UN. PRECEDENTED.

11 11 2017

While preparing a talk for a team that I have invested in and worked with for the past 7 years, one word kept resonating within me…

UNPRECEDENTED

It was not until after the experience was over that I understood why this word rang boldly within my spirit.

For many years I have held the belief that those who participate in youth athletics are missing a HUGE OPPORTUNITY! Yesterday it was confirmed in an UNPRECEDENTED way that my belief is indeed accurate.

The team gathered with the numbers reaching close to 100 athletes. They each grabbed their chair and formed a group in front of me while talking with their neighbors, as is normal for this group. Rather than use my voice to mark the time to start, I simply stood quietly, observing the interactions and noticing the energy of the group. Without uttering a word the group refocused their attention to the front with a curious aura about what we would doing.

I opened with a story from my teen years describing my first day of seventh grade when two seniors cornered me in a hallway, lifted me, and hung me by my belt loop on the back of a door leaving me there while people walked by and laughed. While I told my story their eyes were riveted with respect and empathy. I could see the impact of my words in the eyes of the group, as well as, feel it with the energy present in the room.

After my story, I sought to inspire the team to move from a group of individual participants to a powerful TEAM of courageous, bold, and connected teammates while offering a four-tiered understanding of this process which included emotional safety, bonding and belonging, courageous and creative expression, and lastly, bold leadership. In most cases, this is where the experience would end and practice would begin.

NOT TODAY!

Best selling author, Brene Brown, said: “It is hard to hate from up close.” So, I thought it might be time to challenge these young people to get to know some of their teammates UP CLOSE.

To the coach’s credit, she said: “Shaun, take the time you want to build this experience out. If you need all of our practice time, take it.” It was this permission that gave me the freedom to then ask this question to the TEAM:

“Do you want to do something UNPRECEDENTED TODAY?”

Even though there was some hesitancy the TEAM said yes. (They could have just wanted to get out of going to practice.) What followed will be remembered as one of the most powerful experiences I have been a part of in my 17+ years of coaching.

The next request I posed was, “I need some volunteers to come forward to PUT INTO PRACTICE what we just talked about. You will be interviewed in front of your peers (teammates) and the questions will not be easy.”

I thought I might stand alone up front without any volunteers.

What actually happened is about 35 courageous young people of different ages came up front to be interviewed in front of their teammates and peers. In spite of sweaty palms from anxiety, tears because of deep-seated unspoken fears and hurts, and uncertainty, these 35 courageous team members left their hearts out there to be cared for and understood in an UNPRECEDENTED way. The team members that were left in the crowd listened attentively for almost 2 hours without distraction or disrespect.

Some of the questions I asked:

  • What are you most proud of?
  • What hurt are you carrying that has gone unexpressed?
  • What is something about you that others do not know?
  • What is one dream you have?
  • What are your deepest fears?
  • How do you deal with your deep fears?
  • What kind of team do you want to be on?
  • What are you willing to bring to the team?

The responses to these questions were far from what might be posted in a snapchat story or social media post. The outpouring of genuine love and support was powerful and UNPRECEDENTED! I stood there proud and honored to be in this space with these amazing young athletes wishing that others could see this.

WHY?

Because I believe that our young people are starving for meaningful connection and authentic engagement. Their hearts are so starved that they would risk embarrassment in front of their peers to get a taste of this seemingly sparse resource. What we need to understand is that the resource is not lacking abundance. Many coaches and other adult leaders have disregarded and underestimated the capacity of young people to be GAME CHANGERS for those they play and compete with. Let’s hope that this experience moves from being UNPRECEDENTED to the PRECEDENT.

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Fear of Failure vs. Mentally Strong and Confident

20 03 2017

As a parent I have never really feared my kids physical abilities and skills to compete in the sports they have been in. My greatest fears have centered around their mental skills.

It is their failure that I fear.

I often wonder what will happen to their self esteem, confidence and overall well being if they fail. In an attempt to avoid having to see this outcome I have OVER USED encouragement and pep talks to do anything I can to PROTECT THEM from the possible fallout of experiencing failure.

