Thursday, December 29, 2011

Limitless Dreams

Don't let anyone tell you it can't be done! YOU are in control of your goals!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's Meant To Be Shared

From the outside, 1% success looks like a selfish act, but it's truly one of the most selfless things you can do. On your path to this next level, be a role model... an example of what can be done when passion, discipline, and commitment come together. Teach others, by your own example, what it looks and feels like to achieve more than once thought possible.

Share this exciting time with those around you. Help them see their own hidden potential. Write about it, talk about it, video your steps. Your personal roadblocks, once shattered, may help a stranger's potential roadblock never come to existence.

Look at your picture from THEIR point of view. How will their experience change after witnessing your amazing breakthrough? Lives will be altered, most of which you'll never hear about. Know this, though: Your passion for greatness will spark others' motivation for more.

1% success isn't for your touch only ... it's meant to be passed along. So, remember, during your many selfish moments of struggle ... a life will be touched tomorrow by your actions of today. As sweat and frustration show on your face, know it's this process that will ultimately affect the next person who dares to strive past his comfort zone.

It's easy to get lost in your own moments of achievement, often forgetting how decisions and actions will affect those around you. Never forget. You ARE an example. 1% is meant to be shared!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Go Get It!

It's Eric Thomas, the voice of "How Bad Do You Want It." I couldn't wait until Monday to post this. If you can't get pumped watching this, you never will. Listen to his words, feel his energy, and go reach your 1% success!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This Is Why We Compete...

It's 6:00 p.m., and game time starts at 7:00. I'm in the locker room getting changed into my uniform. The smell of the freshly washed #10 jersey creates an instinctive excitement I've had since I began playing basketball in 3rd grade. 9 years later, here I am getting ready to play in a Southern California All Star game with some of the best players in this part of the state.

I finish folding my khaki pants and dress shirt that was mandatory to wear to game nights, and put them in my locker. After putting on my uniform and sweats, I look down and notice I forgot to take off my dress socks. The nerves have officially taken over. This specific locker room is especially hot ... or I'm especially nervous. Either way, sweat is already pouring down my face in anticipation of tip-off.

I find a quiet spot in the corner to stretch and collect my thoughts. A few minutes into my routine, our center, Don MacLean, the eventual UCLA all-time leading scorer and NBA veteran, asks me to stand up. "Every time you bring the ball up the court, give it to me," he barked. This was how he introduced himself to me. We hadn't had a chance to practice together prior to the game, but he knew I was the starting point guard, and would have the ball in my hands the majority of game. I nodded o.k. in shock, then continued to stretch. 

All I could hear from inside the locker room was the crowd filling the gym. I was used to this type of pre game buzz, listening to the fans getting revved for the game, but tonight was different. Tonight's game is full of Division I college prospects, and a few NBA hopefuls. The crowd knows it, the coaches know it, and I know it. How will I handle it?

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Dare You...

"I need a backup plan ... just in case I fail."

That way of thinking guarantees you won't make it. I achieved the most success when I had nothing left to "fall back on." This type of desperation created a focus for me that would've been unattainable if a safety net waited below. When I had no other options, I took action I never would've taken. The backup plan would've taken away all need to achieve.

Not having a safety net was a bit scary, but it awakened survival instincts inside me I never knew existed. It's counterintuitive, I know, to create a plan of action without having a backdoor, "just in case..." Trust that you'll respond with detailed precision you didn't know lived inside.

Before making this type of commitment, you first must totally commit to the process in front of you. Getting bogged down in "what-if's" will kill all action. Becoming immersed in the excitement of the journey will free you from worry.

Backup plans eventually become your 'now plan.' Wanting to achieve isn't enough. As prior posts have repeated... "You must want success as much as you want to breathe." There must be a willingness to sacrifice all that gets in your way of attainment. Failure is never an option. When you create a backup plan, failure not only becomes a possibility, but it also becomes a probability.

Risk it. Dive off the cliff, not knowing how you'll survive the fall. Develop a plan of action on the way down, knowing you'll land successfully.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tell Him He Can't ... Watch What Happens!

I wanted to post a day-in-the-life of Eric Magidson, a student and newfound friend, who's on a mission to qualify for the Nationwide Tour's Boise Open in late 2012. In this video, he replicates Tiger Woods' practice day. 

He's not "hoping" or only talking about "how cool it would be if..." He's taking massive action toward this goal. He's working with an amazing swing coach, Joey Pickavance, he's hired a golf specific physical trainer, and I'm helping reshape his mental approach. 

I asked Eric to "announce" his dream goal to the world on Twitter and post these type of videos, not only to make himself accountable, but also to face his past fears of naysayers' opinions. Confidence will grow every time he shares a piece of his journey. Follow his progress at

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's Up To You...

I've received so much positive feedback on this video, I wanted to post it again... give a little weekend pump-up!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Details Matter

What does it look like? How does it smell? Is there a taste? Can you feel the texture in between your fingers? Is it painted with a specific color? Who will be the first person you call when it's achieved? Will there be tears or strictly laughter and excitement. Releif may take over, but will you forget how hard you worked?

Have you planned a celebration after you reach the end? Do you understand there's no such thing as the "end?" What needs to be done, that isn't now? Do you go to bed focused on what it looks, smells, and tastes like? When you wake up in the morning, is your mind consumed with attainment? What will you be wearing?

What strengths have become even stronger during this process? Have your weaknesses turned into strengths? Has your confidence graph shot upwards? How will your friends and family react when you give them the good news? Will you thank the naysayers for fueling your fire?

Right now, what's missing from the #1% equation? Why is it missing, and what will you do to change it? Are there excuses hanging around? If yes, when will they disappear? If no, congratulations ... that's a huge success in itself.

When you think about this amazing accomplishment, does your forehead sweat from anticipation? Do you need to wipe your palms off on your pants? Does your heart race and breathing get deeper? Are you losing sleep yet?

Details of your visual will either speed up the process, or create a holding pattern for your success. As always ... you choose!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Who I Was...

I was afraid ... not only of failure, but also of success. Yes, success! I didn't fear the successful outcome itself, I was afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone that would lead me to the outcome. The unknown, even if potentially successful, was more frightening than sticking with what I knew ... average and mediocre.

I was angry ... not of negative outcomes, but more about not challenging myself, knowing it would lead me to growth. This anger affected all of my decisions, often becoming cycles of negativity, angering me even more. This cycle felt like a tornado, impossible to escape.

I was insecure ... about what you thought, they thought, and what I thought of myself. I felt insecure about my physical and internal makeup. I knew that you were talking negatively about me the second I walked in the room, and would continue after I left. The mirror - oh that damn mirror! It made sure I never broke loose from my mental handcuffs.

I lacked confidence ... not of what I knew, but of anything I didn't specialize in. Good wasn't good enough - great was the only answer. And because great is difficult to achieve, that lack of confidence was felt daily. Unfortunately, it affected all that i did, very often keeping me from experiencing necessary growth. I never understood confidence was a choice. I was a slave to it's sense of humor.

