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A Self-Assessment: Confidence, Cockiness, Self-Esteem & Self-Respect

A Self-Assessment

A Self-Assessment: Confidence, Cockiness, Self-Esteem & Self-Respect Written By Charity Butler

The Dove® soap company hired Gil Zamora, a Forensic Artist trained by the FBI, to conduct an experiment in self-perception. Without seeing his subject, Gil sat on the opposite side of a curtain sketching with his pencil while asking the person to describe herself. He drew her image based on the description alone.

This process was repeated with a number of individuals. After describing themselves, the subjects were then asked to describe another person they met while waiting to be sketched. Each participant ended the experiment with two sketches, one created from her own description and one drawn based on the description of the stranger. The artist did not get a glimpse of the subjects until all sketches were complete.

The resulting images were rather shocking. In each case, the pictures were obviously related but the self-described image was much more harsh and unbecoming than the likeness described by the stranger. This experiment depicts a difficult truth: we tend to view ourselves more cruelly than others view us.

In our culture, increased self-esteem is the automatically assumed remedy for the predisposition toward negative self-perception. Today in the US, the concept of increasing self-esteem is almost fashionable.

A simple Google search provides pages upon pages of information, evaluations, tests, tips, tricks, and curriculum geared toward increasing self-esteem.

In light of these popular notions, Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s observation may seem abrasive and potentially offensive: “Of all groups in the United States, convicted murderers are said to have the highest levels of self-esteem.” He further explains, “This makes sense… To kill someone else, you must think quite a lot of yourself.”

To understand more fully, consider Rabbi Lapin’s follow-up explanation: “Self-esteem is what you gain when you haven’t achieved anything and thus don’t deserve any self-respect.

The difference in self-esteem and self-respect seems trivial, but the disparity could not be more significant. Based on dictionary definitions, self-esteem is an “exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself,” unwarranted thoughts without underlying substance. Self-respect, on the other hand, is “proper esteem for the dignity of one’s character or integrity”.

Building on the example above, convicted murderers generally maintain an unrealistically positive image of themselves and lack character or integrity. Using an extreme example makes a point, but the same concepts can be very real and applicable to our lives as coaches and as people in general.

On the field, I liken these concepts to the ideas of confidence and cockiness. Cockiness is basically self-esteem, thinking very highly of oneself without putting in the time, effort and energy to back up the big head. Confidence, on the other hand, is backed by proper preparation and results in genuine self-respect.

Would you rather coach a player with high self-esteem or high self-respect? We all know players with exaggeratedly favorable impressions of themselves. In my experience, players like this are more likely to cause trouble in a program. These are the kids who may be very talented but usually lead the way in making poor choices. When faced with consequences, they start a resulting full-team punishment workout with a smug grin. It sometimes seems that in their own minds (and many times in the eyes of their parents) they can do no wrong. These players are exhausting!

On the other hand, players with real character and integrity are the kids that encourage and lead the team through those difficult days despite their own pain and suffering.

Without hesitation, I would sign a less talented player with true confidence and solid self-respect over a cocky kid reeking of high self-esteem and entitlement.
In my book Prep Steps™ 31 day guide to success for female Student-Athletes, I tell girls plainly, “Don’t act better than others… work hard to improve so you can really be better! When you push yourself and work hard, you earn the right to confidence.”

Self-respect, like confidence, must be earned. It is the consequence of discipline and resulting achievement.

Although the Dove® experiment focused solely on the physical attributes of people, negative self-perceptions are more deeply rooted than appearance only.
Unkindness and disrespect incubate internally and surface in subtle ways. We tend to speak harshly to or of ourselves, sometimes without realizing it. Mental discipline requires the most personal control and restraint.

One of my routine thoughts following an absentminded mistake: “Wow, I’m an idiot.” When my mistake affects someone else, I will usually follow the line above with, “I am so sorry!”

These responses sound rather ordinary and quite insignificant, but the effects of seemingly innocent words can be subconsciously powerful.

“It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life,” shares Robert Kiosaki, “it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!”

