Monday, February 22, 2010


I wrote an article a couple months ago called Me, Tiger, and Peach Cobbler. The point of the article was to profile Tigers work ethic and explain the theory that talent is created by the diligent, focused, and hard work put into a particular sport or skill.

Well a lot has happened since that article. If you would have told me a month ago that Tiger would have been sitting in a sex rehabilitation clinic next to Chaz Michael Michaels, I would had laughed and said that would be a great parody scene with a Will Ferrell return to Saturday Night Live.

Friday morning, Tiger Woods went in front of the world and apologized for his actions. I am one of those people who wants to believe that Tiger is sincere. I am one of those people finds it in my heart to believe in him again. Why? Because just like me....Tiger, Chaz, and You, we all have made mistakes when it comes to our temptations, Tiger, just like everything else he does, took it to another level.

Tiger was a victim. A victim of himself. Tiger mentioned that because he had worked so hard all his life he was entitled to these temptations. I do not believe this to be true. Tiger's fall from grace came because of two reasons a) his inability to know his personality and how it could crossover to everything in his life b) he did not see the need to put up barriers in his life because of that.

Tiger takes things to the next level. Tiger does this because of his ability to obsess, focus, and get done what he needs to get done. This is why he has been able to become the greatest golfer of all time. No one does what he does in practice or on the course. Tiger was the one who really brought fitness to golf. Tiger, in the golf world, is jacked (I've stood right next to him, that's why I say "in the golf world"). There's Tiger again, taking it to another level.

If Tiger did not have this ability to focus and obsess, he may not be as good. The only problem is that this personality trait sits on a dangerous fence. And if you fall off on the side of the fence, watch out!

The way you do things in the areas of your life that are important transfer over to everything else. It is kind of like a blue print you've created in your mind to get things done. The problem does not come from ambition, it comes from selfish ambition.

In Tiger's case, his selfish ambition led to taking relationships outside of his marriage to another level. Because Tiger failed to understand his personality, and what could happen if he voluntarily started something like this, it got out of control fast. He did not put up barriers that would protect is obsessive personality from the temptations of this world. By a barrier I mean, "I will not put myself in a situation where I am alone with a woman besides my wife," or "I will not travel anywhere without my wife and kids."

Ambition, hard-work, competitiveness, and the desire to be your best are all great qualities. It is what has made Tiger the greatest golfer of all time. I just wish he would have been able to sit down one day and make a commitment to some barrier rules for himself.

This morning I'd like to motivate you to think about the areas of your personality that could become lethal addictions, have already started moving in that direction, or are already there.

Remember additions are not something we have because we love the source. They are something we use to replace pain or hurt somewhere in our life. Addictions come from having an ever-increasing desire for something that has an ever decreasing ability to satisfy. So the more you become involved the more it takes hold of your life and in the mean time satisfy you less and less.

These usually start with a voluntary attempt to experience something that is desirable. But in the end they usually ends up as a compulsion. They grow stronger and stronger and eventually get out of control. I don't care who you are, you are not strong enough to control the grips of these types of addictions.

That is why the best thing to do is to first understand who you are, what your greatest temptations are, and stay the hell away from them! The worst advice you could get is to put yourself in those situation to make you stronger. NO! This is the only case where adversity does not work to build character. It's safe to say that Tiger is a mentally tough individual. Probably tougher than most of us. Obviously mental toughness is no match against self-centered desires.

The best advice I can give you comes from my friend Paul who says, "Whatever is true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things."

My desire is to help you find the greatness in your life. All the great qualities of success are going to help you get there, but your success insurance is your character. Erwin McManus says, "The shape of your character is the shape of your future."

Here is a interview of the great Chaz Michael Michaels. If this doesn't sum it up, I don't know what will:) Have a great week!


Monday, February 15, 2010


I once saw a story of a young man who was not really the popular guy in school.

He was one of the worst basketball players (probably ever) and could not get the attention of a young lady he had a crush on because he's such a dweeb. (And before I get your email reply, Calathes; no...this is not me).

He then finds out that he is a generational werewolf. This at first seemed to be devastating blow to his already awful social life. However the side effect of being a werewolf is that he becomes a high flying, basketball playing machine. I don't think he actually missed a shot in the entire story, dunking on everyone, breaking the backboard, and hitting shots from all over the court.

The problem happens when this kid starts taking the werewolf on as his sole identity. He decides to be there werewolf 24/7, not just when the moon comes out. With this new arrogant persona he loses his friends, the girl that has always been there for him, and he creates him to be more of a side show annoyance than the popular athlete that he longed to be.

You may recognize this story from the popular 1985 movie "Teen Wolf," starring Michael J. Fox. But though this is a fictional story, I've seen plenty of real life "Teen Wolfs," in my day as an athlete and a coach.

Let's call them "Talent Monsters."

