Focus in 3-Steps: Executive Coaching John Wooden Style

In a previous post, I talked about the acronym F.O.C.U.S.S. and how a person can create greater levels of purpose, self-confidence, and direction. Today, I’m going to approach the concept of “focus” from the perspective of one of the greatest coaches in basketball history, John Wooden.

“In 1948, I began coaching basketball at UCLA. Each hour of practice we worked very hard. Each day we worked very hard. Each week we worked very hard. Each season we worked very hard. For fourteen years we worked very hard and didn’t win a national championship. However, a national championship was won in the fifteenth year. Another in the sixteenth. And eight more in the following ten years.” ~JW

My question is this, “Did the teams develop to a point where they could finally win a national championship or did Coach Wooden develop himself into a national championship coach?”

 

First Step: Be clear who you are and what Skill you choose to pursue excellence in (internal focus).

If you are going to become a master at a skill or craft, make sure it is one that you love and will emotionally support you for the next 20 years. Then, work to be the best!

To support this assertion another quote, “I am not what I ought to be, not what I want to be, not what I am going to be, but thankful that I am not what I used to be.” ~JW   Focus on being your best now in this moment, every moment!

“For an athlete to function properly, he must be intent. There has to be a definite purpose and goal if you are to progress. If you are not intent about what you are doing, you aren’t able to resist the temptation to do something else that might be more fun at the moment.” ~JW

 

Second Step: You must set goals that align with the expression of who you want to become and the skill you are choosing to master.

Set BIG, HUGE GOALS (external)!

For example, I chose a skill set of running many years ago. After thousands of miles of mastery, there was room for growth to always set the bar higher in terms of external goals: a 10K, half marathon, marathon, Goofy Challenge, 50-Miler, 100K Ultra and the pinnacle…100-Mile Ultra. Those goals took 20+ years of focus. As I took yoga along the way to keep flexible and train, I didn’t set a goal to become a yoga guru.

Big Goals provide the impetus to learn to perfect yourself in the execution of becoming more. They create the pressure to become meticulous because every detail counts. A hot spot on your foot in a 10K or half marathon is not big deal, on a marathon it becomes a little more important but during an ultra-marathon it means the difference between success and epic failure. Large goals are critical because they provide motivation to be diligent, prudent, and sustain a heightened level of awareness; internal and external. That creates focus.

“Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” ~JW

 

Third Step: Large goals create large obstacles to overcome.

This scares other people away from you so you have more time and energy to focus on your pursuits and not be presented with their problems.

How often during the day are we interrupted, distracted and presented with other people’s problems and life issues? People tend to conspire with others who will give them solace, empathy, and commiserate with them on their problems. The more a person commiserates with another, the more they keep coming back for more commiseration! If a heavy set person starts telling you how bad they feel, most people think it is OK to say, “I’m sorry, you know, it’s not really your fault. After all its genetics, thyroid issues, etc.” What happens when they get that response?  They keep coming back!

Granted it’s not polite to say to them, “then get off your fat buns and do something about it.” BUT, if you are setting a high goal of health for yourself, that person will naturally shy away from you. They know intuitively, as they see you pack your bag for a lunchtime workout, they won’t get much sympathy. You scare them away by setting higher standards.

 

BIG Goals scare people away because they suffer internally by comparison.

This cuts down in interruptions, distractions, and people telling you their problems. FOCUS comes from setting a higher standard than your peers. An added benefit is that the only people who will interrupt you are the people who have high standards and the exchanges will be more in the form of support, encouragement and sharing of tips that help you refine and master your craft. These can be good because they actually boost your energy, efficiency and the time spent for the interruption is time saved with what is learned by sharing.

Welcome the adversity and feelings of “being alone” in your singular pursuit. This creates focus. Here’s a supportive quote.

“When everyone is thinking the same, no one is thinking.” ~JW

 

Let’s recap these three steps:

1. Be clear on who you are and what skill you want to master (internal mindset)

2. Set Goals in that skillset that are HUGE, stretch yourself as high and far as you can go!

3. Get comfortable with scaring other people away and being alone…set a higher standard. Your only interruptions will be from others with high goals. Those interruptions will be fewer but very supportive!

