Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Bore no More

A very smart person once told us that the best thing you can wish someone is EXCITEMENT!  It could be excitement with loved ones, excitement within a given career, or that daily excitement that catches you by surprise when you least expect it---we all need some form of excitement. Simply put, excitement in all facets of life is what makes life worth living! 
Each person is different in what they consider to be truly thrilling.  Many people seek excitement through extreme events such as skydiving; many have no interest at all in those events!  Others may find building a relationship or growing closer to God to be enlightening and exciting at the same time!  There’s no set answer for everyone—it’s an individualistic belief (or judged on an personal level). 
Both of us have found that our most exhilarating experiences occur when our heart rates are up and the adrenaline button is at a max.  This typically involves forcing ourselves out of our comfort zone and trying something new.  Exciting moments often have a way of creating a lasting impression. We believe that trying something new not only provides a compilation of our best memories but can also serve as a learning experience about an unfamiliar subject.  Regardless of what provides that spark of excitement for you, we encourage you to seek the special thrills of life… may you find happiness in your pursuit! 
We promise to always listen to these words of wisdom!

Monday, December 20, 2010

BE YOURSELF …everyone else is already taken

“BE YOURSELF” …everyone else is already taken (thanks Janelle)! There is so much truth to this small but mighty quote. We just had to take it one step further. Have you ever considered what you are the best at, or put in other words……… what you do better than anyone else? It’s an interesting question, isn’t it!?!   Do you have the answer?
Maybe you really don’t know what you are the best at….and we challenge you to find out! Take it to the streets, ask around.  Ask your friends, ask your colleagues, ask your teammates for their input!  Maybe it’s something simple like your attention to detail.  It could be the way you captivate a room the minute you make an entrance.  Or perhaps it is your ability to make others feel special and loved.  What you are the best at doesn’t have to equal a scientific equation or break barriers…it can be simple! But it has to be unique to you.
Once you’ve figured out what you do better than anyone else, it’s a piece of cake. This is where it get’s fun! So you’ve discovered or confirmed your strengths …now what?  We say put it to good use. Make it even better!  Link your special talent to opportunities in the real world. This might mean volunteering at a local nursing home, coaching, or even taking strides to further enhance your talent. You have this great talent…embrace it!
Have the courage and strength to know and use your best skills and abilities. Get excited about your next opportunity to dazzle with delight. We think its okay to show off every once in a while.  Be great at what you can be great at.  Nobody can be perfect at everything.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Name of the Game...Defense

Everyone together….. DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! DEEEE-FENSE! Defense in terms of athletics typically takes the backseat to anything accomplished offensively. The “DEFENSE” chant is usually the most recognition that defensive players will ever receive during any given game. The vast majority of ESPN's sports highlights focus on the best offensive plays on a given day. Unfortunately, defense is perceived by many as a thankless task that leaves the defender fatigued and feeling as though their contributions were un-noticed and minimal. The person getting the headlines scores the most points, knocks in the most runs or scores the winning goal. While both (offense and defense) are keys to winning, we believe it takes a special person to master the art of defense.  It is a person who is willing to expend time and energy to pursue a part of the game that is not viewed to be as glamorous but is a necessary ingredient for success.

Although defense is perceived by many to be a thankless task, thankfully, there are still people out there who do appreciate the defensive prowess of an athlete or a team, and we certainly applaud those who do! The motto we grew up with in Olympia High School softball was “Defense wins Championships!” In fact, that motto has spurred 3 State Championships for the softball team; all of which were saved by crucial plays on defense and clutch performances within the pitching circle.

There are enough awards which are based upon offensive numbers.......... from the Heisman Trophy to the MLB’s MVP award.  On the other side, there is the Gold Glove defensive award in baseball as well but it is not quite as highly publicized or esteemed.  While we can identify with both sides of the coin, one truth in athletics is that defense rarely slumps. You can always have an off night shooting or a lengthy hitless streak but defense is fairly constant. Great defense always has the ability to keep you in the game. Even if you’re facing an excellent pitcher and can’t score many runs you will always be in the game provided you play defense.  In basketball, a game can be kept close simply by the tenacity and effectiveness of a team's defense.  If you can keep the other team from scoring the worst you can finish is in a tie!

