Monday 22 February 2010

What you Want v What you Expect........

Last Sunday I was listening to Neil O'Brien a noted sports psychologist on the radio. It was very insightful. Neil has worked with many well known stars and teams.

He was being asked about what makes the difference between winning and losing. What he had to say was very insightful and through it I learned quite a lot. He made reference to how Olympic athletes set goals and win Gold medals. They 'begin with the end in mind', what will it take to win your event in 4 years time and work back from that setting goals on a daily basis....everyday. I first heard Sir Stephen Redgrave talk about winning gold medals over and over again when I lived in the UK. This principle was pioneered by John Nabor in the 1970's who was a noted (but not exceptionally gifted) backstroke swimmer. He showed that with some 'guile and guts' you can outdo better opponents with relentless but meaningful focus.

He said there were 3 aspects to Performance:

  1. Technical preparation

  2. Physical preparation

  3. Mental Preparation............(This was by far the most important.)

Here's the nugget I picked up................When working with a Team, the ones that succeeded were the ones whose desires (what they wanted) were matched by what they expected. His reference was to a Team who wanted to win a County Football Championship BUT when asked what they expected to happen, they replied, "a good run, maybe a semi-final...." What happened...? You guessed, they didn't win. Paul's own background is in golf. Like tennis an individual sport where mental toughness counts for everything. (Why Tiger Woods and Roger Federer are so far ahead of the rest of the pack)

So what makes the difference between winners and the MATCHING of EXPECTATION (desired outcome/belief) with WANT (desire).....So to succeed your belief and your desire must be in sync. There should be no doubt. Why I love Coaching so much is, it's really about Positive Psychology= focusing on what you want. It is a superb antidote to much of the conditioning of our past and maybe our present. Too often we are reminded of what we don't want and can't have. The power of the mind is to develop the resilience to push back, re-frame and believe that things can be not alone different but BETTER.........The ultimate winners in life therefore are those who are mentally tougher. I took great heart from these words....Why...? Because I decide and I can BECOME tougher mentally and so I can get BETTER.............So can you. It's still only February. If your dreams for 2010 are not happening you can start all over again and become the winner you want to be.

Would really like to know what you think about this, it's so fundamental..........

Monday 15 February 2010

"A Tender Warrior"- The Hal Moore Story

This is without doubt a moving story. I'd heard of him and the movie, but, was largely oblivious to the extent and scale of General Hal Moore's accomplishments.
He's rated in the top 100 Generals of all time.
  1. In 2 major wars, he never lost a man, had a POW or a missing in action
  2. His were 'the first boots on the battle field and the last off'- What a role model.

This is a link to a short 3 minute video with him describing at age 86 what the most important attributes of a Leader are.....

These points really resonated with me:

  • Look for the Will to Win in all you do, in all you people- It is the WE factor We Endure
  • Inspire Public Trust-Without it you have nothing (no mandate for war I guess as well)
  • Combat to Comrade- In war there are no winners only survivors- Make peace with your enemy
  • Live life abundantly; He skied and climbed into his 70's/80's. Trust your body and don't let the niggles ever get the better of you!
  • His slogan was always "drive on"....We are all Leaders and that's what Leaders do

These clips and insights inspire me and that's their aim. Not to turn anyone into General Hal Moore, but to inspire us to BECOME the best we can. That's Leadership of the highest order...because it's Personal Leadership and it's where it all starts.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Your comments on this would be most welcome.

Monday 8 February 2010

Common Traits found in the Uncommon Leader

The acclaimed Leadership author John Maxwell summarised why people who lead at the highest levels are quite extraordinary. They are people of action who have their priorities in line. Here are the 5 common threads he's found in these extraordinary people he's encountered. A link to a short and easy to read summary of his book "The Right to Lead" can be viewed here:

Here's what he found:
  1. FUTURISTS: Their dreams are bigger than their memories
  2. LOBBYISTS: Their cause outlives and out-speaks their critics
  3. CATALYSTS: They initiate movement and momentum for others
  4. SPECIALISTS: They don't do everything, they do one thing especially well
  5. OPTIMISTS: They believe in their cause and people beyond reason

When you break that down what 'type of person' do you get? It looks like they're forward looking so they will have a Vision. The most dangerous of all dreamers, the dreamers of the day-those that recall and act on their dreams. They have Passion, they toil tirelessly for what they believe in. Today we call that "banging on and on"........They also Persevere in order to prevail. Leaders cannot lead without a mandate from followers. These people are Inspirational and role model the behaviours and actions they want. This motivates others to do the same. Though we have to be good generalists to get by, these days in order to excel we need to Acquire Mastery in some specific area. Malcolm Gladwell in his latest book (Outliers) reckons this takes 10,000 hours- approx 10 years! These Masters are Sanguine and Upbeat, resilient and resourceful. They have an easy relationship with the world. You know why...? It's because when things don't go according to plan they reframe the problem in their own heads in order to focus on what they want. This unwavering belief allows them to play a long game in pursuit of their own cause and supporting the development of those linked to that success. This is not about title and hierarchy, much more about progress and contribution. This I believe is what turns Leaders into what Stephen Covey calls 'People Magnets'

As you read this, think about how you'd feel this Monday if this was your Leader...!!

While you're waiting for Perfection to show up, take the first step on the road to Excellence and see where that leads you. You'll become a Leader in your own right without any consultation, telling or asking whatsoever..........Enjoy the journey and watch how people treat you differently!

Monday 1 February 2010

The Road To Failure Is Paved With Good Intentions....

This is a quote attributed to a man called W.Clement Stone. At his peak in the 1930-1950's he was listed as the 12th wealthiest man in the world. He made his fortune selling Insurance and was indeed a very wise man. Our actions, not our words define us.

So, as we begin yet another year, as a Coach a question I ask myself is; "How can I set this year up for success?" A lofty enough question, but a fundamentally good one. A question each of us must be able to answer if we want the year to turn out as we expected not as it 'just happened'.

Much of this success is about having Goals. I don't know about you but I've always struggled with this. I got bored with goals and later realised they weren't really my Goals or what I really wanted. Why?...I didn't know what I wanted and equally importantly I didn't know WHAT or HOW to make them happen........... I do now, but I still find this difficult. Good Coaches I feel should be like real parents. When was the last time you heard anyone say; "Our Johnnie, he's a great guy, but he's really quite average at many things. He's got a few things he excels at and we help him with that. The rest is really just a struggle".........??

Yet when we understand the 'bell curve' and see how things are normally distributed a good 6/10 of what we say is probably not real. My aim is not to change anyone's life here, just to share a few things that work. Firstly here are some things I really struggle with despite what I know... Hope this normalises what you read and encourages you to read on!

- I need to do exercises to rehabilitate my knee so I can get back to walking (which I love)

- I need to get more sleep, the discipline around this is really challenging

- I have an appallingly sweet tooth. I give up goodies at least weekly and often daily........

You see, Coaches are people too! In our line of work we call this self-sabotage or hijacking. I know what's happening, it often makes it all harder...! So what to do?

There's a great saying that runs; "When you're not sure what to do next, just take the next step" That's what I've been doing, taking baby steps. I'm surprised at how far you can travel when you take small steps regularly. A little often is better than hit and miss. My background is in Sales & Marketing, notorious for over-estimating what's realistic! This year I gave myself a month to do what I'd have expected to achieve (and never did) in a week. I now feel I can do more and quicker. Success is a habit and momentum gets built through discipline and focus. I now look forward to February having built on a sensible but meaningful January.

If your own January hasn't been all you'd like, why not re-set your goals over 11 months and start again....Who said you too could not make your own rules..!