There is Truly Blood on The Redskins ­– The REAL Reason the Name MUST Change and Why It’s NOT an Issue of Political-Correctness

What about the controversy surrounding the iconic and beloved by many, Washington Redskins?   It’s all about this political correctness crap, right?  And really – why would anyone have an issue with their name?  Redskins are just another name for Indians, right?  It couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I really can’t stand the state of political-correctness, I just can’t.  Too many people have issues with the terms without dealing with the underlying sentiment and starting with education, awareness and compassion.  I am somewhere between 12.5% and 25% American Indian.  I am not offended by the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves or many of the other terms referencing fact or those that carry honor.  Both sides just miss the point. The name controversy may seem to be more of the same – but it’s not.

Here’s why – I am quite sure the Commissioner, the League and the public would not allow a new NFL franchise to be named the Birminham Lynchmen, Colorado Shooters, the international Berlin Brown Shirts or a host of others insidious references.  But still the name Redskins is allowed.  Not exactly the same you say?  To far outside decency?  If so, I apologize to those offended but it’s pretty close to exactly the same.

And my belief in humanity makes me believe that most people don’t know why it’s so very repulsive, otherwise something would have been done long ago.  But realize this – American Indians were of all tints and colors, from pale to very dark in complexion; but none were red.  That should hint toward the gruesome.

At halftime during a recent Sunday Night Football, Bob Costas discussed the Washington Redskins (some called it a rant)  – not the team but the name.  Every few years their name becomes the subject of controversy and nothing happens.  Every few years I jump on my soapbox, in hopes someone with the ability to affect change will fully realize the issue at stake.  In the past, every few years I am again disappointed.

Mr. Costas raised again the issue that the term redskin is offensive and derogatory to Native Americans and intimated that it therefore should be offensive to us all.  In the eloquence and logic that Mr. Costas always provides, he requested the conversation about the offensiveness of the name be revisited.

In my opinion, even the hard-hitting Mr. Costas fell short of expressing how derogatory the term really is.

The NFL fines players for not properly wearing their approved uniforms, teams and the NFL fine players for actions deemed inappropriate and the League even considered their ability to fine Riley Cooper for using racial slurs while at a nightclub earlier this year while out of uniform.  They even recently fined a player thousands of dollars because he wore green shoes drawing attention to mental illness awareness instead of supporting breast cancer awareness.  Why do they do this?

Because they purport to care about public perception.

So why all the fuss?  Here’s why… and warning:  It’s pretty gruesome.

The history of one enemy taking the skin off their enemy after killing them goes back hundreds of years, maybe thousands – often out of further humiliation to one’s enemy but often to simply prove the taking of one’s life in battle, without having to carry the whole body.  In America this practice continued into the Revolution and through the 1800’s during skirmishes, battles and wars involving Native Americans.  Bounties were often paid to bounty hunters who killed Native Americans during these conflicts, in an effort to rid the lands of these “heathens”.  The body of an Indian brave was one price, a woman a little less and a child’s death was worth even less still.

Bounty hunters were required to bring the body to an “outpost” to prove their murder and to collect their fee – the bodies began to mount and they needed to be buried.

Much controversy exists about the subject and who started first but much data indicates that the US Federal Government, State Governments and the Mexican Government began scalping Indians so that bounties for the killing could be substantiated, without having to spend manpower to bury the lifeless bodies.  Instead, a bounty hunter would then only be required to bring the scalp of the Indian to collect their fee.

As jargon and vernacular often develops, these scalps came to be known as “redskins” as they were stained with blood of the victim the bounty hunter had killed; joy would be abound if the hunter had a “handful of redskins”.

So if we, Roger Goodell or the public wouldn’t accept the Washington Bounty Hunters, the DC Indian Killers or the Metro Mutilators – then we should not accept the Washington Redskins.

Redskins – Scalps stained with blood… one of our NFL teams is named for scalps stained with blood.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming that the Washington Redskins are against Native Americans, nor fans simply because the love the ‘Skins.  Some of my best friends are fans.  I’m merely speaking of becoming aware of the why it’s an issue and in my opinion, an embarrassment to a League that in nearly all other manners attempts to always improve its image.

I’ve met the ‘Skins owner Daniel Snyder and he’s not against Native Americans either.  It’s not the fault of Mr. Snyder they have this name, nor the previous owner Mr. Cooke  – it’s no one’s fault.  It’s never the fault of a current generation when we have been given carried-over sentiments, perspectives or even vernacular from previous generations.

It only becomes our fault IF we become aware of these origins and do nothing.  “Because it always has been” is never an allowable excuse to accept the horrendous offenses of man.

Bob Costas asked for us to begin to converse and understand why many might feel the term redskin offensive; he wasn’t asking for anyone to agree that it is offensive – merely to understand why others may feel so.  He was effectively asking for this acceptance of the legitimacy of the argument and with the acceptance perhaps something would change.  After all the NBA team Washington Bullets changed their name because DC had so many murders by gun.

What I wish he had said was exactly how repulsive and derogatory the term is and why.  Perhaps Mr. Costas doesn’t know – most don’t; perhaps he wanted to and the network felt it to gruesome, inflammatory and controversial.

For those of you who have read my articles or blogs or even attended my workshops on diversity, leadership or management – you know I am often preaching awareness.  With awareness comes acceptance; with acceptance comes knowledge; and with knowledge comes growth and greater success – in business, sport and life.

There is a lot of vernacular in our society that has less than optimal origins and bit by bit, once becoming aware of the original meaning, most of us no longer use them.

I’m not trying to change the world from how it thinks but I do feel that if we all know how we sometimes impact others, accepting how they and empathizing others feel, we would likely have a continuously improving world – not by being politically correct, that does very little, in my opinion; but rather by becoming aware of the thoughts, sentiments of others – we can accept without agreement.

In a family, the awareness and acceptance of the views of another allows for debate rather than anger; in business, collaboration rather than a power struggle; and in society, progression rather than regression and oppression.

It’s not a change in terminology that makes us grow and accept religious, lifestyle and cultural issues, it is the awareness and mere acceptance of the views of another without denigration that accomplishes this.  Connotative emotions and disrespect conveyed by these terms is the real problem; it’s not usually the term itself.

And once discovering the true origin of the term redskin, I would think that any reasonably thinking individual will agree that the name must change – not for political correctness’ sake, not for common decency but from the perspective of disgust, disdain and utter repulsiveness.  It’s not a republican or democrat issue for once, it’s not a right vs. left issue nor conservative vs. liberal.

Human beings are really pretty predictable; when faced with a conflicting viewpoint, we tend to either reject the “new” thought or embrace it.  People tend to develop the attitude of, “you can’t tell me what’s right or wrong”.  So there will be many who while repulsed, will still embrace the name – “because no one is going to tell me how I should feel.”

Well, guess what – sometimes we need to be told.

Changing the name wouldn’t change the character of the team, it wouldn’t change their history of success but it would make a stand against honoring the annihilation of an entire people.

… It changes your whole perspective about the controversy, doesn’t it?

Posted in Discovery, Human Relations | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Never Need a Pen During Your Last Breath

Medical personnel were in a bustle all around me, the cardiologist in the ER explained to me that I needed an operation that couldn’t be performed at this hospital to which the ambulance had delivered me and that I must be transferred to their main hospital in downtown Charlotte, immediately.   Amidst this orchestrated chaos of transition, the special transport nurse explained to me that we were going to travel “loud and proud” or some such jargon, meaning lights and sirens were needed.

