Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Nelson Mandela Rugby Helps Unite a Nation

Nelson Mandela: Rugby Helps Unite a Nation

At the moment I’m just finishing a book called Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage by Richard Stengel (as quoted below).  It’s not a book about sport or history but it does refer to both in describing Mandela’s leadership skills.  As was shown in the movie Invictus, Mandela used rugby as a unifying force in the racially divided nation of South Africa.
“Rugby came back into Mandela’s life when he became president.  Job number one for him was to be the father of the nation, the patriarch who united white and black around a common vision.”
“When the threats of harmony were greatest, in 1994 and 1995, Mandela used a curious tactic: He turned to sports as a way of healing the nation.  For years the ANC (African National Congress) had done everything it could to get the Springboks, the national rugby team, banned from international play.  And they had succeeded.  Now Mandela sought to have the ban on them lifted, and he became instrumental in bringing the rugby World Cup to South Africa.  He thought rugby could be the great uniter, and not a divider.  He began a charm campaign to win over the rugby establishment.”
Mandela showed great insight in to the potential that rugby had to unite black and white when it had in fact done the opposite for years.  It’s no exaggeration to say that in a very pivotal moment in South African history, Mandela deterred a movement to have both the Springbok’s name and colours changed.  To black South Africans, the Springboks had always been white South Africa’s team but Mandela knew that a team seen as representing the black citizens would be just as polarizing.  In much the same way that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had done decades before, Mandela sought to win his opponents understanding.
“In his most famous gesture of reconciliation, Mandela wore the Springbok jersey and cap to the rugby finals at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Staduium in 1995.  When he strode out before the game to greet the team captain, the mostly white crowd began to chant, “Nel-son, Nel-son!” It was one of the most electrifying moments in the history of sport and politics.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Michael Jordan and Fear of Failure

Michael Jordan and the Fear of Failure

In any contest there is a winner and a loser and almost anyone would tell you that winning is a lot more fun.  But in many ways losing is more valuable in the long run as it helps to define us.  When we lose in sport, we learn much more about ourselves, our weaknesses, and how we might improve for the next time.  Setbacks, obstacles and outright failures force us to make decisions as to how seriously we want to pursue a goal, and how we’re going to make it happen.
In sport there are a great number of champion athletes who faced setbacks and later acknowledged these failures as very significant to their ultimate success.  Michael Jordan for example was cut from his high school basketball team in grade 10.  He refers to this event as being integral to his development as it taught him that he could bring about a significant change in his ability through hard work.  A lot of that has to do with his reaction to being cut in the first place.  In other words he chose to react positively, to work harder, to make himself better.
Experiencing failure can also be very valuable in the sense that one learns that life goes on and that failure is not something to be feared.  In terms of being successful in a competitive environment, getting over the fear of failure is a very valuable skill.  In fact, the higher the level of competition, the more important the skill becomes.
In the mid-90’s when the Chicago Bulls were in the midst of winning several NBA championships, Michael Jordan was in a commercial that reflected on the fact that failure is a part of what he did for a living.  Have a look:
Keep in mind that this commercial was made before the end of Jordan’s career.  In other words, the numbers he refers to where not career totals and when all was said and done the numbers were higher.  To me, the most poignant stat referred to in the commercial was the missed game-winning shots.  It’s an amazing thought that you could string together somewhere between a third and a half of a season worth of (NBA Champion) Chicago Bulls losses where they lost for no reason other than they gave the ball to the best player ever to step on a court and he just missed.
What’s the point?  You can’t be afraid to try.  And by all accounts when Jordan went for that game winning shot, the thought of missing was the furthest thing from his mind.  And if you ask any sport psychologist, they’ll tell you that was one of Jordan’s greatest strengths.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How Twitter Impacts Tiger Woods' Brand

It’s been a year of Tiger Woods stories. After he officially lost the title of ‘number one ranked golfer in the world’, he has decided to join Twitter in an attempt to save what’s left of his brand. If I were Tiger and my secret life of indiscretions had become a public spectacle, I would go into hiding for awhile in my embarrassment and shame. My primary life talent would take a back seat to the agony of media scrutiny and public opinion. After I stewed in a boiling pot of negative press and perpetual gossip, I would create a plan of action…a plan to restore my tarnished reputation and develop a sense of trust with the media and public. My strategy would include:

1. Use Social Media

I would enlist social media as an avenue to regain trust and credibility in the public eye. I would communicate honestly and genuinely with my “fans” in order to establish a renewed rapport. Tiger is in fact doing this, much to the delight of his loyal fans. Within an hour of his newly opened Twitter account, he had multiple thousands of followers. His Facebook page has well over a million fans. His posts are positive and there’s a good “feel” about them. The feel of a man who has been humbled and who is now re-designing himself into a morally solid individual.

2. Foundation Donations

I would increase awareness about what I’m doing to make the world a better place. Tiger Woods Foundation does just that. Their programs include the Tiger Woods Learning Center, a one-of-a-kind educational facility custom-built for the undeserved youth of Southern California; Tiger’s Action Plan, nationwide curricula based on goal-setting, career exploration and self-discovery through service learning; and the Earl Woods Scholarship program, which offers a four-year college scholarship to hard-working students with demonstrated financial need and proven commitment to community service. Tiger has donated millions of dollars to these endeavors and has stepped up his efforts since his moral demise.

