Saturday, September 11, 2010

Coming Back and Fighting For What I Know


It has been several months since I last posted and well, I'm glad to have the clarity of thought and time to consider new ideas and to try new things to better live to my potential. Which is what I enjoy exploring, human potential that is. The main reason I chose originally to be a coach was I felt "led there". You know, that moment in your life where you recognize you are pursuing interests rather than desires, wants or challenges. I had opportunity to participate in a number of sports with some decent successes, but I always had to seek out multiple people to help gain the edge I felt I might need. Sure, some say, yeah... "those that can do and those that can't teach," I think those that teach do for more purpose then themselves and perhaps for the greater good of all. My reality is that I've listened to "the world" far too much in my day and I coach for one reason. I want to help people achieve their goals and I want to do it in a manner that I always felt it should be done, a more complete and total package approach. That involves me having the energy, making the time, and choosing to be open to new and challenging ideas and concepts. I'm making a commitment on this blog to share more consistently ideas that will help any athlete or person to better focus on performing better.
Let me be realistic, I've been independently studying 'the great performers' for well over 14 years of my life now and both through experience, observation and a ton of reading those that perform have some very simple approaches and strategies. The really interesting fact is that few of the strategies vary from one arena to the other. Yep, what it takes to be successful in business are the same qualities it takes to be successful in sports. These are routine or daily practices that the more 'successful' seem to adhere to or live by. I hope to cover a number of these concepts in coming days, weeks, and months. Until then, here is a question for you to consider:


Q. What are your top 3 life priorities? List the top 3, don't take too much time, just list them out as you believe want these things to be.
  • Once you have listed your three items turn to your calendar for the past week and review and note how those 3 things do or don't seem to hold place in your week.
  • My example: I had family in one of the top 3 positions, but there was no family time in my previous weeks schedule; there were no phone calls to family or love ones, so how much of a priority is my family? A challenging fact to recognize.
  • So, consider your priorities, if they are posted there and you don't devote time to them, then realize you are likely not pursuing what you value or desire most.
  • Finally, make changes, a good friend shared with me this past year these words, "Well if there is something I don't like, I change it. Because I have that ability..." A matter of fact statement that we all seem to understand, but let's be realistic how many of you are living in the manner you really desire to be living?

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Power Of Choice!

You may be considering the title at this very moment, thinking that I'm about to make a political statement, or state my position on,,, but I'd rather be arrogant and consider myself too wise to banter on a topic so 'grey'. I know some wise individual out there is probably considering to not make a statement is cowardice, I consider it more energy management.
I will express here something I think topically applicable to sport as well as life, which is much of what I spend my thoughts on these days while doing countless numbers of bike fits, saddle fits, and minuet (forgive the potential misspelling) aerobar adjustments. We all know the most power is to have a choice, in anything. We choose nearly every aspect of how we go about living our life. Assuming this is at least 50% true would denote that we are least capable of being 50% happy considering that we have the opportunity to make 50% of our decisions. Fifty percent of what we would do, would be based upon our own direction. Wait a moment... Are you always happy with your decisions and choices? That is an entirely different topic, but a valid questions to pose. Do you follow a process of how you go about living or choosing your life? Should we, consider pleasure, plan for it, and remain persistent until we achieve it?
I'm 36 years of age and I've taken pride in taking details into account and executing them for most of my life. I can share outrageous stories about my life which you might seriously doubt took place just considering where I stand today. I could list off a number of detailed experiences that would have most considering I might have been 'blessed' to have had such opportunity. I should be able to look at these experiences and accomplishments with feelings of enjoyment, happiness, and gratefulness, shouldn't I? Of course, and why might I not? Well, this is what I am wanting to consider today, recognizing that we each are in a place "to be or not to be?" Yes, that is the question, but it is the answer as well. The process is denoted above, in 3 simple steps. What do we want? The process of how we will obtain it and what our outlook is supposed be until then. So, why is it so hard for some of us, myself included? Because we stand in our own way. Psychological research denotes that between the ages of 9-14 year of age we fabricate the neurosis by which we will live our lives. Yes, I said neurosis. Why? Because we are talking about difficulties with attainment and happiness and ultimately joy. So, isn't it a neurosis? OK, so the medical community no longer uses that term, but lets consider why? Because "they" (smart people) have since learned that neurosis simply referred to mild mental and emotional issues, usually involving some form of anxiety or classifiable phobia with no real loss of reality. So, case in point could we consider our self-imposed torment or neurosis early on in our lives and the end result is we live our lives out from this "childish" frame of action or more appropriately reaction. It is only in healthful circumstances that we exceed these circumstances.
Let me explain with more detail, I'll stop defending my choice of terminology already. So, let's say during my families divorce during the age of 8-9 years I felt a deep distrust toward each of my parents for acting selfishly. Now, lets say this created a distrust in life circumstance, so I now look at life with a mild hesitation (can we agree this is a form of fear, thus my choice of term). You see this is the Amygdala, a small mass in your brain that is responsible for coordinating autonomic, endocrine system, and some emotion centers. Back to the example, I would first have to recognize that how I think of situations is a result of my experience, then I could detail my feelings to more easily deal with them, next detail my concerns or fears. I believe this technique was sourced by Byron Katie, and if you don't know this women's story you should look it up, it is quite extraordinary. Then I would take these details and clarify them further, asking more specific and pointed questions: Is my feeling true? Can I absolutely know it is true? How do I react when I think these thoughts? and finally, who would I be without these thoughts? The end result is that we harbor great emotion and anxiety because we fail to have the skills to effectively reprogram our lives toward what we want and who we want to be. So there you go, more evidence that, with significant physiological influence over why your day to day perspective matters. I know it is hard to accept that things so meaningful and dear to us can be so uncomplex, we may even harbor the idea that we are "thinkers" and consequently now you have to face that some of these thoughts may not be thoughtful, rather limitations. All think, some of us far too much for our own good. If there is emotion ask yourself from where? Why? Is it worth it? Really!
Now, You no longer have to prove anything to your father, mother, siblings you don't have to prove your tough or smart. Just realize you are reactionary and hate be told what to do, or make peace because you fear the fact that in a room 1/3 of people will love you, 1/3 will dislike, and 1/3 will be indifferent. Facts, facts of science, life, and you. Now, what? Do you pursue that goal? Of course, because now you can pursue it fully, with enjoyment and without the baggage that results in grief, that eventually will rob you of the happiness of the journey. You know it, you've heard it, "it's all about the journey." So, go and live it!!!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Philosopher Coaches

