The Challenge is Real

14 12 2016

Many people I care about and love are in the midst of significant life challenges! You might be one of those in the midst of a significant challenge.

TheseThe Challenge Is Real challenges could be best described as “being in a war.” The challenge never seems to let up. No matter which way you turn, there it is seemingly waiting to torment and therefore, torture you. It is said that when we face challenges of this intensity we come face to face with our true self.

I have to be honest and admit that the intensity of some of the challenges I am seeing go beyond a “problem to be solved.” Truthfully, a problem would be far preferred than a challenge. Problems can often be solved through advanced thinking, surrender and increased support. Challenges seem to dig at our humanity, value system, spirituality, and in some cases, our very existence. They force us to quickly assess our emotional, social, spiritual, and at times, financial resources.

How are we to respond when faced with a challenge(s) of this magnitude?

Whatever threatens our health, well being, family, security, and certainty is a real challenge. When life is at its best the strength of these arenas allow us to LIVE WITH DAILY CONTENTMENT. Once they are threatened then our life feels like it us under attack.

A bad doctors report puts the vision for tomorrow in question.

The loss of a job brings deep uncertainty of how to cover our financial responsibilities.

When one of our children or another loved one is struggling we are often faced with fear about what might happen.

Suffice it to say any of our lives could come under attack at anytime and without warning.

These challenges are REAL. They Require Encouragement And Love. (REAL)

CHALLENGES that shake us at our foundation demand the ASSEMBLING of an ARMY. No one goes to battle intelligently without an army. Armies have one thing they focus on…WINNING THE BATTLE.

We all need an army! A group of people that stand with us, fight for us and, without hesitation, go to war on our behalf.

What troubles me are the battles that people are fighting without their own personal army.

Armies compound courage in one another. BEING IN THE FIGHT WITH SOMEONE ELSE HELPS US TO FIND HOPE, COURAGE, STRENGTH, and FAITH IN THE BATTLE. Some of the challenges we face do not have any quick and certain answers. Maybe, the presence of a challenge forces us to GET OUTSIDE OF OURSELVES and LEAN INTO OTHER SOLDIERS borrowing their strength, hope and courage even if just for a season.

To those of you under attack because of a seemingly insurmountable challenge, I URGE YOU TO ASSEMBLE YOUR ARMY.

Many challenges appear to have no answers even though we chase answers with diligence and often desperation.

THE ARMY IS THE ANSWER!!

Don’t go it alone,

Shaun





Breaking The Distraction Chains

8 08 2016

Have you ever given thought to the connection between ATTENTIVE CONSISTENCY and SUCCESS?stencil.facebook-ad-link

What I mean by ATTENTIVE CONSISTENCY is the continual capacity to give quality focus and concentration to a pre-determined priority; gaining a deeper and deeper understanding with each days focus. This is very similar to immersing yourself for a period of time in something you have a deep passion for or has significance to you. Examples of ATTENTIVE CONSISTENCY could include a relationship, hobby, business, sport, or even yourself.

But there is a problem.

I believe many of us are missing out on the deep joy and sense of fulfillment that accompanies the capacity to fully engage in and consistently focus on important priorities. We are often lured away from this type of experience because of multiple distractions. I define a distraction as anything that interrupts the flow of our attention.

Ask yourself this question: What is the length of time I can give quality focus and concentration to a pre-determined priority without being internally or externally interrupted?

How do we BREAK THE STRONG CHAINS OF DISTRACTION? How do we train ourselves to experience times of flow where we sustain our focus more often and with greater endurance?

Before I give some thoughts on this topic I want to say that there are many that have attentional challenges. The thoughts I want to put forth place no judgement on those attentional challenges or the means in which they are managing them.

First, I want to say that there are (3) distraction busters that have served me extremely well. None of these are quick fixes but if practiced consistently can strengthen our capacity to focus immensely over time.

