Monday, December 28, 2009


In this final segment of "The Best Advice I Ever Got," I'm leaving you with one of my favorite all time motto's, "Give Em No Choice."

Living with this attitude puts responsibility to achieve your dreams and goals on you! You will stop counting on things you have no control over like catching a break, good luck, or just plain hoping and wishing that you will get your chance.

You will start counting on your own motivations and your courage, which will drive your focus and preparation. You will focus on being prepared for when your time comes. The universe will have no choice but to accept the fact that you will have one day arrived prepared, skilled, and obviously the most excellent choice for what you do.

Source: Not sure. I have been telling myself this and passing this advice to others for a long time.

Why I consider this some of the "Best Advice I Ever Got":

The reason I consider this some of the best advice I ever got is because within these words hold the power of accepting personal responsibility. Once you are able to accept personal responsibility for the significance your life plays, the road blocks of achievement (which I've listed below) are seen as nothing but motivators. They are looked at as something to run through and leap over getting stronger and stronger in the process.

Internalizing the "give 'em no choice," attitude will welcome these roadblocks:

1. The People Roadblock: The hardest roadblock in achievement is other people, especially family members who are supposed to unconditionally love you. When family members criticize you, discourage you, and devalue your dreams and goals, it hurts deeply your self-confidence, and self worth. If your family is supportive, the second worst is those people whom you allow to be close to you in your life. If these people are say things to keep you down, discourage and make fun of your pursuits, then they will keep you at their level until you get rid of them. To get over this roadblock,no matter who it is, your mother, your father, a coach, a pastor, you must listen to your heart, you must use their negativity and unbelief in you as motivation, and "give 'em no choice," but to believe in you, by steadily showing them your effort, and you ability to fight through their negativity to the achievement of your goals.

2. The Life Roadblock: This roadblock is something that blind side's you on the way to a dream. Not something that you saw coming or invited on yourself, like a drug addiction, or some character flaw that you knew was going to eventually nail you. I'm talking about being truly blind sided by life. These come in the forms of personal, family, financial, occupational, or any other type of tragedy. These tragedies will make you rethink your goals, rethink you dreams, and throw you onto another course you never expected. Though these are extremely difficult to fight through, these life situations can eventually catapult you to another level of accomplishment. To get through this roadblock you must show the universe, "give it no choice" to accept the fact that you will never give up and to place you where you belong.

3. The Fear Roadblock: Fear is the invisible roadblock that is more devastating to goals and dreams than any other. These fears constantly tell you, "you're not good enough." These fears will keep you right were you are. These fears come in the form of, fear of failure and fear of success. Both of these have everything to do with the need of the approval of others. Until you do not care what others think about you, until you have no fear of not being accepted by others, you will constantly battle this roadblock of fear. You must turn this fear into courage. A fearless mind opens up a whole new world of opportunities to you. And when you live with no fear, you give fear "no choice" but to submit to you, work for you, and lead you to your goals and dreams.

This advice is all about going out and earning it. This attitude forces you to think about how you're going to prepare everyday to make sure you are the most excellent choice for what you do.

Too often we settle for being the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th best choice. To me, this is not good enough. I want to be the obvious choice, not necessarily the best choice, but the most excellent choice that someone can make. When a high level athlete or individual is looking for a trainer or a training team that gives them the greatest edge, I want me and my team to be the undisputed, most excellent, and obvious choice.

How I Apply These Concepts to My Own Life:

Here is how I have applied this "Give 'Em No Choice," attitude and how you can start becoming the most excellent choice for whatever you do.

1. Enjoy Being the Underdog: You must thrive on people telling you that you are not good enough. You must allow yourself to be rejected. You turn this rejection into a chip, throw it on your shoulder, and let those chips motivate you everyday. It's not necessarily about proving anything to others, it's more about reaching your human potential and proving it to yourself.

2. Use the "Ten Times Concept": A concept that I have applied to my own life and teach others is the "Ten Times Concept." This strategy is about finding and modeling a person who is at the highest level of what you want to do. When you identify this person, read about them, interview them, and research them. The goal is to find out one thing; what it is that they commit to everyday. Discover their daily commitments go at it 10 times harder than they do.

3. Break a Record No One Would Be Proud Of: Maury Wills, a former Major League Baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, at one time held the single season record for stolen bases swiping bags 104 times. What most people do not know is that he set another record that year--the record for the most times being thrown out! He was caught trying to steal 31 times that year. But when people look back on Wills career, they are not going to see 31 time caught stealing, they will see that he was the fastest, most lethal, baseball player in the base pads in his time. He didn't let getting thrown out discourage him to continue attempts. This tenacity on the base pads gave no choice to the world of baseball but to call him one of the most lethal base runners to ever play the game.

4. Keep Showing Up: As it is often stated, half the battle is showing up. It's easy to show up when something is new and exciting, but real discipline happens when you don't feel like showing up any more. Real discipline begins when the newness wears off. Real discipline happens when you start telling yourself "stay in bed," "I can miss one day," "I can make it up tomorrow." This is the time when you have get up, take a deep breath, and take it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, moment by moment, and refuse to give in to an undisciplined mind. I have seen miraculous things happen to athletes, especially ones who are given no chance by anyone, when they just keep showing up and putting in the work.

5. "Keep a Song in Your Heart and a Smile on Your Face": Words of wisdom from my friend and performance coach, Hunter Woods. The song in your heart is about your joy and passion for what you do. It's almost impossible to achieve great things without passion and enthusiasm. That passion is your fuel and it help you keep going and going. Your enthusiasm is what gets others to join in your mission. There is nothing more attractive to people than being around someone who is truly in love with and/or passionate about what they do. Keeping a smile on your face is about forging through pain. No matter if it is the worst day of your life, to "give 'em no choice," you must smile at adversary, you must smile when you are looked over, you must smile when you are rejected again and again and again. You just keep showing up, keep working your butt off, and eventually, I can promise you my friends, you will, one day, you will find your self at the top, the most excellent choice for what you do.

