Monday, September 28, 2009


This one truly hits home...

I receive a daily email from the website, All-Pro Dad. This website was founded by former NFL Head Football Coach Tony Dungy (I highly recommend signing up for this daily email if you are a father).

An email I received last week was called, "How to Crush Your Daughter." It began with a letter that they had received from a young woman. The letter read:

"My dad is the most important person in the world to me, even though he doesn't have much time to spend with me. That affected me negatively in the teen years. If you want me to cry at the drop of the hat, just get me to thinking about him someday dying, and leaving me without him. I can be doing anything and when that thought floats by, I'm reduced to sobbing. I wish my dad knew how much he could heal in my family if he would just make us feel more important than work."

This email hit me hard...No way do I want my daughter to ever feel like this. But, like most of you, the grind of life could make me forget about what is important, just like this father apparently had.

Life is no doubt tough right now. Most everyone is having to spend more time trying to stay afloat, working longer hours, spending time not only physically at work, but when home, mentally at work. And because technology keeps us connected 24/7, we are able to stay connected to work all day and all night long. Because of this, we tend to forget about the special people, and special things we need to continually do.

Understand the role you play as a positive influence in people's lives (especially your family). Spending a little extra time with a loved one, actively encouraging someone, and/or doing things for others for no other purpose but to help them out. These things make a positive impact in people's lives. These people will look back and remember, forever, this gift you gave them.

Think about the people who have done this for you. Think about the way you felt the last time someone genuinely told you that you did an outstanding job. Think of the last person who took time out of their day to do something just for you. Think of the last person who encouraged your effort or your talent out of nowhere.

In Coach Tony Dungy's latest book, Uncommon, he asks a few questions that we should think about daily:

"When was the last time you went to visit someone who needed a visit? When was the last time you made a call--or wrote a letter--to someone who could use a lift in his or her life? When was the last time you had a date with your spouse or a "date night." with your little girl, who adores you? When was the last time you sent flowers to someone for no particular reason? When was the last time you did something that will forever be a positive memory in someone's life? When was the last time you were an encourager for someone else?

Life is tough enough right now. This is a time in our history that is leaving a lot of painful memories for people. I challenge you as my friends, my family, and my team to put your work away a little this week and go make a positive memory for someone. Then, learn to make it a living habit.


And if that doesn't get you fired up this link below may be the only thing that may. It's what I wish my team meetings were more like:)


Have a Great Week!

Monday, September 21, 2009


John Wooden wrote down every single one of his basketball practices, in detail, on 3 x 5 cards. He started this routine at South Bend Central College, continued it at Indiana State, all the way through his championship years at UCLA.

It was said that before each practice, Wooden and his staff would spend 1-2 hours preparing, in great detail, each and every practice drill. Each drill would be written on a 3 x 5 card, and after it's use was stored away as a reference for future practices.

One of Wooden's former players, All-American John Green said, "Coach used the same plays year after year. Everybody knew what we were going to do, but very few could stop us. That's because Coach had us do things over and over again until we did them right. We always knew where to go, where to be, and that we'd better be there."

Coach Wooden's practices were run like a well-oiled machine, packed with drills, and perfectly on schedule. Green went on to say, "If there was a drill we couldn't get right, he didn't dwell on it. We'd spend ten minutes on it and then go on to the next drill. But the following day, Coach would probably have us scheduled to work fifty minutes on that drill, until we were able to run it to perfection."

Why was Wooden so bent on this type of preparation and repetitive practice? He did not want to leave his team's success up to luck. He wanted to make sure, that which he could control, he controlled, and he did it through assiduous preparation and practice.

Wooden said, "We never took our eye off of the basketball and started gazing at the crystal ball."

Think about it. Most of our dreams and aspirations we have handed to luck. We may not do this on purpose, but if our daily actions are not matching up with what we are trying to achieve, we are simply chasing a pot of gold.

Author of the best selling book, The Encore Effect, said, "Preparation is most underrated piece of success." He goes on to say, "Most speakers succeed or fail before they get on the stage and most days are ruined or made remarkable before you leave the house for work."

How do you prepare each and everyday for greatness in your life? Do you take the time to prepare each day for those things you can control? Or do you leave it up to luck? If you need some help, here is a place to start: Your attitude, excellence in what you do, and your work ethic. All three of these are controllable factors that can begin to change your life right away.

