Tag Archives: passion

Book Recommendation: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

21 May

If you have not yet heard of – or read – the book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth, I highly recommend it.

Grit is a must-read book for anyone striving to succeed – parents, students, educators, athletes, and businesspeople.  Ms. Duckworth shows readers that the “secret” to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

In the first part of the book (the first five chapters), Ms. Duckworth discusses what grit is and why it matters.

The second part of the book (chapters six through nine) reveals how to grow grit from the inside out – how we can develop grit.

The third, and final, part of the book (the last four chapters) focuses on how to grow grit from the outside in – how we can help (parent, coach, and teach) others to develop grit.

My favorite part of the book (and it’s all terrific) is chapter 3, which is titled, “Effort Counts Twice.”  In this chapter, the author discusses the relationship between talent and achievement, and why any effort we make ultimately counts twice toward our goal.

talent x effort = skill

skill x effort = achievement

It’s unlikely that talent, alone, can help people achieve success.  However, when we apply effort to talent, it can become skill.  Likewise, when effort is applied to skill, it can result in achievement – success.  I love this!

Also among Grit‘s valuable insights are:

  • How grit can be learned, regardless of IQ or circumstances
  • How lifelong interest is triggered
  • How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much is ecstasy
  • Which is better for our children – a warm embrace or high standards
  • The magic of the Hard Thing Rule

Grit is a book about what goes through our heads when we fall down, and how that – not talent or luck – makes all the difference.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Communication, Confidence, Leadership, and Passion

26 Oct

9-27_sports_volleyball_julianawacklawski_14-792x5281This past weekend, I had the pleasure of watching a local volleyball standout, now playing for a successful, East coast DI program.

I actually saw her play for the first time as a high school senior – by accident.  I was at a match watching a few athletes I train, and she was a teammate of one of “my” athletes.  I quickly recognized that she was the best player on the floor and have followed her career since.

This young lady has obviously spent countless hours on the court, practicing her volleyball skills.  And, although she is clearly a very talented volleyball player, she has something more.  I recognized four “intangible” characteristics that set her – and, I believe all great athletes – apart from her teammates and competitors:

Communication

Great communicator.  Always talking with her teammates (and, occasionally, coaches) – positioning, strategy, encouragement.

Confidence

Great aptitude for the game.  High volleyball IQ.  Has a “short memory” and doesn’t beat herself up when she makes mistakes.  Trusts her abilities and skills.

Leadership

Along with communication, like having another coach on the floor.  Takes charge, provides guidance and direction to teammates.  Never comes off the court.

Passion

Obviously loves the game.  Plays with energy and enthusiasm.  Always hustles.  Never concedes a point or takes a play off.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

The Power of Positive Attitude

24 Oct

positive-wallpapers-22[2]Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” ~ Winston Churchill

A positive attitude may not ensure success in everything you do but, without one, dealing with everything (and everyone) becomes more difficult.  A positive attitude brings optimism into your life, and makes it easier to avoid worries and negative thinking.

A positive attitude can help you achieve goals and attain success.  It can give you the ability to inspire and motivate yourself and others.  A positive attitude can enable improvement in everything you do — school, sports, work, and life.

Attitude is contagious.  Before you say a word, your attitude is conveyed to others.  Your body language is a result of your mental attitude.  By choosing your attitude, you get in that mood and send out a message that everyone understands, consciously or unconsciously.

Have passion for what you do… whatever it is.  Passion and desire breed success.  Passion is the single fastest way to drive yourself to success.  Do something you love, and get excited about it.

Best of all, you can choose a positive attitude… choose to be happy (yes, it’s a choice).  The only source of happiness – and unhappiness – comes from inside yourself.  Happiness is not something that comes to you.  It is something you create now, today.  It is not what happens to you that counts. It is how you react to what happens to you.

Have faith in yourself.  Believe in you.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

30 Life Lessons Learned in Business

15 Feb

gilbert-horiz-fistraised-apjpg-c2e1714f648d1934[1]Recently, my son shared with me a book in which Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans founder and chairman, Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner) listed 30 Things I Learned in 30 Years of Business.  It’s worth sharing.