In the past, the word idiot was used in the field of psychology to describe “a person of the lowest order in a discarded classification of mental retardation, having a mental age of less than three years old and an intelligence quotient under 25.”

Psychologists no longer use the word because it is considered offensive. The same professionals with the expertise to diagnose people as legitimately psychotic will not use the word idiot to describe others, yet I use the word regularly when referring to myself?!

Furthermore to say, “I am sorry” is to say, “I’m wretched, poor, useless, and pitiful.” Wow, how harsh!

In light of this understanding, I try to replace the typical “I’m sorry” response with words that more properly convey regret: “I apologize” or “please forgive me”.

Quite often we are subconsciously cruel to ourselves, but the value of kindness to and patience with oneself is refreshing, powerful and ultimately practical.
According to Ayn Rand, author of The Virtue of Selfishness, “The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.”

Being kind to and confident in ourselves is not selfish. In fact, it is one of the most selfless skills we can learn. It is difficult and requires great self-control.

A person who develops a strong foundation of self-respect is then capable of more highly valuing others. We become better at working with people, motivating people and encouraging people. Others esteem us, we respect ourselves and ultimately we are healthier and better equipped to positively impact the world.

The discipline of kindness to ourselves does not make us weak but stronger and more effective than we could imagine. We must first understand and value ourselves before we can truly understand and value the world.

The Ancient Greeks sum it up in two words: “Know thyself.”

Fastpitch Softball Magazine issue 26

Issue 26 of The Fastpitch Magazine Published By Gary Leland

I am happy to bring you this month’s issue of the Fastpitch Softball Magazine, which is now available for you Apple devices, and available for Android devices too.

Welcome to issue 26 of the Fastpitch Magazine. The Fastpitch magazine has been bringing you more fastpitch softball than anyone on the planet for two full years.

This month starts off with Sherry Werner’s article “To Leap Or Not To Leap”.

Then Mitch Alexander’s article is “Halloween Can Be Scarey. getting Hit By A Batted Ball Is A Nightmare.”.

Bill Plummer explains “It Takes Alot To Play Softball”.

Charity Butler writes Part one of three “Maximizing Power: Strategic Strength”.

Coach Dalton has his article “My Favorite Aspect Of The Game”.

Arron Weintraub’s article is “Better Than Magic: Imagery”.

Jen Cronebeger writes “The Art Of Losing Gracefully.

Rob Cruise’s article this month is “Invisible Hitting Mechanics”.

We have a new writer joining the writing staff at The Fastpitch Magazine this month. Chezare’ Sievers first article is Hitting Tips & Drills for Tee Ball & Coach Pitch Girls.

The Exclusive clinic this month is from former Olympian Leah O’Brien Amico “Bunting and Slapping”.

All this and more in this months issue.

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The Fastpitch Directory is a Hit

Fastpitch Search

The Fastpitch Directory is a Hit Written By Keri Casas

Whether you are new to travel ball or looking for a different team, The Fastpitch Directory is the latest and greatest tool in your Fastpitch softball search!

The NEW Fastpitch Directory is simple, direct, and easy to use in your search for a travel ball team. The site breaks down available teams by state, region, and age group so you aren’t stuck scrolling through unnecessary information. Furthermore, coaches are able to post positions they are looking to fill; making your search even easier to filter!

What is the best part of The Fastpitch Directory? Zero Spam. Unlike many “team posting” forums, the site does not allow for members sell product or tournaments, clinics, businesses, or to talk poorly of other teams, players, or coaches; it deletes any posts disregarding its basic concept.

If you want an easy, stress-free search for the perfect team for your family’s needs, Fastpitch Directory is the way to go! You can find the main page at www.Fastpitch.Directory

Video On Demand

The Cores Of Coaching: Teamwork As A Coaching Staff

Teamwork as a Coaching Staff Written By Shannon Murray

The Cores of Coaching: Teamwork as a Coaching Staff Written By Shannon Murray

As a softball coach, every day we emphasize the importance of teamwork and the value of working together to our players. Learning this worthwhile lesson teaches our girls to carry this on and off the field. Though we can tell them a million times there is no I in Team, there is another source of knowledge for them to observe: in our actions as the coaches. We may not always realize it, the players on our team soak up our actions in addition to our words. They need to see us practice what we preach. I have had the upmost fortunate opportunities to always coach with others that stay on the same page with me about this important concept of working together as a coaching staff. However, I know some coaches haven’t always had this pleasure. That’s why I would like to share one of the cores to coaching: Teamwork for Coaching as a Staff.

