6 Things Olympic Athletes Do That We Should Implement

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Image by David Schap

The Olympics are amazing, but while I am utterly amazed I think most of us still really have no clue to how incredible these athletes truly are.  I really like comedian Bill Murray’s recent tweet, “Every Olympic event should include one average person competing for reference.”

What makes these athletes so incredible? Well, I won’t argue that genetically they have a lot going for them, but you would be a fool to underestimate how much they do mentally and physically to help themselves stand out and excel.

Olympic athletes have amazing focus and discipline. What can we learn from these incredible athletes to help us live better lives?

Olympic athletes: 

1) Visualize Success: Olympic athletes don’t just think positively, the speak positively using affirmations and verbal mantras and goals. They try to involve all five senses in this visulaization. They do this regularly. They literally see and practice success. I write about this in my book.

2) Have great coaches: Maybe you can’t afford a coach, but you can afford a book, a CD, or conference attendance. What resource can you obtain now to help you advance?

3) Don’t Believe in Life Balance: Olympic athletes are ‘all in.’  They realize sacrifices must be made. This may not work for you and me on a regular basis, but from time to time we need to ‘fully commit’ to realize and accomplish a life goal. I’m sure you can recall a time you did this and it made the difference. What needs more attention in your life?

Conversations and a Gathering of Great Minds

Bag and hands by Alejandro Escamilla

Image by Alejandro Escamilla

I recently had breakfast with an old friend at a restaurant. He told me he meets there with a group of men regularly, and they talk about education, kids, curriculum, and the world. They even had a little brass plaque on wall with their initials engraved on it.  It was early, but the conversation put my mind in the right mode of thinking for the entire day. New perspectives were shared. I saw topics in a new light, and, well, I shared some of my ideas too.

Today, I was listening to a few minutes of a show titled GPS on CNN. I caught it just by chance. Just one of those moments where I was getting a snack when I shouldn’t have, and the TV was on in the kitchen.  What a great show! I’m not sure I am intelligent enough to grasp everything it covered, but I enjoyed the variety and richness of discussion. The show focused on solutions and big ideas.

I was inspired by the host’s guest too, “Homeless Billionaire” Nicolas Berggruen, who has recently  started a ‘think tank” where the top minds of the world will gather and well… think. He is building an institute that focuses on free speech, curiosity, and diversity. Nicholas calls this institute a “secular monestary” where scholars will live, work, host meetings, and talk about a range of topics from technology, philosophy to government, and more! He says he wants to give the world a place where people can have conversations.

These two events, my friend’s gathering at breakfast and the CNN story, are the same concept at different levels. Both groups, one big and one small, are focused on getting great minds together and having a conversation.

Are we doing this? Are we having discussions? This is more than liking pictures and status updates. These are face-to-face conversations in real time. This is setting aside a time to meet in person, spend time together, talk and then collaborate on solutions.

I was fortunate to have been invited to Berlin, Germany this summer to do just that with amazing educators from all around the world at the Apple Distinguished Educator Global Institute 2016. It was amazing and beneficial. This was thinking big on a big scale. This should happen often and so should smaller discussions too, at smaller levels.

How can we do more of this?  How can you or I get a group of thinkers together to talk and collaborate?

I challenge you this week to do just that. Start something. Join something. If you accomplish it online, well, I guess that is okay,  but if you can find a way to meet in person I think you will see many added benefits.

As an English teacher I am reminded of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and G. K. Chester meeting at a pub regularly for a talk. They called themselves The Inlkings. What came from these “talks” is some of my favorite literature and essays.

On my podcast I recently interviewed two authors about a trip they took home after a conference. They rode together in a car and talked. From this conversation sprang forth the idea for a book which was recently published on a very important topic.

These ‘think tanks’ or conversations are important. While they of course can “just happen” from time to time, imagine the results if we actually planned a few.

Kelly Croy  • Speaker, Artist and Educator • Invite Kelly to speak at your event!
www.KellyCroy.com  •  info@kellycroy.com  •  1-800-831-4825 

Weeding Your Daily Habits

Weed garden habit.I spend a few minutes each morning and evening in my garden. I find it relaxing. I’m not a great gardener, but it is fun for the whole family.

The other day my youngest questioned why I was pulling these little plants from the garden.

I told her they were weeds, and that if unattended they would overcome the garden and hurt our crops.

I think many of us, including myself, have a lot of weeds in our daily productivity. We could benefit from being a little more intentional about removing some bad habits that act like weeds and overcome the goals in life that would bring us the most happiness.

They are easy to spot, like the weeds in our gardens, and they are pretty easy to pull out when they are small. When they grow into daily habits, however, and have taken root in our lives, they are much more difficult to eliminate. It is hard to distinguish the diversion from the goal, just as it is difficult to distinguish the full grown weed from the crop.

