Accomplishing More in Life

 

 

 

 

Productivity Stock Image

By: Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW

 

If you’re looking for a way to be more productive and accomplish more during 2013, or during any time in the future, then one place to start is to maximize what you get done during your “normal” work day. As an entrepreneur, I am aware that for many, there is no such thing as a normal work day, but that is the life we have chosen and that is what we’ve come to know as “normal.”  This new normal, like so many others that have ventured off on their own paths, comes with its long list of distractions that could easily cut into the productivity of any one on any given day.  Success expert, Brian Tracy, in his book No Excuses: The Power of Self-Discipline (I highly recommend reading this book—it is jam packed full of useful information and action steps on getting more done, setting goals, and disciplining yourself to accomplish more), offers suggestions on increasing productivity at work, and as a result, increasing your pay check.

 

 

 

Excerpt from the book, pages 134-135:

 

“The key to doubling your productivity and output—and eventually your income—is to really work all the time you are at work.  Simply put, when you work, work.  Don’t waste time.  Don’t delay.  Don’t chat with coworkers or sit around drinking coffee.  Don’t read the newspaper or surf the Internet.  When you come into work in the morning, put your head down, and then work all day long.

 

 

 

The biggest time wasters in the world of work are other people who want to talk with you, distract you, delay you, and take up the time that you should be spending on high-value tasks. When a time waster approaches you and says, ‘Do you have a minute to talk?’ you reply by saying, ‘Yes, but not now.  Why don’t we talk at lunchtime, or after work?  In the meantime, I have to get this job finished.  I have to get back to work.’

 

 

 

When you tell people that you are under the gun, that you have to get a task finished for your boss, they will usually leave you alone.  If you do this often enough, they will develop the habit of leaving you alone and, instead, find someone else with whom to waste time.

 

 

 

Keep yourself motivated and focused by talking to yourself in a positive way.  Your mantra from now on should be, ‘Back to work!  Back to work!  Back to work!’

 

 

 

Whenever you find yourself slowing down on a major task, begin repeating to yourself those magic words, ‘Back to work!’”

 

 

 

A few things I’d like to add to the list of distractions is your smart phone and all its time wasting apps, like Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media sites that employees are checking and updating frequently throughout the day.  Buckle down, stay focused on getting work done (or GSD as some would say), and as one highly intellectual comedian once said (yes, that may be an oxymoron), “Git-R-Done!”

 

Meet the Intern: Chad White

imgresBy: Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you another one of our excellent interns for the spring of 2013.  He is new to our program but comes to us very prepared for his role and to help coach the athletes in the Finish First system.  If you’re in the area, please stop in and say hello.

 

Here are some questions that we had him answer to hopefully let all of you get to know him a little better.

 

 

Name:  Chad White

College:  Slippery Rock University

Program of Study/Major:  Exercise Science, Pre Physical Therapy

 

Where are you from (if you’ve lived in several cities, please describe)?

I am from Murrysville PA and have lived there since I was in 4th grade. I moved from Penn Hills to Murrysville in 4th Grade

 

What sports did you play growing up?

I played soccer and hockey growing up. When I was in 8th grade, I decided I wanted to focus more on hockey so I stopped playing soccer. I have been playing hockey since I was 5 years old and I continue to play today.

 

What sport(s) did you play in college?

I played both roller hockey and ice hockey in college. I enjoyed playing roller hockey but my passion is for ice hockey. I love the competition and the camaraderie involved in ice hockey.

 

Please list or mention any athletic accomplishments you have made?

My Franklin Regional Varsity ice hockey team went to the Penguin Cup finals my junior year in high school and semifinals during my senior year in high school. Furthermore, I was named assistant captain of my varsity team and Captain of my Junior Penguins ice hockey team in 2009.

 

What made you chose your major in college?

I have always been interested in the body ever since I was little. I enjoy studying kinesiology and physiology and finding ways to apply that knowledge to sport performance training. Also, I knew that Slippery Rock’s Exercise Science program was a top notch program and that it was one of the best programs to prepare students for Physical Therapy school.

 

Please list or mention any academic accomplishments you have made?

Dean’s list Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012

 

Have you interned anywhere else or studied under any other coaches?  If so, where?  This is my first internship opportunity and I am looking forward to the experience.