That is Lou Holtz in the photo to the left, a truly legendary coach. A man grouped into an era of "philosopher" coaches. I suppose I should clarify the above statement. This term was established by the author of "Philosopher Coaches", which implies that coaches of today stand with more managerial skills present and less fundamental life philosophy built into their very fabric. Coaches like Doc Counsilman, Jim Wooden, Vince Lumbardi, and Lou Holtz. These were men of Hope, Care, and Passion for success. They believed in building up the athlete, expressing care, and doing what was right. They had a moral value toward their athletes, communities, and despised anything less then giving their best. Just to list these ideals stimulates motivation.

Lou Holtz believed in three general rules to guarantee success as an athlete and person: 1. Do what is right. This statement speaks for its self. 2. Do the absolute best you can. This rule simply says it all, at the end of the day no one can question you if you have done your complete best. 3. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Well, we've all heard this before, the ideas set here are straight forward with little challenge of understanding, we can all relate to doing this, but only imagine what society would be like if on your drive to work tomorrow you didn't exclude the neighbor from the spot ahead of you as he/she backed out of their drive way.

Here are some additional ideas that Lou Holtz shared in his leadership at Notre Dame: "Change to Win". This is a valuable statement that expresses how important it is to take the steps toward progress even if you are criticized. As a coach, I've learned it is wisest to study the method and listen to the athlete. "Accept and realize that the real key to success is that you will face adversity, and what is most important is to remember that crisis will make you stronger and that your reaction (So act positively) toward these moments will make all the difference in the outcome." Here is Lou Holtz' Formula for success:

1. Answer the question. What do you want to do?

2. Set a plan.

3. Work for it.

4. Expect it to happen.

Here you see the importance of goals and writing them down drastically improves the achievement or outcome. The plan makes things more visible and seemingly achievable. The commitment to labor for what you desire is probably the step where most hesitate or even never get. Yep, the work is what makes all the difference in the world, so commit to this step first and you will be surprised how easily the expectation will be and how suddenly you will achieve what you desired.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Unfinished Business

How often do you wake up in the middle of the night with a nagging anxiety? How hard is it to realize what that anxiety is or was? I have a wise friend who often expressed how the body is amazingly aware of strife and burden and consequently expresses it's difficulty in very physical forms. For some that is severe to mild back pain, headaches, simulated injuries, and sometimes failed efforts. We could easily relate this to the subconscious mind being aware of what we deny and our bodies desiring a way to express what we can't or fail to deal with appropriately. I can say that I know exactly what this looks and feels like.
Just a few years ago I found myself in a position that I never thought I would end up, but as my grandfather would have said, "life throws you curve balls (He was a great baseball fan as is my father), so you best practice so you can hit them." The idea was that I should practice hitting curve balls more to recognize the varied breaking patterns of pitch to better be able to hit the ball. Needless to say, I was in a position that was the type of challenge that brought great stress, fear, and doubt in my abilities to my life. This was the first time I was in a position to test what I might be made of. I must add, most of us in sport seek this in the actual events, choosing greater and greater feats to challenge and test our spirits. It had been some time since an event had taken me to that point and I was over due. Without detail, I found myself compromising my goals by not setting any points of measurability finding much of my satisfaction in helping others achieve their goals. Though this may seem fulfilling, moments like this come and soon go and without some general personal direction you find yourself asking where it is you went? As for myself, I became what I was doing, not who I wanted to be. The result was becoming a person I was not excited about being and I would guess my friendships displayed this fact. I recently have displayed symptoms of this change, an inability to sit still, complete a tasks, and a pattern of general shortcoming. I made my share of mistakes during this time in my life and with great consequence to me and perhaps others. I guess the main point of this banter is to express the deep impact this time had on me and perhaps I am only now recuperating from this period. Second, I want to state as a form of accountability to myself that I'm not finished working with athletes/coaching. There is still much for me to learn, training models that I have not fully evaluated, applications to triathlon performance not explored in the detail I enjoy. So I have some unfinished business, not to be without error, but to pursue experience, information, and most importantly my passion for sport, science, and methods of development to the sport of triathlon.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


