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(Everyone) Cant / Never / Always

 This entry was posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2019 at 6:35 pm


I wonder when Can’t / Always / Never became an active part of our vernacular. If I could simply wipe those words completely from my language, I believe that the challenges that I face in my life would look vastly different.

In my house when I hear my kids say “I can’t………”, I immediately respond with something to the effect of, “don’t say can’t”. This is great until I am faced with an adversity, struggling mightily, on the verge of letting out an expletive filled tirade, only to become exasperated and overwhelmed with “I CAN’T…………!!!!!!!!”. Great parenting, huh!?

What I think we lose sight of is how much power we give to our words. One of the key details in the work I get to do with clients is accurately identifying words. Here is an example, simply saying I am frustrated might not be accurate. Hear me out. Yes, you may feel frustrated, but are you really discouraged, defeated, let down, which in turn is contributing to the deep frustration?

Someone much wiser than me once said, “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are correct.” Meaning…….? Every time I allow the words can’t, never, and always to become part of my vernacular, I am correct.

You want to make some changes, start by recognizing that the words you are using may not be accurate, but worse yet, may be causing a tremendous amount of toxicity to infect your thinking.

(Athletes) Creating a Michael Jordan-like mentality

 This entry was posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2019 at 5:41 pm


The greatest athlete I have ever seen was Michael Jordan. As a kid we were limited to the number of channels that we had on the TV, compared to today. One of the channels was WGN out of Chicago, which played every Bulls game. Because of this, I had an incredibly rich experience of watching the greatest basketball player that ever played. More than that, I might’ve seen the greatest mental fortitude of any athlete ever (subjective debate).

So, what made Michael so great? Many people will debate the fact that Michael Jordan was the greatest ever because of he thought differently and performed differently. Hard to argue with that view, but I would counter that with the thought, “maybe people like Michael don’t necessarily think differently, they simply don’t think as much.” Now here me out.

In my experience working with athletes, the great ones simply don’t think. What do I mean by this? I mean, it’s the absence of thought(s). It’s the absence of those sneaky toxic core beliefs, those sneaky toxic emotions, the absence of the self-doubt. Those Michael Jordan types go to the gym/practice because they love to practice, they love to go to the gym. Its not a chore, it’s a duty. A deeply held discipline that pushes through the burden of practice to see the benefit (a “must-do” mentality).

There are so many young people out there that have been gifted with God-given physical talent. So, what is the difference between them and those that maximize that talent?

Mindset

For example, I was gifted with above average physical abilities, but my mindset for true competition was lacking. My mental belief going into competition came from a place of insecurity for true mano y mano combat of two equally talented bodies. For elite athletes, they don’t look through the lens of “I’m not as good as other people, and I’m not as good as these other guys.” If you carry the burden of a weak mental mindset as an athlete, you will carry that with you all the time, a sense of not being good enough or not being adequate.

How do I create a more effective mindset within competition?

1) Be aggressive within competition – I don’t mean that athletes should try to injure their opponents, instead, how do I create an assertive mindset in which I am being proactive and strong (i.e. driving to the hoop, hitting the hole, ripping the shot, exploding through the finish, etc.). It is this aggressive mindset that helps push through mediocre performances to extraordinary performances.

2) Create calm within chaos – A calm mindset allows for clarity, absence of chaos, and realistic expectations. I picture standing in the middle of a tornado. Hel is breaking loose all around, yet the center is calm. The goal being to settle the mind and relax, until the time to let loose.

3) Clarity of the job at hand – A clear mind is relaxed, not cluttered, focused on the challenge ahead and the expectation is crystal clear. The athletes who have developed a healthy clear mindset are utilizing the coaches/teammates to guide their clarity (not the BS of everything else in our lives).

In the end, its still about having fun. No kid has ever started playing sports because they thought it would lead to a college scholarship and fame. Kids start playing sports because it is fun for them. If you have lost sight of the fun, then all else becomes secondary.

(Everyone) Why is Executive Functioning so IMPORTANT?

 This entry was posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2019 at 6:43 pm


As a kid I struggled mightily with the deeply held belief that I was stupid. As you can imagine, going through school was a real challenge when you have this deeply held belief, because, well, there are so many reinforcers……..especially when you are always on the lookout for them.