 

Briefly describe some of your coaching philosophies (hint:  if you don’t really have any yet, just mention some of the science you use behind your decisions)?  Basically all of my decisions are based on a combination of science and past experience. When I find exercises that work, I often look into the science behind the exercise and continue to expand on the knowledge. I can’t really say I have coaching philosophies yet simply due to lack of experience.

 

Do you have any areas of specialty? (areas of specific research or concentrated training?)  I would say my area of specialty in sports training is with hockey players simply because I have been playing for so long and most of my training experiences are with hockey players.

 

Why did you choose Finish First?

I am very interested in performance training and when I viewed the finish first website, I noticed that there were a lot of hockey players trained at the facility. I felt that I would fit well with many of the coaching philosophies and training methods. Moreover, I saw such a variety of teams and athletes featured on the website so I thought it would be a good opportunity to work with athletes from a variety of sports.

 

What are you looking forward to the most during your internship experience?

I do not know a lot about speed and agility training and Jeremy had mentioned that one of his areas of specialty is speed and agility. I am hoping that I can develop a strong understanding for the methods of speed and agility training.

 

What do you hope to learn from your internship experience?

I hope to become proficient in all areas of sport performance training and find an area that I maybe enjoy most. Since I have little experience training athletes other than hockey players, I would like to learn how to develop more sport specific programs.  Aside from the sports performance aspect of finish first, I would like to learn a little bit about how to run a business. I would like to make a positive impact on the business and I am looking forward to doing so.

 

What motivates you?

First, I really enjoy learning new things. I get excited about new opportunities and I realize that sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone to learn. Also, I am motivated to help others because I enjoy seeing them achieve their goals. There are so many people who have dedicated their time to help me and I appreciate it more than anything. I would like to help others the way many have helped me in the past. I want others to realize their full potential.

Meet the Intern: Reuben Green III

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By: Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you one of our excellent interns for the spring of 2013.  Many of you have seen him around the Finish First Robinson training facility in the summer, and have had the privilege of being coached by him.  He is an enthusiastic, motivated, experienced and knowledgeable coach.  If you’re in the area, please stop in and say hello.

Here are some questions that we had him answer to hopefully let all of you get to know him a little better.

Name:  Reuben Green III

College:  Youngstown State University

Program of Study/Major:  Exercise Science

 

Where are you from (if you’ve lived in several cities, please describe)?

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee and moved to Louisville, Kentucky where I started kindergarten.  After starting first grade there, I moved to Auburn Hills, Michigan and stayed there until the middle of 7th grade and moved to Allen, Texas.  I started high school at the Lowery Center in Allen and moved to Delaware, Ohio where I completed my high school education at Buckeye Valley High School.

 

What sports did you play growing up?

The first sport that I was involved in was soccer.  When we moved to Michigan, I started playing basketball and was very interested in hockey.  I played in a couple summer roller hockey tournaments, but never played on an organized team.  When I became of age, I played football until I was told I couldn’t.  I stopped playing basketball my sophomore year of high school and picked up track.  I threw shot putt, disk and ran the 100m.  Sports that I wish I would have taken part in were wrestling and lacrosse.

 

What sport(s) did you play in college?

I did not have the opportunity of playing a college sport.

 

Please list or mention any athletic accomplishments you have made?

I received All Conference, Honorable Mention, and Special Mention accolades while in high school.  Helped my high school football team to their first winning season after several years and led the team and was top in the conference in tackles.  I am proud to say that I have played football in three different states and on every team I was selected as a starter and a captain.

 

What made you chose your major in college?

At first, I thought I wanted my degree to be in Accounting.  I took an internship in Memphis, TN with Jones and Tuggle CPA firm to see if that is something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  Some tragic events happened that summer and the track, and the weight room became my therapy.  I took a new appreciation in being focused about different task and training.  After completing my second year in the major of accounting, I switched my major to Exercise Science pre Physical Therapy.  I decided to shadow physical therapists in a hospital, personal setting, and an athletic setting.  Then I shadowed John Patrick at Youngstown State University, while he was coaching the baseball team.  I was instantly interested in the field of strength and conditioning and volunteering in the field to learn more.  The day I shadowed him, I changed my major to just Exercise Science and applied under him as volunteer.

 

Please list or mention any academic accomplishments you have made?

