Tag Archives: work ethic

The 3 H’s for Athletes

17 Jun


There are lots of qualities and characteristics that are important elements of athletic performance and achievement.  Ability, skill, and talent are — obviously — what every athlete aspires to develop.

But there are also intangible — effort-related — attributes that can improve any athlete’s performance.  Every team needs these athletes.  Persistent kids who work hard to get the most out of their talents and abilities.

Here are three of those attributes that will make any athlete hard to beat.

The 3 H’s for Athletes:

  1. Hard Work.  Get in the weight room.  Improve your strength, speed, agility, and athleticism.  Practice your sport-specific skills.  Improve your ball-handling, hitting, skating, foot skills, or whatever your sport requires.  Have a plan and work smart.
  2. Heart.  Believe in yourself.  Play with aggressiveness, confidence, and energy.  Hard work begets confidence.  Be confident, but not cocky.  Be positive, and have a “can-do” attitude.  Expect to succeed every time you’re on the field or court.
  3. Hustle.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re the most talented player on the field or court.  Never allow yourself to be out-worked.  Whatever your 100% looks like, give it.


Your thoughts?

Don’t Settle for Average

24 Oct

Average.  Mediocre.  Usual.  Middling.  Run-of-the-mill.  Ordinary.  Common.

No, thank you.

It’s easy to fall into the “path of least resistance” trap.  Sometimes, it seems like that’s what everyone around us does.  It may feel safer to fit in than to stand out.

When we don’t meet our own (or others’) expectations, we tend to try to justify the result to ourselves.  We settle.

Nobody’s perfect — at least not at everything they do, all the time.  Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fall short… we fail.  But if you strive for perfection and fall short, you can still achieve excellence.  You can still be great.

The key lies in our mental approach and work ethic.  Our willingness to pursue greatness.

Work toward your personal best in your daily endeavors, whether that be as an athlete, student, employee, or otherwise.  Try to improve upon the things that are important to you, every day.  Keep your focus internal and don’t worry about competing with others.  Strive to be better today than you were yesterday, and the rest will eventually fall in place.

Believe in you.  You’re better than average.


Your thoughts?

Focus on the Process, not the Outcome

16 Oct

I recently read an interesting article about the Boston Red Sox organizational philosophy.  Hitting Coach (and former big-leaguer), Chili Davis, stressed the importance of his hitters’ approach for each and every at bat.

“What we try to do is have a good approach at the plate.  We are process-oriented. As long as you go up there with a good game plan and execute that plan the best you can, we’re good.”

I really like that because, when you think about it, that philosophy applies well to just about everything.

It’s not that outcomes – goals and results – are not important because, of course, they are.  But goal achievement is rarely possible without consistent and diligent attention to the process.

No one improves their strength without putting in the appropriate work, over time, in the weight room.

Success – excellence – in sports is the result of days, weeks, months, and years of practice and preparation.

Good grades in school are a product of attendance, homework, and studying.

Rewards – promotions and raises – at work are a by-product of long-term effort.

Coach John Wooden was a big proponent of focusing on the process, and not the outcome.  Coach Wooden didn’t focus on winning.  He focused on the character of his team, key fundamentals, daily improvement, effort, potential, and selfless teamwork.  As a result he won… a lot.

Take care of the process – practice, prepare, and work hard – and the results will inevitably follow.


Your thoughts?

Think Like an Athlete

9 Oct

Being an athlete is about more than just strengthspeedagility, and athleticism (although the development of those characteristics is certainly important).  It even goes beyond the genetics and “natural” ability with which you have been blessed.

Being an athlete is also about how you think; how you practice; how you talk (especially self-talk); how you act; and how you dream.

Being an athlete is about setting challenging goals — and working hard toward the achievement of those goals, every day.

Being an athlete is about realizing your long-term objectives and having the discipline to stick to your plan.

Being an athlete means being aware that there will be obstacles along the way, and having the mental toughness to overcome adversity.

Being an athlete involves visualizing yourself succeeding, and positive, encouraging self-talk, along the way.

Being an athlete requires a commitment to constantly improve upon your performance.

Being an athlete means focusing on improving you, and not comparing yourself with others — being better today than you were yesterday.

Here’s a great read from Huffington Post titled, 8 Ways to Think Like an Athlete.  The article does a nice job of expanding upon some of the thoughts discussed above.  If you are — or aspire to be — an athlete, it’s a “must-read.”  And it doesn’t just apply to athletics.  The same principles can be applied to school, work, and life.


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


Your thoughts?

The Relationship Between Preparation and Performance

17 Feb

589031400-300x200I am blessed with the opportunity to work with hundreds of athletes, teams, and organizations, ranging from young boys and girls to elite professional athletes.