In 2010 why don't you make a commitment to give all your naysayer's no choice but to place you where you belong. Show this world that you will settle for nothing less than the most excellent choice for what you do.

I'll leave you with a add that I tore out of a magazine a few years back that I glued to a poster board that I have in my office. It's about turning your naysayer's into motivation.

You Failed...

1000 Made Jumpers;

No Playoffs...

Abs 200 x 5;


15 Curls x 3


Bench Press 2 x 15;

Not a Leader...

Baseline's x 20;

A Fluke...

200 Made Bank Shots;

Too Young...

Lunges 15 x 4;


Triceps Press 10 x 4;

Played Out...

800 Meter Run x 2;


400 Meter Run x 5;

Played Out...

Calf Raises 12 x 3;

You're Burnt...

Squats 2 x 10;

An Outcast...

Reverse Hypers 12 x 4;

Past Your Prime...

Box Jumps x 3;

Ball Hog...

100 Meter Run x 10;

You're Garbage...

100 Made Free Throws;

Too Cold...

Military Press x 4;

You're Mental...

5 Mile Run;


Pull-Ups 12 x 5;

You Peaked...

Lat-Pulldowns 10 x 4;

Prima Donna...

Low Row 10 x 4;

Big Ego...

Leg Curls 10 x 4;

A Baby...

17's x 3;

Not a Team Player...

Film Review;

It's Over...

Suicides x 3;

No More Rings...

Suicides, x 3 again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Source: Leadership Expert, John Maxwell

Why I consider this some of the "Best Advice I Ever Had":

Through studying leadership, personal experience, and observation, I have learned that it is an absolute fact that everything (families, teams, organizations, churches) rises and falls on leadership.

The more I began to study leadership and looked at things through a "leadership perspective," the more I began to realize that great organizations and sports teams always began with great leaders.

I also quickly realized that crappy organizations and sports teams began with crappy leaders. I observed that organizations with equal talent and resources were always dominated by the side who had the better leader.

Why? Because the attitude of the team is the attitude of the leader. The work ethic of the team is the work ethic of the leader. The heart of the team is the heart of the leader. The character of the team is the character of the leader. And if the team has not bought into the leader, all of these qualities which summarize a great team will go in all different directions. The eventually deteriorates the team and the majority of the people will naturally follow the strongest leader in the group, most of the time, out the door.

I used to believe that leadership was about getting people to do what you want for your benefit. But what I have learned is that leadership is just a fancy word for servanthood. Leadership, essentially, is helping put people in a position to get what they want, while benefiting the overall mission of the team.

True leadership is not a glamorous. True leadership is, often times, lonely and difficult. True leadership is not done with the intentions of benefiting you. True leadership is done with the intention of benefiting others. True leadership is not positional. True leadership only requires a mission and that you have people volunteering to buy into that mission. True leadership has nothing to do with "leadership talent." True leadership has everything to do with character.

Ultimately, leadership is the ability to influence. To influence you must have a combination of the three C's: Character + Competence + Connection. The combination of all three of these is what builds that greatest asset a leader could

Dedicating my life to studying leadership and the quest to becoming the best leader that I can become has changed my life and the lives of many others around me. It is amazing what happens when I am able to convince someone to begin studying leadership. If they are at a point where they are ready to learn and listen, they cannot stop learning about it. They will buy every book and read everything that they can. It's something that is not taught in formal education, but when you begin to understand it and embrace it, it is the most powerful and important thing that you can learn about.

How I Apply These Concepts to My Own Life:

I have been in leadership positions my entire life. However, I have not been a leader in the majority of them. And even to this day, with thousands of hours of leadership hours and study under my belt, I still have a long way to go to becoming the leader I ought to be. So to continue that quest of becoming a person who is able to help people change their lives for the better, to help people to buy in to something bigger than themselves, and to develop other leaders around me here is what I commit to:

1. I prioritize leadership in my personal growth plan (Study, Read and Reflect on Leadership 3 x Per Week): I read one new book on leadership per month. I listen to leadership audio books and podcasts. And I am a member of the Maximum Impact Club, one of the most valuable leadership resources that anyone could have.

2. I teach, mentor, and pass on leadership resources to those around me: One of the most beneficial things I have ever done is to teach leadership to those around me. The ones who have embraced it have not only made their lives better, but enhanced others lives, as well as mine. This is one of the greatest gifts I have am able to give to anyone I know.

3. I practice leadership: I have been fortunate enough to be in a "leadership position" at my current employer since 2001. When I look back, I wasn't much of a leader until just a few years ago. I learned that when you get a leadership position you have about a six month window to prove that you are a leader and that you can be trusted by your followers. In that six months you can talk a lot, share your vision, and say all the things you want to do. But after that 6 months if your talk doesn't start matching your walk your credibility as a leader is diminished and many times finished.

I learned over the years that as a leader the first thing you have to do is win the hearts of your people. Only then can you win them to the bigger picture. Only when your followers believe you have the best interest in them, will they put their best foot forward for you. Practicing leadership, is essentially, a practice of making very good friends. Friends who are willing to do what they have to do for you and the mission.

4. I put myself around other great leaders: You attract who you are, you are who you hang out with. I want to hang around with leaders. I do not want to hang around with a bunch of people who just haplessly follow the crowd. I want to learn from face to face conversation from great leaders. I want to know what they commit to everyday. I want to know about the biggest mistakes they made in their leadership. I want to know what drives their passion and willingness to sacrifice for the good of their team and organization.

