Updating Past Teachers

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Last night I was out to dinner with two good buds. After a few minutes, we realized the people who were seated next to us were an old coach of ours and his family. Without getting into the details, let us say simply that it’s been over a decade since those days. We were going to say hi initially but decided to let their family set in. As the night carried on, there was no good way to say hello, well at least without feeling like we would be intruding. Finally, as they began to leave, we said hello and took a few moments to chat.

There were some funny topics, some brief mention of memories or common people, and an update on current life. It felt nice for the three of us to say we were doing relatively well. Our high school wasn’t known as the greatest but it was fine. There was a tone of surprise and happiness in both him and his wife. Then after a few minutes, we said good bye.

I thought for a moment afterward and realized it felt nice to connect again. Teachers or coaches have big impacts on our lives. I know who I am is due in large part to those who put time and effort into helping me grow academically, athletically, but also as a person. I think it is nice to reach out when the opportunity arises to tell them we are doing well. They can then reflect on the positive impact they have had. I believe they are teachers or coaches, to help others. Next time I’m in a position to talk with an old teacher or coach I certainly will capitalize on it and hope you do as well.

-Jeremy

 

 

Book Summaries with Jeremy

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Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehany 

Summary:

Phil’s basketball journey is addressed throughout the book. It starts with his playing days, covers his start as a coach, and of course the successes he had with the Bulls and the Lakers. The ending of the book is after the Lakers lost their playoff series against the Mavericks. Throughout he relives some game time moments, describing what happened in certain games and in a variety of playoff series. Phil has always been more well known for his philosophy of zen and bringing his players together to play well-rounded basketball. He discusses his various approaches to doing this, sitting quietly, doing yoga, meditation, and different ways he’d communicate with the team. At times he mentioned various zen, or Buddhist teachers and intertwines those lessons with what the team or he as an individual were going through. He gives an inside look at the behind the scenes issues and concerns that would arise and his thoughts along the way.

Influence on me:

The simplicity of the attitude in the book struck me. There are times when there was great success or failure and Phil had a very matter of fact attitude. Instead of dwelling or letting it get carried away each event was treated as just an event. Even with this approach, there was not a lack of emotion. He would say when he was angry or sad and cried. These are just events and they do take place. If we want to let them constantly be a part of us and weigh us down then we will. Also as individuals we all constantly learn and grow, and sometimes we want to learn and grow how to be strong in difficult situations, or how to not let anger or rage overcome us in situations, but unfortunately, the only way to test and see if we have grown is to go through such trying times. To me, it seems that even when things seem taxing and difficult, it really just enables us to have an opportunity to see how we are in that moment, and to learn from it. The other main concept was being in the moment. This idea of chopping wood and carrying water. Those are simple tasks and other emotional things may happen around it, but in the moment it’s not beneficial to be elsewhere, instead, we need to be in the moment and focus on the task at hand.

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Your Community: Your inner core of true friendship

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Yes, I regret my younger years in school and not creating life-long relationships. I was selfish and so focused on a goal that I didn’t let others in. I got good grades, achieved a lot of accomplishments, spent many sleepless nights, and in the end, I don’t have any good memories. This all changed in grad school when I learned how to balance school and my social life. Now being older, I understand the importance of relationships and which are worth holding onto and others that need to be let go. I really enjoy this quote, “I am who I am because of who we all are.” –Ubuntu

These days, I keep my circle of friends small and tight. I only want people in my life that are positive, add value to my life and I am able to add value to their life. I have had to say goodbye to a lot of people that were just toxic in my life. I am much happier now. Within my circle, I have four friends that are the core of my community. These four are: (1) The Entrepreneur, (2) The Challenger, (3) The Believer, and (4) The

The Entrepreneur

This person is the most recent to come in my life but has made a huge impact. This person strives to set out a life that will bring value to others’ lives through past and present experiences. This person has lived life to the fullest, letting themselves explore who they are and what they are meant to do in the world. We are so similar in many ways. We are always helping each other with our current and future endeavors. We are serious, and always seeking new knowledge. But we are also ready to let loose and enjoy the moment. We understand the saying, “work hard, play hard.” We never lose focus of our dreams and ensure we are pushing ourselves to our full potential.

The Challenger

This person is fierce and confident. I look up to this person for many reasons. They are willing to take a risk and discover their next best step in life. When we talk, this person is not afraid to disagree and ask me questions after questions to ensure that I am doing everything that I can to my fullest. I am not threatened by these questions. I know their heart is in the right place and only want the best for me. They push me to discover new potential of myself. This person does not judge and helps me in my weak areas of life to ensure that I grow stronger. This person is very analytical about everything that they do in their lives and in the end it shows because they understand every move that they have made and will make. The challenger will empower me to grow and grow. They will make sure I never am alone and that they have my back.