As they were moving me from the exam room bed and into the ambulance stretcher, I apparently had a pensive look on my face because the nurse looked at me and asked, “Are you scared?”  And in that amazingly bizarre way our minds take only 2 seconds to think about 10 million things, I looked at her – somewhat bewildered and somewhat surprisingly said, “No, I’m not scared at all.”

While I was lying on the stretcher in the ambulance, and in between answering questions about pain ratings – I wondered, why wasn’t I scared?  After all, I had just been told that this ambulance was delivering me directly into the operating room to save my life.  They said there was no time to waste – and I didn’t get the impression they were going for dramatic effect.

As I lay there imagining whether my chest pain was rattlesnake-bite bad or scorpion-bite bad,  I continued to wonder, was I afraid and just in denial or was I truly unafraid?  I knew from previous experiences and from my faith, that I wasn’t afraid of death – but was I scared of the dying process?  It would be natural, after all, if I were.

I decided the pain was now a firm 9 from the previous 8.5 and communicated as such to riding mate and then it hit me,  I wasn’t scared because I didn’t have any letters I needed to write!

I know that sounds very odd, but you see – when I begin to work with a new client, I have them complete a series of questionnaires that I’ve designed to give a “jump start” to get to the bottom of a lot of issues and one of these questions a new client must contemplate on their questionnaires is, “On a lifeboat and unsure of your survival, you are given the opportunity to write a letter to be read if you should die.  To whom would you feel you would need to write and what would it say?”  And then, if given the time to whom would you write a second letter and why?

My design of these surveys is to give me baselines of emotions, insights and more to find, as quickly as possible, the hurdles that have limited or continue to limit their successes, in business, sport or life.

It’s a very significant part to discovery coaching, because much of what we as humans do and therefore much of what we don’t do is because of the impact of the lingering and usually unconscious impact of, what I call, deficit emotions.  When we leave negative sentiments unrecovered and in the past, they have dramatic impact on the levels of success and achievements in our lives.  There’s a whole bunch behind the reasons this is the case (and more than you’d want to read here) but it’s a huge impact on our lives.

By their answer to this question and a couple others and without exception each client unknowingly communicates to me an insight into how they feel, how they love, how they communicate and much more – sometimes even revealing some long-standing regret, guilt or remorse.  With other tools and similar methods, I very quickly am able to determine the starting points to get them to discover their own self-imposed limitations in many areas.

Discovering these elements is paramount in the process for a person reaching their greatest heights in sport, business and life, having eliminated unconscious hurdles or at least the impact from them.  This process not only helps resolve guilt, remorse, shame and other deficit emotions but also allows a person to begin true relationships, have the courage to succeed or fail or lead – without fear.

It also impacts our readiness to leave this world behind. 

Each client will answer the question differently but each will absolutely communicate something they want to emphasize – it’s not always a regret or forgiveness they seek from a loved one they “wronged”.  Just as often, it’s their wanting to emphasize their love previously un-communicated – at least to their desired level.  Wanting to be sure their parent knew how much they were appreciated, wanting their spouse to know this or sister to know that.

A husband telling his wife that he is afraid can be one of the most intimate moments in their life together, a wife admitting to her husband that she might be bossy can be so powerful and an executive admitting to him/herself can be the trigger that begins to propel their career.

The idea is that if we allow ourselves the ability to confront and conquer our emotional fears, the impact is life-altering.  We no longer resist openness and intimacy; we don’t self-sabotage our career or sales presentations and we no longer make ourselves miss 3 foot putts.  Once aware of these fears they no longer control us.  The “macho” man can stop hiding from his unconscious inability to confront intimacy, the aging athlete can realize he still has value and the parent can finally embrace that love includes discipline as well as affection.

We hide from others that which we are truly attempting to hide from ourselves.  We hide our weaknesses from others, which is very consistent with all of the animal kingdom – but what we perceive as emotional weaknesses within ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, usually are directly connected with deficit emotions and our perceptions are seldom correct.  This is the main reason that so much goes unsaid between people in business or life.

Back to the letters – while lying in that ambulance and awaiting my fate I realized; everyone who I love knows I love them and how much; everyone important to me knows it; everyone I’ve wronged has gotten sincere apologies or repentance.  But I realized, I could die and no one would have to wonder how important they were to me.  I tell my best friend I love him all the time, I know it makes him uncomfortable – and I love it.  I text my neighbor that I’m glad I know him, it drives him nuts – and I love it.  My sisters get random texts.  You get the idea.

I had no letters I needed to write – and I hope the same for you; it was such a powerful realization.

So please do me a favor and you, make sure you are true to yourself, don’t hold back your feelings – let them know, so you have no regrets on that last breath and that they aren’t left wondering.   And if you harbor ill will toward someone – it is okay, it’s normal, just make sure your ill will is truly commensurate with their offense.

Just don’t need to write a letter to anyone when you are on your lifeboat.  Tell them all now.  If you love them, let them know and let them know how much – the strength you gain by being able to shed the fear of sharing is amazing.  If they can’t understand or accept it, oh well – that’s on them.  If you screwed up, fix it or apologize – and mean it.  The power behind admitting flaws is amazing and powerful.  I used to never make a statement unless I knew I was right – because I was so very afraid of being wrong; all because of deficit emotions.  It is powerful to accept the flaws within yourself.

And remember – live so that when you are passing on, you are not just a passer-by.

Life is the reward we get to enjoy when we seek to serve others; it is also the consequence we must endure when we don’t.

Posted in Athletes and Executives, Discovery, Human Relations, Relationships | 1 Comment

The Hottest “Hot Button”

Tom was sitting in the rowboat with 3 of his buddies, they had the afternoon free of classes in the seminary and they decided a rowboat ride on the Mississippi was just what the doctor ordered.  They had their lunch and their drinks and were prepared for a great afternoon.  They were kidding each other as twenty-somethings will do.

It was hot – I mean summer in the deep south kind of hot.  The boys hadn’t anticipated that amount of heat; the aluminum boat and reflections off the water only intensified that heat.  Smitty decided he was so hot he’d jump in the water to cool off.  He didn’t understand the currents of the Mississippi – nor could Smitty swim; neither could any of his buddies.

It happened quickly, they knew he was in trouble and they knew they were unable to help.

As they watched Smitty thrash around, trying to stay afloat, they could only scream for help.  A passing boat heard the screams and Smitty’s buddies pleaded for help to save him.  One question was asked by the would-be rescuers, “Is he a N***** too?”  Smitty was.

They never saw Smitty again…

As you note, even in recounting this story I cannot even type the real word that was used, most everyone simply knows it as “the N word” – it’s just too painful and brings too many memories of my childhood and youth to even type.

I tear up nearly every time I recount this story – for Smitty some I guess, but I never met him.  I guess I weep for those times, for the people who lived in that aura of outward hate but mostly for Tom.

You see, Tom was my father.  The time was around 1940.  My father was on the way to becoming the 1st Diocesan Catholic priest in the State of New York, the fourth in the entire country.  Many people knew my father but extremely few knew he had been a Catholic priest – it was something he hid from nearly all – including me.

I don’t know if it was merely his level of privacy that made him keep this secret or maybe some level of embarrassment or shame.  Perhaps it was simply that he didn’t want to have to explain; explain that while he was so honored to have been one of those who’d broken the color barrier of the priesthood, that he’d been equally disappointed that the Church still would not let the “colored” priests have their own parishes.  Perhaps that was it.

But I’ll never know for sure because he died without us ever discussing – he’d felt his children would have been disappointed in their father.  He would never be able to understand the strength I knew he had needed to have.

