In the first edition of the interview series, I sit down with MLL All Star Chazz Woodson to talk about his philosophy as a player and a leader.

Believe

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Philosophy, Playing

Everyone loves an upset.  We love to see David bring down Goliath, to witness a team achieve a feat that we all deemed near impossible.  For us, the spectator, we are only part of the game, the final product and the end victory.  We are all welcomed into the celebration and amazement when the clock hits zero and the unbeatable foe is beaten.

But these victories were birthed long before the game was every played, long before anyone stepped onto the field to go to war and do battle.  Victory started in the hearts and minds of the team as but a tiny ember.  That tiny ember can turn into a raging fire.  That ember that sparked the unimaginable outcome is belief.  Belief in yourself, belief in your teammates, belief in victory.

For all of you who are facing Goliath and are in battles that no one thinks you can win – BELIEVE.  Believe in yourself, believe in your teammates, believe in victory.

For if you do not believe you can win, you have already lost.

Timeouts

Posted: March 12, 2012 in Coaching, Philosophy

The other team starts to gain momentum, a quick goal followed by another and then another and then another, with no answer from your squad. You have gone from man to zone defense, you have changed your offensive sets, you’ve tried every other adjustment you can think of. And then your coach calls a timeout. You once again take to the field, but things have changed. The momentum has been impeded and your team has a renewed sense of confidence and direction.

Great coaches know when to call a timeout.  They know when the team needs to take a step back, regroup and refocus. There are times in our lives when life is pouring it on and things are getting out of hand. Recognize when you need to slow down and center yourself.

Be a good coach and know when to call a timeout.

People not products

Posted: March 8, 2012 in Philosophy

Is anyone else tired of hearing about personal branding?  I learned about it in school, I read about in blogs and articles, I hear people speak of it often. The concept is everywhere in our society, but for those of you who are not familiar with the idea of personal branding, below is the definition sniped from Wikipedia.

Personal branding is, for some people, a description of the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands.[1] It has been noted that while previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.[1]

I abhor the idea of people becoming a product; packaging and peddling themselves to the world as  someone they are not for money, status, friends and other personal gain. In a culture that is overrun with marketing and sales pitches, the last thing we should be doing is selling ourselves, which completely cheapens who we are and who we are intended to be. The fact that personal branding is taught, practiced, and encouraged is disheartening for me.  How did we get so lost that we stopped focusing on who we truly are and started focusing on what others want us to be? We are not products, we have hearts, emotions, minds and souls that have been created for a higher purpose and meaning.  Turn off your electronics, have a conversation with someone and look them in the eyes and you will see the inescapable fact that people are truly more than a commodity. We are all unique, we are all different, and we all have value on which you cannot put a price tag.

I will leave you with a few meaningful lyrics from David Gray’s song “Shine”. May you never compromise your soul, because in the end, we are much more than products: we are people.

For all that we struggle
For all we pretend
It don’t come down to nothing
Except love in the end
And ours is a road
That is strewn with goodbyes
But as it unfolds
As it all unwinds
Remember your soul is the one thing
You just can’t compromise
Take my hand
We’re gonna go where we can shine

The 100% Rule

Posted: February 13, 2012 in Philosophy

The 100% Rule says that adhering to personal convictions 100% of the time is much easier than doing it 99% of the time.  The rule is simple in theory yet extremely difficult in practice. For example – let’s say you decide that smoking is unhealthy and a habit you never want to take up.  The 100% Rule says that you will have a greater chance of never habitually smoking if you can avoid lighting that first cigarette.  I know that this statement is beyond obvious. Could you have just one cigarette and not become a chain smoker?  Absolutely, but breaking a personal conviction even just once is a slippery slope.  Holding firm only 99% of the time can quickly turn to 95%, which can turn to 50% and on and on until something that you set out to avoid has now become a habit.

Anyone who has broken a diet, a New Year’s resolution, or struggled with an addiction of any kind can attest to this rule.  Everyone can attest to this rule.  We often tell ourselves “just this one time” or “there is no way I could go the rest of my life without ever doing (insert habit here) again.”  What we need to focus on getting through that moment only.  When the next obstacle arrises, and we all know it will, we will deal with it then.  Moment by moment is how we overcome.

I hope that you find the inner strength to adhere to your personal convictions 100% of time and when your convictions are being challenged, may you focus on only the moment.

People who have done it

Posted: January 30, 2012 in Philosophy

“At any rate it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.” – Socrates [Apology 21d]

One of the hardest things for many people is to admit that they don’t know what they don’t know.  Do you remember sitting in a classroom and your teacher concludes the lecture with, “Does everyone understand?  Are there any questions?” You have questions, but you don’t ask.  No one else’s hand goes up, so you think you must have missed something and you don’t want to be the only one that didn’t get it.  Five minutes later you find yourself in the hall talking with your classmates only to find out they had questions as well, but were too scared to ask.  This scenario plays out on sports fields, in the workplace and just about everywhere.  For many people it is a humbling experience to realize that they do not know something.  But once we admit that we don’t know everything and start asking questions something magical happens – we learn, we grow, we improve.

Once you determine that there is no shame in asking questions, where do you go to get questions answered?  Who should you learn from, who should you ask?  For me, the first place and last place I go is to someone who has actual experience.  The age old adage that experience is the best teacher is absolutely true.  There is a lot to be said about someone who has walked and lived in an area of life in which you want to learn and grow.   I respect people who have done it and I seek out those who walk the walk for advice!

There is a lot of value in learning from people who have actually done it…

The Voice Inside

Posted: January 13, 2012 in Philosophy, Playing

Will you seize greatness?