The Believer

If this person says he will do it, he will do it. This has been proven time and time again. This person will grind and sacrifice but come out victorious in the end. I have not met many people who will accomplish what they say they will do with their lives, and this person never disappoints. The vision they have for their life is a beautiful piece of art that unfolds right in front of my eyes. This person is the brother I never had but will be my brother until I die. This person only has a positive outlook on life and not a negative thought is talked about. The love this person has for friends and family is extremely heartwarming. I strive to have similar values in my life.

The Foundation

This person is why I am here today. This person has stood next to me through hell and back. They have seen me in my darkest hours and all my nastiness but knows who I am truly deep inside. They are forgiving and supportive. They are the person I strive to be because they are the missing things in my life. The missing feelings, compassion, fire, and love. At the end of the day, this person knows my ins and outs and allows me to truly be transparent with my feelings. No judgment will be passed. Each day with this person is a learning experience that will only make me a better person to myself and to others. Our values are similar and we bring something unique to the table that benefits each other as we strive for greatness.

Yes, I have more than four friends. But if I was asked who has made the biggest impact on my life these are the four. Are values are all similar and we bring something unique to the table that only benefits one another to achieve for greatness. Who are these people in your life?

-Sean C.

Tough Mental Mudder

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I had the opportunity to complete a Tough Mudder with a great group of people. Our motto was to “Start Together, Finish Stronger!”. The Tough Mudder is a long obstacle course, describe on its website as “10-12 miles of mud and 20+ obstacles designed to drag you out of your comfort zone.” There is truth to this as it offers something for everyone which may not be high on the list of things to do. The long distance, getting muddy, physically challenging tasks, uncomfortable tasks, and working with others. It is these things that made for a good event. Our group wasn’t the fastest, but we worked together and with others.

I knew it was about teamwork, but it was fun to see how complete strangers are willing to helping you. I found myself wanting to help others whenever possible. It didn’t feel like a burden, rather more of an honor to help pull someone over a wall, or out of the mud. It felt nice to receive the gratitude, help others and to be helped as well.

There were two obstacles that aren’t the most physically demanding yet give people a hard time, diving into ice water and moving through some electrical wires at the end. These are more mentally challenging tasks. I felt fortunate for my training in sport psychology in these moments. I heard other people have counterproductive thoughts before and during each event. Meanwhile, I told myself to embrace it, and keep moving forward. On both, I made sure to regulate my breathing. For the dive, I planned and executed an elongated exhale which helped relax my body, keeping me focused. During the wires, I kept a purposeful steady breathing rhythm to keep my nerves and energy levels moderated to smoothly navigate the obstacle. Each obstacle took some mental energy but was navigated with relative ease.

On our team, there were some people who had done it before, and others like myself going for the first time. The experienced people, in general, handled the obstacles better as they had the experience to rely on. A great thing about using mental skills is that it lowers the learning curve, serving as a catalyst for performance. I’ve told this to many people in the past and the Tough Mudder serves as another example in this.

I encourage you to push yourself out of your comfort zone soon, whether with a Tough Mudder event or something else. It is through these experiences we grow. I also would like to encourage you to check out the various resources we put out and reach out to us if there is something we can do to help you on the journey of growth!Jeremy

-Jeremy

Book Summaries with Jeremy

The Starfish and the Spider: the unstoppable power of leaderless organizations by, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom

Summary:

Organizations can be categorized into either a starfish or spider organization. This metaphor relates to the characteristics of the animal. A spider has a central head and body with legs extending out. This is an organization with centralized leadership that dictates what every single leg does, or what every aspect of the organization does. If something were to happen to the head/body then the legs would fail to function. This could occur within organizations that would not function when their leadership is dismantled. A starfish is the opposite, if one leg is chopped off it will re-grow and flourish. The book highlights companies such as craigslist, Wikipedia, eBay, and organizations such as AA, music sharing services and others that operate as a starfish. They allow the people to have the power and when they do so the organization is able to accomplish much more. It also makes it extremely difficult to dismantle it since one leader cannot result in the downfall as other areas will survive and often rally to keep moving forward. This is still a continuum of sorts as some companies such as eBay have a centralized function of leadership but give great power for people to sell to people and rate each other all monitored by the people. This enables greater responsibility, sharing, and less oversight of management.

