Achievement Consulting wins 2016-17 Charleston Business Award for Sports Psychology

Achievement Consulting wins 2016-17 Charleston Business Award for Sports Psychology

On June 8th, 2017, Achievement Consulting, LLC. was named the Top Sport Psychology Company in Charleston, SC. by been given the Charleston Area Business Award for 2016-2017. 

In less just a year, Achievement Consulting has worked with some of the best athletes, businesses, non-profits, and teams from across the country. 

Here are our results in athletics:

  • 10 NCAA All-Americans
  • 19 All-State High School Selections
  • 4 State Championship Teams
  • 7 Conference Team Champions 
  • 7 MLB Draft Picks
  • 31 NCAA All-Conference Selections 
  • In 2016-17, Teams that have worked with Achievement Consulting have combined to win over 375 games

In the business and non-profit sector, we have accomplished a great deal in 2016-17:

  • Working with political campaigns to help win 4 general elections in 2016 and 2 primaries 2017
  • Teaming up with small businesses & non-profits to create advanced database systems to assist in their organization and increased effectiveness 

So after looking at all of this, the question is simple: WHY ARE YOU NOT WORKING WITH US YET?

HERE IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO TO GET THE STARTED:

Thank you so much for you support over the last year - we look forward to working with you soon and look forward to an even better 2017-18. 

Why When You Fail, You Can Still Succeed

Why When You Fail, You Can Still Succeed

Failure is a part of life. Each of us fail at something each day. It could be something as simple as not getting out of bed on time, or a complicated as failing to do a report for work. Whatever the case is, failure is always right around the corner. The question that presents itself then is this - how can you succeed in a world in which you are always failing?

The answer is not as complicated as you may think.

Whenever you start on a new journey, remember this: you are going to fail. In baseball, failing 70% of the time will put in you in the Hall of Fame. In politics, Presidents Obama, Clinton, and George W. Bush each lost their first race when running for U.S. Congress. Even the "unbeatable" Usain Bolt has lost races in between Olympic Games.

What makes these people unique is that they understand failure is always present, however their ability to be resilient and stay committed to their long term goal(s) keeps them motivated and moving in the right direction. 

That is why where others may only dream, they succeed.

Here are three ways to take failure and turn it into success: 

First, come to grips with the fact that failure is a part of life

If you are going to do anything, you need to know, chances are, you are going to fail. You may be the most fit, the most prepared, the most talented. However it does not mean that you are always going to be successful. The sooner you understand this notion, and know that there is no shame in failure (only shame if you didn't try your best or quit) the easier failure will be - whenever it arrives. 

Second, be resilient

If you loose, it's O.K. to be upset - for a while. But those who success after failure don't dwell on past loses. They use it as tinder that sets the fire, assuring that it does not happen again. Being resilient means you are never out of the fight- it means you are quick to recover. Because there is always another race to run, another opponent to face. 

Lastly - CARE

If there is one lesson that you should take away from this piece it should be that you need to CARE - especially after you don't get the results that you want. The more you care, the easier (and faster) it will be for you to get up after you get knocked down. And if you don't want to keep fighting, you need to examine how much you care. There is nothing wrong with saying that you don't want to keep fighting after a lose, as long as you know in you heart that there are other things you care more about. Once you discover that - start fighting for it. 

Failure happens. Just don't let it take you down. Be resilient and start to fight again. Because even when you fail, you can still succeed. 

Tim Tebow & Lessons from the Minors

Tim Tebow & Lessons from the Minors

This last Friday, I had the opportunity to see the Single-A Charleston Riverdogs play the Columbia Fireflies at Joe Riley Park in Charleston, SC.  What made this game different than any other minor league baseball game happening across the country that night, was that the Designated Hitter for the Fireflies was not just your typical 20 something, struggling their way through the minors – it was Tim Tebow. Yes, that Tim Tebow. Heisman Trophy winning, National Collegiate Football Champion, Florida Gator, and Denver Bronco Tim Tebow.

I didn’t go to the game specifically to watch him play, as I was planning on going several weeks prior with my family to celebrate my birthday. The rest of the crowd seemed to be there to watch him; who either loudly booed or cheered specifically for a man with a .224 batting average. I wasn’t even expecting much from Tebow (although I did want to see him hit a home run). But as the game progressed, I started to learn more from him than nearly any athlete I had watched in several years – and I have seen a lot of them.

