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

5 Ways to Remind Yourself How Powerful You Really Are

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You, yes you, are far greater than any problem or disappointment that may be present in your life.

I don’t care who you are or what you have accomplished, we all go through disappointments in life and struggle from time to time with coming to the realization just how special we truly are.

Think about it: let’s say you have a goal that you desperately want to achieve, but three months down the road you find out that you didn’t reach your mark. What happens? You quickly rush to blaming yourself and questioning your abilities and talents. You start to listen to the negative voices that keep rolling in and out of your head. You feel powerless, and like a victim instead of a victor.

What you have to understand and never lose sight of is that you have more power and control inside of you than you think you do. Some people get hit so hard by the outcomes of life that they lose complete sight of their uniqueness and wonderful talents they have been blessed with.

Failures and disappointments aren’t present to degrade our confidence and love for ourselves. You can experience so much more in life when you don’t look at disappointments and failures as some terrible mishap. Learn how to make it “OK” to fail and mess up every now and then.

Look at Abraham Lincoln. How many times did he fail before he actually was elected president of the United States? Look at Steve Jobs. He was a remarkable man who went through disappointment after disappointment before he actually achieved success. When he achieved success, he was fired from the company he founded! Look at Albert Einstein. How many times did he fail before once and for all breaking through?

These are three remarkable men who achieved remarkable success and went through very difficult and tough times. What they didn’t do though is let the hits they took from life keep them down. When things went wrong, they didn’t go with them!

They never forgot how powerful and special they truly were. If you make the decision to tell yourself daily how special you are and list all of your unique qualities, no setback or failure will ever be able to hold you back.

Here are five ways you can start to remind yourself daily of how powerful you really are.

1. Write in a gratitude journal.

When things go wrong in life, being able to sit down and start listing all you are thankful for will rekindle your happiness and give you a sense of accomplishment. Even small successes will serve to remind you of your past successes and that you will be successful in the present and future.

2. Continually review and look at your long-term goals.

Short-term disappointments are less likely to derail your well-being when you pay mind to all you wish to accomplish in the future.

3. Strive and work to dig deeper in your spirituality journey.

We all have different beliefs, but working to strengthen your spirit will help reinforce how powerful you are. Going to church every Sunday, reading scripture throughout your day or tapping into the power of meditation can help paint a positive picture of yourself.

4. Find time to read 10 to 15 pages of something motivational, inspirational or uplifting.

Just spending 10 to 15 minutes a day reading uplifting material can help renew your mind and enlighten your day. It alone can take your life to the next level.

5. Keep a note card filled with powerful and moving quotes.

Whenever I feel down or upset about something, I take my note card out and repeat over and over to myself the positive quotes that I had written on it. This habit helps to interrupt all of the negative thoughts that are trying to take control of your thinking.

You are powerful. Don’t ever lose sight of how powerful you really are. Life will knock you down and derail your path, but you don’t have to give in! Don’t let the tough times demoralize your beauty. You have a unique skill set that no one else possesses.

You are here to make a difference and make this world a better place. Just remember, you are far greater than any problem or circumstance that stands in your way!

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The Extraordinary Power of Visualizing Success

All top performers, regardless of profession, know the importance of picturing themselves succeeding in their minds before they actually do in reality. Something I have been able to translate over to the business arena from athletics is the power of visualization. It is extremely effective when harnessed and used correctly.

Every Friday night after our team dinner, my college teammates and I would gather in the hotel conference room to prep for our game on Saturday.

We were led through a series of visualization techniques and practices led by a sports psychologist. Right away, I started to experience the incredible benefits of taking the time to picture myself succeeding before actually playing in the game. I visualized every little detail, from walking into the locker room, tying my cleats and having conversations with my teammates and coaches.

I would picture myself having the “perfect” game, executing the defensive game plan and making big plays. The more vivid I was, the better I seemed to play. I couldn’t believe it. Before the game even started, I had already played the entire game in my mind. This made a tremendous difference because it greatly increased my confidence and comfort level.

In turn, I have been able to harness the power of visualization outside of athletics. Before I take the stage and speak to a large audience, I always picture myself giving the “perfect” speech. I begin weeks in advance by picturing the audience, my choice of words and the reaction from the crowd once I am finished. Visualization can be applied to any area of your life, as I know it has become very beneficial throughout mine.

Consider these three examples:

  • Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was always stressing the importance of seeing himself victorious long before the actual fight.
  • As a struggling young actor, Jim Carrey used to picture himself being the greatest actor in the world.
  • Michael Jordan always took the last shot in his mind before he ever took one in real life.

These top performers, among many others, have mastered the technique of positive visualization and openly credit it as a success tactic.

When you think of a big goal or dream that you want to achieve, it’s natural to think of all of the obstacles that will come your way. The problem is far too often we allow these obstacles to become so big in our minds that it inhibits us from moving forward. This is when many become satisfied with mediocrity.

Don’t let this be you. Rather than creating larger-than-life barriers in your mind and dwelling on everything that will hold you back, envision yourself victorious like Ali. Picture yourself as the greatest at your craft like Carrey. Visualize your next shot as your winning shot like MJ.