In the world of teaching, we have a saying that teachers are thieves. We are thieves in the sense that we are always stealing ideas for lesson plans, activities, strategies and assignments from each other. If we didn’t bounce ideas off one another we wouldn’t get anywhere. The same concept can apply to coaching. What good are coaches who work together if they don’t learn from one another? Every coach brings something different to the table: knowledge, drills, strategy, etc. It is of no benefit for anyone to hold onto ideas for themselves if you are working towards the same cause for your team to win. With that said, communication is key to the success of a coaching staff. Without communication, there is no way you can be on the same page about anything. Communication involves every area of the coaching position and nothing should be left out. Being a coach, you probably played on a sports team in the first place and should understand from basic knowledge that communication builds positive relationships with your team. Therefore, as a coaching staff you should want to build that open line of communication with one another. What happens if a situation should arise? Whether you agree with how one coach may handle it or not, just talk about it so all of you can come to a common understanding. You never want to be on two different sides when it comes to finding the solution to a problem on the team. It can lead to alienation of players, parents and of each other which completely wrecks team chemistry.

Preparation produces successful results when it comes to the coaching staff. Before the season starts, design and come to an understanding of a team management system (for warm-ups, how drills are run, expectations of the players and parents, etc.) so that everyone understands how the team is run and both coaches look synchronized on this. Discuss and come up with a system of how to handle different situations that might arise with the parents, players, etc. It can help you come to a quicker and more efficient agreement if the actual issue arises.

By working together you are setting a good example for the players. This teaches the girls to respect both of you and your other coaches where there is no divide. You are one coaching staff just like you are one team. Working together will contribute a large part to the success of your team and how your team is run.

Player Search

Win With Cooperation, Lose In Compromise

Win With Cooperation, Lose In Compromise

Win With Cooperation, Lose In Compromise Written By Charity Butler

The second baseman lays out on a one-hop shot down the first base line with beautiful full-body extension. She jumps to her feet to complete the play, and the first baseman is nowhere to be found. She runs toward first base and dives at the bag to make the out, unassisted. Great heads-up play!

The next hitter rolls a weak ground ball to the right side. The pitcher leaves the mound in an attempt to make the play, but the first baseman comes up with the ball. While moving toward the middle of the infield, she turns to throw to first for the out. Again, no one is covering the bag, but this time the runner is safe.

When the second baseman was asked why she wasn’t covering first base, she replies, “I was really tired after making that diving play, so I thought we should compromise. Since my first baseman had a break while I made the play by myself, I thought I deserved a break too.”
How infuriating, right? I sense my heart rate increasing as I tell the story. Let’s relax. This particular situation did not actually occur in a game.

The story seems peculiar because the idea of compromise does not fit competitive athletics. In compromising, one sacrifices and then feels entitled to an equal reward or benefit. The team dynamic breaks down when all members are not cooperating to elevate the success of the team. There must be an intentional disregard of individual priorities.

Consider the difference in compromise and cooperation. We often view them as similar, but the concepts are actually complete opposites.

Gandhi said it much more eloquently, “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals.”

When it comes to the game of softball, compromise will not cut it! We must give together in order to gain together. True success is not achieved by cutting corners. Our game requires cooperation not compromise.

The founder of J.C. Penney department stores, James Cash Penney, said, “The keystone of successful business is cooperation. Friction retards progress.”

The keystone of a successful team is also cooperation. Compromise will produce friction, and it will retard progress. Cooperation, not compromise, produces success.

“I wish I had played team sports,” says Emmy Award-winning humorist, journalist and actor, Mo Rocca. “I think every kid should. Teamwork builds character – teaches people about leadership and cooperation.”

