Monday, April 25, 2011

One Simple Question...

As I was thinking of topics to write about, I began focusing on lessons I recently had and personal battles I grind through daily. No matter the student or the issue I was having, it always came down to two simple, yet powerful words:


These two words changed my life. They made me look at every challenge through hopeful eyes. They gave me power, knowing I had the choice to take a stand. Now What only gives us two options... quit or fight, period!

I challenge you to stop at every crossroad and force yourself to look at those words. What are you going to do when you fall on your face? Will you stay down, hoping someone will lend you a hand, or take the risk and try again? How will you handle short term success? Will you let down and settle for what you already have, or parley it into bigger and better?


These words give you options. No matter your road blocks, you have two directions to choose from. What's it going to be? Ask the question and find out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dare To Be 1%

Becoming the 1% means doing whatever it takes to separate from the pack. The elite instinctively understand that if everyone's doing and saying (it), something must be wrong. If the entire pack is walking (this) way, it must not be special. It's counterintuitive, yes, but next level success is born from the ability to look left when everyone else is looking right.

There's only been one Michael Jordan - uniquely intense, competitive, and hyper-focused under pressure. He's my 1% prototype. There have been many great players before and after him, but none that compare to his all around determination and will to dominate under maximum pressure. All of this, from a player who FAILED to make his high school varsity team as a sophomore. MJ had no doubt he'd be special, even after his coach's rejection. Was he born with it? Who knows. Did he work for it? Absolutely!

Pre 2009 (and front nine 2011 Masters) Tiger Woods also encompasses what it means to be at the top of the 1% food chain. His ability to, not only dominate an entire tournament field, but also physically and especially mentally prepare more intensely, separated him from the pack. His dad, an unofficial mental coach, prepared Tiger as early as 10 years old. Every practice session, he'd work on Tiger's mental game, knowing this would be the key to his greatness. Everyone has a great swing, he helped young Tiger understand... yet not everyone has a strong mind when the pressure's screaming at them during competition. When the current Tiger Woods finds that instinct that's laying dormant inside, he'll prove once again what a dominant role the mental game plays while attempting to separate from a physically talented field.

Are you listening to the majority, as it relates to your own greatness? Keep searching for that person standing alone on a platform preaching new, better, and different. Maybe... just maybe his words and actions will lead you down a unique path... a 1% path!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

True Confidence

"I can't set that goal until I know I'm good enough to achieve it."

This is what most people tell themselves. Unfortunately, this thought process is backwards. Without the lofty goal, we'll rarely become good enough. It's simply another example of waiting for evidence before one chooses to believe. Key word: CHOOSE!

We all have the ability to choose whether or not we believe in ourselves. Self belief is a decision we make, yet most only decide to make that decision after positive results. The best-of-the-best, no matter the field, don't wait for evidence before they make this conscious decision to have unyielding self belief and confidence. They know with every ounce of who they are, success will show it's face. And furthermore, they understand the stronger and more consistent this belief, the more success they'll eventually taste.

There are three types of confidence:

1) Fake Confidence: This person struts around, acting as if he owns the place. He'll try and make you believe he thinks he's the best, period. He goes home at night, looks in the mirror, and only sees weakness.

2) Dependent Confidence: This is where most live. We only feel good about ourselves when things are going well. The moment they make a downward turn, all confidence is lost.

3) True Confidence: This is our ultimate goal. It's the type of confidence we should have, simply because of who we are as humans. This confidence comes from deep inside... almost as if it were instinctive. True confidence can't be shaken or lost, and doesn't live for results. It understands results will simply be, and are completely separate from self belief. Of course, good results can build and enhance this confidence, but it doesn't rely on it's existence.

"I came in last today, but I still totally believe in myself!"

"I've never experienced this type of losing streak before. I'll keep working and putting in the hours. I still totally believe. Nothing will stop me!"

"Everyone thinks I should quit. No one believes I'll make it. I will absolutely succeed... no matter what it takes!

-True Confidence

How many of us can say we have this type of self confidence? If yes, then how much "losing" will it take before we stop believing in ourselves? If we have an answer for the last question, we need to work harder to achieve True Confidence. 

We choose to believe or not... no one can take it away. What an incredibly powerful weapon!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

He Sees And Feels His Future!