What will it take? What sacrifices will you make? How can you handle any obstacles and still have enough to make it to the finish line? The key is to make your positive vision stronger than anything that can set you back.

The truth is, if you can’t picture yourself achieving a goal, chances are you won’t. The more vivid you can get, the better it will work for you. Start thinking of your personal goals in life. Spend about 10 to 15 minutes picturing yourself achieving each one.

Get as detailed as possible. Picture what you will do once your goal is reached. How amazing does it feel? How will this change the course of your life? Remember, the little details increase the likelihood of the big picture.

You don’t need to spend endless hours. Simply get in the habit of putting together a positive vision into your everyday life. Visualize yourself succeeding, achieving every goal, completing every task. See what it does for you and how it makes you feel. This will likely become a pivotal part of your success arsenal.

The bottom line is this: If you can’t picture yourself in your own mind being extremely successful, dominating your market, and running a phenomenal business, then chances are you never will.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

An Exceptional Vision for Your Life Can Lead to Joy and Success

Two qualities that can affect your success, quality of relationships and positive influence on others is passion and enthusiasm. Take a look at some of the greats. Whether it be an athlete, CEO, writer or musician, those who have reached an extraordinary level of success in their lives shared both passion and enthusiasm.

Those who are passionate and enthusiastic most certainly have an edge over those who are not. Passion and enthusiasm turns ordinary folks into extraordinary achievers. Passion and enthusiasm turns the impossible into the possible. Passion and enthusiasm has the power and ability to change and influence the lives of others.

If passion and enthusiasm is so essential to the level of success one achieves, why do so many lack both qualities? Simple. Most don’t have an exceptional vision for their life. Something that has always struck me is that a majority of people spend more time planning what kind of car they want to drive or what they are going to purchase at the mall than they do planning their everyday life.

The only way to become truly passionate about your life and wake up every morning enthusiastic about tackling every task on your to-do list is to create an exceptional vision for your life. A vision so powerful that nothing can get in the way of you making it a reality. That’s where greatness lies — working towards and being able to see past your current circumstances. We all need an exceptional vision for our lives.

Here are three steps to help steer you in the right direction to creating an exceptional vision for your life.

1. Establish your purpose

It’s very difficult to live an exceptional life if you don’t do everything it takes to find out what your purpose is. What are you passionate about? What puts a smile on your face even when times are hard?

The key to creating a powerful vision for your life is keeping your purpose in the forefront of everything you do. If you lead with your purpose, everything else will fall into place. Working every day to fulfill your purpose is a key factor in igniting passion and enthusiasm in all areas of your life.

2. Be specific as possible

The more specific you are, the further your vision will propel you into making your vision a reality. Every little detail counts. What do you want to experience along the way? What’s the difference you want to make in the lives of others? What’s the quality of your relationships?

The more specific you are, the further your vision will propel you into making your vision a reality. Every little detail counts. What do you want to experience along the way? What’s the difference you want to make in the lives of others? What’s the quality of your relationships?

3. Think big

The third key step to help you create a powerful and exceptional vision for your life is to expand your thinking. If one of your major goals in life is to become a millionaire, start thinking in terms of $4 million. Take a big goal of yours that resonates deep within your entire being and multiply that goal.

If you believe you have already been thinking big, think bigger! The large goals you set for your life that excite you beyond measure are what will have you waking up each morning with a burning desire to make each day a masterpiece.

Creating an exceptional vision for your life is necessary to live with passion and enthusiasm. Life will always throw its curveballs but when you have such an extraordinary vision for the person you want to become and the life you envision for yourself, no trial, failure or setback will be able to steal your joy. You have too much to look forward to. You have an exceptional life to create for yourself!

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

The 4 Habits You Need to Be Successful

4 Habits to be successful

The most successful people in this world maintain and master good habits. They realize what they do on a daily basis and where they direct their energy deeply matters when it comes to reaching their goals.

The habits you have picked up over the past couple of years is a reflection of where you are right this moment.

The sad news is that most people don’t have very good habits. The great news is if you are unhappy where you are at in your life you can gradually change the trajectory by altering what you do daily. To achieve high levels of success, you must start to develop the habits of the highly successful.

Below you will find four habits that will help you maximize the results you have been producing and live the life of your dreams.

1. Focus your energy. Learning how to direct your energy towards your most rewarding tasks is crucial for achieving high levels of success. One of the biggest mistakes that many people make is directing their energy towards low-valued tasks. Take a look at everything you have going on right now in your life.  Pay close attention and ask yourself what the high-valued tasks are — the ones that have the potential to bring the most reward to you and your business.

2.  Ability to prioritize. Think of what is your most important goal right this moment. If you had to pick one goal that would make everything else in your life tick, this is it. High achievers never lose sight of what their major goal is. Every day, do something that will inch you closer to the achievement of your main goal.

3. Can project and complete tasks. Being able to start something and follow through until it’s completed is a key to long-term success. Picture yourself completely finishing your projects and tasks. Take note of how you feel visualizing yourself getting the job done. The more you can picture yourself following through and completing important tasks, the more determined you will be to actually do so.