From his experiences, it would have been wrong – but understandable if my father taught his children to fear White people, even understandable to hate.  But he didn’t, he taught compassion, understanding and acceptance of the views of others… but don’t get me wrong, every time I got into a fight over my color he was always wanting to make sure I didn’t start the fight, but that I would finish the fight.  “Turning the other cheek” was seemingly a sentiment that only went so far when we were attacked. And by the way, I grew up in Vermont – the state with the lowest percentage of minorities in the country; so there were a few fights.

But he didn’t teach us to fear or to hate, my parents taught us equality; in ourselves and others.

 Over 70 years later the subject of race is still one of the most powerful “hot buttons” of conversation and has been riddled in the news as of late.  Whether it is the stupidity of Paula Deen, the actions of George Zimmerman, the recently banned “stop and search” of New York City or the continuous conversation of Hispanics entering the country illegally – racial bias, prejudice and blatant racism is of topic.

All the media seems to be talking about it and it seems very cyclical – but few are offering solutions; and as we know – it is not going away.  And in my opinion, it is the greatest threat we have.

I have attempted to stay away from the topic, I guess out of fear that I might alienate potential future corporate clients – but no more; after all, if they don’t truly want to eradicate the problem I wouldn’t want to work with them.

I made a presentation last year at a Diversity Symposium of a large corporation and explained that the elimination of racial, cultural, gender, orientation and religious bias is possible.  Afterwards, I was approached by several participants asking whether I’d be involved in some sort of program furthering the discussion within the corporation – of course it would be up to the organization.  I never heard back from them – I may have offended them as well, perhaps because I told the truth.

The solution is not merely continually re-hashing of injustices done to Blacks, Jews, Muslims, Hispanics, Gays, etc.  The truth is that the solution involves understanding our histories, accepting our histories and understanding the fears these histories have in common.  I call them Carried Generational Perspectives.

And by the way, though it’s a new term – Carried Generational Perspectives explain the otherwise inexplicable devotion or rebellion of political parties within households and allegiances toward sports teams.  It is based on the unconscious connection of alliance with our caretakers; and of course our caretakers unconscious connection of alliance with their caretakers, and so on and so on.  This unconscious connection of alliance is closely connected unconsciously with the love we have for these people.

When we understand the concepts of Carried Generational Perspectives we can all begin to understand the why’s.  If we allow ourselves to understand that IF the parents, grandparents and great grandparents of the majority had the knowledge of today, things would be different – they would understand that Blacks didn’t have tails, that Jews weren’t evil, etc.  But they didn’t have the knowledge.  They, like all humans feared anything different.

There are no logical or scientific bases of racism or prejudice and therefore when we become aware of, accept and embrace the understanding of the views of previous generations we can immediately begin to address the conflicts we have within ourselves of prejudice; because we know it is wrong.  Understanding and forgiving our ancestors for passing on fears that future generations allowed to evolve into Hate is the key; this process is powerful and life altering.

Many “experts” continuously claim we all need to be able to have “the conversation”; others spout statistics of the problem.  But conversation isn’t enough.  And hearing the statistical evidence that a White man with a criminal record has a higher likelihood of being called back for a job than a Black man with exact qualifications without a criminal record, doesn’t help either – in fact, it just pisses people off.

Today with science, DNA and ancestral documentation we know we are all the same – but they didn’t know that.  And if all minorities of culture, race, religion, etc.  are able to stop wanting any retribution or at least some sort of generational apology, we may be able to move forward.

My father also wasn’t above passing along Carried Generational Perspectives – I’m sure it was because of my father’s experiences I was unconsciously taught to fear the south and the Confederate Flag and he did worry when I moved to Virginia.  I was aware of this wariness I also had – until the day, many years ago I saw the bumper sticker with the Confederate Flag and it read, “Heritage, not hatred”.

That was the day I began to truly understand.  We don’t have to carry on the madness.

I’ll leave you to ponder this and how it might impact your life and maybe touch that of another, as well as a humorous anecdote that perfectly explains this phenomenon:

One Easter a little girl watched her mother prepare the holiday meal.  Upon seeing her mother cut off the end of the Easter ham, the girl asked her mother why she cut the end off.  Her mother thought for a moment and realized she didn’t know the reason but that her mother always had.  The mom told her daughter to ask her grandmother.  The little girl went to her grandmother and asked the same question, she too didn’t know but just knew that her mother always had done the same thing.

So finally the little girl approached her great-grandmother and asked, “Great grandma, Mom cut the end off of the Easter ham but doesn’t know why – only that her mother always had.  She told me to ask grandma but she didn’t know either but that you always had done the same!  So, why did you cut then end off of the Easter ham?”

The great grandmother replied simply, “Because my dear, I never had a pan large enough for the whole hame and cut enough off so it would fit.”

What if we all asked ourselves – are we cutting the Easter ham without knowing why?

Posted in Discovery, Human Relations, Parenting | Leave a comment

Why We Don’t Achieve: On the Course, In the Boardroom or at Home

We’re starting the New Year and this is the time that many people are confronting the resolutions they have claimed.  Most of these resolutions are supposed to last for the rest of their lives.  Things like quitting smoking, eating healthy, losing weight are some of the pretty common resolutions for their personal lives.  There are usually others that impact their financial lives such as spending less, saving more or saving any.  Then there are many resolutions that impact the business aspect of life, be more time focused, make more money, convert more clients, etc.

Here’s the thing:  We all know that most resolutions don’t “take”; we usually aren’t successful at maintaining them.  The main question is ‘why’?

Well, whether we call them resolutions or another term often used is goals; they are really the same thing but resolutions tend to connote giving up something or stopping some behavior and goals tend to refer more toward attaining or obtaining something.  In either circumstance, the aspects that impact success are much the same.

In fact – no matter what is claimed, all true achievements, successes and reached goals (as a result of effort) are impacted by only three things:  Aptitude, Ability and Attitude.  And the bulk of the reasons have really nothing to with ability (capability) or aptitude (having the knowledge of how to do it) – they have to do with attitude.

You see, aptitude and ability are usually not the impactful players in this equation because people seldom set as a goal, that which they do not have either the ability or aptitude to accomplish.  I mean, I can wish all day long to be the center of the LA Lakers but my 6’0” height (in socks) is really going to prevent this ‘plan’ from occurring, under most circumstances.  I could have Kobe Bryant’s ball handling skills but still lacking the need of height.  The same case could be made for other aspects when aptitude or ability is lacking.

Also, lacking ability or aptitude is usually pretty quickly determined by the individual because they are almost always measureable and quantifiable.   But Attitude is not measurable or quantifiable – it’s either present or it’s not.  And ironically, we as human beings have the innate ability to convince ourselves that we have it when we don’t.

I was recently speaking with a very competitive golfer who began having problems putting; he’s changed putters, he’s changed grips and has even tried putting left-handed instead of his normal right-handed method.  No matter what he has done, he’s not obtained the results he’s desired.  I asked him how the rest of his game was – he explained that he’s an excellent ‘long putter’.  For those of you who do not play golf, to be a good long-putter it requires great internal reliance to the sense of touch and feel.

Another client, a business executive in sales, recently changed companies and her new line of products to sell were similar but different enough that she had to learn many new aspects of use and advantage over her new competition.  She was having a very difficult time making the transition to the levels of success at her new company that she had previously.

They both had the absolute belief that they knew what the issue was – the golfer needed to change his approach to putting – even though he remained a great ‘long putter’ with any putter he employed.  The business executive was sure that it was her that had changed; that she’d lost her skill or that maybe she was never as good as she thought she was in her position at her previous company and that the stars had been aligned to allow her to be successful – yeah, that was it, it was all her fault.

