12-7-4

Stitched onto the Iona basketball jerseys are the numbers 12-7-4. It is a mantra for the team created by coach Tim Cluess. It stands for: 12 months a year, 7 days a week, 4 hours a day. That’s the minimum you need to put in if you want to want to be the best. To be the best takes hard work, there’s no way around it. You can have all the natural talent in the world, but to be the best, you have to put in the time. Legendary basketball player Kevin Durant once said “Hard work beats talent when talents fails to work hard.” Hard work will out perform talent in the long run. Whether it’s being the best basketball player, the best student, the best leader, teacher, storyteller, parent, it all takes hard work. But the good news is you can achieve the level you want to by
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I Dare You!

With the Olympics in full swing, I am in awe & inspired by the athletes & their dedication. A friend told me to look up a letter written to high school students by an Olympic gold medalist named Clifton Cushman in 1964 & I absolutely love it. I hope you love it too. To the youth of Grand Forks: Don’t feel sorry for me. I feel sorry for some of you! You may have seen the U.S. Olympic Trials on television September 13. If so, you watched me hit the fifth hurdle, fall and lie on the track in an inglorious heap of skinned elbows, bruised hips, torn knees, and injured pride, unsuccessful in my attempt to make the Olympic team for the second time. In a split second all the many years of training, pain, sweat, blisters, and agony of running were simply and irrevocably wiped out. But I
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Do Your People Know You Care?

Last week I spoke for Easter Seals Florida. They are an incredible non-profit organization that helps individuals with disabilities. I had the opportunity to spend some time with their CEO Sue Ventura and I came away inspired. We’ve all heard the saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I believe that’s true, and I often remind leaders that “You can live people without leading them but you cannot lead people without loving them.” My question is, do your people know you care about them? If your answer is yes then how do you demonstrate it? As the CEO of a non-profit, Sue Ventura is limited in how she uses her funds. But she wanted to make sure her staff felt appreciated and knew how much she cared about them. So in an incredible example of servant leadership, when Sue’s parents passed and
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Push Through With Passion

I am sure there is a goal that you are passionate about. Something that you are pursuing with all of your heart. What is it? Is it your business? The relationship of your dreams? Weight loss? Most people think that passion is just enthusiasm for what you are doing, and it is that, but there is more to it. Even though you focus on what you love, it does not mean it is always going to be without challenge. The word passion originated in the 12th Century, originally used by Christian scholars who were describing the suffering of Christ. Passion is more than just love; it is willing suffering for something that you love. It is when the feeling in your heart supersedes the challenge that lies in front of you. A family friend recently went through a kidney transplant because his body had rejected his own. He explained to
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Energizers vs. Drainers

We are all busy.  Running from this to that to the next.  It’s just the pace of life these days.  While a lot of that busyness is necessary and enjoyable, it also is a drain on our energy.  We only have so much energy and we need to make sure we spending the majority time, or at least our discretionary time, on activities that energize us and not drain us.   Below are two lists, the first a list of “energizers” and the second a list of “drainers”.  While sometimes “drainers” cannot be avoided and are a necessary part of life, we can look for healthy ways to reduce or eliminate them.  When we look for opportunities to do more on the “energizers” list, we find ourselves feeling more positive, enthusiastic and hopeful.   Things That Energize Me Hanging out with people who inspire me Loving my children Teaching Reading books Developing ideas Exercise Hobbies I
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Plus, Minus and Equal

The four-time undefeated MMA champion now MMA trainer, Frank Shamrock, has developed a system for training would-be fighters. I’m not a huge MMA fan – but I think there is a lot of merit to his system. The system is called “+, -, =”. Shamrock’s theory is that in order to be the best, you need to work with someone better than you, someone equal to you and someone whom you can teach.  Shamrock believes this builds the best fighters.   We certainly don’t have to be an MMA fighter to benefit from this system. The same can be applied to us in any scenario. Training with someone better than us pushes us past our limits and helps us see greater possibilities. Training with our equal tests our skills and in the process they become a peer, allow us to create cooperation, shared learning and has a mastermind effect. Teaching allows
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What is your major goal for 2017?

As you approach the new year & set Goals/New Years Resolutions for 2017 I want you to think about your primary goal. What is your main goal for 2017? What is the one goal, that if achieved, will make the whole year a success? What will your contribution to the world be in 2017? Most people, when they set goals, focus on balance. They set several goals for every area of their life. I’m not against that, but years ago I learned that the word for balance in Hungarian is the word egyensúly. It actually translates to mean “one weighted focus” That understanding has changed my approach to setting goals and I’ve found that if I have one major objective it actually allows me to balance & prioritize my life around it. I also believe it has allowed me to make a bigger impact because I focus on major contributions &
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Leaders Keep Learning

It was John F. Kennedy who said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Ego inhibits learning, growth, and progress. Humility, however, encourages it. The word Humility comes from the word humus, which is the rich, organic part of the soil that allows for growth. Ask yourself if you are sufficiently humble? Do you allow yourself to learn and grow? Do you allow others to grow and develop? Humility is what Jim Collins (in Good to Great) says separates good leaders from great leaders. The leadership capacity of someone with true humility is absolutely immense, because you cannot contain or restrain his or her personal growth and development. There is a story of a boy who was walking through the garden with his father. His dad was one of the best gardeners in the town and proud of his work. As they finished the father asked the boy if
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Prove Them Wrong

Last week my six-year-old son Drew invented a new game. The board was a torn piece of cardboard with marker & the pieces where taken from an old box full of mismatched toys. He said he wanted to sell it to someone. His older sister mocked him and said, “Who would buy that?” Drew didn’t seem to hear her and went out to go door to door to sell his new invention (I apologize to my neighbors). Within five minutes he walked in with a huge smile on his face and a shiny dollar in his hand. He immediately went into his sisters room and said, “Remember you said that no one would buy my game? Then how do you explain this?” & he held up his dollar & walked out. I have to admit I might have teared up a little because I have lived that experience. If you
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Give 100%, 100% of The Time

Do you give 100% at work, at school, and at home? Some people probably think of giving 100% this way: 12% for Monday, 23% for Tuesday, 40% for Wednesday, 20% for Thursday, 5% for Friday = 100%. Too many people coast through life, only doing what is required to get by. Giving 100%, 100% of the time is the effort required to stop getting by and start getting ahead. It is the difference between playing not to lose and playing to win. Living by design and not default. Giving 100% will separate you from the rest. It will build your integrity and your results. John Wooden was one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. His ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period while at UCLA are unmatched by any other college basketball coach. John used to tell his players, “Give 100% today, because you can’t make up
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