September 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – September 23, 2016

I am uncomfortable with failure.  Oh, I have failed many times in my life and I understand that we learn our greatest lessons through failure….and still, I don’t accept failure well.  I take it personally.  When I was still teaching, if my band was struggling I knew that somehow it was my fault; somehow I was missing some critical piece of the puzzle that was needed.  As a coach, if my team is not being successful, I know that somehow it is my fault; I am responsible for putting them in a position in which they are able to win.  I am willing and able to accept that responsibility.  I am, however, unwilling to accept failure.

Teamwork is the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.  I once read that the founder of a company that grew to a billion dollars in revenue believed, “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”  The team with which I am currently working is struggling.  I could give you a list of excuses like we are starting 5 sophomores and 2 freshmen on a varsity team, but the fact that they are so young is not the problem.  The problem is that I have been unable to get them all rowing in the same direction.  Like so many aspects of life, teamwork comes down to mastering a set of behaviors that are at once theoretically uncomplicated, but extremely difficult to put into practice day after day.  Success only comes for those groups that overcome the all-too-human behavioral tendencies that corrupt teams….and therein lies my failure.  I must do a better job of helping them overcome those tendencies.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider the challenges of your own team and your impact and influences on those challenges.  When your team is unsuccessful, do you place the blame on your teammates, the referee’s calls, the weather, or some other excuse you can conjure up?  Perhaps, like me, you struggle not only with the idea of failure, but also the part you play in that failure.  Being accountable for the failure means you must also be accountable for finding a solution to the behavioral tendencies which are corrupting your team’s opportunities for success.  I know I have introduced the team to the behaviors necessary for their success.  Now I have to get them all rowing in the same direction.  I know their success depends on my success.  You must excuse me; I have some rowing to do!

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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September 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – September 22, 2016

The one constant in life is change.  Biologically, we don’t have any choice in the matter: Bodies grow. Cells age.  Hormonal infusions come and go.  One day we are a new teenager bursting with energy.  A wink in time later, we are bent with age.  That is the cycle of life.  If we live long enough to see it through, most of us manage to adjust gradually to the shifting of terrain we inhabit.

Francis Ford Coppola observed that, “The seeds to success are often right in front of us, hidden in the ashes of adversity.”  It is not the situation, in short, that ultimately determines the real outcome; it is what we do with it….the change we open ourselves up to and the change we close ourselves from.  Too often when change occurs, we close ourselves to the possibilities such change might bring, choosing instead, to hold onto “the way it has always been done.”  We must understand that the changes which seem most intractable and troubling can also be our purest chance for liberation.  We can only experience the possibilities of the future by letting go of the restrictions of the past.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider how you respond to life’s changes.  Are you willing to open yourself up to the possibilities change might bring?  Even if those possibilities come in the face of great challenge?  The seeds to your success are right in front of you, right now.  Are you willing to rummage through the adversity until you find the opportunity for success?

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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September 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – September 21, 2016

Your job when you play, is not to win or please others; that is beyond your control.  Instead, your job is to do what you have been coached to do by carrying out your specific assignments with the right attitude to the best of your abilities….that is within your control.  Doing your job or what you are supposed to do puts you in the best position for you and your team to succeed.  If you do the right things, such as following coaching instructions, you are more likely to have a winning outcome.

I recently read these words in The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Jim Afremow and was pleased that they reinforce the approach we are currently using with a young soccer team in the area.  Knowing your responsibilities and doing your job is how you can magnify the relevant aspects of your performance while shrinking everything that is irrelevant.  I like that statement a great deal.  Success comes when you can magnify what is required and relevant to the game, while at the same time shrinking everything that is not required and irrelevant.  Embracing your role in that manner is how you can be true to what you are doing.  Not only will this help your individual cause, it will make it easier for your teammates to do their jobs.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider whether you play to win, please others, or have some other approach which is truly out of your control.  Success is really a matter of knowing your role, preparing to carry out that role, and then executing that role to the best of your ability.  While performing that role, you must focus all of your energy on execution, not self-analysis.  Don’t write the review for your performance until after it is over.  Let the final score take care of itself, while you take care of yourself.  Remember that success will be a natural by-product of knowing what your job is….and doing it to the best of your ability!

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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September 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – September 20, 2016

There is a psychological principle called cognitive dissonance.  It can be defined as the uncomfortable psychological state that arises when how you see yourself and what is really happening come into conflict.  Many athletes who experience this conflict revert to their comfort zone.  Humans are the only species that get in the way of their own growth.  Limits begin where vision ends.  You have to see yourself as a no-limits person.  You have to give yourself permission to win.

There is a popular Kevin Costner movie titled Tin Cup which parallels the real-life story of Jean Van de Velde, a 150-1 underdog to win the 1999 British Open.  On the final day of the tournament Van de Velde found himself standing on the tee of the 72nd hole with a three shot lead.  All he had to do was make a six, a double bogey, and golf’s oldest prize was his.  While that little voice in his head encouraged him to play conservatively, he didn’t see himself that way.  He had a seven on that final hole and then lost in a playoff.  Even though a timid shot might have assured victory, he played the hole boldly and fearlessly.  “He had to play that way,” his wife said.  “He played that way all week.”  Van de Velde was being true to his self-image.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider whether the principle of cognitive dissonance ever impacts your life.  You must learn to expand your comfort zone and to take risks.  If you don’t see yourself as succeeding, or you don’t feel deserving, you will sabotage your own success.  Remember that limits begin where vision ends.  Visualize success and give yourself permission to win.  Become a no-limit person.  Life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  What do you see yourself becoming?

