Blocking & Tackling

Dan_Weedin_022It was a satisfying Saturday in watching my alma mater, the University of Washington Huskies defeat our cross-state rivals the Washington State Cougars and retain the Apple Cup for the 6th consecutive year. With apologies to my WSU pals (well, not really), I feel obligated to create a point from the victory…so here it is.

After the game WSU coach Mike Leach summed up why he felt Washington prevailed. He succinctly stated that the Huskies, “blocked better than us, and tackled better than us.” He was right, and he also offers a reminder to our business and lives.

Blocking and tackling are the fundamentals of offensive and defensive football, respectively. The lack of execution in one of these might cause a team to lose; in both it’s nearly always fatal. The same is true in business. Regardless of your position or industry, you have fundamentals that mirror blocking and tackling in football. These skills extend from decision-making at the executive level; to influencing skills at the managerial level; to process skills at the implementation level. Complacency often sets in with the best of us; we block and tackle every day and often forget how important staying sharp and focused on these critical skills are. What are the “blocking and tackling” fundamentals in your business and career? How well are you and your employees performing daily? If you’re not “winning” as much as you’d like, check your fundamentals.

Final thought. Blocking and tackling carries into our personal lives as well. If you want to improve your relationships then hone your communicators by listening and civility. If you want to improve your health, then blocking and tackling morphs into eating habits and exercise. If you want to reduce drama and conflict, focus on positive thinking, empathy, and talking.

Blocking and tackling wins football games. They also help you win in business and life.

On three. Ready…break!

Quote of the Day:

“The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.”

~ Lewis Grizzard (20th century American writer)

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Extra Points: Tip of the Ball

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This Week’s Focus Point: Tip of the Ball

I recently watched a documentary on Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver, Steve Largent. Largent is one of my all-time favorites and I enjoyed learning more about him. One thing that caught my attention was how he used a lesson from skeet shooting to become a better pass catcher. He recalled being taught to aim at the tip of the skeet when firing because you needed the bullet to go where the skeet was going, not where it was. Largent took that concept to the football field. Instead of keeping his eyes on the ball, he focused on the tip of the ball. In other words, where the ball was going rather than where it was.

Where are you going in 2016?

You can use this same concept in your own business and life. Your focus today – your daily activities, behavior, and mindset – should be on what you want to do one year from now. What kind of clients do you want to have? What new skills do you want to gain? How will your employees and company culture be better?

Bottom line – if your focus is on the ball (what you’re doing today) then you will miss the target a year from now. Life is too volatile. You must be intentional in your goals by doing the things today to achieve what you desire in 12 months. Be bold, be nimble, and be focused on the tip of the ball.

Quote of the Week:
“That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees.”
~ Marcus Aurelius (famed Roman soldier)

© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Whom Do You Listen To?

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This past weekend’s Michigan State vs. Michigan game had one of the wildest conclusions in recent years in college football. With Michigan winning and simply needing to execute a punt with 10 seconds left to win the game. the punter dropped the snap and instead of falling on it, tried to pick it up. The ball landed in the waiting arms of a Michigan State player who raced into the end zone as time expired for the unlikely Michigan State win.

In the aftermath, fans around the country sitting on their couches (and commenting on Twitter) exclaimed, “All he has to do is fall on the ball and the game is over!” Easy for us to say. My guess is the majority of the “experts” (including those in the media) have never punted a ball in a college football game, nor been in a situation like the Michigan punter trying to make a play in a split second. In all transparency, I voiced my displeasure on a dropped pass by a Washington Husky player in the end zone later that evening in our game. My last live action football came in junior high.

Just like athletes in all sports are susceptible to “coaching advice” from journalists and fans on social media and sports talk radio, business professionals are just as vulnerable to getting “suggestions” from others on how to be better at what they do. I often think of highly trained and educated nurses in hospitals that are constantly barraged by their “customers” on how to do their job!

Getting coaching advice, mentoring, and sometimes well-intentioned tips from those that are not experts in your field is not in your best interest. Listen to those you choose to help you; those who have been where you want to be; those that have experience and knowledge you want. We fans are quick to say what should have happened after the fact, but rarely have the perspicacity or skill to have done it ourselves. Don’t allow those that want to provide unsolicited advise to derail your business and career. Be careful of whom you listen to.

© 2015 Toro Consulting Inc. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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Extra Points ~ Going Deep

This week’s focus point…Going Deep14_02_DanCapJackRetouch_001

Sometimes you just have to throw the ball deep…

In football, the offense focuses on “possessing” the football. That means avoiding costly interceptions and fumbles. Without the ball, you can’t score. Because of that, coaches teach ball security to their quarterbacks. But that doesn’t mean they won’t occasionally throw the ball deep.

Sometimes a coach and a quarterback need to take risks. Throwing the ball deep has a 75% negative possibility. The play can result in either a sack (loss of yardage when quarterback tackled); an incomplete pass; or an interception (bad). The one positive is a quick strike, home run play for a touchdown. It’s the ultimate risk-reward play.

