3 Things Shared by Top Performing Teams, Whether on the Field or in the Office

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Something that always intrigues me is watching top teams perform at a high level. Being an athlete for most of my life, I have been on teams that reached the top and teams that didn’t get anywhere. Since moving away from the playing field, I have witnessed the same thing while speaking to organizations of all sizes. The correlation between top performing athletic organizations and the corporate world is strong.

Those who perform at an extremely high level understand the importance of teamwork and culture.

Here are three things top performing teams do differently.

1. Vision

I have seen time and time again a pretty substantial separation between management and employees as to what the exact vision is. That seperation can be extremely toxic.

When a football team begins a new season, the common goal is always to win a championship. From that point on, the same goal will be revisited with every team meeting during the regular season. Everyone from the coaches, players and support staff know exactly what the vision and direction for the team is headed forward. This is reinforcing the major goal and the vision that keeps everyone on the same page.

To truly thrive as a company, everyone within the organization has to buy in to what the vision is, and not only that, but come together to make that a reality in everything that the company does.

2. Authentic leadership

The best leaders in this world are authentic leaders. The best coaches I ever had were the ones who were authentic — those who truly cared and appreciated their players showing up to work every day and giving maximum effort. The same goes for the business world. The success of a company starts and ends with the leadership of that company. Just as John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

If employees feel that their boss truly values them and their work, they will be motivated to give their all every day. I recently spoke to the staff of a Fortune 500 company and was blown away by not only their organizational structure, but their effectiveness to produce. During lunch when I had the opportunity to chat with a few employees, the answer was always the same: “Our leadership is superb. They really care about us as people.”

What a profound statement.

3. Communication

The teams that fail in the communication department are quickly headed for dysfunction. Being able to express a concern, pick a teammate up or simply have a voice in the company makes a tremendous difference in its growth.

Create a culture where everyone feels they have a voice and soon you will have a company that can endure almost anything by simply talking things through. On the gridiron, when a big play was given up or something went wrong, it was usually a miscommunication error. Not communicating properly is a catalyst for mediocrity whether on the football field or in the workplace.

Creating a world class team takes a lot of work, but if you are willing to do the little things day in and day out, eventually together you will be able to conquer the bigger challenges that lie ahead.

It’s an incredible sight to see a team thrive on all levels and come together for a common goal. Let these three principles be a guiding light for you and your company to take your success and performance to the next level.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

What Pushes People to Bring Their Dreams to Life?

The world is full of dreamers. But what the world needs more of is dreamers who decide once and for all that “dreaming” isn’t all they will be doing. Great dreams need to be followed by massive action, which also needs to follow enormous faith.

Why is it that everyone has some big and amazing dream but so few actually make their dream a reality? The answer to that question is what has driven me for well over a decade, even when I was an athlete. How can someone with limited resources, no college education and little talent go on to change the world?

Those who live their dream and those who die with their dream still inside of them are not much different from one another. The fact of the matter is that we are all special. We all have talents, abilities and gifts that are unique and special to us individually. The one difference that does separate the two and ultimately serves as the deciding factor is the ability to do whatever it takes.

Don’t let indecisiveness, the fear of failure and the fear of what others may think prevent you from taking action and get moving on making your dream a reality. Those ingredients are the recipe for heading to your grave with your dream still inside of you. Your ability to dream and then act on your dream is a gift that needs to be utilized fully.

And just when you do decide to take massive action, don’t be thrown off guard when challenges knock on your door. The bigger the dream, the bigger the challenges. Things will never be perfect. Expect that. However, don’t let what happens outside of you dictate and control what happens within you.

Decide right this moment to do whatever it takes. Through blood, sweat and tears, you will fight for your dream. Recite over and over again that you were put here to win. Develop an inner dialogue to help keep you in the game and thrive no matter what comes your way. Your relentless pursuit to make your dream a reality will most certainly pay off.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The 3 Reasons Most People Fall Short at Entrepreneurship

Being a former professional athlete, one of the hardest things I have ever had to do didn’t involve blocking, tackling or going through the dreadful dog days of training camp. It was becoming a successful entrepreneur.

That might come as a shock, as you would expect having a 300-hundred-pound, angry, big and very agile offensive lineman trying to take your head off every single play would be difficult on you. Of course, football, and most sports for that matter, weed out the weak, undetermined and those who have no discipline at all. However, in my eyes, entrepreneurship is the true test of mental strength, guts and courage.

A great majority of entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners fail. We have been hearing that for a while now, and if it isn’t some news source or latest research telling us how hard it is to make it in entrepreneurship — family members and friends are sure to give you their input on how you are out of your mind for even contemplating bringing an idea of yours into the marketplace.

Why is it that most entrepreneurs fall short, or even worse, never even get off the ground? I had the wonderful privilege to chat with entrepreneur, New York Times-bestselling author and mega hustler Gary Vaynerchuk this week to find out what you can do to not fall into the very crowded space of wannapreneurs.

Here are three reasons as to why most entrepreneurs fall short.

1. No faking it

As Vaynerchuk says, “So many want to be experts in a field they never learned, experienced or mastered themselves.”

One of the worst things you can do is enter a space you know absolutely nothing about. Vaynerchuk was in the wine business and learned, studied and practiced what he preached long before he ever claimed to be an expert.

