Compete or Quit!

Former San Diego Chargers DB Antonio Cromartie

At this time of year hard core football fans are looking for any whiff of the pigskin to keep their appetite for the gridiron satiated. That’s one reason why the NFL Draft, which happened a few weeks, gets so much attention and publicity.

One of the most coveted positions that NFL teams look to draft are defensive backs (DB), the ones charged with covering the offensive players who are typically the fastest players on the field – wide receivers. This is one of the hardest positions to play in football because you have to defend against some of the best athletes in all of sports.

I remember playing DB growing up and it wasn’t always fun, because getting beat for a long touchdown pass by a wide receiver can be demoralizing. Nevertheless, one thing our coaches would always stress was, “compete on every play!” This meant trying your best every single play with no excuses. It didn’t matter how talented the other player was -or how untalented I wasn’t – I had a responsibility to fight, press, push, and anything else I could (within the rules) to keep the receiver from getting the ball. If I wasn’t going to compete on every play, my coach wasn’t going to let me play!

As I think about my football experience I can see how this DB mentality is very relevant to our daily lives. Here’s how…

  1. Give your best effort in every situation. Desire and effort often trump talent. Even if your technique isn’t right, at least give 110% effort. Semi-talented players who work and have good technique will beat out super-talented players who are lazy. Don’t be lazy with your talent and do everything you can to make up for the lack of it.
  2. Put yourself in a position to win. Practice your technique. Stay in shape. Learn as much as possible. Become the expert. When you’re doing the right things usually good things will happen for you.
  3. Have a short memory. DBs have to forget about the last play – whether good or bad, because the next one is coming. You can’t celebrate too long for something good or get down on yourself for something bad, because your team is still counting on you to do well in the future. Learn quickly and get ready to try again.

Everybody has an excuse for why they don’t put forth their best efforts. Unfortunately, excuses are like armpits – everybody has them and they all stink!

In life you have to play hard and you have to play to win… or you might as well not play.

Thrive on Purpose,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

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From Chumps to Champs!

Of course by now everyone (or at least 100 million of us) knows the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl yesterday. It was definitely an exciting outcome for the city of New Orleans and the team’s fans all around the world. After so much heartache and turmoil over the past few years, much of it due to its challenging recovery from Hurricane Katrina, the city and region can finally celebrate a collective victory.

It seemed like the bandwagon for the Saints got bigger as their success continued to build throughout the season, which is rare because success is not something this team is accustomed to. Did you know that in its 42 years of existence, this franchise has won only 42.5% of its games? Did you know it took them 20 years to have their first-ever season to win more games than they lost? Did you know they have a winning record against only 6 out of 32 NFL teams? Did you know that they won more playoff games this year (3) than they had in their entire previous history (2)? In fact their nickname used to be the “Aints“. (Source: Wikipedia)

This team was definitely not an overnight success. They (along with this deeply-emotionally-attached region) have had 42 years of frustrating futility: embarrassing defeats, deep disappointments, crushed expectations, and lots of “let’s try again next year“.Yet after all this team and city has been through, they can finally say they are World Champions.

It’s never too late to pursue your dreams, whether it’s been 4 years or 40 years. Don’t allow your disappointments and defeats to deter you from your destiny. There is a champion inside of you ready to win. Keep praying, keep believing, keep pursuing, and keep trusting God that your championship celebration will come!

Sweet dreams,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

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Dare to dream again in 2010!

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Thriving Unity

“Super Thrive Week” Series

Unity within a team, business, or family is not truly tested until adversity arrives on the scene. Even when adversity is expected it may be hard to resist the temptation to buckle to its demands, quit, or retreat.

Back in 1958, the University of Buffalo football team had an incredible opportunity to have their unity tested. This is an awesome story. Watch what happened…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Sometimes it’s easy to do the right thing when there’s no outside pressure or benefits for doing the wrong thing. However it can be a totally different story when something significant can be lost as a result of choosing the right thing to do. That’s why it’s always inspiring to see people stand up for one another, especially in situations when you think they might do otherwise.