I was chosen to attend the Summer Bridge Program at Youngstown State University and through the program; I acted as a mentor for future students and for the Kupita/transiciones program.

 

Have you interned anywhere else or studied under any other coaches?  If so, where?

  • I started in the field at Youngstown State University under John Patrick as a volunteer, primarily working with football.
  • Accepted an internship at the University of Memphis football program under Tom Myslinski and Ryan Cidzik.  Had the opportunity of working with their women basketball team and volleyball team with Mike Jenkins.
  • Returned to YSU with Coach Patrick as an intern, primarily working with the quarterbacks on the football team.
  • Worked under Willie Danzer as a paid intern and assisted him with all Olympic sports at YSU.  I solely programmed for the Women Tennis team.
  • Head Strength and Performance coach at Liberty High School in Youngstown, Ohio and also the linebackers coach.  Help lead them from a 1-19 record over two years, to a 9-3 record, Conference Champions, and the second round of the play-offs.
  • Performance coach at Max Athletic Training facility
  • Volunteered with the Men’s Basketball team at Youngstown State University under Todd Burkey during their boot camp week and whenever possible.

 

Briefly describe some of your coaching philosophies?

I believe in developing athletes physically and mentally through resistance training, conditioning modalities, and self awareness.  Goals of my programs include:

1)   Reduce rate of injury

2)   Increase balance, mobility and self awareness

3)   Increase strength bilaterally and unilaterally

4)   Increase power output

5)   Increase aerobic capacity

These five goals helped me construct LHS lifting program, but I have tried the 5-3-1 template by Jim Wendler, the Teir System by Joe Kenn, and have written linear and non-linear periodization programs.  I am looking forward to learning more about the science of combining a conditioning programming with a lifting program.

 

Do you have any areas of specialty? (Areas of specific research or concentrated training?)

I have taken an interest in adolescent training and have researched the topic, along with talking to other professionals.  This is a topic that I feel is important because training at an early age gives the athlete a foundation that everyone needs and some are lacking when they arrive to a college program.  This could also assist with the problem of obesity in the United States.

 

Why did you choose Finish First?

I chose Finish First, first and foremost because of the knowledge, leadership and personality of Jeremy Hoy.  I learned something new every time I heard him speak at clinics or in regular conversation.  Finish First is a privately owned gym that has a feel of a collegiate weight room and I feel comfortable while I am there coaching.  The clients that he has acquired over the years are top notch; great character, very motivated and a pleasure to work with.  I feel this is a great place to continue my growth in the field in strength and conditioning and as a coach.

 

What are you looking forward to the most during your internship experience?

I am excited to work with the many athletes at Finish First. Finish First attracts all ages, genders and levels of athletes.  Working with a plethora of clients will help me more develop my coaching style.

What do you hope to learn from your internship experience?

I hope to learn as much as possible.  I plan on being a sponge and soaking up as much as I can.  The business behind the facility is interesting and learning how to market the gym, along with myself.

 

What motivates you?

Family motivates me along with the drive to want to win.  I was never the best athlete, but I was told if not smarter than, work hard than and If not better than, work harder than.  I am a competitive person.  The book The Greatest Salesman, stated in The Scroll Marked II; I will persist until I succeed, and that is the mindset I practice.

Review, Refocus, and Hit the Target

By Jeremy Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW

As the Thanksgiving Holiday draws near here in the US of A, and it gets closer to the end of 2012, I find myself taking my annual ritual to give thanks for all that has happened in my life thus far, to all the people who have helped me to get to where I am today, and to reflect and set new goals moving forward.  While I typically set 90 day goals, this is the time of year where I take a closer look at the big picture and critically analyze my aim to hit the bulls-eye on the target.

To get a better understanding and more accurate reflection of my past year, I make my lists on a piece of paper.  I keep tabs of everyone who I’ve learned from, books I’ve read, and those who have graciously helped me in one way or another in my journey.  With all the busy-ness in life, I’ve found that writing things down is key and it better prepares me to perform this task through the little interruptions (ie. fatherhood responsibilities)that may take place during my reflection project.  Writing things down also allows me to truly visualize all that I have to be thankful for and get a more accurate snapshot of where I am on my life journey.