I was selfish ... I only cared about myself and what would further my specific situation. Your feelings didn't matter, unless it helped my cause. Being a professional athlete is a selfish path, but I didn't know (or cared to learn) how to turn off the switch at home. Self-absorbed was my way of thinking, speaking, and acting.

Good news: Who I was then doesn't dictate who I am now, or who'll I become tomorrow. I changed due to my unrelenting need for growth. I am 1%, in all sense of the meaning. You?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Are You This Strong?

Believe you can, period! The 1% don't need evidence before belief takes shape. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What's Your Motivation?

What's going to get you out of bed at 5:30 to workout? What's going to give you the power to keep kicking in doors that continuously slam in your face? How will you keep throwing punches when it seems hopeless?

When I was training full time to become a world ranked tennis player, and my alarm startled me at 5:00 am, I would repeatedly ask, "Why am I doing this? It's 5:00 in the freakin morning." The only thing that got me out of bed and into my cross-trainers was my motivation. After reaching the top step of the local junior college stadium at sunrise, my muscles would tell my mind they couldn't take another step. My stomach would tell my mouth to get ready. Two legged squat jumps up countless number of concrete steps, sprint to the other side of the stadium, walk down, start over. 25 times up, over, and down. When that torture was done, I was still left with another 1 1/2 hours of a different, more difficult type of hell to live through. I was a professional athlete. Sacrifice, pain, and mental discipline was my reality. The only thing that kept me from quitting during these moments of fatigue and nausea was my motivation.

What kept me motivated was the opponent who was working harder than me, and who I would eventually have to compete against. I knew that if I quit, and he didn't ... I had no chance of winning. Every time I heard myself begging myself to stop, I visualized the 6'4" German stud who was waiting for me in the final round of the US Open qualifier, ready to take my head off. If I stopped my workout early, he would destroy me. I became so detailed with this visual, I actually cut out a picture of a German athlete's face, and taped it to my bathroom mirror. I had his sweaty mug burned into my memory. The fear of getting outworked at 5:30 in the morning was more motivating than the trophy and money that came from winning.

When I asked a student today what his motivation was, he couldn't answer. We quickly realized that his commitment wasn't taking shape because he hadn't tapped into that thought, emotion, or dream that would keep him working. He knows that he "wants," and "has to make it happen," but he doesn't know what drives him; what will allow him to kick the door open when it slams in his face. He hasn't created a detailed, emotional visual that will be his fuel when the inevitable pain strikes. He has some soul searching to do.

Your motivation for attaining 1% success needs to be palpable. It needs to elicit real life emotion and adrenalin the second you focus your attention on it. Maybe it's the frustration you felt growing up when THEY said you couldn't ever reach the highest level. Maybe it's the fear of failure. In an amazing interview Will Smith gave about the successful mindset (I posted it here, he talked about his fear of failing, and how this keeps him working harder each day. Motivation is different for everyone, but it's the glue holding your wants and actions together, and is what will keep you on that long term quest for 1% success.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Soar Past It All

Rise above all the garbage you face on a daily basis - from peer pressure, to those who say you'll never achieve your goals, to family who sell you short. Let the 99% stay right where they are, as you strive for more ... with a smile on your face the entire way! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Invite Uncomfortable To Stay Awhile

On the tennis court today with a student, I pushed her past her normal comfort zone."You have to learn this shot if you want to play professionally." Her response: "But it feels too uncomfortable. I can't get used to it."

On the golf course today with a different student, I was helping him on the greens."Your visuals need to get much more detailed. You need to see and feel every ounce of these putts. Track each into the bottom of the cup." His response: "You're right. It feels uncomfortable, but that's o.k. because I know it won't last. I'll get this."

Between these two athletes, who's more likely to reach the next level in their career? The tennis player knew she needed to change in order to play at the highest level, but resisted because of HOW IT FELT. The golfer also knew he needed to change, but he accepted it as part of his process, and embraced the challenge. Two exact same situations ... two totally different choices of mindset.

"Uncomfortable" is a fact of life, when looking to attain more than average. Learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable is crucial during these sometimes frustrating times. There isn't an easy way to achieve greatness, which is exactly why 1% find that level. The one's who do find it have learned to love, accept, and invite the uncomfortable. They actually need it in their life, because it's the one aspect that will propel them past the 99% average who are afraid of it.

The way you view change, and the inevitable feeling of frustration, is a choice only you and the mirror can make. There are only two paths to walk: Denial or acceptance. Either continue with the excuses of why it's too difficult, or invite uncomfortable to stay awhile.

Your choice of mindset will determine which level you reach.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Separation By Inches

The 1% who separate understand how small their margin of victory really is ... turn talent into skill.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Know The Facts!

Fact (noun): Something that actually exists; reality; truth

Fact: I can't do it.

Fact: I can absolutely get it done.

Fact: It's too hard.

Fact: Nothing will stop me.

Fact: It costs too much money.

Fact: I'll figure out a way to afford it.

Fact: It'll take too much time. I don't have that kind of time.

Fact: I'll make time.

Fact: If it was a good idea, someone else would've already done it.

Fact: I'm going to lead the way.

Fact: If I fail, everyone will say, "I told you so..."

Fact: Failure doesn't exist, as long as I'm putting in the hours.

Fact: I need a backup plan, just in case.

Fact: The backup plan will ultimately become my plan. Not allowed!

Fact: What if...

Fact: What's next?!

Fact: It's safer following the pack.

Fact: The 1% NEVER follow the pack. Separate only!

Everything you think and say is a fact. Better get your facts straight.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mental Toughness - 1%

Love him or hate him ... he's unquestionably one of the most mentally tough athletes of all time, and is as close to M.J. as we've seen. The best-of-the-best separate themselves, not with their physical attributes, but with their minds - the ability to focus and persevere.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I'm Sick And Tired Of It...

I want to share an email that a student sent to me after Tiger Woods won this weekend. Feel the emotion in his writing. It's this emotion that will allow his future to change. He's finally hit a place where the pain of mediocrity is stronger than the pleasure of that specific comfort zone...


I'm so sick and tired of all the excuses! They do nothing for me. They're holding me back and not letting me be the player I want to be. I promise to never let those excuses take over my game again.

I can't. I would if. I'm too tired. I have too much homework. It's so unfair. I would've won if.

These all get in my way. I know, I know - I've chosen them by myself. I've chosen to make them #1 over just getting it done, but I'm done with all that now. I'm sick and tired of all the excuse-making (bleep)! 

After watching Tiger Woods make birdies on 17 AND 18 today to win the Chevron, a light went on in my head. He could've thrown in the towel after getting down by 1 with 2 holes to play, but he didn't. He stayed focused, didn't make any excuses for why he was losing, and drained two huge putts to win. If that was me, in my current mental state, I would've definitely lost. I'm sick of it!

