BE THERE BEFORE YOU GET THERE

shutterstock_111719189_20799You have to see it. You have to see the corner office with the great view. You have to see the championship belt being wrapped around your waist.

You have to see the house with the picket fence and 2.5 kids. You have to be there before you get there. If you can’t see it how can you believe it?

I see myself speaking in packed stadiums. I see myself changing the lives of millions of people. I can see it clearly. Whenever I accomplish something that’s on my “to do” list it eerily seems familiar. It’s like shooting a last second shot in basketball. Any kid growing up playing hoops has imagined hitting the game winning shot thousands of times. They’ve seen the ball go in as the clock counts down from 3, 2, 1, and then the crowd goes wild.

Positive visualization is such a powerful tool. It’s like you trick the mind into believing the event already happened, so when it does the mind is at ease. The opposite effect can happen as well if we allow it. If we feed our mind negative scenarios, doubt and fear rear their ugly heads. There is no crowd lifting us in the air after the game, the corner office was given to that jerk Bob from accounting, and the speech we gave ended abruptly after we vomited on the first row. Looks a little different right?

Most successful people have two things in common, one they’ve gone through some kind of hardship to get where they are, and two they visualized success even during the roughest of times. It’s a lot easier to feed your mind positive messages when you’re a billionaire. It’s when you’re scrapping just to put food on the table that really tests your mental fortitude.

Understand that every journey starts with a single step, and once you take it you’re already on your way to being successful. Positive messages produce positive results my friends, see it and you’ll eventually be it.

 

 

 

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HATE BOX

For the last four years or so I go through a morning ritual that most of you are probably aware of. The second I wake up I write a motivational quote for the day. After I come up with the quote I’ll post it on the three or four social media outlets I have accounts for. On Saturdays I post a blog and go through the same routine.

hate news Most Americans go through a different routine. They wake up, grab their coffee and turn on a box that either sits on a stand or is nicely perched on a wall. The channel is most likely set to something called the news. The actual word news has a couple of different definitions, but this particular one stood out to me. News is defined as, “Newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events”.

This news is supposed to be informative, and some might even say educational. Outside of the weather what is it actually educating us about? If you are one of the billions of people that watch the news each day what did you learn today? You learned that their are wars in other countries, widespread racism throughout our country and the rest of the world, hate crimes, ignorance, murder, child abductions, and anything else depressing you could think of. At the very end of one of these uplifting stories was probably a five-minute segment about a little girl who found her missing cat. The editor must have felt that one heart-warming story could balance out the others.

The same editor is in charge of what stories we see every day. Now no one quite knows who’s in charge of the actual media but whoever it is probably doesn’t subscribe to my daily quotes. Think about everything that comes out of the box that so many are addicted to watching, how much of it is positive? We have a reality show for every major city with a bunch of crazy housewives waiting their turn to drop the rate of tourism with one politically correct sentence after the other, but how many programs on that same box are on their for the sole purpose of uplifting others. Before you name Reading Rainbow, or Sesame Street take the kids and church programs out of the equation. Now name one. Exactly.

We live in a society where most of us believe what we see. If it’s on the news then it must be right. So what happens when you hear a negative story about someone from another race, nationality, religion, or gender? What if you hear this story every morning you wake up? Does it sway your opinion of them a little bit? Be honest with yourself. For those of you who remember the L.A. riots think about how much media coverage it got.

From sun up to sun down you saw some of the most vivid images you could imagine. Reginald Denny an innocent white man being dragged from his truck and almost beaten to death by a group of black men. Ironically the exact same scenario started the riots to begin with, but it was a black man being beaten by white cops. Did it divide the country, of course it did. So did the O.J trial, the Tawana Brawley case, the murder of James Byrd, every war we’ve ever fought, immigration, gay marriage, terrorism, and the list goes on. It’s amazing that a country that has had the blueprint to our survival since 1768 still can’t figure it out. It was John Dickinson’s “Liberty Song” that said “By uniting we stand, and by dividing we fall”.

The division is in the form of red and blue states, ghettos and suburbs, pastors and scientist, legal’s and illegal’s, gays and straights and the list go on.

I’m not saying throw the box out that you love so much. I’m telling you to be aware of the messages that you only allow yourself to see. Understand that not everything is what it seems. There is more to the ocean then just the surface. It’s on us to explore and get the truth. In the words of the great Zig Ziglar be a “good finder”, because the world has more to offer then just the negative.

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I DARE YOU

tongue-frozen-to-poleI dare you to not be a product of your past. I dare you to break the mold that society so badly wants to put you in. I dare you to block out all the white noise in your life that makes you doubt your self worth. I dare you to start believing in you.