Great leaders are not that easy to find. The funny thing is, if you walk into an organization and ask for the manager or coach you may get a completely different person if you walk in and ask for the leader. The leader is the person with the most influence.

Remember this my friends, a leadership position is a valuable as the time you have to prove that you aren't a leader. Real leaders don't need a position to lead. They just need people.

I'd like to leave you with a poem that is in John Maxwell's book, Leadership Gold. It is a great summary of what real leadership is.

Leadership is the willingness to put oneself at risk

Leadership is the passion to make a difference with others

Leadership is being dissatisfied with the current reality

Leadership is taking responsibility while others are making excuses

Leadership is seeing the possibilities in a situation while others are seeing the limitations

Leadership is the readiness to stand out in the crowd

Leadership is an open mind and an open heart

Leadership is the ability to submerge your ego for the sake of what is best

Leadership is inspiring others with a vision of what they can contribute

Leadership is power of one harnessing the power of many

Leadership is your heart speaking to the hearts of others

Leadership is the integration of heart, head, and soul

Leadership is the capacity to care, and in caring, to liberate the ideas, energy, and capacities of others.

Leadership is the dream made reality

Leadership is, above all, courageous

Ask Yourself this Week:

1) What are my beliefs about leadership?

2) Do I call myself a leader, yet have no one following behind me?

3) What can I do today to start using this most powerful concept and become a better leader in my own life, my family, and my organization or team.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Last week in this 5 part series of "The Best Advice I Ever Got," the title was Attitude is Everything and featured some great advice I was taught from by my parents.

This weeks entry fits perfectly with the holiday season. It is about the power of giving and how small simple acts of generosity lead to a life of true greatness.


Source: The first time I heard this quoted was at a Perform Better Seminar about 5 years ago by Parisi Performance Coach, Martin Rooney.

Why I consider this some of the "Best Advice I Ever Got.":

For the most part life is a struggle of trying to get everything we can out of what we've got. We try to get the most out of our career, our bodies, our finances, and even our families. This advice I received, however, flips the switch and changes the mind-set to begin to think about giving first.

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, "You can get everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want." This is easy to say, easy to comprehend, but much harder to actually do.

The consistent act of giving to others is where true greatness is born. We tend to chase success, while greatness is right in our grasp. Pastor John Wesley defines greatness as, "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can."

This is great advice. If you want to be great...start giving more.

How I'm Going to Apply This Advice to My Own Life:
I am convicted as I write this article. I feel as if I do a decent job giving, but for the most part, I let my selfish nature and my "achievement blinders" drag me through each day.

I have learned there is a simple test which an indicates how good I am doing at giving to others. It is the acid test of greatness. It is my joy level.

My days mainly consist of my head down, eyes focused forward, striving to be the best at what I do, chasing success, thinking I'm blazing a path to greatness. As I strive and strive to do all these things, I hardly have time to realize that my joy is in the gutter.

When I'm too focused on becoming a personal success, I find myself eventually feeling miserable. Here's why: I'm so worried about what I'm getting I forget about what I should be giving. It's all about me.

I love the quote by John Andrew Holmes which says, "The entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others."

I have learned, buy having a two year old daughter, that this is the way that their mind thinks because it is as far as it has developed. Sometimes I wonder just how far I've come.

In 2010 I'm going to make a commitment: This commitment is simple: When I wake up, I am going to do my best to think about, define, and DO (write, encourage, call, visit, give to, lend to, send to) something for someone with no intention of getting anything in return. My goal is to give 365 blessings next year.

I cannot promise that I will be able to do this everyday. But imagine the implications that it would have not just for others, but also the joy level in my own life.


Author Steven Chandler who wrote, 101 ways to Motivate Others, "Either now, or on one's deathbed, one realizes a strange truth: there's no excuse for becoming great."

As a performance coach, someone who is consumed by the world of success, performance, and achievement, it is easy for me to forget that greatness has nothing to do with all of the "success" words.

The noteworthy thing about greatness is that it requires no training. Greatness requires no top-notch performance. Greatness does not require that you are the best at what you do. Greatness only requires a willingness to do something for someone else with the intention of blessing their lives.

Imagine what we could collectively do in 2010 if we made a commitment to blessing someone's life everyday. Imagine how the lives of others would change. And just imagine how your life would change.

If you take the time to bless someone's life. You may change their day and even their life. Because of what you did for them, they may do the same for someone else. This exponential giving could actually positively change the world around you.

I would like to challenge each of you to make a commitment this year, if not to 365 days blessing someone's life, at least 52 (one person per week).

Don't know how to start? Don't know how you could possibly give this many blessings? Below are some simple ideas to start your path to greatness in 2010.

1. Create Your List: Make a list of all the people in your life who (family, friends, school mates, co-workers, teammates, clients, and acquaintances) are you interact with on a daily basis.

2. Start with Those Closest to You: Hand-write, email, txt, or call either encouraging them, thanking them, or just telling them that you love them.

3. Thank the Important People in Your Life: Write a list of all the people who you need to thank. Buy thank you cards and send one thank you card each week.

4. Thank the People Who Made You Who You Are Today: Think of all the people in your life who have sacrificed a piece of their life to you to get you to where you are today (teacher, coach, mentor, friend): Write them a hand written thank you note or email expressing your thanks.

5. Thank Someone You've Never Met: Think about someone in your life who you have never met, but has influenced your life in some way (an author, a coach, or anyone else who has indirectly affected you through resources that they have provided). Write them a hand written thank you note or email expressing your thanks.

6. Start a Love Journal: This is something that I started with my daughters. I have purchased a journal for each of them. I hand write entries things that document their lives, how much I love them, and pass encouraging things I learn to them. I plan on giving these journals to them for their 18th birthday. You can start these at anytime, even if your kids are older. It's a wonderful way to start my day.