 “The road to real achievement is usually bumpy and long, but you do not give up. You may have setbacks. You may have to start over. You may have to change your methods. You may have to go around, or over, or under. You may have to back up and get another start. But you do not quit. You stay the course.” ~JW

To your continued success,

James, Executive Business Coach

Learn more about Coach John Wooden here:  www.coachwooden.com

One Minute Business Coaching Solution

Here is the One Minute Business Solution:

1. Take out a pen and paper

2. Write, RIGHT NOW, as FAST AS YOU CAN, the answer to this question:

“What do you believe about your business?”   WRITE—RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

At least one page…if you are reading this…STOP AND DO IT!

WHEW…now that you are back…I have a follow-up question:

How much of what you wrote, was about Possibility and Moving Towards Your Goals of Building and Creating? how much of what you wrote was about Necessity and Moving Away From what You Don’t Want?

Letting go of the latter, those beliefs based in Necessity and Moving Away From is your One-Minute To Success Business Solution. WHY?

Necessity and Moving Away From beliefs open the door to a scarcity driven mentality. Lack breeds Lack and the reason I asked you to write it down right away, is because what drives your success in business is not what you consciously think about but what is just below the surface in your unconscious mind.

How often have you seen the sales person go in, make a great presentation and just not ask for the order and close the deal? On the surface they may say, “I rock! Things can’t be better!” but underneath is the Necessity and Moving Away From of, “I’m afraid of rejection, I don’t know exactly what to say, I’m afraid I’m being pushy, I might lose the sale, or I don’t like it when sales people ask me to make a buying decision.”

Fear, scarcity and lack are killers of any business. Keeping track of your beliefs about yourself and your business are keys for Success. And Letting go of the Negative beliefs are critical.

Wait, I forgot to let you know HOW you can let them go and what the One Minute Solution is! With the techniques of Hypnosis, NLP and Time Line Therapy, a person can easily and permanently identify and release limiting decisions and beliefs less than One Minute. If you are interested in more clients, more leads, more cash flow in your business, call now for your Executive Business Coaching “Success-Now” Session.  Clear up the head trash that is preventing you from achieving all you desire in your business and finances.  (919) 792-0085

To your continued success,

James M Murphy

 

How to manage time…1 Simple Solution

Over the weekend a friend asked how business was going and I heard myself say, “I need the world to stop for 4 months so I can get everything done I want to…and then have it re-engage.” I got to thinking about what I said later that evening and I realized if that was truly the case…I wasn’t managing time effectively at all. How does an entrepreneur/CEO/Executive manage time better? Here is one simple solution…

First, accept the fact that you can not manage time. It isn’t time that needs to be managed but your mental focus and actions. A persons mental focus will always be in one of three places at any given time. the past, present or future and each one has a definitive purpose.

Looking back to the past allows us to reflect on successes and failures (which are just opportunities to learn). Understanding the successes and failures of the past allows a person to take useful strategies forward and find new ways to use and apply them. It also allows us to identify negative actions and behaviors and reframe them into positive “learnings” so any negative emotions disappear and new possibilities for how a person “could choose” to do things differently in the future are uncovered.

Focusing on the Future is crucial because it allows a person to focus on one of the greatest human needs…becoming more. If we are not growing we are dying, it is a fundamental law of nature. The challenge is that some people focus on growing more that is positive and some people get into the trap of growing more of what they don’t want. A positive future opens the door to possiblities, growth, and “more” of life. The negative future, signalled by statements like “I don’t know or want…” only perpetuates negativity, scarcity and disempowering emotions.

And last place your focus can be is in the present, being immersed in the exact action, thought, belief and feeling right NOW…and NOW…and NOW…and NOW…and NOW. The present is the hardest to focus on because the mind is constantly pulled between the past and future.

THE SIMPLE SOLUTION…HERE IT IS!

