Book Summaries with Jeremy

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The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam

Summary:

This book is a biography of Bill Belichick but told in a way that illustrates how Belichick became the coach he is today. His father has coached for his entire life, making a mark as a terrific scout and then lasting many years as an assistant coach for Navy. Bill would help his father break down game film as a child and always had an interest in football and coaching. While Belichick played football, he was too small and slow to play at the highest level in the collegiate ranks, but always knew the game extraordinarily well and would serve as an informal coach at times. It was his intense passion for the game and tremendous ability to break down film in an effective manner that leads to jobs. Belichick took his first job in the NFL without pay, and quickly gained a reputation for a smart coach who could break down film extremely well. He had the ability to pinpoint the key focus of an offense and design a way to eliminate it. Belichick spent time with Bill Parcells, a Hall of Fame coach and had great success with the New York Giants in the 1980s. He finally got his head coaching start with the Browns in the 1990s, but struggled with the media, causing tension that was aided by losing. He had a multi-year plan but was unable to fulfill it. It wasn’t until he got a chance from New England that he could do things as he wished. His focus was on having a system where veterans did not have egos, they would pave the way and groom the new players so that continuous success could occur. Everyone would do their job and work as a team. He would only draft players he wanted and trade other picks to better be in position for the future. He has had tremendous success in his career.

Influence on me:

Three main themes stuck out to me during this book, being really good at something is helpful, passion drives all, and networking with your people is useful. Belichick was great at breaking down film from a young age and capitalized on that ability. Other people in the profession would overlook or delegate that task, but it enabled Belichick to get a job and become really good at his job. If there is something that separates you from others, you can create a name for yourself. Once you start to move up, depending on the need, you may decide to keep doing it, such as Belichick does as the head coach, or delegate it as well. He has always loved football and coaching. It is another reminder of the same premise that if you love what you do, it does not truly work. This is what allows for long work days and tremendous amounts of effort. Find what you have a passion for and seek that out. Lastly, coaching is not a secure position as a losing season can mean no longer having a job. Coaching is a profession where who you know can mean having a future job. Being a good person to others and not burning bridges is always a good practice. Too many people get bitter at others and ruin relationships due to emotions at the moment. It is better to take a moment, gather oneself and act professionally as no regrets can come from it.

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Utilizing Skills Sets in Different Endeavors

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There I was, 23 years old and I just graduated with a Master’s in Sport Psychology, but I felt empty. My plans to get a doctoral degree failed and I didn’t truly set myself up for a plan for what I would do after school. So here I am, full of knowledge about a specific skill set, but no plan about how I would apply my talents in the “real world.” As time went on I adapted. I learned how to use my skill set to my benefits as a strength and conditioning coach. My skills allowed me to become a more effective communicator and most importantly, allowed me to truly listen to my athletes.

From a sport psychology consultant intern to a strength coach, to a leader for a highly successful multi-billion dollar company, I have been able to adapt my skills to make myself an effective leader and help develop the people around me.

Now a new beginning. My wife and I are expecting our first child and emotions of fear and excitement run through me. Am I going to be a good dad? Am I going to be a positive figure in her life? Will I know what to say in tough times? What traits will I pass? And so on and so on. Most recently, my wife and I took a handful or parenting classes to become better educated for our future experiences.

As I sat in class listening to the instructor, especially during the support person section I began to pick up a lot of old cues and skills that I used as a consultant and coach. Specifically, the instructor talked about relaxation and communication. Immediately my mind sparked with exercises I used with my athletes to help with their relaxation, breathing, focus, etc. to help better their performance. At this moment, I felt extremely confident that I could in excel as a Doula (labor and delivery coach)!

Let’s reel this back in now. You may be reading this wondering what does this have to do with me. Let me tell you. Have you ever felt a time where you didn’t know what to do with the skill set you have or achieved? You went to school for many years, or took a weekend course and thought to yourself, now what? I know there are many people out there working jobs that they didn’t go to school for; spent many hours studying, practicing and a lot of money to end up feeling like they wasted time. Well…you didn’t!

This is a time now to reflect on the skill sets you have. Write them down. What are you good at? What are you not good at? Not sure, ask people for help. I have done this with my close friends when I felt that I was struggling to discover some of my skill sets. After you have your list of skill sets, ask yourself how I can apply these skills in the job or career I have now. Or how can I utilize these skills in the job or career I want.

Everyone has a unique skill set that can be adapted to anything that they do. I may not be a sport psychology consultant but I creatively use my skills daily at work and my life. I have tweaked the skills I have to better apply them to what I am doing at this moment in time.

Having trouble? Again, talk with people you truly trust and value their opinion. Make a list and email us at rawrnonprofit@gmail.com and we can help assess your skills and how to utilize them in your career or life.