From this moment on, coach, I promise to totally commit to the work we're doing, and never speak another excuse. If I'm playing bad, I'll face facts as to why, and fix them. If something unfortunate happens to me while I'm playing, I'll refocus myself, and stay in the moment. I now understand why you always say "It's never over, even if the fat lady does sing." 


(Golfer, Division I college)
1% Mindset from this moment on!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

There's Only One Way...

The 1% Mindset is always earned, never deserved. Reaching the next level in sport or life means sacrificing along the way, specifically the way we "used" to think. Focusing on Realistic goals or Backup Plans will keep us from achieving what we want. Being realistic and creating a plan, "just in case we fail," sounds smart, but is actually a killer of dreams.

1% is attained by risking what we're most afraid to lose: Our comfort zones. We must be willing to risk utter failure and embarrassment. Our comfort zone is our worst enemy, and does the most damage to our future.

Make a habit of setting daily goals that stretch your comfort levels. Doing this will prove that you're capable of much more than you realize. Self confidence will be enhanced, eventually establishing a deep hunger to continue leaping from that place of safety.

The 1% Mindset is created from our perception of situations. We're constantly faced with a choice to keep stepping towards success or stop and wallow in our short term setbacks. The perceptions of our individual situations will test the commitment of those steps, often making us feel inadequate. Our priority should always be focused on what we're thinking during these moments. Our thoughts propel the rest of the chain...

Thoughts > Emotions > Actions > Results

Every result is manifested through this link of events. The beauty of this equation is it never falls apart. It's always in order, and works perfectly. Unfortunately, we often unknowingly skip around, hoping to create desired outcomes without following the proper steps. Everything attained begins with one single thought.

The 1% Mindset is a way of living - a total immersion in the every day process of separating from the majority.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Can You Handle The Pain?

Short term pain must come before the long term success arrives. The 1% have learned this is a fact, and will do whatever it takes to battle through these moments. Rather than feeling sorry for themselves, they work even harder. Instead of quitting, they make a conscious decision to do more. This short term pain is what separates the good from the elite.

Tiger Woods' career has been all about sacrificing the short term, in order to achieve more in the future. He's never been afraid of struggling through today's pain, because he's mastered this process. Everyone from media to the public has labeled him finished during these difficult two years. He's about to prove everyone wrong!

      Michael Jordan is the best of all time, mainly because he'd never settle for mediocrity. He went from the sophomore who was cut from his high school team, to the all time greatest. He used this short term "failure" as fuel to become the best. If his NBA teammates didn't subscribe to this mindset, they were going to hear about it ... and FEEL it. He was known to fight players in practice if they gave less than 100% effort.

In the beginning of Roger Federer's career, he was mentally weak, succumbing to the pressure. He fought through the short term struggles, and learned to dominate. I'd say he won the mental battle.

Monday, November 28, 2011

What's Your Answer?

When you close your eyes and stare into the future... 

What do you see?

Complaining Is Not An Option

It's all about our mindset. How we perceive our challenges will always determine our future! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Time For Thanks...

I am thankful.

I am humbled.

This is the first Thanksgiving weekend without my grandma. She will be missed, but thought of every second. Thank you, grandma.

Thank you, God, universe, karma, and every other force that isn't fully understood. I'm grateful for the gifts you have given me, but especially for the doors you have closed.

Thank you to my gorgeous wife and angelic daughter. You both are the inspiration and motivation behind everything I do.

I am thankful.

I am humbled.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lose Your Excuses

I talked to a student tonight, who I'm lucky enough to call my friend. He's going through some very difficult times -- tougher than I've ever seen up close. Not one time, has he ever used his situation as an excuse. He only talks about why he'll succeed, when it will happen, and how he's going to make it happen. He admits losing sleep, but always uses that loss as fuel for his eventual achievements. He's as tough as they come, and fights with every last punch. I'll definitely be sharing his entire success story with you in the future. 

"You'll only succeed when you want it as bad as you want to breathe..."

-Eric Thomas (the hip hop preacher) 

Lose your excuses

Monday, November 21, 2011

Never Say Never

You don't need to be an athlete to know who Tiger Woods is, and the "situation" he created for himself in the last couple of years. When the bottom dropped out from underneath him, everyone (including myself) instantly became judge and jury. I was as quick as the next person to throw him under the bus, judging his personal life and decisions he made. It took some time, but I eventually jumped down off of my soapbox, viewing him as the golfer I grew to love and regularly used as a positive example. His personal life is just that - personal! I won't teach my daughter to emulate his off-course lifestyle, but I will absolutely help her understand the importance of his work ethic.

During this down-time for Tiger, I continued to Tweet, blog, and preach his eventual comeback to anyone who would listen. I contended that he became the best we'd ever seen, primarily due to his unmatched self belief and relentless practice habits. As long as his passion existed, these strengths would also still live inside him. My positive Tiger opinions were definitely in the minority, leaving me open to the naysayers' hammer-drop ... and it was being dropped regularly.

"He's finished. He'll never win again. He looks like he's never played before. You're crazy to think he'll ever make it back..."

They were correct. He did look awful! And if this was a normal human being with average mental toughness and an unwillingness to sacrifice, I would've agreed with the majority. This was Tiger freaking Woods, however. He changed his swing three times while he was dominating the world of golf, because he always believed it could improve. Obviously, it's valid to aruge that he shouldn't have changed anything if wasn't broken, but Tiger doesn't think like 99% of the population. He believes that it's never good enough, and won't ever settle for less. As we've seen, he'll go through these holding patterns until he finds a better way, but as he's proven time after time, he always finds that better way. The last couple weeks in Austrailia have shown us that he's on his way back, and will undoubtedly be a force to reckon with again.

Ignore his personal life decisions, but put a microscope up to his work ethic and ability to continuously find a way to believe in himself. A year ago, while playing the worst golf of his life, he was asked who he thought was the best player in the world. He stared at the interviewer, paused, took a deep breathe, cocked his head to the right, and didn't say a word, as his body language said it all. His non-answer said, "Me!"

When you look at your reflection, do you see belief or reasons why it can't happen?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Impossible What?

Self limiting beliefs are the only things holding you back. Impossible is what YOU say...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Up To You...

Doubt. Fear. Pain. Hesitation. Negativity. Can't. Won't. Why should I. Too tired. Too tough. Too much work. Failure

Love it. Opportunity. Fearlessness. Decide. I will. No one can stop me. Practice. What sleep. Destination. Goal. Success. Definite Action. Now ... right now

You choose

1% Mindset!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ray Lewis Mentions The 1%

Ray admits he was never the biggest, fastest, or strongest ... but no one would ever out-work him. He's one of the best linebackers in NFL history, all created from effort!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Talk To Me

Dear you,

I'm still here, waiting - it's been awhile. You used to call on me all the time, but have recently stopped. Why? Every time you talk to me, I help. Each time you write, I give you everything you asked for. Yeah, sometimes it takes longer than you want, but I always come through. You used to be more patient, maybe?