Embrace the Positive and the Negative

Due to my Faith and solid perspective on who I am, I make sure to give thanks for not only the positives and successes in my life, but also the setbacks, negatives, and failures.  I know I am not only shaped by positive experiences, but also by negative experiences.  Negative experiences also help us grow and teach us how to cope, how to adjust attitude, and they tell us who we are (character).  Anyone can seem like a great person when everything is going their way!  It’s how we react and how we handle the obstacles, challenges, and difficulties in life that helps define us and shows our true character.

Analyze your Plans

These experiences also let us know that some of our plans/steps towards attaining our goals may have been flawed.  Setbacks and failures are not bad if you take the opportunity to learn from them.  Did they occur because you got off course?  Did they occur because you tried to move too quickly?  Why did they happen?  These are all questions you can address when analyzing the outcome.  Stay strong towards your goal and make the necessary adjustments to your plans/steps to get you there.  No matter what, be thankful for the journey and growth in becoming who you were meant to be.

Set your goals, and take action

I would like to share with you some simple steps I have learned in setting goals that have helped me tremendously along my journey.

My Lessons

First, take careful, critical self-analysis.  Yes, that means being honest with yourself.  You need to know where you are before you can layout any plans or steps towards attaining any goals.  If you lie to yourself, you will most likely fall flat on your face and never achieve your goals.  If you need help with this, find a friend that’s not afraid to be honest with you and doesn’t ‘blow smoke’ or make everything ‘okey dokey.’

Second, establish your vision.  I don’t mean get corrective lenses, but rather begin to write down your goal oriented vision.

Create a Vision

Steven K. Scott, author of “Lessons from the Richest Man who ever lived,” in what is considered one of the best goal setting programs available, defines vision as ‘a very precise, clearly defined goal that you want to achieve AND a very accurate roadmap and schedule to achieve that goal.’

Notice that it is not only important to have a precise, clearly defined goal, but it is also important to create a roadmap or scheduled plan to attain that goal.  A goal without a roadmap or a plan is merely a dream or a wish.  Creating a detailed and accurate plan, and executing the plan are the keys to achieving the goal.

Another one of the goal setting experts and mastermind of success, Napoleon Hill, mentions six steps to obtaining your goals (‘Think and Grow Rich, p. 36).

These six steps according to Napoleon Hill are:

Step 1:  Set a goal.  Know exactly what you want, and be specific.

Step 2.  Determine exactly what you will give in return for what you want to receive.  Determine what you will give up to ‘go up’ (the success ladder).  You may need to give up extra time hanging with friends, going to the movies, going to the prom, etc., to put in the necessary training time to attain your goals.

Step 3.  Set a deadline for your accomplishment.  Part of creating a schedule is having a deadline in mind.

Step 4.  Create a definite plan and put it into action immediately, whether you’re ready or not.  Action is the enemy of thought—too many people will never think they’re ready and will never get started.

Step 5.  Write out a clear concise statement with the 4 steps above, what your goal is, what you will do in return to achieve it, the date you intend to get it, and describe the plan through which you will acquire it.

Step 6.  Read your statement twice daily, in the morning and at night, and “as you read—see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of your goal.”(Think and Grow Rich)

By following the above steps, you will be well on your well towards achieving your goals.  Remember, be honest with yourself.  If you are 6’4”, and 110lbs, and have a small skeletal frame, don’t make your goal to be the World’s Strongest Man in 6 months—that’s not realistic, and it would be difficult to devise a roadmap for that goal.  A more realistic goal would be to win a local strongman competition, in the lightweight division, on a specific date and at a specific location.  You could set goals for each specific event and create a roadmap to achieve each.

In the end, it’s all about being realistic and knowing exactly where you are before you start your journey towards your goal.

Knowing where you are will help you develop a more accurate roadmap to where you want to be.  Set your goal, create your map and take action!

“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.”—Les Brown

If you want to be great, and then it’s time to get started.  Fill out THIS FORM and one of our coaches will be in touch with you to see if you qualify for the program, and then to schedule your initial evaluation.

If you are looking for fitness, weight loss, and body transformation, you can find it all HERE.

Improve Strike-Force to Improve Specific Game Speed

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By Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW

While there are a plethora of exercises and drills that can be used for speed enhancement, most coaches tend to focus specifically on training an athlete’s running stride length, stride frequency, or running mechanics.