So we are here to say just in case you were wondering… Cheers from the biggest fans of DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! DEEEEE-FENSE!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Competing for Playing Time

Bill Belichick, the highly successful New England Patriots head coach, has a rare philosophy on playing time.  In essence, if you don’t practice or play well you earn a quick ticket to ride the pine and somebody else takes your place.  We use the term ‘rare’ to describe coach Belichick’s philosophy, because many coaches, in sports, pick the starters and stay with them for an entire season.
We all know there are instances when the starting lineup should not be changed.  But, for non-starters a permanent starting lineup can be extremely frustrating.  In our opinion, it doesn’t do the starters any favors either. Sports are the essence of competition and performing under pressure is an understood part of that.  There are many motivators in the athletic world that can bring out the best in athletes.  One of the most powerful beliefs is that if you practice hard and improve your skills, you will be rewarded with playing time.  In too many cases, what an athlete achieves in practice or on the field doesn’t open the door. 
As a non-starter, you may have out played a starting teammate in practice or have watched them continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Doesn’t it make you wonder, “Why won’t coach put me in there and let me prove that I can compete for a starting position?”  Some coaches will tell you that they don’t want to ruin a player’s confidence or mess with the team’s chemistry. However, putting a starting player on the bench occasionally, not only motivates the non-starters to feel like they can COMPETE for a position, it also prevents the starting athletes from becoming too complacent.
We can both recall instances where it was difficult to break into the starting lineup and starters felt they were entitled to their position. As a result, practices were never as intense as what they could have been and our game results showed much of the same. Never the less, the virtues of hard work and the value of competition bring out the best in people and allow them to reach heights they ordinarily may not have risen to!   

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ohhh Yehhhh! It's FUNKY Friday

We couldn't help but get a kick out of these kids (Future Funk) dancing to old school music. On top of being adorable they are super talented.  We hope you can find their energy & excitement to be contagious heading into this weekend! Click, enjoy and you should even try to emulate some of their moves with your friends. On second yourself the embarassment and just click & enjoy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Seize MY moment…TIME TO OWN IT!

As you know our blog posts are a combined effort by Tiff and Nik (HENCE THE NAME). Today, however, will be a Tiff featured blog. BIG YAWN, I KNOW!

I promise I’ll try to keep it as short, sweet and to the point as I possibly can!

Anyone who knows me probably would say that I’m not someone who takes a lot of chances. In general I do play it safe but I can recall 2 times in my life where I can honestly say that I took a risk. The first risk I can remember taking was in my 4th grade English class. I decided to flip “the bird” to my teacher Mrs. Frank (sorry Mrs. Frank—it was not deserved by any means; I just had strong dislike for your Daily Oral Language lesson plan). Thankfully, Mrs. Frank was too consumed with commas and semi-colons to take notice-WHEW! The second risk was taken during my last at bat of my collegiate softball career. I decided I was going to swing as hard as I possibly could at a 2-2 pitch. Fortunately, I was blessed with a double to left-center against Missouri State.

What these risky moments both had in common was an element of fear. Maybe it was a fear of getting in trouble, fear of not helping my team, fear of the unknown or simply the fear of failure itself! I knew in my heart and realized it was a risk I wanted to take---so I took action! No that does not mean we should go around flipping the bird to anyone we choose, but it means that taking a calculated risk can produce a reward. So what’s the point?

December 1, 2010 (TODAY!) marks the 3rd risk that I have decided to take. Remember what I said about taking action to overcome fear? The steps I have completed thus far are as follows:

1) Officially resigned from a phenomenal/reputable company
2) Continued research/coursework dealing with Social Work/Community Service (as someone who has volunteered since the age of 15 this is something I would like to incorporate daily)
3) Met with a Lawyer to discuss a specialized product line to be sold
4) Taking action (creating a business plan) to market and sell the product line…

I will be keeping everyone informed on this exciting journey--I'm finally ready to own my destiny. I also appreciate all of support received up to this point (TEAM RHODES you’re the best)! A special big thanks to Mom, Dad, Nik, Jill, Brad, Kristin, Erin, Annette, Aly, Josie, Neena, Tosha & Norma!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Humpday Wednesday - Black Friday Frenzy