1. Meditation: Until recently, I would not have included this because I had no experience with this practice. It seemed a bit “cheesy” to be honest. However, I decided I was going to build an internal library of EXPERIENCE rather than uneducated opinion. I was pleasantly enlightened by the results I found when I took just 10 minutes to quiet myself and my mind. Initially I found it difficult to SLOW DOWN enough to even get through a meditation session without immense distraction. Over time, I have found myself with incredible capacity to stay centered and calm despite a whirlwind of chaos around me. I am sold on the benefits of this practice. HEADSPACE is the app I use and the TAKE 10 challenge is very helpful.

2. Journaling: I have found writing to be incredibly helpful for taking internal confusion and producing crystal clarity. Sound helpful tips: In the morning identify **one word** that defines the way you want to “show up” in the world. Write a paragraph as to why, allowing yourself only 5 minutes to write. This is a great way to start your day. Another tip is to pose a question to yourself at the end of the day, What challenged me today? What did I learn? Again take 5-10 minutes to write. Most people get overwhelmed by the thought of writing pages and pages. This is unnecessary in my opinion.

3. Exercise: The benefits to being active are too numerous to count. Needless to say when we stay active we are able to fuel our minds with what it needs to focus. It is important that you know that I am not necessarily talking about the WORKOUTS of athletes, although they are helpful as well. Going on a 30 minute walk, moving around the house in between tasks is also helpful. JUST DO NOT SIT FOR TOO LONG WITHOUT MOVING.

DISTRACTIONS are blinding! They entice us to pay attention to information that is of little to no long term value. Those of us that are CONSTANTLY CHASING THE LATEST SHORT TERM FAD are often lacking the ability to track the life stories of those closest to them leaving the relationship bankrupt of deep connection.

IF you are looking to be enlightened with the wonder of strengthened focus and concentration make a commitment to one of the three DISTRACTION BUSTERS above.

Post your most common distractions in the comments below and which of the distraction busters you are going to implement 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.





Communities that Unleash Kids for Success

11 09 2014

It is no secret that people thrive and exhibit moments of greatness when they are engaged and firmly rooted in a safe physical and emotional environment. I am compelled to write on this topic because there is not a day that goes by where I am not Who's Got Your Backhearing about some young person that is emotionally bruised, hurt, or devastated because of the social environment they are in.

THIS HAS TO STOP!

This writing is not intended to analyze all of the breakdowns that lead to an unsafe emotional environment. There are plenty of much smarter analysts that have written and exposed those much more effectively than I can. Rather, I would like to envision a type of community that we could aspire to provide for our young people. This community, whether it be a sports team, classroom, church group, or neighborhood, could be the most powerful asset present in a young person and families life.

I envision a community that is built first and foremost on acceptance. Acceptance is the life source that unleashes courage, self expression, belonging, and a sense of unconditional love. The type of acceptance I am referring to is actively, diligently, and ferociously protected at all costs. When someone says something that compromises the sense of acceptance of anyone present it is gracefully but intentionally dealt with. Acceptance is like soul food for the heart and soul of a young person. When ones sense of acceptance is not in question miracles of self expression happen. Fear of rejection is minimized, bullying is not tolerated and the hearts of young people are protected with fierceness and loyalty.

I envision a community where people are fully present. Imagine watching your kids learn how to start, grow, and maintain friendships. Friendship only grows when people learn how to become fully present and authentically interested in each other. I believe that we would see the hearts and souls of our young people come alive if they were able to EXPERIENCE THIS! The hearts of our young people are craving a touch from another loving, caring and present soul. Have you ever wondered why so many kids are “acting out” these days. I believe it is because the hearts of our young people are starving for authentic connections with others. In the absence of this the soul cries out in ways that seek to get the attention of those that can do something about it. A community of acceptance fueled with fully present people would literally perform miracles for many hurting kids.

I envision a community where young people are pursued with passion, fueled by the possibility another sees in them. Pursuit is powerful. We all like to be sought out, chosen and believed in. When people are taught to be and act like this with each other our young people actually end up becoming difference makers in each others lives. A community, team, group, or neighborhood that makes this type of social environment a necessity, rather than an after thought, will give each family and young person a gift of a life time.