The lessons that Tim Tebow taught that night were ones that we should talk to our kids about while at the ballpark, athletes that we may coach, and even to our co-workers. They are lessons about being doing something with a purpose, being a good teammate, and giving your best effort. And although Tebow has achieved more athletically and financially than many of us every will, he never seemed get away from the basic skills and techniques that hoisted him to such a prominent level of popularity across the America.  

Here is what he taught us Friday night in Charleston:

If you want to be successful, be inquisitive and do things with purpose

In between ABs, on the on-deck circle, even while stretching – you could see Tebow asking his coaches questions. This took place throughout the entire game. Because he didn’t play in the field, he spent most of his time while the team was on defense, standing side-by-side with the head coach in the dugout, discussing situations and asking what going on. After he his only hit, a single in the 3rd inning, he spent most of his time on 1st and 3rd base in non-stop conversation with his coaches.

During his on-deck time, he wasn’t just taking practice swings for the sake of doing it. He worked on breathing, lower-body movement, timing-up the batter, hand placement – you name it, he was working on it. In between BP swings, he worked with his hitting coach while most of his teammates sat and rested. There were very few instances, from the beginning of warm-ups to the end of the game itself, in which Tebow was not doing meaningful, purpose driven activities.

Remember, we are talking about Tim Tebow. This guy is a pretty good athlete. I would argue a very good athlete. He could rely on his natural talent and just go out there thinking that everything was going to happen the way he wanted it to. He doesn’t. He talks to his coaches and teammates about getting better constantly. When he is not doing that, he is not just over in the cage going through the motions. He is doing something with the hope of getting better. These are invaluable lessons to learn.

If you want to be successful, be a good teammate

Minor League Baseball is many things, but one thing it is not is the place where you learn to be great teammate. It’s a place that finally, after years of high school and college ball, one can focus (and get paid) on their personal growth and to hone their own skills as a ball player. Players on the team may only know the guys on their current club for a just a month or so, as they are hoping to get called up to another (and better) team. So being fired up for a bunch of guys that you are really not that invested in is somewhat of a rarity in the minors.

It was clear that Tebow doesn’t understand this concept. There was no one cheering more, high-fiving harder, or more supportive of the guys on defense while he was in the dugout. Obviously, coming from the football world, the concept of team is something that he understands a bit more than the average minor league baseball player. And if you observed Tebow’s demeanor towards his teammates throughout the game, the entire club began to follow his lead.

So, what does his high-fiving a lot teach us? The answer is simple: successful people support the people around them, even if they have had more individual success in previous situations. And furthermore, if you are around a group of people that support one another, you will make each other better. Selfishness may seem cool in today’s culture, but those who serve each other reap the greater results than those who are just focused on themselves.

If you want to be successful at something, always hustle.

Tebow only had one ground out this game, to first base, in the 6th inning (he also had two other ABs resulting in outs - one being a strikeout and the other a high fly-ball that almost left the yard). And although it was apparent to everyone in the stadium that he was going to be thrown out, Tebow ran harder to first base than anyone on either team the entire game. He ran just as fast to first base as a kid that was trying out to make the varsity team in high school.

You can usually tell how much a person wants to be involved with something by how great their effort is. If they don’t try, it usually means they don’t care. Well let me tell you – Tebow cares. A lot. And even if you know you are more than likely going to fail at something, by putting in your best effort, you can at least go to bed at night knowing you did your very best, rather than wondering what would have happened if you were to have tried harder.

After reading this, whether you work in athletics or business, take a second to ask yourself this question: do the members of your team work as hard as they could, care as much as they should, and continually support their peers? If the answer is yes – then you have one hell of a group. If you don’t (and my guess is most you reading this answered this way), then you could learn a few things from Tim Tebow.

Look, I’m not trying to get on the Tebow bandwagon and start wearing black tape under my eyes with a Bible verse written on it. In fact, there are MANY things that we don’t see eye-to-eye on. I'm not going to buy a Gator jersey or a Firefly hat. However, there is the one thing that we agree on:

If you are going to do something, don’t do it half-way. Nothing should be done in a half-ass manner.

