world needs too.
To anticipate how to love one another, freely. (#LoveWins)
To walk confidently with one another, sincerely.
To grieve with one another, genuinely.
To hold one another together, unconditionally.
To live as one.
Any amount of time.
That's a reflection worth more than a quick look.
That's a reflection worth living.
Live the former, serving the latter.
Because...that's always a win.
Any amount of time.
One relationship at a time.
THEY DID IT!
Meet the 2016 GU15
Clarence Classic CHAMPIONS!!!
You have a HUGE job, and a tremendous OPPORTUNITY.
In the lives of your student-athletes.
My name is Brett W. Gould.
I am a motivational speaker and life coach.
I failed out of college as a young student-athlete, and now spend my professional life speaking into the lives of the next generation so they don't repeat the same mistakes.
Why am I contacting you?
Their transition to college IS NOT going well.
I've been there as a student-athlete, and I know how to help others that are.
Here's my student-athlete story.
I failed out of college at 18.
I was in the top 20% of my HS class.
Athlete. Musician. Generally, hilarious and engaging in every circle I travelled in.
And then college hit, and hit hard.
I started skipping classes.
I drifted to anything that didn't hold me accountable.
I was living a nightmare, and no one really knew it.
I was scared.
I didn't like my classes.
I didn't know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
At the end of semester #1 I had a 1.85 GPA.
No one really addressed it.
Just a couple of months into semester #2, and it was over.
4 F's and an incomplete.
And a letter saying I had failed out.
I had just received a 0.0, and felt hopeless.
Luckily…I had a mentor that put his arms around my world and wouldn't let me quit.
I walked onto another campus, and they took me in…on the word of my mentor.
I had to fight.
I had limitations and expectations, for academic success, to stay there.
I couldn't play soccer, because I was ineligible.
I watched from the stands, knowing I was as good as any of the guys.
I pulled my grades up.
I walked-on the following fall…AND MADE THE TEAM.
I worked HARD.
The following year…I EARNED AN ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP.
I posted a 4.0 during an in-season semester.
I began coaching soccer in a city school my senior year in college.
And I graduated CUM LAUDE.
That's a snap-shot of WHO I was as a college student. That was over 20 years ago. Since then I have had the honor of working with tons of high school and college students. I've coached everywhere from the U6 level to College and in between. I've built curriculum that helps athletics programs, coaches, and student-athletes discover WHO they are so they will know WHAT to do. It works. I've spoken in High School classrooms, an auditorium, and all over different settings on College campuses.
What am I asking of you?
To have a conversation with me, about being a resource for you.
How would we work together?
I would be a Mental Coaching resource for your administration, coaches and student-athletes. Not as a one hit talk, but as a long-term relationship. I have a specific process I follow, that is a huge win for administrators, coaches, and student-athletes.
(You'll see a testimonial in a minute)
Can we be brutally honest?
You don’t have to.
Most of you, in fact, won’t.
And that's ok.
I want to work with a handful of people that get it, and I am hoping that might be you.
The great leaders take chances others see as distractions.
There are two approaches for Athletics Programs.
Play catch up. (Because other programs saw the value in this, first)
Play "catch us if you can". (Because you took the lead by doing this, first)
If you aren’t sure which side of that fence you are on, look around.
Are the people you lead looking tired or inspired?
Are their mental gas tanks on E, or are they coming in ramped up and ready?
At this point you have the perfect excuse to delete this email.
“Finances”. Except, it isn’t true.
There are always resources that can be found, for progress that needs to be made.
And…you are already spending the money.
Here's proof…does this sound familiar?
• Student-Athlete retention is an issue. (That means lost $ to your College)
• You, and other administrators, coaches, professors, etc…are having to meet with student-athletes who are having academic, athletic, or behavioral issues. (time = money)
• You are having to meet with coaches to go over unmet expectations about the academic and behavioral requirements of their team not being met.
When you start to look at lost tuition, and multiply out the hours x the salary of those who've had to meet over these issues…you can see that it adds up quickly.