3. Dedicate to Accountability, Counseling, Key Support

When you’re busted, you’re busted. It usually happens because there’s no accountability; you’re duped into thinking no one is watching. That alone is self-deception. I would establish a solid same-sex accountability partner, I would participate in regular counseling, and place key support people around me who are committed to keep me on track. Without these safeguards in place, it’s easy to fall back into negative behavior traps. In his ESPN interview with “Mike and Mike”, Tiger re-stated his unhappiness with himself the previous two years, knowing he was engaging in activity that wasn’t balanced and which lacked perspective for the future.

4. Win

I would just start winning the game again. The public has a funny way of forgetting when someone is back at the top. Even though the media might mention his demise at every turn, Tiger can shut everyone up by just winning. People love come-back stories and I believe Tiger Woods is one of those stories.

5. Show Gratefulness Toward Supportive Fans

I would establish a positive, thankful attitude toward supportive fans. Perhaps one of the reasons most fans have been so supportive of Tiger is that none of us are perfect. We can relate to his self-deception on some level, however small. We’ve all had moral lapses from time to time. Most of us may get away with negative behavior because we’re not Tiger Woods but we still live with a sense of moral right and wrong and make decisions based on that premise. Tiger has continually expressed his gratefulness to fans for their loving support.

If I were Tiger Woods, I would turn my greatest embarrassment into my greatest triumph.  He now knows what he’s capable of if his soul is left to itself. He’s acknowledged his errors, he’s lost many valuable relationships along the way, and he’s paid the enormous price of a tarnished reputation and diminished role-model status.  He’s poised for greatness and He can and will come back with a stronger character, wiser behavior, and better self.

Michelle Hill

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Arnold Schwarzenegger "Always" thinks like a Champion -You can Too!

“How To Think Like A Champion”

There are few interviews from exceptional people, that illustrate so flawlessly, the process needed to achieve great things than this one with, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Watch, Listen & Do!
The mental part of anyone’s game is always the part that needs the most work and has the greatest opportunity, if improved, to give epic improvements to performance immediately.
Todd Herman

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"The Shift Hits the Fan"

The Revolution Has Begun - "The Shift Hits the Fan"
By Kenny Ausubel
Co-CEO and Founder, Bioneers
Opening the Bioneers Conference, October 15th, 2010, San Rafael, California

The Bottleneck. The Great Disruption. Peak Everything. The Great Turning.

Whatever you call it, it's the big enchilada.

In the words of filmmaker Tom Shadyac, "The shift is hitting the fan." We're experiencing the dawn of a revolutionary transformation. This awkward 'tween state marks the end of pre-history - the sunset of an ecologically illiterate civilization. Like a baby being born, a new world is crowning.

The revolution has begun. But in fits and starts. The challenge is it's one minute to midnight - too late to avoid large-scale destruction. We have to fan the shift to ecoliterate societies at sufficient scale and speed to dodge irretrievable cataclysm.

From breakdown to breakthrough, it's a revolution from the heart of nature and the human heart. It leads with a basic shift in our relationship with nature from resource and object to mentor, model and partner. Game-changing breakthroughs in science, technology and design such as biomimicry are revolutionizing our very ways of knowing. The Rights of Nature movement is recognizing the inalienable rights of the non-human world of ecosystems and critters, widening our circle of compassion and kinship. Greater decentralization and localization are building resilience from the ground up - shaped by ancient indigenous wisdom of becoming native to our place.

The digital communications revolution is primed to spread solutions without borders at texting speed. Historic demographic shifts are fertilizing the landscape - from the ascendancy of women's leadership to the worldbeat of cultural and racial pluralism. Empires and dynasties are waning and waxing with sudden shifts in the balance of global power.

When a chrysalis turns into a butterfly, the caterpillar's immune system attacks the very first of the butterfly's cells as invaders. The pushback will be equally fierce, casting shadows of widespread destruction and violence, mass migrations, virulent ideologies, and ethnic strife. Yet in the end, the big, hairy caterpillar audaciously becomes a beautiful butterfly.

What does the revolution look like on the ground?

As climate shocks rock the planet, renewable energy is reaching a tipping point and going mainstream. For the past two years, the U.S. and Europe have both added more power capacity from renewables than from coal, gas and nuclear combined. Worldwide, renewables accounted for a third of new generating capacity, and now provide a quarter of global power capacity and 18 percent of electricity supply. Germany is aiming for a carbon-neutral grid while maintaining its highly industrialized status - without significant changes in consumption patterns and lifestyles.

Renewable energy investment topped $150 billion worldwide in 2009, attracting many of the world's largest companies. Government policies are largely responsible. Over 70 national and state governments have put incentives in place.

Europe has the leading position globally in great part because of government policy. EU business leadership sees green products as its future Silicon Valley. The EU is aiming for 25% of global green market share by 2020.

China has leapfrogged the world in pursuit of a low-carbon economy. It's now the largest manufacturer of wind turbines, solar panels, and the most efficient grids and coal plants. It has created a national energy "superministry," and the President has stated China must "seize preemptive opportunities in the new round of the global energy revolution."

The expansion of wind power is moving to industrial scale. Electric cars are heading for the mass market worldwide. Massachusetts and California lead the U.S. with efficiency standards expected to generate billions in savings to customers and tens of thousands of new jobs. An estimated 23 percent of U.S. emissions can be cut by 2020 just through energy efficiency.