The interesting thing (at least to me) is that they both were experiencing problems in entirely different realms but their issues were exactly the same.  They shared one of the top ten reasons that are really behind why people don’t achieve their desired goals.  These 10 reasons account for the vast majority of the real “why’s”.   Nearly every human being has experienced at least one of these, once in their lives – except they usually don’t ever truly discover it.

Sadly, for some – it becomes the tradition of their lives.

Report: Top Ten Reasons of Why We Don’t Achieve and the Ten Questions that Discover Yours (subscribe to blog and receive free report)

What the golfer and the executive both ended up discovering was that they weren’t confronting the real issue, which is what most of us do and have done for the majority of our lives.  Furthermore, they had little chance of discovering the real underlying issue without outside assistance.  We seldom discover what our limiting factors are without help, why?  Because we have the innate ability to hide it from ourselves – in fact, our emotional mind considers the ‘hiding’ of it to be one of its core responsibilities.

I talk a lot about the separate and distinct powers of the intellectual brain and the emotional mind.  In workshops I describe the roles of each and how they impact us on a daily basis; how the synchronization of the two empowers us to achieve any goal (as long as we have aptitude and ability) and how the conflict that results when these two are not in synch creates the impossibility of fully meeting our full potential.  This usually results in not achieving our goals or not exceeding them to the level that we have ability.

And this issue impacts every segment of our lives.  It impacts the level of fulfillment of potential in everything:  Business Management, Sales, Executive Leadership, Professional Sport Performance, Relationships, Parenting – you name it and it impacts it.

We’ve all been hearing about attitude for years – Positive Mental Attitude was all the rage in the 70’s and it has become the focus a number of times since; though it existed long before the 70’s.  Then there was the beginning of ‘believing in receiving’ philosophies.  There have been other trends that have addressed the subject in a tangential manner, referencing a more ‘cosmic’ perspective on attitude – such as The Secret, which seems to have fallen somewhat out of favor with many.

As a Master Trainer in the APACHE method of achievement coaching, I deal with the aspect of attitude the majority of time, when working with individual clients or in workshops – because this aspect is absolutely the greatest factor that impacts our likelihood to achieve – in anything.  But here’s the crazy thing – nearly everyone has heard that attitude makes all the difference but few truly understand why and how to make it our ally rather than our enemy.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big proponent of Positive Mental Attitude and know that one’s spirituality can have tremendous impact on one’s belief system.  But this is not the attitude to which I refer.

The underlying aspect of the Attitude we’re discussing is very complex in depth; but very simple in concept.  The concept is best explained by asking one’s self this:

“What is/are the limiting factors that I have inside me that prevent me from accomplishing the things I want to accomplish, knowing I have the aptitude and the ability?”

The complexity of the issue comes into play when we discover the answer to this question.  Because while we all can ask ourselves this question, 99.9% of us will not be able to answer the question accurately – and thus the complexity begins.  You see, because most of us can provide an answer to this question – it’s usually one of the “reasons” (pronounced ex’-kuses) of why we don’t succeed in whatever endeavor we are attempting.

The complexity of this arena gets very thick when we begin to delve into the unconscious and sub-conscious of an individual to discover these limitations because they are very similar to the motivations by which we live every day.

The attitude we want our executives to have, our children to have, our parents to have and what athletes want to have is this:  “I have the ability and the aptitude needed to accomplish this mission or task, thereby I merely need the additional piece of belief that I:  will accomplish, desire to accomplish and truly seek all of the consequences that will result from the achievement.  Furthermore, I entirely and completely believe I deserve those results and consequences.”

This is the Attitude which we are discussing – and it is the attitude that is missing with every “failed” resolution, every missed mission and lack of accomplishment that is achievable based on having the aptitude and ability to do so.

Some will refer to the aspect of Attitude as motivation but that also has different connotations to different people.  Motivating factors or ‘motivators’ are a little closer to the description – but still not truly accurate.  Because motivators are the things that can incent someone to want to attain or achieve but what we are discussing are the unconscious limiting factors that prevent us from achieving that which we seem motivated to achieve.

An example:  Moe Norman is considered by most to be one of the best ball strikers in the history of golf, if not the best.  He had tremendous motivation and motivators to use his skills to become world-famous, rich and possibly re-write all records.  Most golfers would love that opportunity.  It is presumed that he had a disorder that accelerated his fears but his limiting factors that existed within himself prevented him from achieving all he could, based on his level of aptitude and ability.  Regardless of how great the motivators may be, the motivation will nearly always succumb to the will of the limiting factors and beliefs – that we usually don’t even know exist.

Therefore, motivators can be the incentive to achieve but the “failure” to continue a resolution or reach a goal is the result of not having the properly associated Attitude.  Thus, if we obtain the Attitude anything is achievable as long as having the aptitude and ability.  We can accomplish this by discovering, addressing and eliminating the impact of the limiting factors.  And nearly every limiting factor or belief is ultimately based on fear.  The secret is discovering it.  It may sound tough but it’s not – if you have the right Achievement Coach.

I’ve used the term “failure” several times; “failure” is a paradox of sorts – much like the term of fear (the emotional type) because once the true elements of either are discovered, they both truly cease to exist.  Each and every time I work with a client that discovers the true elements of what has kept them from achieving, they always discover one of two things:

  1. The elements of which they thought contributed to the “failure” (their “reasons”) were incorrect; discovering this allows us to develop a path toward success without those elements being an obstacle anymore OR
  2. They discover that they never really wanted to achieve it in the first place thus they had no real motivation to accomplish or achieve.

Therefore, in my opinion, there is no such thing as “failure”; it is merely the symptom that communicates our need to discover more.  The List of Top 10 reasons derive from questions we can ask ourselves and the only reason the goal isn’t achieved is because of the answers to these questions and the path of discovery made from them.  That path of discovery will always bring you to a point of discovering the underlying and previously un-addressed fear or fears upon which they are based.

By the way, I use quotes for “failure” – because I absolutely detest the word, the concept and the damage the word does internally to the Human Being.  It connotes such disregard, such dismal consideration toward oneself that one often cannot escape the label; whether it’s placed upon by themselves or by others.

Remember – for yourself, your kids, your staff or your team, if aptitude and ability exist – fear is always the underlying reason; find the fear that’s hiding and you are on your way to success or discovery of what you really want to do in the first place.

* If you or someone you know want more from your efforts and your want achievement, fulfillment or success in whatever you do – let me know.  I guarantee my coachingwill help you discover your limiting factors in Sport, Business or Relationships – what you decide to do with the information is up to you.

David A. Jones, President and Founder of Captive Coaching & Consulting, LLC

So, back to the original question – Why Do Most Resolutions Fail?  Below is #9 on the list and it addresses why most resolutions just don’t make it.  Please be sure to subscribe to my blog to receive the complete list of Top 10 as I’ve written them and if you gained any benefit from this, please share with others.

Top 10 Reasons Resolutions, Goals or Achievements aren’t Realized

9.            Resolutions:   Am I trying to obtain something as the accomplishment or is my goal based on the denial of something?

This is the classic conundrum of the New Year’s Resolution fiasco that occurs every year.  Most people who set a resolution fail to uphold it.  This question addresses the majority of those resolutions placed at the beginning of each year.  Traditionally, people want to start the New Year out right – they want to change their eating habits from more to less or from unhealthy to healthy; they want to quit smoking or spending money; they want to save more of their money, etc, etc, etc.  There are millions of these made.