Even non-athletes understand the value of teamwork and cooperation. Successful business people and championship coaches reject compromise and prize cooperation.

Let’s be objective and observe an arena within which compromise is prevalent: politics. In the political world, giving leeway to the opposing side on one issue to gain ground in another area is so common that it seems to be part of the job description.

Examining compromise from a different perspective, consider romantic relationships. We are told healthy relationships require compromise.

Gordon Training International, an established leader in the world of communication and conflict resolution training, offers a different point of view. In the article, “The Best Relationships Lack Compromise,” the organization teaches, “Instead of putting ourselves through the frustration of not having our needs met through compromise, or feeling like we have to battle our loved ones in a ‘my needs vs. your needs’ battle, we can clearly state our needs and then discuss and reach a solution that meets everyone’s needs [cooperation]. In essence, everyone gets what they want.”

Our teams, programs and families should absolutely work to cooperate. We should willingly work together toward common goals. We must realize, however, cooperation is difficult when compromise is present.

Honestly, I was offended when my now husband stated during our pre-marital counseling that compromise would not be a precedent set in our home. My mind raced, “So what you say goes and what I think does not matter?” But, I was way off track! He understood cooperation is more valuable than compromise. Why not find ways to work together for the rest of our lives, rather than constantly lobby against one another to have our own needs met?

My pre-marital mindset was eerily akin to the attitude of the second baseman in the story shared earlier in this article. Although I was unable to articulate it, my mindset was: “I am entitled to have my needs met, and I will give in direct proportion to my gain.” How unhealthy! How selfish. We are a team, and we work together, for one another. We cooperate.

In our homes, at work, and with friends we should cooperate, but we must not surrender to compromise.

Remember Gandhi’s quote, “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals.” He goes on to say, “Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender.”

Allow Andrew Carnegie to broaden our understanding. Mr. Carnegie is found on the Forbes Magazine List of Wealthiest Historical Figures and was one of the most well-known philanthropists of the 19th Century: “The ‘morality of compromise’ sounds contradictory. Compromise is usually a sign of weakness, or an admission of defeat. Strong men don’t compromise, it is said, and principles should never be compromised.”

The 2013 coaching staff at Tallahassee Community College in Tallahassee, FL, knows what it is to stand on principles. When several students disobeyed team policies the week before the start of post-season, these courageous coaches chose to implement the pre-determined program consequences.

Knowing they would not have enough eligible players to field a team in the Florida Junior College State Tournament, the staff benched all players guilty of team violations and subsequently withdrew from post-season play. They chose sacrifice over surrender and did not compromise.

We must be willing to work together, but we must never surrender what is right. Even when it is harder to do right (and usually it is), we must not concede.

Interestingly we find freedom in simply choosing right over wrong. When we choose right, cooperation with others of similar conviction is natural. Those who cut corners and promote compromise may be less enthused about our choices and may even be more inclined to sabotage our efforts.

No matter how others conduct themselves, however, we live lighter and sleep more soundly when we dig deep and find the courage to stand on honorable principles.

“Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval.” –Thomas S. Monson 

How To Coach The Natural Athlete

How To Coach The Natural Athlete

How to Coach the Natural Athlete Written By Keri Casas

The Natural Athlete is one that conquers most skills with ease.  They are able to perform actions more easily and quickly than some of their peers.  Even though we want female athletes to be mechanically sound, the natural athlete is able to “get the job done” her own way.  This can be a positive factor for your team, but it does not necessarily mean she does not need training.  The Natural Athlete can field, hit, dive, make remarkable plays, but they do not know how they do it.

You may say, “Well, if they can already perform the action, why do they need to know HOW they do it?”  It is important for your female athlete to know how to do it because they need to develop their mental game as well.  If your natural athlete has a poor game and does not perform to their potential, they may become mentally weak because they do not know why the game did not go their way.  This may also cause a domino effect with the rest of their performance and put them into a slump.  When an athlete does not know what they are doing wrong, the potential for them to pull themselves out of a slump is slim.