-Sean C.

Trust Every Attribute of a Member

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Have you ever heard these sayings?

  • “Team is not just a group of people but a group of people who trust each other.”
  • “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM. But there is a ‘me’ in team!”
  • “TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More.”

All the above statements can be considered true, but the last two are negative because they are talking about the individual person. Within a poorly functioning team, there may be an individual or many individuals which are focused on getting the greatest personal benefit they can from the team. It is important as a leader that we influence these individuals to believe in a common, greater vision. We need each member of the team to trust each other and to trust you as a leader.

Let’s look at one of my favorite candies, the dark chocolate peanut butter cup. From the outside, it looks delicious and all you can think about is that first bite that blends the chocolate layer with the creamy peanut butter on the inside. What if you went to take a bite and instead of the delicious combination, you experience the emptiness of peanut butter. Just crumbled chocolate. How are you going to feel? Disappointed. Not excited. This is a boring hollow piece of chocolate; it is like those chocolate bunnies you get during Easter that are hollow on the inside. No thank you.

The peanut butter filling is what makes the piece of candy complete and special; it is what sets it apart from the other candies. This metaphor is like a team with trust. A team without trust is just a group of people fighting for individual glory. But the team with that creamy, delicious, mouth-watering peanut butter is what makes it special. How can you gain the trust of your team? And how can you ensure that team members trust one another?

Words are only words but your actions speak so much more. Within your team, it is important to deeply know about each team member. What are their passions, what motivates them, what are their strengths and weaknesses, etc? Knowing more than surface level information allows for greater collaboration as people can more effectively fill roles. As leaders, we need to be transparent and honest with the team. If there is something that you struggle with but someone else on your team excels at, then let them lead that area. This shows the person you trust them. The other message is the team knowing you are willing to step aside and put your ego away for the betterment of the team.

It is important to listen to the team’s input because each member is invested in the team’s success and have thoughts for improvement. Take their feedback and input as a great learning opportunity because now you have many minds on one subject vs. your solo perspective. Through this collaboration along with an analytical perspective, you can look to omit poor ideas and move forward with good ideas. This is a great time for you to educate team members and give constructive feedback if needed.

Lead by example, if a team member makes a valid suggestion don’t shun them away because it was not your own idea. Embrace their suggestion and put it into effect. Ask them more questions about how they would move forward with their suggestion and plan the steps needed to succeed. Be part of the team; work side-by-side with them; don’t be afraid to show them that you are not afraid to get “dirty” and do what is necessary to see the success of the team as a whole.

Trust Every Attribute of a Member (TEAM).

-Sean C.

 

Book Summaries with Jeremy

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Born to run: A hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen by Christopher McDougall

Summary:

A writer has a foot injury and that starts a journey to learn more about distance running. In particular, there is a culture of Tarahumara Indians that are legendary for their epic runs, simple diet, partying and remote lifestyle. McDougall tells a few stories along the way. These intense 50-100 mile trail runs in various places and certain individuals that not only run in them, they dominate the competition. After each mini-story, we hear how the various individuals are invited to a secluded race with the Tarahumara. The race is extremely challenging and close but also a great display of friendship and joy with running. Some keys through the book are shorter strides and lesser cushion on shoes. Most running injuries correspond to new shoes. Cushioned shoes through research have shown to elicit harsh impacts. Shoes would minimize the temporary pain but not injury. A minimal shoe or barefoot causes the foot to react and strengthen. With smaller steps, the foot is efficient at this. There is also mention of research and possible explanations. It seems we as a species became upright and the main advantage was our distance running ability. We could cool ourselves and breathe while maintaining pace. Other animals cannot. This led to outrunning animals. This leads to more protein, helping to expand brain size over time. The book makes a push to illustrate that we are made to run when we rely on our natural makeup, something the Tarahumara have maintained. The other big takeaway is the joy they had. Each of the elite runners had a pure smile of joy as they ran. They found a way to fully embrace some or multiple aspects of it.

Influence on me:

I liked the discussion revolving around the evolution of our species to become distance runners. Personally, I had never called myself a runner. Most of my exercise experience was weight lifting as I found it to be more enjoyable. Knowing this information though gives me a new confidence that I too can improve. I can embrace running and get the numerous benefits it offers. As I was reading through the book, I had talked with runners and biomechanist to start and have a shorter more efficient stride. I have to report that my own plantar fasciitis has been reduced greatly. Lastly, I look to have joy during the run. It is easy to get down on yourself, thinking how tired or hot or thirsty you may be. As I think back to the book, these other individuals were capable of so much more. I think about what I enjoy about the running process. It, in turn, does make it go better and as each run has less pain physically and mentally, then I truly do enjoy it more. It’s a nice book for someone looking to get into running.