Check out what happened to the University of Buffalo football team nearly 50 years later…

If conflict fosters intimacy, then at your company, on your teams and in your family, let your adversity bring you closer together, not tear you apart. You will all learn to value one another more and grow together, benefiting everyone in the long run.

Thrive on Purpose,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

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Conquering Giants: Thriving Leadership – Part 2

“Super Thrive Week” Series

Continued from Part 1…

Leaders pursue new opportunities and tackle problems in a similar manner to how coaches lead their teams. Both leaders and coaches focus on three critical coaching components: 1) personal preparation, 2) player development and 3) game management.

  1. Personal Preparation: A leader can’t lead any of their players anywhere they have not already been – even if it’s only mentally. Leaders keep their eyes on the big picture, namely the intended outcome of each game (i.e. assignment or project) and their relevance to the entire season (i.e. fiscal period). They recognize that their players look to them for inspiration and direction, so they do whatever it takes behind the scenes to keep their competitive edge. They push themselves to maintain their level of expertise in their area of specialty, as well as gaining at least a minimal level of familiarity in other subjects.
  2. Player Development: Leaders understand that the long-term success of the team will depend on the overall development of the players. They are able to effectively assess the developmental progress of each player and then determine what each player needs to help them grow to reach their potential. They also understand that each player motivates differently, so they are adept at knowing the right buttons to push for each one. Furthermore, leaders constantly look for teaching moments, whether it’s before, during, or after a project, event, situation, etc.
  3. Game Management: Coaches don’t win games… players do. Leaders recognize that they need the contributions of all of their players in order for the organization to accomplish its goals. Leaders design the best strategies, systems, and processes that will position their players to manage and complete their assignments efficiently and effectively. They are keenly aware of various situations that may dictate certain decisions, such as reorganizing the players in the game, substituting a player, or changing the game plan.

Thriving leaders are able to effectively balance all three of these components. They are not hands-off delegators, that just let their players to do whatever they can to win, nor are they micro-managers who oversee “people-bots” who are afraid or unable to make heat-of-the-battle decisions. These leaders know when to be more engaged versus when to let their players figure out their own solutions to problems.

You can become an effective Leader if you: 1) Embrace the fact that just because you are a leader does not make you a superstar. Without your players, you will have minimal success; 2) Create environments that empower individual players while at the same time boosting the team as a whole; and 3) Learn your team well enough to know how to position them to win the game.

Coaching your team (or family) to success takes an unwavering commitment to the fact that every player matters. You may be able to accomplish a lot by your own efforts, but you’ll be able to accomplish so much more with the right team in place. I look forward to seeing your team win!

Thrive on Purpose

Paul Wilson, Jr.

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Are you an OA?

Follow my conversations on twitter.com/pwilsonjr

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Conquering Giants: Thriving Leadership – Part 1

“Super Thrive Week” Series

Sports movies are one of the best sources of inspiration, especially when it comes to conquering challenges and overcoming seemingly impossible odds.  One of the best motivational scenes of any movie that I can recall was in the movie, Facing the Giants.

My favorite thing about this movie is how the coach realized that although his team wasn’t the most talented, he convinced team to look beyond their talent to see something that no one could take away from them – heart. He helped his players see beyond their perceived limitations and reach goals they would not have thought possible for themselves.

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more about “Facing the Giants“, posted with vodpod

In life, thriving leaders are really like sports coaches. The best coaches are keenly aware of their team’s overall strengths, weaknesses, and potential. They are in tune with each player’s skill set, temperament, and how they can best contribute to the overall success of the team. These coaches are ambitious and confident not in their own ability to play the game, but in their ability to position their players to maximize their collective talent to win the game.

Continue to Part 2…

Thrive on Purpose

Paul Wilson, Jr.

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Are you an OA?

Follow my conversations on twitter.com/pwilsonjr

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