There is nothing wrong with talent, I am absolutely intrigued with people who have the God given ability to do things that none of us would ever dream of being able to do. Talent is a God given gift. Those who work hard to develop their talent have the capacity to do what they do at much higher levels then others around them.

But with every great gift their comes a curse....

Here's where the problem lies. Because our society has become obsessed with talent, we are starting this glorification process much too early. I cannot help but mention the 13 year old kid who verbally committed to playing quarterback at the University of Southern California. I have personally been involved with kids who have verbally committed to major Division I Universities before they could even get their drivers permit. I hope it works out for the kid, but you can best bet that his childhood years have been cut short.

And with all this comes a local celebrity status to a young developing mind. These pre-teen and teenage years are critical years in developing social skills such as teamwork, leadership, sacrifice, and other characteristics that makes them an upstanding citizen. This is also the age where these teens already think the world evolves around them. And when our society makes them believe it even more, this can create major problems.

We think that we are doing them a favor by praising them, throwing stuff at them, making them feel like they are celebrities, but then...

..the moon comes out one night and they turn into the "Talent Monster," eating up and destroying entire teams with their ego and self-satisfying desire to be the top of the food chain where ever they are. They seek to only help themselves, they expect others and even adults to come when they call. Their teammates are never good enough, and the Monster is happy to let them know just how bad he thinks they are. It is their world, and everyone else around is nothing but a step in their direction to feed this Monster that has been created by me and you.

But the writing on the wall shows what happens when the Talent Monster runs into the Silver Bullet.

This silver bullet comes in the form of adversity that they cannot deal with. And when they meet this silver bullet, all that glamorous life of a young sports star, does nothing to prepare them for it. This is how the Talent Monster is often destroyed. It's greatest opponent, it's greatest weakness is adversity.

But there is another way. The Monster must be tamed. When you tame the Monster you are still left with Talent. But you are left with Talent that is used for what it should be used for....others. In order get the most out of a talent you must...

1. Keep Talent Around Those Who Tell Them the Truth: I read a quote from a coach who said, "I never gave em' hell. I just told them the truth and they though it was hell." Talented people attract cling-on's and coat tail riders who love to tell them how great and wonderful they are. This gives them a false perception. The truth is, there are way more people who are willing to tell you everything you want to here, instead of telling you the truth.

2. Keep Talent Around Those Who Are Better Than Them At What They Do: One of the keys to humility is getting your butt kicked on a consistent basis. Especially if you are good and you know it. Most super-talents are not used to losing (or in other words: "getting their way). When they do lose, you can tell they do not handle it well. It's usually shown in a temper tantrum. Super-Talents, more than anyone else, need to learn the value of failing. They need to learn that failure is a part of success, that it is what builds character and perseverance to fight through difficult situations and times they are sure to eventually face.

3. Teach Talent Leadership: One of the best things that you can do is teach talented individuals how to be great leaders. Being a leader teaches them to be an outstanding teammate, one who sacrifices for the team, one who helps develop and help the players around them. A great leader is also the standard for work ethic. They set the standard for the toughness and the attitude of the team. They set the standard in the locker room. If the leaders soft, the team is soft. Most super-talents are given the leader role only because they are talented, and this is especially true at the high school, college level. Because of their talent, they are usually the most popular student, thus they are the leader. At this age you don't want to be on the outs with the popular guy. Teach them to be leaders.

4. Put Talent Around Great Role Models: One of the best things that can possibly happen to a young talent is to put them around people who they respect as great people and great role models. This usually comes in the form of a coach, trainer, or some other type of mentor that they have. These role models help these talents put things into perspective, through their example help them realize what's really important, and will be the first person to tell them if they are acting like a fool. Role models are great leaders themselves, they care first about the person, then the development of their talent. They understand the these talents are going to make stupid mistakes, probably over and over. They empathize with them, but are sure to instruct and tell them they did wrong. The greatest role models are like the greatest parents. The talents will be more worried about disappointing their role model in doing something stupid, then they will the consequences of the action itself.

Here is the clip that is probably would have had it's own Sport Center top 10 dedicated to it. This is Teen Wolf's first game as a Werewolf. You'll notice the patented behind the back move and his D Howard like dunks. He was legit:)


Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Three years ago I read this poem and it stuck with me as a great reminder how each of us are a dispensable asset. The poem is by Saxon N. White Kissinger and is called, There is No Indispensable Man;

"Sometime when you're feeling important;
Sometime when your ego's in bloom
Sometime when you take it for granted
You're the best qualified in the room,

Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that's remaining
Is a measure of how you will be missed.

You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop and you'll find that in no time
It looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example
Is do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There's no indispensable man."

This poem lead me to believe that no matter who you were, what you did, no matter how talented you were, or how hard you worked, you were replaceable, a dispensable asset.

