Punching Back…Hard

Ronda RouseyRonda Rousey, in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, admitted that she was so distraught after her defeat to Holly Holm in November that she briefly contemplated suicide. The former UFC champion had been undefeated – and literally unmatched – until Holm knocked her out in the 2nd round of their title bout. Rousey’s words in the interview were chilling. She said, “I sat in the corner and thought – What am I if I’m not this anymore?”

What am I if I’m not this anymore?”

“This” for Rousey was undisputed, undefeated, and rock star UFC champion. I don’t doubt her sincerity in her statement or her feelings after the fight. I’m glad she found a way out of that mindset through the help of her friends and family. And, this sentiment doesn’t just hold true for athletes like Ronda Rousey. The world of entertainment is rife with stories of “stars” that have committed or attempted suicide or just threw their life away because they no longer identified as the “rock star” any longer. They defined their life – and their self-worth – as that “rock star.”

Humans are humans. Business people can fall victim to the same mindset. It’s not limited to Fortune 500 CEOs, political figures, and well-known business moguls. It can also happen to a small business owner that is running a 3rd generation family business and is facing a crisis; a sales superstar that has gone from fortune to famine; or a community leader that has fallen on hard times. These are just examples…the truth is that anyone can get caught in the trap of defining themselves by what they do rather than who they are.

When I coached high school basketball a decade ago, I admit I was pretty competitive. In my earlier years of coaching youth basketball, my teams won the vast majority of our games. As a high school coach, the losses outweighed the wins by a much larger margin. There were times that I allowed myself to be defined as a coach – and as a person- based on my winning percentage. The only person thinking that was me. I had defined myself as a “winning coach,” and “what was I if I was no longer that?” This hurt my self-image, my self-talk, and my self-confidence.

Fortunately, that was short-lived. These can often be minor points of time based on perspective and proportion. For business owners, executives, and entrepreneurs, this definition of themselves may be tougher to break free from.

Let’s do a very quick exercise to help you find out where your self-worth is currently:

FirstHow do you define yourself? What makes you who you are? Is it your job, your business, your affiliations?

SecondWhat happens if that’s gone? Are you opportunistic to find something else, or will you be crushed? Is what you do everything, or are you resilient to become anything?

FinallyDo you believe that you’re special, talented, and great even if when you fail? Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson confidently proclaimed after he threw a game-ending interception in the Super Bowl that he wouldn’t let that one play define him. He was seeking that next opportunity to be great. The following year, he had his best year ever.

Maybe in the end, since we started with Ronda Rousey, we should look at this from a boxing perspective. It’s not simply about being able to take a punch in life. Almost all of us have been able to do that.

The real question is – Can you can take a punch and then jump back up and deliver two punches of your own? People with great self-worth, that define themselves by who they are and not what they do, and that are resilient and opportunistic…these are the people that can.

Russell Wilson has. I have full confidence that Ronda Rousey will. But more importantly for the purpose of this article, can you?

Go define yourself as a puncher and a winner. That’s the surest and straightest past to living an “Unleashed” life.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

My Super Bowl Epilogue – Therapy for a 12 the Day After…

20140121-162057.jpgI’ve been asked my many of my faithful readers what my thoughts were on the end of the Super Bowl. They were surprised that I didn’t vent on my Extra Points, but that edition was written long before the game.

When I coached high school basketball, I had a 24-hour rule (especially after losses) on making statements to avoid allowing emotion take over. This one hurt…bad. Heartbreaking, tragic, and any other adjective on that level applies to me and my fellow 12s. There may even be a few lessons on leadership and management for all of us. You never know. So here it is…

Full disclosure…I expected and wanted Marshawn Lynch to carry the ball on 2nd down on the 1-yard line to score a go-ahead touchdown and win the Super Bowl. It’s what I (and about a gazillion other people including the Patriots) expected to happen. I still think it was a tragic error by Pete Carroll to call for a pass in that situation. But then again, I would have kicked a field goal with 6 seconds left in the first half. Which leads me to my first point…