Especially when people doubt you can do something (and nearly everyone has doubts that this baseball thing is going to work out for him in the long run), you try harder. You don’t pout. You don’t hang your head. Tebow, much like all of us, has failed time and time again. However, let’s not look at what he has done or think of the results that may or may not happen with is current journey.

Look at how he got there and is walking this path now. It’s a path paved with diligence, supporting of those around him, and an unrelenting attitude to not fail. And even if he does, you know that he will move on to the next thing, giving everything he can. Because that is who Tim Tebow is. And it is what we all should do.

3 End of the Season Rules for Coaches

3 End of the Season Rules for Coaches

As we approach the end of the year for spring sports across the country, coaches will be trying to scramble together to find encouraging words, a special workout, or hope for last-second inspiration that will help give their team the extra advantage that it needs to perform at its best when it matters most. But finding inspiration from watching Rocky for the 50th time won’t make much of a difference. Neither will one training session or the big rah-rah speech.

After being lucky enough to spend the majority of my life around teams that compete at the very last competitions of the year [aka championship time], I have concluded that coaches of winning teams do the following at this crucial time in the season:

First, they emphasize the importance of sleep. If your team is alive at this part of the season, odds are is that they have played lots of games. They have spent time on buses, dealing with classes, and hours upon hours have been spent practicing both the body and the skill that the sport demands. During this pre-championship time, sleep [unfortunately] is hard to come by. Great championship coaches understand that in order to be at one’s peak, more sleep is a must. Sleep [simply put] allows the body to recover and gives the active mind a break. Getting the team up early in the AM to do an extra walk-through will not nearly pay-off as much as giving them another few hours of rest. And this is not just for them, it is for you too.

Second, great championship time realize that no big speech is going to be the difference between winning and losing. Your time is best spent on making sure that your team is ready, not spending time getting ready to make that big speech. If your team needs a big rah-rah moment before the big game, it should be handled by the players themselves - that will help bring them together [remember, this time of the year is about them, not about you]. I am not suggesting that you go radio silent. What I am suggesting [and what we will get into more in our final point], is that the more that you spend time focusing what your players need to perform well in preparation for the moment [sleep, a better understanding of the game plan, etc.] the better off that you will be. Great speeches that make teams play well only happen in the movies. Don’t try to be a character from a movie you like - continue to try to be yourself, that is what got your there.

Lastly, coaches that win at the end of the year get their teams to focus on the moment. The majority of athletes, especially ones who are having their first championship experience, have a hard time staying focused on the task at hand. Most of the time, they will think about what will happen if they don’t win. They will make up stories in their head about how they may never have this chance again, how scholarships maybe lost, and what their family will do or say if they don’t get it done. There is nothing that was just said that could be more of a waste of time for your team to think about. Great coaches get their teams to think about what their specific job is, the process, of what needs to happen right then and their. And that giving their best effort, that is under control and purposeful, will give them the best opportunity to win. After all, if your group puts in the best effort that they can and still does not end up on top, although that pill will be hard to swallow, there is nothing more that you can ask for.

Remember that the end of the season is not about you as a coach - it is about getting the people that are on your team and staff to be at their very best. Letting go of some ego and making everything about the people around not only will get everyone to perform better, but it will allow you to be at your peak also. Because if you are not ready, they won’t be either.

Why Success is Built on Relationships

Why Success is Built on Relationships

Far too many leaders and teams rely on talent, intense training, or just simply beating the hell out of their staff or teams in order to get the results that they are looking for. That may work well if you are an entry level individual just getting into the military or a watching a non-realistic film that acts as a half-ass motivational tool. The fact of the matter is that in order to get groups of people to work well together, while also carrying out the core values set by the leader(s), success begins and ends with relationships.

Effective relationships create higher levels of drive, cohesion among team members, and strengthen the bonds of trust that are all crucial to the success of a group. Unfortunately, many leaders, especially those in athletics, don’t seem to grasp the importance of this skill.

Skill? How is a relationship a skill?

If a skill is “the ability to do something well” then just like all things [running, jumping, throwing], it has clear pieces to it that must be mastered and continually re-trained. Someone is not just “good” at relationships, because every relationship is different. Hell, you can make the argument that each moment in a relationship is dynamic - always changing, yet with a core set of principles that it relies on to make it work effectively. But those who understand its importance will see intrinsic and extrinsic benefits that far outweigh those groups that who are just talent fill or skill oriented.