It never occurred to me that FAILURE, STRUGGLE and DISCOURAGEMENT was actually the “game they needed to win.” Rarely was I concerned with wins and losses. MY CENTRAL CONCERN and point of interest and ANXIETY was EMBARRASSMENT. I did not want to see my kids get embarrassed. I equated the possibility of failing with them being embarrassed. I believe that this is what drives most parents in their interactions with their youth athletes.

THEN IT HIT ME…

What if I EMPOWERED, TRAINED AND TAUGHT THEM to UTILIZE these moments to GROW and STRENGTHEN?

What if I grew in my assurance that they were STRONG, RESILIENT, CREATIVE, and MENTALLY SKILLED?

THEN I COULD REST AND BE AT PEACE!!!

As a result, I created Stay In The Sport Zone!

Do you want to get a jump start on your MENTAL SKILL TRAINING?

Do you get confused about where to go to begin your training?

Do you want to learn from someone that has many years of experience coaching and training youth athletes to improve their mental skills?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions then Stay In The Sport Zone is for you!

Stay In The Sport Zone is an online, non-threatening coaching program you can do in the privacy of your own home. I personally will lead you through (6) powerful mental skill teachings that will propel you forward in the pursuit of a STRONGER MIND!

Each video coaching module provides a step-by-step approach on how to build these vital sport-zone skills:

MODULE 1: Moving from Frustration to Fire
MODULE 2: Building Laser Focus
MODULE 3: Becoming Unshakably Confident
MODULE 4: Peak Performance Practice
MODULE 5: Powerless to Empowered
MODULE 6: Moving Beyond Your Fear of Failure

Here is what is being said about this program:

“This email is to THANK YOU for your great video series Stay in the Sport Zone, I spoke with you on what you offer athletes for working on building their mental skills. After hearing all the options we ended up going with the online “Stay in the Sport Zone” online program where my kids could work at their pace and even revisit different concepts.

I don’t think I could possibly convey to you in an email what a big difference, in a positive way, your online program made to my daughter this senior season of her high school career. It was pretty amazing! We’ve always thought she had many athletic tools but for the first time, I think EVER, she was a very composed and confident athlete even when she had a few minor set backs. It was such fun to watch her all season long and admire the personal growth she made. She made some big goals for herself…. and she accomplished them. Knowing this kid — this came down to her finding something she’d never had before and that was truly a mental edge. She ended up accomplishing LIFETIME best time in her event (by a lot, after 2 years of a plateau) and making individual All – State which was the biggest deal ever to her. She diligently and completely (on her own) used your program all season and grew as an athlete. It was obvious to me she connected with the concepts and used them to grow and enjoyed the process. She enjoyed her season so much she’s planning to continue in college.

Just want to say thank you for having that program available!!

It’s made a huge difference to a kid who has now wrapped up her high school career in a sport she has put so much time into, in the most positive outcome we could have hoped for. THANK YOU!”

Parent of a Stay In The Sport Zone Client

“Working with Shaun has been an incredible opportunity. I started meeting with Shaun as a freshman in high school, and little did I know that moment would change my life forever. I was ecstatic to begin my journey with Mental Edge and boost my athletic performance by working on my mental game. Shaun not only taught me strategies of how to become more mentally tough on court, but also how to be a supportive teammate and compassionate person. He’s by far one of the most incredible, kind, and generous people I’ve ever met and I’m lucky to have him in my life.”

Student Athlete

Go ahead and get registered for this life-changing video coaching and I’ll see you on the other side to get started!

Shaun





3 C Power

7 02 2017

stencil-youtube-thumbnailLike many, I am fascinated with the formula for SUCCESS. I realize that success has different meanings depending on the source. However, for the sake of this piece I am simply looking to understand a formula for living with purpose, resulting in something being produced, fueled by passion, and challenges our potential.

Simply stated, success might be be defined as living purposely to produce an outcome motivated by passion to realize our potential.

