Everyday we are faced with new challenges some small and some large. Our lives are overflowing with unforeseen highs and lows whether they are mental, physical, or emotional. We can judge ourselves by how well we adapt to the plethora of circumstances that we find ourselves in on a daily basis; how well we adapt to positive circumstances, and how well we adapt to negative circumstances. My experiences have helped me to realize several facts about adapting to life’s uncertainties. One that I would like to focus on is this:
-Do not avoid seemingly negative circumstances because you believe you are unable to navigate through them effectively.
The negative judgment implies that we already know what the ultimate outcome will be and beginning any difficult endeavor with such an attitude is not a good place to start. It is true that we simply don’t know enough to be pessimistic. Additionally, I believe that the greater the obstacle the greater the triumph….. “Both virtue and art are always concerned with what is harder, for success is better when it is hard to achieve.” Heraclitus-
Within the field of counseling psychology the phrase systematic desensitization is used to describe how fears can be overcome if you progressively expose yourself to whatever it is that you fear. I would like to challenge you (believers) to put yourself out there and refuse to be paralyzed by your fears. Demand more of yourself for the sake of becoming a better YOU! Challenges can come in many different forms. What is challenging for one may not be challenging to another; but stepping outside of your comfort zone is GREAT for anyone. Many times I say to the athletes that I train that you should get comfortable with the uncomfortable. In training as in life, each day is an opportunity to become better; MAXIMIZE the OPPORTUNITY.
Take a look at this short clip of Simon Sinek’s Ted talk. Sinek is the author of a phenomenal book called, Start with Why. The book has a business/corporate overtone however athletes can and should guide there actions and decisions in a similar way. At tilt, we call the idea - finding the why. It is the idea of connecting with your true source of motivation. Motivation is a major tenant of Sport Psychology. It is a concept that has been researched for years and the intricacies can be discussed endlessly. Although the concept seems abstract it's power is unmistakeable. When you find your why you are automatically connected to a reserve of energy that can drive every second of your hard work.
Motivation can come from many different places and everybody has one (or more) things that drives them. Sometimes money, sometimes mom or dad, sometimes fear of failure is the source of motivation. Most mental conditioning coaches will tell you that lasting success is typically driven by something deep within, something that you truly identify with. When you find this source of motivation work becomes joy and it is near impossible to rationalize your Self out of doing what you know you should be doing (i.e. training at 5am) to accomplish your goal and be the person you know you can be.
How do you know you are connected to your source:
Enjoy the video..find your Why!
During the 2014 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, Jonathan Kraft - President of the New England Patriots - was discussing where Tom Brady (the famed quarterback who was drafted 199th overall) would be drafted today. Although he is a top-tier QB, Kraft suggested that Brady, even today, would not be a high-draft pick. Technological advancements in scouting aside, Tom Brady has something that is not easily analyzed, but is critical to leadership and performance - 'the intangibles'.
Kraft did not share what the intangibles were. But we can assume they are connected to both leadership and performance practices. Brady has a vision. He is driven to realize that vision on the playing field, in the locker-room, and when out of the stadium. He knows ultimately what he is working for and is dedicated - compelled - to live out that vision. He does so by building synergistic relationships with his coaches and teammates. While watching the Patriots under Brady's command, you can tell they are in flow. He is confident in his abilities, while knowing he can strategically improve. And he is masterful at balancing reflection with action. Brady purposefully pauses and intentionally acts. When off the field, he is able to find a quiet space (often internal) to recollect, reassess, and reengage. And then is able to deliver, through methodical, on-field play.
What other 'intangibles' does Brady - or other greats from any sport - have that we can learn from?
Now that we’ve had several blog posts, we want to mention a couple things with regard to our intentions with The LEAN. First, we hope that this is a place where you can get a look into the world of tilt. What we are doing, thinking about, learning, researching, creating, working towards in both our personal and professional life. Also, some entries will bring you down the road of evidence-based research in the field of athletic and life excellence. Before too long you will definitely get an idea of who we are and what we at tilt have decided to spend our days thinking about.
The title of this blog comes from the subtitle of the book, Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath. I have been elbow deep in this book for the past week. It is a great read that will help you navigate through change. The authors speak to change on many different levels… easy or difficult, small or large, societal, personal or organizational. Change is hard. It often brings with it a great deal of uncertainty. It demands that we check in with ourselves to make sure that our intentions are in line with our actions. And for those particularly tricky situations it calls for a check-in with those close to us for assurance and/or advice. Creating a new thought or behavioral pattern for yourself or your team takes a considerable amount of time and energy. So naturally, us humans don’t do well with change. You heard it before and it is true... We ARE creatures of habit... In Switch, through a plethora of examples, the authors describe change rather simplistically even though we all know it can get extremely complicated, they say:
To boil it all down for you, First, reflect deeply about your change. What does it mean to you or your team? Why do you want to change? Is it consistent with yourself (or your team’s) ultimate vision? Then, let everybody involved in the desired change know EXACTLY what is wanted and needed with crystal clear direction.
