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Life on All 8-Cylinders

Ever since I can remember, my quest has been to have my life running on all 8-cylinders, (a reference to the old high-powered V-8 engines of the American muscle cars).

 running on all cylinders

 I wanted a high-powered, high performance life, one that worked the way it was designed to work, and be able to handle the curves, pot-holes, and road hazards, life oft times throws in our path.  I wanted a life that was strong, durable, and had the horse power to achieve success and fulfillment.

We are all born with a high-powered V-8 engine; each of us, our own version of the muscle car.  The problem is most of us aren’t running on all 8-cylinders.  Some of us are sputtering through life with only one or two cylinders firing, leaving us with diminished horse-power to handle the curves, pot-holes, road hazards, and hills.

Here are the 8-cylinders of the engine, that’s been my undertaking to tune-up:

1)      Spiritual Health

2)      Physical Health

3)      Mental Health

4)      Emotional Health

5)      Social Health

6)      Cultural Health

7)      Financial Health

8)      Professional Health

When our lives are tuned-up and firing-off in each one of these areas, life is SWEET!

Over the course of the next several posts, we’ll look at each “cylinder” a little closer, and clearly define each one.  Some are obvious and others not so much, but each cylinder is vital to your engine putting out and performing at the level needed in order to reach that great destination called, “Success and Fulfillment”.

And by the way, success and fulfillment can only be defined by YOU, as in, you’ll know it when you experience it.  No one can define it for you, but I can help you clarify your destination, bring it into focus, and map out the route to get there.

Boo yah!

Destination Unknown

Trail Unblazed

“It’s the job that’s never started that takes the longest to finish.”

 J. R. R. Tolkien


As a coach, it seems easier to pull teeth than it is to get a client to write out their personal vision.  They often complain it takes too long.  That’s more than likely an excuse, it’s not the time that is the obstacle, it’s the mental and emotional effort to write down what it is one really wants out of life, afraid to allow themselves to think what may never come true.

Get started today, right now.  It’s not something you are chiseling into stone.  Your vision is a living document and should be periodically adjusted and rewritten.  In our corporate program, Mental Toughness University, we have the students write their personal vision in the form of a letter to a friend, dated 5-10 years from today.

Ask yourself, “What do I want my life to look like and be like in five years? Or ten?”

Students are encouraged to write a page for each of 8 areas of life:

1) Business/Career

2) Family/Friends

3) Money/Finances

4) Recreation/Fun

5) Health/Diet/Exercise

6) Faith/Spiritual

7) Social/Cultural

8) Personal Development

Pick the area that most stands out to you right now and begin writing that letter.  Don’t think about how to accomplish what you are writing, just go with it.  Allow yourself to free-flow this emotional “business plan” and paint the picture of how you really want your life to be in five or ten years.  Without a written vision, you doom yourself to the status quo or worse.  No one takes a vacation without a destination in mind, why would you take the trip called “your life” without one?

The research shows that less than 5% of folks will actually take the time to write out a vision for their lives, and in my experience, it doesn’t happen without the pressure of your job being on the line.  Here’s your chance to instantly vault into the top 5% in all the world, go write the letter.

Boo yah!

There is No One Coming to Your Rescue

My business partner and mentor, Steve Siebold, explains that no one is coming to rescue us from our lives, in this short interview on CBS Atlanta.

CLICK HERE to watch the interview.

cbs atlanta

I have found this to be a huge issue in coaching clients.  We all have a blind spot, in which we think in the back of our mind, “Some day, my ship will come in,” or “One day, I’ll be discovered and get my lucky break,” or simply playing the lottery.  It’s truly not going to happen, no one is coming to your rescue to make your life better.  If you want a better life, you have to do it.

CLICK HERE to download your FREE copy of Steve’s new Mental Toughness Training Manual.  (It’s geared for weight loss, but the Mental Toughness principles presented are applicable in every area of life.)

Boo yah!!

New Year’s Resolution Failure? It’s Not Too Late

My business partner and mentor, Steve Siebold, lays out 5 simple steps to keeping your New Year’s Resolution, be it weight loss, earning more money, quitting smoking or going back to school, in his article on Yahoo Finance.

yahoo finance

CLICK HERE to read Steve’s 5 Simple Steps in detail.

Here’s a 30 second version:

1) Decide to do it…..PERIOD!

2) Get in the HABIT

3) Get a COACH (This one is HUGE!)

4) Keep it REAL

5) Drill down to the DETAILS.


You can do it, and it is never too late.  Remember, it’s only OVER when YOU say it’s OVER.

Boo Yah!

Play Like A Gladiator

“When I’m on the court, I picture myself as like a gladiator.”

Tyson Chandler


In the past, I have had the privilege to coach several people with terminal or life threatening diseases (many of them with stage 4 cancer of one type or another).  Hands down, these folks have been the easiest to performers to coach.  Why? Because each was playing like a gladiator.  If a gladiator didn’t win his/her fight….well, you know.

Someone who is in a fight for their life has inherent motivation, although not always.  Medical Doctors call it the will to live.  The same holds true with professional warriors, we have an intrinsic emotional driver, beating death or dismemberment.

It’s much easier to be disciplined in carrying out the process of performance, when failure to do so means dying. For cancer patients, the process of performance can entail many things, including diet and nutrition, surgeries, radiation, chemo, and rest cycles.  It takes enormous amounts of Mental Toughness, focus and emotional control to fight a terminal illness.

Anecdotally, the terminally ill are much better performers than the middle class professionals, who hate their jobs and “want” to pursue their dream careers or businesses, but don’t play like gladiators.  Always keeping the safety net of their much maligned occupation, only willing to face the lions from inside the safety of a cage.  It’s very rare to win big in any arena of life, but nearly impossible if you don’t go all in, sell out, and fight like your life depends on it.