  • You can’t have it both ways. Head Coach Pete Carroll has always been a gambler and as much as we sometimes cringe, we more often than not have ended up on the good side of the score. Have we forgotten last year’s 4th down completion to Jermaine Kearse for a touchdown against the 49’ers in the NFC Championship game that ended up being one of the critical game-changing plays? How about the fake field goal just 2 weeks ago versus Green Bay that resulted in our first touchdown? You live by the sword and you die by the sword. In truth, his instincts have been right more often than not.
  • Calling a pass in that situation (although I’m on record that I wanted the run) isn’t crazy. In fact, it’s a good option at that point with only one timeout left. My issue is the pass play itself. If you’re going to pass, put the ball in your point guard’s hands (i.e. Russell Wilson) and give him options to throw or run. Eliminate the necessity of perfect timing and a bunch of bodies clogging up the middle of the field. I watch every Seahawks game and I think they are more effective passing the ball in from the 1-yard line than running it. My issue is with the play.
  • Pete Carroll was right. The call was set up perfectly for the defense. If you watch the experts on ESPN or the NFL Network diagram it out, it was set up for success. Here’s my issue – I believe more in players than plays. If you have Calvin Johnson or Dez Bryant running that route, fine. With all due respect to Ricardo Lockette, we don’t have that guy. The timing of the play requires that Wilson throw to a spot. Kearse didn’t get his job done in rubbing off the cornerback that eventually picked it off. The failure was in the execution and that happens when you put your trust on the play and not your best players. Our best players are Lynch and Wilson. We needed to give them the opportunity to win the game for us.
  • Let’s give a lot of credit to two Patriots on that last play – Malcolm Butler and Brandon Browner. Browner stood up the smaller in stature Kearse (in my opinion a coaching gaffe to have him there) and didn’t allow the legal pick. Butler, an undrafted rookie, made a brilliant move beating Lockette to the ball and then hanging on to it. That was an unbelievable play by him. Wilson’s ball was too high and needed to be in a spot that only Lockette could catch it. Give Butler credit for making him pay. Those guys on defense get paid, too. They out-executed us on that most important play and it won them a championship.
  • Pete Carroll took the blame. That’s what good leaders do. Russell Wilson took the blame, saying that he threw the pass. That’s what good leaders do. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Ricardo Lockette could have fought harder for the ball (twice). That’s bogus. While he may be entirely right, he threw his player under the bus. Lockette is a backup that makes his living as the gunner on special teams. He’s not even your best wide receiver. He’s good, but not special and that play required special. Bottom line is that even if you’re right in your assessment, you take the blame. That more than anything else can lead to dissension in the ranks. Bevell is not ready to be a head coach.
  • I read and hear people bashing the defense for their 4th quarter performance. The Seahawks were 18-0 heading into this game when leading by at least 10 points in the final quarter. Now 18-1. Here’s the deal – first of all, the Patriots are good. Really good. They have one of the best quarterbacks of all time and outstanding skill receivers. Second, I literally gulped when we lost Jeremy Lane. That was a huge loss because now the Hawks had to move Byron Maxwell into the slot and leave Therold Simon out there against these terrific wide receivers. Advantage Brady. Two of the touchdown passes (including he final one) were thrown against Simon. Third, losing Cliff Avril to a concussion was brutal. We lost our outside speed rusher and from that moment on, we never put the same pressure on Brady.
  • Injuries are part of the game, but let’s be candid here. Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor were all banged up and not nearly close to 100%. You lose Lane and Avril during the game. The guys coming in are doing the best they can but it’s not the same. Brady will find weaknesses and exploit them. It’s not dissimilar to benefiting two weeks earlier from a gimpy Aaron Rodgers. The defense wasn’t the same because, well…it wasn’t the same.
  • I was asked about the mêlée at the end and must admit I wasn’t watching it live because I was off in the corner throwing my own little private tantrum. Let’s face it, highly charged guys in the heat of the moment can get into very emotional states at the worst time and that is unfortunate. For his part, Bruce Irvin issued an apology. What Doug Baldwin did earlier was indefensible. I like Baldwin a lot and have every time come to his defense, but on his touchdown celebration antic, I can’t. It hurt his team and it was embarrassing to the organization and the city. Knowing him to be a smart guy, I doubt it will happen again.
  • I look back at how close Marshawn was to scoring on the play before the interception. When he hit the 3-yard line, I thought he was in. Someone made a great tackle and isn’t getting credit for saving the game for the Pats. Damn.
  • If I hear one more knucklehead conspiracy theorist imply that the coaches actually decided to not give the ball to Lynch because they didn’t want him to be the MVP, then I might actually internally combust. These people are either still drunk, ignorant, or need concussion testing. C’mon, man.
  • To a fan with no dog in the hunt, it may have been the best Super Bowl of all time. That is of no solace to us on the losing end; in fact it makes it worse. This loss doesn’t sting. It hurts like a Kam Chancellor hit to the gut. You don’t get chances to make history all the time. It may never happen again. The NFL is set up for “anti-dynasties.” It will be hard to get back here again next year. I think I now know how Boston fans felt when the ball went through Bill Buckner’s legs in the 1986 World Series or Buffalo fans when Scott Norwood’s game-winning FG strayed to the right in Super Bowl XXV.
  • I’m now way past “dazed and confused.” I’m getting over the “really, really angry” stage. Now, I’m just trying to gain perspective. All that within 24 hours shows some maturity and growth from me. Maybe that’s what happens when you get your AARP card in the mail.