The first reason resolutions “fail” is they are based on something humans truly can’t comprehend – the future.  We imagine it, we plan for it and hope for it but really don’t comprehend it.  This is because our ability to judge time is based on the memories we have created, we truly can’t comprehend future.  We can comprehend neither the time nor the existence of it since we have no future memories.  So how can we envision having succeeded at quitting anything when we can’t imagine how long we’ll have needed to be successful – we can’t do it.  We can only imagine how quitting will be and with most resolutions, we also imagine the pain in the inconvenience.  It may sound weird but we can’t truly comprehend succeeding at quitting.  This concept is the basis of why addiction programs focus only on controlling our addiction today – because the future is too difficult to really comprehend for such things.

Think about it, if you deny yourself something – say you are going to quit smoking, how will you ever know you fully accomplished it?  If you succeed for a month, a year, a decade?  And what would the motivation be?  To live longer?  To not die an agonizing smoking induced death?  Sure, those things seem like they should be enough but in reality the smoker will never know and truly internally envision success until they die, without ever having smoked another cigarette – that is truly the point a smoker knows he’s succeeded, right?

Intellectually and emotionally, we cannot truly comprehend success at quitting anything so let’s focus on stopping.  Quitting is a process, stopping is a point of finality and our brains view it the same way.  A friend of mine quit smoking 20 years ago, was he technically successful?  Or has he remained a quitter for 20 years?  Do you see the point?  Don’t focus on quitting or consider yourself a quitter, just focus on that you stopped.  The finality is very measureable and finite.

The other aspect we must consider to have resolutions work best is to not consider them resolutions.  Don’t “resolve” to do anything – decide.  This may sound silly and merely semantical but the mind is a very powerful tool; we control decisions by making them, while we merely seek to maintain a resolution.  Control in our lives is extremely important to the emotional mind of a human being, if we don’t have control then our emotional mind believes we are at risk of emotional death because the control is in the hands of another; even if that is a cigarette, chocolate or caffeine.

Believe it or not, our emotional mind has the ability to make our intellect believe that we actually enjoy ingesting toxins into our lungs.  Thereby we have the belief that we can control the cigarette but simply choose not to.  It’s quite an interesting phenomenon that occurs.  So decide to stop; don’t resolve to quit.

The last and biggest aspect of making resolutions work is to understand that our entire emotional existence is based on the avoidance of pain and the seeking of pleasure.  Anytime we set a goal or resolution that is based on the continued inconvenience of quitting anything we believe we enjoy we begin to anticipate additional pain.  If you’ve ever quit something like something like smoking you’ll understand this perspective – the dread of quitting begins before the last cigarette has been smoked which is well before any withdrawal from nicotine begins.

Another friend of mine quit smoking with her husband, how did they do it?  They decided to have sex with each other every time they wanted a cigarette.  It was a heck of a distraction I imagine but the key to successful resolutions lies within.

If you want your resolutions to have the best chance at success, you must not consider quitting anything or resolving.  Instead, decide to stop and then begin or become.  Determine what you are going to be able to do when you stop your behavior and do it.  So in the example of smoking, instead of “I’m quitting smoking” consider “I have decided to stop smoking and have become a non-smoker”.  If it’s healthy eating you desire, don’t quit eating junk food, become a healthy eater.  

I know it sounds corny – but it truly tricks your mind into the state of empowering you to begin something new instead of maintaining the strength needed to continue to deny yourself something forever.

The next step is that you must associate pleasure with the beginning or becoming – or a greater pain as the punishment of sorts, if you don’t begin.  If you save $200 a month by quitting smoking then hire a cleaning company to clean your house once a month for $100 if you hate cleaning – this is your reward for becoming a non-smoker.  Or join a country club as the reward.  Whatever it is, it must be associated with the becoming something new, not merely as a reward for quitting.  Each circumstance is different and you should have help to determine what the true motivation and limiting factor exists for you, before being able to determine truly what will work.

I once had a client who continually shopped for clothes.  She would use this as an outlet for the loss of control she felt in her life – shopping, she enjoyed.  Ironically, when the stress of having little money affected her mood she would shop more, getting more in debt and thus a vicious cycle began.  The ironic part was that she would feel so guilty that she spent money that she didn’t really have, she wouldn’t allow herself to even wear the clothes she had purchased.

The solution we discovered was that I gave her a weekly assignment to go and shop, purchasing the outfits that she loved, she would bring them home and on the following weekend she had to return them to the store, with tags on.  She absolutely hated returning things to a store.  After 4 trips she realized her compulsion to buy was gone because the joy she had felt when purchasing was now associated with the anticipated “pain” of returning the clothes.

Every circumstance is different and dependent on whether a behavior is actually merely a habit or whether there is a deeper “need” fulfilled by it.  Determining which is applicable will start you on the right path to determine the proper method by which to associate the “reward” or “pain” we need to apply to alter our behavior or to search deeper to find the underlying “need”.

So remember – don’t resolve to quit; decide to stop.  Then associate pleasure with your new beginning.  And give yourself a break – no matter what, it’s tough to do.  Some behaviors are tougher than others because they are both emotional and physiological, like smoking.  But it is always the emotional connection that far exceeds the physical dependency.

Good Luck!

Posted in Athletes and Executives, Discovery, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Today the End of the World? (Your SUCCESSES could depend on it being so)

So there is a lot of talk about Death and Destruction.  And it got me thinking – what if these prophesies are correct?

The consideration of the ‘End Times’ is so prevalent in our society today that it’s difficult to turn on TV without seeing a show about these prophecies.  There are nearly as many shows about the people who are preparing for the ‘End Times’, they are known as “Preppers”.  Many consider the ‘End Times’ to have a date – 12/21/12.

And to pique interest even further, NASA scientists are concerned about the number of solar flares the Sun will send out, potentially impacting the electrical networks in the world.  Coincidentally, this solar storm will occur right around this date.  As a matter of fact, there are several unique and very rare galactic and astrological events occurring right at or around the same time.

A lot of people are preparing for the end of the world.  ‘End Times’ is the term for the ultimate calamity – the Apocalypse or Armageddon.  Some consider this biblically prophesized, some by the Maya Civilization, Eastern religions and some by the Hopi Indians.  Factually – the Long Count Calendar of the Meso-American peoples will end on 12/21/12, marking the end of an Age; they believed Man began at the beginning of this Age.

So what if the world is at the end; not of existence but of an Age?

I have no interest in anticipating fire and brimstone and the collapse of the Human Race but what if the world is going to change – what kind of change would I want to see?  What Age would I like to begin?

If you ask people about their worst fear – the most frequent answer is dying.  Well, few people ever experience knowing when they are going to die, therefore only those people receiving a terminal diagnosis get this knowledge.  And so, getting this bad news from their doctor is considered by most to be the worst imaginable – because it lets them know when they’re going to die, at least to a time that is close at hand.

Ironically, being told that one’s life is soon ending seems to change nearly everyone’s perspective on life itself.  Upon receiving such a diagnosis most people start living a very reflective life and usually attempt to atone for the ‘wrongs’ they feel they’ve made toward others or in their lives.  They also have regrets of the things they did or didn’t do.  They attempt to fulfill their ‘bucket list’.  They have remorse for opportunities they didn’t take or successes that fell through their hand, they want forgiveness and they all want more time.

They want to taste, smell, love and experience MORE and LONGER.  The weird thing is that these people no longer fear death – they may still fear dying, the pain or discovering what’s next; but they no longer fear death – because it is now at hand and fact, no longer a concept.  It’s universal – very few people are ready to leave when it’s time to go.  Nearly every single person can understand these sentiments.

So here’s the utopian and idealistic question – since we are all dying (at some point we all will); what if we all started living like it?  … I don’t mean spending our retirement funds and not planning for the future of our children, but I mean live like it.

What would this entail?  It would allow us to be able to live, play, plan and perform without the most limiting thing in our lives – FEAR.

