Accountability and Responsibility

One of the site’s contributors, Shaun, sent me the quote below. I quickly shared it with my team and other athletes I train along with Artie at Athletic Revolution. It reminded me of college when heading into my 3rd year, our team’s theme was “Accountability and Responsibility” to ourselves and our teammates. It is amazing the things you can accomplish when you truly take hold of the reins and are willing to be truly accountable and responsible for your actions and to help keep your teammates on task as well. I wrote those two words on a piece of paper and hung it on my wall so it would be the first thing I saw when I woke up and the last thing I saw before I fell asleep. It helped. Because I had the confidence my teammates were holding up their end of the bargain and I knew I had to do the same because I didn’t want to be the weak link. So honor your commitments big and small. If you’ve watched The Wire, you know “All the Pieces Matter” when you’re working towards a goal.

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What pledge have you made to yourself recently?

Deliberate Practice

odell beckham jrAs a coach, I do a lot of reading of how to improve my practices and make them more efficient and effective. Efficiency from the standpoint of having little to no wasted time, while keeping everyone engaged and focused on the task at hand. And being effective, by making sure everyone is making gains by working on the specific skills they need to. A lot of that effort leads to making sure the athletes are doing Deliberate Practice daily. Deliberate practice is defined as a highly structured activity engaged in with the specific goal of improving performance. Deliberate practice is different from the simple repetition of a task. Corbett Barr outlines the four essential components of deliberate practice and what it means to do it.  Continue reading

OGP #ThrowbackThursday: Power of Expectation

As youth, most of us begin reacting to others’ expectations of us before we fully form our expectations of ourselves. A key part of “growing up” is our formulation of the latter — what we expect of ourselves… My young life provided numerous examples of negative expectations, to which I reacted negatively, leading to disappointing results… Fortunately, there were also positive expectations, to which I usually reacted in ways of which I could be proud… Along the way I realized that my own expectations — for myself — outweighed it all.

Negative Expectation, Disappointing Behavior

Okay, maybe not THIS bad 🙂

During my ninth grade year, a friend and I decided to cut a class. We got caught (surprise, surprise :-)). Before turning us in to the vice principal, the teacher of the class pulled my friend and I aside. He briefly surveyed us visually, then turned to my friend and said “I expected more of you” … Whoa. I didn’t admit it at the time; but that comment, as well as that which went unsaid to me, cut deeply. As a coping mechanism, I checked out from that point on. To my own detriment, I found myself unable to absorb anything that guy said. Once football season was over, I skipped school, altogether, on multiple occasions simply to avoid attending that class. I did passed the class, because grades were based solely on tests; and I typically did well on tests. Had class participation counted for anything, I would’ve been in trouble.

I’ll bet I know what you’re thinking 🙂 … My behavior, in this case, wasn’t great to begin with 🙂 … While this is true 😀 , higher expectations would probably have helped me turn in the right direction, though! 🙂 . In support of my theory, I submit another example from the same time period…

Positive Expectation, Constructive Behavior

Also during my ninth grade year, another of my teachers (my English teacher) and I got off to a rocky start. On the very first day of class, as he gave an overview of the course — and his expectations 🙂 — I whispered something to the kid next to me. I can’t remember what I whispered, or even to whom I whispered it; but I clearly remember what happened next. The teacher requested my immediate presence in the hallway. When we were in the hallway, he closed the door and had some choice words for me. I responded with some choice words of my own. He poked me in the chest, and I blew up. I don’t know if I could’ve handled him, physically, at that stage of my life (LOL), but I was damned sure ready to try. Fortunately for us both, he thought better of it and requested that I follow him to the vice principal’s office.

Yuh… At that time, at least in my town, teachers still hit kids on occasion. LOL, I know it’s terrible; but I have to laugh when I compare it to the way things are today. Can you imagine the backlash if a teacher called a student into the hall today and poked him or her in the chest???

When we arrived at the vice principal’s office, he informed the vice principal that he would not again have me in his class. The vice principal advised us both that his was the only English class available (LOL), so his class was the only option. I returned to his class the next day, kept my mouth shut, paid attention and did my assignments.