There is no spray or tool in life that will do the work for you. That would be great! You must identify and yank those weeds out to be more productive. You must do it with intention and consistency. It isn’t painful and it doesn’t take any time. Rather, it is a reallocation of time, or making the next best choice with your time. It’s that simple.

Don’t beat yourself up about how the garden has been over run, just get in there and yank a few out today, then a couple more tomorrow.

Diversions, like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, video games, and our hobbies are important. We need them to make life fun and worth living, but too often we get lost in our diversions and give our true goals the minimum of our day, week, and sadly life.

If we want the gardens of our life to be plentiful and healthy we must put some daily intention to getting those results.

The greatest goals in life are not  met with a single, massive action, but rather small, daily habits.

Take a look at your day and ask yourself one very simple question: What negative habit have I developed, that if eliminated could free up some time for something I have always wanted to accomplish?

Leaders Promote Others!

WE Promote others; leaders promote othersWhether you are the owner of a business, a manager of a team, a parent, or just a good friend, know that leaders promote the work of others.

I had a wonderful neighbor years ago that I  loved to talk with while she tended her flower gardern.  One day she said to me, “Do you know what I like best about you? You speak so well of others. You talk so well of your wife. You share the joys of your work. You recommend your friends to others. That’s a wonderful quality.”  While I enjoyed the compliment, I also thought long and hard about her words, and I wondered why more people don’t do the same.

One of the greatest joys of being a leader comes when we have an opportunity to  recognize others for their hard work. Recognizing is important and something all leaders should do.  Recognizing and promoting are not, however, the same. Recognizing could be accomplished in private, but when we promote someone, well, that is the ultimate form of recognition because you are attaching yourself to it and sharing it publicly.

My mom would always compliment my artwork, but the greatest memories I remember were when she hung it on the fridge, or told her friends about it. I loved that.  I still do. So… hang someone’s work on the proverbial fridge and promote them.

Don’t promote others expecting something in return for yourself.  It very likely will happen, but that is the wrong reason to do it. Promote others because you are genuinely impressed with their work.  Make note, however, when you promote the work of others routinely it always benefits you down the road. It doesn’t benefit you occassionaly, it benefits you regularly, but again, that’s not why you do it, and you can’t do it occassionally. Your promotion of others needs to become a part of your leadership style.

And once you get a reputation for promoting the work of others, you won’t believe the work people do for you!   (Click “Read More”  to find out how to really apply this leadership skill.)

One Simple Change for a Lifetime of Results: The Kaizen Way

Kelly Croy Productivity Speaker Writer Artist kaizen

The Kaizen Way is a concept that I believe can dramatically impact your personal and professional life without stress, guilt, and anxiety. It’s simple and effective. It leap frogs fear and procrastination and gets results. 

I recently asked a friend if he had any resolutions for the new year and he replied, “Yes, I plan to do one push-up a day.”

I smiled, knowing there had to be more to the story, and I asked, “One? That’s a bit small isn’t it?”

My friend then introduced me to the concept of the Kaizen Way. He explained to me that when he gets down on the floor to complete his one push-up for the day that he always does a few more than just the one.  He doesn’t overthink what he has to do. He doesn’t worry about how he is going to fit three sets of forty pushups into his schedule, or anything like that.  He just gets down on the floor and does his one push up aiming for improvement.  It’s simple. It’s neat. It works.

This is a new area of focus for him. He doesn’t already have a massive amount of upper body strength, so doing some pushups every day of the year will be a big boost. The word “kaizen” is the Japanese word for improvement. It was once poorly applied in the workplace as forcibly making employees discover and apply constant improvement, all the way from the head of the company down to the newly hired, to a point of creating a work environment of stress and undue pressure. Kaizen, or constant improvement is a great concept, but I like my friend’s version better because it eliminates the stress and allows the participant to self-assess and reflect on how deeply to apply the improvement. This contemporary version of The Kaizen Way is personal and enchanting. In essence, the Kaizen Way asks you to take one small step each day to make an improvement in your life. 

I decided to try this concept of the Kaizen Way in my own life. You see I own a guitar, but I do not know how to play it. I have always wanted to learn. I have thought about lessons, and books, and YouTube videos, and other educational tools, but success always eluded me. 

Why haven’t I been able to learn anything on the guitar? Easy.  I haven’t really tried. The process itself stops me cold: get the guitar out of the closet, take it out of the case, use the tuning app on my iPhone to tune it, start the lesson, practice, put it all away, etc. No wonder I have never learned even a little bit of how to play the guitar. The key of course has been to simplify the process and redefine what I need to do.  Yes, this is a mind trick. 

This year I applied the Kaizen Way to my desire of learning to play the guitar. I decided I would learn to play just one chord a day. Just one chord. That’s it.  Guess what happened?  In a matter of a few weeks I have learned a couple of chords! They aren’t the greatest sounding chords in the world, but it is more than I have learned in my entire life of owning that guitar due entirely to my friend’s simple explanation of this Kaizen concept.