I dare you two stand on your own two feet. I dare you to stop worrying about who’s behind you or who’s in front of you. I dare you to be great even on the days you feel anything but. I dare you to change the world.

This isn’t a blog it’s a challenge. Great people are harder to find than big-foot these days and I think I know why. When we’re younger we challenge each other all the time. One of our goofy friends would tell us we couldn’t do something and next thing you know we would try to prove them wrong. Now this didn’t always turn out in our favor, but it was the challenge that drove us. If our tongue ended up sticking to the frozen pole in front of the school so be it.

These days we don’t challenge ourselves enough. We stay in the middle of the pack unwilling to run ahead. Leaving the pack behind would take extra work. It would involve getting out of our comfort zone. That’s what separates the good from the great. The ability to deal with that discomfort and push forward despite it. So what are you going to do?

Are you going to wake up today and strive to be average? Are your goals so low that you’ll never have to stretch to reach them? Or are you going to challenge yourself to be more. The choice is yours.

I had a conversation with one of my younger coaches yesterday about goal setting. I told him to write down goals so big that they scare him. When your goals make you nervous you know you’re on the right track. If no one else will dare you to be great I’ll take the challenge right now. Because the greater we are as individuals the greater we’ll be as a planet.

 

 

 

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THE INVISIBLE NET..

lThere’s an old saying that goes, “Leap and the net will appear”. Which basically means have faith in what you do and things will work themselves out. We live in a world of fear.

We’re afraid to take chances. We’re afraid to chase dreams.

Most people need to see the net first before even thinking about jumping. That mindset is what separates the good from the great. I can’t tell you if you’ll be successful or not, but I can tell you that you’ll never know unless you put yourself out there and try.

Fear tricks some of us into thinking that there is no net, regardless of how hard we work or how much we believe.    So most people decide to stay grounded. They’ll watch other people take the leap of faith and wonder how they did it. What they fail to realize is that anyone of us can make the jump. The choice is ours.

It’s like jumping out of a plane. Once you take the leap there’s no turning back. What deters most people is the process before the actual jump. As you’re going over safety instructions and signing your life away its human nature for your mind to start wandering. Scenarios of the parachute not opening, and your family watching you free fall to your death on the nightly news dance through your head.

At that point the flight or fight mechanism inside your body kicks in and you have to make a choice. It’s either yay or nay. When it comes to chasing your dreams we have the same two options. Now granted jumping out a plane is probably a tad bit scarier than deciding if you’re going to switch majors in college or not, but in the end it’s ultimately on us.

Fear is one of life’s great time wasters. While we sit and second-guess our dreams time ends up turning those dreams into distant memories. The net will appear but you’ll never know unless you jump.

 

 

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SMOKE AND MIRRORS

SOCCER-PROTESTWhen you live in a world like the one we live in nothing is really what it seems. Think about this for a minute. Right now in one of the most impoverished countries in the world a celebration is going on. Brazil is the host of this years World Cup. An event that has more viewers than the Olympics.

Millions of people are all looking at the same thing but what do they see? Outside of the cameras, lights, and flags there are people struggling to live. For every goal scored there are hundreds of favelas ignored. A favela in Brazil is a slum; they are located mostly on the outskirts of the country’s larger cities. As the World Cup brings an estimated 11 billion dollars of revenue, those without will be on the outside looking in.

Sometimes the eyes only see what the mind allows them to see. If your focus isn’t on injustice it will be hard to see it let alone sympathize with it. Distractions stop us from seeing what’s right in front of our eyes. How often do you look at your iPhone? It’s hard to see what’s going on during the middle of Candy Crush. The problem isn’t our vision it’s our mindset. In a ME dominated society it’s hard to focus on WE or US. With technology booming the way it is a new piece of yarn is always available for us to chase. The problem is what we should be chasing are answers.

No one ask WHY anymore. What did you do last week? Do you remember? How could you with all the distractions each day? If you watch the news the first thing in the morning I doubt you know what you did two hours ago. Hundreds of stories fed to us about what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s supposedly going on? When did we lose our ability to think clearly?

Free thinkers are slowly becoming extinct. When everyone shares the same brain the individual dies. We weren’t born to be the same my friends. One of the first questions we ask as a child is WHY? We’re curious about the world we want to know how things work, so why not now?

Not everything is what it seems and the sooner you realize it the better you’ll be.

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EMPTY

gas tankI remember the first time I saw the light. Let me clarify. I’m not talking about a near death experience. I was seventeen years old and driving my moms van back home from a friend’s house. I was about five miles away from my house and the red gaslight started blinking. I started envisioning walking home as my abandoned soccer mom van sat stranded on the side of the road.