We’re just a few hours short of dedicating a day to giving thanks for all the wonderfulness within our lives.  We normally like to promote the positive to its fullest, but in this instance would could not resist mentioning another day!  Yes, we are anxiously anticipating the Black Friday frenzy that will quickly follow Thanksgiving Day! Let’s talk about the day dedicated to the Wackadoo Freak Show Shoppers of the world (us included)!  
***Men, let us begin by offering our condolences to you.  Putting it nicely... you look like you’ve just been run over by a dump truck :)! It’s not long before you’re sanctioned to the middle of the mall to stand like a statue or if you're lucky enough to find your place among an uncomfortable bench. But we give you kudos for giving it a go. Innocent bystanders placed in the line of fire, YEP, that’s what you are! Your primary purpose is to be expert valet parkers, who can turn that wheel or put the grocery-getter in reverse on the drop of a dime. Finally, we hope you’ve been pumping iron, the loads of bags and coats you get stuck with are enough to substitute your P90X workout for the day.
Now, here’s a little snippet of our past experiences and observations! 
1)      Remember preparation for these Wackadoo Freak Show Shopper began well in advance of Thanksgiving Day. (Thanksgiving is only used to go over the detailed game plan).
*       Deals have been identified, routes are planned, and the shop ‘til you drop mentality is emphasized by the Wackadoo “Leader.”   
2)      This is a great opportunity to catch everyone in their finest moment. 
*      4 A.M., comfortable clothes/shoes, no makeup, hair slicked back (slick rick style), and above all else…coffee breath in full effect!  Fortunately, keeping your distance from dragon breath Debbie should be easy; half of the people you recognize try to do a 2 step past you in order to save face.  This is perfectly fine because not only do you look just as terrible, but more importantly time is of the essence on this day—saying hello could cost you!
3)      Don’t you find it a little odd when parents decide to bring the kids?  We do too! 
*       Some parents have a valid excuse; others knowingly use kids as a decoy for cuteness and a roadblock to the best deals.  Better yet for the parents, screaming babies can potentially drive the competition away. If you’re shopping…don’t be fooled, spot the kids and there’s always a deal right around the corner!
4)      Watch out for other teams (typically working in pairs)! Grandma usually serves as a secret spy and Mom turns into a monster.
*       Never…we repeat NEVER try to take something away from a MOM (especially if there's a thin layer of upper lip sweat--she's been working hard)!  Talk about walking into the Lion’s den. A) It’s not worth it unless you want to see Mama Bear’s protective instincts B) It’s probably the number one item on precious little Timmy’s list to “Santa,” --the odds of an amicable ending is not likely C) Most importantly, what’s that small shadow behind mom? OOPSIE…That’s no shadow, yep you got it…Grandma is bearing that sweet innocent smile but don’t be fooled she’s definitely got a weapon (purse) in hand.  
After celebrating the Black Friday Frenzy it's okay and perfectly normal to feel like you've witnessed a soon to be released episode of Hoarders.  Please share because we’d love to hear your experiences too!  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Firework or Fizzler?!? Which are you?

It’s a tough world out there and it's more competitive than ever! In these conditions being confident is key to your success.  But how can you maintain your confidence when other people are doubting you and your abilities?  Worse than that, at times, you doubt yourself.

Typically, negative and mean comments can cause us to question ourselves.  Has your more timid, less confident, less radiant self made an appearance at times?  HELLO, yes...  we've all been there! Whether it's from a coach, boss, parent or peer we've learned the hard way that  hurtful comments can be fueled and further encouraged when acting like an insecure jackwagon.  Unfortunately, whatever causes your lack of trust in yourself,  there's only ONE person to blame if you believe it --- for the answer --->  just look in the mirror!  In these instances we challenge you to bring out your inner competitor.  Your attitude needs to be " BRING IT ON      (insert name or bad word....or both )   !

There is one small caveat, however,  ALWAYS remember THE most important ingredient is showing what you have inside...being the best YOU, that YOU can be.  Don’t get so caught up in REVENGE that you become distracted!  Instead, you must work your game plan to achieve your life goals!  Reaching those goals is the sweetest reward and the ultimate payback to the skeptics trying to pull you down.

Always hold your head high and set those shoulders back to let the world know you have worked for everything you have in your life and you're not about to stop. A bad day, a bad game can't set you back. Don't whine and don't cry, just continue to give it your best. Just like the song says:  You’re a Firework!

Here are a few quick tips for success:
*Put yourself in opportunities to prove your value
*Never let what others think get in the way of your dreams
*Let the doubt of others serve as the fuel to your fire
*Trust in the truth! The truth always reveals itself

Now let's ignite the light...and let it shine!  Stay tuned for some exciting news next week. T minus 9 days (: SHHHH :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Friday!!!

Happy Friday!!! We know most of you have been working/practicing for the weekend (some of you may even be working or playing this weekend)! We hope that this video can provide a little mental relief during your Friday and serve as a little extra motivation for you to do something incredible this weekend!

The video features a group of guys known as Dude Perfect who are constantly stretching the limits and proving what is thought as IMPOSSIBLE to be POSSIBLE. It's a little long but we encourage you to at least watch a little and try to do the same within your life---stretch the limits with something you're passionate about! Whether its proving doubters YOU CAN win a 4th state Championship (GO LENAPE!) in a row or building your own Photography Brand beyond what anyone believes, it's time for you to take action and DO IT---GO AFTER IT! Why not?! What a PERFECT OPPORTUNITY before the Holidays! :) We too plan to work this weekend and will be sharing something exciting with you soon!

Also, a special thank you (we know its corny..but true) if you are reading our posts, we hope you can find at least 1 thing to be useful in your life!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Playing not to lose? You’ve already lost!

OH BOY, here we go again! We can guarantee that anyone who’s participated in or been a fan of athletics has witnessed the playing not to lose paralysis.

Nothing is more frustrating from a fan’s perspective then when the dreaded “uh oh” look appears on the faces of a team that’s letting the lead slip away. They’ve allowed the momentum to switch to their opponent, and now they look SCARED! For whatever reason, people seem to take on a minimize mistakes mentality and become risk-fakers instead of risk-takers. They’ve stopped performing to their potential and have been paralyzed by the fear of losing!

Some teams/players seem to have made it a reoccurring habit; essentially driving their loyal fans insane (DA BEARS!). What those fans, who are so critical of the teams they follow may not realize, is that they may be doing the exact same thing in their given profession. Playing not to lose in life is no way to live. So how do we avoid setting the cruise control, and instead, PLAY to WIN as athletes and professionals?

1. Willing to take risks allows you to put yourself ahead and the opponents away for good. Ever heard the equation big risks=big rewards or fortune rewards bravery?

2. Ignore the negative (“here we go again” “I hope we don’t blow it”) thoughts from creeping in. If you feel yourself   tensing up change your thoughts immediately! The power of positive thinking is crucial to maintaining an advantage. You must always believe in yourself and prove the doubters wrong!

3. No surrender, do not let up and keep the pedal to the metal.


Sunday, November 14, 2010


Roots, Roots, Roots! Think of roots in terms of your foundation, strength and the very things that keep you grounded when all else fails. Take a moment to reflect on the history of your roots…the experiences you’ve had and ancestors of your past. Where did you come from and where have you been? The experiences that come along with where we’ve come from and where we’ve been tend to have a way of shaping us, without even knowing it.  Often times, our past can give us the strength and courage as we embark on new challenges of the future! There can be instances of beauty even in some gnarly and twisted experiences. Those times when you’ve thought, I will never to be like that…or I promise not make the same mistakes ____ did!  Most importantly, be thankful for your roots, for they have shaped all that’s wonderful about YOU!
We couldn’t help but think of roots as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree from 2010 was being hoisted from its home. Can you imagine the roots once attached to this 74 ft. tall Norway Spruce J

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Happy Veterans Day! Courage is not only marked by the words we speak, but by the actions we take. In life, this may mean standing up for someone who is being bullied.  In sports, this may mean stealing home plate when your team is down by a run. But let us always remember that the ultimate test of courage resonates with past, present, and future Veterans. 

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."  -Elmer Davis

If you haven't done so already, please be sure to take a moment and give thanks to the special Veterans in your life! Thank you Dad, we love you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I've Got GOALS...and Soul

There is 1 important commonality in many instances of success. Any guesses? Think back to a time when you worked hard to achieve something that meant so much to you or your team. While you were working toward that special something, you had in mind or could visualize what it was going to take to get what you desired, call it a plan. Whether it was an A on a paper, a team award, a promotion for a job, or as simple as losing 10 pounds ---YOU were driven to get exactly what you wanted, and I can bet it was quite fulfilling when you finally did.

Those end results are what we would call GOALS (yes we are so profound) and everything that is worth anything in life requires setting goals. Whether it is being that successful athlete, successful coworker or building a successful family you must have the ability to dream up something magical (THE GOAL) and work diligently until it becomes reality (SUCCESS). Here is our recipe for GOAL setting:

G+O+A+L=S (success)

Go big or go home! Always shoot for the stars when it comes to setting your goals.
Organize a plan. How will you attain your goals and what do you need to do to get there? Think small incremental steps and picture the end result.
Assess. Take time to reflect and re-evaluate your goals. It’s okay to make changes to your plan, but never give up!
Love what you do. You’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to make your goals become reality.
SUCCESS, Cherish and enjoy the moment, then get back on the GOAL trail.