Job creation and new businesses are key drivers of renewables. Germany now employs more almost as many people in clean energy as in its largest manufacturing sector of automobiles.

The spread of renewables is starting to reduce CO2 emissions. Germany has reduced its emissions by nearly 30 percent since 1990. Sweden has vowed to eliminate fossil fuels for electricity by 2020 and gasoline-powered cars by 2030. Sweden also commissioned research that shows the country could cut its emissions by 25-50 percent by changing the national diet. A new national food policy puts emissions labeling on foods and restaurant menus. The principal Scandinavian organic certification program will require low-carbon farming methods. Sweden's dietary recommendations are now circulating throughout the EU. An estimated 25% of emissions produced by people in industrialized nations are linked with the foods they eat.

Greatly heightened investment from banks is advancing these trends, especially in Europe, China and Latin America. Germany's Deutsche Bank is redirecting much of its $700 billion in assets to address global warming, including a $7 billion climate investment fund. National green infrastructure banks are on the horizon.

A sea change in thinking has propelled the banking industry and economists to team up with mathematical biologists to study natural ecosystems for lessons about resilience. The Bank of England says the banking industry will be fundamentally reshaped to treat global finance as a "complex adaptive system" like a living ecosystem.

A parallel epiphany is bubbling up in engineering, led by giant firms such as CH2M Hill that have embraced climate adaptation. Instead of steel-and-concrete, they're recommending "soft infrastructure" - flexible ecological systems like wetlands, oyster beds and barrier islands, as well as water retention, wastewater recycling and water efficiency. The bywords are reliability, local self-sufficiency and decentralization. FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers are close behind.

In the absence of a national clean energy policy in the U.S., the action is coming mainly from cities and states. Mayors and governors are developing ambitious climate strategies and policies, while creating jobs, businesses and living laboratories for low-carbon development. L.A.'s Mayor Villaraigosa vowed to "permanently break our addiction to coal" by 2020. The Pacific Coast states are working to jettison coal within a decade.

Sounds great, right? But of course, there's more to the story. The current gains are tenuous, vulnerable to the vagaries of politics and economic oscillations. And we're still losing ground anyway. Global emissions will rise by 40% by 2030, more than half of which will come from China and the balance from developing countries.

As Groucho Marx put it, "Why should we bother about the next generation? They have never done anything for us!"

In truth, the world is reaching "peak everything," in Richard Heinberg's words. A global economy built on unlimited growth and massive resource use is heading for inevitable contraction.

A major barrier in the U.S. is the annual military budget of over a trillion dollars. Although the Defense Department has embraced climate change as a top national security issue, national sustainability must move front and center. As David Orr observes, "The concept of sustainability should be the new organizing principle for both domestic and foreign policy. Sustainability is the core of a national development strategy designed to enhance our security, build prosperity from the ground up, and reduce ecological damage, risks of climate destabilization and the necessity of fighting endless wars over dwindling resources."

What's needed is the national and global equivalent of a wartime mobilization with sustainability as magnetic north. Many say only catastrophe will precipitate such a shift and are readying plans for that turning point. Paul Gilding's One Degree War Plan forecasts a "Coalition of the Cooling" anchored by the U.S., China and the EU, who produce 50 percent of emissions - and who could then engage Russia, India, Japan and Brazil to hit 67 percent.

But for now, the U.S. is being left behind. As a leader at Germany's Deutsche Bank stated, "They're asleep at the wheel on climate change, asleep at the wheel on job growth, asleep at the wheel on this industrial revolution taking place in the energy industry." Rather than catastrophe, business competitiveness may ultimately prove the more compelling driver.

Yet as Einstein said, we cannot solve the problem with the same mentality that created it. Brother, can you spare a paradigm? The supreme challenge of global interdependence is to foster meta-cooperation in a full world.

Our collective fate likely hangs from the cliff by three intertwining ropes: systems, power, and story.

Shifting the mindscape starts with systems thinking. Complex systems by nature are unpredictable, nonlinear and cannot be controlled. The key to building resilience is to foster the system's capacity to adapt to dramatic change. As Dana Meadows observed, "A diverse system with multiple pathways and redundancies is more stable and less vulnerable to external shock than a uniform system with little diversity."

A paradigm is the hardest thing to change in a system, but it can happen fast. As Meadows advised, "Keep pointing at anomalies and failures in the old paradigm. Keep speaking loudly and with assurance, from the new one. Insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visibility and power. Don't waste time with reactionaries; work with active change agents, and the vast middle ground of open people."

At the core is the transformation to a restoration economy.

Europe's model of "social capitalism" may be the most important innovation in the world economy since the rise of the corporation. Among its structural innovations are two policies: Works Councils and co-determination.

Works councils give employees significant input and decision-making or veto power on substantive issues. They contribute to efficiency by improving the quality of decisions and worker buy-in.

Co-determination, where workers are elected to company supervisory boards, has fostered a culture of consultation and cooperation, benefited business, and distributed wealth more broadly. Most EU nations use the practice. The 27-nation European Union, the world's largest economy, has a higher per capita growth rate and slightly lower unemployment than the U.S. The vibrant small business sector produces two thirds of EU jobs. Ironically, the EU social capitalism model arose following World War II to punish postwar Germany with economic democracy and curtail corporate power.

