The Single Decision

Each day, there is one single decision that stares each of us in the face. The decision that lies before each of us is the question of excellence. The question of excellence can not be broken down into component parts. It can not be divided into sub-goals or part-time aspirations. Rather, the single decision we all have to make is whether we have the courage, conviction, and toughness to walk the path of excellence.

I want to encourage each of you to make the decision TODAY that will help you stay the course tomorrow (or next week, next month, or next year!) when you come across a difficult part in your journey. Once the decision is made, there is no turning back. Once the decision is made you will have no choice but to continue pushing through the frustration and obstacles that stand in your way.

Here’s what the former Men’s National Gymnastics team Coach had to say about the single decision that we are all faced with (excerpt from Tim Ferris’ Book, Tools of Titans):

Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence. In fact, it is essential and something that every single elite athlete has had to learn to deal with. If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it. In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals. Unreasonable expectations timewise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to a perceived feeling of failure. Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process. The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home. A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes. Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge. Refuse to compromise. And accept that quality long-term results require quality long-term focus. No emotion. No drama. No beating yourself up over small bumps in the road. Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process. This is especially important because you are going to spend far more time on the actual journey than with those all too brief moments of triumph at the end. Certainly celebrate the moments of triumph when they occur. More importantly, learn from defeats when they happen. In fact, if you are not encountering defeat on a fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough. And absolutely refuse to accept less than your best. Throw out a timeline. It will take what it takes. If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smaller intermediate goals, then only one decision needs to be made and adhered to. Clear, simple, straightforward. Much easier to maintain than having to make small decision after small decision to stay the course when dealing with each step along the way. This provides far too many opportunities to inadvertently drift from your chosen goal. The single decision is one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox.

Christopher Sommer (Tools of Titans)

Make your decision today!


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What Makes You an Indispensable Leader

The modern economy is moving away from people to act like machines and towards people who can add a different kind of value. The blue-collar jobs on factory floors are slowly disappearing as technology encroaches on an economic model of years past.

The new economy demands authenticity because people can smell inauthentic leadership a thousand miles away. We are starving for original thinkers and artists who can cultivate an experience that wows and inspires us.

The leadership of the future will no longer be measured in the number of units produced but by the number of people you can inspire. Indispensable leaders are the ones who creativity overwhelms their sense of duty; who are able to problem solve in a world that spits out new challenges minute by minute.

Only you can make yourself indispensable. Only you can push yourself to explore the nuances of your craft when most people settle for being mediocre. Only you can push past your perceived limits. A mediocre leader simply completes the task assigned to them, but an indispensable leader  pushes past the boundary of average and into the realm of possibility.

Don’t settle for average, rather, strive for indispensable. Dig a little deeper, train a little bit harder, care a little bit more and watch the people around you rise to greatness. 

Start exploring, start creating, start making yourself indispensable today.

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How “Process Praise” Makes You More Resilient


Psychologist Angela Duckworth and her research team did a series of experiments in which they observed and measured how different types of praise had a positive or negative effect on a child’s motivation and resilience in tackling difficult challenges. What they found was that the children who received “process praise” (i.e. praising the things within the child’s control: hard work, perseverance, diligence, strategies, focus, etc) were more likely to develop a resilient approach towards difficult challenges later in life.

In one study they evaluated the type of praise mothers gave their young children. Duckworth then followed those children’s progress and checked in with them five years later. They found that the type of praise children were given as toddlers had a huge impact on their attitude towards facing challenges later on in life. The children who received process praise when they were young were more motivated learners and ended up doing better in math and reading compared to their peers who were praised for their talent or innate abilities.

As coaches and teachers, the principle of process praise is powerful as we try to help our team’s develop a toughness that will enable them to deal with the inevitable challenges of life. When we make it clear to our teams that a commitment to the process is the only key to success, we are giving them the tools to be successful both on the court and in life. By praising the process we are implicitly preaching the gospel of hard work, diligence, and focus as the antidote to the challenges that we all face.

Begin today to help your team develop the mental toughness it needs to push through the ups and downs both on the basketball court and in life. Praise the process and watch your team attack the challenges in front of them with tenacity!