I immediately came up with the top three excuses that would not get me killed by my mom after I woke her up and told her what happened. I was thinking about possibly putting dirt on my clothes and making an elaborate story about running from a bear. Then I remembered that Tina Thomas would most likely end my life right there.

As these painful scenarios raced through my mind I noticed something, the car was still moving. I was almost home and the van hadn’t stopped yet. Unless there was a different meaning for the word empty I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. When I pulled into the driveway I realized my moms car was a liar. Maybe realizing that I was a new driver it wanted to play a prank on me. A little rookie hazing for the new guy whose a little wet behind the ears. Then I remembered it was a car and I wasn’t in a Stephen King movie.

The next morning when my mom woke up I informed her that the car may or may not have any gas left. I was about to offer my assistance so we could push the van to the gas station. Then she told me about the 30 miles or so you have left in the tank once the gaslight comes on. WHAT!!!??  My mind was blown, and if the van wasn’t made of material that would break my foot I would have went outside and kicked it for scaring the crap out of me.

This scenario would happen time and time again. I would be out with my friends, on my way to work, on a date, you name it I saw that gas light more times than most people. The difference now was I knew that cars were liars. I never panicked I would just drive twenty or so miles and then casually find a gas station. Having that little piece of knowledge made me calm. What I didn’t realize at the time is that like cars our bodies work the same way. Don’t look for the gaslight on your body just hear me out for a second.

Think about the hardest workout you’ve ever done in your life. The one where you were on the verge of tears. After you finished did you peel yourself up and walk to your car? If the answer was no you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Somehow you tapped into something inside of you that pushed you through the madness.

We all have this reserve tank inside of us. The problem for most people is they don’t know its there. So as soon as the regular tank start running out they panic. Panicking most the times leads to quitting. I always talk to the kids I train about the last sprint of practice. It doesn’t matter how hard we trained mostly everyone can push themselves through one more. That could be one more sprint, one more round, one more test, one more chemo treatment, one more job interview, one more anything.

YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT. The tank isn’t empty my friends there’s more left inside you. Now you know, so when that light comes on laugh it off and make it home.

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YEAR 1

bryceYou wont remember the balloons or the cake. You won’t remember your crazy adopted uncles and aunts singing to you. To be honest you won’t remember much of anything for the next couple of years, so I wanted to let you know about your first one on this earth.

You made me tear up from the very first second I held you. I remember being in the recovery room with you right after you were born. As the nurse read your measurements I couldn’t take my eyes off you. I thought about your two grandfathers that are no longer with us. I thought about the first time you’ll pick up a basketball, put on a Gi, or tell me about a girl. As all these scenarios ran through my mind tears starting forming in my eyes. I couldn’t believe I had a son. I stared at you until the nurse told me they needed you back for some more test, and anxiously waited for you to meet your mom for the first time.

When you came home your mom and I were scared to death. We handled you like an egg fearing that any sudden movement might break your small body. Despite seeing the nurses at the hospital flip you around like a gymnast we were still extremely cautious. Eventually through the late nights, the explosive poop, and the projectile vomit we started to figure it out. One day you looked at me and smiled, and I swear to this day I can’t accurately describe the feeling I had at that moment in words.

Then came the laughter and the hugs. When I’m driving home from the gym my goal some days is just to get home before you go to bed. Every morning you wake up I’m already patiently waiting for you. I never thought I could love anything as much as I love you, but you proved me wrong from our first moment alone in the recovery room to right now as I write this.

We have a long way to go Bryce. There’s so much that I can’t wait to teach you. How to dream big regardless of what anyone else says. How to give back and understand there’s always someone, somewhere that has it worst than you. How to get up no matter how hard you get knocked down. How to be your own man, and take a different path from the sheep that will try to get you to follow. I wanted to keep this short so I’ll honor my word.

Happy Birthday Bryce I’m going to end up eating most of your cake this Saturday, but there will be plenty in the years to come. Thanks for coming into our lives I love you son.

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THE POWER OF WORDS..

wordsThe other day before practice one of the janitors at the school we workout at called me over. I’ve known Rich for about six years now and he’s always been great to our program. Last week I gave him a copy of my book and inscribed a very long thank you message in it for all that he’s done for us.

When he calls me over its usually either one of two things, its a comment about how hard our kids work, or a joke. This time it was completely different. Rich said to me in what could be described in a little louder than a whisper, “Your book made me cry”.

I didn’t know what to say. I’ve had people approach me about the book and say it moved them, but for whatever reason Rich’s comment caught me off guard. Maybe it was because I just gave him the book the week before or I was in practice mode. I thanked Rich for reading the book and sharing that with me. We forget how powerful words can be. It doesn’t matter if they’re written or said words can change people’s lives. With that being said it’s amazing how careless we are with them.