Before we discuss what the guiding principles are to an effective relationship, let's briefly examine the things that lead to an ineffective one.

In athletics, lots and lots of coaches that don’t understand the importance of relationships have the following issues that act as blocks both their teams and their own success:

  • Stubbornness: “This is the way that it is and I’m not going to change. That kid complains about how hard things are for him - that’s bullshit.”

  • Unwillingness to Communicate: “I don’t need to talk to that kid. He just needs to suck it up and do what I tell him to do. If he can’t respond that what I am telling him, it’s his fault.”

  • Lack of Empathy: “I did the same thing 20 years ago and it worked for me. It doesn’t matter how or what the athlete feels.”

If you have been on a failing team, you more than likely can recall when you ran into this type of leader. These attitudes bring about the following reactions:

  • “Coach doesn’t give a shit about how bad I feel and how miserable I am right now” [both physically and emotionally]

  • “You can’t talk to coach because he won’t listen”  [either because they don’t want to hear it or because they only want to hear answers that they want]

  • “I wish coach understood where I was coming from. He doesn’t seem to get me at all” [this may be because they have insecurities of their own that they are trying to hide and having an empathetic view of the situation may show weakness]

Great leaders and managers however, possess the understanding of how important it is to have a relationship with someone who works with or for them. They get the fact that in order to get people to do their best, they have to show some vulnerability once and awhile, strike up a conversation, and show [not falsely, but legitimately present] that they give a shit. Two shits even.

The second that the bonds of a relationship start to strengthen, performance will begin to increase, levels of enjoyment will rise, and effort [which decreases drastically when teams are working with a leader that has no relationship with them] will start to grow.

Effective relationships have four core principles, each is equally important and if one of these four were to lessen in its importance, then a strength of the relationship will weaken.  

VULNERABILITY

All relationships have to start out with the understanding that either someone involved or both parties can be hurt by engaging in it. You start dating someone, there is a chance that you are going to break up. You start at a firm, there is always a chance that you are going to get fired. You make the team, no matter how good you are, there is always a chance someone else is going to take your spot and you end up cut. We define vulnerability as the willingness to open up to being hurt. When we talk about opening up, that starts with sharing stories that connect to shared values. Maybe you and your counterpart had a similar upbringing, similar family lives, or have the same religious views. Sharing these things takes vulnerability, since you may not want people to know certain things about your life. Of course there are things that you will always want to keep private, but sometimes just showing that you are you willing to talk to others about yourself outside of the situation you are in can show the other party that you are willing to talk about yourself in a deeper fashion, can get others to open up.

HONESTY

Nothing positive can begin without starting on a platform of honesty. No one wants to be lied to. Even if the conversations are tough, it’s better off for both parties to have an open dialogue with the air clear, than one where the stench of bullshit fills the room. You can’t fix a problem in which the facts are not clearly presented. You can’t help someone if you really don’t know what is going on. And although the truth may hurt at times, that truth is better than the lie.

Also, remember that honesty comes from observation, not judgement. Telling someone that they suck is judging someone. They may be struggling with something that you don’t know about. They may be doing one simple thing wrong that is leading to poor performance. Whatever the case is, by simply observing and saying, “hey, I see that you are struggling, let’s talk about that,” is the much more effective, non-confrontational way of being honest that will lead to effective and positive conversation.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION [both verbal and nonverbal]

Every relationship expert will tell you that communication is the key to an effective relationship. I believe that to be true, only after you having made the decision that you will be vulnerable and honest with your counterpart. Once these two things are established, then effective communication can take place. I put an emphasis on the word effective because you communicate with people everyday. From a simple glance across the room, to checking out at the grocery store. But effective communication that results in having a healthy and productive relationship for both sides means that you are willing to have a real conversation because you have each let your guard down somewhat, and then are willing to engage with each other physically. This does not mean sex. What it does mean rather is that no one trusts another person if they don’t look them right in the eye and fully engage in conversation.

