The image of a champion is someone who is bent over drenched in sweat to the point of exhaustion— when no one else is watching.
As everyone’s basketball season is about to get underway, this is often the image that is not seen. So much goes into preparation for anything. There is a correlation between the mental and the physical training. For example when I train my basketball teams, I want them to be in the best condition possible; I called it my 12 week plan. It took them through so much, including the “messy middle” where everyone in all things wants to quit. This is where it gets difficult to persist. Relationships, marriages, businesses, sports all have this messy middle, where things get difficult and people quit.
I found that this is where it was especially to get help from your teammates, colleagues, support system, coaches, bosses. This is the where the strength comes from. There is shared pain and a shared joy that usually comes from this type of training.
But what I am learning from Karate is that same concept of never quitting, putting things into perspective and to believe that if I don’t quit, the Sensei’s won’t quit on me either. This has helped me as a person, as a father, as a businessman, as a coach. To use this same idea with everyone else…I won’t quit on you.
Often in life it’s not the people who are the smartest, educated or talented who succeed, it’s often the ones who just persist. The problem is that we live in an instant society. If we don’t get the results that you were looking for immediately people switch, this is true of marriages, careers, learning a skill. So I have some suggestions that may help in staying the course.
1. Set a goal. Start from the finish line and work backwards. This will help you break down what you are trying to accomplish into smaller achievable goals. Your mind works best when it can focus on a few things at a time to achieve, gain momentum and continue forward in the pursuit.
2. Improve your pace and push through. There are times when you have to just pick up the pace. The best way is to continue to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” It will help you reconnect to the goal that you have in mind. It will help you visualize the victory. Ask yourself what will accomplishing this goal do for you? How will it make you feel? Most of us can do more than we believe we are capable of. The pursuit of anything worthwhile you will have to press on and ask why you are doing what you are doing.
3. Run and walk at the same time. There has to be recovery time in anything you pursue. When you grind out a project, when you are working constantly it’s a recipe for burnout. All of my training sessions have built in recovery periods to keep everyone fresh, and this applies to us all. Staying up late to finish homework, to complete a project isn’t good for anyone. All achievers have this instinct of “Keep working, keep working!” For example, you have a project, and a deadline looming and your trying to push through and it takes you 4 hours to do something that if you had a good night sleep, and you worked on it in the morning, you could get it done in 20 minutes. So this is why we all need this change of pace. Like the top tennis players in the world, the very best, use the time in between the game, they stand still, they use those few seconds to be still, rest, and over time, over the course of the match, equates to quite a bit of time, it helps their endurance, and it becomes a big deal at the end of the match.
4. Kill the distractions. Stay focused. The phone today, with texting, emails, etc., takes away from the focus. We also just need to identify what we are going to do. You have got to learn how to say no so that you can be committed to the bigger yes.
5. Change your self-image. They may see themselves as a quitter. Maybe you quit on something, a job, a relationship. Inner dialogue has to change, that you are a finisher. Karate for example yesterday, our Sensei gave us a drill of punching with weights, slow stress, a good amount of punches to be delivered, and then we dropped the weights and the amount of punches increased exponentially so that would force us to think about quitting. The challenge to get through that was to have a positive self-talk, and to get creative in the sequence, and think in terms of 2 at a time to get through to the end.
It’s important to just never quit. To get through to the end, even if you have to walk. Finish. Confidence will come because you have built this muscle; you have made it through the messy middle and crossed the finish line. You will trust yourself and have the resources to figure out anything.
Have the perception that whatever you undertake, it’s going to take longer than you expect. This will be a temptation for you to quit. Discouragement over the apparent lack of progress will also be a temptation to quit. Going alone on a project, will be a temptation. Don’t go at things alone. And also getting disconnected from why we are doing things? Why is this important? What are the consequences of not completing? This is usually the biggest reason that will keep you persistent.
Thank you for your time, I look forward to your thoughts!
Strange how we think that we can just have what we want. We hear stories of how we can have anything that we want if we just belief and manifest that belief into thoughts, which lead to action, which will lead to your dream being met. That is exactly what happened to one of our players yesterday with OC Magic.
Andre, has a story. He wasn't ready when we first met him, he had to improve his skill set, his athleticism, but we didn't have to do anything with his drive or his vision. He had a set back with injuries, he had setbacks from not playing on his high school varsity team as senior. Yet, with his persistence and belief, he came to train with us, 3 times a week and continued to play and get better.
I have told our players for years, we are stone cutters, we will keep at it daily, one day that stone will break. We will be persistent and believe that rock will break. For Andre, he took that to heart and his dream came true as upon my return from Europe, I was back in the building and one of my NCAA coaching friends reached out to me saying that he had a need and if I had anyone that could help him.
Andre, was next to me, I made the call, put them on the phone together and now he's off to fulfill his dream of becoming a student athlete. 8 million students play high school sports in the U.S. and 480,000 of them get to compete at an NCAA institution. Wow.
Have a purpose of playing, be persistent each day and have passion. Congratulations to Andre and to the others in OC Magic who have moved onto their next dream. Everyone has a story of Persistence and Belief, what's yours? I would love to hear your story, please share.
If anyone wants to get my guide for how to get a college scholarship, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to send to you.
This past week has been full of stress. My boys and I went to the Midwest and East coast of USA on college visits for my oldest son. We had the stress of travel, flights, baggage not arriving, taking buses, trains, renting car, hotel arrangements, university meetings, super hot temperatures and humidity, long walks, living out of a suitcase, 48 hour visits, food choices, just to name a few.
My intention was to make the trip memorable so that it was enjoyable for us all. I had to have intention, planning and a serious dedication to make sure that during each of our visits there was something personal for each state we visited and each university that we met with. Also, that there was something for each of my sons.
But most of all, I wanted this special time with my sons to have meaning that lasted well beyond just this time on the road together, so it got me thinking of questions to ask them during the trip and I think it's good for everyone.
What are your strengths and interests?
What are things that matter most to you?
What is your life purpose?
Now of course, with these questions many of us can't answer them, or we will certainly change with time and yet we all have to begin at some point.
Take some time to answer them, you will be amazed at how you look at things. Ask your own children, you will be amazed what they share with you. I know I was.
During this trip, there were some stressful times as I suggested and yet I got the chance to see my son's character come out. They handled each moment as if they had already done it before. No complaining and a positive attitude. The time in the hotel room was their time to enjoy each other and be kids. At the universities and with guests, was their time to shine with asking meaningful questions, being polite, courteous and genuinely interested in others.
Tell me how you feel about stress.