What's afoot globally today are the re-envisioning of the economy and the redesign of the corporation into diverse structures of business ownership and governance - such as large-scale cooperatives, mission-controlled social businesses and foundation-owned social profit companies. Bill Gates calls it "creative capitalism." It works. Employee-owned firms modestly outperform their peers. Foundation-owned, values-driven companies perform at least as well or better. In Europe, coops comprise 12 percent of GDP and engage 60 percent of the population. Marjorie Kelly terms them "emergent new organizational species" designed like living systems to deliver human and ecological benefits as well as profits.

Another seismic meta-trend transforming the economy and society at large is the ascendancy of women's leadership. As writer Hanna Rosin points out in "The End of Men," "Those societies that take advantage of the talents of all of their adults, not just half of them, have pulled away from the rest." One study measuring the economic and political power of women in 162 countries found with few exceptions that the greater the power of women, the greater the nation's economic success. As David Gergen wrote, "Women are knocking on the door of leadership at the very moment when their talents are especially well matched with the requirements of the day."

Natural systems have their own operating instructions, as biomimicry master Janine Benyus describes. Nature runs on current sunlight. Nature banks on diversity. Nature rewards cooperation. Nature builds from the bottom up. Nature recycles everything. And Earth's mission statement: Life creates conditions conducive to life..

Given that the most important element in systems is purpose and goals, the big question is: What's the economy for? If the goal is building resilience, the priority flips from growth and expansion to sufficiency and a sustainable prosperity. Resilience also favors economic re-localization, which in turn produces greater energy and food security.

How then do we set about redesigning human systems? And who has decision-making power?

In practice, our current system design concentrates wealth and distributes poverty. The super-rich .01 percent of the population - about 13,000 people - earn as much as the bottom 120 million. U.S. unemployment is the highest since the Great Depression. Forty-four million Americans live in poverty. Joblessness underemployment and low wages are the new normal.

Washington D.C. has 11,195 corporate lobbyists who in 2009 spent six times all spending combined by environmental, consumer, labor and other non-corporate entities. The biggest lobbying and campaign spender is the financial services sector, with banks being the most powerful. As Senator Dick Durbin commented, "Frankly they own the place." It's no wonder. The estimated lobbying return on investment is a hundred to one. Remember that $13 trillion in public bailout funds to the banks? That's the public option.

No wonder there's a Tea Party. Call me traditional, but the Tea Party needs to get back to its roots. The Boston Tea Party was as a rebellion against a government-backed corporate monopoly.

As author Thom Hartmann recounts, Britain's East India corporation staked its claim on parts of North America under military protection from its biggest investor, the British Crown. Already hugely powerful in India and China, the corporation had gained control over almost all international commerce to and from North America. But it was bedeviled by colonial small businessmen and entrepreneurs who dared to run their own ships and buy tea wholesale from Dutch trading companies. The East India corporation obtained laws to eliminate the competition - backed by the death penalty.

As Hartmann points out, "'Taxation without representation' meant hitting the average person and small business with taxes, while letting the richest and most powerful corporation in the world off the hook for its taxes."

The Boston Tea Party precipitated the American Revolution and guided the first American century of highly resrtictive corporate governance and law. That revolutionary tradition is resurfacing today in the growing movement to challenge and revoke corporate constitutional rights.

The story of today's battle is above all the battle of the story. As human beings, we're hard-wired for story. When our story conflicts with the facts, we stick with the story. As scholar Richard Tarnas observes, "Worldviews create worlds."

The ruling story according to Western Civilization took hold about 500 years ago with the birth of the Scientific Revolution and exaltation of human reason. When the Copernican revolution showed the Earth revolves around the sun, science redefined humanity's place in the natural order and the cosmos.

Perhaps the defining characteristic of the modern mind is the belief in a radical separation between the human self and the external world. According to the modern mind, Tarnas observes, "Apart from the human being, the cosmos is seen as entirely impersonal and unconscious... mere matter in motion, mechanistic and purposeless, ruled by chance and necessity. It is altogether indifferent to human consciousness and values. The world outside the human being lacks conscious intelligence, it lacks interiority, and it lacks intrinsic meaning and purpose... For the modern mind, the only source of meaning in the universe is human consciousness."

The modern mind stands in radical contrast with the primal worldview, exemplified by indigenous cultures. As Tarnas continues, "Primal experience takes place within a world soul, an anima mundi, a living matrix of embodied meaning. Because the world is understood as speaking a symbolic language, direct communication of meaning and purpose from world to human can occur."

The linear, mechanistic, reductionist worldview has yielded as science has radically evolved into a vastly more complex view of interdependence and other ways of knowing. From complexity and chaos theory to the Gaia Hypothesis, a new cosmology is unfolding. In this scientific revolution, the Earth does not revolve around us.

Tarnas frames the battle of the cosmic story in this way.

"Imagine for a moment that you are the universe. But for the purposes of this thought experiment - that you are not the disenchanted, mechanistic universe of conventional modern cosmology - but rather a deep-souled, subtly mysterious cosmos of great spiritual beauty and creative intelligence. And imagine that you are approached by two different epistemologies - two suitors, as it were - who seek to know you. To whom would you open your deepest secrets? To which approach would you be most likely to reveal your authentic nature?

