Monday, November 30, 2009

This week's Pep Talk Blog: "Add One More"

I was running errands on Saturday afternoon. I bump into some buddies. One is wearing a New York Yankees cap and lives in Colorado. I wish he were wearing a Rockies’ cap and query, “Yankees cap, huh? It’s pretty cool they just won their 27th world championship.” He thanked me and joked, “Yeah, I love the Yankees despite the fact I’m from Louisiana and live in Colorado.”

The journalist in me couldn’t resist and offered: “Yeah, and it’s cool for Joe Girardi. When he took the Yankees job a few years ago he purposely chose #27. The once-proud Yankees had been stuck on 26 world championships for too long. Each time Girardi popped out of the dugout, to make decisions, it was a statement, declaring: “We are after number 27!”

They achieved the goal. Good for Joe. Back in 1993, as a sportscaster in Denver I covered the expansion Rockies heavily. Girardi, team leader and starting catcher, served as Channel 4’s Rockies’ insider. I got to know Joe pretty well. He’s a good dude.

The Illinois native is the kind of guy who reminds me of former CU Coach Bill McCartney. I used to host Coach Mac’s television show and we stay in touch. I love it when he talks about “fox hole kinda guys.” These are individuals willing to charge from the foxhole united in trying to prevail against whatever, or whoever, lies ahead. In honor of the 1989 CU Buff football team let’s call that, “One Heart Beat.”

Anyway, Girardi’s a “fox-hole kinda guy” and has the guts, smarts and/or instructions to wear, in the middle of his back, a number that shouts to the upper deck: anything less than being a champion is unacceptable.

I think that’s pretty cool and challenges us to try something similar. Let’s make a vow to one another - in ways that honor, nurture and add value – to “add one more” in three venues of life: home, work and community.

When I’m out encouraging others to turn life’s lemons – the heck with lemonade – into sweet and savory margaritas – audience members are challenged often to “become superior to their former selves.”

It’s not easy. There will be rough spots. McCartney calls those moments, “tough sledding.” Refuse to become a victim of circumstances – we all have them – and vow to become a student of the experience. In healthy and productive ways embrace “add one more” at home, work and community. You, your family, business and community will benefit because you are playing like a champion in the game of life.

Monday, November 23, 2009

This week's Pep Talk Blog: "GOAL Setting"

I have a confession to make: I have an addiction. But I think it honors me, nurtures those dependent upon me and adds value to the communities I serve. I love creating acronyms, or hearing others’ acronyms, designed to encourage us to, as I like to say, “Transform life’s lemons – the heck with lemonade – into sweet and savory margaritas.”

First, let’s start with the definition. Oxford American Dictionary defines acronym as: “a word formed from the initial letters of other words.” Many are well known, like: “RSVP” which stands for “Repondez S’il Vous Plait – French for “please reply – or “ATM” for automated teller machine.

One of my personal favorites comes from my work as the Comeback Coach. I always encourage others to be a JOCK. I don’t care how old audience members are; what kind of physical shape they’re in; whether they have an athletic bone in their body or not, I encourage them to be a JOCK. That means being: Joyful for our blessings, Optimistic about our future, Courageous despite our past, which leads, usually, to Kickin’ some butt in life.

At all times, I wear a JOCK wristband to challenge myself to walk that talk. Some friends joke it’s my jockstrap. Anyway, I also love hearing others share their favorite acronyms. Recently while speaking at an event, the talented gentlemen who followed me onto the stage offered two I absolutely loved and wanted to share with you.

The first is FEAR. Often we see this acronym described as “False Expectations Appearing Real.” Well, Don Awalt has another take on fear. He describes it as, “Forget Everything And Return.” He was referring to how often in life, we try and take courageous steps to move forward, to grow, to get outside our comfort zone, but then at the first sign of resistance, we retreat. We fall back into old habits, forget everything we’ve learned and return to past behaviors, attitudes and beliefs we know no longer serve us.

Toward the end of his presentation, Awalt offered another acronym that vibrated my bones. While talking about the importance of having a goal in life he pronounced: “Go Out And Live.”

Ain’t that the truth. This week, regardless of whatever change, challenge and adversity is present in your life, make it your mission, your goal to, Go Out And Live.

Maybe it starts with being joyful for your blessings, optimistic about your future, courageous despite your past. I promise you, that kind of attitude will not hurt your chances of having a kickbutt week, month, year and life.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This week's Pep Talk Blog: "Listen, Trust & Obey"

The first major Fall 2009 snowstorm was descending upon the Mile High City but my darling girlfriend and I, craving our favorite Mexican food, headed out into the elements for tacos al carbon and carnitas – weather be damned!

Trying to be a gentleman, I pulled in front of Benny’s, to allow the successful businesswoman to jump out and walk right into the thriving restaurant. Then I drove around to the back of the establishment and parked in a deserted lot. It wasn’t Benny’s designated lot but I had parked there several times before without a problem – there are rarely any cars parked there. But for whatever reason, this time something inside of me said, “Maybe you shouldn’t park here?” I ignored my own advice.

About an hour and a half later, after the usual tasty meal complete with too many chips/salsa but just the right amount of margaritas, I mention to my better half, “Hang right here, I’ll go get the car and pick you up at the front door.”

I rush out into the elements, sprint around the corner of the building and suddenly discover, “My car is gone!” I wander back to the restaurant, angry with myself that I failed to heed, as Emerson would say, “The vibration of the iron string within.”