About one week into the class, we were given our first writing assignment. I did the assignment and handed it in, as instructed. When the teacher returned our marked up papers, I was surprised to find constructive criticism as well as encouraging words. I was surprised on several fronts:

  • I assumed he hated my guts, and I assumed that matter of preference would dictate every interaction between us.
  • I never considered that I might have a talent/knack for any type of communication, written or otherwise.
  • Even though I still wasn’t certain whether he hated me or not, I felt an inexplicable desire to do an even better job on the next assignment… I had no idea what it would be, but I was looking forward to it. Up until that point, I’d NEVER looked forward to ANY school assignment.

When we were assigned the next paper, I worked with a craftsman’s mentality. My paper would represent what I’d learned and show what I could do — not only to him, but to myself, as well. When I got the paper back, I was surprised, yet again. There was constructive criticism followed by words that I can still see (in my head, of course) today.

“I enjoy reading your work.” — by the first teacher that led me to take pride in my schoolwork.

I held my head high, and my chest grew a size that day… That was followed by yet another new notion……. I didn’t want to let him down. He had high expectations of me. I resolved to never disappoint him… To this day, there is nothing that drives me more than the desire to honor, with my best effort, those who place faith in me.

I regret that Mr. Hazlett (sp) almost certainly didn’t realize the magnitude these experiences had — and continue to have — on my life.

Expecting More of Ourselves

It’s great when people expect great things of us. It’s better, and even more powerful, when we expect great things of ourselves… By “expect”, I not simply mean “hope”. Expectation is about more than that. Expectation is also about vision. To truly expect something of ourselves, we need to put real thought intomake real plans for, and take actual steps toward our goals. To have high expectations of ourselves is not to kid ourselves.

Given this basis for expectations, we can still expect great achievement. Some of our plans may be fuzzy, as achievement is usually accompanied by learning new things. We can plan as we know how, take steps as we are able, learn and continue raising the bar.

If you are one who believes that high expectations set the stage for disappointment, consider whether the examples of expectations that bring this thought to your mind were heavy on aspiration, yet light on vision, planning and steps toward goals.

Expecting More of Those Who Seek Our Direction

I hope, at this point, that this is a no-brainer. If we truly want to help someone to achieve great things, we must make clear to them that we have high expectations. If we clarify what those expectations are, why we have them and on what those expectations are based, we have much greater chances of helping those who seek our direction to reach their full potential.

” High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation” — Jack Kinder

Previous Throwback Thursday Posts

OGP #ThrowbackThursday: Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Be true to yourself. Don’t cheat yourself. Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror.

How many times have you heard these, or some variant of them? What do these mean to you? When did you first truly ask yourself — er, the mirror — “Who is the [insert self-affirming adjective here] one of all”? More importantly, when did you first take head of the answer, and what impact did it have on your life?

I recently had a very tough conversation with a beloved protege that led me to revisit this concept. It reminded me of a drastically different situation that caused me to do what I asked of her — to look in the mirror, be honest about what you see and, if you are not satisfied with what you see, be sincere in your actions to grow.

It sounds so simple. It actuality, it can be so hard. Sometimes it stings. When you are sincere, though, and you really want to grow, it’s always rewarding. Here’s my flashback…

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Corners

“I want my corners.” -Avon Barksdale

I was watching clips from The Wire and I was reminded of the quote above and I started to think what it meant on a deeper level. Two things came to mind when hearing it. The first was Stephen Covey’s quote, “The Main Thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” While the second was the hedgehog principle highlighted in Jim Collins book Good to Great. And deep down, I think that is what drove Avon to simply “want his corners.”

Hedgehog Principle

Hedgehog Principle

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Parenting & Coaching

“I love to watch you play.”

I was reading two articles on Hands Free Mama, that focused on saying “hurry up”and the important thing about yelling. Later on in the day, I saw an article, “Mora handles UCLA with care” on Facebook about UCLA football coach, Jim Mora, posted by Proactive Coaching with the status “Love this perspective…coach like you are a parent – parent like you are a coach”

The Connection
Let me step back a moment. I first read Hands Free Mama when a friend posted this article, “Six Words You Should Say Today” and I started using it immediately. I was amazed  at how well it worked. Her article was based on one she read titled “What Makes a Nightmare Sports Parent–And What Makes a Great One” that featured a survey by Proactive Coaching founders, Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller. I share these articles each season with the parents of my athletes. It is the first thing I say to my kids when they do any scheduled or impromptu performance. And it works, the words always bring a smile to their faces and generally earns me a hug.

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