"Would you open most deeply to the suitor - the way of knowing - who approached you as though you were essentially lacking in intelligence or purpose - as though you had no interior dimension to speak of - no spiritual capacity or value; who thus saw you as fundamentally inferior to himself (let us give the two suitors, not entirely arbitrarily, the traditional masculine gender); who related to you as though your existence were valuable primarily to the extent that he could develop and exploit your resources, to satisfy his various needs; and whose motivation for knowing you was ultimately driven by a desire for increased intellectual mastery, predictive certainty, and efficient control over you for his own self-enhancement?

"Or would you, the cosmos, open yourself most deeply to that suitor who viewed you as being at least as intelligent and noble - as worthy a being - as permeated with mind and soul - as imbued with moral aspiration and purpose - as endowed with spiritual depths and mystery, as he? This suitor seeks to know you not that he might better exploit you but rather to unite with you and thereby bring forth something new - a creative synthesis emerging from both of your depths. He desires to liberate that which has been hidden by the separation between knower and known. His ultimate goal of knowledge is a more richly responsive and empowered participation in a co-creative unfolding of new realities. He seeks an intellectual fulfillment that is intimately linked with imaginative vision, moral transformation, empathic understanding, aesthetic delight. His act of knowledge is essentially an act of love and intelligence combined - of wonder as well as discernment - of opening to a process of mutual discovery. To whom would you be more likely to reveal your deepest truths?"

Which suitor shall we choose? Which suitor do you choose?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dream On

Dream On my darling grandson Baye. Never lose that dream. Let it grow in and through you and you will express it as you. You will race those cars. Your dreams will become reality. You -I- Love ... forever Nana

Saturday, October 30, 2010

To live in the “is” world and not the “should be” world. Never before has there been a wider gap between those who are awake and those who are sleepwalking.

2010 is a pivotal year, a season of transition and great change.

I say this as much from a feeling in my bones as any event I might specifically describe. In 2-3 years you will look back and see the pre-2010 world as strangely different from the one you find yourself living in.

5 years from now you’ll stand in wonder of once mighty empires that have fallen. By 2020, a company you’ve barely heard of today will be more powerful than Facebook or Google.

The sub-prime mortgage industry has ceased to exist in the US and will doubtfully ever return. Increasing government controls on old industries will force creativity to flee to new territories, because entrepreneurs can always innovate faster than bureaucrats can regulate.

In the 20th century, the top 1 billion people were the #1 driver in the world. The 21st century will be marked by the emergence of the “middle billions” – the tier of humanity which, now connected, can participate in the world marketplace. Many of the next wave of billionaires will come from countries we consider to be “underdeveloped.”

You are seeing that now on sites like Elance where an abundance of raw talent is available 24/7 from less developed, rapidly advancing countries. The middle billions will power the economic comeback.

You can use the information age to sharpen your mind and stay abreast of the greatest thinkers in history, or you can dull your senses with entertainment and pleasure seeking. Your choice.

You can use your iPod to tune in, or to tune out. You can contribute to the world you live in, or you can nurse at whatever breast keeps you sedated. Your decision.

Never before has there been a wider gap between those who are awake and those who are sleepwalking. You will only see this chasm widen.

The consequence of this is that politicians will try to get elected by promising to abolish the 80/20 rule. But regardless of their vain attempts, a tiny percentage of people will still drive the vast majority of progress.

You get to decide which side of the 80/20 tracks you live on.

In a world that is drowning in data and information, the most precious commodity is WISDOM – the ability to make sound judgments and harness knowledge. To interpret and use information.

Wisdom comes from the outside. It’s requested and received. It’s not merely a ‘given.’ And it should never be taken for granted. Common Sense is uncommon and it will always be precious. Those who lack wisdom are unable to perceive things that are staring them in the face. And nothing you say will make them see.

I can only urge you to open your mind and your spirit to the things that are new. By this I don’t mean bells and whistles and gadgets. I mean shifts in the culture, new expectations, new paradigms. New rules that replace old ones that don’t work anymore. To live in the “is” world and not the “should be” world.

A thousand warriors I have known. Among them, dozens who’ve had total financial wipeouts, bankruptcies, massive failures. One made $2 million personal income in 2006, then zero in 2009. I know another who’s upside down to the tune of $100 million.

Some are shady characters. Some are among the finest individuals I’ve ever met. One was cleaning up all the messes in his life one by one, rekindling his marriage, shedding his addictions and bad habits, and doing an admirable job at that. It would seem he deserved a break.

It didn’t happen because he was a bad guy. It happened because the world moved on.

In almost every case, they are furiously re-inventing themselves. Which seems like a paradox, because times of economic growth are revealed to be seasons of greatest stagnation, gluttony and sloth.

Lean times produce enormous innovation and industry. 278 of the current Fortune 500 companies were founded by solo entrepreneurs in an economic downturn.

Lean into the leanness.

Forest burns to the ground. Weeks later you return to find nothing but ashes. Yet unseen, below ground, a revolution is underway.

Today is the day the heavens are shifting. Advancing under a guise of stagnancy, this is new a season of healing – physical, emotional, financial, spiritual.

If you find yourself restless and bored of things that used to work and don’t anymore, this is the season to ask and expect old wisdom to take new forms.