Stride length is the distance an athlete travels between two foot contacts with the ground (ie. Left foot contacts the ground when running then the right foot contacts the ground 6 feet later, giving you a stride length of 6 feet).

Stride frequency is the number of foot contacts in a given time or distance.

Running mechanics typically refer to the specific running techniques of athletes at full speed.  Some of the techniques include arm mechanics, posture, breathing, and leg turnover.

Game speed is the most commonly used type of speed in game situations: short bursts of explosive power and strong, quick movements, with frequent changes in direction.

Training for Full-Speed Running

Stride length, stride frequency, and running mechanics are designed to address full-speed running (aka top-end speed), which occurs after an athlete has finished accelerating.  In a 40 yard dash, full-speed running typically occurs somewhere after 20 yards and continues through 40 yards.  Despite the fact that specific training for these elements occurs AFTER the first 20 yards, most coaches still tend to focus on these as their primary game speed training areas.

Training for Short-Quick Bursts of Speed

The first 20 yards of the 40 yard dash is specific to acceleration.  Most expert coaches would agree that acceleration is one of the most important training elements because it requires training for power—the combination of speed and strength that gives an athlete that ‘1st step quickness’ and helps an athlete ‘pull away’ from his/her opponent in the first few steps of movement.  Since most sports require short bursts of powerful game speed followed by quick deceleration, then re-acceleration as the athlete changes direction, specific programming designed for acceleration is paramount to an athlete’s success.

While many training camps and speed training companies promote the latest bells and whistles for speed training, the truth is that most acceleration training is accomplished through effectively designed weight-room training programs, accompanied by specific training protocols for minimizing ground-contact time during powerful movements (pliometric training methods).

Creating as much force as possible in as little time as possible is the goal of power or explosive training (used in pliometric training methods).  In running, this explosive training is designed for increases in strike-force output—each time the foot contacts the ground, it is the goal to utilize the reactive forces (from the contact) in addition to the forces that are actively generated to produce even greater forces in as little time as possible.  Simply put, the athlete is training to generate more force per foot contact, rapidly as possible.  This training for strike-force output will directly affect the athletes stride frequency and stride length.  Training for acceleration saves not only improves that athlete’s 1st step quickness, and quicker short bursts, but also helps with increasing full-speed.  And, acceleration training only requires 10-20 yards of space and a well-equipped weight training facility.

Strike-Force Output Training for Game Speed

Training for acceleration, or strike-force output, is the key to improving an athlete’s game speed.  It helps an athlete beat his/her opponent with a quicker 1st step, and gives the athlete the power to continue to ‘pull away’ from the competition.

Maintain Power Through-out the Game

Lastly, it is also important that the athlete’s training program addresses the need to be able to maintain maximal power output throughout the entire competitive event.  Athletes that are only explosive for the first part of the game will soon be surpassed by athletes or teams that can maintain this power for the duration of the game.  This specific type of training is power endurance.  Although there are many ways to train specifically for power endurance relative to a given sport, one simple way to address this is to ‘train the time frame’ of the sport.  What this means is that if an athlete’s specific position for his/her sport requires 30 bursts of sprinting and each one lasts 10 seconds, then the athlete must be able to produce 30 bursts of all-out effort for 10 second intervals.  Rest intervals (rest between sprints) can also be specific to the rest found in the sport.  Start with longer rest intervals and shorten them as the athlete becomes better conditioned to the sprints.  For sports with variable rest intervals in sport, vary the rest in the training.  It is best to for the athlete to be training to maximize acceleration and power endurance on an annual basis, with specific programming modifications during the pre-season and in-season periods.

For more specific information regarding speed training, acceleration, power-endurance, or to see how Finish First Sports Performance addresses these components, please CONTACT US, call 866-468-2231, or stop by the Robinson or Harmarville training facility locations.

5 Tips for Improving Your Game Speed

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(Image from ign.com)

By Jeremy S. Hoy, MS, CSCS, PES, USAW

While there are many ways to improve your game speed, depending on what specific areas you need improvement, there a few ways to gain an advantage through your training.  Here are 5 tips for improving your game speed.