Isn’t this why we pour hours of energy into a sport, career, relationship, hobby?

Are we not truly desiring to have purpose and intention in our living?

Do we not want to see results from our efforts in the form of some outcome?

Are we not trying to live with passion and motivation so we can sustain ourselves through the challenging times?

Are we not also curious about what we are capable of and truly seek to tap into the deep potential that lives often latently in the depths of our being?

I want to suggest that there are 3 C’s that can propel us to this end.

First, is COURAGE. I really believe that removing unfounded fear and living courageously is at the center of fulfillment, purpose and achievement. Regardless of what you are striving for at some point courage will be necessary. Whether we are looking to improve a relationship, performance at a job, improve our grades in school, or let go of a dream to cultivate a new one, COURAGE IS PART OF THE SUCCESS FORMULA.

Second, CHALLENGE. Challenge is like the weight room of life. It is here where you face your limitations and train past them. When you are engaged in a well grounded strength training program limits and resistance are used to grow strength and endurance. Aren’t we all looking for strength and endurance in our lives? We MUST EMBRACE THE CHALLENGES IN OUR LIVES!! When we do so with wisdom these challenges can be transformed into strength and endurance. Success is often achieved through the expression of strength and endurance as seen in commitment and persistence.

Third, CONTENTMENT. This one will most certainly come as a shock to many. In this ELITISM SOCIETY where being EXCEPTIONAL is often looked at as the norm, NORMAL HAS NOW BECOME SEEN AS DEFECTIVE. Success for most of us will reside in living with a healthy contentment knowing that we did the best we could have. There is nothing wrong with being content with your best even if your best was at the low end of the norm. I see many knocking themselves out to pursue exceptional and elite status at the expense of their own well being with no real hope of ever reaching exceptional status. I have to thank my mentor, Micheal Anderson L.P. and co-author of the book GIST The Essence of Raising Life-Ready Kids, for this concept.

COURAGE, CHALLENGE and CONTENTMENT. 3 C’s that provide a framework for us to intentionally live with purpose and deep fulfillment as we navigate through the many experiences that we will encounter in life. I urge you to take these 3 C’s and activate them in your life.

Let us know your definition of success in the comments below!

Shaun





Mirrors of Greatness

13 09 2016

When people think of a mirror they think of a piece of glass that reflects the image that faces it. Mirrors can be useful because they reflect back Mirror Blogto us an image. Mirrors do not judge, have an opinion, talk back, or hate. Like most things when utilized for their intended purpose the value is high.

However, a mirror can be turned into a weapon of mass destruction because of the user. Many spend hours in front of a mirror shaming and hating on themselves because of the judgment and self-condemnation they generate from the image being reflected.

Let me offer a different way to think about a MIRROR.

Recently, I was mentoring a young soccer player. She just finished tryouts and I asked her to share a moment that stood out in her mind. She proceeded to vaguely tell me of a moment where she passed the ball to her teammate and that teammate scored. The initial description was lacking detail and it would have been easy to gloss over with a statement like “good job” or “that is cool.” After further discovery I learned that she had noticed the open player, put herself in a position to receive a pass by getting to an open space, executed a quality right-footed pass, and unselfishly shared the ball. My discovery revealed ELEMENTS OF GREATNESS that were NOT CLEAR in her first description. A more detailed description, uncovered through a more thorough exploration of what happened, made it possible to AMPLIFY and bring to her attention details within the event that put a spotlight on aspects of the play that could then be utilized in the future to reinforce her belief.

In essence, a deeper dive into what actually occurred provided an opportunity to mirror back to this young athlete ELEMENTS OF GREATNESS.

I believe we are all mirrors! The question is, WHAT ARE WE REFLECTING back to those in OUR LIVES? I believe those around us benefit when WE REFLECT truthful detailed images that empower learning and awareness. This is INFORMATION THAT CAN SPARK LEARNING and REINFORCE THE PROGRESSION towards enhancing performance and life.