7. If you are Married, buy and do the "Love Dare" written by Steven and Alex Kendrick: This will change your marriage and your perspective on your relationships forever. This will give you 40 ways to bless you significant other.

8. Write Everyone's Birthday's on a Calendar: I have watched my parents do this every year for a long time. Buy a 2010 Calendar and write everyone's birthday's on it. Bless everyone of their birthday with a card appreciating them for how they've blessed your life.

9. Contribute to a Charity with your money: Find a charity that you and your family believe in. Commit to a certain amount of money each month to this charity. You can have it debited out of your checking account every month, but you actually get more out of it if you physically write a check each month.

10. Contribute to a Charity with your time: Find a local charity that you can contribute your time to. Mentor a child at the boys and girls club. Feed the homeless. Volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House, play in my charity Madden Tournament:)

11. Train Yourself to Seek Giving Opportunities: Train yourself to look for opportunities to open a door for someone, open a car door for someone, help clean up something you had nothing to do with, say hello, be courteous, and thank those serving you (cashier's, janitors, etc.).

12. Train Yourself to Seek Character Opportunities: Find opportunities to do for those who can do nothing for you. Find opportunities to show love, generosity, mercy, and compassion for those who cannot fight back.

Lets change the world in 2010.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Last week in this 5 part series of "The Best Advice I Ever Got," the title was, "Your Fired," and featured some of the best advice I ever got with regards to personal development.

This week features "The best advice I ever got" regarding attitude.


Source: The two greatest role models a person could ever have, my parents, Dave and Willa Higuera.

Why I consider this some of the "Best Advice I Ever Had": Your attitude is all about your perception. It is about how you size up and look at a situation or circumstance. I was taught that you always look for the best and do the best in any circumstance. I have learned through observing my parents that when you look for the good in a situation you always seem to find it. I have also learned from many other sources that the opposite is also true.

Coach John Wooden puts it as, "Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way that things turn out." John Maxwell says, "Who and where you are today is a result of your attitude."

When it comes down to it, it is all about the thoughts you allow to enter, dwell, and live in your mind. You have developed each of these thoughts over time based on your experiences, beliefs, family, education, and association with others. It is the sum of these thoughts that constitute your overall attitude towards everything.

"Always Do Your Best": My mother went back to school and became a nurse when she was in her thirties. With three kids in a small apartment, holding a part time job, and being a mother, that is no easy task. Because my family really only had one income at the time, we struggled. Her advice of "always do your best" was exemplified as she received almost all straight A's through nursing school while never making my two younger siblings and I feel like we were not the most important priorities in her life. She "always did her best," in everything she committed too.

I'll never forget the advice my mother gave me when I displayed a bad attitude towards something or there was something I did not want to do (especially chores around the house, or things at school). She would remind me of the bible verse, Colossians 4:23-24, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you receive the reward of inheritance." In other words, always do your best, it's bigger than you.

"Never Quit": My dad has always been the biggest advocate of this. He would tell me that if I quit once, I would be able to quit things the rest of my life. He taught me that when you make a commitment, no matter what it is, no matter how hard it is, no matter how painful it may be, you go through with it.

I've seen this in two main things with my dad: First, with the commitment and love he has for my mother and his family, and second, his commitment to fighting for his life. My father survived a heart attack and lost over 100lbs. And just recently, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He underwent surgery and hormone treatments, but still the cancer persisted. He then had to undergo radiation.

In text messages sent between us, he would say things like, "I'm going to beat this," "I survived too many things, to let this beat me." He never quit. And about a month ago, when his tests came back, he was cancer free. He never quit.

"Always Be a Champion No Matter How Everyone Else Is": For some reason I tend to be pretty ruthless. I am a competitor. And I hate losing. I have great tendencies to think about myself before I think of others. A lot of these qualities make you think you're acting like a champion, but you're really acting like a jerk.

I was taught by my parents to treat people the right way. To this day they continue to help others and give to others who, I think, don't deserve it. This infuriates me, because my parents, who do not have much money, continue to give and support people who don't deserve it. They would give the shirt off of their back to anyone that needed it. I used to look at this as people taking advantage of them (and it's probably true), but now I understand it's a decision by them to help anyone who is in need.

It's a quality that most will never understand, and one that I am still trying to. Ultimately it's acting like a champion. A champion gives everything they have for the greater good, even if it causes suffering and pain. It's the highest level of living, and I happen to have two great role models who have showed me what this is.

As I have always seen it as them getting the shaft. Their reward is joy. The joy of the ability to give to others without thinking about getting anything in return. The joy of knowing that you are a steward of all you have been blessed with, and it is your duty to use these blessings to bless the lives of others. While most people will make themselves miserable trying to attain happiness and hold onto the things they have. My parents have taught me it's not what you get, it's what you give that brings true joy and happiness to your life.

How I Apply These Concepts to My Own Life:
1. I Try to Fill My Mind with Great Thoughts: I learned that once I stopped listening to the unrated versions of rap music, I got a little less angry. I learned that when I started reading about great minds and people my thoughts began to improve. And I learned that when I continued to put thoughts of doing my best, persevering, and acting like a champion, my life began to improve on many levels. I'm reminded of another Bible (Philippians 4:8-9) verse my mother used to talk to me about all the time, "Whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things."

2. I Don't Shy Away From Difficult Things: In fact, my absolute favorite place to be is with my back against the wall and no way out. I have tended to put myself in these positions just to see if I could get my way out of it. This is good and bad. I learned there's a time when you don't need to sabotage your life or situations, just to challenge your ability to fight. But I look at adversity as a friend, and invite it. I like to say you have to the develop the ability to look at "fear in the face and smile." I don't mind getting out of my comfort zone. Because I learned that as soon as I'm feeling comfortable, something bad is usually around the corner. You could say I'm uncomfortable with being comfortable.