The Secretariat movie is prophetic for this year.  Secretariat literally had the heart of a champion—a heart almost 3 times as large as a normal horse heart.  That heart was the powerful engine that made him a great champion.

This is not the year to declare our history. This is the time to prophesy our future.

Perry Marshall

Thanks to my friend and confidant Sue Towne for supplying much of the inspiration for today. Thanks to Perry for this article. This is why I assist other to become Champions in their lives.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

John Wooden's Definition of Success

Thanks to Eric for finding this great video of famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden talking about his coaching (and life) philosophies.  I’ve referred to Wooden many times in this blog and on Twitter because he typifies the ‘make a better person, get a better athlete’ philosophy of coaching.  There’s a great deal of wisdom in this 17 minute clip and it’s all so simply put and perhaps that’s why it resonates so well.
What I enjoyed most from the video was Wooden’s answer to the question, “who was the best player you ever coached?” because it had very little to do with natural talent and it had everything to do with competing to the best of your ability.  Have a look:John Wooden

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving and more

Happy thanksgiving to each and everyone of you. 

The more is what has kept me away from blogging as often as I love to do. 

In the last couple of weeks there have been many wonderful changes and challenges in my life. The outcomes have been nothing short of miraculous. Traveling and more traveling meetings and more meetings.

2 weeks ago I became a representative for  sportsDrive in Canada.  SPORTS DRIVE is a provider of scientifically based assessments that predict athletic performance in all types of athletes across all types of sports. sportsDrive provides valuable insights into athletic strengths and challenges. Additionally, sportsDrive provides detailed feedback on areas that need improvement.

It is proven that physical abilities simply aren’t enough to reach the top level of professional sports. By taking the time to complete the assessment, athletes take the first step to understanding the inner forces that drive athletic success.

sportsDrive is the only site on the Web geared towards athletic development that assesses 16 dimensions scientifically proven by scientists in sports psychology and sports related psychological assessments to predict athletic performance and help individual athletes, as well as teams, improve overall performance. 16 Key Athletic Dimensions Science and Sports.

I an honored to be part of this family of scientists, psychologists,

entrepreneurs. I will go into more detail about sportsDrive in my next blog.

For now I want to wish each and everyone of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

Be well. 

Dancing with life and Creating Champions


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Relating To Your Competition or How to Avoid Being Your own Worst Enemy

Relating To Your Competition or How To Avoid Being Your Own Worst Enemy

September 28, 2010 by duffgibson

In previous posts I have written about the great sportsmen I was so lucky to have competed against in my skeleton career.  Because they were champions in their own right, they knew the value of facing a great competitor in drawing out great performances in themselves (2. Emulating Gregor Staehli).  I was very grateful to have had competitors that wanted me to be at my best because they had the attitude described by the phrase, “may the best man win”.  It created a very enjoyable competitive environment that not only brought out the best in me but allowed me to be happy and supportive of the performances of my competitors.

In creating this blog I have had the chance to interview a great number of very successful athletes including several Olympic Champions and I always make a point of asking them how they view their competition.  In other words, do they see their opponents as friend or foe and invariably the answer is friend.  I accept the possibility that there may be certain sports that are more combative in nature in which a healthy dislike of the competition may serve as a motivator in the heat of the competition but this is simply not the case when athletes compete independently.  I would even go so far as to say that most of the top athletes in combative sports are able to get themselves into an optimal competitive state without having to trick themselves into believing they ‘hate’ their opponent.

Your success in sport is dependent almost entirely upon you and often has little to do with your opponent.  It’s a valuable skill to be able to distinguish between what is and what is not under your control as it allows you to focus on what directly affects your chances of success.  Even if you are of the mindset that athletes can be intimidated, such a tactic will work at times with certain opponents but if your goal to be the best, you’d better rely on something more consistent and tangible, like your own performance.  Athletes are better served to develop friendships with their opponents.  It creates a far more enjoyable environment that is every bit as competitive.

The following is an excerpt from the book Flow by Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi.  It speaks very well to the value of those relationships and the importance of taking the time to make them positive and enjoyable.

“Unfair bosses and rude customers make us unhappy on the job.  At home an uncaring spouse, an ungrateful child, and interfering in-laws are the prime sources of the blues.  How is it possible to reconcile the fact that people cause both the best and the worst times?
“This apparent contradiction is actually not that difficult to resolve.  Like anything else that really matters, relationships make us extremely happy when they go well, and very depressed when they don’t work out.  People are the most flexible, the most changeable aspect of the environment we have to deal with.  The same person can make the morning wonderful and the evening miserable.  Because we depend so much on the affection and approval of others, we are extremely vulnerable to how we are treated by them.

“Therefore a person who learns to get along with others is going to make a tremendous change for the better in the quality of life as a whole.  This fact is well known to those who write and those who read books with titles such as How to Win Friends and Influence People.  Business executives yearn to communicate better so that they can be more effective managers, and debutantes read books on etiquette to be accepted and admired by the “in” crowd.  Much of this concern reflects an extrinsically motivated desire to manipulate others. But people are not important only because they can help make our goals come true; when they are treated as valuable in their own right, people are the most fulfilling source of happiness.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

Self - Awareness

As I tweeted the other day (@sportatitsbest), I’ve only just started Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open, and I’ve already found a reference to what I believe is an extremely key skill that all athletes need to develop if they want to reach the top.  Of course I’m talking about today’s topic, self-awareness.  Here’s the quote:

“Butterflies are funny.  Some days they make you run to the toilet…  Other days they make you laugh, and long for the fight…  Figuring out your butterflies, deciphering what they say about the status of your mind and body, is the first step to making them work for you.”
Hope you enjoy the post.