Future—Past—Present

Focus on exactly what you want in the future…(not what you don’t want, but what you do)
Think about what tools, strategies and resources you need to be creative, industrious and solution oriented FROM THE PAST
Combine both into ACTION NOW in the PRESENT clear of any distractions.

Oh yeah, celebrate your success from doing something different today! When applied consistently, you will find yourself more motivated, inspired, fearless, and results will start to show!

If you find yourself lacking focus, a fearless attitude, or clear direction forward…call today for your “Success-Now!” Session. (919) 792-0085.

In the month of August, email me at james@evolutionforsuccess.com with the word 30-Day Challenge. I will send you a 30-Day Success Sheet and two complimentary 15-minute checkin’s, personally with me, as my way of saying thank you for your support over the years!

To your continued success,

James

Perseverance…the Key to Success!

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
― Calvin Coolidge

Let’s talk for a moment about Persistence. If this is a behavioral trait that creates success, how is it defined? Webster’s defines persistence as, “the steady pursuit of what is undertaken.”

Let’s go one step deeper. What allows someone to be persistent? I like the term perseverence. Webster defines this as, “to continue from a determination of will not to give up.” Would you like to persevere a little more in achieving something more in life?

My 9-year old daugher came home from school at the end of last year with a brilliant homework assignment. She had been tasked to build an acronym for Perseverance. Here is the best way to persist or persevere in any endeavor:

P – Practice
E – Endurance
R – Respect to yourself
S – Set your mind on a goal
E – Encourage yourself
V – Venture with your luck
E – Even though impossible, go try
R – Retry and don’t let yourself give up
A – Ask questions
N – Never say “can’t”
C – Can’t give up
E – Everything will go well

Success in any endeavor is accomplished with perseverance. Those are some pretty great belief systems and things to keep in the front of your mind as you move forward towards your goals. They also help to cut down that most dreaded of all obstacles in the pursuit of our goals: FEAR. I love this quote from Winston Churchill.

“Sure I am this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.”
― Winston Churchill

In any endeavor you must put in the time and persevere until you achieve your goals. Even if the fear is there day in and day out. Persevere and you will always cross the finish line.

To your continued success,

James

You have problems, compared to what…?

Bad Monday

Are you having a bad day? I thought I was one day last week. I was going to be late for an appointment and I was really frustrated since being late is one of my pet peeves. My frustration level grew as I turned off the highway and my forward progress came to a screeching halt. In front of me was an accident and a long line of backed up cars. As I took the detour in front of me, I snapped the picture you see in the post above. An interesting thing happened as I drove past this accident. Somehow, seeing the plight of this truck driver, putting myself in his shoes, and thinking about the phone call he was going to have to make to his boss put my problem (frustrated by being 10 minutes late) into perspective.

One of the greatest questions I ask clients when they are frustrated and angry at a problem in life is, “OK, its bad, but compared to what?” As human beings, it is easy to get wrapped up in OUR life, OUR problems, OUR perspectives, and OUR beliefs. To jumpstart the process of getting a person out of their OWN way so they can work to a solution, just ask, “Compared to what?” When we shift our attention to the plight of others, the challenges of others, the life circumstances of others (that we can relate too) it helps to put things into a different perspective. When you can shift your “referential index,” how you are referring to something, with a different perspective, it lessens the emotional impact so you can think more clear and see the opportunities to think or do something different.

It is not to be used as a justification for NOT doing something different but a means of getting unstuckk so you can find a new solution and take action to achieve a different outcome. Next time you are stuck and think something in your life really stinks…just state the problem and then ask yourself, “Ok, this stinks but compared to what?” So you thought you were having a bad day, compared to what?

In the end, my ten minutes late was nothing compared to the delays this driver faced, his boss faced, and their clients and their customers may have faced. It’s good to keep life in perspective.

If you are feeling stuck and frustrated with your job, career, relationships or finances…CALL today to schedule your Introductory Strategy Session to start moving forward again. (919) 792-0085

To your continued success,

James

Your Beliefs Hold the Key to Your Results and Your Success

Have you ever been wrong?

Our beliefs –whether rooted in the truth or not– are directly connected to the results we get and the personal and professional success we experience.