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Success is Sequential

“It takes 20 years to make an overnight success” (Eddie Cantor)

The path to extraordinary achievement is always sequential because greatness never happens by accident. The idea of someone who is an “overnight success” is a myth because all success is the byproduct your daily habits. Success is a series of dominos that gain momentum as our daily work creates the necessary force to move us from where we are to where we are to where we want to be.

Our habits and daily commitments are the fuel that drive us towards extraordinary results. Success happens when we learn to take care of the “now” so that we can find success in the future. Extraordinary results require an uncommon committent to the daily process of working towards a singular goal. When we make that commitment to take steps towards a unified vision of the future we will be surprised at how quickly we reach our destination.

The biggest dominos in your life will never get knocked down unless you first make the commitment to push the smallest dominos first. Knocking down the small dominos requires a persistent determination to your daily habits, that over time will lead to extraordinary results.

Remember, that all success is sequential. The road to meaningful accomplishment starts today. Start by knocking down the smallest dominos first and you’ll be surprised how quickly you end up where you want to be.

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Becoming a Leader Worth Following

The most effective leaders are those who become the type of person that others willingly follow.

Most of us know the type of leader that we would be willing to follow—intuitively we are drawn to these type of people. We might not be able to give a detailed description, but we all know a true leader when we experience one.

Transformative leaders have a presence, they have an aura about them that embodies the principles they stand for and demonstrates the values they preach.

In assessing our own leadership the challenge is clear: How do I become the type of leader others are willing to follow?

Transformative leadership is only possible when a leader develops the necessary habits, dispositions, and mindset that allows their effectiveness to be unleashed.


Start with You

Great leadership is more caught than taught. Simply put, your habits, dispositions, and character are what define your leadership in the eyes of the people that follow you. For better or worse the team is going to take on the personality and habits of the leader.

Leaders have a huge responsibility then to become the type of people that they want the people in their organization to imitate.

Effective leadership always, “starts with you.”  As a leader if you want the people around you to be self-controlled, selfless, full of integrity and passionate about serving others then YOU have to embody those qualities on a daily basis.

Remember leadership is more caught than taught, which means that the people on your team are going to follow your example more than what you say. You need to look in the mirror and become the type of person for others that you are asking others to become for you!


Focus on Them

As leader’s become the right people for others, they will inevitably inspire those around them to become the people they were created to be. A relational approach to team-building and leadership should be the natural extension of any leader’s commitment to becoming a leader worth following.

No one follows someone they can’t relate to and no one follows a leader they don’t feel connected to. A core requirement in becoming a “leader worth following” implies that my growth as a leader is not a self-serving exercise, but is founded on the desire to help others reach their potential.

The effectiveness of your leadership is tied to how well you marry these two approaches—“Starting with You” and “Focusing on Them.” World champion coach Gregg Popovich offers insight into how he leads his players:

“I think relationship building helps them want to play for you, for the program, for their teammates. Beyond that from a totally selfish point of view, I think I get most of my satisfaction from that. Sure winning championships is great, but it fades quickly.”

Gregg Popovich

Leaders understand that a genuine concern for the people around them is the relational building blocks that every great team is built on. Popovich does this by making an effort to build a relationship with his players on and off the court: the entire scope of their lives becomes a matter of importance, not just how many points they can score or assists they can dish out.

When leaders show that they care, strong teams are built and lives are transformed.

We can all get started by growing into a leader worth following by developing two simple habits. Here are behaviors that manifest “starting with yourself” and “focusing on them.”

  1. Daily Nourishment

“Starting with you” begins with building a sound mind, body, and spirit every day.

Every day find a time, a place, and a resource—this could be anything from a book, podcast, sermon, or article—that feeds your mind and heart with the truths of transformational leadership. Write those three things down right now.

  1. Time
  2. Place
  3. Resource


  1. Relational Approach

Write down one person you want to connect with and build into as a leader this week. Invite them to lunch or schedule a phone call. Be intentional and focus

on building that relationship this week by showing interest in who they are as a person.


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