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.
Sacrifice pride to a process, and you'll experience progress.
Every time your team takes the field, the boardroom, or the stage of whatever it is you do, ask yourself this question.
Are you rolling the dice on personal preference or a vision-driven process?
Leadership requires the willingness to take risks. The problem with that statement is that immediately we associate risk with craziness. We think that means doing something irresponsible.
The harsh reality for some is that what they are doing isn't working, and they keep doing it because they've convinced themselves it's the responsible thing to do.
I'd argue that for some teams...the risk they need to take requires a commitment to a structured process. If everything you've tried flying by the seat of your pants isn't working, there is a common denominator in all of your decisions.
Personal preference breeds predictable chaos.
No matter what kind of team you have...
_____________. (fill in the blank with any team of people)
The risk you may need to take is trusting a process. Trusting a vision. Trusting that the person on either side of you will do the same. Because trusting in preference has gotten you nowhere.
And any team that turns a corner is always led there by someone who was willing to go first. Not because they had a guarantee of success, but because they had the guts to stand up and admit what currently is, stands in the way of what should be.
Teams full of them finish first.
Roll the dice.
Take the risk.
On a process, not preference.
Part of what I have the honor of doing as a Perspective Coach is working with athletic teams. To be able to speak with, come alongside, and encourage coaches and their student-athletes is something that means a lot to me.
This post is for every level of athlete, the coaches that lead them, and the administration and parents that support them.
3 things to keep in front of you to be successful as a team...
1. On the field: Your opponent. Be aware of your surroundings. Know where they are. Anticipate so that you can create. Momentum over time is born from taking advantage of every single moment right on time.
2. In the classroom: Your books. Get your hand in the air. Ask questions. Be engaged. Soak up as much wisdom as you can, so that you can apply it to make a difference around you.
And that leads us into the last one...
3. In the community: Your opportunities. Look around. Be mentally present, as well as physically. See the need. Anticipate it. Step in to do something about it. Make a difference in someone else's life today.
Here is the "secret sauce"
The key ingredient that holds these 3 things together...
I said it the other day on Twitter (HERE)...but it bears repeating.
Not for what you can get from it, rather what you can bring to it.
Do that, and watch how fast your #culture changes.
I hope this does encourage you today.
Whether you are an athletic administrator, coach, student-athlete, or parent.
Keep your opponents, books, and opportunities in front of you...so that your experience on the field, in the classroom, and in your community is better because of you.
Honor every relationship you've been given.
If you'll do that...results follow.
And as always...enjoy the journey!
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."
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.
Passion: If you aren't bleeding the vision of your organization, how can you expect anyone on your team to? Actually…I once heard it said that "the leader has to hemorrhage in order for the people that follow to bleed". Sounds kinda gross…but makes a great point. You can't sit back and send your team to the front lines to fight for you all day as you sit in your silk robe in a castle far away. Roll your sleeves up…teach them, speak into them, go with them…show them the way.
Patience: There will be days when it feels like you are on a treadmill instead of an actual run where you can see progress. Everything seems stationary at best. If you lose your noodle in frustration in this moment, you'll lose your people in indifference soon. Instead, realize that the "treadmill days" are still doing something very important. They are creating a culture of endurance. Even though you can't see progress today, you are preparing people who are willing to keep running anyway. That is a culture that will be ready for a marathon on a moments notice.
Persistence: This is beyond treadmill time. This is when the treadmill is broken, coffee pot breaks, half your team is late and the other half is playing candy crush on their phones. If you get to this point, it's time to hit mental rewind as the leader. Go back to day one and ask yourself "WHY did I start this?" Not in a pity party kind of way, but in an honest, heart-level look at your purpose. Once you've dialed into that, go back to leading with passion and preparing to be persistent to do whatever you need to do to get your team back on track.
These 3 leadership reminders aren't magic fairy tale dust. Leading always requires hard work, consistency, transparency, authenticity, and a willingness above all else to be teachable.
Grab on to these 3 things as a quick mental exercise to see if where you are, is where you should be. If it is, way to go! Keep at it! If not, now you've got a little nudge to take care of what needs to be fixed. Get at it!
As always…thanks for stopping by! It's always humbling to know you chose to be here. I appreciate your time, and wish you all the best as you lead your team…wherever you may be!
One step at a time = #progress
Even if you take three forward, and two back…you are moving forward. There will be days will when you crush it, and days when you feel crushed. But if you are committed to trying something each day to take a step forward, you will find yourself making progress.
Progress over time = #momentum
You'll eventually look up and see things changing around you. The energy you expended to move forward one step will now get you three. What seemed so hard when you started has become much easier. Think about it, lift 10 lbs. today and everyday for a month. Next month not only will it feel easier…you'll find yourself smack in the middle of momentum as you crave, pick up and crush heavier ones.
