Trust The Process

No, this isn’t a Philadelphia 76ers fan page. However, there is a lot of wisdom in Philly’s mantra: Trust The Process. In basketball terms, it means being patient, to allow your young stars to develop, and instead of focusing on today’s results, focus on the process of daily learning and growth, and eventually, success, in terms of wins and championships, will be a reality.

What’s notable though, is that the wisdom and results of trusting the process can be applied to everyone, in any walk of life – not just athletes on a professional basketball team.

I will now explain how I have applied the process very recently, and how you too, can apply this tool to get better as well. Let’s go…

The Process Applied

As a basketball coach, I had the opportunity this past week to apply the principle of trusting the process very directly, much like the Philadelphia 76ers would. Let me warn you though…THE PROCESS REQUIRES PATIENCE! AND…A LOT OF IT! If you are not willing to be patient, trusting the process will not work for you. Much like the children’s story of The Tortoise and The Hare, slow and steady will win the race.

Anyway, I help coach a varsity basketball team. As a trained instructor for PGC Basketball, one of the top basketball education programs on the planet, I am acutely aware of team culture and environmental dynamics.

Most athletes on my team were determined to be a part of league play. Being in the league though, wouldn’t be trusting the process; it would be focusing on the results. Champions are more concerned with the details of the daily grind than winning or getting the promotion. I am more interested in being a champion than a participant.

League play, at this point in time, would be too difficult for my team. The majority of the roster is composed of inexperienced athletes who are just now being exposed to the game. The process, instead of challenging teams who have played for years, would mean organizing exhibition games with other teams who are more at our level. Exhibition games aren’t very glamorous, but are needed for OUR PROCESS. Exhibition games take patience. At the other side of patience though, is a process that will eventually translate into far greater success than being results oriented ever would.

The Process And You

I remember being a high school student and having the goal of getting 90% in math. It never happened. Not once in four years. Why? I truly believe it was because I wasn’t process-oriented. Instead, I was results-driven. I wanted the result of 90% – nothing wrong with that goal. But instead of focusing on the 90% grade, I should have focused on the daily process of earning 90%. My daily process should have included asking questions, working hard in class, and studying every night at home. If my process would have matched my vision, the 90% would have been earned.

Here are some other examples:

  • While the promotion at work would be fantastic, focus on the daily process that will eventually get you there. This might mean arriving early and staying late. It could mean taking extra courses. It could mean be more sociable to your boss and coworkers. Write down the process that will translate into a job promotion. Don’t just focus on the promotion itself. The process is far more important.
  • Getting accepted into the university of your dreams is an awesome goal. Plan the daily process that will get you there. You will probably need to volunteer, study every night, ask questions, avoid parties, and get a lot of sleep.
  • Quitting an addiction would be life-changing. Instead of focusing on the destination of actually quitting, focus on the daily process that will bring you there. Be in the moment. You will need to avoid triggers at all costs, have accountability partners, a strong support system, and get inspiration from those who have already won the battle.

Trusting the process includes having an incredible focus on the MOMENT. Enjoy where you are NOW. Enjoy the journey…and always be patient. Those who are impatient will have the same misfortune as the hare, and will not live up to their potential. Those who are patient and are willing to trust the process, like the tortoise, will accomplish more than expected.

The Challenge

We all like instant results. But instant results are often less than what could have happened if we would have been patient and trusted the process. Like my 90% in math, identify an area where you are results-driven. Use this week to develop a process-driven plan that if followed, could achieve your desired result.

I have learned that the most successful people work hard every day, and enjoy the process and journey more than the destination. The process will catapult you to a destination that being results-focused never could. The process is like flying in a jet, while being results-oriented is like riding a bike. It will take longer to learn to fly and pay for a jet, but like the tortoise, you will eventually win the race.

Get better.

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Remember Those Who Sacrificed

It is Remembrance Day here in Canada, where we take time to remember fallen soldiers who gave their lives so that we can live free. Without their ultimate sacrifice, the lifestyle that we enjoy today would truly be jeopardized.

Many people have sacrificed for you. I have learned that you cannot experience success alone – it takes a team to build you up, to reach your highest potential. People have helped you along your journey. My wife, parents, family members, friends, teachers, coaches, colleagues, students, and countless others have sacrificed their time, energy, knowledge, and finances to help me succeed. I have not experienced any type of success alone – nor will I ever. I need others to assist  me along the way.

Remember, THEN THANK

Ordinary people are egotistical and self-absorbed – their thoughts are usually consumed about their own journey, problems, and successes. They rarely set time aside to remember those who have built them up over the years, let alone thank them.

I challenge you to do EXTRA. Be EXTRAORDINARY. This Remembrance Day, take time to remember those who have built you up; then if possible, THANK THEM for doing so.