Talk to me.

Remember when you were younger, and you shared me with all your friends and family members? What's changed? Who told you to stop? At night, the last thing you did before falling asleep was call on me. In the morning, you couldn't wait to write me, and often tell your Facebook friends about our relationship. Now that Twitter is a big part of your life, you'll tweet about me, but not often enough. Why?

I made a promise to you a long time ago, that anytime you were serious about me, I'd give you what you wanted. If you proved your passion and discipline, I'd guarantee your success. Has fear of failure lessened our conversations? Has someone told you I was full of crap, or I couldn't fulfill my promise? Tell those naysayers to kiss my ...

I'm yours to have, but you first must commit to me. What do you want from me? Why haven't you made the decision to take me? Don't worry about being greedy or immersed in the process of creating more of me, it's what your life is all about. Talk about me, write about me, and make yourself accountable for reaching me. Tell the world that you expect nothing less than making me live with you full-time.

Let the negative people in your life disappear. Actually, the more of me you see on a regular basis, the quicker they'll go away on their own. They hate me, because they've never committed to having a relationship with me. Let them talk about us. You become focused on taking as much of me as you want. Understand the naysayers are jealous, and can't imagine risking what it takes to build me. They live to tear you down. The last thing these people want is for you and I to create a long lasting relationship.

Call on me at night. Write to me in the morning. Talk to me.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Your Future

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Play!

Children play effortlessly, rarely over-thinking the situation. Notice how automatic Luke is during his putts. There's no reason why we all can't find that child inside again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

She Had No Idea What It Did To Me

Last week, I wrote about a defining moment I had in 7th grade, where my dad gave me a spirited lecture on my lack of effort. This specific moment immediately changed my perspective on the control I had to change outcomes. Today, I want to share an experience I had at an early age that also affected my entire life. This one, unfortunately, had a negative influence on me ... one I never shook.

Remember, what you say to kids can have a life changing affect on them, good and bad.

It's third grade, my best friend, Shane and I hand in our math quiz to the teacher, Mrs. Soviezcek. I'm excited, because I thought I did well, and can't wait to get praised for my work. Soon after we handed it in, she gave it back to us with a grade on top of the page. I don't remember the exact grade I received, but I'll never forget what she told me as she handed it to me:

"You didn't do well on this quiz, but it's o.k., because math isn't for you. Shane is really good at math, but your strength is writing. You're a very good writer, but you're not good at math. Some things come naturally to all of us. Math just isn't natural for you."

Those words are burned into my brain, as if she said them to me yesterday. When I read them back, I find it impossible that a teacher ... a third grade teacher, especially, would say that to a student, but she did. Before this moment, I remember enjoying math, and looking forward to figuring out the answers. After these harsh words, I forever linked negativity and weakness to every math class I took.

"Math isn't for you."

Is it a coincidence I remember her name? I don't remember many of my teachers before high school, but I'll never forget Mrs. Soviezcek's name. She unknowingly linked such a negative emotion into my subconscious, I became exactly what she told me I'd become - an 'A' student in English, and below average in math.

I'm not blaming her for every bad grade I received in math, because I had a choice to study more, but the strength of emotion she created at such an early age absolutely had an affect. I was in third grade, looking for self esteem and confidence, and she was my teacher who was supposed be helping me in those areas. When you're that young, adults are all-knowing. Everything they say "must" be true, right? Wrong!

We must be very aware of what we're telling our children. Our self-limitations mustn't influence their possibilities. Our words can change the path they choose to walk. Choose those words carefully!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You!

I apologize for not having this up all day. I'm going to keep it posted throughout the entire weekend.

Veterans, thank you for all your sacrifice. I have deep respect for everything you do for us. I don't take my freedom for granted, as I know it wasn't handed to me ... it was fought for, and protected ... by you, our veterans!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Everything I Do Is Normal

David Blaine is one of top illusionists in the world. He's famous for his televised street magic, blowing people's minds with his slight-of-hand. But unlike other top magicians, he has also committed his life to pushing his body past normal limitations. He's studies the power of the mind, and continues to test it's ability to overcome extreme situations. 

Where most say impossible, he says probable. He's another example of taking "realistic," and destroying it into a millions pieces. He understands realistic and possible is what we say it is. 

"I think that everything I do is actually normal, and I think what's interesting about what I do is that if you take the competitiveness out of it, we're all capable of doing the same things. If I asked you to stand in one spot for 35 hours or a certain length of time, you could do it. I think the reason people come up with alternative methods of how it's done is because if they accept I can do it, they have also got to accept that they are able to do it. People haven't even begun to tap into the potential of what the mind is possible of doing. I think everything I do is normal, not paranormal. It's using the power of the mind to achieve whatever we can endure."

-David Blaine

He buried himself alive for one week in 6' plexiglass

Spent 7 days submerged in water, and attempted to hold breath for the last 9 minutes while handcuffed. He made it over 7 minutes before having to be rescued

Stood for 35 hours, 90' in the air on a beam 22" across

44 days suspended in a box over London, with nothing but water

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Take The Charge

There's a moment in all of our lives that define who we become. I've been lucky enough to have a few of those moments, but one in particular shaped me, growing up.

7th grade, Dos Pueblos High School gym, Saturday morning:

It's late in the fourth quarter, we're winning by one point, and Todd Ewing, my rival, is flying down court on a fast break. The only thing between him and the basket is my defensive skills. He faked left, went right, but I was quicker. I remained on balance, waiting for him near the hoop. He was headed directly at me, full speed ahead. If he scores, they take the lead with little time left on the clock. As he got closer, now moving even faster, I hesitated. He actually looked a little out of control. I remember thinking, "Crap, how am I going to stop him?!" This hesitation was all he needed. Instead of jumping in front of him and taking the charge, I let him go to the basket, untouched, scoring the go-ahead layup.

The crowd went crazy, but all I could hear was my dad yelling at me from the sidelines. "Take the charge! How could you let him go by without any effort?! Take the charge!" My dad wasn't the unathletic father that didn't have a clue. He knew exactly what he was talking about. He excelled in all the major sports, including basketball. He was a fighter on the court when he played, and there was no way he was going to allow me to be any different. At that specific moment of my life, as I let Todd casually dribble by me, and score an easy layup, it was no longer about basketball. In my dad's eyes, this was about effort, toughness, and a mindset that wouldn't settle for less.

I'll never forget the drive home. He preached like never before. He wasn't spitting fire, telling me how useless I was. Rather, it was simply a disciplined reminder that we, in life, and on the court, never allow an opponent to "score" without a fight. "Make them earn it," ringed in my ear. This 15 minute speech was titled, "Your last name is Gingrich, and don't ever forget it." Gingrich was synonymous with fight, tough, and fearless. His son was going to learn how being fearless would affect the rest of his life ... and dad was going to teach him on this car ride home.

