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Accidentally Mummifying Yourself

KilimanjaroThe world is filled with things that cut.  Like walking through a patch of thorn bushes with exposed skin, injury is an almost certainty.  In the short term, bandaging the cuts is the right strategy.  In time, the wounds will heal.  If too many cuts pile up, the bandages become wrappings.  You become a mummy.  Movements constrained by the bandages on wounds that never healed.  Avoiding cuts completely is an impossibility but choosing a new path and learning how to wield a machete are both options.  Band aids are not a long term solution, they are a short term fix.  This concept is obvious when thinking about real wounds but with metaphorical wounds, this is a common strategy.

The key has always been preventative medicine/measures.  Solving old problems with solutions that minimize or eradicate the issue is the best way to get better problems.  That is an understanding that everyone needs to have: PROBLEMS AREN’T GOING AWAY!  The most that you can hope for is to have the best problems possible because you’ve solved the old and boring ones.  Why would you choose to flail around in that same old thorn bush when you can figure out how to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

I know that many of you out there are bleeding and it hurts.  My heart goes out to you and I hope that this message will help you move on.  Break free of the thorns and find the path to the mountain where you can see for miles.  It won’t be easy but it may be worth it!

Have a great day!

Pete

 

Blogpost

“I Am Groot” Being Loud and Clear

GrootLast night I saw Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 with my son. (No spoilers, don’t worry!)  One of the central characters in the Guardians series is Groot.  He is a slightly simple-minded creature who can only say one thing “I am Groot”.  Luckily his partner, Rocket, is extremely adept at understanding and deciphering his message.  While Groot is often the star of the show, Rocket makes him accessible to everyone.

Although we are speaking the same language, the words that are said and the way that they are interpreted are two different things.  Relationships depend heavily on language (both spoken and unspoken).  If you want to be understood in any relationship, seek first to understand.  Most of us are trying so hard to get our message out, that we forget to put the receivers up.  Better listening (and reading of body language) can make you a more effective communicator.

It’s fine to say “I am Groot” if you’re talking to Rocket.  The problem comes when someone else needs to understand.  Then it’s on you to be clear.  No one will be as invested in your message as you are.  So put the effort into becoming a better messenger, rather than turning up the volume on your message.

Pete

Uncategorized

Obvious Words Now Intentionally Tattooed

Things are obvious until they’re not.  Then they become obvious again.  The world was obviously flat until it wasn’t.  Now it’s obviously round and some people want to go back again.  Obviousness is not a measure of truth but an accessibility to proof.  Meaning that the proof is so easily accessible anyone can see it.  The problem with the obvious now becomes that everything is now easily accessible.  Both the proof of the true and the false can be found with a few swipes of the finger.  Like a bank vault filled with half counterfeit and half legitimate money, it is no longer the receptical that matters.  We are going to basically the same place for most of our information.  It is our ability to discern the fake from the real that matters most.

zeusPersonally I am not interested in making my beliefs, your beliefs.  I put my words out there in the hopes that they resonate with some people, not everyone.  For example, I’m not sure that they exist but I think it would be really cool if there were people who still believed in the Greek gods like Zeus.  It’s obvious to me that those gods don’t work for me but for someone else, they may work great (provided they’re not hurting others).  One of the keys to this life is figuring out what works for you, not what the “best practices” or “top ten tips” are.  No one else can live your life and therefore no one else should.

Whatever it is that you decide to do, you need to OWN IT.  If you believe in it, don’t shy away from it.  The words that you say, especially to yourself are important.  They are almost important enough to tattoo on your body but make sure that first you tattoo them in your mind.  Obvious Words No Intentionally Tattooed!  Whether it’s a dream or a lifestyle or relationship, you must OWN IT.  Regardless of what the rest of the world wants.  Because the rest of the world is not your world.

Oprah Winfrey Network Internal Technologists was the original name that I had in mind for this post.  I’m an odd bird but my oddity is mine.

Thanks.  Make today your day!

Pete

SoccerLifeBalance

Talent and Tryouts and Trainers! OH MY!

wizard of ozIt was a big deal!  I remember it very plainly.  My parents, brothers and I would all sit down with popcorn and watch “The Wizard of Oz”.  It was an annual occasion.  The movie is definitely a classic but I think that the ritual and nostalgia factor make it a little more important for me.  Despite being released in 1939, the story stands the test of time.  A young girl has a magical adventure that ends up being a dream but she learns that her search to distant lands led her back to the home and people that really mattered in the first place.  Most of the things that she desired or feared ended up being fake or easily defeated.

As the spring soccer season continues, I am inundated with emails about tryouts, camps and recruiting services.  It is not a new thing that is unexpected.  However following many discussions that I’ve had with members of my own club, I’m left wondering if the modern American soccer culture isn’t a lot like Dorothy.  Are we searching for something that is hollow and the truest prize is in our own backyard?

It is tryout season and clubs throughout my area will be selecting the best talent they can find.  Then they will pair that talent up with a paid trainer in order to improve upon that talent.  (Full disclosure I am a paid trainer)  Games will be won and lost over the course of the year.  Then the cycle will repeat.  The teams and players will progress down the yellow brick road toward what exactly?  The best of the best will be professionals.  The second tier will play in college.  The rest will either fizzle out along the way or play in a recreational type setting for as long as they enjoy it (love men’s and women’s leagues!).  So is it really that a majority of us are hoping that our kids get to that promised land of professional or college that we’ve created this monster system?  Or is it that we’ve forgotten where we are and where we’re going?  My fear is that in a few more years many people are going to find the little man behind the curtain and be shocked.