Of course, you cannot thank fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives, but you can REMEMBER them. Post a tribute or thought on social media. Talk with others about the significance of their ultimate sacrifice. When you talk about the past, you give power to history. History comes alive again. The soldiers, in a way, come back to life too. Remember the fallen.

Write down the names of people who have built you up –  like me, it could be your family, friends, teachers, coaches, or whomever has sacrificed to help you get better – then find a moment or two to thank them for their sacrifice.

We all have the ability to thank and show genuine gratitude. When you show gratitude, people will be more willing and will do extra to help you go further than before.

Be The Sacrifice

Like those who have poured into you, I challenge you to be the person who sacrifices for the success of others. You will leave no greater legacy than what you have left IN people.

As a leader, the words SERVE and SACRIFICE need to be synonymous with who you are. Your legacy is directly tied to the number of people you serve, and to what level. The more time and energy you are willing to spend serving and sacrificing for others, just like the fallen solders of yesterday, your legacy will never be forgotten.

Challenge

Spend the next week with an extreme focus on OTHERS. Build people up. Help others achieve success. As a teacher, I get to witness sacrifice every day. I see students help others with their school-work, drive their friends to grab lunch, and say an encouraging word to those who have messed up or who are feeling down.

To start the assignment small, identify one person in your life that you can help this week. Sacrifice your time and energy for this person, over and over again. Like the soldiers you remember today, be the sacrifice for someone tomorrow.

Get better.

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The Importance of Self-Care

The Crash

I was flying high – tonnes of energy, happy, positive, loving life, fulfilling my purpose – then, BANG! In perfect harmony, like a well choreographed dance, my mind and body joined forces and yelled, “STOP!”

Without announcement, like a bolt of lightning, I became weak, dizzy, irritable, frustrated, and angry, all in one glorious ten-second frame. My mind and body began to shut down. Since I wasn’t taking breaks, it was like my brain said, “Okay, Jon. Since you’re not stopping to rest, I am going to make the decision for you!”

My “crash” happened on Thursday, November 1st.

As I battled an intense amount of guilt, I made the decision to use the next four days to take care of myself – “self-care”. My journey would no longer be about others. Instead, like a spoiled child, my thoughts, emotions, and energy would be entirely focused on my needs, fulfillment, and enjoyment. Hesitant at first, I have to say, I am loving the journey so far…

My “Self-Care” Journey

Self-care is all about doing things for you – planning and experiencing events that bring YOU joy. As a highly motivated person, thinking about “ME” was difficult, as I like to accomplish goals and tasks, and inspire others to achieve excellence. Nevertheless, I have noticed that self-care is easier to pursue once you accept its value and begin the journey. I will use my journey as an example for you…

Friday, November 2nd

I booked a room at a local hotel next to my favourite shopping mall. For those that don’t know me, I am a “sneaker head”. I love sneakers – particularly Air Jordan’s. I treated myself to not one, but two pairs of retro Jordan’s. Oh yeah, I also ate out three times. I despise cooking. I love convenience!

Yes, Friday cost money. I have learned however, that investing in yourself from time-to-time will keep you happy and healthy. I would rather spend to maintain my mental and physical health, than not to spend, and have medical bills later on.

Saturday, November 3rd

I’m at a hotel, so I slept in! During the work week, I generally wake up around 5AM, then journal and workout. I DIDN’T DO ANY OF THOSE TODAY! In fact, I purposefully left my workout clothes and journal at home. Instead, I laid in bed and rested, then rested some more. I didn’t checkout of the hotel until noon.

When I arrived back home, I watched WWE and YouTube videos. I cuddled my dogs. My schoolwork is still in my backpack. Untouched.

Sunday, November 4th

I love to write. I have committed to write weekly blogs every Sunday morning. Writing is part of my self-care. WHERE I am writing, however, is a little different than normal.

I usually write at a local Starbucks, not too far from my house. This morning, however, I am writing at Tim Horton’s in Morris, Manitoba. Why? When I am done writing, I will continue three hours down the highway to Fargo, North Dakota, where I will watch the Packers vs. Patriots game at Buffalo Wild Wings.

I will wake up tomorrow at my hotel, and spend the day resting and driving, all the while relaxing, and not thinking of work or tasks that need to get finished.

I will go back to work Tuesday morning, no doubt, feeling refreshed and energized to serve, and give my best once again.

What I Have Learned

Self-care is extremely valuable. I will now plan self-care as a part of my daily routine. I will use weekends to relax and shut my brain off. I will plan extended vacations where I can refuel and recharge.

If I wish to give my best to others, my tank needs to be full. I have learned that I cannot give what I don’t have. I have committed my life to bring and give infectious energy, while encouraging and inspiring others. I cannot give energy to others, if I don’t have energy myself.