Even if you need to kneel down to look directly into someone’s eyes, the effect of eye-to-eye contact is invaluable in establishing conversation. Think about when you had a conversation with someone who is not looking at you - how did that make you feel? Probably disrespected, upset, and feeling like no one was listening. No one should feel like that. Effective relationships start with good eye contact, and a body language that says, “I’m fully present and available for this moment we are about to have.”

When it comes to verbal communication, again, observe, don’t judge. This includes listening and speaking through an observational lens. You are not judging, you are attending to what is happening in the moment. You are responding calmly, yet firmly to what is happening - even when you have to put your foot down to make a point. When in doubt, just listen. Especially when someone is going through a troubling time, they are just looking for someone to hear their concerns, whether they are valid or not. The last thing you want to do [and the thing that could potentially damage the relationship] is having your counterpart walk away thinking that they could not speak to you because you were not listening or responding in a way that was respectful, where the conversation was good or not.

TRUST

Most people believe that trust is something that needs to be earned, just like respect. “You need to earn my trust” is a statement that most coaches say at the start of a new year. The problem with that is first, leaders need to realize that they need to be trusted as well and second, beginning the relationship under the veil of trust is better than having to constantly question themselves. Much of this comes from the idea that during the beginning phase of the relationship, promises [aka commitments] are made. They may be made when you are first hired at a new job, or when you are in the middle of the recruiting process. These commitments hinge on the fact that both parties are willing to be totally available and fully engaged, and that each person will keep their word.

Trust begins to fall apart when two things happen: someone does not hold up their end of the bargain and then commitments are broken. If you lose a starting spot on the team because you did not put in the work needed, that is fair. However, bonds of trust can begin to tear when you are benched without proper explanation and it breaking the deal that you made in the recruiting process or the start of the season. Conversations about trust issues are difficult ones to have indeed. However, if communicated effectively and fairly, whether the result is positive or not, not going back on your commitments is the key to making transitions smooth and keeping the relationship intact.

As we said in the beginning of this piece, building good relationships is a skill. Like any the journey to mastering any skill, it requires practice and failure. We have all failed at a relationship at some point. And when we do, just like we should do in everything that we fail at, we regroup, reexamine, then get back on the horse and try again. If your team is struggling, whether it is in an office setting or out in the athletic field, it is never a wrong time to start to strengthen the bonds you have with your co-workers and/or peers. Remember that you can be the smartest, the fastest, maybe even the most skilled, but without putting relationships first, you will never obtain the goals that you want to obtain. Because relationships are the glue that hold together great teams.

4 STEPS TO AN EFFECTIVE RELATIONSHIP

STEP 1: Be vulnerable. Open up to the other person, share personal stories, and find areas in which you have shared values. Those values are the building blocks of a healthy relationship.

STEP 2: Be honest. People know when they are being lied to [especially young people, who get lied to all the time]. Nothing healthy involves dishonesty. Even if the truth hurts, that pain could be the thing that helps turn a challenging situation into one in which they can start to succeed.

STEP 3: Communicate effectively. Look into someone’s eyes when you are talking to them and listen to what they have to say with some empathy. Understand where they are coming from. Being fully engaged with not just your ears, but your heart, and your body language can have long lasting benefits.

STEP 4: Trust the person you are talking to. Trust is built be first not going back on the commitments that you have made and secondly, continually communicating decisions that you make so that when tension arises, you have a clear and fair understanding of your decision making.

 

Why Decisions are About Commitment

Why Decisions are About Commitment

Everything we do is a decision. Easy decisions result in our day-to-day activities. They are decisions that we make are simple and have been ingrained in our makeup since we were young: Do I take a shower or not? Do I brush my teeth or just mouthwash? Do I eat this apple rather than that orange?

There are also decisions that we make that do not happen on a daily basis that are a bit more challenging. They are the ones that challenge us to be committed to our core values, the people that we care about, the things that we really want to do, or the person that we wish to become.

These decisions are hard. But no one ever said that doing the right thing was going to be easy.

Sadly [myself included], we have all made poor decisions at one point or another. It maybe because it’s easier to do the wrong thing than the “right” thing. It could be because making the right decision for yourself is not popular amongst your peers. Whatever your rationale is for doing what you do, it all comes down to one thing: how committed are you to staying connected to your values and being the best version of yourself.