3. I Try to Be an Example of What I Want to Instill In Others: Jim Rohn affirmed, "You cannot speak that which you do not know. You cannot share that which you do not feel. You cannot translate that which you do not have. And you cannot give that which you do not possess. To give it and to share it, and for it to be effective, you first need to have it."

Talking is so easy. Doing is not. The definition of integrity is walking your talk. The foundation of leadership is your example. Leadership has simply been called influence. Thus, it impossible to instill in and lead others if you lack integrity. I understand that in order to make a difference in the lives of others I need to live a life of integrity. At this point in time I am a "B" in this. If I can get to become an "A+" in this, I know that my life will really start to significantly impact and change the lives of those around me.

This past week was Thanksgiving. I would like to give my thanks to my parents for everything that they have not only told me, but showed me. They are people of integrity. They continue to help and change the lives of others because of simply who they are. They have never written any books, they aren't celebrities, they aren't in politics, and they don't have lots of money, and they've never tried to be something they are not. They simply always do their best, never quit, and always act like champions. They will leave a legacy on this earth because of what they gave, not what they got. If I can achieve anything close to them, I my mind, I will have been a success.

I'll close with a piece from Tony Dungy's newest book, Uncommon:

"You won't always rise to the level of expectations you have for yourself, but you will never be able to rise above the imaginary ceiling you construct in your mind."

Ask Yourself this Week:

1) What areas of my life do I need to change my attitude in: My family? My team? My work? My school work? My coach? My boss? My parents? My circumstances? My work ethic?

2) What commitments do I need to practice this "Never Quit" attitude: My family? My team? My work? My health? My finances?

3) What areas in my life can I start to act like a champion, no matter how anyone else around me is acting: At home? At work? At school? At practice? My excellence? My work ethic?

Monday, November 23, 2009


I recently listened to an audio lesson called, "The Best Advice I Ever Got," by world renown leadership expert John Maxwell. As I listened to the lesson, I began to write down some of the statement that sum up the best advice I ever got. And decided to make it into my Monday Morning Motivation.

This week is a start of a five part series of five of the greatest pieces of advice I ever received.

Starting from a list of about twenty, the five I will share with you over the next few weeks have given me my greatest "aha" moments. Each one of these concepts I have taken and applied with great commitment. Each application has unquestionably delivered great things into my life.

I hope you may look back at this one day and consider it some of the best advice you ever gotten.


Source: Ken Blanchard, Management Expert

Where I Learned it: Read it, but not sure what book I read it from.

Why I consider this some of the "Best Advice" I ever received: I started my personal growth plan in 2004 after reading, John Maxwell's, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. In this book I began to live and apply the statement, "a leader develops daily, not in a day."

Before this, I was focusing getting better as a performance coach. But after this advice, I realized I needed come up with a daily, thought out, personal growth plan, which encompassed not only learning about my craft, but also learning about becoming a better leader, coach, and ultimately productive and serving citizen.

I specifically consider the following statement, "The only job security you have today is your commitment to personal improvement," some of the best advice of ever had. Because no other advice has given me more of a fearless mindset.

My level of knowledge, expertise, and trained skill set gives me the confidence that I will always have job security. Which is essentially the ability to get paid for a service you provide.

What Are the Other Byproducts of a Personal Growth Plan: The number one byproduct is confidence. The more prepared you are to do what you do, the more confidence you will naturally have.

Intuition: The more you skilled you become in what you do, the greater intuition you will have within it. You will be able to see things happen before others do. You will be able to read trends. You will constantly be blazing a trail in what you do.

Influence: Influence = Character plus Competence. Training daily and staying committed to a personal growth plan will give you competence in your field. If you are person who makes good decisions, you will ultimately be an influential person. The higher your influence potential, the higher you success potential becomes.

How I Apply This Concept of Personal Growth into My Life: Six years ago, I made a commitment to becoming one of the best at what I do. I knew in order to do that I would have to learn the skills and become fundamentally grounded in the my Spiritual Life, Personal Life, and Professional Life. There has been nothing that has been more impactful to my career, my family, my relationships, and my finances. Below I share with you my spiritual, personal and professional growth plan:

-Spiritual Development:
-15-30 minutes reading the Bible each day
-Read 1 Spiritual Growth book per month.
-Attend Church each week (I'm not gonna lie, I haven't been really consistent at this one over the past year)
-Record and write down, in a systematic fashion, the most important lessons I've learned.

-Personal Development (Leadership/Teamwork/Business):

-30 minutes every other day reading/reflecting/listening or watching personal development material).
-Read 1 book per month.
-One audio lesson per month.
-Build a relationship with at least one highly influential leader each year.
-Record and write down, in a systematic fashion, the most important lessons I've learned from the material.

-Professional Development (Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics, Sports Nutrition, Sports Psychology, Etc.):
-30 Minutes every other day reading/reflecting/listening or watching professional development material
-Read 1 article per week
-Build a relationship with at least one highly influential leader each year.
-Watch 1 video per month
-Go to one conference per year
-Record and write down, in a systematic fashion, the most important lessons and concepts I've learned from the material.

Ask yourself, what would happen if I lost my job today? What would happen if I was no longer needed on my team? Would my past commitment to preparation and to getting better at what I do A) Leave me with no fearful with no job security? or B) Leave me fearless and ready to move on to bigger and better things?

Monday, November 16, 2009


Three weeks ago I wrote a piece about Tiger Woods. The intent was to suggest Tiger's reign as one of the greatest golfers of all time is not because he was born with a divine talent to play golf, but because he was trained to be one of golf's greatest performers.

Tiger's article was a suggestion that we too, through deliberate practice, can be shaped and created to outperform others in whatever we do.