Looking back, I recognize now that much of my internal struggle came from a lack of training and education in my limited executive functioning abilities. It would’ve been these abilities that could’ve saved me a great deal of heartache, strife, discouragement, etc.

So, what are executive functioning skills? Our Webster’s Dictionary for 2019 (aka Wikipedia) would state:   “Executive functions are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals.”  Huh?

  • 1) What are cognitive processes?
    1. Cognitive processes are the procedures in charge of processing all the information we receive from the environment.
      1. Ex. Short version – Sitting on the couch watching Dr. Phil and you smell something burning. Your brain starts firing and working to figure out the source when you realize that you put a pizza in the oven and forgot about it.

Back to Wikipedia: “Executive functions gradually develop and change across the lifespan of an individual and can be improved at any time over the course of a person’s life. Similarly, these cognitive processes can be adversely affected by a variety of events which affect an individual.”

  • Our brains have plasticity (the ability to learn new things well into our old age) ……meaning, because you may not have the best Executive Functioning skills, you can still learn them at any age.

Why is Executive Functioning so important?

  • It allows for the abilities that enable goal-oriented behavior, such as the ability to plan, and execute a goal. These include:
    • Flexibility: the capacity for quickly switching to the appropriate mental mode.
    • Theory of mind: insight into other people’s inner world, their plans, their likes and dislikes.
    • Anticipation: prediction based on pattern recognition.
    • Problem-solving: defining the problem in the right way to then generate solutions and pick the right one.
    • Decision making: the ability to make decisions based on problem-solving, on incomplete information and on emotions (ours and others’).
    • Working Memory: the capacity to hold and manipulate information “on-line” in real time.
    • Emotional self-regulation: the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions for good performance.
    • Sequencing: the ability to break down complex actions into manageable units and prioritize them in the right order.
    • Inhibition: the ability to withstand distraction, and internal urges.

Link to more Executive Functioning Skills:

 

Brain teasers:

  • Which way is the bus going?

o   https://sharpbrains.com/blog/2008/07/06/brain-teasers-to-exercise-our-minds-our-top-five/

  • The Empty Triangle

o   https://sharpbrains.com/blog/2007/06/22/pattern-recognition-brain-teaser-the-empty-triangle/

  • Sunday Afternoon Quiz

o   https://sharpbrains.com/blog/2007/06/10/sunday-afternoon-quiz/

(Anyone) Change

 This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 at 4:14 pm


How many of us want to change? Or, lets be honest, how many of us say we want things to change……..from the comfort of our couch and yet don’t do anything to sustain that change. In order to make real change, you have to put movement towards it. Change is a verb, meaning, if I want something to change, I have to be willing to make steps towards the change I am seeking.

Inaccurate/False thinking:

  • Change is motivated by FEAR and the strongest force for change is crisis, which creates the greatest fear

Three Keys to lasting change (i.e. new hope, new skills, new thinking)

  • RELATE
    • You form a new, emotional relationship with a person or community that inspires and sustains hope
    • If you face a situation that a reasonable person would consider “hopeless”, you need the influence of seemingly “unreasonable” people to restore your hope – to make you believe that you can change and expect that you will change
  • REPEAT
    • The new relationship helps you learn, practice, and master the new habits and skills that you’ll need (i.e. training)
  • REFRAME
    • The new relationship helps you learn new ways of thinking about your situation and your life
    • Ultimately, you look at the world in a way that would have been so foreign to you that it wouldn’t have made any sense before you changed

(Men / Teen Boys) Good!!!!!!

 This entry was posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2019 at 11:15 pm


Who am I to argue with a Navy Seal, especially when that Navy Seal has clarity.



(Dads) A Collection of Like-Minded Dads

 This entry was posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at 3:29 pm


Guys,

I don’t know about you, but being a Dad is hard…….at least for me.

One of the most consistent challenges that so many of the men I work with face, isolation. Whether due to a lack of effort (“I don’t need any help”), lack of know-how, lack of knowledge, or lack of whatever, so many men face the struggle of how to be a good Dad with limited resources.

I wanted to share a group that I believe provides so much support and guidance to like-minded Dads. I have provided a link below, check it out. If you would like more info, email Larry Hagner……..you can even let him know you found out about it here. I believe in what Larry is doing for so many men, and his group works hard to make a huge community, much smaller.

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