Friday Video: Amazing!

If this doesn’t get your heart racing!  You need to check your pulse!

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Friday Video: A world without limits!

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Friday Video: It’s All in Your Mind!

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The Way I See It- Chris Stewart

The Way I See It- Chris Stewart

I feel very fortunate to have had the ability to be a part of athletics from a very young age.  Ever since I can remember I’ve been running around trying to learn to dribble a basketball, racing my friends in day care and playing football in the backyard with my best friends since birth.  You know the kind where there’s an all-time quarterback with a 10 apple rush count, while your teammate covers a seemingly un-coverable friend for what seems like days.  For me that was my day to day until I was about 15.  I played four sports in high school and was blessed to get an academic/athletic scholarship to a NAIA school playing football.  I was able to finish my career playing both football and basketball at a NCAA Division III school, before I hit the real world. 

Why am I telling you this story?  Because these experiences provide me with a different perspective on life, and causes me to look at situations through the lens of an athlete, which allows me to see any challenge as an opportunity.  I wanted to share with you, from my perspective, how athletics relates, inspires, and grows great people in the real world.  Since this perception separates me or any other professional going into business, education or any prosperous endeavor, from those who have not played sports, I want to illustrate how to apply the “nuts and bolts” of athletics to a job, a family and to life.  

When you first get to the real world out of college, there’s a few thoughts that could hit you immediately, and that hit me my first day. 

1-You’re starting over. 

It’s like your first day as a freshman or transfer on campus all over again.  You’re meeting new people.  You’re learning your company’s business model.  There is both excitement and mystery in the air.  The difference tends to be and mental mindset is you’re expected to produce immediately or very quickly. 

2-You’re still competing.

You may not be scoring points, throwing touchdowns, or putting for a green jacket, but you are striving to contribute and meet company goals.  You are being graded every day, if not by your boss, then, hopefully you’re assessing your own performance, as you did, after each day of practice.   The second you stop doing this, is the second you stop getting better.  I believe trying to improve each and every day, in some way, helps you stay the course.  It’s true to say people are either getting better or worse, and if you’re staying the same for too long, others are passing you.  

3-You need to be a good teammate.

This is a nice way of saying get to know your co-workers. When you first start, this may take some time, but do it-Know who they are, what they stand for, and be supportive.  Every person is different.  Every person I played with or against were unique.  Each had different skills, different personalities, and came from different cultures.  If you can relate to self-scouting or scouting the other team, this is it.  Have out of the office moments that are professional and sincere.  DO NOT MAKE IT A LATE NIGHT FRAT PARTY!!!  The point is by knowing the people you work with every day, you’ll understand how the office works, and better understand the informal network that will help you get your job done.  You’ll also be able to be more efficient in motivating others, and thus your own work will improve, by simply being nice.  Smiles don’t hurt either.  Simplified, it would be understand people while correctly performing your job/s’- tasks.

4- Enjoy each day as if it were your last.

You’re done playing, so at this point, I’m hoping you understand what it’s like to never “suit up” again.  This isn’t saying don’t be active or you’ll never play the game you love again.  It’s saying, those moments won’t be on the same stage or even close.  That being said, I’m hoping you realized a few things that were taken for granted.  Now you have a chance to learn from this mistake because you’re new stage is the office.  Whatever type of office you’re choosing to be a part of, treat it like practice or better yet, game day.  Show up on time, look the part, be you and most of all have fun or find a way to laugh.  No one is guaranteed the next second, minute, day, week, month or year.  Some people may have it better, they may have it worse, but in either case your happiness is dependent on you.  No matter the situation you may be in, it’s yours, and it’s for a reason.  Be happy where you are and chase your goals by listening, learning, and moving forward.

5-YOU MATTER!!!!

 I don’t care if you’re at the bottom of the totem pole and you perceive your job is below you.  Just like with every team I’ve been able to play on, some days you’re a bench warmer and some days you’re the lead scorer. There is always something you can contribute.  EVERYONE DOES!!!  Every person on this earth means something and has a gift.  Make it the best contribution you can give.  I’ve heard people that never play a minute say, “If I wasn’t there, no one would care.”  Not true!!!  If you’re not there being positive, doing a great job, then everyone’s experience at the workplace or on the team is different.  If you don’t think the company cares, then it’s time to start looking for a new place to land. 

These five points all apply to all aspects of life like your family, friends, and any other endeavor or relationship.  I’ve used some examples to relate to the business world, but I try to use these as a general philosophy as I have dissected and observed business, people, and systems.  Success has a general formula.  These are only a few parts to the equation.  A great speaker and a friend of mine, Ann Gaffigan, spoke to a group of student athletes about a year ago.  She reminded them that other people want to be them.  Some people, who didn’t play athletics, may look back and wish they did, or perhaps wish that they had the talent to do so.  All the sacrifices each of makes for our family, our life and our dreams as an athlete, gives us an edge above those that haven’t.  Mark Emmert, NCAA President, once said “Other Nations in this world believe they are smarter than us and do “things” better than us, but the majority realize our athletic and sport system is what makes us different and, at times, can give us the upper hand.”   It’s our responsibility—and privilege—to use the knowledge and gifts we’ve been given to strive to be the best at what we do.  

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Stephen Koch: Snowboard Pioneer

If you want to check an amazing story of an amazing guy, you need to watch this video!!!