The memories that return of my childhood when I think of the game of tag. Such a simple game and all you really need is a few friends. This thought is why I'm abliged to participate in this internet based game of Tag. So here are my five facts:

1. "I feel dead people". Well, more effectively have had some very odd and perceptive 'scary situations' in life, that makes this statement true.
2. I admire great faith in people.
3. My favorite movie is Chariots of fire.
4. I have a nagging desire to aid in the development of athletes in the sport of triathlon.
5. I am deep a believer in competition to grow your spirit and have not competed in any form of competitive venue in nearly 4.5 years.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Meaningful Purpose: Values and Virtues

Through the course establishing positive rituals a fundamental step must not be ignored. That step is each individual must take the step to process his or her value structure. This step should help provide intrinsic value, inspiration, and meaning that cannot be taken away from anyone. So how do you do it, here are some questions that can help jump start your mind toward establishing a value list.
Answer these questions:
What matters most to you? If you struggle consider these additional questions to help point you into the direction of establishing your value list.
1. What are the 3 most important lessons you have learned in your life and why are they so critical?
2. Thing of someone you deeply respect. Describe 3 qualities in this person that you most admire.
3. Who are you at your best?
4. Upon the end of your life, what inscription would you like to see on your tombstone that would capture who you really were in your life? (et. al. J.Loehr & T. Schwartz, 2003)

OK, now you may have a short list of some values that are important to you. Below you find a more detailed list of some values, but lets remember that a value is a road map, a personal road map of purpose. Thus if you have no follow through the value is empty and will not provide the source of fuel and purpose described previously or herein. Before we look toward these values consider your motivation. All too often our motivation for a behavior is expedient rather than value driven, so consider these values as the source for your actions and behavioral adjustments. Values hold us to a different standard and therefore help us to manage energy more effectively. Here is an example: Let's say that I have chosen to race bicycles, I might pose a questions as to why do I take the time out of my day....? Lets say I answer that questions to assure I live a life of courage and well being. The value of care or well being addresses the life style cycling offers it's participant the aspect of courage could be the challenge of day to day labor the sport take to participate and be competitive. Without these values I might not find a reasonable purpose as to why to head out the door come a rainy day. Again, courage comes to mind, further a value of commitment comes to mind. There you have it, this is how you begin to find purpose in what it is you want out of your life and establishing this purpose through a value structure assures you will bring passion, commitment, and perseverance to whatever it is you do.

Value Check list:
Authenticity Happiness
Balance harmony
Commitment Health
Compassion Honesty
Concern for others Humor
Courage Integrity
Creativity Kindness
Empathy knowledge
Excellence Loyalty
Fairness Openness
Faith Perseverance
Family Respect for others
Freedom Responsibility
Friendship Security
Generosity Serenity
Genuineness service to others

Next we will explore how establishing a vision for how we intend to invest our energy, take the time to write out your values and maybe a few ways you can apply them to your daily life. Go with purpose!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Top researchers, physicians, businessmen, Olympic and world champion athletes, all share some very specific daily attributes. They all at some point take the time to apply a positive ritual system as an means of resource management. More specifically this 'positive ritual' system is applied in a very consistent manner to assure that the most important resource is plentyful. What is that resource? If you haven't realized I'm not talking about time or even the management of it, though important, it is not near as important as the management of one's energy. You see in the course of a business day, or in the rush of the E.R. time is always a critical resource, but if the businessmen and physicians do not learn to conserve energy the result could be catastrophic.
Each of the above accomplished individuals have taken the time to identify their key values, develop a vision, then creating rituals that address their primary performance barriers and finally hold themselves accountable each day to that process which exemplifys itself as commitment. Further the ideal of discipline and will power are not deeply rooted in this process. In fact, the specific steps assure that will and discipline are the end result but not the initial attribute to assure commitment is in place. You see will power and discipline both extract from that same resource mentioned earlier, therefore, will and discipline both are important variables to utilize only under the most demanding and high priority senarios. The result is a step by step process that transform the individual into a "master of conservation of energy" with a deeply seeded value system to fuel them toward their goal with unlimiting purpose. So, if you find you haven't or can't seem to answer the questions of why you do certain things in your life then consider this formula further and stick with me as I expand in the coming weeks on each the steps.
An example of this very process in action:
As usual here is a flow cast of Dr. Joe Vigil Deena Kastor to an Olympic medal in Athens in the marathon our first in several. This video reviews Coach Vigil's awe and perspective of this process in action.
Additionally, here is an attachment of Deena's and Joe's plan and how carefully laid plans, and goals were a part of the entire process.