What’s something you’re really great at and actually know a lot about? Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses.

2. Work ethic

This is one of my favorite topics because I have the same point of view as Vaynerchuk on this point. Maybe it’s being a former athlete that has something to do with it, but I truly love the dog days, the work, the hustle. Whether you follow Vaynerchuk on Twitter, Facebook or watch the value-packed GaryVee show, you will know that Vaynerchuk is a major hustler and preaches the importance of having a ridiculous work ethic.

“Way too many people aren’t putting in the hours but want the results as if they’re working 18-hour days for 10 years straight,” Vaynerchuk says. “The fact of the matter is this: Way too many people aren’t reaching their biggest goals in life because they lack in hustle.”

3. Watch the puck

Wherever I go and speak, I always talk about the importance of having a vision and taking the time to get really serious about your legacy.

“There needs to be an aggressive need for anticipation to where things are going,” Vaynerchuk says.

It’s also important to understand that where you are now has absolutely nothing to do with where you can be five, 10 and 15 years from now. Having a long-term vision is what’s going to help you overcome some of the hardship and tragedies that you definitely will eventually experience as an entrepreneur.

Whether you love or hate him, Vaynerchuk is an incredibly successful entrepreneur who we all can learn something from. He understands what it truly takes to dominate the marketplace and take your business to the next level.

I hope you don’t let these three reasons be why you don’t succeed as an entrepreneur. You have what it takes. Be a master of your craft, work ridiculously hard and get serious about where you want to take your business 10, 20 and 30 years from now.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

To Be an Extraordinary Achiever, Commit to Daily Excellence

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Every week, I am fortunate to be surrounded by some of the world’s most extraordinary achievers. Being surrounded by these men and women opens my eyes to how they differentiate themselves from the rest of the population.

I’m not referring to anyone being better than the next person, because I truly believe we are all created equally. However, what I do refer to is how they think and go about their lives.

Vince Lombardi once said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

If you take a look at some of the world’s greatest athletes, most successful entrepreneurs, or anyone who has mastered their craft, you will find that they made a firm commitment to daily excellence. Constantly striving for excellence in every area of your life is ultimately what will determine the quality of your life, no matter what you do for a living.

Committing to excellence is what has shaped some of the most successful companies. Committing to excellence is what turns an average athlete into a great athlete. Committing to excellence is what spurs an ordinary person to creating extraordinary success for themselves.

Sure, you can show up at work and just keep busy and act like you are doing something when the boss is around, but is that really going to advance you to where you really want to go in life? I highly doubt it. But what will take you to where you want to go in life is to focus on the task at hand and commit to do your work to the best of your ability day in and day out.

Excellence is not about how much money is in your bank account or what kind of car you drive. Excellence is about waking up each morning and declaring that you will do your best at everything you do and be better than you were the day before.

Excellence is not about settling for average. When you give your all at everything you do, when you commit to excellence daily, you will suddenly start to see the quality of your life escalate. You will feel more at peace. You will feel a sense of accomplishment like never before because you know that deep down, you gave your all.

Make up your mind that you will commit yourself to excellence daily. When you do, you are well on your way to places where halfhearted people will never go!

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Winning the Day Starts With Winning the Morning

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I used to absolutely hate mornings, probably as a result from all the times I had to be awake at 5 a.m. just to run myself to complete exhaustion during my football career.

However, after I was finished with team-organized activities and had some time to catch my breath, I realized how amazing I felt. Not only that, I was amazed by how much I was able to get done before 9 a.m. while the rest of the world was still trying to get their day underway.

When my playing days came to an end, I realized even more so how important it is to choose how we spend our mornings. If you don’t start your morning off well, it’s almost a guarantee you will have a below average day. On the flip side, if you develop a morning routine that empowers you, uplifts your spirit and leaves you feeling like there is nothing that you cannot do, chances are you will achieve high productivity, maximum performance and massive amounts of success.

My morning routine is the main reason I have been able to get so much done thus far in my life.

A very common question I get asked is, “How do you manage to get so much done?” My answer never changes, “Strategically planning my mornings, and being very selective of the people and things that receive my attention.”

It’s almost like people are waiting for some big secret to be revealed. There is no secret. Indulge in some research and read about some of the people you look up to who have done extraordinary things with their lives. I’m almost 100 percent certain that you will come across their willingness to start their day early and win first thing in the morning.

Here are three things you can do to help make sure your mornings are extremely beneficial.

1. Be an early riser.

There is something magical about waking up before the rest of the world. History has shown us that the most decorated men and women who operate at a world-class level in their line of work all cherished the early morning hours. This is a time where you can sit in complete solitude to think about your goals, ambitions and life in general. Minimize distractions and completely focus on what matters most — yourself.

2. Have a plan for your day.

A huge mistake that can almost guarantee mediocrity is going about your day without a plan. I plan my days the night before. Not only does this help me fall asleep at night because I have removed all the clutter from my head, but I know exactly what has to get done the following day.

3. Develop a morning routine that works for you.

I take an hour in the morning to go through what I call my “Hour to Greatness.” This is where I rewrite my goals, read an uplifting book for 15 minutes, spend time in solitude, and get my mind, body and spirit ready for the day ahead.

The most important thing is that you find a routine that works for you. What works for someone else may not be the most efficient routine for your lifestyle. Winning the day starts with winning the morning.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com