  1. When you love what you do, there is no such thing as “work.”
  2. Nothing clarifies like clarity.
  3. If you believe tomorrow will be even more exciting than today, you have discovered what passion really means.
  4. Some people WILL NEVER get it.  Get them out of your team, club, house, life, etc., and both of you will be happier.
  5. There is always a way to turn a problem into an opportunity.  Find it.
  6. Thinking (going deep) about problems, challenges, new ways of doing things and creativity is one of THE hardest things you will ever do.  It also will bring you the finest results.
  7. I never learned anything by talking.
  8. You can’t prioritize until you have visibility.
  9. Appreciate everything.
  10. Nothing great and long-lasting is built overnight, but you MUST take the first step NOW.
  11. Any ounce of energy you spend regretting mistakes you made in the past is taking away energy you need to do things right in the present.
  12. Be curious.
  13. Try to please everyone all of the time, and you will end up pleasing no one most of the time.
  14. Think big, huge, large, enormous, immense, jumbo, walloping, gigantic, king sized mammoth, massive, thundering.  You have to think anyway… so why not?
  15. The little things DO matter.  Especially to people.
  16. People who are constantly negative, pessimistic and cynical are not spewing their venom toward you or your ideas.  They are talking about themselves.  Never forget that.
  17. Working longer hours does not automatically make you more successful.  Working smarter does.
  18. There is no better joy than helping people around you go to levels higher than they ever thought they could.
  19. It’s not so frickin’ funny when it’s you, is it?
  20. Winning on the hard stuff does not make the easy stuff easy.
  21. The more you give, the more you get.  It’s as simple as that.
  22. Spreadsheets are for measuring things, but just because you cannot measure something, doesn’t mean it is not valuable.  Some of the most valuable things in the world cannot be measured.
  23. Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.  (Thanks, Albert E.!)
  24. The price of knowing is often way too high.
  25. The one who tells you there is food on your face is your friend.
  26. Building anything great is messy.
  27. Don’t get distracted by people who want you to review the receipts for the paint brushes.  Your job is to paint.
  28. “Sent” is NOT “received.”
  29. The packaging of communication is just as important as the information itself.
  30. Love your team members.  Love your clients and customers.  Just do those two things and your business will be successful.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Find Your Groove

6 Nov

Kids-Lemonade-Stand[1]Find something you do well, and do it.

Find something you love to do, and do it.

Find something you do well and love to do, and you’ve found your groove; you’ve got it made.

Easier said than done… right?

How, exactly, do you find your groove?

How do you find “IT?”

Here are some thoughts:

  • Experiment with it
  • Learn everything you can about it
  • Be comfortable with it
  • Be enthusiastic and passionate about it
  • Have fun with it
  • Find balance
  • Take a break, once in a while
  • Believe in yourself and your abilities
  • Be positive and optimistic — expect success
  • Bounce back from setbacks
  • Appreciate what you have
  • When it’s time to be productive… be productive
  • Focus — don’t try to multi-task
  • Enjoy the journey
  • Celebrate small victories — something is better than nothing
  • Be thankful

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Do the Work

4 Nov

alex%20gordon[1]The people who work hard and work smart are usually the ones who are most successful.

There’s really no way to cheat the system.  You either do the work and reap the benefits, or you take shortcuts and hope for the best.

Although the path to success may look different for any two people, once thing is certain:  You’ve got to put in the time and do the work.

Believe in you.  Believe that you can.

Get started and keep going — keep working toward your goal.

Embrace the challenge.  Chase your dream.

Practice, practice, practice until you can’t miss.  Then practice some more.

Be disciplined, enthusiastic, and passionate about your work.

Your success already exists in potential.  Work to find it.

Commit yourself to action, and don’t stop.

The time is going to pass regardless of how you spend it, so make it productive.

Begin now.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Skill is Good, Will is Better

17 Jul

isAbility is awesome.  Skill is splendid.  Talent is terrific.