These days, most national teams in Canada operate under the Integrated Support Team (or IST) model.  Right from the Own The Podium website,

“IST’s are the Sport Sciences, Sports Medicine and other team management professionals that support coaches and athletes/teams. ISTs typically include a physiologist, sport psychologist, biomechanist/performance technologist, nutritionist, physical therapists/athletic therapist, and a physician.  The goal of a IST is to ensure that Canadian athletes are healthy, fit and psychologically ready for optimal performance.”
IST’s are great for bringing everyone around an athlete on to the same page with respect to any aspect of their development.  People from every discipline come together and a lot of great information is shared and it can be very insightful and helpful to have so many perspectives sitting around the same table.

However, when I competed prior to 2006, we didn’t have IST’s and in fact one year we didn’t even have a coach.  We had a very good team leader, which I personally found very valuable, and we had good medical support, but in terms of an on-ice technical coach, we just couldn’t find someone to fit the bill after the previous coach left for other opportunities.  The surprising thing was that it was actually a very successful year overall, and for me personally it happened to be my best ever.

The reason it worked was because my teammates and I each had very good self-awareness with respect to actually sliding down the track.  We didn’t have a coach but we learned the tracks as well or better than we otherwise would have because we coached each other.  At the time there were four of us on the men’s national team so in effect each of us had three coaches.  If we arrived at a new track, after the first run we would meet and discuss our issues.  If someone had a problem steering effectively through a corner that another team member had been successful with, there was a passing along of information.  Occasionally there would be corners that we all had trouble with and in these circumstances we would get together, come up with a plan such that each of us would try a different strategy and then meet again after the run to determine what we had learned.

It was an effective strategy only because each of us were very self-aware with respect to where we were in a corner, when we were steering, how hard and for how long.  In a sport where you can at times be more upside down than right side up going well over 120 km/h and under several G’s, that’s not easy to do.  It worked because we could accurately convey information about a corner and because we were willing to invest in each other’s success.  Your own information was going out to the team but you had three people’s information coming back to you which both speaks to the team environment we had, and the importance of being self-aware.

Now, myself and the other coaches preach two things above all others.  One is the team environment and the other is to listen to your body and learn what it is telling you.  It can take a long time to get there but that information is key.

Duff Gibson

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fantasy Sports Unites Fans All Over The World

While sitting in a New York bar watching the New Orleans Saints successfully open the football season last week, it struck me that there is one thing that unites sports fans all over the world. Whether it is the NFL here in the US, rugby league in Australia or the English Premier League (EPL) soccer, today’s sports fans want to be engaged and actively interact with their favorite sports. They satisfy that desire by playing fantasy sports or by getting involved in forecasting weekly results. In Australia we call that tipping. Technology, fast-speed internet access and our increasing use of social media is making this engagement even easier and more fun for the fan.

The connection we have with our favorite sports now runs far deeper than merely supporting your local team or purchasing a few pieces of replica merchandising as was once the case. Trash talking your colleague over your fantasy quarterback selection is a big part of office culture on a Monday morning (or almost any day for that matter). Similarly, earning bragging rights over your mates with your superior tipping skills is a big deal Down Under.

This is all good news on a commercial front. The sport rights holder extends it product, sports marketers have something else to promote and broadcasters and, more importantly, sponsors have a wider reach.

The numbers involved are staggering. Fantasy sports are recognized as a multi-million dollar business. In 2010, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association “represents more than 110 member companies in a mature industry with a market size…at 27 million adult Americans”. It is estimated that about 85% of participants play on-line. That, of course, makes large consumer-oriented companies sit up and take notice. The industry is worth approximately $1 billion a year and that may well double in the future according to analysts.

Our interest and interaction is still growing despite the poor economy and this is taking place the world over. European fantasy football (soccer) is growing and the official EPL fantasy game has over 2 million players. Tipping is big business in Australia too as tipsters predict scores in most sports including Australian Football (AFL), rugby league, rugby union and soccer.

As I sat watching the Saints’ quarterback, Drew Brees, thread another successful pass I, like many others, had more than a passing interest in who scored the touchdown as opposed to the final score.

Chris Conway

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Owning the Zone with Colli Christante - final interview by Brendhan Rohan

Owning the Zone

Owning the Zone with Colli Christante

10:59 am in Interviews by Brendan Rohan

Here we are back with Colli Christante, kinesiologist and author of the forthcoming book “In Search of the Zone”.