That moment changed my basketball career forever. Prior to that game, I was the All-Star point guard, averaging 22 points. Post "You're a Gingrich" speech, I became the toughest, defensive stopper on the court. I still got my points, but I also took pride in stopping the opposition's best scorer. I quickly learned that effort was always in my control, and could be a determining factor in the outcome of every game. My scoring fluctuated, but my determination, passion, and effort never would.

As I developed my teaching style, this 7th grade layup, and my dad's willingness to show me some tough love, became my base. Never again, would anyone dribble by me without a fight, on or off the court. My 1% philosophy was born on that day!

Settling for less is failure. Take the charge.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Become The 1% ... Now!

Your thoughts dictate belief 

Belief in yourself creates an unstoppable workhorse & risk taker

Risk often ... fail often ... succeed

Monday, November 7, 2011

He's Already Lived It

Before any goal can be reached, it must first be realized, mentally. You must see and feel, with unwavering belief, that it will take shape. Eric Magidson is on a mission to make a dream come true. I'm proud to call him a student, but he is also a friend! He'll do whatever it takes to attain his goals. This is what he sees, and has decided will happen in the future:

My Vision for The 2012 Nationwide Boise Open

It is 6:00am, I just woke up from a really great sleep and have stepped out of my hotel room to welcome the day and assess the weather.  The clear sky and rising sun indicate that this will be an average September day in Boise, Idaho. However, as far as I am concerned, today will be everything but typical. As I breathe in the morning air, I feel anxious and a bit nervous, but I have prepared for this day and the moments that are yet to come. At the same time, I recognize that these current emotions are confirmation that all my hard work for the past 12 months has been worth it.  You see, today is my day! No matter the results, I have once again proven that I can truly commit and practice with all the intensity, dedication, and belief it takes to truly succeed.

In an instant, I gain a huge sense of confidence by reviewing my work from the past year. I have been able to effectively balance family, full-time work, and all the requirements my team of coaches have set forth to prepare me for today. These coaches definitely put in much more time than the billable hours I have been able to afford. But their dedication has led to countless hours spend on body, mind and swing instruction in preparation to meet my goal. I am quickly reminded of the:

• late night gym sessions, after a full day of work.
• stolen moments doing intense cardio, pushup and sit-up/crunch routines behind the closed door of my office
• countless rounds spent practicing my pre-shot routine and learning to accept that occasional bad shot
• thousands of words written in my blog as a means to discover my mental weaknesses and document their transformation into strengths
• tens of thousands of balls hit during all four seasons (even shoveling snow from the hitting mat when needed)
• short-game and putting sessions that only ended when the range went black.
I again get a bit emotional when I think about all the time, commitment, dedication and sacrifice my supporters have invested, and how Thank You will never be enough. There is no pressure from them however, somehow no matter my performance, today will be reward enough.

The fact is the day has begun and it’s time to GET IT ON! As I head back into the hotel, I am focused on nothing but the present. The nerves are still with me but I accept them as just a reminder, to myself, of how important my goal is to me. These feelings may be with me all day but will NOT affect the outcome. I am in control.  As I meet up with my caddie and best friend, Justin Thayer, for a healthy breakfast he asks me how I am feeling. He’s not asking as a question but to let me once again reiterate to myself what he already knows. I am prepared for today, I am confident, and I have the game it takes to compete at this level. Once finished with breakfast, I head into the musty hotel gym to fully stretch and do a bit of cardio to get my heart pumping.  This is not the time to shortcut any part of my routine. I have practiced this day in my mind and during previous rounds of golf, so that I am comfortable in the moment.

As we head to the course, I get a final call from Coach Dayne, my mental coach.  He reminds me that the work has been done; I am prepared, to have fun, and go through my pre-shot routine on every shot.  He can sense I have just one more question, ok the final ‘one more question’ before we make it to the course. I have had just ‘one more question’ for a week now. So I ask it. “What happens if I exceed the goal of shooting 72 and actually have to play on Thursday?” He responds quickly, “We will have that conversation after your round but that has nothing to do with today.” Go through your routine!

Justin and I reach the course and surprisingly a sense of calm and intense focus comes over me. As we make our way to the registration table, I realize my first advantage over the competition. I am not here to make a living or get on tour. I just have to shoot a 72 today to reach my goal.  Justin gets the pin sheet and local rules; we make a few notes in our yardage books, and then head to the putting green.

This is the first time I notice that some of my family and friends have come to support me. I get a few hugs and good luck wishes but quickly excuse myself to the job at hand. I drink in the positives of my supporters and remind myself that they are not here to judge the outcome just be involved in the process. As I step onto the green and smell the fresh cut grass, I have entered my favorite place, my world on the putting green. The world where nothing exists but the ball, myself and the hole.  Justin throws me a couple of balls and I begin with a short putting drill to instill alignment and increase my confidence. With every putt, I hear that lovely sound as each ball drops one after another into the hole.  Justin and I share a private joke about the flat stick as I continue to move further back with each putt, producing more of the same.

We head to the driving range and squeeze in, to claim our space to warm up. Although I notice the other players, my focus has not decreased. I complete a few key stretches and shoulder warm-ups, as the breeze carries forth a unique scent that I have associated with Hillcrest Country Club, from my previous visits over the past few months. It relaxes me and reminds me of the last time I stood on this range, and the successful round that followed. Today will be a good day. I begin my warm-up routine by dialing in a steady tempo through a few dozen swings that are not hindered by the requirement to connect perfectly to a ball. As I work through the bag, my swing is confident, the balls go where expected, and my focus remains steadfast. Toward the end of warm-up, I execute my pre-shot routine and mental strategy while hitting various shots that I will need to accomplish throughout the day. All of which builds additional self-confidence that I will take to the course.

Justin throws me one last ball and asks to see a preview of the drive I will hit off the first tee.  I again go through my focused routine; I tee up the ball and step behind it in line with my intended trajectory. I take a deep relaxing breath, and imagine the shot.  The vision begins with the ball leaving the clubface; I sense the feeling and hear the sound of a perfectly struck ball. As the ball raises into the air it begins to turn slightly right to left, a perfect draw. The ball finally begins its descent from well above the trees as it heads toward the exact piece of grass I had chosen as its landing spot. It lands and rolls out - a bit further then I had envisioned - that must have been the adrenaline.  I open my eyes and initiate the script I have practiced and believed a thousand times before.  I will ACCEPT (this shot). I feel the calming sense of acceptance. I will TRUST (myself, my abilities and my swing). I feel the assurance that comes with trusting oneself. I will COMMIT (to attacking the shot, the whole shot)! I am excited like a kid opening a present knowing that what is inside is exactly what he wants (yes I peeked!).  I inhale one more deep relaxing breath, confirm my alignment, and step beside the ball. I take my posture, make a couple of very deliberate, short, tempo based practice swings and step in to execute my vision. Before the ball even reaches the pinnacle of flight Justin simply says, “Ya just like that!”

