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!