Success Is The Distance…

For years I’ve been saying it to my teams, “Winning is not always success and losing is not always failure!” Now this sticks right in the craw of many people who want to put trophies on mantles and points on the board. The problem is that this one metric doesn’t tell the entire story. It’s just the most obvious thing that people measure. It’s also the reason that I REALLY REALLY dislike Manchester City in the English Premier League. We need to dig a little deeper to uncover the metrics by which true success can be measured.

My statement about success and failure is usually followed up by a thought exercise. I’ll ask my high school players, “If we played Arsenal and lost 1-0, were we successful?” The answer is always a resounding “YES!” Then I ask, “If we were to play against a U8 team and won 1-0, were we successful?” The answer is always a resounding “NO!” “Could we even characterize that as a ‘failure’?” Again the answer is always unanimous, “YES!” So if a loss can be success and a victory can be failure, how do we truly measure these contradictory outcomes that are so integral to how we feel about ourselves? It is simple but not easy.

Success is the distance between someone’s resources and their results. Many of the components may be subjective but we have the exemplars written in the fabric of our culture. It is no wonder that Rocky continues to be a classic after all of these years. That movie personifies this idea about success. Rocky has almost none of the resources but uses what he has to get unexpected results. Conversely Apollo has all of the resources and barely gets the minimum expected. These may be fictitious characters but these stories play out in the real world everyday. Possibly even in your own life.

Now that you have a definition for success. Take it, use it, run with it. Measure yourself against it. Are you really succeeding or are you beating up on the U8 team because it’s easy? With the resources that you have at your disposal, are you living above or below that line? Recognition is the first step to moving in a new direction. Then put on the gloves and start swinging.

Fight the good fight people!



Go Get Your Hurricane

HurricaneDo me a favor and breath deeply.  Pull it in and then release it.  The air is incidental, isn’t it?  It’s the breathing that you noticed.  You probably gave little thought to the air itself.  That’s because air is all around and it feels pliable and weak.  It is only when air is marshaled into a formidable force, like a hurricane, that it gets the respect that it deserves.  We need the air that we breath, it a building block with the potential to give life or take it away.  It is a resource of infinite importance that is invisible because we only see it when it smacks us in the face like in a hurricane.

Air is not the only resource that we besmirch on regular basis.  Even for those that are visible, we cannot always see because we are too busy with our present lives to notice.  The world is not lacking for resources or opportunities but rather people that can see them in their dormant state.  Most of us are waiting to get picked up in a hurricane of opportunity.  The problem is that the hurricane is never coming.  You need to go get the hurricane, possibly even build it from the ground up; one molecule at a time.

The world has already gifted you the component pieces.  Are you going to complain that it has not put them together for you?  Or can you find the joy in the noticing, finding, building and creating?  If you don’t build your own hurricane, you’ll need to chase someone else’s and take the chance of being blown away.

Go find what you need today!




The Lake House (When Less Is More)

LakeHouseGrowing up, my grandparents owned an A-frame house in the Pocono Mountains.  It remains one of my favorite places in the world even though they sold it over 20 years ago.  This place was spectacular!  It had no TV, only a radio that may have been from the 1950’s.  There was no running water, we had to fill 5 gallon jugs at the spring nearby.  The toilet was filled by rainwater that needed to be pumped into the basin after each use.  There were exactly two bedrooms and about twelve beds.  The master bedroom was on the first floor and it contained one king size bed.  The rest of the beds were set up end to end in two columns on the second floor varying from a crib up to a queen size.  At maximum capacity, the second floor could sleep about 20 people.  It was located on a gravel road about a half mile from a lake with a small sand beach.  The nearest store or other forms of civilization were at least five miles away.  It was a wonderful place to vacation.

By many standards, this might seem like the exact opposite of a vacation spot.  It seemingly lacks all of the comfort that one might look for in a week away.  However everything that was lacking was what made it so great.  The lack of TV forced everyone to find other ways to entertain themselves.  My brothers and I caught salamanders.  We raced them down the gutters on the side of the house.  My grandmother taught us to play rummy and other card games at night.  The lack of running water made us conscious of our resources.  Also everyone had to pitch in with finding firewood for cooking or carrying supplies from the car on arrival.  The communal sleeping arrangements forced people to get along and be respectful of the needs of others.  We had everything that we needed when we had nothing that most people would have wanted.

In our fast paced, consumer based world, most of us do not lack resources but rather resourcefulness.  Having more things is not particularly the answer.  Now that most Americans have most of their needs met, satisfying their wants has not particularly made them any happier.  Since more is not particularly the answer, perhaps the answer lies in better and deeper forms of less.  Rather than having 500 Facebook friends, it might be better to have 5 irreplaceable friends.  In the place of better resolution on your flat-screen, put more resolve into the relationships with the cast in your own life.

I’m not saying that you can’t have it all.  I’m saying that the key to having it all may be enjoying all that you can from all that you have.  Less will always be more if it is appreciated for what it is and not lamented for all that it lacks.

Double down on a person or situation that really deserves it.