Go on any social media site, turn on the news, or watch one of the thousand reality shows on television and you’ll hear people throwing words around with no idea of the affect they could possibly have. The person that coined the term “silence is golden” must have been around people that didn’t have anything good to say.

When I started writing five years ago I had a choice. I could use my words to make a difference or I could be indifferent. From my very first quote I realized that my words could have a positive impact on other people, and that’s why I write.

This past week I spoke at a group home in Morristown NJ to a bunch of awesome young adults trying to make a change in their lives. I talked to them about not letting their past define their present, and believing that they could be anything they put their mind, heart, and soul to. Seeing their faces as I spoke to them, and the light come on the more I spoke gave me a feeling that I couldn’t possibly put into words.

What are you saying? Is it impacting anyone else in a positive way? Always remember that your words matter if not for you then someone else.

 

 

 

 

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LET THEM TALK

POP Book amazon

One of my proudest moments as a writer came when I first saw my book on Amazon. Seeing a dream unfold right in front of your eyes is more rewarding then I could ever put in words.

As I stared at the page for a while I saw that some of my friends who had read the book wrote some awesome reviews in my behalf. I scrolled down and made sure to make a note to thank everyone who took the time out to write one.

Then all of a sudden it hit me. I had a one star review!! Now the rating system is from 1 to 5 with one being the lowest, all the other reviews were 5 stars except for this one.

Let me rephrase this it wasn’t just a one star review, it was a paragraph of someone bashing me that hadn’t even read the book. It went on and on about my character, my coaching, and anything else you could think of. My first initial reaction was anger. I couldn’t believe that someone who didn’t read the book had the nerve to talk trash about it. It was a personal attack on me and I wanted to find out who wrote it. I had a notion that it was someone that I knew because of the comments they left in their review. I wasted an hour of my life stewing about this and eventually after a CSI like investigation I found out who it was.

As I was going to make the phone call of death I looked at a Tony Robbins book on Amazon. Tony Robbins is one of the biggest motivational speakers on the planet and has a million self help books out. The book of his I was looking at had hundreds of bad reviews.Now granted their were thousands of good ones, but the fact that hundreds of people could bash someone whose helping change the world for the better woke me up. It made me realize something that I’ve known my whole life. If you’re doing anything worthwhile someone somewhere is going to have something to say about it.

Call them “haters” or whatever term you choose, but the bottom line is their not going anywhere. The closer you get to your dreams the more they’ll have to say, usually anonymously under the veil of some weird screen name. What makes me even more upset than the bad review is the fact that I can’t get back the sixty minutes I spent stressing about it.

There will always be opposition on your journey for greatness. That is the yin and yang of life. The key is blocking out the white noise no matter how loud it gets. If I never wrote a book I would have never seen the review. So let them do the talking while you do the walking.

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THE SILENT KNOCK..

condo-securityYou know the knock where you look at whoever is sitting with you in the living room, and for a split second there’s total silence as you both look at the door. Is that the Pizza guy or are we just hearing things?

It’s funny because in that moment neither of you can move. The sheer disbelief that the pizza you just ordered thirty minutes ago is at your door paralyzes the both of you.

Now imagine if after one knock he was gone? Imagine instead of pizza places tagging slogans like “thirty minutes or less”, they said, “One knock and we’re gone”. People everywhere would have their ears to the door waiting for that pizza, I would assume in the world we live in today some would have a red carpet out with their door already opened.

This scenario happens every day all over the planet. The pizza guy represents opportunity. When someone coined the phrase, “Opportunity knocks” they left out the most important part. Opportunity knocks but then it moves on. Opportunity doesn’t wait for you to get ready it presents itself and then in a blink of an eye goes on to the next door.

We’re so obsessed with finding the perfect time for things. What we don’t realize is there is no perfect time there’s just time, and if you understand the concept of it you know that eventually time runs out. Here today gone today! I can see Apollo Creed (if you don’t know the reference we’re not friends anymore) yelling at Rocky “There is no tomorrow”. Apollo was right; tomorrow isn’t guaranteed so why wait for all the stars to align before going after what you want.

The second part of opportunity is being ready when it comes your way. You can order pizza all day long but if you don’t have the money to pay for it you’re not getting any. Hard work is what prepares you for that knock at the door. You’re not entitled to anything in this world. I tell the kids I train and the people I speak to that they have to work for what they want.

That work is going to mean being in the gym on a Friday night while everyone else is partying. That work is coming home late just to wake up early the next day. It takes sacrifice, it takes discipline, and it takes belief that when that knock on the door does come you’ll open it before you hear a sound, money already in hand. You paid the price for it already. Don’t get ready stay ready; you never know when that knock will come.

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