Tag Archives: self-improvement

You Have to Do the Hard Things

12 Jun

I found this gem, posted by a friend on Facebook.  It’s a blog post that was shared by an organization with a commitment to continual self-improvement.  The original author is Dan Waldschmidt.

19 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Successful

You have to do the hard things.

  • You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
  • You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
  • You have to give more than you get in return right away.
  • You have to care more about others than they care about you.
  • You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
  • You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
  • You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  • You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  • You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
  • You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.
  • You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  • You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”
  • You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
  • You have to try and fail and try again.
  • You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
  • You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  • You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
  • You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  • You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.

You have to do the hard things. The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.

Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.

The hard things are the easiest things to avoid. To excuse away. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.

The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage — or desperation — to do.

Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

It’s Not Going to Happen Overnight

31 May

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

As the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, reminds us, excellence is not a static event, it’s a process.

There’s no such thing as an “overnight” success.

When we see excellence, what we are actually seeing is just the “tip of the iceberg.”  We rarely, if ever, see the commitment, dedication, time, and effort that invariably contributes to the end result.

Excellence requires hours, days, and even months and years of practice and purposeful repetition.  No one achieves greatness without a significant investment over time.

And it’s not just about sports.  The same applies for school, work, relationships, and life.

My Mom used to preach patience to my siblings and me, telling us, “If it’s worth having, it’s worth waiting for.”  I would add “working” to the “waiting,” in that quote, since you can’t just wait for it to happen, you’ve also got to work to make it happen (but, I’m sure my Mom knew that, too).

Frequently, I have parents who bring their sons and/or daughters to my facility — during their sport season — having come to the realization that junior needs to get stronger, faster, and more powerful in order to earn playing time or be competitive in his or her respective sport.  And, with my help, they want their child to accomplish it… now.

I think some of them truly believe (or hope) that strength, speed, and power development works like a microwave oven: Put the food in the oven, press a button, wait a moment or two, and… voila!  It’s ready — finished product.

Self-improvement is a process, as is self-development.

You’ve got to put in the time.  And the effort.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Embrace the Journey

8 Mar

e00010819“The journey is the reward.” – Steve Jobs

We all have goals.  Long-term goals, short-term goals – things we aspire to accomplish or achieve.

Some of the things to which we look forward are “milestones” – like turning 21 – and don’t require much preparation.  It’s just a matter of time.

Most of our goals, though, require some planning, preparation, and effort.  There’s a process – a journey – involved in the eventual achievement of these goals.

And, although achievement may be the pinnacle of the process, the journey is the enriching, character-building part.

In sports, it’s not winning a championship that makes you better; it’s all the time you devoted to daily practice and preparation as a player and teammate.

In school, it’s not the high grade on your test or report card that makes you better; it’s all the time you spent doing homework and studying – learning – along the way.

At work, it’s not the promotion – or the raise – that makes you better; it’s all the work you put into your job – your daily commitment to excellence as an employee, entrepreneur, supervisor, or co-worker.

If life, it’s not where you get that makes you better; it’s what you did to arrive at that point.

Accomplishment is great, but the self-improvement that occurs along the way is the real prize.

Embrace the journey.  Enjoy the ride.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

If It’s Important, Do It Every Day

15 Feb

michael-jordan-game-winning-shot-1[1]Lots of athletes dream of sinking the game-winning shot, scoring the game-winning touchdown, or getting the game-winning hit.  It’s easy to be enamored with the romantic idea of being the hero.

But that doesn’t happen by accident.  It takes a lot of practice and preparation to put yourself in the position to perform well in a pressure situation (heck, it takes a lot of practice and preparation to perform well in normal game conditions).  That means, if you’re a basketball player with a desire to excel, you should be practicing ball-handling and shooting, or doing something to improve your strength, speed, agility, and athleticism… EVERY DAY!

And that, I think, is where there is a disconnect.  It’s one thing to express a desire to play well.  Anyone can do that… that’s just talk.  It’s quite another to do what’s necessary to play well.  That takes time and effort and commitment and dedication and focus and purpose and motivation and persistence and perseverance and… well, I think you get the point.

And, while this all may seem somewhat overwhelming, it doesn’t take a 24/7/365 commitment.  Focus on the quality and consistency of your efforts, and not necessarily the quantity.  If you’ve got 10-15 minutes to practice your ball-handling, make it purposeful and give it the best 10-15 minutes you’ve got.  Know and understand your areas for improvement and direct your efforts, accordingly.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that, since you only have limited time, improving your physical or sport-specific skills is not worth the effort.  Trust me, the cumulative effect of quality repetition will steadily improve your game.

Devote yourself, daily, to self-improvement.  Make it happen.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Chase Your Dream

16 Jan

martin-luther-king-i-have-a-dream[1]What’s your dream?

Dream BIG.

Aim high.

Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.

Aspire.

Push yourself.

Make it happen.

Improve you.

Strive to be the best version of you.

Believe in you.

Carpe Diem.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Remember Why You’re There

21 Sep

img-about-21As my daughter – and fourth of four children – begins her freshman year of college, I resume my familiar place on my soapbox to impart a simple message:

REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE THERE

Enjoy the college experience.  Make new friends.  Participate in activities.  Join clubs and organizations.  Play sports and be active.

And, most importantly, maintain your focus and purpose.  Work hard to be the best – academically – you can be.

This same principle applies to other areas.