I am a coach. I inspire others to become more of who they are. I like to say, "I'm here to pull the greatness out of people." To become better at who I am, each and everyday I spend planned time reading, listening, or watching something that inspires me. Each and everyday I spend planned time learning to become a better leader. I spend planned time on becoming a better performance coach. I spend planned time on becoming better at serving my clients and running my business. I try to make sure I purposefully encourage and inspire as many people as I can each day. To me, each and every day is an opportunity to "pull some greatness" out of somebody.

I committed to this plan about 6 years ago. The accumulative results of 10-30 minutes of this planned time per day, in each of these practices, has blessed my life in so more than I could have ever hoped for.

Like Coach Wooden, begin planning your actions for the day. Plan what you will practice on. Practice them over and over and over so that you become a master at what you do. It's time that you get rid of that four leaf clover, make a decision to go after what's in your heart, prepare for it each day, and go...go...go.


Monday, September 14, 2009


In classic MJ style, the greatest basketball player to ever lace em up, spent the majority of his Hall of Fame induction speech on thanking the people who motivated him in his basketball career. He referred to these people as logs that were thrown on his competitive fire.

Sitting in the stands was the guy who was chosen over Michael his sophomore year in high school for the varsity team. Jordan said this,

"He started the whole process with me because when he (Leroy Smith) made the team and I didn't, I wanted to prove to not just to Leroy Smith, not just to myself, but to the coach who actually picked Leroy over me. I wanted to make sure he understood, 'You made a mistake dude.'"

As Leroy Smith, who was in attendance, and the rest of the crowd burst into laughter, Jordan went on to talk about all those who placed more and more logs on his competitive fire.

He thanked his teammate and roommate at North Carolina, Buzz Peterson. He said that when they first met, all he kept hearing was about how this kid was the Player of the Year. Jordan said, "Well he's never played against me yet, so how can he be called player of the year?" He went on to say that Buzz didn't know it, but he became a "dot on my board."

He talked about his Coach Dean Smith. The day that Coach Smith was on Sports Illustrated and named four starters but didn't name him. "That burned me up," Jordan said. He thought he belonged in that magazine.

Jordan talked about what continued to drive him as a basketball player through his career. "All the media nay-sayers, saying the scoring champion can't win an NBA title, you're not as good as Magic Johnson, you're not as good as Larry Bird. And that put so much wood on that fire, that it kept me each and every day trying to get better as a basketball player."

He said, "When you accomplish as much as I have in a period of time, you look for any kind of messages that people may say or do to get you to play the game of basketball at the highest level."

My favorite story was about Utah Jazz shooting guard Byron Russell. When Jordan retired from basketball and was playing baseball, he visited John Stockton in Utah. During that visit Byron Russell came to him and said, "Why'd you quit Michael. You know I could guard you. If I ever see you in a pair of shorts..."

Jordan went on to say with a smirk on his face, "So when I did decide to come back in 96' I'm at the center circle, and Russell was sitting next to me. I said to him, 'Remember in 94' when we had this conversation you made about when you said I can guard you, I can shut you down, I would love to play against you?...Well you're about to get your chance."

And of course Jordan drilled a free thrown line jumper to beat the Utah Jazz for the NBA championship about 10 seconds after that conversation.

Each and every day there will be people trying to talk you out of who you are, what you want to do, and who you want to be. I know that the majority of us actually listen and begin to believe these nay-sayers.

But instead of letting these people be buckets of water on your fire, like Jordan, turn them into another log. Like Jordan's Buzz Peterson, put them as dots on your board. Like not being named a starter by your coach, let them "burn you up," so that you will make sure this will not happen again. Like having someone make the team over you, put that deep inside so that you can prove to that person picked over you, yourself, and the coach who actually picked that person over you that, "you made a mistake dude."

My motto with myself and with my athletes is, "Give em no choice." This means you work so hard, you go after what you want with so much tenacity, that you give people no choice but to choose you.

If you live by this, your critics even start believing in you. They see you are never going to give up. And for those who continue to doubt you, write their disbelief on a piece of paper and carry it around with you, put it in your locker, keep it somewhere you can see it everyday.