In our subdivision, there is a very large fountain that welcomes visitors and residents into the neighborhood. My son Nicolas and I were out running the other day, and as we approached the fountain, I noticed it was not working. I made an offhand comment to Nicolas, something to the effect of, “That’s strange, they don’t have the fountain on today.” Quick as a whistle, Nicolas said, “That’s OK Dad. I will make it come on in 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. NOW! Look, its magic!” And, the fountain turned on!

There was another time during my military training where we had to qualify with our M-16’s. I had never qualified “Expert” in any of our training and there were very few of us who were optimistic about their performance on qualification day. It’s hard to shoot straight when you are sleep deprived and shivering in 40 degree, rainy weather! As you could surmise, many of my colleagues were very competitive and there was a lot of posturing over who would score Expert and who wouldn’t. When all was said and done I scored 39 hits out of 40, an Expert. It was the best I had ever shot. As I walked back, I was still in disbelief. It took me a while to believe I had could have, and did, perform so well.

Each of us possess beliefs we hold to be true that have been created or that we adopted from peers and society. I have to ask, “Have you ever been wrong?”

  • What do others believe to be true about you and your life right now?
  • What do you believe to be true about you and your life right now?
  • What if what you thought was true, was in fact wrong?
Other peoples’ beliefs about you and what you are capable of achieving in life are not true. Whatever you or others think you are; you are more than that. Whatever you or others think you can achieve in life, you can achieve more than that. Other people’s beliefs do not determine your results, however, your beliefs do determine your results. Many times success in life comes by being one step ahead of the norms and beliefs that society holds to be true.

And as for the mystery of the fountain, I had been looking down as Nicolas and I were running. I did not see that the fountain stopped half a second before I looked up. As a result, what I perceived to be true, was wrong. Many times in life our perceptions of what is true, are false.

The people who succeed in the next ten years and experience prosperity will be able to challenge what they and others believe to be right. What if now was the best time to invest, make money, and succeed?

If you find yourself stuck with no way out, not believing in yourself, or surrounded by others who are sharing their doom and gloom, ask yourself, “Have I (or they) ever been wrong? What if they were?”

There is amazing potential and opportunity waiting for you in life at this very moment. In order to seize these opportunities, you might have to challenge someone’s long held belief, and maybe even a few of your own!

 

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Life Coaching Tip: Stay Ignorant!!!

Sometimes, Ignorance is Bliss…

I heard a really interesting story the other day that you may find some value in when it comes to your personal development, attaining goals, and living life.

There was a man once who really wanted something in life. Driving down a country lane to get there, he accidentally took his eye off of the road and drove straight into the ditch. Fortunately, a local farmer was passed by thirty minutes later with a horse.

 

“Could your horse pull my car out of the ditch?” asked the driver.  

“Buddy’s a Clydesdale,” said the farmer, “let’s see what he can do for you.”  

The farmer hitched Buddy to the car and said: “Pull, Blackie, Pull!” Buddy didn’t move an inch. 

Then the farmer said, “Pull, Sampson, Pull!” Buddy still didn’t move an inch.

The farmer said again, “Pull, Jackson, Pull!” And still, Buddy didn’t move an inch.

Then the farmer yelled, “PULL, BUDDY, PULL!!” And Buddy pulled the car effortlessly out of the ditch.

The grateful driver was confused.  “Let me ask you a question,” he said, “why did you keep calling Buddy by the wrong name?” 

“Well,” said the farmer, “you see, Buddy is blind. And if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try.”

 

When I sit down with people in a life or executive coaching session and we define a compelling future for them, one of the first thing that shows up is their desire to know exactly what to do in order to reach the goal.

However, if someone really knew all of the problems, challenges, and emotional stress they were going to have to go through to achieve their goals…many would never even start!  If someone really knew, in advance, all of the challenges they would have to face to run their first marathon, get that next job, or find that dream spouse, they would be so overwhelmed they would probably never start.

So, sometimes not knowing all of the obstacles and challenges that are going to happen in the pursuit of a goal makes the term, “ignorance is bliss” true.