But without the will to succeed — the will to win — talent, alone, will only take you so far.

The world is littered with talented (but complacent) people who have never realized their potential because they lack something else.

That “something else” is a long list of intangible qualities that successful people have, that includes (but is not limited to):

  • Ambition
  • Dedication
  • Desire
  • Determination
  • Energy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Hustle
  • Passion
  • Perseverance
  • Persistence
  • Work ethic

The will to succeed can compensate for shortcomings in talent and skill; but talent and skill won’t overcome a lack of ambition and desire.

I’ll take the person with less talent, who wants to — and works to — maximize his or her own potential, over the talented but complacent, unmotivated individual, any and every day.

What are you going to do to be your best today?

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

There Are No Secrets to Success

18 May

top-success-quotes_12020-5[1]Don’t look for secrets when studying the best. Look at the basics. Look at what they do every day. Success often lies there.” – Buzz Williams

What we often see, when observing excellence in athletic performance (or any other endeavor), is just the result — the “tip of the iceberg.”  What we don’t see are the days, months, and years of hard work, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice that contributed to the success.

Success is the result of consistency.  It lies in the mundane, not the magical.

Success requires getting the basics right.  It’s foundation is sound and solid.

Success is built on not only action, but attitude.  It is fed by passion, enthusiasm, and desire.

The path to success is not devoid of obstacles; but the realization that each setback is a learning opportunity that brings us one step closer to success.

Success is planning your work, and working you plan, every day.

There are no secrets.  Be your best and strive to improve you, TODAY.  Then do it again tomorrow.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

It’s Gotta Come From Inside

30 Mar

horsewater[1]You can lead a horse to water…

Can passion, enthusiasm, and desire be taught?  How about aggressiveness and confidence?  Can these traits be coached and developed?

Without some seed of inner motivation and desire… I don’t think so.

If you don’t want something as much as someone wants it for you, it’s probably not going to happen.

If you’re not self-motivated, it’s unlikely that anyone else will be able to motivate you.

You’ve got to believe in yourself before you can expect someone else to believe in you.

You’ve got to want to make it happen before someone else can help you make it happen.

Basically, there are two types of motivation that are important for achievement and success:

  • Intrinsic motivation is important for any athlete.  The athlete who is intrinsically motivated is self-motivated because he or she loves the game.  The intrinsically motivated athlete wants to be there.  Coaching team sports can be much more effective when athletes are self-motivated.
  • Achievement motivation is fueled by an athlete’s competitiveness.  All things being equal between two athletes, the one with greater achievement motivation will be the better athlete because of his or her “appetite” for competition.

Keep in mind, intrinsic and achievement motivation are not limited to athletic achievement and success.  Both apply to academics, career, and every other aspect of our lives.

Conversely, extrinsic motivation, as the name implies, come from “outside” and usually involves changing behavior through reinforcement and/or punishment.  I’ve come to believe that this is ineffective, especially long-term.  Reinforcement and punishment can be effective, but only if the individual on the receiving end is motivated.

  • Positive reinforcement involves the use of rewards – praise, helmet decals, prizes, and awards – to increase the probability that a particular behavior will be repeated.
  • Negative reinforcement also increases the probability that a behavior will be repeated, by removing an event that is perceived to be unappealing or undesirable.  For example, if a team has a productive practice, the coach could announce that no sprints will be run at the end of the session.
  • Positive punishment describes an action that is presented after a behavior, that could decrease the behavior’s recurrence.  Reprimanding a basketball player after a turnover is an example of positive punishment.
  • Negative punishment is the removal of something valued.  Loss of privileges or playing time (benching) are examples of negative punishment.

Carpe Diem! Believe in you! Push yourself! Make it happen!

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Dream Big

23 Jul

10563499_10203763625703528_632803915_n[1]Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Norman Vincent Peale

First of all, I’ve got to thank my cousin, Vince Nardy, from whom I borrowed this picture.  He posted it on Facebook, I thought it was pretty cool, and it started my thought process.  Thanks, Vince!

