Start Here

So, you want to go to college? And you want to play a varsity sport.

True?

If your answer is at least, “I think so,” then you have some work to do. Things are not going to magically unfold.

This year it’s been different, certainly, and people are prone to saying things like “when this is all over,” and “when we get back to normal,” phrases that are likely to hold back personal progress as well as impact mental health by focusing us on uncontrollables.

There are things you can do. Now. Here are two you’ve probably thought of and two you probably have not. Do all four for three colleges and see what you learn. Then, do them all for another set of schools…pick some new ones and see what you learn.

1-Go to the home page of the institution, the admissions office, and the financial aid page. Read 100% of the words and watch 100% of the videos. Keep clicking, reading and watching.

2-Do a Google search for the college using the “video” tab and commit 30 minutes to watching.

3-Use Google maps to do a street view tour of your own.

4-Create a LinkedIn account (you’re going to want one later anyway) and search the college, alumni, professors and students. See what people are up to.

If you’re paralyzed with inaction because you’re not playing as much as you’d hoped or can’t travel as you would have, you are missing opportunities to learn. There is plenty to be done.

Ask questions if yourself and of others, find people who have been where you are, and be willing to start over and over…just like preparing to take the field.

Ready? Set. Go.

Rule #31

This one is a rule that’s being broken in our current times. The era of COVID-19 is providing rare situations for certain.

The exceptions don’t make the rule invalid, however. Most things are not unique; even large scale pandemics have happened and we might learn from those instances. For sure we can learn from our personal, more day-to-day happenings.

When challenges present themselves look for examples of previous similar happenings and see what you can learn from those.

Most things are not rare.

Rule #16

Make believe can be fun and productive. Imagine yourself in a future situation and work out a way to make it great. Plan future relationships, make future plays.

Just because 100% of the pieces aren’t the way they would be in a game, the game itself is still being played.

Make your preparation as real as you can and see how the impact holds.

It’s You

So often I hear people complain about their poor time management skills. First, this is a personal problem.

Why complain about something that’s 100% in your control? Even if time management were a thing, why wouldn’t one work to make their skills better rather than spend time complaining about them?

So I’m on a crusade to make the phrase be self-management rather than time management.

Go.

Does Everyone Know?

Oh yeah, everyone thinks that’s the right thing to do.

Everyone says it’s true.

I’ll get everyone together and we’ll get it done.

Is “everyone” really all of the people? Who’s important, and who is optional to be in the group of everyone?

If you need everyone on board you better be sure that everyone knows what’s happening. And if you don’t need everyone then just ask the people who are crucial.

No Neutral Rule

There is no such thing as “not doing anything wrong” on a team or at work. If someone is saying that, they’re probably doing something wrong.

If you are not giving, you are taking away. Energy is a zero sum game.

When you answer, “it’s going”, or “as good as can be expected,” when asked how you are, you are violating the No Neutral rule.

Be mindful of your projected energy.

Cleared for takeoff

Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Then, breathe.

Flight attendants remind us of this every time we get on a plane.

In the case of emergency, or even just to be at your best every day, we should take care of ourselves first.

“Self-care” is a buzzword concept lately, and one that I’ve tended to push aside as too touchy-feeling and not as important as things like planning or assessing results. However, the basics of making others–teams and individuals–better involves having a handle on our own health and well-being.

It’s true. To be a great resource for others we should be at our best. What can you do to make your own situation better, healthier or more clear?

Maybe it’s eating, sleeping, hydrating or something else physical; maybe it’s making time to talk to others or read or just think.  Experiment with doing or not doing things differently and see how you can become a better resource to those around you by having yourself taken care of first.

 

Don’t Forget the Hard Stuff

“It’s going to be even better next year,” is dangerous thinking.

Too often we forget how hard we worked. We forget the struggles and disagreements, the fights, even. We forget the pain of workouts or the disappointments of injuries.

Our brains opt to deemphasize the hard parts and glowingly highlight the good times and success (wow, what fun!).

This is results-focused thinking without any real definition of “better”, or a goal to reach for and the process that it will entail.

We want to feel all of the glory, the excitement, the upsides and the wins.  We want this as individuals and as teams. We love the feeling that success will be easy, but we know better.

It was hard the last time, and it will take a similar bit of hard work the next time. Go.

 

Decide to Decide

Making decisions is much easier if you commit to being a decision-maker.  Telling yourself: “I am a decision-making machine,” will allow you to spend less time on the idea of committing.

Sure, you’ll want to get the facts and weigh the options while you prepare a big decision, but most just need you to say, “yeah, i’m good at picking between the specials on the menu,” or “watch me pick out a shade of white for the ceiling”.

If you can do that–making a reasonable, quick decision often runs no more risk of being wrong than does a protracted process–that you’ll be able to save time and brain power for determining the next steps after that decision.

In coaching there are tons of decisions to be made, and all can be second-guessed later. Usually, the opposite choice could be debated just as much as the one made, if the outcome is not what was hoped.

Taking the time to get the information you need is important, and being committed to being good at the act of decision-making will make it an even better process.

Midseason Form

What’s that?  Is that a good thing–hitting on all cylinders–or is that a stopover to great?  If so, how long will you stay?

Hitting your stride, finding the next gear…if you could quantify (and you should) these things, what would they look like?  How will you know?

Create a measurement systems and practice regular assessment (ask everyone, not just yourself or your leadership) on the way to continuous improvement.