Let me give you one other thing to consider:

You can watch exceptionally talented athletes at young ages, listen to musical talent from young people that will bring you to tears on The Voice, and Google the latest business idea that came from a 14 year old…imagine training and equipping more young people with the capacity to become difference makers socially with each other.

IT CAN BE DONE!

I HAVE DONE IT!

Look at “Who’s Got Your Back? Team Experience 1.0 Building and growing groups that transform one another.”

ACCEPTANCE, PRESENCE and PURSUIT actively executed with courage, conviction and consistency is a game changer. Let’s take this vision and make it a reality for our young people. Lives will be changed and transformed forever!

You wonder if I am right? Ask the parents that lay in bed at night wondering if their son or daughter is going to go another year without friends or experience some form of rejection the next time they go to practice or school.





WHO OWNS YOUR MIND?

16 07 2014

imagesA troubling trend is emerging and gaining momentum quickly.  This destructive trend is the outsourcing of our opinions, perspectives, thoughts, interests, and evaluations to coaches, parents, friends, teachers.  Day after day I talk to athletes that are giving away their sense of personal power to a parent, a coach, as well as, friends. It would be one thing if they had already arrived at their OWN thought or opinion and were seeking new thoughts, affirmation or challenge to refine and strengthen their own opinions. Unfortunately, many have simply abdicated and allowed others to dictate and define their lives and thoughts for them. Now I know this isn’t without outside reinforcement. There are certainly many parents, coaches, friends, along with others that like to share, might I say, force their opinions on those around them believing they are helping. This is dangerous and destructive and needs to be confronted, challenged and changed. You might ask yourself, “what is the harm?” Quite frankly, the harm is significant and long standing.

The price tag of abdicating one’s opinion, perspective, and sense of possibility is significant!

  • Loss of inner confidence
  • Increased anxiety
  • Decreased engagement and motivation
  • Decreased self awareness
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Delayed learning
  • Delayed maturation
  • Decision-making skills underdeveloped
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Increased confusion and despair

These are just a few of the unintended consequences.

When athletes play and learn in environments where their opinions are rarely asked the likelihood of outsourcing one’s opinions, perspectives and personal power is high. I believe we need to challenge, encourage and affirm our young athletes to retain to their personal power by asking, affirming and acknowledging their opinions and perspectives along with refraining from offering OUR thoughts. This is not to say that every opinion and perspective one generates is helpful. However, if we rarely ask or acknowledge then how does one ever cultivate a useful, productive and personalized perspective for themselves? This is often referred to in other circles as “growing your voice.”

Over the last 15 years of coaching athletes at every level I have found that those that have learned to believe in themselves starts with having an opinion that often leads to an inner confidence, strong work ethic and faster learning than those that simply wait for someone else’s approval or perspective on their performance.

If you are an athlete that has been prone to giving away your power then I offer these tips to gain back your sense of power:

  • Start with admitting that you have given your power away. What you are most likely doing is trading your power for the assurance that you will play or please. At some level you believe that if you try to fit your game to the satisfaction of someone else it will insure you will get playing time. Hey, the truth is playing time goes to those that are clear about their role, have the skills to perform and confidently and courageously engage themselves doing the best they can.
  • Determine your strengths. GET REALLY CLEAR about them. Most athletes hand over their power because they are not clear about their strengths. To compensate for their lack of clarity they simply allow someone else to tell them what to do. KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS!
  • Have an opinion before you ask someone else for theirs. It is to easy to shape what you think after you have heard someones opinion, especially if you respect them or they have power to determine your playing time or role. No matter what it is IMPORTANT to arrive at your own conclusion. You may need others to help affirm or challenge your opinion but HAVE ONE TO START!
  • Commit yourself to fully expressing yourself to the best of your ability. We are all at our best when we live boldly, confidently, intentionally, and without regret. You can do this by designing your life and play with clarity, support and the commitment to learning along the way.

Lets take the time to ask before we tell, acknowledge before we assume, and empower our young people to retain and refine their opinions and perspectives. In doing so we will be growing independent thinkers that can confidently withstand the objections, critical feedback and disappointment that often accompanies the competitive environment they will undoubtedly experience now and in the future.