Take a look at these examples and see if they remind you of anything you have done [or may even be doing]:

If you want to be a good father, it’s probably best that you don’t run around bars late at night with people who don’t have the responsibilities you do. What are you more committed to - being the best father that you can be or running around downtown like an asshole? I think that you know the answer to that one.

If you want to be a good teammate, would it behoove you to not just support your teammates in moments of victory, but also challenge them in times where they mess up? Being a good teammate doesn’t just mean that you are a great cheerleader - it means that you hold the people on your team accountable when they don’t hold up their end of the bargain. What are you more committed to in that moment - being a good teammate or a good buddy?

If an opportunity to disappear from work takes place so you can drink with your friends before work is officially over, knowing damn well you are not going to get your work done at all that day, what do you do? What are you committed to? People pay you good money because they EXPECT good work from you. They EXPECT you to be committed. But sometimes getting that cold one with your friends is a bit more tempting that sitting at the desk and being responsible.

I think that you get the picture.

Being committed and making the right decisions that are connected to your values all comes down to self-awareness. If you are not self-aware of who you really are, by making decisions that are not good for you at all, then becoming your best self is just not going to happen.

You are going to continue to drink with your buddies rather that get work done, be a friend rather than a teammate, and put yourself before your family.

Stay committed to being aware of who you are and what you value. And although there maybe times in which you wish you were doing something else rather than being responsible, doing the right thing in the long run is better for you and the people that want you to be your best self. When the two of those mediums are at peace, I think you are going to like the situation that you are in.

Lessons in Perseverance from Gatti v. Ward I

Lessons in Perseverance from Gatti v. Ward I

In less than a month, the 15 year anniversary of the greatest round in boxing history - round 9 of the first of three fights between Arturo Gatti & Micky Ward - will take place. This round, the second-to-last that took place on a cool spring night at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, is not just one that should be used as an example of perseverance and toughness to up-and-coming prize fighters, but to anyone who is looking to learn how to come back from seeming insurmountable odds.

Shortly into the round, Gatti received a body blow that would take him down not just to one knee, but leave him wincing in pain. Ward thought it was over, the announcers thought it was finished, the crowd was beginning to leave their seats. Gatti however, persisted.

Upon returning to his feet, Ward unleashed 31 [that’s right 31] blows to the head of Gatti. However, much like George Foreman in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle,” Ward began to punch himself out of energy. Gatti, seemingly un-phased, began to return the favor to Ward, releasing devastating blow after devastating blow, keeping the crowd from leaving and the announcers in shock.

With one minute to go in the round, now Gatti looked exhausted. As blood gushed from the right eye of Ward, he had survived the barrage of punches from Gatti, and began to take over. With announcer George Foreman screaming “go to the body,” Ward railed on the face of Gatti, who at this point, couldn’t see due to the amount of severe hits.

And [as you probably guessed] with just a few seconds remaining, Gatti then came back. The bell rang, the men returned to their corners and boxing history was set.

What does this story teach us about perseverance and persistence?

First, DON’T STOP FIGHTING: Gatti could have stopped after being knocked down, but he didn’t. He probably wanted to. So did his trainers. You maybe down, you want to stop. But the last thing you want to do is not get up when you are down and look back wandering on what might have been.

Second, BE AWARE. Know that you can come back. Nothing is over until it is over. And the awareness to know what situation you are in, how you can, right in that moment, deal with the challenge that is right in front of you is going to be the difference between you getting up and staying down.

Third, LIVE ONE MOMENT AT A TIME. When things begin to get tough, the last thing you should do is think ‘oh man, this is hard, I got knocked down, I suck.’ Thinking that you suck is not worth the time that is spent. However, giving your best effort to the very next rep, next question, or next challenge is the best thing for you.

We admire people throughout history to overcome great challenges. Whether it is King overcoming racism, Jordan overcoming the flu, or two boxers attempting to overcome each other. Those are the people that we look up to. We all at times dream of being someone we are not or someone we have not become yet. Whether it is wanting to have the ball with time running out or coming to the plate when it matters. Why be someone else? Just be in the moment and keep fighting - and maybe one day someone will be writing an article about you 15 years later after you did something great.