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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September 19, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – September 19, 2016

The reason the human race has been so successful is not because we are the strongest animals….far from it.  Size and might alone do not guarantee success.  We have succeeded as a species because of our ability to form cultures.  Cultures are groups of people who come together around a common set of values and beliefs.  When we share values and beliefs with others, we form trust.  Trust allows us to rely on others to protect us and ensure our survival.  The world is filled with different cultures.  Being American is not better than being French.  They are just different cultures….not better or worse, just different.

In my leadership presentations, much of the focus is on building a culture in which success can naturally occur.  In truth, every organization already has a culture either by design or default.  Success isn’t so much about a singular culture being the best or most appropriate, but about finding people who are a good fit for the culture you are creating.  People do better in cultures which reflect their own values and beliefs.  Personal growth is greatest when your values and beliefs align with the values and beliefs of that culture.  So the logic follows, the goal is not to hire people who simply have a skill set you need, the goal is to hire people who believe what you believe.  In my many years as a high school band director and coach I have had people who quit; not because they were bad people or performers, but because they were not a good fit for the culture we were trying to create.  It is an undeniable truth that no matter how good the process is in the way you go about doing business, if you have people who are not good fits for the overall culture of your organization, they and perhaps the entire organization will fail.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider the cultures in which you live your life.  Are your beliefs and values in line with the American ideals of entrepreneurship, independence, and self-reliance?  Are they in line with the beliefs and values of your workplace or any organizations to which you belong?  Do you feel like you belong?  Do you live each day with people who believe what you believe?  Are you a part of a culture in which success can naturally occur?  Success comes when we are aligned with others and we feel like we are in it together.  Author Simon Sinek was right when he pointed out that success it is not about what or how we do things in life….it is about why we do them.

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

 

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September 16, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – September 16, 2016

Have you ever had the experience of giving it your all in a performance, only to fall short of your own expectations?  Perhaps you find yourself in a business meeting with an important client and in spite of using all the tricks you know to close the sale, the client walks away leaving you without the account you so desperately wanted.  In either case, you find yourself frustrated by the fact that despite your greatest efforts “in the moment,” you have fallen short of your goals.  What if the problem wasn’t in your efforts during the performance or the business meeting?  What if the problem was a result of not winning the daily victories which were necessary to be effective?  What if you can’t win the big victory….until you win the little ones?

Experience has taught me that if I neglected to place quality time and effort on the fundamentals of playing my instrument, ignoring the daily requirements of building a solid performance base, the end result would be worse than I had expected.  In truth, by not winning the daily victories, the poor performance became exactly the one for which I prepared.  By not spending quality time on range development, I prepared to falter on the high notes.  By not spending quality time working out rhythmic issues, I prepared to falter on the rhythmic passages.  By not spending quality time….well, you get the point.  It strikes me as odd that following a bad performance or business meeting, we become angered when we don’t meet expectations.  We are prepared to blame everyone and everything for our failure; well, everyone and everything except ourselves and our lack of adequate preparation!

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider that you decide your personal successes or failures by how you approach the daily requirements of your life.  Your ability to do more and perform better will increase as you exercise the discipline of doing the important and difficult work that is necessary to place you in an optimal position.  In this way, you are products of your decisions, goals and plans.  When you approach each day with the mindset of winning the daily victories which are so key to becoming an effective performer, you will be rewarded by winning the larger victories; the ones which seem so elusive at this moment.

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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September 15, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – September 15, 2016

More often than I care to think about, I find myself reminding the young people with whom I work that “we become what we repeatedly do!”  While on the surface I am usually talking about their practice habits, I am really referring to their character….the values and habits of their daily behavior that reveal who and what they are.  I want to create good habits in those under my leadership, not only in the mechanics of playing, but also in the fundamentals of being a good person.  Thus, a small issue such as putting trash in the trash can where it belongs is something I view as big, something connected to one’s overall principles and beliefs.  Something which went beyond just picking up the trash.

A student athlete who feels so privileged that he can throw things on the ground for someone else to pick up clearly has a bad habit; one that contributes to selfishness, sloppiness, and disrespect.  By requiring each player to pick up after himself, I am encouraging a positive habit, good behavior, and a way of thinking that I hope will carry over to the team and the game.  Legendary basketball coach John Wooden often spoke of two sets of important lessons his father taught to him and he, in turn, taught to his players.  I like these lessons a great deal because they help develop positive character traits which, when done repeatedly, will become the foundation of who we are.  The lessons, called two sets of three, were two lists, each with three admonitions: “Never lie; never cheat; never steal.  Don’t whine; don’t complain; don’t make excuses.”  What powerful lessons!  Wooden sought players who had character….not players who were characters.  I want the same thing.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider how the phrase “we become what we repeatedly do” impacts your own life.  Coach Wooden believed in the power of good values, and so do I.  If you don’t care what kind of person you have on your team so long as they help the team win, I question whether you will attain consistent and long-term success.  I will go further than that: If you don’t care about the code of conduct held by those you lead, you are not a good leader!  Character counts and values matter.  And you, as the leader, set the standard for both.

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

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