How it influenced me:

This was an interesting perspective of how an organization should function. As someone looking to grow and improve as a leader, it is unique to hear about putting power out to others. This is applicable in the concept of being a lovecat and sharing koozies. I had developed some koozies to give to lovecats and it became a time where I thought about making it something of an organization to reach out and help others. But I realized while reading this book I can allow them to connect better. It also stands out as another possible avenue of how to run a business in a different way than the status quo. As I progress as a leader moving up the ladder there will be opportunities for growth and providing direction for my section or perhaps the company overall. This is a reminder that just because we have done something a certain way, it doesn’t mean that we will have to continue that. It is important to be aware of changes that occur both through society and especially in regards to the use of technology. I need to make sure I shift my lens of focus to look for a change in trends.

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Be Kind and Rewind

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I work in an industry where people feel that they have the right to be rude to you and at times down grade you because of the position you are in. There are days I am still blown away by people and the things they say to me. Of course, I don’t let it bother me. Yes, I am shocked and really want to tell them how I feel but I chose this job and I have the patience for people. I truly believe that this job also makes me a better person because I would never treat other people how I am treated on a daily basis. Does it suck at times? Yes. But I do appreciate what the job has given me and the interaction I have with people and the time I get to develop others.

Where am I going with this? Well the people that are rude and feel they can say whatever they want to me typically change their mood real fast and leave happy. Why? Because I don’t give them the reaction they want. I don’t get flustered, I smile and listen. See, you do not know what is going on in their lives before they walk through the door. It could be the worst day ever for them and I was the next person they see. That is life. They may not know how to deal with the situation but I know how to help. I am kind and give them respect. I listen and ask questions. I ensure the time spent with me is important even if the situations are small or life changing. I want them to know I am here to help their needs; dig deep and really figure out the situation at hand. I am not satisfied until they are happy or feel better about the situation.

Now earlier I said that is life. Yes people do not need to be rude to one another and there are other ways to express how you are feeling but not all of us understand how to do this. We can’t jump to conclusions right away with people and react to their reaction. It is important that we take a deep breath and think for a moment. Why are they upset? What are they really saying? Ask them. Get specific. Keep your tone the same along with volume. Let them know you are here to help them. Situations like this will happen more than once in your life, whether that is working in the industry I work in or helping develop others. Remember, Be Kind and Rewind. Do not react to their reaction; dig deep into the situation to understand it, to better process it and to help better the situation.

Please leave comments to a situation that has happened to you and I will help you step-by-step to better the situation and understand what they are trying to communicate.

-Sean C.

Sounding Board for Ideas

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A friend of mine called me to share some ideas. He was giving a team building workshop with some high school athletes and wanted to share his ideas on the workshop with me. Even though I had a semi-busy day, I made time to talk with him. It is an honor to have someone wanting to share their thoughts with you and to hear your perspective. Many people keep things like this to themselves, not wanting to let secrets out or be judged. It takes an understanding of trust and comfort for someone to share and I was happy they felt that with me.

It is good practice to listen to someone when they are talking with you. Too often people are busy thinking what they will say next instead of completely placing the focus on the content being delivered. This can be amplified if you feel obligated to share input. What helps me in these situations is reminding myself that this moment is about the other person and their thoughts. I need to dial in my attention to them.

As my friend told me his thoughts I listened and offered some quick words as per normal conversation while then allowing him to continue. After he was finished, he prompted me by asking my thoughts and as I took a breath to think it over, I could recall the information he told me with clarity. I was able to provide a couple solid pieces of feedback, mostly in the manner of praising his approach as it seemed effective per usual.

In the past, I would get excited to hear the ideas and want to explain why something was so exciting and how it connected with other concepts or ideas. This could be problematic as it then becomes too much about me and my thoughts when the objective was to have the focus on their ideas. The key is to realize if someone is reaching out to you as a sounding board or brainstorming. Depending on where they are in their ideation process, it may require a more involved or passive role on your end.

I enjoy being able to hear ideas which then lead to more ideas for myself, especially when it took minimal effort on my part. It is good to realize I should utilize this sounding board approach as well so both parties can get something. There have been times in the past I didn’t tell anyone because I figured they wouldn’t really care. Now I know it prevented me from ironing out some unseen wrinkles and from them getting a learning experience from hearing what I would do.

I encourage you to make yourself available as a sounding board to those you are close to. Keep in mind your role in this moment and I hope you can both reap the benefits.

-Jeremy