The Achievement Podcast: Nike's Ryan Hill

The Achievement Podcast: Nike's Ryan Hill

Our interview this week is with Nike's Ryan Hill. A multiple-time NCAA All-American at North Carolina State University, Ryan is a Silver Medalist at the 2016 Indoor World Track & Field Championships at the 3,000 meters.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST w/ NIKE'S RYAN HILL

Ryan was able to share with us his thoughts on:
- Success
- How to deal with disappointment
- Adjusting to the challenges of training in college
- The importance of taking calculated risks
- His thoughts going into the 2017 Outdoor Track Season

The Achievement Podcast: HOF Announcer Larry Rawson

The Achievement Podcast: HOF Announcer Larry Rawson

USA Running Hall of Fame Member Larry Rawson was gracious enough to take time from his busy schedule to be our guest on this weeks show. Larry is nothing short of a legend in the sport of Cross Country and Track. From announcing 47 National Championships, to 7 Summer Olympics, to being the only announcer in the Penn Relays Hall of Fame, Larry has been the voice of running in America for nearly 40 years.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR THIS WEEKS PODCAST WITH LARRY RAWSON

His journey from growing up in Newton, MA to being one of the most recognizable voices on television has been nothing short of remarkable. We are so excited that he has been good enough to share his story and his insights on what made him [and what makes others] successful.

Larry discusses the following with us: how important it is to take risks / how he has dealt with pressure / how he addresses challenging situations that take place on and off the air / how his childhood helped lead him to his career / the values of hard work / how running helps young people with their confidence and academics

3 Reasons Organizations Fail

3 Reasons Organizations Fail

From athletic teams to small businesses, there has been article after article and book after book written about why groups fail and and how not to fall into the same traps as those who have not made it. Rather than follow that trend, which usually involves explanations that are way too long for the reader and deal with mind-numbing minutia, we wanted to streamline these conversations and give you three short but specific ways that organizations fail and how you can be one a group that thrives. 

First, GROUPS THAT FAIL DON'T EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE

Assuming that those within your organization know all the time what is going on is almost always a sure fire recipe for disaster. A breakdown in communication is at the root of nearly all team failures. And remember that we said its about communicating effectively. This does not mean you scream, it does not mean that you don't talk because you are afraid to hurt someones feelings. Communicating the right way means that you are always making sure that your team is on the right page in a way that best gets your message across. From weekly conference calls, to email wrap-ups, to 1:1 meetings, these should all take place while at the same time making sure that you as a leader are open to feedback and criticism. 

Second, GROUPS THAT FAIL HAVE LEADERS THAT ARE NOT EMPATHETIC 

As we have said a lot on our blogs, self-awareness could not be more important - especially if you are in a leadership position. Sadly, as leaders move up the ladder of success, they tend to become less self-aware, losing the empathetic view that they had when they were not in such a position of power. Teams fail with their leaders become totally disconnected with those who are doing the day-to-day grunt work. Not everyone may be as hard a worker as you, as smart as you, or came from where you came from. The more that you look at things from a perspective of those who are dealing with the customer, or doing the work on the field, then the better you are going to be.

Third, GROUPS FAIL WITH TEAMMATES DON'T HOLD EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE  

I hate to tell all of you leaders this, but what the boss or the coach says can only go so far. They are there to set the tone and the standards for the group, but it is the people on the ground or the athletes on the field that needs to hold each other accountable each day in order to make things more successful. If a player misses an assignment, obviously the coach is going to be upset - and will tell them so. However what is more effective is when the players on the field tell the person who made the mistake how they feel. They see them each day, they stay with them in the dorms or while traveling, they are more connected to one another. When people with closer social ties hold each other accountable, that is when your group can really start to succeed. 

This is much easier said than done. But, the more that you talk to your people, look at things from an empathetic point of view, and get your team members to hold each other accountable, then you will start not just seeing better team cohesion, but a better atmosphere where people can learn, grow, and become a more effective group. 

Mike Tyson & Facing Fear

Mike Tyson & Facing Fear

At one point, Mike Tyson was the most feared fighter in the world. Most of his opponents were scared to even go into the ring with him, knowing that there was a good chance that they were going to get knocked out. Although Tyson was the face of fear across all sports for years, he himself was scared. Yes, Mike Tyson was afraid that he would fail in the ring. 