CoachingSoccer is an inherently simple game that has so much to offer to the people who play and watch it.  The positives that it offers to young players are generally intrinsic rather than extrinsic.  Physical fitness, self-confidence and camaraderie just to name a few.  None of these positives require talent, tryouts or trainers, OH MY!  In fact all three may inhibit the expansion of these intrinsic positives because they are all short term.  Talent is relative and momentary.  Tryouts make players commodities first and people second.  Trainers are generally interested in the short-term improvement of skills in a very selective area.   It is not that these things are without their place.  However they should not be the silver bullets that are used to propel our young players forward.  If the vast majority of youth soccer players are not going to end up in the top two tiers of involvement, then should we (the adults) be building the yellow brick road?  Or finding our way back to Kansas?

My beliefs is that the solution is on the horizon if enough people are willing to look for it.  It all comes down to focus.  If the focus is put and maintained on the idea of making our kids great people first, then we all win regardless of the outcomes on Saturdays/Sundays.  Do we have to pay for that service?  Most likely not.  It takes involvement and time from the adults who truly care about the kids.  My father coached my teams for year and his soccer knowledge, at the time, came from books.  The game has progressed since then but so has the knowledge of the parents and accessibility to information.  Since the focus is not on game results, tryouts might go away or be held every two or three years.  That way the team gets to be “a team”.  Finally what will happen to the talent of our players?  Won’t their soccer skills drop if we no longer employ these improvement strategies.  For the long term, does it matter?  Off the field, my soccer skills have saved a few glass bottles from breaking.  Other than that, the non-soccer skills have been far more important.  Learning how to lead, fitness, problem solving and self-improvement are all practical skills that were honed on the field.  In the short term, there are other ways to improve one’s soccer skills without expensive trainers.  It’s called practice!  Kids are extremely adept at using YouTube to figure out many things.  Perhaps watch that video with the child and go into the backyard to practice.

In ten years will we not know our extremely talented former soccer players?  Or will we have a self-reliant young person that we can relate to who was OK at the kicking game?  There’s no place like home.  There’s no place like home.

See you on the field!

Pete

Uncategorized

Small Amoeba Syndrome

The life of the single celled organism, the amoeba, must be tough.  In order to survive, it needs to change its shape in order to “absorb” its food.  It is the ultimate “go-getter” in the microscopic universe.  It’s survival is completely predicated on how much and how often it “puts itself out there”.  A lazy amoeba would be a dead amoeba.

amoebaLiving in the world of higher order organisms, we are not as dependent on stretching ourselves in order to survive.  In fact over the past century we’ve been rewarded for being small amoebas.  Stretching or standing out was discouraged.  Get good grades, get into a good college, do your job and follow the rules.  Being a small amoeba is not as smart as it used to be.  The systems that rewarded the small amoeba are breaking down all over the place and we’re being asked to stretch again.

The opportunities to stretch are all around.  The problem is the same as the amoeba “Am I stretching in a direction that will help me survive?”  The trial an error method is probably a big part of the amoeba’s life and may be required of you.  This is uncomfortable.  The old system was predictable, repeatable and safe.  Even becoming a big amoeba only required adherence to the system that almost told you where to stretch.

The question is not whether the world will require you to stretch or not.  The question is whether you’ll allow yourself to be stretched, pulled apart or reach of your own volition.  Do you believe that you are a small amoeba with very defined limits?  Or are you consistently able to reach out into the void and find what you need and stretch yourself?  You are much less rigid than you think.  Most of your limits are not based on DNA but rather WTT (Willingness To Try).  The old rule book is slowly being torn apart.  You don’t need to go with it.  Reach out into the void and see what you get.  Then do it again!

Keep the Nucleus Strong!

Pete

 

Uncategorized

Other People’s Crap

dumbanddumberLiving with a teenage boy can be disgusting.  Having grown up in a house with three brothers, any one of us had the ability to make everyone else leave the house based on a bodily function.  We were delighted by our own disgusting-ness.  Since the offensive odor belonged to us, we were almost immune to it.  Eventually we all turned into civilized human beings but I’m sure there was some real doubt from my mother for a while.  I’m sure that most mothers occasionally envision their sons growing up to be lifelong bachelors.  Not by choice but by necessity.  Her grownup boy would be alone in a one bedroom apartment playing video games, farting and giggling.  He would be completely nose-blind to his effect on others.  Luckily most boys figure out their effect on others and keep their crap to themselves.

The things about other people’s actual crap is that we generally don’t have to deal with it.  It’s a private thing that they must take care of.  However when it comes to their figurative crap, it’s easy for you to see what they should do with it.  Think of it now.  All of the brilliant things that you’ve thought up for other people.  It’s a pretty pervasive thing.  I’ve worked as a garbage man where my coworkers had “great ideas” for the government, the boss, that CEO or the president.  The crap is so much easier when it’s not yours.

So maybe it’s time that you write down the solutions to that other person’s crap.  Write a nice little letter or email to Jane or John Doe.  Sending the message will be easy because their address (physical or email) is the same as yours.  You’ll be intimately aware of all of their issues because they’re the same as yours.  The letter is your chance to be separate from the issues and come from the outside perspective.  What would you tell a friend, colleague or loved one to do with your situation?  You’d know how to help them wouldn’t you?  Sit down, take the time to actually write out one problem and one solution.  DON’T FIX EVERYTHING AT ONCE!  Just one.  Start small.  There will be more crap tomorrow.  It’s not going anywhere until you do something about it.  Because other than your mom, no one’s cleaning up after you.

Get sponge and bucket!

Pete