To become great at what we do, we obviously need hours and hours of practice. But this next point is crucial: The earlier you can identify what we want to master, followed by beginning a regimented, daily, deliberate practice schedule, the greater chance we will have at achieving the highest level of what we do.

A lot of time we think of practice as an event we have to show up for. We treat practice as if it is something that we go through because we have to. We often spend more time conserving energy than actually using it to get better.

The concept of deliberate practice is quite opposite of how most of us practice. It is something we want to show up to but hate it at the same time. It is something that constantly pushes us out of our comfort zone. Each of our thoughts, emotions, and actions are scrutinized and given feedback. It is repetitive, working on the same thing over and over and over until we perfect it. And it challenges our mental capacity and our ability to persevere when we don't want to go anymore. It is much more than showing up.


Just showing up didn't work for the citizens of the city state of Sparta of ancient Greece. Examination of your ability to contribute to the state began at birth. Elders of the state examined each new born for physical deformities and mental deficiencies. If you were deemed unfit to contribute to the state, you were taken to a mountain and dropped off a cliff. Obviously they took their recruiting process seriously. So when training started, just showing up wouldn't get you very far.

Deliberate Practice,
defined by Geoff Colvin in the book Talent is Overrated, has five perpetual traits:

1. It is Designed Specifically to Constantly Improve Performance

2. It Can Be Repeated Over and Over Again

3. It Continuously Offers Feedback On Results

4. It is Highly Demanding Mentally

5. It Is Not Fun

Putting the strange and downright troubling cultural practices aside, let's examine what the Spartans did get right with regards to 5 traits of deliberate practice. For the purposes of this article we will look at the training of children from the ages of seven to twelve, and how this training program prepared these young boys to be the fiercest and deadliest warriors in their world.


The Spartan Training Program or Agoge, was designed with one thing in mind. To build elite, fierce, fearless, and loyal warriors to protect the independent state city state of Ancient Greece, Sparta.

Their culture was one of great pride and their citizens held the state above themselves. Each and everything that was done in the Spartan culture was designed and executed for that purpose.

They are said to be the first "professionals" of their time; professional warriors. Each practice was done with a purpose to improve military prowess. They learned by practicing and perfecting their skills over and over again. They received continuous feedback from older mentors called Eirena's. Their training was over-bearing, focusing on physical and mental toughness.

The military training program or the Agoge began at age 7 for Spartan men. The Spartans believed that by this age the coddling was over and that Spartan boys were ready to begin their training as warriors of the state.

Up until the age of twelve the Spartan boys were placed in groups and lived in barracks. Here they were mentored and supervised by an older boy
. Most of the training in the beginning was to achieve high levels of physical and mental toughness through intense physical training and mental abuse.

Here are some of the interesting tactics Spartans in the Agoge to create Spartan warriors.

1. Basic Education: Reading and writing were taught at a very basic level and with the purpose of only singing and writing war poetry. Math was taught only at the level to be able to count how many soldiers were in a formation.

2. Physical Education: Spartan boys were put on rigorous strength and endurance programs, most of the time through the training in track and field type events (sprinting, throwing, jumping, long-distance running). As they grew older they were made to walk and do these events in bare feet.

3. Body Toughening: When the Spartan boys turned 12 they no longer wore tunics, but received only one cloak per year. They did not use soap or lotions. They slept in packs on beds that they had to make themselves with their bare hands.

4. Mental Toughening: They would purposefully starve the young boys, which would force them to steal from other boys. But if they were caught, they were whipped severely, not because they stole, but because they stole, "carelessly and unskillfully."

Another practice was to tie the young boys to posts in the middle of the city and flog (whip) them repeatedly. This brutal event was attended by their families and other Spartan citizens. Their pre-pubescent children bloodied and whipped, these proud parents cheered them on encouraging them to take more and more. Why? Because the one who endured the most pain, who took the most punishment, without crying, or screaming, was applauded and honored. For a parent, it was a great honor that your child could take a beating like that without showing any signs of weakness.

Say what you want about the Spartans, they understood one of the greatest, if not the greatest factor of elite performance: The power for deliberate practice.

They understood that they could shape each and every person in their culture to be warriors. There were no SAT's, personality tests, or placement tests. There was only training their children to be warriors. There was only training their young to be loyal and fierce defenders of their culture and their state.


Are you deliberately practicing your sport or your profession?

Have you designed or had a highly skilled or esteemed professional specifically design for you a path or program to help you continuously improve in your sport or profession?

Does this program have aspects that are progressive and focus on skill work that can be repeated over and over and over again?

Do you receive, ask for, or seek out continuous feedback, from a coach or mentor on the repeated results of your practice?

Is your daily practice regimen highly mentally demanding? In other words, are you constantly working outside of your comfort zone in your sport or profession?

Would you consider practicing for your profession challenging, stimulating, yet not exactly fun?

If you can answer all of these with a yes, they you may be enjoying (or not enjoying) the act of deliberate practice. If not, you may just be showing up.

In my estimation it is only the top 10% of people in their field that have made a commitment to years of exhausting and intensive deliberate practice.

So if you want to be the best at what you do, if you want to be in the top 10%, deliberate practice isn't a choice, it's a requirement and it's not easy. Deliberate practice is not just difficult because of the intense physical and mental demands, but because of the sacrifices you must make. Top performers often sacrifice elite performance for their social life and other things that are conveniently enjoyed by the other 90% of the population.

And as long as you are doing what the other 90% do, no matter how talented or skilled you are, you will eventually be devoured by someone who practices like a warrior. A person who trains like a Spartan.

And when you meet....

You will lose...