The first step to reaching any goal is creating a long term mental picture of what we want, then work backwards to present day. If we can see and especially FEEL this picture, we're more likely to acquire these goals.

I recently began working with Curtis, a college golfer, with dreams of playing on the PGA Tour. Our first assignment was to create a detailed, long term future visual of what he saw for himself. This is what he wrote... amazing stuff:

The picture is clear as day in my mind. I can see, feel, and create every emotion and part of the routine and attitude I am creating.
The day starts early, at 6:30, I’m up stretching four hours before the first round of the  2017 Masters . It’s my second season on tour and I’ve made a few cuts and cashed some checks in the first few events. I’ve just come off a great rookie season where I’ve risen to 50th in the world. . It’s been a good long road, and my development has been a gradual, steady, consistent one. I’ve made the jump from a steady DII player to a Canadian Tour/Hooters player, played a few other big tours around the globe, and have finally made it to the biggest stage.
After the stretch/warmup with my trainer, I leave the fitness room at the house we are staying at. I’m calm, relaxed, and confident throughout the morning and seem to always do things at a slower pace on tournament days. There is an article in the newspaper about my rookie success thus far in the season, but I don’t read it. I don’t like to pay any attention to the media, and just worrying about the things that I can control.

After breakfast, my parents, and my caddy, head to the course to meet the rest of my team. The town is buzzing with the Masters hype, and I can feel it as we pull into the gates of Augusta National. As we pull into the player’s parking area I can see the crowds gathering around the range. I part ways with the family and head towards the range with my caddy, one of my best friends. We are approached by a lot of friends and fans and I quickly say hello and continue to the range. On tournament days, I am very focused and structured so work needs to be done.

We head inside the ropes and step out onto the sprawling green practice tee, surrounded by grandstands and groups of fans. My caddy sets down the bag and heads off to grab some stuff for the round. This is my first tournament round at Augusta and I’m more than ready for it. I’ve visualized the whole day several times and know every detail of my game plan. I’m very confident in myself and my game, and know that if I take care of my own routine, it’s hard to beat me.

Soon after, my coaches meet me on the range and watch me warm up. I work my way through my routine, feeling every shot and the tempo that I want to create. I watch as each ball makes its way through the sky and towards my target, time after time. However, I’m not worried about where the ball is going, and only thinking about tempo and getting loose. The sun is shining and it’s starting to heat up as I begin winding down the session. I’m feeling a little bit more nervous as I hear some of the crowd noise and gallery on the way to the putting green. 

I have felt these nerves before and thrive on them. They are why I play the game. I love this feeling and know that I am a player that always excels under them. I’m concentrating on my breathe and begin to feel myself getting calmer and more relaxed. Tournaments are not won or lost on the first day, and I know I’ll stay patient no matter what happens in the first few holes. I stroke a few putts on the perfect greens that all seem to find the back of the hole. I see the line and feel the speed that they need to be on, and don’t see anything else but them going in.  After a few lag putts and a last minute chat with my coaches, I head through the gallery to the first tee.

I recognize some friends and family in the crowds, but it’s game time now. My only focus is on my game and I know it’s at the best shape it’s ever been. My swing is compact and on plane, my short game, which has always been my strength, is great, and I feel like I could get it up and down from anywhere on the course. My putting has always separated me from the rest, and I feel as though I always hit putts where I want to hit them.  I’m feeling confident and it shows in my body language. I’m walking tall and confident towards the tee, head up, aware that all the other players are looking at me. I notice some other players, some famous spectators, and good looking girls in the crowd, but let it all pass. Everything begins to disappear around me as I’m only thinking about my process and seeing what I want.

I take a few more deep breaths and feel myself getting looser and more relaxed. The announcer calls my name with an applause. I nod to the crowd and begin my routine. I take a few deep breaths as I tee up the ball, step backward 2 steps and feel the position and tempo I want to make in the swing. I can see the ball flight, flying towards my spot on the fairway, and can already hear the applause. I line up my intermediate target spot, complete my setup, one last look at the target, and attack. The ball feels light on the clubface and rockets towards the middle of the fairway. It’s hit perfectly…I hold the finish and nod once more to the applauding crowd.

Here we go… time to attack and play fearlessly. This is what I have worked for, and I know I am ready to win!

(Future Masters winner)