Successful goal achievement comes from taking on the challenges one day at a time, asking for help when you get off track, and engaging faith to access your untapped potential in the face of adversity. And no matter what, keep pulling even when you can’t see!

 

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Are Ants invading your personal space???

Our thoughts are just like ANTS. Those Automatic Negative ThoughtS (A.N.T.S.) are constantly on the move looking for something sweet to feed on. A person’s brain is always thinking and creating new thoughts and beliefs, even while we sleep.
 
Learning to direct our thoughts to those healthy food sources will lead to a more productive, fruitful, and positive mindset. Listen now to my latest podcast to learn how to deal with the ANTS that may be invading your personal space!

Until next time,
James


Take Control of Your Life

My daughter was telling me that other day that it seemed an eternity going from 6 to 7 years old. For me on the other hand, the older I get the faster time flies by. As things move faster and faster in life, finding a balance between work, health, finances and career becomes harder and harder. It is easy to start feeling powerless and out of control.
It is easy to blame feeling out of control on the events and circumstances of life; the boss is too demanding and does not care, the kids’ activities after school are just too much, or stress from your relationship causes you to overeat and drink.  
There are always two ways to take back control of your life. 
The first is to shift your procedures and take control by changing the events and circumstances of life. A person can change jobs to get a new boss, sign the kids up for one less extracurricular activity next season, or join Weight Watchers and start counting points. These procedural changes we all know how to do, but still have a hard time implementing. Most people know what to do, they just don’t do it. 
Your second option?  Change your perception. “Changing perception” involves changing the way a person thinks.  All learning, change, and behavioral shifts happen at the unconscious level. 
Asking yourself better questions and adopting a different identity will help change your own perceptions of who you are and what you believe. The above examples of being stressed presuppose an identity that a person who can’t handle the stressors of life.  If they wanted to, one could choose to adopt different beliefs, such as, “The more energy I put out, the stronger I become”, “The busier I am, the more organized and the more efficient I become”,  “I thrive on life’s challenges: the faster life goes, the more momentum I have”, or “It is good to have a full life of opportunity.”
Implementing new procedures can change your life, and many times, that is precisely what is needed.  But sometimes, the solution lies in changing your perceptions of your identity and adopting a different internal beliefs system.  Those new beliefs are what will allow you to take control of your life!  
What is a more empowering identity and belief that you can adopt? Are there some areas of your life where you need to change your procedures?  Are there some areas of your life where you need to shift your perceptions? 
I look forward to hearing your response and comments! 
To your continued success,

Do You Need to Stretch?

The Boring Life of an Office Supply 
If you are like me, you may be scared to open the desk drawer that holds all of your office supplies. All of those jumbled up rubber bands, paperclips, staples, thumb tacks, and the pad of sticky notes that has become torn apart and has desk lint stuck to the back. If you were one of these poor mixed up office supplies, what a boring life you would lead. They just sit there all day in a jumbled up mess, ignored and waiting to be used. 
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt all jumbled up and confused? Have you felt bored, ignored by others and waiting for something to happen? Have you felt you were living but not really fulfilling your life’s purpose?
There is a solution. Rubber bands need to be stretched in order to hold things together that would otherwise fall apart. Paperclips need tension put on them to hold important papers together that have innovative thoughts, stories and ideas on them. Staples need to separate from the group and be bent in new ways to link thoughts and ideas together long term. Thumb tacks need to be focused and pushed into a specific area to keep things in the line of sight and visible to others. The sticky notes need to be written on with ideas, moments of brilliance and reminders of what is important in life. 
Office supplies take on an exciting life when they are used for their intended purpose. The only thing keeping office supplies from having a life of meaning and fulfillment is that they are dependent on others to use them. 
Thank goodness that we, as humans, are not dependent on others in order to be stretched and used for a purpose! What a gift it is to be able to choose the purpose of our life and how we stretch, put tension on ourselves, and use the gifts we inherently have! 
It is up to you to choose a meaning and purpose for your life today. Let that purpose guide you to make a difference by uniting people or ideas together for a common cause.  Put some tension on yourself, separate from the pack, bend yourself and stretch in a new way, and write down your important thoughts and ideas for later reference. Take action to get yourself out of the drawer and do what you were meant to do. Be free from living the Boring Life of an Office Supply. 
To your continued Success,
James
919.792.0085 
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Are You Taking The Path of Least Resistance?