Q. I see in your profile you have written a book called ”Owning the Zone”. Could you tell us what inspired it?
The documentary is called “Owning the Zone”. The book is “In Search of the Zone” and was inspired from what I experienced during a performance at the age of 11.
Rehearsals went amazing yet when it came to the actual performance something was missing. That night my quest began. To experience being in the Zone. Many athletes go through this. It is an elixir for an athlete. Through all my years as an athlete and Kinesiologist I have now refined the process and I can guarantee anyone that if you work with me you will experience the Zone and have the strategies to enter at will.
Q. How long has the project taken to complete – from thinking about writing to the eventual final copy?
I am still in the process of completing the book, however, the idea for the book came prior to meeting with ESPN at Hot Docs in Toronto in 1996. They were extremely interested in my documentary and the possibility of the book to go with it.
I have had a publisher express interest and so that has really motivated me to get it completed. The creative process is a unique and wonderful experience. It is almost complete. Once it is I guarantee you that you will be included as one of the first people to know.
Q. Were there things that you wished to have included in the book? Will these things be written into a follow up / sequel?
Interesting question Brendan. I strongly feel one of the reasons the book has not completed itself is because there were things that needed to be told, wanted to be added. Situations, experiences that needed to be revealed.
Q Have you written other material – you know, training manuals, etc?
Yes, I have written other things. Articles for various magazines, articles for Ezines ( Electronic Magazines ) , Self Growth.com, concepts for TV programs. Created and wrote “Owning the Zone” pilot, a Woman’s show called “Somewhere I Belong” and I am working on another book (cannot reveal name as of yet:)
Also created, developed various programs and manuals. “The Art ‘n Science of Responsible Communication” was one such program and manual. This program and manual were used in facilitating coaches at the Canadian Figure Skating Association in Ottawa Canada. The same is true of another course and manual I created “The Art n’ Tool of the Question” taught to private investigators but cannot reveal which firm it was for.
I have also developed various other courses and love facilitating them – love sharing information.
Q. When will the book be launched? Will there be a media release of some kind that will go with the launch?
The documentary, “In Search of the Zone” has not been released so no media coverage has been done. As I mentioned, the interest is there so I am sure once it is released the media will enjoy it with a touch of controversy which I love.
Q. What are your hopes for your readers? Want do you want them to get out of having read your work?
My hope and wish for my readers is that they not only feel and hear but also see themselves in similar experiences and know that they too can reclaim the missing pieces of their life and become whole and complete. What an experience! It is the best gift one can give to themselves because it affects 7 generations in either direction. What a gift Kinesiology is. We are blessed to have had the experience of Kinesiology and to be a Kinesiologist.
Q. Inspiration is the key to so much in life. Did you use personal stories to inspire your readers?
Brendan I totally agree with you. Inspiration is key in life. Yes, I do use my stories to inspire my readers and in some way my stories inspire my clients. My clients also seem to take personal interest in how I came to Kinesiology but I have to remind them Kinesiology called me.
At some level I wanted to heal and knew that in order to do so I needed to uncover my deepest wounds – kinesiology peeled through the layers and now I bring this gift to others.
There is nothing more precious than being free in one’s own skin. What a gift. Stories run deep. My childhood was a roller coaster and life experience has been deep. Far from being a shallow person, sometimes very intense but the best of all is I love who I am and what I do.
Q. Are there any plans for other materials in the Colli Christante library? You know Dvd’s ( nearly said video’s – but that’s so 1980’s ), music or audio’s?
Yes, there are other plans for more material to be added. The other book I am writing which is my life story (so many people have told me I must write this) and Owning the Zone documentary will get made.
There will be downloads from an Internet TV show I am in the midst of creating – all will be revealed soon and again you will be one of the first to be informed.
Boy you are busy! Do you even have time to see clients lol!
Q What are your plans for the future as a kinesiologist and therapist?
My future as a Kinesiologist and therapist is very clear. I will only be working with clients that are very committed to becoming Champions in all areas of their life. This means they have to undergo a screening process to qualify to work with me and then commit in a way they may never have had to for anything else. This is the full meal deal.
I agree with you Colli that you have to have committed clients. In my practice, I adopted the mindset that I only would see ‘professional clients’; people who were dedicated to themselves, their creative vision ( and not their previous story ) and the work we did… It’s an equal transaction… “professional therapist + professional client = professional results”.
Q Do you teach workshops and speak in public? Where can people see you in action?
Yes, I do speak in public and teach workshops – I have created various seminars, workshops, talks – love to share information.
Currently in negotiation with an organization to do seminars across Canada in 2011. The best way for people to see me in action is to check my profile page and website http://www.inner-expression.com for upcoming dates.
Q. Last but not least, any plans to travel and teach in Australia or overseas to Canada?
I would love to travel and teach. I have so much information to share. This is one of my dreams, goals. To share this with other Kinesiologists and therapists. All I have experienced. The science and art behind the difference that makes the difference.
Brendan, let me know when you want me to come to Australia and I am there for you. To be part of your dream, journey and to be your first featured Kinesiologist has been a real honor.
Colli, thank you for a wonderful series of interviews. You are very inspirational and you illustrate that there are many different ways that you can lead a rich and fulfilling life as a kinesiologist other than just being ‘the traditional clinical therapist’.
When starting out, many new kinesiology people try to ‘fit the mold’ of ‘being a kinesiologist’ and forget that Kinesiology is a tool. A tool in their hands that brings more than ‘balance’ or better health… butcommunicates the therapists own unique, creative spirit to the spirit of the people that they work with.
Congratulations on providing your clients with an inspiring example that is yourself! And congratulations on ‘being bigger’ than ‘the tool’ and fitting your kinesiology work into YOUR greater expression!

To find out more about Colli Christante, see her 1st and 2nd interviews and visit her profile page.