In my book I’m writing (thankfully on last chapter) – The Audacity of Fear, I discuss these aspects.  Fear is the number one reason for our tragedies and our failures; not only individually but globally – as communities, societies and countries.

We can’t control our societies or our countries – but we do have the ability to prevent our fears from limiting our successes, our careers and our relationships.

Ages are interesting, at least to me.  They typically mark tremendous changes in our world, not necessarily bad.  The Ice Age was bad — for the dinosaurs; the Stone Age was good – for earlier Man; the Technology Age?  — frankly, it’s too early to tell.

An Age is merely a change – so if we decided to change the impact and effect fear has on our lives and change the willingness we have to allow others to use it against us.  What would happen?

I work mainly with people that are at a ‘crossroads’; they are trying to get the ‘next level’ is business or in sport or they are trying to discover what is impacting them to cause their failures in business, sport or life.

Without exception – they share the same limitation.  They all have been allowing their known and unknown fears from allowing them to meet and fulfill their potential.

I often reference golf and work with golfers mainly in the sporting realm; one of the main reasons is because golf is (in my opinion) the only sport that mirrors the internal confrontations in life.  Because in golf and to be successful at it, one must have aptitude, ability and attitude.  It is exactly the same in the business world and believe it or not, also in healthy relationships.

The similarities?  Considerations of the consequence of actions for which we are solely responsible impact everything.  So, on the course, in the board room and in life – having the time to act and not just react has tremendous impact on our success.  Fear impacts these considerations.

IF we have the ability and the aptitude, failure of achieving one’s goals is directly correlated to how we consider or anticipate the consequence(s) of our actions or decisions.  And this is because of fear and the many ways we associate it with the potential outcomes; internally and externally, intellectually and emotionally and consciously and unconsciously.

So what Age would I like to see begin on 12/22/12?  The Age of Understanding Fear and its Impact.

You see fear is extremely intriguing to me and I feel the greatest irony in life.  Because Fear itself only carries with it the great power – until we discover and acknowledge it; this results in awareness.  Once Awareness occurs, it’s lost most of its power.  Once Awareness occurs we merely need to address it.

This is truly what Franklin Delano Roosevelt meant when he said, “… the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Many will state my opinion is very idealistic and utopian in view and that it can never happen.  It may not ever happen, but it won’t be because it can’t.  And some believe that the entire concept is contrary to human nature  – but this is simply not true.

You see, Human Nature is the best thing we’ve got going – it is the essence of everything that is good in the world, the motivation for great deeds, successes, compassion and humanity.  It is only when fear is added to the mix do humans become self-doubting, undeserving and un-confident impacting our successes; or mean, hateful or violent, impacting our world.

Societally we see others:  Fear of not having enough (when we have plenty) or not having more than others is greed.  Fear of another people being considered our equal becomes racism, bigotry and prejudice.  Fear of our self being unacceptable leads to the hatred or rejection of others.  And fear of Death can result in the willingness to kill and the rationalization that it is acceptable.

Individually, fear (and how one internalizes it) is the number one reason for why don’t meet our potential – in the boardroom and on the golf course.  And collectively, imagine how we’d feel about others – imagine the impact of consideration in our communities, societies and our world.

… and imagine how you’d feel over the 8 foot putt that wins the championship.

Just imagine the outcome – imagine our successes, our relationships and our world.  Just imagine how everyone would treat others …

Globally, this really wouldn’t be about religious beliefs – but simply about the Golden Rule … and contrary to Wall Street, the Golden Rule is NOT – “Do unto others before they can do unto you”.

We can do this, it’s really not that difficult – but first we must confront our fears before we can change the impact the fear has on our lives.

So when I say, “I hope it’s the end of the world as we know it.” – I mean it.  My hope is that we receive a new Age, in which we are all able to have a change in consciousness and a change in perspective and understanding of Fear.  Having the realization that all of our actions impact not only us but another and having consideration for others in all aspects of our life.

This would be the result of understanding and addressing our fears.

How do we want to feel in those last moments of life – like we’ve done our best or that we wish we had time to correct things or having done things differently?  Can we commit to doing this – discovering our real fears?  And can we encourage others to do the same? And can we teach our children the concept?

Just imagine how your life and successes would be different and how our world would be different …

If we just started living like we were dying.

– ‘Cause here’s the thing – we are.  Maybe not today – the 21st, but it could be tomorrow or next year – but it’s happening whether we like it or not.

Posted in Athletes and Executives, Discovery, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What can be done to stop the madness?

I, like everyone am saddened by the recent events at Sandy Hook Elementary; in fact ‘saddened’ seems to be an atrociously inappropriate word.  It goes so far beyond that; in fact beyond comprehension to most.

As a parent, it has reached a different level – a level that until having children, is likely attainable.  But in the aftermath I like many, are trying to resolve the events that this troubled boy felt compelled to force upon that small community and the world.  I have none and am certain that none is available – at least none sufficient to provide any cognizant reason.

But the conversations have begun about things like gun control, security measures and even mental illness.  And as usual, I am compelled to comment and attempt in some small way to find any benefit or lesson in madness.

I for one, cannot comprehend a world in which all elementary schools are patrolled by police – so that’s not a solution I can fathom.  I also was raised in a family in which we hunted for food.  I no longer have this desire but I certainly have no pretense of belief that elimination of guns is the answer either.

No, the only thing I can contemplate addressing is the issue of mental illness; more specifically, the views and opinions our society places upon it.  I believe this is where we must start.

We live in a society that now accepts many more things than ever before – racial tolerance is improving, sexual tolerance is gaining and there are many other improvements.  Heck, understanding drug addiction is even more at the forefront than ever before.  In fact, it seems much of Hollywood has made going to rehab almost ‘en vogue’.

But still the ‘mentally ill’ are shunned.

I am by no means a clinician on the subject but I have had significant experience with it touching those I love and the impact it can create on a much smaller scale; to the individual, family and lives of those around the individual who suffers from an illness that they neither sought nor desired.  I’ve also personally seen how people react and understand why people and parents want to avoid a child, friend or loved one being labeled as ‘mentally ill’.

Please understand – certainly, there are those who are beyond help – this young boy obviously passed that stage on the way to becoming a monster.  He and many others before him have sealed their fate and receive little or no sympathy from me – I’ll leave that to God; if He’ll have them.  I’ll not even give him significance enough to mention his name.

But I do have to wonder – what if he had received help at an earlier age, if such help was available.  Would an earlier diagnosis have helped him become a productive citizen?  If not, would knowledge of his condition have been able to prevent his access to weapons or merely alerted family to a much greater issue than just not fitting in?

Unfortunately of course, we’ll never know – but you and I know there will be a next time.  So what’s to be done?

My small opinion is that we need to have a significant increase in awareness, in tools of evaluation and in follow-through.  The Human Mind is an amazing mechanism and one we still know little about.  But what we do know is that treatment exists that significantly helps most of those labeled as having a ‘mental illness’.

Here’s the thing, these people, these children – the ‘mentally ill’ are still people.  They still feel, they still bleed and they still dream.  They just need a different kind of help – they have a malady that doesn’t show on an x-ray or MRI reading.  But they need our help nonetheless.

A mental health professional once told me that the damage from the label of ‘mentally ill’ often exacerbates the initial problem.  Of course, this is because of how the individual ‘sees’ themselves through the eyes of the world.

If we have a broken leg and wear a cast, we have immediately sympathy; if we are bald from chemotherapy compassion is abound and it should be as such.  But those afflicted with any ‘mental illness’ are really no different – they didn’t ask for such a condition, nor did they cause the condition from any of their actions. They merely have to suffer with it – often alone and in tremendous emotional pain.