We head back to putting green to keep my mind busy, in an effort to not allow it to question prior outcomes or consider the future.  Again laughter ensues as I tell Justin that my mental cue to stay in the present has been hearing Ben Crane say, “I am speaking to you from the now in the middle of the now.”  Once again I confirm the speed of the greens and focus on my putting routine as we wait for our tee time. After what seems like just seconds, Justin picks up the bag and says, “Let’s go have some fun.”  I eat my favorite protein bar as we walk with a deliberate and consistent pace to the first tee.  I am conscious of what is going on around me but not focused on my surroundings.  All the work is done, my mind is prepared, my routine is solid, and I am confident. Today is my day! Today, I will demonstrate the result of committing, practicing and living my goal. I AM 1%.

Side note: I got a bit emotional as I wrote this and each time I re-read it. Emotions filled my heart, and I can only image what my competitors or naysayers might think as I admit these facts. Let them think I am soft, let them think I am emotional; let them form the wrong impression. This is the vision of my goal and frankly, I will completely and utterly crush their theories when I succeed in accomplishing it.  

-Eric Magidson

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What's Your Perception Of Reality?

"When you grow up, you're tend to get told the world is the way it is, and you're life is just to live inside the world, trying not to bash into the walls too much..."

"Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you, that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. You can change it ... you can influence it ... and build your own things that other people can use. If you just learn that, you'll never be the same again."

 -Steve Jobs

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

He Definitely Decided

In my last post, I linked a radio interview I did, where I talked about Luke Donald's back nine success in his last event, securing the #1 spot on the PGA Tour. I believe he made a conscious decision on the 10th tee box to take his game to another level, knowing he needed an incredible nine hole stretch to win. It was this decision that propelled his game past the field. He was more intent on making it happen, then he was focused on being afraid to fail.

I've received a few emails, asking how one decision can elevate a player's game so quickly. This is what I talk about all the time -- this is how the elite, 1% separate from the field. For the first time since Tiger Wood's downfall, someone "Tigered" the field. Luke had to win, or finish in solo second, in order to stay #1 on Tour. He knew this goal was in trouble after an average front nine on Sunday, and was left with no other choice but to record a "career back nine."

On the 10th tee, I believe he had a conversation with himself: "This is it! I need to find a way to focus more intensely than I ever have. I will take my game to another level... right now!"

Obviously, those weren't his exact words, but I have no doubt that he looked at himself from the inside-out, and made a conscious decision to find greatness! I don't believe in coincidental success, where somehow it just happens. Luke put in the hours, physically and mentally, and made committed decisions to attain his goals. On the back nine of this specific tournament, he simply intensified those decisions.

I work with a player on the Northwestern team, who was lucky enough to have Luke show him his golf log book. It was filled with the tiniest details of his goals, progress, and improvements needed. He logs every day, and because of this attention to detail, it's no coincidence that Luke shined under the massive pressure.

Don't sit and wait for success to find you ... make it happen. Decide that it absolutely WILL take shape. Create a fearless attitude that won't settle for average. Become the 1%.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

These Are My Opinions...

In a recent interview with Danielle Tucker (, here were my thoughts on Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson, why there isn't one player dominating the PGA Tour, and of course... my Tiger Woods prediction!

My segment starts at 35:33.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I DARE You To Complain...

The next time you feel like whining, watch this inspiring video. We all need to focus more on our current blessings, and less about what we're lacking.

His words of wisdom, talking about achievement: "All impossible becomes possible ... only belief!"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's Going To Cost You

What are you willing to sacrifice to get It? Sleep, food, friends who don't believe, "realistic" family members? Until you make this committed decision, success will remain illusive, glued to the tip of your fingers, unable to fall into your palms.

Will you sacrifice your Plan B, replacing it with an unwavering belief that your Plan A is your destiny? In a video I posted couple days ago, Will Smith talked about the slightly delusional quality all highly successful people share...

"I believe things don't have to remain the same, even if they've been a certain way for 50 million years," he said. "You have to know that, if you're committed enough, you can change any path..."

At first glance, this sounds crazy, but without exception, the most successful 1%r's share this mindset. Belief before outcome! Helping my students believe in themselves prior to the successful result is my top priority. It's this mindset that will propel them past their current comfort zones.

I speak from a place of improvement, not mastery. I believe mastery may be impossible, yet I continue striving for it. We never get it, only get closer TO it. I walk a daily path of fear, doubt, success, and unwavering belief... all in the same pair of shoes. I've lived a life of self critisim and lack of belief in my abilities, but years ago, made a committed decision to end that mindset. My days are now spent changing what I see in the mirror, and what I feel in my core, all while helping others change their own.

How badly do you want It? What will you sacrifice?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Only Thing Holding You Back Is...

In my last video post, Will Smith hit it on the head:

"Just decide," he said. "The moment I decide, it's done... I've already made it real. Now all that's left is waiting to see what's it's going to look like."

It's not about whether you want it or not, it only comes down to whether or not you make a committed decision to get it! After that decision, you'll find a way of attaining that goal, no matter the obstacles.

Another piece of the video that hit home was Will's explanation of Talent vs. Skill:

"Talent comes from the inside- it's already there. Skill comes from hours and hours of hard work. It's this skill that will separate you from the rest. I'm not the most talented, but I will outwork anyone."

This is a huge factor that must be understood, thoroughly, in order to achieve your next level. God given talent is wonderful, but without putting in massive time to hone your craft, you'll find yourself sitting in the same chair, year after year.

"If we get on the treadmill at the same time, only two things will happen: Either you quit first, or I'll die on this treadmill!"

His mindset will NEVER, EVER allow him to quit. He'll die trying, before he stops working. Again, the success he's tasted isn't about his talent ... it comes from his relentlessness; his ability to only see future triumph.

The only thing holding you back is ... you! Believe, decide, become the 1%.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

THIS Is Next Level Mindset

Will Smith is tremendously successful, not because he has a lot of money, but because he's mastered the 1% mindset. I was floored watching this video! He's such a next level thinker!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Paint Your Own Picture

I'm sitting on the couch, Ipad on my lap, icing my sprained ankle after a morning trip down the outside steps. My two year old daughter decided to listen to her daddy for once, and wait for me on the top step, in order to walk down together. As I turned around from the locking the front door, there she was, standing directly in front of me. Naturally trying to avoid knocking her down, I swerved out of the way, falling to the 2nd step, only to hear my ankle "pop" and twist, knocking us both to the bottom of the steps... golf clubs and her school bag strapped to my shoulders. Clubs went flying, Logan fell on her stomach, car keys flew into street, and both of us left wincing in pain. Not my finest moment.