Watch King Leonidas show his confidence in his deliberately trained 300 Spartans in the link below:


Monday, November 2, 2009


A friend of mine once told me something I'll never forget. I considered it one of those "ah-ha" moments. He said, "Jeff, no matter what you have done up to this point, no matter how many mistakes you've made, no matter how many dumb things you have done, no matter who you are or what you've made yourself up to this point; at this particular moment in time, you have the choice to change."

Wow...really. No matter what I've done?

It sounds simple, and you may think I'm an idiot because I was so taken by this eureka moment. But I believe most of us are caught in a mind-set that we are who we are. That there is nothing that we can do to change who we are. I struggled with this early on in my spiritual life. I remember telling my Mother, "My personality doesn't fit with being a Christian, I'm too bad."

I also believe about 100% of us have something in our life that we want to change. And most of us having something that we know if we do not change will soon breed serious consequences. I believe the most intelligent people recognize, identify, and change these self-destructive thoughts, actions, and patterns before they take a hold and cause major problems in their life.

In the book, 25 Ways to Win with People, leadership expert John Maxwell writes about what he calls "change indicators" in peoples lives:

"There are certain times in people's lives when they are most likely to change:
1) When they hurt enough they have to.
2) When they learn enough they want to.
3) When they receive enough that they are able to."

If anything, I hope this little article will motivate you to change something in your life. The best way to start change is to go back to the basics, back to the drawing board. The basics are simply the fundamentals. In most of our trips toward success we tend to try to jump, hurdle, or go around the tough things that make a success possible.

When we do this we are only fooling ourselves. Sooner or later you are going to end up back at the same spot you tried to skip before.

Here are a some of the fundamentals that I have to get back to the basics with. These are the most fundamental and important things in my life. But they are also things I tend to overlook and go around.

1. My Faith--Focus on serving more than just learning
2. My Family--Focus on the quality of my time, rather than just the quantity of my time with them.
3. My Relationships--Focus more on giving rather than taking.
4. My Health--Focus on the basics, 5 healthy meals per day, 5 days a week of 30 minutes of exercise, 8 glasses of water per day, 8 hours of sleep, 1 day completely off.
5. My Growth--Focus on the fundamentals of Leadership
6. My Craft--Focus on the fundamentals, seek mastery through diligent practice, keeping an open mind, and learning from the best.
7. My Legacy--Focus on how I make people feel. Encourage, appreciate, and make sure they leave me feeling better then they did before.

It is always a great day to change. Or simply, just go back to what you know is good, true, and works. Do not be afraid to unload all the garbage you have been letting sit and incubate in your head. Do not let your past define you. It's called the future because it's waitng to be experienced. And it's called the past because it's over and done with. Sometimes when an athlete of mine performs an set of an exercise and they do it all wrong, I tell them, "forget that ever happened and do it like this."

You can never rid the scars of some of the poor decisions you have made. But once you have decided to change that aspect of your life, they are simply war wounds in the fight to getting to your God given potential.

Where do you need to make an important decision to change today? Your family, your career, your work ethic, your personal growth, your thought life, the people you associate with, your attitude?

You may be thinking you are taking a step back. But in all actuality, you are just returning to a step you never really learned.

This week get back to the fundamentals. It's time to head back to the old drawing board.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I ate peach cobbler with Tiger Woods. Well....not exactly. At an Orlando Magic home game last year I made my way to the Blue Room for the half-time dessert menu which featured delicious peach cobbler. Much to my surprise, sitting next to me, with a nice size portion himself was Mr. Woods. As he sat with his arms crossed waiting for the cobbler to cool off to an eatable level, I friend of mine took a 007 like picture of him:0

Fortunately this week's MMM does not have anything to do with mine or Tiger's affinity for peach cobbler. It does however, lead me into the example of the lesson for the week. This week is about how you. And just like Tiger, with a lot of work, you can be "awesomely, amazingly, and world-class excellent" at what you do.

I just finished the book, Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin. This is one of the best books I've read on performance. I highly recommend reading it if you are an athlete, parent, coach, or are just intrigued with the psychology of performance. About a week ago I posted the last paragraph of this book on my Facebook. Here it is:

"The evidence offers no easy assurances. It shows that the price of top-level achievement is extraordinarily high. Perhaps it's inevitable that not many people will choose to pay for it. But the evidence shows also that by understanding how a few become great, anyone can become better. Above all, what the evidence shouts most loudly is striking, liberating new: that great performance is not reserved for a preordained few. It is available to you and to everyone else."

Back to Tiger...

Most of us think that Tiger Woods was born to play golf. That he was a child prodigy. That he was destined to be the greatest golfer of all time. But the may not be exactly the case.

Tiger had a few things going for him that helped him achieve his status in the game of golf. First and foremost, his father Earl. Earl Woods was a teacher, specifically of young men who had a passion for sports. In the army he was a teacher, he was a star baseball player in high school and college, and between college and the army he coached little league baseball teams. He said in his book, Training a Tiger, "I love to teach."

Second, when Tiger was born, Earl had time to teach him. When Tiger was born, Earl's older children were grown up and he was retired. Earl was a golf fanatic and after being introduced to the game only a couple years earlier he had worked at it hard enough to achieve a handi-cap in the low single digits.

Colvin wrote, "So here's the situation: Tiger is born into the home of an expert golfer and confessed "golf addict" who loves to teach and is eager to begin teaching his son as soon as possible. Earl's wife does not work outside the home, and they have no other children; they have decided that "Tiger would be the first priority in our relationship," Earl wrote. Earl gives Tiger his first metal club, a putter, at the age of seven months. He sets up Tiger's high chair in the garage, where Earl is hitting balls into a new, and Tiger watches for hours on end. Before Tiger is two, they are at the golf course playing and practicing regularly."

By the time Tiger was 19 years old he had been through 17 years of intense practice. First, with his father and then at the age of 4 began having professional teachers and coaches.