I talk about that often as the Comeback Coach. That quite often in life, in retrospect, we can name several times when we ignore our intuition that’s screaming “don’t do that you’ll be sorry” or “do that, it’s going to be good.” Either way, when we fail to heed our intuition’s call, unfortunate stuff usually happens.

The next morning, with snow falling heavier, I’m standing outside a tow lot in an industrial park on Denver’s northwest side. The guy who towed my car has it incarcerated behind a barbed wire fence with attack dogs roaming. He finally shows up 90 minutes late.

I have to hand over $200 bucks to free my vehicle. Half a day and too much money wasted, because I ignored my intuition. Learn from my knucklehead mistake, when you feel the vibration of the iron string within, listen, trust and obey it, okay?

I ignored “it” and lost time and money. However, it’s a reminder that failing to follow one’s intuition can have far greater repercussions concerning our families, jobs or communities. Let the words of infamous cartoon character Jiminy Cricket be our mantra: “Let your conscious be your guide.”

Rarely, if ever, will you be disappointed when you listen, trust and obey it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This week's Pep Talk Blog: "Bound and Determined"

The world was transfixed recently on Colorado and the drama unfolding as the “Balloon Boy” saga captured imaginations, stoked fears and ultimately, had us wondering, what the heck is going on here?

There has been much debate about the craziness of it all, including the welfare of the three children, but this Pep Talk is not about that. It’s about Denver Post columnist Tina Griego’s thoughts concerning the event. Her focus was a law enforcement officer, the first person to reach the UFO-looking craft when it finally descended into a plowed and furrowed field north of Denver International Airport.

Griego describes watching on television, the Larimer County Sheriff’s deputy, after scrambling from his vehicle, frantically churning through the field, sprinting toward the balloon to ensure it didn’t bounce back into the air. Mike Byers - a father of two - did not know for certain whether a six-year-old boy was inside a small compartment attached to the helium-filled balloon.

Griego’s words that jumped out at me were, “the man was bound and determined” to secure that balloon.

For those who have never tried it, running through a plowed and furrowed field is tough -imagine running through sand on a trench-filled beach. Griego used the perfect phrase to describe Byers’ effort: he was “bound and determined.”

Thank goodness there was no child aboard but, to the point, when was the last time you were “bound and determined” to achieve something that honors you, nurtures those dependent upon you and adds value to the communities you serve?

As the Comeback Coach, I’m always encouraging others, despite the misfortune life throws our way, to keep “putting fear and self doubt aside and go for it – run to daylight.” That’s easy for me to say, easy for others to affirm. But let’s be honest, it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to change thoughts, words and actions we know no longer serve us.

We must be bound and determined to make the changes necessary to improve our lives. The journey will not always be easy; we might often feel like we’re struggling through a plowed and furrowed field of fear, anxiety, guilt and hopelessness.
Keep churning, most importantly your spirit! Remember, success lies more in effort than talent. Be “bound and determined” to become superior to your former self. When the going gets tough, and it will, remember the wise words of Confucius: “The greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising up every time we fall.”

Monday, November 2, 2009

This week's Pep Talk Blog: Discipline Does It"

It was a beautiful Colorado fall Sunday morning and I’m slowly driving – should have biked I know – the eight blocks south of my home to the gym. Suddenly, my path is blocked: the fourth Denver Marathon is weaving through the neighborhood. “How far into the race are they?” I asked the police officer directing traffic and safeguarding the runners. “They’re about halfway.” he answers with a grin.

Idling in my car, waiting for them to pass, I thought of my own marathon experiences, I’ve run three: Big Sur, Vancouver and Boston. I watch the runner’s expressions 13 miles into the journey: some look fresh, others not so fresh and a few look like inwardly they’re asking, “What the hell made you think this was a good idea?”

My mind drifts to the hours of work each participant has devoted to preparing for a marathon. It takes a tremendous amount of sacrifice. It makes me think of training runs with my marathon buddy, Dr. Andy Johanos. I always thought it was pretty smart to be accompanied on 18-22 mile workouts by an emergency physician.

And then my mind wanders, as the policeman finally waves me through the intersection, to what this moment is really all about: discipline. These runners are wonderful examples of the power of discipline, defined as: “training that produces a particular skill.”

Discipline led to many hours of running and produced a particular skill: the willingness to try, and hopefully fulfill, the not-so-easy task of running 26.2 miles.

As I near the gym, the word “discipline” is vibrating my bones. As the Comeback Coach I talk often about “courageously eliminating any self-destructive behavior that’s preventing you from expressing yourself in healthy and productive ways.” That takes discipline. I go on to ask, “What are you putting in your bodies, your minds, who are you hanging out with? Are they raising you up, or dragging you down?”

It’s about having the courage to train our minds, bodies and souls to gain a particular skill. It might be running a marathon, quitting smoking, drinking in excess, losing weight, remaining faithful in our relationships, spending more time with the kids, working smarter at business. The venues change but the strategy’s the same. It takes discipline.

Life is a marathon, a long journey. This week, let’s promise ourselves to take action in “training that produces a particular skill” in an area we know could use improvement. Trust me, the sense of accomplishment you’ll experience will rival that incredible feeling marathoners experience when they cross that finish line, exhausted but victorious.
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