As a coach, it’s much more rewarding to work with a performer who plays like a gladiator.  The cancer patients I’ve worked with embody all the traits of the greatest champions of all time.  They know what they are fighting for, they know what outcome they want, they know it’s a difficult fight, but they work at the process of performance like there’s no tomorrow, because there might not be one.

Get clarity, and play like a gladiator, there’s no guarantee of a tomorrow for any one of us.

Boo Yah!!

Avoid The “Don’ts”

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”

Peace Pilgrim

 avoid the don'ts

The past few weeks, I have really paid attention to how I phrase things.  I have found that more times than not, I phrase things negatively.  For example, on the firing range, I found myself saying, “Don’t miss this shot.”

I am making the effort of phrasing it positively, “Hit the target.”

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a big deal.  However, negative phrasing has invaded my inner dialogue and self-talk. The way we speak to ourselves, the language and phrasing we use when we think our thoughts, has an enormous impact on our attitudes, behaviors, actions and choices we make.

Don’t think about a clown. What did you just think about? It’s like having a golf caddy tell you not to think about the sand traps, the water obstacles, and definitely, whatever you do, do not think about how you hooked the last two drives.  What do you automatically think about? The sand traps, water obstacles and hooking the ball. Instead, focus on the positive process of performance.  Visualize the fairway, focus on the fundamentals of your swing, and see yourself placing the shot exactly where you want it to be.  Avoid thinking about the “don’ts”, where you don’t want the ball to land, and how you don’t want to screw up the swing.

It seems like a subtle and simple shift, but it’s actually quite difficult to rephrase everything to avoid using the word “don’t”.  Try it for a day, or at least an hour.  Stop yourself whenever you catch a “don’t” coming out of your mouth and rephrase it.  Then work up to catching “don’t” in your thoughts.

Strike “Don’t trip,” for “Keep your balance.”

Strike “Don’t lose,” for “Let’s win.”

Strike “Don’t hurt yourself,” for “Stay safe.”

Strike “Don’t fail,” for “Learn and grow.”

Strike “Don’t get sick,” for “Stay healthy.”

Strike “Don’t be afraid,” for “Be courageous.”

Strike “Don’t be weak,” for “Be strong.”

And on and on…..

Boo Yah!

Go Ahead, Hit Me

“I can’t teach someone how to take a punch.  That’s about internal fortitude, you have it or you don’t.”

Mike Tyson

 take a punch

Fortitude is the mental strength and courage that allows one to face pain, danger, adversity, difficulties, and even temptation, and not draw back.  Without the mental toughness to not draw back in the midst of harsh conditions, you have lost before you even start.

Growing up, I was the fat kid and a cry-baby, and therefore attracted the attention of bullies.  I was the king of drawing back.  I couldn’t take a punch, didn’t want to take a punch, and would cower at merely the thought of taking a punch.  Guess what? That mindset invited even more punches to be thrown my way, and not just physical punches, plenty of emotional ones as well, aimed directly at my core identity, “the guy who was easy prey.”

Everything changed once my mindset changed.  Once I learned how to “punch” back, and to do so in a strategic and skillful manner, taking punches equated to motivational stimulus, not pain.  The Warrior Culture of the Marine Corps, started out by teaching me how to physically punch back, but in the process, instilled a Mental Toughness mindset that took root and became internal fortitude.

Being able to take a punch might not be able to be taught, but the Mental Toughness mindset can be learned, and deliberately assuming that mindset, day in and day out, will eventually lead to an internal fortitude that is tougher than steel.

Mental Toughness is a process and a lifestyle.  Controlling your emotions and conquering your fears is a game changer, without it, I shudder to think how dreadful my life would have been.  I don’t go looking for adversity, I don’t go looking for a fight, and I don’t enjoy difficulties. On the other hand, difficulties don’t enjoy me either, adversity doesn’t much like me, and I actually like getting punched occasionally, it reminds me how much fun it is to win a fight.

Boo Yah!

Greatest Coaching Job of All Time

“Coaching is a profession of love. You can’t coach people unless you love them.”

Eddie Robinson


Parenting is the greatest and most vital of all the head coaching jobs in all the world.  Of course, every parent loves their kids, more than words can express.  That’s first requisite of a coach, loving the folks you coach, so it’s a good start.  If you’re a Mom or a Dad, your made the cut…you’re a COACH! (Like it or not.)

Let’s take a minute to look at a few thoughts on coaching from a parenting point of view.  (If you aren’t a parent, think of it from the perspective of interacting with all the people inside your circle of influence. And if you happen to be a coach, put on your coaching hat too.)

“A good coach will make his or her players see what they can be rather than what they are.”

Ara Parasheghian

Let’s help our kids see what they can be rather than telling them where they are falling short or not meeting our expectations.  We have all experienced how exhausting it feels trying to measure up, while simultaneously being told you’re not.

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

John Wooden

The greatest challenge of Mom’s and Dad’s (and coaches everywhere), is to help our charges make course corrections without planting the seeds of bitterness, embarrassment or belittlement.  What’s even worse is to give no corrective suggestions at all.  Showing disappointment or disgust, or simply turning your back on a performance that we deemed not up to par, causes extreme long term damage to those under our tutelage. Immediate adjustments are the best, but privately, if possible.

“A team takes on the personality of the head coach.”

Ricky Williams

If you don’t like the way the little darlings are acting, look in the mirror.  In most cases, they got it honestly.  There’s no overnight fix, but if you personally work on developing better habits in the areas you don’t like to see in the kids, they’ll take the cue, and work on it as well. (Just “telling them” to fix it aint’ gonna get it done.)

I’m talking to myself here, which is what this blog is about:  me coaching me.  (But I’m sure glad you came along on the ride with me.)

Boo Yah!