Many athletes, coaches, parents, business owners, etc…… lack consistent images that help them deconstruct the elements of success. When success, as well as failure, are not clearly understood improvement and development are improbable. WE CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE by committing to reflecting images that are descriptive and detailed to those that we want to influence.

The smile that emerged from this young athlete told the story of CONNECTING TO INFORMATION THAT GAVE CLARITY TO HER EXECUTED EXCELLENCE! We can all BE MIRRORS OF GREATNESS to others in our lives.

STEP 1, Explore, through the use of questions, details that describe the more detailed story within the moment.
STEP 2, Gain clarity by deconstructing a moment of success.
STEP 3, HIGHLIGHT vital skills, attributes, and execution points that contributed to success.
STEP 4, REPEAT OFTEN.

Reflecting with you,

Shaun

PS: After you do steps 1-4 comment below and let me know what happened!





Committing to Commitment

29 06 2016
DO YOU FIND YOURSELF CONSTANTLY WAITING FOR SOMETHING BETTER TO COME UP?
DO YOU SEEM TO KEEP REPEATING THE SAME CHALLENGES IN YOUR LIFE?
stencil.youtube-thumbnail
DO YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT TO GIVE OF YOURSELF COMPLETELY TO A PURSUIT OR PERSON?
DO YOU GET FRUSTRATED THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU CAN TRUST?

If these are some of your experiences then this blog might give you a new perspective to create change and movement.

At first sight you may look at the title of today’s writing and have to spend a couple seconds thinking about it. However, I wrote the title purposely. I want to have a look at commitment and challenge you to re-think how you see this rich and vital concept.

I think it is safe to say that we are in the FOMO generation (Fear Of Missing Out). I hear with consistency the phrase, “I do not want to commit to ________; something better might come up that I do not want to miss out on.” I believe the effects of this mindset are destroying the quality of our relationships, work and sport. We have become obsessed, controlled by and addicted to the possibility of spontaneous euphoria.

I believe that we are paying a HUGE price with the FOMO framework. It may not be a surprise to hear that the riches and deeply impactful life experiences that lead to fulfillment, long standing joy, confidence, and self-definition are born from being FULLY INVESTED, IMMERSED and COMMITTED for the long haul.

How do we ever do more than simply troll above the surface of existence if we live for what “might come up?”

I am concerned that we will struggle to build teams, social work cultures and families if we do not start COMMITTING TO COMMITMENT. The psychological safety required to work fully self expressed and together in teams has been identified as a KEY FACTOR in propelling teams to play at high levels; often out performing “A” players living with different group dynamics. When people committing to one another appears to be a thing of the past, it is no wonder why so many are afraid of rejection, hurt, isolation, to name a few. The results are people playing small, scared and without creativity and joy.

If we want to touch the rim of EXCELLENCE, FULFILLMENT, DEEP JOY, MASTERY,

AND UNSHAKABLE CONFIDENCE I believe we need to COMMIT TO COMMITMENT.

Living life eventually brings us to many cross roads. In sports the competition will eventually show us our lack of mastery, in business we will most definitely hit our lid, in relationships we will for sure hit a point of struggle. No matter what the arena we will be exposed and this is a good thing. It is at this point we can decide about GROWING or LEAVING. Growth requires COMMITMENT and leaving will often result in us returning to the same cross road facing the same decision again. (there are most certainly times when it is the right thing to move on).

I want to respectfully challenge you to put COMMITTING to COMMITMENT as your strategy for growth and life fulfillment. Doing so compels you to fully invest yourself, immerse yourself, and be diligent in your pursuit of those things that you bring your best to AND you also become your best through.

Let’s terminate the FOMO framework and realize that there are pursuits, passions and people that deserve and require us to COMMIT to in order for the good stuff to come forth.

Let me know in the comments below what you are going to commit to today.





Habits of Excellence

22 06 2016

stencil.twitter-postWe would all like to believe that we are in CHARGE of or CONTROL our lives. Fundamentally we do make choices with our behaviors and thoughts day to day. However, the shocking truth is that we are all CREATURES OF HABIT. It is these habits, or repetitive behaviors, that end up determining the quality of our lives.

