Friday, May 30, 2014

Drugging your children?

According to the latest Macleans article, if you're feeding them excess amounts of sugar in steady daily doses, you most certainly are. The Coles Notes are sugar is an equivalent to illegal stimulants in terms of it's affect on the brain function / dysfunction. Similar to said illegal stimulants, once we get a sample we crave more to the point where our cravings become an addiction. It's no longer a glass of water, it's flavored water. It's no longer foods in their natural state, it's flavored foods & additives. We have perpetuated a serious problem that is having serious repercussions on the quality of life of our children, which we continue to ignore. Convenience? I suggest sheer laziness. There is no excuse.

Coincidentally, we received our national report card for physical activity last week with a familiar &  according FAILING grade. Again our inability to get our s!!t together, has adversely affected our kids who are becoming increasingly placated to the point of inactivity. 'Have some sugar, watch tv' and we will scratch our heads as to why we're becoming increasingly inactive, unhealthy and unproductive.
*and we won't even get started on 'no kid left behind' mandate.

Parents. This should be a wake up opportunity for us. Lets STOP trying to create that perfect, adversity free life where we substitute food & distractions in lieu of empowering solid, foundational parenting. Yes we understand everyone is just trying to do their best however frankly our best is nowhere near good enough.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

the price of entry to high performance sports.

it is interesting to hear parents with kids in high performance sport complain about the accountability that comes with being in high performance sport. there is after all, a reason it's called high performance - rep or other and that reason should be because we're taking the instruction and coaching to a different level. a higher level. if you ask around, you'll understand that a high percent of sport is mental; Dan Peterson 80%, Dough Gardner 100%, Mental Edge Sports 90% so..... as a parent the question shouldn't be which hockey / soccer / football camps are the kids hitting this summer, as much as it should be - what we doing to sharpen this players mental agility?

having coached, i've seen & heard a lot. one mama bear wrote me suggesting her kid was a way better learner when he receives only positive praise. 'he doesn't react to constructive criticism well'. as we spoke of a few weeks back, moving people from the performance zone to the potential zone is the entire purpose of coaching. coaching, is not about being comfortable, neither is learning and it is through the ability to listen and learn (mental practice) where any level of athlete excels. as a coach, given the option, i would not ever coach this kid again simply because i would know he's not likely going to be successful outside of the comfort zone he's been raised in. the comfort zone created by his parents. this year i heard a different comment from a different parent about a different coach to the effect of 'the coach has really taken the fun out of the game for our kid'. if this is true, that kid is going to struggle through his/her next stages of life. it's his/her job to bring the fun for the game each day. not the coaches, team mates, parents, or other.

teach them this and you'll have an above average performer while everyone else is racing to be average.

where to start developing mental strength?
  1. teach your son/daughter to be accountable. this starts in the house with their chores & tasks. show them the benefits of doing what's requested and the consequences of not.
  2. have your son & daughter TRY and DO things for themselves. aim for more than you believe they are capable of, empower the failures and celebrate the successes. 
  3. avoid all blaming & excuses wherever possible. statements that point to 'that coach, that ref, that dad/mom/association/president/manager/clique' ~ anything that removes responsibility & accountability from one's failures.
  4. replace #3 with statements like 'that's real life, you'll have to work harder, sometimes things are tough, great opportunity here, how we deal with this is....' anything that resembles taking accountability for one's success. 
  5. get what they give. if your kid isn't willing to put in the effort to practice repeatedly, to study the game they wish to perform etc, don't spend money on camps & options. you're wasting it. go on a great vacation instead and be happy.
there's no mystery about what it takes to succeed in high performance sports. the mystery is why we continue to think that bypassing the mental component, which accounts for such a massive percentage of success in sport (and life) is smart.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

why we need to use our heads.

we had a productive coaching seminar last weekend based on the premise that opportunities are lost when we neglect to utilize the full cognitive power of our brains. while this seminar was specific to maximizing our core business interactions, the content is transferable to all facets of life.

our brain, one of the largest and certainly the most important muscle in the human body seems to be over stimulated during the formative years of 0-25 and then under stimulated from 25 onward (right about the time we enter into the career & family stages of our lives). it's as if we've conditioned ourselves to believe those milestones are the proverbial finish lines. they're not. in fact, some would argue they are just the start line.

think about what we have to do to earn a degree; learn & study a body of knowledge and consistently demonstrate we can recall and apply that knowledge. we all seem willing to put in the time & effort to work diligently towards that goal. think about what we have to do to earn a job; learn & study a body of knowledge and consistently demonstrate we can recall and apply that knowledge. we all seem willing to put in the time & effort to work diligently towards that goal too.

however, think about what we're willing to do to stay in that job / relationship / team / commitment; recall the body of knowledge and consistently attempt to find short cuts or work arounds to decrease the 'stressors' on our mental psyche. why do we do this? human nature i suppose, but what we fail to recognize is by limiting the amount of brain power we use is essentially the same process as limiting the amount of exercise we're providing to our brain. over time, just like not using our muscles, our brain function atrophies. we become less efficient,  less effective, and less employable. combine this with our insatiable appetites for digital junk food and it's easy to see how fast we fall out of brain function shape.

so how do we avoid brain atrophy? easy. by encouraging & forcing ourselves to think. challenging ourselves to think, thinking about solutions, problem solving, thinking about efficiencies etc. as new thoughts enter the mind, they inspire new actions & stimulate muscle regeneration. 

so let's turn on our minds early and often. we must also get back in the habit of thinking as our
brain is as important a muscle as any we've got. use it or lose shit. 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The reality of the road to the finish line.

Be honest, you've attempted something you thought would be way easier than it was. It's funny how easy we think everything is based on our perceptions & assumptions vs the reality. Truth is, we're usually only privy to the tip of the proverbial iceberg while having no idea to the large mass in place to anchor it's transparency.

And pressing on despite the hurdles is what separates the wannabees  from the committed. Want to know what you're made of? Want to test someone else's metal? Create adversity for you/them and see how you/they react. Do we hesitate, slow down, turn back, make excuses or do we engage, speed up, forge ahead & create solutions? Do we quit or do we do whatever it takes to see things through the finish line?

We've all heard that anything worth achieving is going to be difficult, yet somehow we don't believe that applies to ourselves. I just witnessed this example in our 2nd start up business. Five times prior, the doomsday clock reported 11:59:59 but this time, we were 20 steps away from giving our last team mate his working notice when the rabbit was yanked from the hat. Suddenly, we were back in business and the bandwagon one again roared towards the finish line.

We're all chasing finish lines of some sort in our lives and must understand that path leading up to them.... is not always going to be easy. Never Quit. Finish Shit.