‘Labels’ only offend until society understands – until then fear controls most of the actions and reactions.  If we decide to take ‘mental illness’ out of the closet and begin to and continue to the promote symptoms and warning signs of illness and disorders and then commit to providing help, then parents will not need to be as fearful that their child will be considered a ‘crazy person’ for all of their life.

The damage that the ‘mentally ill’ could create seemingly hasn’t been a significant concern until the last several years, possibly because in prior times the mentally may only kill themselves.  A desperate soul feeling suicide was the only solution was tragic enough; this is no longer the case – others are now in harm’s way.

The meter in the troubled mind of the worst thing imaginable has moved – killing oneself is no longer the worst, taking others along with them has been made a precedent – the ‘barometer’ has changed.

Hollywood actors have begun to acknowledge depression and commercials exist for anxiety disorders but there are many, many forms of illness and disorders that impact the emotional mind and I’ve seen none designed to alert parents of what they might see that should initiate the seeking of help.  We parents tend to turn a ‘blind eye’ when it comes to our children – we must tell them what to look for.

And we have just witnessed again that left undiscovered or unattended, how children can grow up and can permanently affect the lives of innocent children and people.  We need to be alert, discover and provide help or protection if needed; to protect us and them.

We must increase awareness and access to treatment so that those with an illness or disorder are not shunned as a child; so that parents aren’t afraid their child has such an illness for fear they will be segregated and shunned and so they can seek and obtain the help their child needs

… and so that we aren’t watching parents of 20 children and 7 teachers having to prepare for funerals one week before Christmas.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In this New Year – Will You FULFILL your potential? Read this to see if this is one reason you aren’t…

(Part I of multi-part series of 3 parts of Success: Aptitude, Attitude & Action)

Whether we are selling a product or service, hitting a golf ball, or leading others toward a common goal, success in reaching our goals is tremendously dependent upon the level of confidence and belief in ourselves…

This is likely no shock to those of you reading.  However, the amazing part is that most of us don’t realize how we dramatically impact our own levels of the belief.

“Faith is not believing He can, it is knowing He will.”

Therefore, faith in ourselves is not believing WE can, it is KNOWING we WILL.

As a spiritual person, I’ve always loved this concept – it’s a very big mind-shift from what most people have within themselves.  But whether we are spiritual or not, it’s also a concept that we all need to apply to our lives.  You see, many of us say we believe in ourselves and usually we feel we are sincere but how many times do we realize that we really don’t believe it or have faith in US?  We normally confront these internal belief systems in critical times and then things don’t result as desired and we have this sense of failure.

“Positive attitude has little to do with being able to accomplish, you still need aptitude; but it has everything to do with the likelihood.

APTITUDE AND ATTITUDE

We hear plenty about attitude, positive mental attitude (PMA) has been all the rage for years.  Sometimes programs on PMA costs thousands of dollars – and almost make it seem as that ‘having good and positive thoughts’ is all that’s needed.  Well, that’s just hogwash.  Sure positive mental attitude is important but…

The success of Positive Mental Attitude has more to do with our perspective toward ourselves, it prevents our minds from unconsciously throwing hurdles in our own way and allows our emotional minds to freely interpret occurrences as opportunities rather than judging the world from a perspective of fear.  It IS extremely important – it’s just not all that is important.

When speaking about aptitude, we’re talking about capability, skill, knowledge and even prowess.  BUT aptitude NEEDS attitude.  Why you ask?  Because with just aptitude you get thoughts – intellectual thought and planning of what can be accomplished WITH those abilities.  Capabilities beget possibility – essentially, aptitude determines potential.

As we all know we often hear about kids or athletes or even business people that don’t reach their potential.  What is this all about – really?  If everyone in the world can see the potential within them, why don’t they excel?  Can everyone be wrong in the assessment?  Is the prowess that we all see just a mirage?  Likely, no.  So what happens to all of the aptitude; to all of the capability; to the potential within this individual?

You all know this person, we’ve all likely met many of them.  They are the person with skills that everyone else admires.  If you don’t know to whom I am referring, they are the person about which people often say something like, “I wish I had half that guy’s talent”; or “she doesn’t have a clue about how good she is.”  – Now you know the person I’m describing, right?  This can be a young athlete or a middle-aged businessperson; an authentic salesperson or professional athlete.  The roles in which we see them are innumerable.  So what happens to their potential?

The simple answer is this:  It remains stagnant or it withers.  I’m a big football fan and enjoy the sport but having had a professional NFL player as a client makes me look deeper.  The NFL is filled with a wealth of individuals who have potential and yet we witness so many of them fail to reach their potential.  Jerry Rice is in my opinion, the greatest receiver to ever play the game, in fact most people would have to include him in their top three, at least.  He set every significant record for receivers, most of which are still in the record books.

But the interesting thing about Jerry?  He was NOT the fastest; he was NOT the tallest; he didn’t feel he had the best hands – no, he just worked the hardest and wanted it the most.  Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t slow or short – just not the quintessential receiver that the NFL would describe as the one with the greatest physical attributes.

Another great receiver, Michael Irvin.  When asked why, as a star of his team, he was able to run across the middle to catch a ball with no fear, while knowing he was going to be hit and hit hard, his response?  He said he was always afraid, he said he was always terrified.  BUT he said that the fear of getting hit was far less than the fear of failing in the NFL and having to go back to the ‘hood’ from where he came.  That fear was so great in him that it motivated him to accomplish so much of what he did.

On the other side of the coin, there are many who ‘believed the hype’ out of college and just didn’t want or think they needed to work at it and to continue to grow and develop.

One of the reasons that I use sports to describe the concept of ‘potential’ within us is because it is never clouded by ‘who you know’ as we see in business so often; it is simply based on capability and success.  But what we can bring from these scenarios into our lives is the awareness that they all have something in common… Belief.

“Vision is much more than ‘seeing’ your goal; it is, with every action you take, the result your mind sees as the foregone conclusion and consequence of those actions.”

Vision is a term that has been all the rage for almost 20 years now.  It is used so much, like many other terms, that the essence and true meaning almost is lost because the terminology connotes a big picture concept.  However, in it’s root Vision is ESSENTIAL.  My quote above communicates this.  Having a Vision is not planning; it is not a goal sought to be reached; and it is not a concept.  It IS the foregone conclusion of consequence of the steps we are driven to take – on the way to fulfillment of the Vision.  It is almost a state of awareness that success is INEVITABLE.

So okay, now we have potential from our aptitude.  This means we have of the tools within ourselves to ‘make it happen’ if we have the aptitude, we have the expertise or the knowledge, we have a plan to follow and we have the skills to succeed.  The question is – Is That Enough?

The answer is a resounding – no.

NOW, we also need the attitude, the internal belief that we CAN do it.  The sense within us that we WILL do it.  BUT, here’s the problem – this is where tremendous numbers of people fall short. Why?  Because it comes down to FAITH and BELIEF in ourselves; not in our potential but in our likelihood of success.  AND that likelihood of having positive mental attitude has everything to do with our internal barometer of success.  Are we that good, can we do it or do we deserve it?

Believing that we can is able to be derived from a few different arenas; one can be upbringing or training as we’re young and there are others we’ll discuss in future articles.  But the aspect we discuss today is this; regardless of how we obtained our belief, it is usually  based on whether we unconsciously and internally feel that we deserve the consciously desired outcome – when there is the commonly held internal belief system based on ‘reward’ and ‘punishment’.

A person may have the skills to be the most monetarily successful salesperson and make a few millions dollars – BUT unless they internally believe they deserve those rewards – regardless of how badly they desire it, they will absolutely, without fail, unconsciously sabotage their success to those desired levels.  In sales production-oriented companies, I refer to this phenomenon as the levels of assimilation of success.