Momentum all the time = #leverage
Living in this space gives you choices. It allows you to have the options you've always wanted, because you've done the hard work you previously wouldn't. You feel better about you, and people feel more confident in you. That gives you what you need to have conversations that effect change. There is a word for that. Leverage.
Use your leverage to lead well, and teach others to get where you are now. There is an amazing sense of accomplishment as you bring others with you and
set your team up to make progress, build momentum and create leverage.
How to have engaging conversations that connect you, not uncomfortable confrontations that divide you.
They all share the same commonality.
It's a daily struggle for all of us to communicate with those closest to us, avoiding the collision of emotions that causes those people to feel far from us.
Try this little exercise to reset your perspective...
You have two ears and one mouth,
so listen twice as much as you speak.
You have two eyes and one mouth,
see things from someone else's perspective before sharing your own.
You have two feet and one mouth,
walk in someone else's shoes before telling them why your way is better.
You have two hands and one mouth,
serve someone with them before you serve yourself by speaking.
You have two knees and one mouth,
your posture to kneel in the presence of God matters more than
posturing yourself as someone who knows it all by speaking too quickly.
As the old saying goes…
I'd rather be wrong and keep my mouth shut ,
than open it...act like a fool, and remove all doubt.
As you navigate all of your relationships today look for the opportunity to do almost anything first, and speaking second. You'll connect better with people around you. They'll sense you care for them.
Together you will gain access to a level of trust in your relationship that previously went untapped.
That's how we end up having engaging conversations that connect our relationships,
rather than uncomfortable conversations that place a division between us.
The first is about the value we place on the people around us,
the latter when we make it all about us.
That's a perspective that will bring joy.
That's an opportunity to live a life of purpose, on purpose.
That's a reminder I need., everyday.
I hope it's a reminder that is an encouragement to you today, wherever you may be…
to help you get to wherever you may be going.
Have a GREAT day!
Thank you for stopping by the blog.
It's an honor you chose to spend some of your valuable time here.
Eventually your team is going to face difficult moments.
And as crazy as this may sound, it could even be an indicator you are about to accomplish something incredible as a result.
There is a fine line between that being the case, and chaos being the result instead.
Here is another way to look at it...
When something gets hard, our nature is to do these 5 things.
1. Look for the excuse
Give up because you didn't have a vision guiding you.
Giving up for the vision so that hard moments energize you.
2. We make the excuse
Give up because it's just too hard to do.
Giving up our personal preference to honor what we do.
3. Act like it’s no big deal
Give up because our approach didn't work.
Giving up our resources to double down on building stronger relationships.
4. Make it all about ourselves
Give up because of pride.
Giving up so humility could take root.
5. Lash out at others
Give up and walk away because we think we know better.
Giving up our wants to create an environment that takes care of others needs.
Have you seen the difference yet?
When we GIVE UP it's all about excuses, whining, comfort, stuff, and pride.
When we change our posture to GIVING UP it's all about decisions, sacrifice, relationships, humility and service.
The next time your team faces a challenge,
look at these 5 things, and ask yourself one question…
Are we about to GIVE UP,
or are we willing to start GIVING UP?
It's the difference between quitting and conquering,
stopping and doubling-down,
throwing in the towel and going all-in.
Systems & Structures.
What in the world do they have to do with wheat?
In order for any organization to grow, each part of it must have a distinct purpose. And the number one thing that prevents that from happening is our struggle to hold on to personal preference.
That piece you see in the picture looks nice. It appears to be growing, as does more around it. The ONLY way that happened was the fact that at some point, someone let go.
Someone intentionally planted a kernel of it so it could grow. Someone decided to give up "their right" to hold onto their way. Someone chose structure over wishful thinking.
It's the same exact way in our teams.
It's the same exact way with our vision.
It's the same exact way for our potential moving forward.
The moment we "die to personal preference" and submit to systems and structure, we begin to realize the real possibility of multiplication moving forward.
The moment we stop holding onto, "just as it is", is when we will experience the growth we've been looking for.
The moment our hands are free again, is when we'll be able to truly serve again. And that is really the point anyway. Any great team is always serving first, so that they are prepared to bring in the harvest later.
That is what it means to have systems and structure in place. That is what it means to experience order instead of chaos.
That is what it means to let go, so you can grow.
Anything less is just selfish.
Anything less is a set-up for frustration.
Anything less is walking away from your greatest potential.
Don't mail in your future, let go of your wheat.
That is how you multiply your progress,
in a healthy environment.
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Part 4 is coming to a blog near you soon (this one).
Here is what we'll tackle in it...
4. You've got to be able to measure your progress. You must do this so that you know if where you are at this point will help you get to where you are called to go.
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.