The evidence, research, and examples of great performer such as Tiger Woods indicates that, "deliberate practice," is far more an identifying factor of high level performance than "natural ability." Deliberate practice is not your normal half-focused practice that most people go through. Deliberate practice is performance based, difficult, mentally, and physically exhausting, and is constantly being evaluated.

So here is my question for you. How is your deliberate practice schedule? In three, five, or 10 years, where will you be because today you decided to be that person who practices more, practices harder, and practices smarter than anyone else. And where are you today because of your past years of deliberate practice? For most of us, probably not where we want to be.

There are so many people who say they want to be the "best" at what they do. They, for the most part, do not understand the pain, the suffering, the commitment, and discipline that comes with that statement. Most people would rather try a little bit and if they do not get to the top just go with the fact that they just didn't have the talent or genetic ability to make it. According to Colvin's research, that is now just an excuse.

"Great performance is not ordained for the preordained few. It is available to you and everyone else."

This week decide to take what you do seriously. Do you want to be the "best." Do you want to be known as "world class" at what you do. The research has shown it's possible, but it would be a good idea to start right now.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I love the question..."What have you done for the first time today?

Last Friday I had a new first. For the first time I was mad that I missed Oprah.

Oprah was hosting the first meeting between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield since the infamous ear biting incident. Unfortunately, I had to miss the show because or work, but to my pleasant surprise, Oprah airs more than once per day. So, Friday evening I came across another airing of the episode.

With all the excitement of watching the two champs reunite, this week has nothing to do with them. However, in this same episode, Oprah interviewed Kenny Ortega, the producer and director of the film, This is It, the movie that may smash all the box office film records beginning October 27th.

This is It, is a film that shows Michael Jackson's final tour rehearsal preparation. A tour that never happened due to his premature death. During the interview Oprah asked Ortega to clarify what she had heard about Jackson while rehearsing for his final tour. This is what this MMM is about...

Oprah: "You said, even though he (MJ) was 51, the younger dancers would get tired, and he would dance and dance and dance, and not be breathless because he became one with the music."

Kenny Ortega: "Yea he was. He was channeling. It's as if he was the music, he embodied the music."

Say what you will about Michael Jackson, the man had something about him that was deeper than any other musical performer that I have ever seen. You may or may not be a fan of Michael Jackson, but there is one thing for sure, no matter how old you are right now, you know his music and when you hear it, it makes you want to move a little.

But as big of a fan as I am of MIchael Jackson (He's my favorite musical artist ever), I never really understood why people at his concerts would be crying and shaking uncontrollably, and even passing out! I did not really understand why he had this type of effect on millions of his beloved fans. But after many years of studying some of the most successful athletes, politicians, generals, CEO's, and religious leaders, I believe I have finally figure it out. It's called "Mojo."

Mojo is simply your passion coming through you. Ortega said that "he was the music, he embodied the music." Watching Michael Jackson perform, is like watching an artist perform his greatest work of art. It's like watching Michael Jordan in his unstoppable prime, It's like watching a great speaker deliver a message that forever changes you.

The greater your Mojo, the greater your ability to inspire others. The greater potential you have to lead, the greater potential you have to build followers who will do anything to support your passion, your cause, and you talent. Your Mojo has the ability to change peoples thoughts, which changes their actions, which changes their lives. If you're capable of touching enough people, this exponential passing could even change the world.

In the book, The Invisible Touch, author Harry Beckwith wrote, "Passion is worth billions, it attracts clients. Even more clearly, it keeps clients for life."

In a study done by authors Robert J. Krigel and Louis Palter, they studied 1500 individuals over 20 years to see if passion makes a significant difference in people's career. They began the study by putting the individuals in two groups, group A (83% of the participants) and group B (17% of the participants). Group A were in a career they chose to make money now in order to do something that they love later in life. Group B were choosing the career they wanted now and would worry about the money later. At the end of 20 years, 101 of the 1500 became millionaires. All but one were from the second group. The group that decided to follow their passions.

How have your decisions to do what you do affected your Mojo? How has it affected people around you? Inspired them? or helped them to decide to go the other way?

If you feel that you can turn it on and off, you can't. Eventually you and everyone else you know will see your lack of enthusiasm for what you do. From then on, Mojo is history.

This week, get motivated to find your true Mojo. Re-think what you really love to do. Set out to be inspired to live with passion and energy, so you can inspire others to do the same. Do not waste your life doing something that does not bring you true joy, energy, and passion.

So do you know if you've got Mojo? Read Below:


1. If you wake up before the sun, without an alarm clock, ready to show the world what you've got, you've got it.

2. If someone asks you about what you do and you almost feel as if you are coming out of your seat when talking about it, you've got it.

3. When watching, reading, listening, or being a part of what you do brings you to tears, inspire you to tears, or brings you tears of joy, you've got it.

4. When you can't stop thinking about new ways to be creative in and solve problems in what you do, you've got it.

5. When others tell you that you inspire them, you've got it.

6. When you do what you do and those who are witnesses leave you with more energy then they had when they left, you've got it.

7. When you're idea of fun is mastery of your craft, you know you've got it.

8. When you've got more critics than fans, you've got it.

9. When make a better living or perform at a much higher level then the average person trying to do what you do, you've got it.

I will miss Michael Jackson for his music, but much more for Mojo, his ability to channel his passions into his art, and then inspire his millions of fans with it. Luckily I can forever watch him because of You Tube:) Oprah said that when she watched the a piece of the new film, she just thought to herself, "What a loss." What a loss indeed.

On October 27th I will see "This is It." I said to my wife, if you are coming with me be ready to be embarrassed, because I may cry the whole time:)

Watch the "This is it Move Trailer" here