1. Train the posterior chain

The posterior chain is another way of saying the “backside” of the body (kinetic chain).  More specifically, it is the muscle groups on our backside pertaining to the legs and hips and lumbo-thoracic region that make us go forward. This includes the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and the musculature up and down our spine (our back, traps, rear deltoids, erector spinae, etc.).  It also includes smaller stabilizers.  Some of the best ways to train the posterior chain includes deadlifts and deadlift variations (Romanian deadlifts or RDLs), back squats and squat variations (box squats), glute/ham raises, lunges, good mornings, and whole slew of other exercises. Additionally, sleds, tires and other training apparatus can be pulled or pushed to work the posterior chain.  If the load is minimal (2.5%-10% of bodyweight), these training apparatus can be used explosively to help improve ground force development which will help you get more power or push out of each foot contact.

2. Learn how to stop

There has been an increasing awareness of the importance of training deceleration and learning how to properly stop not only for its impact on reducing injury risk, but for the fact that athletes that can stop correctly, in a shorter amount of time, can then change direction and reaccelerate while other athletes are still trying to stop. Research has shown that many knee and ankle injuries occur as a result of improper deceleration or stopping techniques so addressing this is crucial. Additionally, it is highly recommended that you also learn how to land properly (safe, effective and efficient) before participating in any advanced jumping sequences.  Let’s face it…most sports involve starting and stopping and changing direction frequently at high speeds—so learning how to stop will help better prepare you to change direction at higher speeds.

3. Train for power

Power training, such as doing explosive movements with medicine balls (releasing the medballs), performing Olympic lifts or variations (more advanced—make sure you have someone qualified teaching you), using plyometric exercises (depth jumps, hurdles, boxes, broad jumps, jump rope, line hops, etc.), overspeed training, using advanced training techniques, or using other specific training apparatus, can help you create greater force more rapidly each time your foot touches the ground. This, in turn, would help propel you faster in your direction of choice.  This can help improve your stride length and frequency, depending on how you train specifically. Either way, the bottom line here is that power can be trained in the weight room, which means that speed can be improved in the weight room, too.

4. Get stronger

Sticking with the premise that speed can be trained in the weight room, strength is a key component of producing more power (greater force more rapidly) which you now know will help improve your game speed.  Get stronger and train for power and you will notice improvements.

5. Learn how to run

Running mechanics are important, especially the fluidity of movement while running.  Get a coach to teach you the proper mechanics of starting, accelerating, achieving full speed, decelerating, and stopping.  The more you can learn and the better you can run mechanically, the more efficient you will be which means you will waste less energy while running and you will also reduce your risk of getting injured.  Find a coach that is capable of adjusting the mechanics to your skill level and power/speed levels.  What this means is that while you may already be fast, the techniques of Usain Bolt may not be suited for you just yet, and adjustments will need to be made accordingly.

At Finish First Sports Performance, we have certified experience coaches helping athletes improve speed inside and outside of the weight room.  We offer customized training programs for athletes of all levels, plus speed and power training camps at our new location in Harmarville (inside PISA).  For more information about how our services could help you, or to schedule one of our speed and power camps, please contact us.

The Psychology of Winning

ImageWith all of the attention on the London Olympics and WINNING, I wanted to share a blog post I came across from another site that included an interview with expert sports psychologist and author Dr. Denis Waitley.  One of Dr. Waitley’s best selling books is The Psychology of Winning, which is an excellent read that should be owned by any serious athlete or coach.

Below are some of the transcripts from an interview with Dr. Waitley.  It is an interview by Gerhard Gschwandtner in regards to success and sales, so I am going to highlight the questions and answers related to winning.  The full original interview post can be found HERE.

Gerhard Gschwandtner (GG): You have studied the success patterns of some of the greatest achievers around the world. What are the three most common characteristics these winners share?

Dr. Waitley: The first would be high self-esteem, the feeling of your own worth. The second, the realization that you have the responsibility for choosing your own destiny. The healthiest, most successful people I’ve seen exercise their privilege to choose. The power of choosing their destinies puts them in charge of their lives. The third characteristic would be creative imagination to translate dreams into specific goals.

GG: What is your definition of a winner?
Dr. Waitley: A winner is, in my opinion, an individual who is progressively pursuing and having some success at reaching a goal that he has set for him or herself, a goal that is attained for the benefit, rather than at the expense, of others.