I’ve met too many business owners and executives that play too conservatively in their “game.” Fear of losing their own proverbial football keeps them from taking risks like professional development; coaching or mentoring; hiring employees; and/or creating new products and services. For individuals that don’t own a business, that fear of the “interception” keeps them from seeking new careers; asking for a raise or promotion; seeking out internal opportunities; and/or accepting new challenges offered to them.

Ball security is important, but winning the game is more important. In order to maximize your potential and talent, you occasionally need to cast away fear and throw the ball deep. If it’s “intercepted,” then pick yourself up, go play defense, and get the ball back. If it’s complete for an exhilarating “touchdown,” you may have just catapulted yourself, your career, and your business to new heights.  And that’s worthy of a touchdown dance!

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 This week’s quote –

 Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

~ e.e. cummings

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Extra Points ~ Cigars, Donuts, and Forgiveness

14_02_DanCapJackRetouch_001This week’s focus point…Cigars, Donuts, and Forgiveness

I enjoy a cigar and donut every month. Not together, of course; yet this weekend both were enjoyed. I’ve been assured by my doctor that a monthly indulgence of both isn’t going to be detrimental to my health. In fact, they may have a very positive effect to the spirit.

I exercise about 3-4 mornings a week. I used to be avid about it. I’d go 6 days a week and spend hours in the gym. Now I’m pretty happy if I get 45 minutes in. If I miss a day, that’s okay. I will get the next one.

It seems that we live in an ever increasing world of “all or nothing.” I hear from people on diets that require strict regimens with little to no tolerance for flexibility. I know of folks that consider it a personal tragedy if they don’t get in 6 days of exercise every week, to the point of giving up other things. And in so many cases, we humans are more hard and unforgiving of ourselves than we are of friends and family that make mistakes. Heck, I even hear from football fans bemoaning a team’s win because the style points weren’t good enough!

Life is short. Enjoy the ride. We only come around this way once. Every day and it’s experiences are new, so cherish them. Everything in moderation. If you mess up, learn and have a short memory. Don’t try to make up for things undone, just do them next time. Apologize when you make a mistake, forgive others, and forgive yourself. And eat a donut every once in awhile just for good measure without regret.

The filling of the donut and of your life are worth it.

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

I never smoke in excess. That is I only smoke one cigar at a time.”

~ Mark Twain

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Weedin Unleashed LIVE broadcast at 12 pm PST today!

Extra Points ~ Fail Hard

This week’s focus point…Fail Hard

There is a consistent theme that governs all athletics, especially those that are contact sports. It’s the notion that if you are going less than 100% for any reason (e.g. fear of getting hurt, trepidation), then you’re far more likely to get hurt. Those going full speed have essentially put their bodies in the best possible position to deal with impact and stress, thus avoiding their biggest enemy of getting hurt.The same is true in business and life. Those of us who fear going full speed to avoid calamity, are more likely to face it because we aren’t prepared to take any blows.

Failure is a given in sports and life. If you’re going to fail, then fail hard. Fail by going 100%. That way, when you take the blow, you can bounce back up and be resilient. When I was in 9th grade, I played on the junior high football team. I remember running a drill where I was carrying the ball and trying to avoid a tackler. I an effort to lessen any pain (as my confidence in getting past the tackler was very small), I went half speed. Eric Seelye did not. Eric drilled me right in the chest and dropped me like a bad habit. The next thing I remember was that I was lying on my back, staring at a blue sky, and unable to breathe. It was my first encounter with “getting the wind knocked out of you.”

If you don’t want to be sans “wind” in your career, then don’t go half speed. Fail hard and get back up. Don’t allow the barriers in life to deter your path. Going half speed will only get you hurt when you get drilled in the chest. If you go full speed, you will be resilient in the face of crisis, and ultimately successful in reaching your own “end zone.”
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.

~ Lewis Grizzard

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The Super Bowl Edition

At my Rotary meeting on Friday
At my Rotary meeting on Friday

I have to admit, this Super Bowl week has been exciting for me. I’m old enough to remember the Seahawks coming in as an expansion team in 1976. I was 11 years old and they became my favorite team for life. I was in New Jersey not far from where the Super Bowl will be played tomorrow. I was there on a business trip, so it was a little serendipity that I flew out when they were flying in.

I watch a lot of football “stuff” on a regular basis throughout the year. My wife Barb thinks I have a screw loose and way too much useless information floating around my head about sports in general (though I will note she is proudly wearing her Seahawks gear that she “borrowed” from me). I must admit staying focused has been a challenge this week. Since it’s only our second trip to the biggest game in 38 years, and our first in the last 8, this isn’t old hat. The fact that it’s being held in the grandest city in the world and the center of all entertainment, business, and culture; well that just adds to it. As I signed off from work last night, I knew this weekend was just going to ramp up. Barb and I have a party with friends tonight to celebrate the Chinese New Year and tomorrow off to her brother’s for the big game.

So what’s all this have to do with anything you may ask…

Look, we all have lives outside of our career. For many of us, we are our own bosses and can get pretty wrapped up in ourselves and our own issues. Even as an employee, it’s not uncommon to take a myopic view of your life and forget to have one.