Over the years I have become more aware of the connection between the quality of my life and my habits. In other words I have been struck by how much I get what I have earned. For example, in relationships I have had a habit of talking more than I am listening. This came to my awareness as I was talking with my son one day. I went into the conversation with a desire to learn about his level of interest in his upcoming college experience and realized as I was driving to my next appointment that I had actually learned nothing. This was not because he was unwilling to share, it was because I didn’t listen. I have work projects that I have authentic excitement about that were spawned 6 months ago. Yet some of these have not yet even gotten off the ground. These are just a few examples of how habits can lie under the surface of awareness but do their destructive work regardless of my intention.

I think it is imperative that we step back and give some thought to our lives with the intention to gain clarity about where we are relinquishing power to automatic and repetitive behaviors that road block our deepest desires and ambitions. We need to ask ourselves, “What habits do I need to re-invent and what skills do I need to upgrade to significantly upgrade the quality of my life?” Doing this allows our focus and awareness to uncover the unconscious automatic actions and attitudes that are most likely silently destroying things we care about.

From this reflection we need to then build HABITS OF EXCELLENCE. These are habits that lead to the elevated capacity to build relationships filled with understanding, love, experiential impact, work production that is heightened, stress that is lowered, health that is enhanced, and an overall life quality that is elevated all because some habits of excellence were implemented, reinforced and strengthened through consistency.

I believe many of us are blindly and unconsciously going through our lives without the awareness that a much better quality of life is simply a few habits of excellence away. Take some time today and do a thorough walk through of your life and identify at least one habit that is having an undesirable impact on your life. Once you have done that invent a new habit that can lead you to experience a better quality of life.

If you find this a challenge, sign up for a free coaching session and let me help you do this in a powerful way!

Like this blog? We love reading and responding to your comments so be sure to comment below!

Here’s to habits of excellence.





What is Greatness?

1 06 2016

greatnessHave you ever asked yourself what it means to be GREAT?

Maybe you haven’t asked yourself this exact question but you have most likely desired and maybe even taken steps towards some form of GREATNESS in your life.

This has increased in importance to me because I believe the understanding of “GREATNESS” has changed from a vigilant pursuit of the uncommon to something used more as a habitual punch line for vague, unwarranted and often average performance and living.

Pursuing GREATNESS should be a daily aim.

Because of my passion for this I want to INSPIRE a MOVEMENT of GREATNESS SEEKERS!!

Today, I define GREATNESS as intentionally pursuing my “HIGHEST SELF” while serving others to do the same. I believe pursuing greatness requires (3) things:

First, TRUE GREATNESS requires INTENT and personal initiative. To reach any form of excellence in our lives it is vital that we leverage our WILL. GREATNESS is never an accident. If I am to BECOME a GREAT husband, friend, athlete, or professional it starts with INTENT which is GENERATING THE WANT TO PURSUE.

Second, once INTENT has been established then CLARITY is required. INTENTION matched with CLARITY allows the energy of INTENT to be FOCUSED and invested into specific actions. It is these actions that generate the OUTCOMES that determine whether or not I AM A GREAT at what I am pursuing.

Lastly, I believe GREATNESS is consistently fueled by PASSION. Passion is the fuel utilized to persist through the barriers, challenges and roadblocks that will for sure seek to distract and discourage ones pursuit of GREATNESS.

In all honesty, I have not been the GREATNESS SEEKER that I hope to be and you might resonate with this as well. I know there is a cause, calling and a message that lives in me that I want to learn to FULLY EXPRESS. I believe this message would SERVE and INSPIRE many. However, if I do not start each day with INTENTION and EXPRESS my INTENTION through CLEARLY DEFINED ACTIONS sustained by the PASSION to see others live a life of GREATNESS I have to settle for the regret and disappointment of a life lived beneath its opportunity.

Let’s join together and SEEK GREATNESS!

Tell me about your pursuit of greatness in the comments below!

Shaun