When I was finishing my internship and looking for a job, I applied specifically to 5 collegiate programs for the assistant strength and conditioning coach job. Two of them, in particular, being the University of South Florida and Colorado State University programs both said that due to my lack of experience and probable knowledge that I was rejected the $20,000.00 per year position. I saved these letters and tacked them to my wall as reminders of their disbelief. They were two of my Leroy Smiths'. They helped me get to where I am today. Even when I look at them now, it burns me inside.


Watch the 23 Greatest Jordan Moments on this Link.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


This last week kicked off one of the greatest weeks of each year, football season. With the excitement of college football in the air and next week the NFL, I thought it would be fitting to merge the concept of this week's Monday Morning Motivation with the great game.

This week is about "Kicking Failure." Over the past two years there has not been much to cheer about. The economy sucks, our houses aren't worth squat, people we know and love are losing their jobs, retirement funds, sources of income, and gas prices suck.

Though this time has been more of a "national failure," based on greed, gluttony, and selfishness, we cannot help but feel that we are failing in some ways as well. When things around us seem to be falling apart, it is much more difficult to live with hope and believe that we will eventually come out of this. And before it is all said and done, the reality is, we will continue to see more and more people's lives fall apart, which will just make the reality of our own possible failure even that much closer.

But "Kicking Failure," is the only option I see for all of us. We have to ask ourselves, "Do I want to end up like Ray Finkle (pictured above), living a double life as Loius Einhorn to escape the difficulties in my life? or "Do I want to be able to have my life and perspective changed through difficulties and failures?" This would be like another football player, Scott Norwood.

Scott Norwood, if you have never heard of him, was the guy who missed the field goal in Super Bowl XXV, after his quarterback Jim Kelly orchestrated a perfect drive to get them into field goal range to win the Super Bowl. At the time, Norwood was a Pro Bowl kicker who could drill 47 yard field goals blindfolded.

Norwood, however missed this one. With the Superbowl on the line, the crown jewel of of his profession was all right there in front of him. He was one of the best 28 in the world at what he did. He had hit this a million times with his father back in Virgina as they had practiced every off-season since high school. It should be been automatic...

What's happend to you that should have been automatic? What have you been working on your whole life, what have you put all of you effort into? What have you prepared to be great at? What happens if you get to that point and it doesn't work out?

...Norwood missed.

A picture perfect setting. A chance to be a hero to his team, the city of Buffalo, his teammates, his family, his profession, and he missed it wide right.

We must remember that no matter how much we prepare, how much we learn, how much we practice, we must prepare deep down to be able to handle defeat and failure. Our response to this failure shows who we really are. Our response to failure can give us a new perspective we may have been blinded to before. Our response to failure can catapult us to a new level of living. Most importantly, our response to failure can clarify what is important in our life.

Norwood is now living as a successful Realtor in Virginia. In a Sports Illustrated article by Karl Taro Greenfeld he writes about Norwood saying:

"American Sports, Scott will tell you, will break your heart. But they will also, in their most basic form, nurture your soul. He thinks about Del (Norwood's Father), and about showing up. And as you look at this life, at Carly (Norwood's Daughter) sipping from a juice box as Kim (his wife) braids her her hair and Conner and Cory (Norwoods Son's) climbing all over Scott as he walks in his steady gait toward the family's Plymouth Voyager, you think, I know this guy. He's just like me."

Do not be afraid of failure. Only be afraid of not taking it's lessons. You may feel right now like you are failing, you're failing as an athlete, you're not where you think you should be, your job is failing, your family is failing, your kids are failing. But I encourage you to "kick failure."

Let it be known that there is no such thing as failure, there are only lessons in circumstances. Know that through all of this, there is a chance for you to experience your true greatness.

After being hounded by the media for multiple failures in creating the light bulb, a journalist asked Thomas Edison, "How do you feel about having failed thousands of times." Edison replied, "I have not failed. I've just found thousands of ways that won't work."

Leadership expert John Maxwell says in his book, Talent Is Not Enough, "There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who get things done, and those who don't want to make mistakes."

To kick failure is to embrace failure. Line yourself up on the holder, take three steps back and one to the left, take a deep breath, wait for the snap, take your steps toward the ball, keep your eye on ball, let your leg rip....

"And the kick is..... good!"