This is true. There will always be someone coming up right behind you ready to take your position on your team, in your job, in your market, or in just about anything else.

But I have learned that this is thought process, a perspective without a full spectrum of understanding. Our dispensability is a truth in life we all must accept because eventually no one cares how good you are or what you've brought to the table.

We see it all the time in sports. Look at what the Green Bay Packers did to Brett Farve after all he had been to that organization and that community. Look at what the Philadelphia Eagles did to the heart and soul of their franchise over the past 10 years, Brian Dawkins.

As the world changes around us, we are continual victims of change and upgrade. It may not be fair, but it is true.....

....Unless you can make yourself indispensable.

I came across this sentence in a book, "But the truth is that the only way to make yourself indispensable is to make yourself dispensable."

I was a little confused by the paradox, so I continued to read on;"In other words, if you are able to continually empower others and help them develop so that they become capable of taking over your job, you will become so valuable to the organization that you become indispensable."

At this point I am thinking to myself, "This is telling me to help develop others enough so that they could take my job?? How does that work out?"

But as I began to apply this principle, I began to understand. That by doing this, by empowering others, by giving yourself to others, by developing others, by basically showing others that you care more about their well-being than even your own own, you will eventually become so important to your organization you could be considered indispensable.


Before I make this sound too easy, you need to know something.....

....Becoming indispensable does not mean that you will not get kicked out of your job. There are many teams and organizations out there who would rather control you than develop you. Be prepared that if you start to look like you are becoming indispensable you may strike fear in the hearts of your team or organization, and they may get rid of you.

Maybe now it is easier to see why most people will choose to become dispensable rather than making the choice to do the ladder. The product or indispensability does not really seem like something that is so great to sign up for. Let see...If I become indispensable I may, A) Train and develop someone to be so good that they take my job, and/or, B) I may get fired or kicked off my team.

This is when you must be able to see a little bit farther down the road than everyone else. Most people are blinded by the "what can I get right now," who can get more, who has more status, who is the most popular. They are very occupied and live their life based on what others think about them. This "drive" or "fear" of lack of crap accumulation puts blinders on them and they keep just smashing their heads into this great wall of "success."

There are a few reasons why people choose dispensability over indispensability:

1) It is the path of least resistance: And if you know anything about the 80/20 principle, you know that this is dominated by 80% of the people around you anywhere you go in anything they do.

2) It is safe: Not many people want to put their own job in jeopardy. No one wants to to be persecuted for trying to make others around them better right??

2) Lack of Self-Worth: Many people do not believe that they have that much to offer or what they have to offer is anything special or good.

4) They're Happy Being Part of the Crowd: Most people settle for just doing their job and being a part of the crowd. They don't ever take a stand, try to change anything, and have no passion for helping develop other people. As long as they have a spot or a job, they don't want to do anything to ruffle the feathers.

So what's so great about becoming indispensable?

1) You are in the purest form, A Leader: All great leaders are indispensable. Because when you have decided to develop others and become a change agent, you create passionate, and loyal followers. And if you go, your loyal followers are not sitting around making a pro's and con's list rather to go with you or not. They just say, "lets go."

2) You Own the Greatest Assets: That asset is your relationships. The greatest asset that you can acquire is not skills or material gain, the greatest asset you can acquire is people who are loyal to you, people who believe in you, and people that will do anything for you. You can only acquire that through giving yourself to someone else, by showing them that they come first.

3) You Live Your Life without Fear: Churchill said, "Courage, is the first of all human qualities, because it is the quality which guarantees all the others." When you are able to understand and apply the paradox of dispensability ("But the truth is that the only way to make yourself indispensable is to make yourself dispensable."), you have the capacity live on a different level. You live your life without fear because while everyone else if fighting for status, promotions, and trying to convince people to like them, you could care less about any of those things. All you care about is getting better at who you are everyday, and helping others to do the same. I always say, "The absolute greatest day of your life is the day you do not care what anyone thinks about you."

I was watching a show on the NBA channel about New Orleans Hornets rookie point guard, Darin Collison. As a first round draft pick he wants to be out on the floor. Unfortunately for him, he's behind one of the best players in the league, Chris Paul. But though he has had to wait his turn, he has been blessed to have not just a bigger than life superstar, but a humble leader like Paul in front of him. He explained how Paul has taken him under his wing and showed him how to do things and how to handle himself on and off the court. Chris Paul has become a developer of this young talent. In his interview, Collison simply put it, "That's why he is who he is." This rookie looked at Chris Paul's greatness not because of his super talent, but because of his willingness to give to him. Chris Paul may get traded or kicked off of his team one day. But because Paul has decided to become bigger than a NBA superstar. Because he's decided to be a humble leader, an empowerer, a developer of others. No matter what happens, if he continues to lead and develop others, Chris Paul will always be indispensable.

Who can you choose to start your path to indispensability? Start today.