The Downward Rush of the Stream…

Some things in life are inevitable. Every year the seasons rotate through Winter, Summer, Spring, and Fall. Nature is full of examples of the inevitable. Water always tends to flow downstream, taking the path of least resistance until it reaches the sea. It is easy to forget that every thought and action has natural consequences that are also inevitable.
Many actions in life become habits that tend to follow the path of least resistance. I read an interesting statistic by Steve Shapiro on New Year Resolutions that stated “Less than 15% of those over 50 achieve their resolutions every year or every other year, while 39% of those in their twenties achieve their resolutions every year or every other year.”
As a parent and “responsible adult” sometimes the path of least resistance becomes a place of comfort. Being in the comfort zone can provide stability, but it can also keep you from enjoying life to the fullest. 
If you think, “I can’t do what a 20-year old can do because I have kids, a job, and too many responsibilities” Think again! 
My wife has some friends who, a few years ago, packed up everything and travelled around the world for an entire year (21 countries in all). At the time, their children were in 5th and 6th grade! It was a risk, but ultimately they chose to achieve one of their life goals sooner rather than later. It paid off in many different levels. Not only did they enjoy an incredible life experience, but they created a stunning book along the way and donated all the profits to charitable children’s causes. 
While some things in life are inevitable, ask yourself, “Am I going to go with the flow or do something to experience all life has to offer?”  

Set Bigger Goals This Year!!!

Overcoming obstacles is in our make up!January is a time when memberships to local gyms skyrocket, New Year’s Resolutions are made, and peoples’ attention shifts to what they want to achieve in the next year.

Most people get excited about setting goals but few maintain that excitement through February and March.

I have a favorite saying: “When you set a goal, you automatically put all of your obstacles in place.” That part is not as exciting since the bigger the goals, the bigger the obstacles.

 

But, what if overcoming obstacles could be exciting?

 

What could a person achieve then?

What if people were made to overcome obstacles?

What if it was our natural instinct?

What if it was really all about overcoming obstacles to have a great life instead of achieving the goals?

The loggerhead turtle is only about two inches long at birth. It is stuck at the bottom of a hole two to three feet deep in the sand. It has to find a way out of the shell, past 40-60 other turtles, and dig upwards in the sand to open air. After it reaches the top of the hole, it has to orient itself to the water and travel up to 50 yards to get to the surf. Then, it is washed back up onto the beach an average of three times before it makes it out to sea. And that’s on a good night; If they don’t make it to the water before the sun comes up, they can become dehydrated and bake on the beach, get disoriented and go inland, or become breakfast for seagulls, vultures, and large fish. Less than 1% of all hatchlings will make it to adulthood. And yet, they can’t help but meet every challenge with excitement. As they make it to the ocean, they actually speed up!

It is that excitement that allows humans to feel alive, get strong, build confidence, and achieve greatness. It is how the 4-minute mile barrier was broken, the space shuttle was developed, the Berlin Wall came down, and the pyramids were made. It is how you learned to crawl, walk, and read this letter. People are preprogrammed to thrive on obstacles, overcome them, and have dynamic lives as a result.

It is not how long a turtle lives that makes a difference in life, but the difference he makes by living every second of life. Living a true life means living a life of overcoming obstacles to achieve and become more. It is a part of our natural instinct. Success in life is directly proportional to the obstacles that are overcome. So set some bigger goals this year! Set some fantastic obstacles for yourself!

Set your goals and reach them! What is Goal setting was exciting?

Loggerhead Turtles hatchlings.  Kiawah Island, SC.  Chances of seeing them hatch…one in a million!

What are you Willing to Give Up?



What are you willing to give up?