Per the official Sochi Olympics ticker (http://www.sochi2014.com/en) the 'Games' begin in 1 day, 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 48...47...46...45...44 seconds and counting. NBC Primetime will air the official Opening Ceremony tomorrow night (Friday, February 7th) at 7:30pm. This got us thinking - what pre-game or pre-performance rituals enable athletes to to get in the right mind-set? Here is some of what we found:
Although there is a great chance that these rituals, in-and-of-themselves, create the conditions for success, we believe it is more about mental conditioning. By preparing mentally - engaging in these conditioning rituals - athletes are able to focus energy on their performance rather than being consumed by limiting doubts, fears, and attitudes.
What pre-game or performance rituals are part of your bag-of-tricks? Comment below to continue the conversation.
We thought that it would be important and informative, as our initial blog post, to provide a brief overview of our leadership and performance philosophy. What is provided below is the skinny on where we focus our energy when creating learning and training experiences. This also happens to be where we navigate our attention when creating blog posts...
Leadership is relational. Leadership is about creating change. And leadership is is value-laden - it is for good. In one sentence, leadership is about engaging synergistically with others to create positive change. In order for that to happen, three pillars are critical. Leader-Athletes:
(1) Balance reflection and action.
(2) Match personal passions with community causes.
(3) Promote the three ‘Ss’ of service; systems, synergy, and strengths.
Our leadership experiences are built upon these three pillars in order to create the conditions for synergistically-fueled positive change. This is what we mean:
(1) Balancing REFLECTION and ACTION:
Leadership is a delicate balance and continual oscillation between reflection and action. Effective leaders spend time analyzing and observing themselves, their situations, and their teams. That knowledge is then utilized to act in meaningful and appropriate ways. All of our programs engage participants in harnessing the power of both reflection and action.
(2) Matching PERSONAL PASSIONS with COMMUNITY CAUSES:
Leadership is predicated upon first uncovering and then matching our personal passions with the needs of our community or team. By recognizing our personal passions and community causes, we shift the focus of leadership from power, position, prestige, and personal reward to a more honorable perspective - leadership rooted in the person (who am I, what are my values, what is my vision?) and the purpose with which I lead (how can I create positive change?).
(3) SYSTEMS, SYNERGY, & a STRENGTHS-BASED style of SERVICE:
Leadership is first and foremost about service – What can I do to create positive change in myself, my team, and my community? We believe that leaders are most successful at serving when the ‘S’ trifecta is in play – systems-thinking, synergy with oneself and others, and a strengths-based approach work.
- Systems-thinking is seeing the interconnections and interrelationships that exist and making healthy changes at the root-level.
- Synergy is about being in flow (in the zone) with myself and the team.
- Strengths-based approaches to service capitalize on harnessing our talents, skills, and resiliencies rather than being overcome
by our flaws, flubs, or failures.
Performance training undoubtedly enhances skills for competition. But our belief is that performance training goes well beyond practice or game day. Performance training is designed to enhance every aspect of our life - within sport, within ourselves, and within the community. We focus on three pillars of performance training. Leader-Athletes:
(1) Endure - operate from a resiliency mindset.
(2) Evolve - grow through experiences; both challenges and celebrations.
(3) Execute - act their best when it matters the most.
Our performance training experiences are built upon these three pillars in order to establish the conditions to succeed athletically, personally, and communally. This is what we mean:
In all aspects of performance, we need to take what life hands us (both good and bad) and not get side-tracked. We stay focused and resilient. 'It is not about what happens to us, but how we react and respond'. By enduring, we recognize that rarely (if ever) do we perform they way we expect to. By enduring, we act in ways that empowers us to keep crushing it and attacking the future regardless of the obstacles. Endure is about functioning in a way that those obstacles are opportunities for improvement.
When we learn from our experiences, we evolve. Our performance is enhanced when we 'grow' through our experiences - both challenges and celebration - rather than just 'going' through them. Evolving is adapting to the ever-changing demands of sport and life. During pressure-filled situations, leader-athletes must master the ability to ground themselves in effective thought patterns. This “growth” mindset assists athletes in developing a healthy sense of self. The challenging nature of sport serves as a holding environment for evolution as athletes and leaders.
Those who excel at the highest level of performance know what it takes to perform exceptionally. They execute. They capitalize on being their best when it matters most. Even while under the greatest pressures leader-athletes are consistently connected to and are in control of their bodies and minds.
We envision a world