The following video provides evidence. Before his second Junior Olympic fight, Tyson is taped outside the arena crying a shaking, so scared about the upcoming competition, that his coach had to convince him to even go back into the stadium. Tyson eventually got into the ring, knocking his opponent out in 8 seconds. 

Watch How Mike Tyson Faced His Fears

We all have fears. And when we are afraid, we are given two options: let our emotions overcome us and allow fear to deter our performance OR we acknowledge [through self-awareness] this fear, and control it, using it to better ourselves, calm us down, and put us in the right place to perform. This is not just for sport, but in business and in life. Tyson is a flawed person, but his ability to face his fears and not allowing them to take him over is an example that should be used by all of us. 

Don't be afraid, just acknowledge your fears, take a deep breath, regain your confidence, and go kick ass. 

3 Reasons Tom Brady is Tom Brady

3 Reasons Tom Brady is Tom Brady

Half way through the third quarter of Super Bowl LI, my wife, who is always pretty accurate at predicting what will happen in sporting events, leaned over and said, "If Brady gets the ball back, he's so pissed off that he will bring them back." Well, like most times, she was right.  

When Mike Powell broke the World Record in the Long Jump in 1991, after running around the track in celebration thinking that the meet was over, he stopped for a second and looked at the end of the runway. There stood 6x [at the time] Olympic Champion Carl Lewis, getting ready for his last jump. Powell said that he thought to himself, 'Holy Shit. I just pissed off the greatest athlete in the world. He's gonna break my World Record." Now, Lewis would break Powell's WR on that jump, but it was considered at foul and Powell's record would stand [as it still does today]. 

I tell this story because I could only imagine what went through the heads of the Falcon's players after they took a 25 point lead. Although elated, someone had to have realized that they just pissed off the greatest quarterback in history. And what we saw last night was a culmination of all of Brady's jaw-dropping work ethic, skills, and most importantly - his mental toughness. You could make a list a mile long of all the attributes Brady has a what makes him the player he is. We wanted to give you what we thought where the top three. Here they are: 

He Trains Like a Rookie

In the post game interviews, a teammate of Brady's was asked how he thinks his quarterback is able to do this year after year. He answered, "he acts like a rookie. You see him at the field before every one else, breaking down film more, doing simple drills over and over. If he is working that hard, it makes us all have to get to that level just to stay on the team."  

He's Got GRIT

Grit [having the passion and perseverance to succeed over time] has become a more popular topic in football recently, as Pete Carroll and the Seahawks talk about building a 'culture of Grit.' Those who are at the top of the grit scale are those who not just a have deep passion for something, but are able to continuously persevere. Those of us who have followed Brady's career know not only about the hard work - but the failure that he has overcome. Getting drafted in the 6th round, losing to the Giants [twice], and Deflate-Gate as just a few examples. But he always comes back - with more focus and determination. THAT is perseverance. And it's hard to imagine someone who has had a deeper passion for his craft than Brady. This not only is apparent from his work ethic, but the longevity of that work ethic. While most people stay in one job less than 8 years, Brady has done it [all with one franchise mind you] over 17 years. So the next time you are tired of your job or want to quit - just realize that the 'Tom Brady' of your team or office is getting up while you are still laying down. Because it matters that much to them. 

He Plays One Play at a Time

We talk about playing life one moment at a time a lot on this blog. Lots of people talk about it, but few actually do it. Brady does. An interception doesn't phase him - he knows he will get another chance. A fumble doesn't discourage him - he knows he is gonna get the ball back. He is not worried about what happened in the past longer than he has to - because he knows he is going to get more opportunities. That is what playing the game one play, pitch, or moment at a time means. It means that the only thing that matters is what is right in front of you. THAT play, THAT pitch, THAT moment. Winning the game, and the outcome does matter, but if you can't be engaged in the moment - nothing else matters.

On a personal note, I have been lucky enough in my life time to see what I have considered the Mount Rushmore of Athletes - Jordan, Armstrong, Woods, Gretzky, Williams [Serena]. All the best I have ever seen. All of these people are not perfect [much like Brady], but what we have seen in the last 25 years from these men and women is something that we will talk about for the rest of our lives. Last night was something special, and whether we see something like that again really doesn't matter. What we saw was history in the form of Tom Brady. Because winners win. That is what they do. And that is what he did.