Have you ever had a nightmare that seemed real? During Nicolas’ youth sports we saw many nightmares come true when it came to watching fathers coach their sons’ team. Whether it was the other parents in the stands complaining of favoritism and unfair playing time, the coach getting upset at how his son was playing or the son acting out in defiance of the father; it seemed that for both the father and the son there was more pain associated to coaching and playing than pleasure.

So, there I was on the Board of Directors at the YMCA, my son on a basketball roster that had no coach, and the Director of the YMCA asking me if I had ever considered coaching.

Of course, I had considered it and promptly dismissed it. I had all of the freedom that I wanted being the “Best Fan” on the sidelines. All I had to do was show up, sit down and cheer for Nicolas from the bench and occasionally bring drinks. Bringing drinks was the best part because I could bring his favorite flavor Gatorade and be the hero without much effort.

As I heard myself say, “Sure, I can be an assistant coach for the team,” I was screaming inside of my head, “What did you just say?” And, as I showed up on the first day of practice, as the Head Coach for the team, I was way out of my comfort zone.

A funny thing happened as the weeks of practice and games progressed. I received some basketball training books, I checked out training DVD’s from the library, and continued to educate and discipline myself to show up with a plan for every practice. I agonized over every drill, every tip, hint and suggestion that I gave every young boy. I arm chair quarterbacked myself in my abilities after every practice and game. And, through personal discipline to always be a better coach, learned a lot.

One practice in particular, I took candy to reward players for some drills we did at the end of practice and as the boys eagerly grabbed and fought for their favorite flavor, one young boy on the team, Johnny declined. His dad explained to me that for Lent he had given up candy. Johnny was 9 at the time and I was seriously impressed at the character and discipline he was living. As I learned more about Johnny I found that he played on our team, his school team, and lived at the gym playing ball with the grownups 7 days a week. His mom would pick him up from his school practice, feed him in the car and bring him to our practice. Sometimes after our practice, if his schoolwork was completed, his dad would take him to the gym to play.

Many people in life want the Freedom and instant gratification that comes from having no discipline or rules. You have heard people say, “I want to be thin so that I can eat whatever I want” or “I wish I was rich so I could buy anything that I wanted and not worry about money ever again.” If you were thin, you would not eat anything you wanted and if you did, you would not be thin for long. Same with being rich, if you never focused and concerned about how you spent your money, you would find yourself broke.

True Freedom in life comes only through discipline. The word discipline comes from the root word disciple, which means, “a student, a learner.” Discipline also comes in two different forms. We can discipline ourselves to NOT have something. During Lent, it is traditionally represented as something that you “give up” for the 40 days. If you are older, you may remember that every Friday it was tradition to not eat red meat. Fasting is also associated with Lent in order to represent cleansing and purification. The ability to discipline ourselves also can be done to “have” something. I personally am giving up procrastination and am disciplining myself to “Have” more focus in my writing and business sales everyday.

We learn through gaining knowledge, taking action and self evaluation. The freedom of movement a thin person experiences only comes by being disciplined about what they put in their mouth and how they move their body to exercise. A rich person is rich because they have disciplined themselves on how to maximize their income and cut their expenses to an acceptable standard of living for themselves. Johnny will grow up and experience the joy and freedom of being on his high school team, college team, and I believe the NBA because he disciplines himself to create positive habits and behaviors that put him ahead. The freedom to REALLY develop a meaningful relationship with my son only came when I overcame my own fears and insecurities. I disciplined myself with gaining knowledge, planning, taking action, and self evaluating my performance to become the coach that I wanted to be for myself, my son, and his team mates.

If you want to travel more, buy that new car, improve your relationships, move towards that more meaningful job it will only come from disciplining yourself to do something new in order to grow. I would encourage you to find a place in life where you can set a higher standard of discipline for yourself. You will be amazed at the results you will receive from it in the long run. Nicolas will not remember that I used to bring Lemon-Lime Gatorade for his drinks once a season, but he will always remember me as his coach and “Best Fan.” You can the freedom to have all that you desire in life with a little more discipline. It is the essence of success and the cornerstone of character.

To your continued success,

James M Murphy