Monday, August 2, 2010

Own yourself, own your opponent, and become a star: A Two Part Series

It no doubt takes a lot of skill to become a star athlete. These skills can be practiced and honed day-in and day-out over the course of a lifetime. However, even with the fastest fastball, the hardest slap shot, quickest feet, highest jump, or perfect shooters eye; a player may not be the star of a team or a defining player in the history of their sport.

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins exemplifies star quality, and he's only 23.

So what does it take to become a star? Stars are unique in the way they approach not only the game but the way they approach everyday life; and it is this reason why we fantasize about becoming them when we are youngsters. We are mesmorized by the ones that seem to light up the room just by being present. We note their confident demeanor, yet humble mannerisms, and we feel good just entertaining the thought of, “maybe someday…” There are stars in every aspect of life, not just athletics. Yes, the most recognizable are often seen in the paper, on television or heard on the radio, but let’s not forget the great soldiers, philanthropists, teachers, doctors, journalist, police and fire fighters, inventors, or businessmen. Heck, I think even a person who has worked the 3rd shift at a factory for 30 years, been married for 28, raised 4 children, and is active in the community deserves the biggest star of them all. The moral is that you don’t have to be rich and famous to be a star. The best, the stars of life, possess courage, charisma, integrity, great forward thinking, a good sense of humor, strong morals, and an attitude that doesn’t accept failure. Not surprising, possessing this combination of character traits almost always leads to a fulfilling life, which is ultimately all anyone is hoping for.

Owning Yourself

I used to have a football coach who, at the end of practice, would give our team a word of the day. Well, it didn’t take very long to find out that the word of the day, every day, was attitude. At the time I thought, “ok guy, you’re just the ol’ ball coach trying to rally the troops,” but man do I wish I would’ve listened sooner. Being around coaching and fitness has made me realize that a players/clients attitude can determine how quickly they can rise to the top. Sports stars and successful people alike use a positive, go-getter attitude to attack every opportunity, and make the most out of each day. With hardened determination they don’t cut corners and they don’t expect anything to be given to them. The best understand the utility behind hard work, and do what it takes to be the best.

When faced with a challenge or decision all of us reflect, for some time, on the right way to deal. Some critical questions we ask ourselves might include: How does this choice affect who I want to be? How will this affect others view me? How will this help me reach my goals? How is path ‘A’ better than path ‘B’ or vice versa? Analyzing and dissecting these questions is a great start to defining yourself. Considering the “how” is necessary to successful preparation, and we can agree that preparing for something often induces a favorable outcome. Preparation also increases confidence when faced with unexpected difficulties along the way; more on that in a bit. Stars are naturally steadfast with answers to these questions, and can easily identify which path is a means to a gratifying end.

Stars go confidently about their daily business; they portray swagger and can put teammates at ease, while at the same time filling opponents with nerves. Confidence, along with attitude, illustrates that you are in charge of your actions and no matter what you are going to make each minute your own. Once you are in control of you, then you can manipulate problems and conquer obstacles that stand in your way.

Stars are also patient, and smart, enough to know a second opinion is often helpful to solidify decisions. Seeking outside advice is another way successful people choose the right path. They find others who have been in similar situations and learn from them. A mentor is often, but not necessarily, older than the person seeking advice; but has been someone of admiration for a long time. A star knows to seek advice from an outside person, but does not necessarily administer all of the advice to their own life. A star simply takes the new knowledge, edits, and uses it as a guide, thus maintaining the integrity of blazing their own path.

So have you made a plan for yourself? Do you know what qualities define you? Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses? I encourage you to ponder these questions and outline your character. Once completed, you’ll be on your way to owning the problems in your life. Stay tuned for part 2!

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