My entire day (maybe the week) is now left in a scramble. Clients to call, times to move around, and ways of salvaging my scheduled sessions needing to be figured out. There was two minutes of panic, as I focused on how screwed my day just became. As those brief two minutes ended, my two favorite words took over: "Now what?!"

Instead of worrying about how long I'd be out of aciton, or how many clients I was going to need to call, answers became the priority. It'll be these answers that shape my day, week, and the rest of my life. It doesn't matter what happens, only the questions I ask myself after it happens.

By no means is this post about comparing my little ankle sprain to others' more challenging experiences. Rather, the focus is on finding answers, no matter the situation. It's these answers that will dictate who we become.

Reading different articles on all the social media outlets and personal blogs, it seems as if talking about the negative that's happening in life has become habitual. There's so much complaining and whining about one's experiences, yet at the same time, wondering why change isn't taking place. Or even worse, blaming others for their own unfortunate circumstances.

Let me share a secret that's not really a secret: The more we talk about the pain in our life, without focus on changing it's future, the more pain we'll experience!

Sympathy is a strong emotion, and can become addicting. Sure, it feels wonderful to have others patting our backs, and telling us everything will be o.k. (and may even be healthy, short term), but long term, it's paralyzing to our goal setting passion.

No matter what's happened, or happening to us, stay focused on the future goals we've set. Depending on our challenges, the time it takes to achieve those goals will differ, but the passion, discipline, and action needed will always remain the same.

Choose the picture. Paint it with every last ounce of fight you have.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Now What?!

I often get asked where to begin when trying to create the 1% Mindset. In theory, it's easy, but the real life application is where the elite separate from the mediocre.

The first thing that must be accomplished is making a committed decision, promising yourself that nothing will stop you from reaching your goals. The difference between a regular decision and the committed decision is one simple word: Sacrifice! You need to be willing to sacrifice everything that may stand in your way, potentially blocking your achievement. I've made countless number of decisions, but only a handful of committed decisions. Without exception, every committed decision I've made has turned into a successful attainment of my goals.

The next thing that must immediately take place is eliminating "try" from your vocabulary, substituting "I will, no matter what it takes..." in it's place. There's no room for try. It only leads to doubt and hesitation, ultimately bringing failure.

1% isn't outcome based. You don't have to become number one in the world ... but you must become number one in YOUR world. It's a way of thinking, leading to a specific way of acting. This specific type of action will eventually lead you to anything you want to achieve.

Success is relative, and means many different things, all individual to your motivations. It mustn't be compared to anyone except your own reflection. Look deep within, ask yourself if 1% is really worth the dedication and sacrifice. If the answer is yes, look back at that reflection, stare into it's soul, make that committed decision, and write on a piece of paper: "Now What?!"

The answer will reveal itself, day-by-committed-day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is This Self Sabotage?

I regularly teach and write about creating a 1% Mindset -- separating from the pack of average thinkers and doers. In order to attain this goal, we must push past our comfort zones, risk failure, and take massive action.

A student recently reminded me that we could be achieving all of this, yet still be unaware of our progress. What if, after hours of disciplined, passionate effort, we reach this next level, but fail to draw from it's success? I've rarely focused on this part of the equation, because I've assumed the achievement would be so obvious, failure to feel it's power would be impossible.

Chris, my student, has reached this plateau, yet is still choosing to feel unworthy... as if his accomplishments didn't exist. He's choosing to close his eyes to all the past success he's achieved these last two years, but why?

It's a self protection and fear of failure issue. In his warped sense of reality, if he acknowledges his improvement, he'll then be held to a higher standard, and expectations of him will be launched to another level. These pressures can be suffocating, if not viewed through positive, opportunistic lenses. He's currently choosing to see the possible failure of the new expectations, knowing many would be left disappointed. The last thing he wants to do is disappoint anyone, including himself, so by standing still in his current mindset, this will remain a non issue.

Instead, he must view these new expectations as an opportunity to propel himself to an exciting future, where boundaries don't exist. Use the pressure he feels to fuel his 1% Mindset.

Everyone feels fear ... but the elite have learned that it's this fear that drives them. They turn the fear of failure into an opportunity to achieve. They choose to see successful outcomes, and understand that failure may be a part of the process, but it's not what defines them. They know they're defined by the actions they take immediately following setbacks.

Be fearless as you move forward. Make sure you're moving forward.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take Notes From The Best

1% is all about stepping away from the norm in order to stand out. Steve Jobs and Henry Ford are incredible examples of separating from the pack. Be fearless. Take risks. Act now.

Henry Ford & Steve Jobs from Tier10 Marketing on Vimeo.

Monday, October 3, 2011

You Sure You Want It?

It doesn't forgive or feel sympathy. The difficulty it subjects you to is a test of your passion and discipline. Many talk about achieving it, but very few ever do. It knows this, loves this, thrives on this. You sure you want it? The last guy thought so, too ... until he found out how tough it really was to attain, and the pain it takes to grab ahold.

It doesn't care about your past or future. It only knows now, and what must be done this second. It knows you better than you know yourself, and uses this against you at every turn. Your weaknesses become gaping holes that it uses to mentally torture the very fabric that keeps you sane. It hears you talk-the-talk, and even silently watches you walk-the-walk for a few steps ... but knows it's only a matter of time before you fall to your knees.

You sure you want it? The last guy thought so, too ... until 5:30 am, when it was time to wake up and run his sprints before breakfast. It loves the snooze button, because it knows this is where most come up short at ever achieving it. It listens to all the wannabes talking about how passionate they are about reaching it, secretly laughing out loud at the arrogance ... or is that ignorance?! It doesn't care. It only knows failure will be the result.

It hides in your mind, knowing it will eventually be shown the way to your muscles. If it's allowed to grab your flesh unchecked, defeat is guaranteed. Conversely, if it's trained properly, it will allow you to go places 99% never go.

You sure you want it? 1% is waiting for you to step-up, look it in the eye, and challenge it to a lifelong battle. It's daring you to make the commitment needed. Stop talking. Start doing. Go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1% Success Is A Mindset

Everything we say, do, and believe is a direct result of our mindset. In order to improve in any facet of our life, priority must first be put on our everyday belief system. I was taught at an early age that how I practiced would dictate my outcome, yet never told that the way I practiced stemmed from my thoughts. I was a slave to my thinking, never knowing the role it played in the outcome I achieved.

Focus on your mindset! Concentrate on what you choose to think and believe, as this will instantly affect the action you take.

"John" recently left me a desperate voice mail, explaining the different reasons he played poorly in his last tournament. He chose to put on his "negative lenses," focusing on the trouble in front of him. During play, he viewed all that could go wrong, and when it did, his inner conversation sounded like this:

"I knew it! I knew I would hit a bad shot. It never fails... whenever I'm faced with pressure, I always find a way to screw it up."