4. Having a PMA. To be successful, you need to have a positive mental attitude, or PMA. If you do nothing about negative thoughts, chances are you will be settling for average. Instead, you need to continually feed your mind with positive thoughts.

A great percentage of successful people have all experienced some sort of setback or failure. They could have just stopped their journey right there and called it quits. Instead, they had a positive mental attitude about themselves and their abilities, which gave them the power needed to continue along and reach their goals. Creating this sort of attitude could be one of your most important habits that you end up incorporating on a daily basis.

No matter where you are in life, there is always more to reach for.  When you constantly strive to become a better person, refine your skill set and invest in your future daily, you become more as an individual. When you become more as an individual, your value increases.  The more your value increases, the more successful you will become — and it all starts with your habits.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

20 Ways to Make Today Amazing

Make today amazing

As entrepreneurs and business owners, it can be very easy at times to fall into a rut and get in the habit of having just average days where we seem to not get much of anything done. Here are 20 ways that will hopefully rekindle that passion of yours and help make today ridiculously amazing.

1. Engage in consistent action.

2. Constantly picture yourself beyond your current circumstances. Dream enormously big and hold that dream deep within your mind, body and spirit.

3. Spend time in solitude to just think and visualize.

4. Write your most important goal on a note card and look at it five times a day. Say it out loud and believe with a deep conviction that it will become a reality.

5. Drink tons of water. It’s impossible to operate to the best of your ability and tap into your full potential if you are dehydrated. Our minds and bodies need water in order to perform at an extremely high-level.

6. Eat to win. If you don’t want junk results stay away from junk food. The bottom line is that we are what we eat.

7. Get your sweat on. One of the best productivity tools that you can utilize is to get a workout in at some point throughout your day. Whether you go to the gym or at home, make the time.

8. Pick up a book for 15-20 minutes and get lost in it. Just as our bodies need physical exercise, our minds need to stay mentally fit.

9. Spend your time around those who lift you up and encourage your vision, not belittle it. We are the average of the five people we hang out with the most. Pick your company wisely.

10. Make time to grow. Carve out 30 min to an hour and find ways to personally and professionally grow.

11. Turn off the music in your car and listen to an audiobook. Most of us spend hours in a car daily, utilize that time to better yourself and learn.

12. Keep a journal. Record your thoughts, ideas and strategies. We have roughly 20,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Don’t let an idea or strategy go to waste. Never rely solely on your memory.

13. Think of five things you are grateful for right this second. It can be something as simple as how beautiful is mother nature or how wonderful your family is. Be grateful for what you have and you will eventually end up having more.

14. Snack on almonds. Great source of protein and other minerals and vitamins that will increase your energy levels and keep performance in peak state.

15. Say “I love you” more often. Don’t let a day go by where you don’t tell those you love how much they truly mean to you. Life is short and by simply saying the words “I love you” will bring you an immense sense of satisfaction.

16. Treat others how you want to be treated. In business and in the game of life, people matter. If you want to truly win in both, make every person you come in contact with feel important.

17. Have a green smoothie. Instead of turning to caffeine turn to the power of mother nature and blend yourself up a delicious, energizing and healthy green smoothie. One of my favorites is two handfuls of organic spinach, one apple, juice of one lemon, three stalks of celery, and ginger root. There are plenty of recipes available to you online.

18. Take a post-it-note or note-card and write down some quotes that move, inspire and empower you. There will be times throughout the day that might upset you or discourage you. Constantly feeding your mind with words that inspire and empower you will instantly get you back on your feet ready to hit the ground running.

19. Cut off all distractions. When it’s time to work, work. When it’s time to relax, relax. Discipline yourself to stay off Facebook and other social media sites when you are working on a computer. If you are in an office, hang up a “Do Not Disturb” sign if possible. Focus completely on the task at hand.

20. Take full and complete responsibility for your life. Own up to your mistakes and never fall into the trap of playing the ever-so-popular blame game.

Adopting winning habits is one of the surest ways to get to where you want to go. What we do on a daily basis determines the results that we end up with. If you don’t like what you have been producing up to this point, then change what you do daily. It’s my hope that this list of 20 ideas is of extreme value to help make today utterly amazing for you.

Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com

Activate the Fighter in You

Just because your back is up against the wall, the disappointments begin to pile up, and others begin to doubt you, don’t give up.

There will be plenty of times throughout the day, month, and year ahead where it will feel like you are at a very huge and discouraging disadvantage. That’s life. Instead of falling victim to the harsh realities of life, activate the fighter in you. The warrior like resolve that is placed in each and every one of us.

Those who are the best at what they do, you know, the ones who break records, leave legacies, and change the world, aren’t always the smartest or most gifted people in the world. Those who achieve such extraordinary success in their life activated the fighter in them, the warrior like resolve that keeps them persisting over and over again.

Your level of commitment to be great is what matters most. And when your commitment to be great is where it needs to be, you stop worrying about where you are and begin to focus on moving forward each day, even if it’s not by much.

Don’t give up. Activate the fighter in you.

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