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Make Your Bed in the Morning

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You probably got tired of hearing your mom tell you to make the bed in the morning. You could never figure it out either. You asked yourself, “Why make my bed when I am just going to get back in it?” But, maybe your mom was onto something. What was it?

“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.” -Unknown

That positive thought is an accomplishment. How do you achieve accomplishment first thing in the morning? By making your bed!

Making your bed when you first get up can set up the rest of your day for success. Start the morning out by seeking a task and completing it. It may seem simple and not a very exotic task, but I challenge you for two weeks to make your bed in the morning.

At the end of the two weeks email us at rawrnonprofit@gmail.com and let us know your experience. What did you notice different each day after making your bed? Reflect on this time. Stand in front of your bed after your done, smile and tell yourself something positive about your accomplishment and what you prepare to do the rest of the day.

Example: First task is done! Nothing will get in my way today. I am on a role!

Again, this may seem like a little task but this little step in the morning makes a huge ripple in the rest of your day. It allows for you to start off with the right mindset you need to achieve success each day.

Admiral William McRaven inspires many to change the world by making your bed in the morning. Watch the video here!

-Sean C.

10 Questions to Give You Direction in Life

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A few times a year I like to take time and reflect where I am at in my life and evaluate my goals and aspirations. These ten questions are a great way to reflect and help you on your journey. Take a look at my most recent reflection I have done.

How do you want to be remembered?

SC: Putting others before me. Being a service to others.

If you had time and finances not holding you back, what would you do with your life?

SC: Travel the world to learn and embrace different cultures.

If you were guaranteed not to fail, what would you do with your life?

SC: There is a handful of things I would like to do if I knew that there were no consequences associated with it. First, I would open my own gym. Second, I would open a tap room. I would work from home, write books, and have an online business that allowed me to help develop and add value to people’s life.

What mark do you want to make on the world?

SC: Make an impact with the people I interact with each day. Inspire them to want to better themselves and pass on that gift to other people. I want everyone to be a love cat. I want to add value to people’s lives and I want them to add value to mine.

If you could snap your fingers and instantly become famous for something, what would you choose?

SC: For writing a book(s).

What makes you feel totally alive?

SC: Coaching/teaching or having a deep conversation about something I am truly passionate about.

What do you do that makes you lose track of time?

SC: Read books. Research on YouTube (and sometimes the internet). Developing social media or blog content.

What are you completely amazing at?

SC: Nothing. I have strengths and weaknesses but nothing I am amazing at because that mindset would hinder the purpose of trying to better myself. If I had to choose one thing I believe I am good at it listening to other people. I am also good at organizing things (events, packets, etc.).

Who inspires you?

SC: A handful of people. Matthew Vincent, Lewis Howes, CORE group of friends.

What is your favorite past time?

SC: Drinking craft beer with friends, and/or watching movies.

We would like to hear from you! Please answer these ten questions and email them to us at rawrnonprofit@gmail.com

-Sean C.

Book Summaries with Jeremy

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Built on Values by Ann Rhoades

Summary:

Built on Values stresses the importance of instilling values within an organization and living up to those values. Too often an organization struggles for its identity and culture along with poor results. Defining and living up to values provides a blueprint for how the organization and each employee will conduct itself. There are various strategies within the book. Some key aspects are identifying the A players, the best employees of an organization who live up to the values. Use them as input for creating values as needed, but also as examples. Everyone from the front line to executives should be expected to live the values daily. This is easier when hiring is done in accordance with values, finding examples of behaviors from candidates that live up to the values. Performance reviews and goals should also be value driven. Those acting in accordance should be properly rewarded. Communication is vital, especially when integrating a new value system, as some employees may not take it with full seriousness. Instead, acknowledge it will take time and be consistent with message and actions. This is aided by direct input from all levels. The focus is to look at all aspects of the business and identify methods to increase awareness and functioning based on the values. Doing this over time will lead to greater retention of employees, greater products, and greater experiences for customers.

How it influenced me:

When I first started to read this book, I thought how it was such an echo of what I had been saying all summer, meeting with 200 gym and brewery owners across the USA. I recall speaking to a friend and former colleague of mine in Florida regarding the importance of values and how I would keep referring to values for numerous topics of discussion we had regarding some organizational development he was implementing. I then thought there were opportunities for me to help other organizations as well. As I read more, I had a feeling of validation, but also learning and “oh yeah” moments where I realized there were considerations for value implementation that I had not previously thought of. I am also in the process of looking for a job for some stability and this has made me consider the perspective I had when applying at organizations. I look forward towards the future with greater confidence regarding values as I work within and with various organizations.

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