This is where you come in as a coach.   You need to help your female athlete hone in on her muscle memory and understand how her body works in order for her talents to shine.  If she does not understand how her body performs an action, she must learn it.  As I have stressed in previous posts, keeping instruction simple is the best way to get through to your female athletes; the Natural Athlete is no exception.  Now as a coach, you cannot teach natural talent, but you can teach mechanics.  Being that she does not know what or how to fix something, it is your job to teach her.  If she does not understand how she hits line drives, explain to her how she is doing it.  The more she understands her body’s actions that produce her performance reactions, the better she will consistently be in practice and games.

Lastly, your natural athlete must be treated as an equal to her teammates.  Even if she is the best athlete on your team, you want to maintain team unity.  When you single out your best player, or compare your athletes to her, it makes her teammates feel self-conscious; they already know she is the best player, they don’t need you to make it even more obvious.  Every female athlete seeks acceptance and if you continue to say things like, “Why can’t you field like Taylor does; did you see how Taylor hit that ball”, you are alienating your natural athlete from her peers.  This could cause major emotional problems among your team.  A great way to avoid such problems is to have all your athletes practice the same drills; your Natural Athlete needs drills just as much as the rest of her team and it helps maintain equality.
Key Coaching Tips for the Natural Athlete:
1. Even though your natural athlete can outperform you, it does not mean you cannot teach her.  You have knowledge of the mental game that she can utilize throughout her performance.
2. Teach muscle memory and sound mechanics.  It may be tedious to exaggerate the “little things”, but your athlete will understand her body and performance better with time.

i. Drills for the Natural Athlete:
A. One arm swings-switch between top and bottom hand getting the bat      through the zone.  The goal is to hit a line drive.
B. Bat toss- Use a wiffle ball bat and when she gets to her point of contact, she should throw the bat.  If it goes up the middle, she performed the drill correctly and is throwing her hands at the ball.
C. Soft toss with popcorn kernels- Have your athlete hit popcorn kernels to increase hand-eye coordination and focus.  If they are able to hit popcorn kernels successfully, softballs will look like watermelons to them.
3.  Just because she is a natural athlete does not mean she will not make mistakes.  Treat her equally to all of her teammates, even if their playing ability is unequal.

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Protect Those Hands With The Stash Hand Protection System

Protect Those Hands With The Stash Hand Protection System By Gary Leland

Wear the Stash hand protection inside your glove to reduce shock and recoil.

Strategically placed padding will transfer energy across the glove preventing direct impact with your hand.

Spandex gusset with two-way stretch for comfort.

Soft black and white cabretta leather for durability and better fit.

Exposed fingertips keep hands cooler

Wears on the left hand ONLY!

Stash protective glove

Stash Hand Protection System


Wear the Stash hand protection inside your glove to reduce shock and recoil.

In Stock And Ready To Ship

Will leave my Texas warehouse the next business day

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Wear the Stash hand protection inside your glove to reduce shock and recoil.

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Youth X-Small, Youth Small, Youth Medium, Youth Large, Adult Small, Adult Medium, Adult Large, Adult X-Large, Adult XX-Large

Fastpitch Magazine

Promote Pushing The Foot Forward When Pitching With The Power Push

The Power-Push softball pitcher’s training aid device was developed to promote a powerful forward push over the front of the fastpitch pitcher’s push foot straight down the power line and away from the pitching rubber.

The Power-Push provides a channel for the push foot to promote driving the push foot stright down the power line,not up in the air.This promotes opening up at the “apex”of the pitch, not on the rubber.

This will give instant feedback to the pitcher if she turns her push foot to the side too soon in the push and performs either a heel drag or having two feet in the air at the same time The Power-Push will be thrown to the side as it catches the pitcher’s heel if she turns her push foot too soon in the pitch.

This will convince her that she is turning her foot too soon , and will provide the instant feedback necessary to create the muscle memory required to develop great powerful habits as a pitcher.

A great training aid to help fastpitch softball pitchers that twist their ankles.

Power Push


A great training aid to help fastpitch softball pitchers that turn their ankles.

