To continue the series I am not concentrating on X’s and O’s but on the cognitive part of coaching. I want to look at information, action, and personal philosophy. Note this philosophy has nothing to do with X’s and O’s or play calling. Plenty of clinics out there for that. I have been reading a book called The Slight Edge “turning simple disciplines into massive success,” by Jeff Olson. I have to say I was somewhat skeptical because I thought it was a self-help book but was greatly surprised it was not. I have pulled some points from the book that I found helpful for myself, and wanted to pass it along.
With the tremendous load of information available to us, you can basically find a “how-to” for anything you might encounter. You can find answers to anything, solve problems, diagnose medical ailments, fix cars, etc., but the answer is only the answer. To make it worse it is all just information. Information is just words and ideas, it does not possess action, nor does is it make action. Just because we can recite something does not mean it is how we do it. Just because we sit and talk about it does not mean we put it into play. And this is one of the biggest issues in every profession today. Being able to access all of the information we can is a great possession, but it does not change how we do things in our daily philosophy. Just because you own a shovel, does not mean you can dig a hole, just because you watch a video on how to dig a hole means you can use a shovel, it takes action, and this involves trial and failure. If access to information was the answer, we would all be rich, healthy, happy, and fulfilled. The action is what results from the APPLICATION of the information we received. In other words, do not be another how-to self-help book, the answer is only the answer. Philosophy requires continual action.
Definition: JUST DO IT.
Philosophy is the ingredient to what you know, how you hold it, and how it affects what you do. Your philosophy is your view of life. Your philosophy is what drives your attitudes and feelings. It creates you attitude, actions, and results which equals your life. Math Equation (philosophy) creates (attitudes + actions + results) = your life
Your philosophy is not a self-help book, it is the action of the self-help book. We have all seen infomercials on the latest invention, and given the information presented, we can be convinced that it will work. How many times have you purchased something that you were convinced would work and never put it to use in your regular routine (philosophy). That particular purchase became information, because you could tell about how it worked, but never became apart of your philosophy. It did not change the way you think. Was it a bad purchase? Not if it did the job. We just never put the information to work. If you do not change the way you think no amount of how-to’s will work. Read all the leadership books Amazon has for sale, if you do not put whats inside into your daily actions(philosophy) you gonna have a large library and a lot of lost time. Similar to bombarding yourself with trying to fix a philosophical flaw by reading a feel good story that meets the fix you are looking. Which leads me to my next point, definition.
Another hindering issue we face with defining our philosophy is definition. A dictionary is full on several parts, words, descriptions, and definitions. Virtually every word that is accepted a proper language is included in alphabetical order. That is an overwhelming amount of information, too much for one person to put in their daily usage. The same goes for information, we can easily get caught up in being able to agree with many coaching philosophies we may read about or hear, but that does not mean it is what we really are. We cannot define ourselves. One of the best quotes I have heard: “It is simple show me what a man does and I will show you what his philosophy is.” I like to look at human philosophy much like a tree. In order to understand it you must get to the roots. The roots is where it grew from, and where it nurtures itself. Look at someone’s actions and trace back through them to the source of the actions, and you can arrive at ones philosophy. The source is the philosophy behind the attitude.
Do the thing (action) and you will have the power.
We all want control of our lives, and want to feel the power of our destiny, but how do we define that? Philosophy is the ACTION from the INFORMATION. New Years resolutions are kind of a side joke to many people. If you go to a gym, right after the first of the year, it will be packed for the first few months. When March/April rolls around you will see the membership start to dwindle. We have all fell victim to these resolutions, that had a great long term effect on our lives, but lacked continual action. In coaching this can be applied the same way, if your information is not applied into a repeated action you find absolutely vital for your survival, you will find yourself with the same repeated results from lack of daily action.
The story of Atlas, the man who was sentenced to hold up the world. Many of us have studied this in school and know the mythology behind it. Some parallel can be defined by us if we cannot define our philosophy, and get stuck in the repeated cycle of unwanted results. The action to get the results we want is so easy to do, and just as easy not to do. That is what divides the successful percentage of people. Successful people continually commit the actions that makes them receive the wanted results of their philosophy. Their key is to do this no matter the distraction of how easy it is not to do. When you fail to create your requested action daily you start to ALLOW. When you start to allow you create unwanted baggage that is heavier to carry because your mind defined it as unwanted to begin with. Successful people understand that by allowing something unwanted now, will compound into a mountain of unwanted results eventually. Remember habits always win. At this point you are holding on instead of pursuing your actions. Greatness is captured in the moment of a single decision. No success is immediate just like no failure is instantaneous. There is no “Big Break.” It is found by making the choice to make the choice.
This equation for success is so simple it is shocking and complex. If your action (philosophy) is to commit the continual actions that achieve the results you desire, and you do not tolerate allowance to creep in, then you will carry less weight and spend more effort achieving your goals. Atlas had to carry the weight of the world, and many of us do because it is just as easy to do as it is not to do.
“The formula of success is quite simple: double your rate of failure.” Thomas J, Watson Sr. (founder of IBM)
The first part of this blog might read as being perfect in every instance you may encounter. That in itself would be completely unobtainable. This is because failure is not placed in many of the equations for repeated success. Failure is looked at as inability to complete the task assigned, instead of the pursuit of conquering a way to complete it. (as a side note please understand I mean Failure as in trying and learning from, instead of failing because of excuses or lack of effort). I mean the Thomas Edison type of failure with the light bulb. Our lack of action is usually greatly created by a huge fear of failure. We fail to want to succeed, for fear of failure.
Attitude and Approach
Greater success can be achieved when taking the positive and learning from the negative. It takes both to grow and create a spark.
A positive philosophy turns into a positive attitude, which turns into positive actions, which yields positive results, which gives you a positive lifestyle. A negative philosophy turns into a negative attitude, which in turns into negative actions, which turns into negative results, which turns into a negative lifestyle. As leaders and executives this plays a huge part in our results when we depend on people. I often take a look back over my own career and can directly see how positive and negative actions gave me negative results. The positives actions are what I set out for, the negatives are some of my most regretted instances in my career. That time of failure could only define us if we allow it to deter us from the positive actions that we are seeking. Successful people fail their way to the top.
What are the actions you want from an assistant coach? As coaches who are dealing with players and staff, if we look back, when you got the results you wanted, how did you direct them? What were your attitudes towards them daily? Did they feel trusted, wanted, appreciated? Define what changed in our action? That cause positive or negative results. It was Maya Angelou who once said; People will forget what you done for them, but they will never forget how you treated them. For any coach I would suggest reading The Bowden Way, by Coach Bobby Bowden, and referencing chapter 14, I myself learned a great deal from the book. I am always moved by the story Mark Richt gives about how Bobby Bowden changed his life, and feel that is right at the basis of leadership. That was the core of Coach Bowden philosophy, and he put it into action.
Successful people fail but they form habits of action that feed their success, instead of habits of action that feeds their failure. When you have defined your philosophy you success becomes inevitable. You just need to stay in the process long enough to give it a chance to win, it all starts with a choice. In other words do not be another how-to self-help book, the answer is only the answer. Philosophy requires continual action. Take the information and create an action.
Written by: Coach Patrick Taylor
Offensive Coordinator North Surry High School Toast NC