That is why I am saying that your University is already spending the money.
The thing is, no one is tracking it.
It's happening…and you could be getting out in front of it.
Still reading? I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your teams better. You are the exact people I am looking forward to connecting with. You are the game-changers. The leaders.
Any speaker can show up once, say something clever, and “Drop The Mic” as they walk out the door. And once they do, it’ll rev up your engines for a few days…maybe even a week!
It takes a whole other kind of person, commitment, and vision…to develop a relationship with their audience. That happens over time, so that the impact is measured in sustainable life-change over years.
That’s the difference between hiring any speaker, and working with me.
I don’t speak at you, I work with you.
Not short bursts of energy that fade.
Long-term momentum and sustainable progress.
Here's a testimonial you'll love from one of your colleagues in collegiate athletics:
"Brett was excellent! We are in the process of rebuilding our program and his help has been priceless. He is an ALL-IN type of person and that's what we needed."
Head Men's Soccer Coach
St. Bonaventure University
Most of you are about a month out from your pre-season for 2016-2017.
If you would like to talk, I'd love to have the conversation.
No strings attached.
One phone call.
If there is a fit from there, we can talk specifics about how this will work with your University. If not, we've made a new friend. That's cool, too.
You made it.
And since you did, we should talk.
All The Best,
Brett W. Gould
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.
Have you ever heard this quote...
"Stand for something, or you will fall for anything." (-Rosa Parks)
Most of us have.
But that is usually where we leave it.
I was reminded of that this morning as I read a blog by Jessica Bealer, where she shared the rest of the quote...
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground."
And then I did a little digging of my own. (Pun not intended...but amusing nonetheless).
According to Wikipedia, this is part of the definition of an Acorn...
"It usually contains a single seed (rarely two seeds), enclosed in a tough, leathery shell, and borne in a cup-shaped cupule. Acorns vary from 1–6 cm long and 0.8–4 cm broad. Acorns take between about 6 and 24 months (depending on the species) to mature."
This is what hit me.
And then I started thinking about how this applies
to building a team with a purpose.
Look at the three items I mentioned about the acorn. Ask yourself...honestly...if you have a plan in place to get the seed of who you are to become the oak tree you want to be as a team. If you aren't focused at the highest level, you'll fail to reach your intended and desired goals as a team. That isn't meant to scare you, but it should remind you...that without a plan that is clearly articulated day in and day out by every member of your team, you aren't implementing anything...you are hoping to get lucky.
The process of turning the single seed of an acorn into a massive oak tree requires the decision to be intentional. It requires that you care for the seed regularly, including protecting it from outside forces that could take it down. All of this so that one day it will stand as a reminder of it's influence on it's surroundings.
I'd encourage you to look at where you are today with your team.
Your heart is probably in the right place.
But unfortunately, heart alone doesn't get the job done.
I can walk out the door and toss an acorn in the ground,
and wait to see an oak tree pop up.
But it doesn't work that way.
Go spend 5 minutes reading THIS ARTICLE and you'll understand the real process required to prepare an acorn to be planted and nurtured to full maturity.
It works the same way when it comes to creating a successful team.
When you are done, sit down and ask yourself a couple of questions...
Is my organization just in love with ideation (thinking about it),
or busy doing the hard work of implementation (doing something to make it happen).
We all love the idea of becoming the oak tree. BUT...are we doing what is necessary to sow the seed that gets us there?
There is no shame in asking the hard questions, and getting the help to implement an actionable vision. There is, however, regret later if we don't do it now. That's just real life. Being able to say "no regrets" after the fact, starts with knowing we did everything we could before the fact.
I'm hopeful this post was a source of encouragement to you today.
Reach out to someone who knows how to help you through this process.
Your team needs you to lead at the highest level. Sometimes...part of leading, is leaning on someone else.
It starts with the commitment to reach out.
Some people will think you are nuts for asking.
That's when you know you are about to create something of significance.
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground."
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.