In Stock And Ready To Ship

Will leave my Texas warehouse the next business day

PHONE: 817-303-6620

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Product Description

A great training aid to help fastpitch softball pitchers that turn their ankles.

Fastpitch Magazine

Does She Believe In Herself?


Does She Believe In Herself? Written By John Michael Kelly

After coaching girls’ softball for over a dozen years I have found the female athlete to be amazingly determined, wildly passionate, fiercely loyal yet emotionally fragile.

This emotional fragility is heightened by parents and coaches who don’t understand the uniqueness of the female athlete.

A young woman’s self-esteem, self-image and self-beliefs need to be nurtured and respected, particularly as athletes in a game as difficult emotionally as fastpitch softball can be.

For an adolescent female athlete her self-belief on the field is everything. I marvel at how many players I see, work with and coach have issues with their self-confidence. I have come to realize that it’s just not easy being a young woman in a world obsessed with physical perfection and often expectations for flawless behavior.

In truth your athlete or team will only go as for in their skill development and on the field performance as they believe they will. These often limiting self-beliefs can greatly impact her motivation and desire, for if she really doesn’t believe she is good enough why is all that extra work really worth it?

On the field I witness an epidemic of “self-doubt;” athletes afraid of making mistakes for fear of letting down parents, coaches, teammates and self. I see so many young ladies searching for their identity on the diamond and having to cope with the inevitable emotional roller coaster ride that fastpitch is.

Then I see parents, usually Dad’s, and coaches berating an athlete or her entire team after a mistake or poor game and I cringe knowing the damaging they are doing to their athletes’ self-esteem and self-confidence.

In the world of sports psychology it’s called “self-efficacy;” one’s belief in their ability to perform a task successfully. From psychologist Albert Bandura:

People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

–View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered

–Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate

–Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities

–Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments

People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:
–Avoid challenging tasks

–Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities

–Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes

–Quickly lose confidence in personal abilities

So how can you help your athlete or team to build up this self-efficacy, the self-belief that “she can” be successful?

1. Support her and nurture her self-esteem, confidence and sense of self; particularly after a tough day on the field (or classroom).

2. Suspend your judgments, criticisms and need to be right around her. Step into her shoes and her world for a few minutes. I assure you that the amount of pressure she feels today in ALL areas of her life to excel is far greater than you experienced at her age.

3. Respect and honor her for her effort, her talent, her loyalty, her love for her teammates and the game.

4. Listen. As adults (yes I am often guilty of this with my daughter) we feel the need to talk too much when often all our daughters want us to do is put our arm around her and listen!

5. Continue to challenge her limiting self-beliefs and always encourage her to get better on the field (as in every area of her life). Start seeing her as having unlimited potential for greatness and watch her start to believe the same.

In truth the greatest gift we can give our daughters and those young ladies that we coach is the gift of confidence that propels their self-esteem, self-worth and their own belief that they can do anything they set their minds to in a sometimes difficult world!

Thanks for reading. –John Michael Kelly

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The Zip Board Is A Really Cool Lineup Board

The Zip Board Is A Really Cool Lineup Board By Gary Leland

Portable, retractable, rigid workspace

You can teach, illustrate, brainstorm, and coach anytime and anywhere

Fully extended the board measures 13.5 by 9.25 inches

Retracts into portable 2.5 by 12in tube

Includes dry erase marker with eraser, belt clip, and hooks for a break away strap

The most versatile coaching equipment, necessary for the coach who’s on the go!




The Zipboard portable dry erase whiteboard is very cool for sure.

In Stock And Ready To Ship

Will leave my Texas warehouse the next business day

PHONE: 817-303-6620

1 in stock

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Product Description

The Zipboard portable dry erase whiteboard is very cool for sure.

Fastpitch Magazine

Winning Small

Daily Discipline: Winning Small

Winning Small Written By Charity Butler

“All the time I see people with purpose who are inconsistent in their progress.” –John Maxwell, Leadership Expert

This statement hit me like a sucker-punch to the gut! In recent years, I’ve been full of passion and purpose but, at times, have lacked the desired progress.