Three common causes for the un-fulfilled potential:

1)  Internal and UN-realized belief system that success conflicts with our values; a kind of sense that humility and suffering is what ‘good people’ do and that pride and major success breed arrogance and selfishness.

2)  Trained view of self; this arises from the unconscious lessons we’ve learned from others – usually during childhood and adolescence.  Often arising from the jealousy, envy or negativity from past losses or failures of others (sometimes caretakers) that unintentionally erodes our internal belief system and creates an unconscious ‘less than’ perspective and the “I don’t deserve it” perspective.

3)  Guilt, shame or sorrow over our past deeds and behavior; many of us have the unconscious belief that we should be punished and deserve to suffer.  Surprisingly, this unconscious belief does NOT have to be solely from past mistakes or regrets.  Survivor’s guilt can have similar results.  People who have escaped unhealthy and traumatic relationships can have the same unconscious effects as well.  Many people suffer from the effects of this cause from numerous circumstances within their life.

Internal belief systems can tremendously impact our success and is common when a person was raised within a belief system of right and wrong that begets punishment or reward.  It’s common within families of any of the traditional religions.  Even within families that are Atheist in belief, they generally will have the same underlying concepts of reward and punishment or fair and unfair.

Raised a Catholic, I was taught that God is omnipotent and all-knowing and that Heaven was the reward for doing great here and the other place was for those who hadn’t. I once had a philosophical conversation with a priest and I was confused on the part we’re discussing here.  I said, “If God knows we are going to sin before we sin and has forgiven us, why do we have to confess our sins by going to confession?”  His answer was short and direct, “So that we can forgive ourselves and get direction as to how to atone for them.”

Whether you’re religious or not doesn’t matter for the point – his answer hits the point we confront within our conscience.  Are we punishing ourselves – unconsciouslyMany of you reading will say that’s ridiculous… and then tomorrow on the way to work, you’ll start thinking and remembering and then think some more and then say hmmmm…

Most Americans have some religious background or at least have the belief that the Ten Commandments make sense and therefore doing ill to others has consequences. Many of us interpreted this to mean we must pay for it – here.

“If you are unsure or doubt whether life here is the end, why not live like you’ll be graded on your performance – ALL of the rest of us will be glad you did.”

Most of us have done things or said things we regret or that had bad outcomes to others, I know I have.  They were at the time for seemingly the right reasons and believing I was helping others or eliminating their pain but like most of us, they were merely a result of not confronting who we are or out of fear.   The answer is not to live in the past and regret but to understand our reasons, as misguided as they may have been.  With this awareness, acceptance can occur; we then can adopt how we will live and impact others in the future.

“Shame and guilt cannot exist in those who’ve achieved self-acceptance, self-awareness and have developed and follow their core values.”

One of the other causes of lost potential is the assimilation of a ‘norm’ within us.  Studies have shown that people throughout their life, seek similar levels of which they are accustomed.  This occurs in several levels, personalities, finances and levels of success.  A person who grows up within a certain framework of finances tends to strongly assimilate to that same level throughout their lives.  Please note – this isn’t because they consciously seek this level, it is merely the result of their unconscious internal barometer of measurement.

On the face of the concept, many people reject this concept as hogwash as well; but it isn’t.  How many times have we heard of a boxer who strikes it rich only to lose all of their money and return to nearly their financial status prior to making it big?  Or the NFL player who goes broke after having made millions.  The statistics of the percentages of lottery winners who’ve lost all of their money in few years is in alignment with this concept.  The rest of the world states, “how could they have lost all of that money?” – The re-acclimation to their prior state is exactly the explanation.

Well, we do this with our finances, levels of success and in relationships.  Why?  Because our emotional mind, which is in control of controlling our emotional survival – considers anything that it doesn’t know or hasn’t experienced before as a threat and therefore, is unsafe.  How is this possible?  Because to the Emotional Mind anything unknown is a threat, since it can’t calculate or determine the consequences of events, having not experienced it before.

In workshops or conversations I am sometimes challenged by a participant to this concept until we delve into the basis of how men and women can leave an abusive relationship and then end up in another.  It’s not done consciously – it’s what the person ‘knows’; to the emotional mind, ‘normal’ merely means what it has experienced and survived.  The term does not reference better or worse – just ‘normal’ for our emotional mind, and therefore survivable.

Once we break that ‘link’ of norm we can escape that pattern in relationships, finances and business.

Once realizing this, it becomes entirely clear how others can become so materially successful without seemingly caring about others (here you can insert criminals, some of the Wall Street tycoons and other people who care only about their material gain).  If they have no internal barometer of right and wrong in the reflection of their worth, any mis-deed against Man is allowable.  Make sense?

So getting back to the ‘potential’ within us, there really is no element of deserve –  .

So evaluate whether you or loved ones internally have the belief of ‘deserve’ – and consider how to deal with it.  Consider Discovery Coaching to eliminate it and to reach your potential – but no matter what, just realize that you might be putting those hurdles in your own way.

And if you feel like me; I personally believe that He will judge me – there; think about it, if you believe in Him and the hereafter, He’ll let you know how you did here and possibly grade you accordingly – but where do you get off having the audacity to determine what punishment you deserve, if He is responsible for your punishment?  BE the best you can be – understand you are NOT perfect nor are you supposed to be; so don’t punish YOU if you have done your best.  And if you haven’t?  Then atone for those deeds but punishment isn’t the answer – in any fashion.

And, if you don’t believe in Him or a Supreme Being, then why punish yourself now, why NOT succeed and make amends of your past deeds by making your mark on the world in a positive manner with the successes you can achieve?

Either way, never allow the gifts and skills that you have, to go unfulfilled or your ‘potential’ to wither.  We can always live in the past and unconsciously dictate our future based on our perceived self-value and worth, resulting from our experienced dramas – but why would we want to?

Nearly every single Discovery Coaching client of mine ends up realizing that their past events AND the resulting unconscious internalization of value and worth is the driving force behind their lack of fulfillment and lack of success in their personal lives or their business lives.  People talk about self-worth and inferiority complexes but this is where it comes from and it is what determines our success and the true willingness to achieve it.

“Inspiration just might be the greatest gift a person can receive and motivation is likely the second.”

Your gifts are special and unique – they just are, you can’t debate or deny it.  You can however prevent the world from experiencing them – but again, why would you?  We NEVER know when our actions or our gifts will inspire others or motivate others.  I am not stating this is easy, in fact it’s often easy to be ignore the gifts – but this will always result in lack of fulfillment and wondering, ‘what’s it all about’.  Our world is in turmoil and needs as much inspiration as possible.  YOU never know when the child who will discover the cure of cancer will be inspired by you.

I’ve had the absolutely humbling experience of having people claim that I changed their life.  With two of these individuals, there was only a 45 minute conversation with them, which they say altered their perspective on life and who they were.  I take absolutely zero credit for this, merely providing them insight – which is part of my gifts.  We just never know when and how we can improve our little corner of the world.

Think about it, your past deeds or the ones you should have taken, for which you now regret internally should not deprive the rest of us in the world of seeing your talent or living in the world which you could improve… even if your just catching a football.

“Fact:  When lost in woods without direction, people walk in circles in an effort to escape. It’s no different when lost in life. Find your path”

Please share this with those that might just need help fulfilling their potential.

David A. Jones, President of Captive Coaching and Consulting, llc

– Discovery Coaching improves people’s lives by finding and eliminating the emotional hurdles placed in their path by self or others that negatively impact their personal or professional lives.

Posted in Athletes and Executives, Discovery, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment