Friday, January 31, 2014

The Energy Roller coaster.

So we’re one month into the year and the question is; where are you on the 2014 Energy Roller coaster? You know the one that see’s you rocking out the highs of high... followed by plummeting to the lows of low. Ah – but then something great happens and you’re up....and then we lose something again and you’re down. We see people going around... and around... and around the yearlong ride simply unable to get off.

Riding the Energy Roller coaster can be exhausting, so the 64 million dollar question is; how do we get off?

First, it’s important to preface I am not a psychologist. I’m a guy with some experience and a limited knowledge of basic psychological principles. What I do know is the 1st step to getting off the energy roller coaster is not getting on it in the first place.  The moment we entertain life is one big awesome ride which, when it gets too bumpy or scary we simply get off and do something else, is the moment we’ve lost our money. Lets try to avoid continually chasing all those big new shiny things by creating & maintaining  a realistic plan that enables us to invest larger amounts of time cultivating the great things right in front of us.

Second, lets take the peak & valley profile and flatten it out by pulling both ends. We don’t need to overreact to the little things the same way we don’t need to internalize the big things. Deploy the KISS principle and keep it simple stupid. 

Last, let's try to remained focused on our plan & KISS principle through the course of the day, week, month and year. If something enhances our guiding principals, we include it in our repertoire, if it doesn’t we don’t let ourselves become distracted and taken off course. Periodic self checks can help keep us grounded and tracking steady on our success path.

The less time we spend on the energy roller coaster, the more time we have to enjoy all the other great things life's amusement park has to offer. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SOME Hockey Parents are Idiots.

Last week I heard the story of two minor hockey teams from same association, same age group (different tiers) who did not want to stay in the same hotel at a tournament they were both participating in.
As I had no personal ties to the situation, it was easy to form a quick & unbiased what the #%&^ are we doing to youth sports... opinion. By we, I refer to (and include) the association, the coaches, the managers and... the parents because I’m almost 1000% certain in this example that kids in the same age group DO NOT HAVE INNATE HANGUPS regarding who plays for which team in minor league hockey.

No... that’s reserved for the parents, who’s fragile ego’s once again prevent them from understanding that youth sports is merely a dress rehearsal for life vs. a try out for the NHL. It is also reserved for managers who lack the confidence to tell people they are idiots, coaches who don’t think about the sustainability and longevity of an association and associations who (by doing nothing) enable this behavior to a degree.
At 10-17, I could not think of anything more enjoyable than spending a weekend with 1-34 of my friends period.

And as the winter season winds down it’s time to reflect on the top five most embarrassing adult moments I’ve witnessed across 2013/14 hockey.

5. The aforementioned example for the aforementioned reasons. Who teaches to judge & hate? 
4. The parent(s) who openly explain how their kids are rewarded for $coring goals. Clearly, you have no clue
3. The parent who took to social media to explain the trauma & impact of precious not making the rep team. Keep that shit to yourself. 
2. The serial 'letter to the association' writers. Usually the same people with the same beef every year. I'll say what they can't. YOUR KID IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO MAKE THE LEVEL YOU THINK HE/SHE IS. 
1. The parents who yell. Yell at the refs, the coaches, other parents, their kids on the ice "go go - shoot shoot" and finally their kids in the car. YOU.ARE.A.LOSER. Stop modeling loser behaviour.  

AGAIN. It’s time to give the game of hockey (all sports) BACK to those elected & hired to oversee, coach and manage it and STOP overcompensating for your lack of professional success. 

You're making yourself look like an idiot.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Two Mile Moat.

During a sports psychology lecture, the question arose “what do we need to watch out for as we venture into entrepreneurial territory” and without hesitation, I replied the two mile moat. The two mile moat is the hypothetical right of passage between an entrepreneurs safe zone and the start line.

Mile 1. The first mile of the moat is filled with naysayers. From well intentioned family projecting the “why don’t you just take the easier route” to ‘concerned’ friends who tell you how much their making while working half the amount of time you are, to the general entrepreneurial atheist who is so risk averse they’ll share horror stories of businesses ventures gone wrong just so you won’t suffer the same fate. Tread carefully through this section, heeding advice from only those YOU seek. 

Mile 2. The second mile of the moat is filled with those who’ve got a better way. Based on... [we’re not really sure what this is based on], many in this wave have finally accepted the fact you’re going to make it to your start line and simply want to add their 2 cents on what & how you can make your idea better, given their wide berth of unrelated successes. Expect to hear comments ranging from “no no no, this is what you’ve got to do” to the “well I ran a successful business that has NOTHING to do with the road you’re heading down, and here's my advice”.

Clearing the two Mile Moat is the 1st step towards your entrepreneurial freedom. Naturally, we must recognize most hesitation is actually well intended. The key is to remain mentally strong and if you need to check out the pre-requisites to be mentally strong - check here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

19 Hard Things Successful People Do.

My business partner and I had a great opportunity to dialogue with our teammates during a staff meeting. It was great to field their questions and share our experience based insight on what they needed to do to reach their next levels. I'm a big believer in empowering the next generation of leadership if for no other reason than they are all we've got. I think too often we set the bar too low for the next wave of leadership... and then complain when they achieve it. 

When i returned home, there was a great article entitled 19 Hard Things Successful People do. It was an appropriate follow up to the meeting and a great reminder for all of us. 

19 Hard Things Successful People Do.
  • You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
  • You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
  • You have to give more than get in return right away.
  • You have to care more about others than they care about you.
  • You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
  • You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing if safe seems smarter.
  • You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  • You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  • You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
  • You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.
  • You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  • You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”
  • You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
  • You have to try and fail and try again.
  • You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
  • You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  • You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
  • You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  • You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.
You have to do the hard things. The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.

Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.

The hard things are the easiest things to avoid. To excuse away. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.

The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage — or desperation — to do.

Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are.

Read more:

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Why we need to listen to what we don't want to hear.

 “Don’t tell them what they need to hear. Tell them what they want to hear” Ron Burgandy – Anchorman 2.
And with that, we launched (albeit satirically) into news becoming entertainment vs. investigative reporting.

  1. the weatherman in compromising situations.
  2. the live car chases to capture & keep our attention
  3. bringing it home with cute animals leaving us feeling warm and fuzzy
The fact this satirical recipe is actually incorporated into our weekly news diet says a lot about us. The fact this recipe is incorporated into our daily interactions says even more. We’ve gone as far as creating business opportunities around “acknowledging people’s opinions with an ear, smile & accolades.... and zero intention of implementing any of them” I attended the seminar... bought the book and left confused. 

I'm not good at it. This isn’t to say I won’t keep trying to improve; listening, asking questions, honing guiding principles, offering suggestions, using kind language or telling people what they want to hear - but it doesn’t come naturally. 

I think people should be left behind. I don't think every idea is the next best thing and I think sometimes there's a place for people to deliver need to hear news.... minus the kitten. 

The 64 million dollar question, which has been answered many times over eg: sub prime fiasco is are we really benefiting from want to hear news? I leave you with probably one of the better TED talks I've listened to entitled: TED TALKS DON'T WORK. 

"If we invest in things that make us feel good, but which don’t work, and don’t invest in things that don’t make us feel good but which may solve problems, than our fate is that in the long run it will just get harder and harder to feel good about not solving problems" 


Monday, January 06, 2014

Make a team audit part of your resolution.

It's the time of year where we make resolutions. Most resolutions are based on personal wants, needs, goals as they relate to ourselves. The gap in this practice is that we don’t live in a bubble, hence the next 365’s progress & failures are not likely to be just about self

We need the EQ to seek feedback from those around us; co-workers, managers, bosses, family & friends who interact with us on a daily basis. We need to ask how they think we did / are doing and more importantly, what they would like to see less & more of over the upcoming year?

Each year I seek the opinions of family, friends and coworkers on what I did well and what I can improve. I don’t ask the people who will tell me what I want to hear, I ask those who will tell me what I need to hear. Straight goods, no repercussions; what they want more of and less of from my behaviors & interactions.

If you have not set personal & professional goals period, you may be planning to fail in 2014.  At the next level, if those goals don’t include input from those you directly affect and are affecting, you may be planning to navigate in the dark... blindfolded. Neither make sense. Neither facilitate progress. 

Want to ACTUALLY get better in 2014? Than collect & implement feedback from outside yourself.   

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year.

Wake up, it’s a new year and if you’re looking for a sign – this is it. By now, you should have taken time to reflect on the year that was; 2013 and asked/answered two questions.

  1. What went well and how can that continue.
  2. What didn’t go well and how can that be managed and improved.
Remember. The definition of insanity is doing continuing to do the same thing while expecting different results. We spoke about setting yourself up for success in 2014 in an earlier blog and of you haven’t already done so, don’t fret, you’ve got the weekend to dial yourself in and happen to the world vs. the world happening to you. Recall, when you happen to the world, you can have a better handle on the outcomes as opposed to being at the mercy of others agenda’s or circumstance.

Here’s what can you expect from Swimupstream in 2014?

  1. positive sharing. Sharing of strategies, stories and people making a positive impact
  2. challenging convention. We will question societal ‘supposed to be doing’s’ and offer alternative trains of thought.
  3. guest authors. From time to time, it’s great to hear from experienced coaches, parents, business owners and quality humans.
With that, congratulations on taking your 1st step – which is hopefully one foot in front of the other as you get out of bed prepared to tackle a new day, week, month and year.