Perspective and Power

26 03 2013

Perspect&PowerAthletes consistently pursue achievement at many levels. When athletes train, they spend most of their time training their body to be faster, stronger and more skilled (these are important). Optimum performance often is not only dictated by the training of the body, but also the mind.

The mind is often spoken of as being a significant asset for those seeking optimal performance. Words like confidence, mental toughness and resiliency are often noted as labels to clarify what leads to optimal mental capacity.

The truth is, in order to cultivate deep confidence, resiliency and mental toughness a TRAINED PERSPECTIVE matched with an active, consistent display of personal power is non-negotiable. Most athletes simply believe that the mind will develop on it’s own until they run into a performance roadblock. This is a catastrophic error in judgement.

Your PERSPECTIVE is your personalized window you look out of AND the window that information comes back to you. Your PERSPECTIVE sets the stage for how you think, how you feel and what possibilities or limitations you experience. Your PERSPECTIVE either opens or closes you to vital information that can end up influencing your ability to learn or keep you stuck in a reality that limits you. Too many athletes have an untrained perspective. They have never even explored this nor experienced the power of a “trained perspective”. When your PERSPECTIVE inhibits your learning, you foster a negative and rigid attitude as well as a defensive and fearful existence that reveals your need to enroll in PERSPECTIVE TRAINING.

Perspective training includes:

1. Increasing your awareness of how your current PERSPECTIVE is helping and hurting you in your quest towards achievement.

2. Re-inventing a new PERSPECTIVE leading to enhanced awareness, creativity and courage.

3. On-going support to consistently grow and utilize your reinvented PERSPECTIVE to take on challenges and pursue optimum achievement.

Make a commitment to train your perspective in a way that will allow you to reach consistent play and live at your optimal potential. You will never regret it!!

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Confidence…oh, so often misunderstood!

19 01 2011

One of the most common topics that I get asked about from players, coaches, and parents has to do with confidence.  The questions I get vary as people attempt to understand this seemingly misunderstood concept. Below are three of the most common questions I get and my response to them in a attempt to bring greater clarity for those seeking to develop confidence, as well as, understand the role of confidence in understanding performance.

1. Is confidence a critical factor in how someone performs?
Although confidence plays a part in impacting how an athlete performs, what is more critical is how masterful an athlete has become concerning the foundational skills of the sport they play. What is true is that an athlete develops a great deal of confidence based on how effective they feel they have been at developing and mastering skills that allow them to compete with those they play against. If an athlete hasn’t invested the time, energy, and dedication to practicing the skills needed to experience success then confidence should not be a “right”.  Therefore, what is important to performance has more to do more with skill development than confidence.

2. When my son/daughter seems to lack confidence is the antidote encouragement?
The answer to this is maybe. I believe we have become a culture (especially with our kids) that believes the answer for every problem is encouragement. Certainly our kids need optimistic, positive people in their life, however, they also need “truth tellers” that are able to communicate truthful statements in optimistic and positive ways to help them build a healthy self perception built on better “truth”. Telling an athlete they played well when they didn’t does nothing to build their confidence, in fact, it confirms in the mind of many that adults just tell kids things to make them feel better. This actually erodes the possibility of confidence because of the credibility that is lost.

The last question is: What helps to grow self-confidence?
I want to start by saying that confidence can be compartmentalized into different life interests. For example, I can be confident in my ability to understand a persons emotional pain and have zero confidence in my ability to build shelves for my garage. My lack of confidence in building doesn’t compromise my overall confidence as a person it simply means I have not developed the skills associated with building shelves. With this example as a guide I believe the inner belief in oneself that we label as confidence is created, grown, and developed when we invest time, energy, interest, and genetic cooperation to develop what it takes to perform effectively in competitive situations. Because of this, I believe developing true confidence is, in reality, within all of our control. I hope the clarification around this often-used topic is helpful.

Shaun Goodsell
President and CEO, Mental Edge

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