My passions and purpose have been driven by big dreams, huge goals. I became laser-focused and poured all my energy into creating and achieving insanely huge feats. I worked tirelessly, trying to maintain a sprinter’s pace under marathon-like circumstances.

Let’s just say life balance was a joke, and serious progress seemed ever out-of-reach. Projects that I believed in deeply blew-up in my face. I remained committed and worked tirelessly.

Are not the skills and disciplines we learn in athletics supposed to teach us to succeed in life? If we work harder, we are supposed to succeed, right?

Have you heard (or maybe even used) any of these motivational statements?

When you’re not working, someone else is.
Do today what others will not so tomorrow you can do what others cannot.
The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

As an athlete, my little heart was pumped full of mottos of success such as these. Off the field, I set out to conquer life in the same way that I did opponents in competition. I was working really hard, so what was I missing?

Robert Collier had the answer, “success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

I realized that as an athlete, my passion and purpose were inspired by big goals and dreams, but they were backed by daily disciplines. I was the first to practice, the last to leave. I spent untold hours taking extra ground balls, reps in the batting cage, grinding it out in the weight room and pushing through hardcore conditioning programs. My nutrition was on point, and I stayed hydrated. My routines were structured and clear.

As an adult, I knew how to set big goals. Dreaming big is as easy as breathing, but at times my daily disciplines have waned. Oh, I worked hard alright. I gave everything I had in one segment of life, while all of the other areas suffered. I was like a player who only adopted one of the training aspects above. I was one-dimensional, at best.

As former athletes, it seems our discipline should propel us to post-player greatness. We are tough. We know what it is to push ourselves and to experience delayed gratification. Why, then, do many of us struggle? Why do our careers, our finances, our health, personal growth, family relationships, friendships and/or our spiritual lives seem like disasters at times?

The majority of us do not provide daily attention to all of these important areas. Some of us may be overwhelmed and burned out. Others may be bored. Some may be truly thriving. No matter the current state or season of life, our daily routines are crucial.

As a new school year begins, this is the time of year to focus on goals. What will we do, have and be in the next twelve months? What will our programs accomplish? For the 2013-14 season, I challenge you to dream big and win small.

Win small, you ask? Yes! Win small by establishing regular routines that will help you make progress in every category of life: career, finance, spiritual, physical, intellectual, family, social, etc.

Establish a small habit in each of the above areas. Your habits should fit you. Be clear about what you want and work within manageable, daily routines so you make regular progress in ways that are important to you. These habits must be realistic, otherwise consistency is impossible.

Follow through with the small habits every day, week or month (whichever is applicable). Peak Performance Coach Brian Cain advises, “It’s better to do a little a lot than a lot a little.” The implications of this tiny idea are staggering.

Some of my small, new habits include, contacting friends on my self-imposed lunch hour via text, email or phone. This little routine is allowing me to recharge in the middle of the day while staying involved in the lives of people that matter. The short window of time also keeps me from gabbing for too long!

I am also cleaning my house for several minutes each morning, instead of pushing all those responsibilities to the weekend. The load is much lighter! I get more done in less time and have less to do by staying consistent.

I have also set aside time each day to read, even if it is only 10 minutes. My workouts are now about 20 minutes of intense training, so I truly have no excuse for missing them. Pushing hard is essential, as time is limited.

My professional habits are now clear, as well. Each responsibility has an assigned day and time. Weekly time is also allotted for unexpected issues or catching up on tasks needing more attention.

By giving myself parameters and committing to consistent action, progress is becoming reality! I am also much more efficient. According to Leonard Bernstein, one of the most famous composers in American history, “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.”
Daily deadlines have added a little healthy pressure and produced surprising efficiency. With a little consistency, I have been amazed what 10 minutes per day can afford.

Please understand I am by no means promoting my new habits as the best ideas for you. Only you can determine what you want and where you need to make progress.

We are all very different, but to achieve life balance, we must all choose daily discipline. “Whether you are a success or failure in life has little to do with your circumstances; it has much more to do with your choices.” –Nido Qubein

Dream big, be passionate and have purpose, but choose to make progress by winning small. The results are unexpectedly huge!