GG: Do you think that there is an overemphasis on winning?
Dr. Waitley: The idea of winning has been misunderstood and overexposed. It’s associated with flying through airports, driving fast cars, or standing over a fallen adversary. I’ve seen salespeople who were making six-figure incomes, thinking that they had won. They thought winning was reaching a certain financial level or getting to a certain point. Thinking they have arrived, they stand still and go to the country club. Now their company expects more production but won’t get it from them because they had the wrong idea. They didn’t realize that winning is a continual process of improvement.

GG: In 1976, two researchers, Thomas Tutko and William Bruns, published a book entitled Winning Is Everything and Other American Myths. They wrote, “Winning, in fact, is like drinking saltwater; it will never quench your thirst. It is an insatiable greed. There are never enough victories, never enough championships or records. If we win, we take another gulp and have even greater fantasies.”
Dr. Waitley: It is true. The American version of winning is to come on first at all costs, or expediency rather than integrity.

GG: Are you saying that people tend to get obsessed with winning at the expense of fulfillment?
Dr. Waitley: Definitely. I think athletics is the most dominant of all fields where payoff only comes to the winner, but there are notable exceptions. For example, in interviews with five US former Olympic decathlon winners, I found that their individual goals were to become the best they could, not necessarily the best in the world. These athletes have found fulfillment in recognizing and realizing their potential.

GG: Their gold medals are internal, not external.
Dr. Waitley: Exactly. The secret is to compare yourself against a standard that you have set. You measure yourself only against your last performance, not against another individual’s.

GG: What is your definition of a loser?
Dr. Waitley: A loser is a person who has an abundance of opportunities to learn and successful role models everywhere but chooses not to try. I read the other day that only 10 percent of all Americans will ever buy or read a book. This means that 90 percent choose not to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities available to everyone in this country. Our libraries are crammed full with enough information for anyone to be an expert in anything.

GG: You wrote in your book The Winner’s Edge, “Real success in life has no relationship to a gifted birth, talent, or IQ. Would you include gender?
Dr. Waitley: Yes, and I would include race, as well.

GG: You have analyzed many winners. I wonder how we can ever know objectively how and why winners win.
Dr. Waitley: I don’t think we can put it into a formula. But we can study people who have overcome obstacles. I studied people from every walk of life – hostages, POWs, astronauts, sports figures, and sales achievers – to see if they have anything in common. There are surprising similarities.

GG: Let me rephrase my question. Look at history as an example. The country that wins the war gets to write the history books. History becomes the tale of the winner. If you translate this to people, winners get to tell their stories in interviews. Winners are the most interviewed people in this country. Do you think that they give us an objective picture? Is high performance an objective science or a speculative science?
Dr. Waitley: It’s a speculative science. But instead of comparing their methods on achieving success, we need to compare patterns of achievement and see how those patterns overlap. Also, we need to review their thoughts and actions during their worst times. Personally, I’ve learned more from the worst times than I have from the best moments of my life.

GG: Do you suggest that the strength of winners often depends on how they manage disappointment?
Dr. Waitley: Absolutely. When I studied the adversities faced by leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Thomas A. Edison, and Golda Meir, I learned much more than by analyzing some of the great statements or decisions they made. When winners stand on the pedestal, they tend to gloss over what it took to get from the dream to reality.

GG: How can we learn from our disappointments in a way that enhances our growth?
Dr. Waitley: Most people never go beyond the adolescent view of failure. They say, “If they laugh at me, it isn’t worth learning from the experience.” Adolescents tend to believe that performance is the same as the performer. They take individual achievements as marks of their own self-esteem. The healthy individual views failure as a temporary setback. The stumbling block becomes the stepping stone. A better example would be the kid who got new ice skates for Christmas. He goes out on the ice and falls on his head. His mother comforts him by saying, “Why don’t you come in and put your skates away,” and he says, “Mom, I didn’t get my skates to fail with; I got my skates to learn with. What I’ll do is keep practicing until I know how to do it right.”

GG: Disappointment seems to lead up to a choice between seeking comfort and seeking solutions.
Dr. Waitley: Exactly.

GG: We are reluctant to grow and seek solutions because it’s painful.
Dr. Waitley: Right. Eighty percent of all people view growing pain as too uncomfortable or unacceptable. Only 20 percent recognize it as a learning experience.

For more information on Dr. Denis Waitley and for a list of the expert performance books he has written, please visit his website.

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