Most believe the solution is practicing more, and fine-tuning those bad shots. In this type of mindset, they believe that if the bad shots are fixed, they won't be subjected to the above type of self-talk. Unfortunately, this isn't how it works. To insure better results, we must improve self-talk. Thoughts first, outcome second.

John chose to view pressure as an opportunity to make mistakes. This is absolutely a choice! When he chooses, instead, to view pressure as an opportunity to create a 1% Mindset, his thought patterns will be geared towards the positive outcome. Because this type of thinking creates confidence, his actions will become more aggressive and definite. His inner conversation will quickly change...

"I love these moments-- they allow me to separate from the pack. What a great opportunity to improve. Right now! This shot! Attack fearlessly!"

Place just as much attention on your mindset as you do your actions, and you'll instantly notice a change in those actions. What you do is attached to how you think. During your next personal challenge, make it a priority to concentrate on how you're looking at the situation. If you hear yourself going to that negative place, without judgement, switch it to what you'd like to have happen... what you know will happen. 

This type of mindset change is a constant battle between fear and confidence. Stay discipline, continually switching the doubt into belief. Greatness is a choice that is born from your thoughts!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Such Incredible Strength

I received a call last week from my mom, informing me that my grandma was in the hospital, and may only have a couple more days to live. After a quick packing of the car and canceling of the rest of my week, I was on the road. I was only an hour and half away, but if felt like a lifetime. My mind was all over the place, reliving the fun times I had with her, as well as the opportunities I let slip by, due to my own selfishness.

When I walked in her hospital room, I immediately noticed how big it was, and how alone she must have felt. This saddened me, immensely. No one should have to go through this time alone. She was laying on her back, hands crossed over her stomach, with a large oxygen mask blowing air into her lungs at a rate necessary to keep her alive.

She looked asleep, but as I loudly said hello into her right ear, she immediately opened her eye. Her head turned to me, allowing her left eye to make contact with my face. She wasn't asleep at all, she was waiting... waiting for a familiar face to say, "I'm here. You're no longer alone." She immediately recognized me, letting out a sigh of relief, and what seemed to be excited glee in her eye. Because of the mask, she couldn't talk, but her eyes and body language said it all. She knew I was there. She knew her once lonely room would never be that big again.

Not knowing how much she was going to understand and communicate back to me, I just talked. I talked about her gorgeous granddaughter, the Lakers (she loved the NBA), and how my arm was still sore from throwing the football with her when I was 6 years old. She was focused directly into my eyes, making sure I knew that she understood everything. When I told her my mom (her daughter) would be there the next day, both eyes opened with anticipation. It instantly struck me: This is what she's been waiting for!

Her body was broken, but her mind was alert and strong. She was going to hold on as long as it took to say goodbye to her daughter. No matter what her physical shell was telling her, or how much pain it was sending through her nerve endings, her commitment and passion would win-out! Nothing was going to beat her before her goal was achieved. I knew it would be 24 hours before this would happen, as my mom's flight didn't land until the next night. This next full day was going to change my life forever.

The next morning came too fast. As I arrived back at her bedside after a rough night's sleep, she was laying in the same position. I gave her a kiss on the cheek, and she responded immediately. When she turned her head to see my face, I instantly felt as if I could read her mind. She was happy to see me, but wanted to know when her daughter would be by her side. "Mom will be here tonight. Until then, you're stuck with me," I jokingly said.

The remainder of the day was spent talking with her, and taking mental notes on how strong the mind can be under incredibly stressful times. Her hands moved quite well, but for such an active woman, not being able to move much more must've felt tortuous. She also communicated with her eyes, eyebrows, and shoulder shrugs, but even during this incredibly frustrating time, she remained tough as nails. At one point, I began reading her favorite passages from the bible, but she made it quite clear she wanted me to stop. With every ounce of strength she had left in her arms, she reached up to my face, gestured me to stop, and waved me out of the room! Through her oxygen mask, we whispered, "Sleep. Head back." This was the first time I heard her speak. I didn't even think it was possible for her to verbally communicate. This was my grandma, though - she was as strong as they came, and always let you know how she felt. She didn't care that I was there to comfort her ... she just wanted me out of the room so she could take a nap. I laughed as I shut the door behind me.

When my mom arrived, and grandma heard her voice, it was as if a long, tedious marathon had finally ended. Grandma locked on to mom's eyes, and wouldn't let go. She attempted to pull that overgrown oxygen mask off her face, but didn't have the strength. Words weren't necessary. They both knew how much they loved, and would miss each other. The love my grandma had for her daughter was so intense, she somehow found a way to give her a hug. They held on for what seemed like an eternity.

My grandma didn't know it, but during the two days I spent with her in the hospital, she taught me the true meaning of the 1% mindset. From this day on, when I talk about "separating from the pack," I'll compare all others to her strength, passion, and commitment.

Say hi to grandpa for me!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

They Can't Tear You Down

My next Lesson Post comes from someone who wants to remain anonymous (I'll call him John). He asks,

"How do I deal with all the negativity coming from those who want to tear me down? I'm working harder than I ever have, which is giving me more success than I've ever experienced. I'm finding it difficult to stay focused in the midst of all the negativity."

Unfortunately, this type of challenge is more prevalent than you'd expect. Striving for bigger and better sounds exciting, but it does come with a price to pay. Sometimes, the price is a lack of time with family or friends, but too often, you'll find yourself defending more than acting. You'll feel as if your positivity and need to separate from the pack is abnormal. The people who are trying to make you feel this way are doing so because they won't commit to pushing themselves past their own comfort zones. It's almost instinctive for them to feel the need to grab your foot as you pass, ripping it down to their level. The fact is, they do it because they lack the self confidence to reach for a higher plateau, themselves. Their jealousy of John's success leads them to verbally pull him down, hoping to cause him the same pain they feel inside. In their mind, his success only reaffirms their failure. 

While we're being torn from our climb, it's natural to want to attack back, and defend our actions. The best thing John can do is ... NOTHING. He needs to understand these negative, "self-pity talkers" are hurting on the inside. Instead of feeling anger, have empathy for them, realizing it's most likely not a personal attack on his journey. They feel powerless to do this type of growing, so in their warped sense of reality, mustn't allow anyone else to feel success. If John can eliminate his ego from this equation, he'll quickly realize he has all the power. They need him to continue his climb towards the top, because without him, they'll have nothing to complain about. 

No matter the situation in our lives, we have the choice to spin it into power and confidence. We choose our reactions and how they'll ultimately affect our daily path. Our thoughts create emotion, leading to specific action. It's this action that hands us our results. Focus, not only on what we tell ourselves, but how we communicate with others. If they're tearing us down, instead of becoming defensive, understand it's coming from a place of inner pain. Have sympathy for them, but keep moving forward. Keep fighting for your next level!

1% is a mindset that doesn't allow anyone or anything to dictate our journey. We're in control of how we choose to think. Choose wisely!