When you’re at basketball (or any other sport) practice, have fun and enjoy the camaraderie of your teammates.

And remember the reason you’re there is to improve your team’s performance, and further develop your sport-specific skills.

Wherever you are and whatever you do, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the experience along the way, as long as you don’t allow it to interfere with the work that needs to be done to reach your goal.

Be diligent and disciplined about the process, and don’t lose sight of the reason you’re there.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

17 Jun

xdont-compare-yourself-to-other-people.jpg.pagespeed.ic.rpllvOvyb0[2]The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.” – Steve Young

From time to time, we all have a tendency to compare ourselves to others.  Perhaps it’s human nature and, therefore, inevitable.  And while learning from others is certainly an important part of critical decision making, it can be damaging if it is used to reinforce an unrealistic or negative self-image.  It is much more productive to focus your comparison inward, trying to improve upon your own past (or current) level of effort and performance.

Comparing yourself to others is like shooting at a moving target.  There will always be someone who does something(s) better than you and, conversely, there will always be something(s) you can do better than others.  Everyone is different, and you can’t be afraid to be you.  The key is to realistically assess your current level of performance and get to work on improving that (see The One-Percent Rule).

What is your current grade point average?  How about your free throw shooting percentage?  Or maybe your bench press 1 rep max?  The point is, it doesn’t matter what it is, or if it relates to school, sports, work, or life.  Whatever it is, set a goal, create an action plan, and get to work on improving it today.  Don’t spend a lot of time trying to be better than others; spend more time trying to create a better you.  Compare yourself to you.  Improve you.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

By Failing to Prepare, You Are Preparing to Fail

20 Jan

smb_081022_gjw_practice[1]“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Successful performance requires purposeful preparation.  This is true in school, sports, business, and life.  As an athlete, your preparation should be year-round, and include sport-specific skill development (for example, basketball ball-handling and shooting); strength and conditioning; and nutrition.

Sport-Specific Skill Development

The first step toward improvement is gaining an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses (I like to refer to them as “areas of opportunity”).  If you have access to video footage of your games, watch it — video doesn’t lie.  Sit down with your coach and have a discussion about what he or she thinks you do well and the areas in which you can improve.  Your goal should be to become a better all-around (complete) player.  The more you can contribute — on both sides of the ball — the greater your value to your team.  You want to be an asset to your team when you’re on the field or court… not a liability.  Don’t get caught up comparing yourself to teammates and/or opponents.  Focus on self-improvement — be better today than you were yesterday.

Strength and Conditioning

Improvements in strength, speed, agility, and athleticism can only benefit you as an athlete.  A strength and conditioning professional can help you develop a plan that is tailored to your needs and goals as an athlete.  Your strength and conditioning plan should be periodized, with phases to address the off-season, pre-season, and in-season.  Generally, as your sport-specific activity increases, your strength and conditioning activity should decrease (taper), and vice-versa.  Your strength and conditioning plan should also be progressive, gradually increasing in intensity over time to ensure improvement.  Don’t take the in-season phase off — it’s important to maintain what you’ve developed!

Nutrition

Learn how to fuel your body for optimum performance.  You can refer to several of my previous blog posts that discuss the importance of breakfast, pre- and post-workout nutrition, and sports performance nutrition.  Don’t underestimate the impact proper nutrition can make — it can affect your metabolism, energy level, and mental focus.

Goal Setting

It’s important to set some challenging but attainable (realistic) goals.  You’re probably not going to go from being a 50% free-throw shooter to an 80% shooter, overnight.  It’s fine for your ultimate goal to be 80%, but set incremental goals along the way.  Develop a plan (in writing) that incorporates lots of purposeful practice and repetition.  Decide how you will measure success, then align your plan with — and channel your efforts toward — your goal.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Chase Your Dream

18 Jan

martin-luther-king-i-have-a-dream[1]What’s your dream?

Dream Big.

Aspire.

Make it happen.

Believe in you.

Carpe Diem.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

15 Jan

failure[1]“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” – Morihei  Ueshiba

“Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda

“I  can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not  trying.” – Michael  Jordan

There are lots of inspirational, motivational quotes on the subject of failure — more than I can include in this blog post.  If you view success as a process (and I do), and not aresult, then failure is a step in that process.  If you’ve ever tried or worked at anything, you’ve experienced failure.  No one gets is right the first time, every time.  Since failure is an inevitable consequence of effort, you’ve got be willing to learn from it and deal with it. Remember, in baseball, the best hitters “fail” 70% of the time; in basketball, the best shooters “fail” 50% of the time. The most important at-bat — or shot — is your next one.

Here are some tips to provide perspective on dealing with failure:

  • Change your point of view; don’t view failure as negative. Think of it as a learning experience that will help you grow and improve.
  • Separate the action from the person —  just because your efforts didn’t meet with success doesn’t mean you are a failure.
  • Realize that not everything is under your control. Understand what you can control, and what you can’t. Impact/influence what you can, to the best of your ability, and don’t stress about the rest.
  • Take some time to reflect on what have you learned, how you will improve, and what you will do differently next time.
  • Avoid blaming anyone or anything else. Be accountable and consider what you could have done differently.
  • Don’t get caught up worrying about what others say or think. Believe in you. Stay positive.
  • Have a plan and write it down. Be specific about goals and action steps.
  • Try again… don’t give up. Give 100% effort; work hard and smart.
  • Be patient. Change takes time. This, too, shall pass.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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