Obviously, the work I do with athletes is primarily performance training – Strength & Conditioning, Speed & Agility, etc.  Other areas of performance training, such as sport-specific skill development (e.g., basketball ball-handling and shooting), are equally important.

In addition to training these athletes, I try to get out and watch them (as many as I can) compete.  Watching them play provides me with invaluable insight into two key areas:

  • The impact our training has on their performance, and
  • Areas of improvement where we can enhance/modify our training to further improve performance

But there’s also something else I’ve learned from watching these athletes in a competitive setting: The attitude, effort, and work ethic they bring to our training sessions is directly reflected in their performance.

Recently, I had the opportunity watch several, high-level club volleyball teams play, all of whom participate in our organizational team training.  These opportunities are rare, since most of these teams travel considerable distances to compete – regionally and nationally, and don’t participate in many local tournaments.

As far as I’m concerned, there were no surprises, regarding the level of their performance.  The teams that routinely bring a high level of effort and work ethic – and a positive attitude – to our training sessions played well, even against top competition.  The teams that bring a less-than-desirable attitude and effort to our training sessions did not fare as well.

Work ethic is not a “sometimes” thing.  You can’t work hard some of the time and say you have a strong work ethic.  It would be like studying only some of the time, but claiming to have good study habits.  It simply doesn’t work that way.

You can’t go through the motions and half-a** your way through your performance training sessions and expect a high level of success when it’s game time.  My observation of hundreds of athletes and teams, over time, has corroborated that.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no guarantee of success, even for those athletes who do consistently demonstrate a high level of effort and strong work ethic.  But I sure like the odds, and so should you.


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.


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.


Your thoughts?

How Will You Know If You Never Try?

23 Sep

Man on top of mountain.If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.” – John Barrow

I asked you these questions a few months ago:

  • What to you want to do?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • Who do you want to be?

How will you do it, see it, or be it, if you don’t try?

In order to accomplish anything, you’ve got to expect success.

You’ve got to work hardwork smart, and believe in yourself.

But the most important step is TRYING.

Try and succeed.  Try and fail.  Try again.  Just don’t let lack of effort be the reason you don’t succeed.

NO regrets — NO “could’ve,” NO “should’ve,” NO “would’ve.”

Most people fail not because they lack ability, intelligence, or opportunity, but they fail because they don’t give it all they’ve got.” – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Invest your time, effort, and energy — chase your dream.  Extreme dedication almost always leads to success.

Don’t let worry, wonder, or doubt cloud your vision of success.

Don’t hold anything back.  Give it your best effort.  Whatever that looks like — on any given day — give it.

You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Give it a shot.

Take a chance

Push yourself.

Challenge yourself.

Step outside your comfort zone.

You’ll never know if you don’t try.


Your thoughts?

Attributes of Winners

9 Sep
Professional Triathlete, Andy Drobeck

Professional Triathlete, Andy Drobeck

There are lots of attributes that can be associated with winners and successful people.

In his article, Release Your Inner Elite, Professional Triathlete, Andy Drobeck, lists ten attributes that he believes elite athletes share.

I think Andy’s article is terrific, and I also think his “attributes” apply more broadly than just to elite athletes.  I think these attributes are central to the success of positive thinkers and winners.

Here is Andy’s list:

  1. Strong motivation and work ethic: This is pretty obvious, right? It takes an attitude of doing the work and not cutting corners.
  2. Goal oriented: This is where a plan of action combines with work ethic. Setting a goal, sticking to it, and seeing that goal through.
  3. Fearless: Nobody is completely fearless. But you can’t be afraid to fail and learn from adversity, not dwell on it.
  4. Positive: Focus on what’s going well. Focus on the benefits of what you’re doing. Be happy.
  5. Focused: Stay the course. Don’t be too broad in your goals. Think about 1 day or one workout at a time.
  6. Patient: Things don’t happen overnight. It can take years to develop.
  7. Confident: Knowing you can do what you set out to do. Believe in yourself. Shape confidence through practice and experience.
  8. Non-emotional: Keep the drama low. Anxiety low. Control your emotions and be cool like a cucumber. Freaking out and getting over emotional generally results in poor performance.
  9. Rehearsed: Be prepared for workouts or events by mentally rehearsing them in your head and visualizing successes.
  10. Willingness to sacrifice: This is the hardest of them all because there is a line between sacrifice and obsessiveness (of which I’m sometimes accused). Missing beers on the boat to go for a long ride might be necessary; missing the birth of your first son… you might want to skip the workout. The line is different for everybody but there has to be some willingness to sacrifice some other activities that you may want to do.


Your thoughts?

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