For twenty years, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry, mostly in the training department.  I had a great job.  Basically, I had a hand in creating my own job description.  I was involved in the creation, development, and implementation of training programs — initial sales training; product training; disease state training; technical training; skills training; and management and leadership training and development. I was involved in virtually every facet of training and development, but my favorite area was being in front of people — teaching, training, coaching, and developing.  That’s my passion.  Great opportunity, great compensation, and great job satisfaction (most of the time).

But my dream was bigger than that.  I wanted to (help) build the best training department — and training experience — in the pharmaceutical industry.  I wanted every participant in our training and development workshops to leave feeling that they had just experienced a “best-in-class” training program.

Then, almost seven years ago, I learned that my job (and most of my department) was being eliminated.  For years, the entire pharmaceutical industry had grown faster than it’s infrastructure could support, and now the pendulum was beginning to swing in the other direction.  My severance was at the forefront of what would become a massive downsizing, both in our company and the industry.  It was time to move on.

Then, the dream process started again.  Long story short, I took a severance package and started my own business — Athletic Performance Training Center — in April 2008.  I had been developing this vision for years (and, sort of doing it “on the side,” in my basement and elsewhere, with my kids and some of their friends and teammates) but, I must admit, losing my job forced my hand.  And, although there have been some “speed bumps” along the way, I haven’t looked back since.

My undergraduate background is science based, and I completed post-graduate work in Exercise Science and Human Performance, and earned my certification through a highly respected, accredited organization – the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).  With the help of a few other local small business owners, I developed a business plan.  I enlisted the help of an attorney (a neighbor and family friend) to ensure that my business was set up legally, professionally, and registered with the state.

Then I went to work networking with, and learning from, some of the brightest, most-respected, well-known names in the field of strength and conditioning.  I still try to learn something new, every single day, that  makes me better at what I do, and improves me as a resource to my clients.  I never want to stop learning.

Although my endeavor is categorized as a “small business,” my vision — my dream — is anything but.  I have been dreaming big since opening my doors over six years ago.  I want to reach everyone, and help them reach their athletic performance, strength and conditioning, and fitness goals.

We currently collaborate and partner with dozens of clubs, schools, teams, groups, and organizations.  Additionally, I spend some time every day contacting coaches, athletic directors, administrators, employers, businesses, corporations, and program directors in hopes of discussing with them how we can be a resource to their constituency.  We’re currently working with an organization to take our business (and workouts) online so that anyone can benefit from APTC training, regardless of where they live.

Obviously, I publish this blog, posting three times a week, but I also write for a handful of other publications, including STACK Media.  I hope to reach and positively impact as many people as I can, on a national (and international) level.

Another of my passions is public speaking, and I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to speak at several grade schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, and other organizations.  I have also had the privilege of speaking at local and regional NSCA sanctioned events.  My dream, however, is to broaden my scope and speak more at the national level.  I have recently been added (after much legwork) to a few national speaker’s bureaus, which have the potential to increase my exposure.

Last November, I brought on an associate.  Megan Osysko is a wonderful young lady whom I had the pleasure of training throughout her stellar college volleyball career.  We still hire contract help and provide internships for college students, but I couldn’t ask for a better business partner than Megan.  Having her associated with my business, on a full-time basis, is awesome.

My point is this:  DREAM BIG!  Don’t aspire to make 50% of your shots (even though that’s a solid field goal percentage), aim to make all of them.  Dream of a 1.000 batting average; a 100% free-throw shooting percentage; a 100% passing completion rate; a 4.0 grade point average.  But don’t stop with the dream.  You can’t just dream big and expect good things to happen, you’ve got to do something about it.  Develop a plan of action, then work to make it happen.  Do something, every day, to move yourself closer to your dream or goal.  Surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you and, most importantly… BELIEVE IN YOU!

I may or may not realize all my dreams but, if I don’t, it won’t be because I didn’t dream big, or for lack of effort.

My dreams are still bigger than my achievements but, hey, that’s how it’s supposed to be… right?

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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