My final thoughts – The coaching staff made the same mistake that many business people make. They were guilty of “over-thinking.” It’s always best to “stay in your lane” and do what you do best. The Monday Morning QB in me says you err on the side of winning or losing with your best players. With 26 seconds and one timeout left, you lean on Wilson and/or Lynch. If you’re going to pass, then give Russell options and outs, not precise timing patterns. That’s when he’s at his best. Damn again.

I know how much I am still hurting. As a former coach, I know it’s exponentially more painful for the players, coaches, and organization. It’s probably time for us soon to be part of the team and show them our support. You win and lose as a team. And we fancy ourselves part of the team, so time to act the part.

But (as a good colleague of mine always signs off with), that’s just me…

Extra Points – Never Give Up

This week’s focus point…Never Give UpJack and Dan

I admit it. I gave up. I was sitting forlornly at my brother-in-laws house with a group of people watching my beloved Seahawks losing at home in the NFC Championship game versus the Green Bay Packers. They’d played poorly. Nothing seemed to be working. And now with 4 minutes left, we had thrown another interception and were still down 9 points. It was over.

I won’t recount the crazy next 20 minutes, but the history books will show an improbable Seahawks victory in overtime. Listening to the post-game interviews from coach Pete Carroll, quarterback Russell Wilson, and several other players; it was clear they hadn’t quit. They were going down swinging; they still believed. Until that clock hit zero, they truly never gave up. That’s why they are going back to the Super Bowl.

Never give up. Ever. No matter what happens in your life or your career, never quit. Life is short and the opportunities abound even in what seem to be incalculable odds. Football and all sports are a microcosm of life. I hear people say that sports aren’t like real life. I disagree. They are “real life” for all the players and coaches that make it their career. They are real life for the fans that follow them. Your career and life are just as “real,” and often face the same anxiety, stress, and challenges that face teams in games and seasons. That’s why no matter how bleak things may look, never give up. You never now when that winning touchdown pass will happen for you!

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

The 2015 Unleashed Executive Experience –Click here to learn more

Welcome to the most powerful and dynamic program I’ve ever created for business owners and executive leaders on unleashing your vast potential and maximizing your own unique talent and that of those around you.

My concept of the “open gate” is that unlike dogs, we as humans often tether ourselves inside our own personal gates and due to our own self-imposed limitations and fears, choose not to risk going through the open gate in front of us. The results include dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, poor leadership, bad morale, inefficiencies, and boredom. Bottom line is you and your business leave money and talent on the table.

 

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…

russell_wilson

Go Hawks!

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Amnesia

Amnesia.russell_wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson fumbled the ball on the very first play from scrimmage against the San Francisco 49’ers in the NFC Championship game yesterday. He lost the ball and the 49’ers scored on that possession. Wilson went on to have a terrific game and help lead his team to a win and a trip to the Super Bowl. In the post-game press conference he was asked about that fumble. Wilson responded that as a professional athlete, sometimes you need amnesia. You forget about the bad play. It’s over. You move on without it renting space in your brain and focus on the next play.

We need to do that, too. In both business and life we need to have amnesia on our own “bad plays.” We all make them and if we choose to dwell on them, they will continue to haunt us and keep us from maximizing our potential. Conversely, a little amnesia in these cases (after a quick lesson learned) will help us to accelerate to success and win our own championships.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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