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Your Body on Brain Doping- Outside Mag

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A Sharp bang, like a rifle shot, echoes off the walls of the converted warehouse. There’s a brief silence, then everyone heads for their bikes, checking to see whose tire has blown. I’m more worried about the guy slumped in a dentist’s chair at the far end of the room, dripping sweat and dangling wires, who’s getting zapped by a brain stimulator that looks like a ping-pong paddle with two heads. Did we just blow out Tim Johnson’s brain? Read More

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Wise Words- George Mallory

” People ask me, ‘What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?’ and my answer must at once be, ‘It is of no use.’There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behaviour of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron… If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for.”
-George Mallory

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A Tale of Two Riders and the Importance of Goal Setting- Mike Fox

A Tale of Two Riders and the Importance of Goal Setting

We all know that goal setting is an important part of life…without goals, we run the risk of floundering along and never really progressing.  In cycling, goals can be equally important. Without them, a cyclist can find him or herself finishing events in the same time or same position year after year, never really progressing.  Further, even when goals are set, the reasonableness of the goals can be even more important than not having a goal at all.  Isn’t one of the seven tenants of effective goal setting to make the goal high but attainable?

Recently, I found myself watching something unfold that seemed very familiar to me.  The more I regarded the situation, the more I was convinced that there was something important to learned.  Finally, the lesson revealed itself!  Goal setting and how it affects results.

So, here’s the set up.  A few years ago, I helped a cyclist friend compete in an ultra distance race, the Hill Country 600K (HC).  Last fall (2013), I helped a different cyclist friend compete in a different ultra distance race, the HooDoo 500 (HD).  The similarities between these two situations are remarkable…I couldn’t have organized it better had I tried. 

Lets look at the similarities between the two:

  • Both are ultra distance events (one was 375 miles (HC), the other 519 (HD)). One was slightly longer than the other, but, honestly, after 350 miles, what’s another 170?
  • Both have significant amounts of climbing, HC at close to 14,000ft, HD right at 30,000ft.
  • Both had horrible weather: cold (in the 40’s), heavy rain for over 24 hours.
  • For both races, the cyclist I was helping was a rookie at ultra distance events.
  • For both events, the road crew consisted of the same people.
  • In both events, the rider went off course for a short time.
  • For both events, the riders experienced some stomach distress.
  • Both riders stopped for a few hours of sleep (one in a hotel (HC), the other in the crew van (HD)).
  • Hourly caloric intake was similar for both cyclists.
  • Both cyclists had put in some significant amounts of intense training to prepare for the event.
  • Both cyclists were considered very strong and mature riders.
  • Number of riders in the each respective category: HC: 5; HD: 3.

Now lets look at the differences:

  • One rider was male (HC), the other female (HD).
  • The rider’s primary goal for HC: 1st place; secondary goal: none.
  • The rider’s primary goal for HD: finish before the time limit; secondary goal: finish the distance, even if after the time limit.

And now for the results, which couldn’t be more different:

  • HC: our rider did not finish (DNF).
  • HD: our rider finished in 1st place (division), 3rd place overall (ahead of some very experienced ultracyclists).

This retrospective, empirical analysis of the two events, the two cyclists, and the dramatically different results, highlights the importance of goal setting.  The HC cyclist was intent on showing the small field that he was the strongest rider. Indeed, he was perhaps the strongest rider, however, his goal of crushing the field led him to charge into the lead far too early in the event.  Any time another cyclist got close to him, he would drop the hammer and put out a monumental effort to ride the other guy off his wheel.  He did that easily, several times.  However, those efforts took their toll, and left the rider out of gas by mile 300.  His inexperience was his undoing.  The rider’s crew encouraged him to watch his pace, to ease back and establish a solid, consistent pace.  He received constant reminders about the length of the event.  The event director (a rider with RAAM experience, as well as numerous 500+ mile events to his name) made several attempts to guide our rider to a successful finish, but to no avail.  Once our rider realized his goal of winning the race was not possible, he mentally checked out of the race.  Physically, I believe he could have easily taken 2nd place, even with all the mistakes he made, but, being mentally checked out meant he was done. 

On the other hand, our HD cyclist paid no attention to her competitors.  She listened to her body and rode hard when she could, and she rested when she needed to rest.  It didn’t matter to her what anyone else was doing.  Her pace was conservative but steady.  If a rider approached from behind, she simply waved and said hello as she got passed.  Her road crew was more on edge about other riders than she was. Eventually, leaving the time station at mile 350, she found herself in the lead by only five minutes.  Focusing only on how she felt and paying no attention to where the second place rider was behind her, our rider continued to push when she felt strong and took it easy when needed.  She climbed peaks that reached over 10,000ft elevation with a singular focus: to reach the summit.  At the end of nearly two days of racing, she rolled across the finish line winning the women’s division by a couple of hours.

 Two capable, rookie ultra riders, two similar events, two very different outcomes.  In my opinion, it comes down to goal setting.  The power of having a goal is powerful; the power of having an achievable goal that challenges you to grow is immeasurable.  Keep that in mind when setting up your race schedule for 2015.

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Friday Video: Rise and Shine

Have a great weekend and train hard!

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Friday Video: You Can Change the World

Amazing Commencement Speech from a Navy Seal!

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