As my professional mentor, Alan Weiss always says, “You don’t have a professional life and a personal life, you have a life.” One of the coolest things about sports is that it can band together people of all different types of lives into one common cause. For us here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s now our time to revel in the Seahawks. It’s okay to let yourself get distracted a little and enjoy something that doesn’t come around all too often. Here’s a quick example…

I was watching an interview with NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders on the NFL Network. He was talking about fellow Hall of Famer and former teammate Jerry Rice. Rice was a fierce and dedicated guy when it came to the game and his training. Sanders opined that Rice played as long as he did because he didn’t want it to end. He was so driven that he actually didn’t enjoy all the experience of his career while he was going through it and kept grasping at keeping it going. Sanders had taken a different approach and tried to soak it all in while being in the moment. Watching Sanders, that’s not hard to imagine.

Are you enjoying your life? Are you allowing yourself time away from your career and job to get distracted once in awhile? Do you ever pay a little extra to get a better seat, a nicer room, or eat at a fancier restaurant? We only come around this way once. Shouldn’t we give it all we’ve got?

The prediction: Yes, I may be a “homer,” but I really believe this. I believe defense still wins and the Baltimore Ravens proved that last year. Here is my prediction for the game on Sunday…

Seattle 24 – Denver 20

Russell Wilson will win the Most Valuable Player of the Game award and Kam Chancellor will have the game saving turnover in the closing minutes. I guess you can tell I haven’t thought much about this…


Go Hawks!

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

The Deep Throw

Football is a game of risk and reward. Calculated risk and reward.

If you’re a defensive coach, you must make calculated decisions on when to blitz the quarterback. Your upside is a sack and loss of yardage. The downside is your weakness is exposed and the quarterback beats you with a deep play. It comes down to who executes the best. Most championship defenses are willing to take chances to gain the upside. If you’re familiar with the prevent defense, it’s a passive strategy for when a team has a lead. They play everyone deep to avoid a big play, yet invariably by playing not to lose, they give up too much ground, too many points, and lose momentum. The very best defenses are ones that will take chances because they trust in each other and are willing to bet on themselves.

If you’re an offensive coach, you can also choose how you want to play. Many teams take the less risky route by throwing all the short routes and “check downs.” While often effective to move the ball, they frequently get bogged down in the red zone (20 yards out from the end zone). They often must settle for less points. The successful teams mix in a good amount of riskier, downfield throws. The chances for interceptions and sacks increase, but the upside is a game changing and momentum shifting play. They take prudent risks, based on their skill sets and ability to execute.

What’s this mean for you?

Do you play prevent defense? Do you settle for moving the ball between the 20 yard lines but avoid the big mistake? Championship business professionals are the same as championship football teams. They learn to be smart, cunning, and aggressive when betting on themselves. Being in business is a “game” fraught with peril. It’s not for the faint of heart. You will run into situations where you will have to take risks in your language (how you talk to clients and prospects to be influential); your skill development (investing in professional development and coaching); and new initiatives (products/services). The championships in this game are won not by those that play a prevent defense or a conservative offense. They are won by those that bet on themselves and make bold moves in the spirit of winning the game.

The Super Bowl is next week and the two teams playing (including my favorite team) have done this and look at the results. What about you?

P.S. My previous post was about the “open gate” and what it means to be “unleashed.” This is a great example of running through that gate…

Copyright 2014 Dan Weedin. all rights reserved


Going 1-0 Every Day

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll
Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll

One of the mantras that Seattle Seahawks head coach Peter Carroll enjoins to his team is that they must have the mindset every week of going 1-0. In the National Football League, you can get beat “on any given Sunday” because the competition is so good. Even the bad teams have enough talent to upset a favorite if they don’t play with a razor sharp focus. Coach Carroll has so drilled this into his players, that I’ve heard many of them express this concept when being interviewed throughout the season. That’s become their culture.

I had a recent conversation with a consultant that I coach. We discussed at length this same concept because she was finding that outside forces were distracting her. These forces (some of which she had no control over) would frustrate her and cause anxiety. The results are the same as losing a football game in the NFL. Anxiety and frustration mask talent, and when that happens you begin to press, put too much pressure on yourself, and ultimately never reach your potential.

You need to create your own culture for yourself of 1-0. This means that each day deserves your complete focus and attention. Planning ans scheduling is fine; but undue focus isn’t. This is a challenge for me. I tend to get distracted from things both in the past and future; work related or not. I recently have found that even my volunteer work has caused distractions that I have to work hard to shake. This requires focus and discipline.

Go 1-0 every day. Set your daily goals and priorities and compete with yourself to achieve them. If things happen that are unplanned for, don’t freak out. Just do what Russell Wilson does and call an audible. Stuff happens, you know? But your end goal is to always end the day with a win and then start over the next day. My coaching client emailed me today saying this concept worked for her and she was adapting the 1-0 mindset. You can, to..

Regardless of your vocation – solo practitioner to CEO to stay at home parent. Each day affords you the chance to go 1-0. Take that challenge and win.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved