Monday, January 31, 2011

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Improving performance and achieving excellence is a favorite theme of ours.  That topic came to mind after we stayed up late Friday night into Saturday to watch the women’s 2011 Australian Open Championship.  We really enjoy tennis singles matches because of the 1 on 1 nature of the game.
We were immediately caught up in the intensity of the final women’s match.  Rising Chinese tennis star Li Na (pronounced Lee Nah) faced off against Belgium ace, Kim Clijsters.  As the two opponents battled back and forth into the third set, the pressure and intensity increased.  We could feel it too!
After two hours of play, Clijsters was in position to serve for the Championship Title.  She had previously lost her serve six different times during the match.  But in this most critical game with everything on the line, Kim Clijsters turned it up a notch.  No…. let’s correct that.  She actually turned it up three or four notches.  Clijsters won every single point in that final game! 
The interview after the match was both interesting and revealing.  Clijsters was asked how she turned things around when Li Na seemed in control of the match. 
Clijsters made several points in her interview:
She was expecting “the best Li Na” to show up for the match.  Clijsters knew her opponent would be ready for the match and would be tough to beat.
Clijsters said that even though she felt like she was playing well early in the match, Clijsters knew she was being overpowered by Li Na. As a result, Clijsters adapted and changed things up.
Clijsters also talked about how important it was for her to hang in there (not give up) and to force her opponent to always have to hit one more shot.
So there are several lessons that apply to competition in sports as well as in business and life:
Don’t expect your competition to choke, or give up.  Expect the best out of your opponents, and be prepared to give your best effort to WIN.  Be adaptable and have the confidence and the determination to succeed.
In the Kevin Costner movie”For the Love of the Game” the major league baseball pitcher Costner portrays concentrates on a single thought in important game situations.   "CLEAR THE MECHANISM" is the message Costner constantly replays in his mind.   Costner uses this thought to block out crowd noise, focus on his pitching and get the opposing player out !
Clearly, in the final game of the final match of the 2011 women’s Australian Open, Kim Clijsters was able to "Clear the mechanism" and focus on her objective.   She may not have seen the movie but she certainly understood the message.  Hopefully, Clijsters opponent Li Na can learn from that and move forward.  All of us can do the same.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Guilty Pleasure Picnic

So we did a little research and determined that it's time to throw a guilty pleasure picnic in honor of all the crazy things we love! FYI in case your not quite sure, a guilty pleasure is classified as "something" that you really enjoy and feel guilty or slightly embarrassed about. The great thing is most of us have at least one and they’re usually pretty ridiculous when you get down to it—so why not embrace it?! Our plan is to let the world in on our top vices. Tiff’s “something” is peanut butter. Yummy! Nik’s “something” is actually a “someone”---AHEM Kim K.. Yay!  Here's our reasoning as to why we have chosen these:

Okay not only can peanut butter can be added to any other ingredient resulting in a sweet delicious concoction but in a tight pinch a spoon full can really pack a protein punch (dare you to say that 5 times fast). For the simple people of the world it makes delicious sandwiches (jelly anyone?!) or cookies. For the TRUE PB lovers the possibilities are endless…bananas, oatmeal, bacon (HA! haven’t tried that one yet but thought I’d throw it out there!). The butter of peanuts also has several other purposes, from leather cleaner to gum in hair removal. Who knew huh? :)

Now its Kim Kardashian’s turn. Kim’s business savvy mindset and ultra glam lifestyle is more than admirable--- it’s every girl’s dream! She owns multiple businesses, is monetarily rewarded for appearances and has the number 1 family reality show. In addition to being worth an estimated $10 million she most recently appeared on a billboard in Times Square right below the NFL’s Samoan boy--- Troy Polamalu. On top of it Ms. Popular has approximately 6 million twitter fans who adore and hang on to every last tweet character 1-140! Who doesn't like to be adored?

So yes we did just provide a detailed explanation in hopes of helping everyone feel better about their guilty pleasure! Now it's your turn....we're dying to know your guilty pleasure --may it be PB, Kim K or a blow dryer (hopefully yours is not this dangerous**DO NOT ATTEMPT)--but don't be ashamed, just share!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pity Party? Not a Chance!!!

So let’s just say you had a horrible game. The first thing we must address is what exactly constitutes a poor performance? If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times and we are here to tell you that a good game on paper is not always a good game in reality. Maybe the box score says you were 2-4 but the truth is that you struggled with every single at bat and lucked out with a duck snort and a swinging bunt. Or, we’ve all seen the player that threw up prayer shots all game and happened to wind up with 15 pts. Let us be clear that these games are not a success. They create patterns of bad habits. So now what? Throw yourself a pity party? Not a chance!!!

Next you must identify the contributing factors to your poor performance. Maybe it was lack of preparation, concentration, commitment, not practicing like you want to play, or all of the above. Sometimes you may not know what you’ve done wrong and in those instances, ask around. It’s okay to ask your coaches, teammates or family for help!

Helllllooooo-ho! The fact is that we can’t be perfect all the time. The best part about those not so glamorous moments is that they leave us with a choice. Having a choice means that you can:
A) Learn from your mistake(s) and move on.
B) Continue on the downward spiral of denial.

Denial and self doubt are seriously detrimental to your future performance. In order to use your potential to its fullest, you must continue to challenge yourself to be the best that you can be. Part of being the best you can be, is learning from your mistakes…and never repeating the same mistake twice. Once you get back in the groove of things your confidence will improve and confidence is key to success! In closing we’ll leave you with this little line:

“Potential doesn’t mean s#%@ unless you use it.”
-quote provided by GA on behalf of anonymous

Friday, January 14, 2011


Do you ever hear or see something specific that you feel speaks right to you?  It could be a song, TV program or speech if you’re using your ears.  If you’re using your eyes it could be a quote, psalm, passage, paragraph-heck a whole book!  For us, we’ve been reading quotes our whole life and they just have this miraculous way of really making our day that much better!  We love the positive power that words can possess.  Often times we will trade quotes throughout the day to give us extra motivation or just make us smile!
The other day we decided to incorporate quotes into our softball hitting lessons that we provide.  Here’s how it works…each time we give a lesson we decide upon a word that we feel is associated with great athletes and maybe something that we believe is essential for success.  After the word we’ve decided upon, we also share a few quotes with the individual who is receiving the instruction.
For example, this is what we put together for last night’s lesson (the talented player’s number is 5):
FIERCE: furiously active or determined <make a fierce effort>
Muhammad Ali:
“Champions are made from something they have deep inside them- a desire, a dream, a vision.”

“If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize!”

Nicki Minaj - Moment 4 Life :
I fly with the stars in the skies,
I am no longer trying to survive,
I believe that life is a prize,
But to live doesn't mean you're alive,
Don't worry bout me and who I fire
I get what I desire it's my empire
And yes I call the shots I am the umpire

Serena Williams:
“Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.”

Vince Vaughn - Wedding Crashers :
“Rule # 76, no excuses, play like a champion ...”

We are not quite sure of the effect that quotes can have on results (we’ve decided its immeasurable) or how much she enjoyed the quotes, but what we’ve decided is if you really like something, it’s best to share it with others!  What about you?!  Do you have a favorite quote, song or passage that you often turn to?  PLEASE SHARE!