Challenge

Take a rest. I am committed to spending at least ONE HOUR PER DAY just for me – doing something that I enjoy, that will build me up, and give me energy. I will no longer let my mind and body shut down, and tell me to rest. I am going to take my control back, and take better care of myself.

I challenge you to do the same. If you are feeling overwhelmed and overworked, like me, spend at least 1 hour of your day being “selfish”, living for you. If necessary, say “no” to somebody, and say “yes” to you. Enjoy your life. Take care of yourself.

Get Better.

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Mental Fitness Plan

Mental fitness is an incredibly important factor for living a full and productive life. If you are not mentally fit, you will not have the inner strength to battle stress, depression, sadness, and anger. Just like how a physically fit person has a strong immune system that is able to stave off infection and disease, a mentally fit person is able overcome problems, issues, stress, and tension.

Many people practice a physical fitness plan. Weight training, running, stretching, eating well, avoiding recreational drugs, and getting a good night’s sleep are all important factors when considering a plan to create and maintain a healthy physical body.

But what about mental fitness? Do you have a plan? You should…

Components Of A Mental Fitness Plan

Treat the mental fitness plan as you would your workout routine or meal plan- with absolute precision. When you go to the gym or prepare a meal, you know the EXACT process ahead of time – what exercises will be completed, with how many sets, and how many reps too! When you prepare a meal, you not only know the ingredients, but you know how much to add, when to add it, and how long to cook the recipe for.

Treat EVERYDAY like a workout day for your mind and mental health. The more you train, the more fit you will become.

1. Inspirational Videos/Books/Quotes – 10 Minutes/Day

Surround yourself with inspiration.

Mentally fit people spend time every day energizing their mind. Energy comes from inspiration. My favourite YouTube channel is Goalcast. I watch Goalcast videos at least 5 times a week to re-energize and prime my mind. When I watch inspirational videos, I can’t help but feel better. Of course there are many other inspirational channels out there, but I do encourage you to check out Goalcast.

If you spend time on Instagram, search for motivational pages and people to follow. Sometimes all you need is a quick pick-me-up, and an inspiring quote can do just that.

Inspiration is contagious. When you start reading, watching, and surrounding yourself with inspiration, you will never know how you lived without it.

2. Daily Affirmations – “I am Statements” – 3/Day

Who do you want to be? Strong? Popular? Brave? Wealthy? Happy?

Mentally fit people fearlessly state every day who they are, even if in reality, they aren’t that person YET. In fact, the key to an awesome ” I am statement” is to proclaim things that aren’t “real” yet.

For example, if you are battling depression, your I am statement could be: ” I am confident, content, joyful, and happy at school, work, and in all of my relationships. I am a conqueror. I am gifted.”

Although the depressed person probably doesn’t see those attributes in them, it is necessary to proclaim them as if they already were. When you proudly proclaim who you are, you are training your mind subconsciously to achieve your vision.

Every day I proclaim that I am impactful with my words, actions, and conversations. I also proclaim that I am awake, energetic, and healthy.

Place your I am statements in high-traffic areas where you can see them and be reminded often – like your mirror, phone, bedroom, office, desk, and all over your house. When you speak them, speak them with BOLDNESS and CONFIDENCE.

3. Practice Gratitude – 3/Day

Mentally fit people are thankful for who they are and what they have. They don’t preoccupy their thoughts and minds wishing for what they want and focusing on what they don’t have. Mentally fit people don’t compare themselves with others either. When you negatively compare yourself with another person, you aren’t thankful…you’re resentful.

If you haven’t read my post on the importance of gratitude, I strongly suggest you do so.

Quickly stated here, I challenge you to speak (preferably upon waking) at least three things that you are thankful for every day. It is key to realize that you NEED TO BE THANKFUL FOR THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE. For example, this morning, I wrote that I am thankful for my Keurig, my dogs, and that the Milwaukee Brewers forced a game 7 in the NLCS.

Gratitude doesn’t need to be winning the lottery or a job promotion. Mentally fit people are thankful for the little things.

 

Challenge

Physically fit people train their bodies with intense workouts and strict nutrition plans. Mentally fit people train their minds with a daily dose of inspiration, I am statements, and gratitude.

I challenge you to live the Mental Fitness Plan this week. You probably spend at least 30 minutes of your day getting ready in the morning, working on your “outer self.” Why not spend 15 minutes working on your “inner self”?

Get Better!

 

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Attitude of Gratitude

It is important to be thankful and have a spirit of gratitude more than once a year. This Thanksgiving, I want to encourage you to program your mind to ALWAYS have an “Attitude of Gratitude”.

The Power of Gratitude

I heard a statistic that America has only 8% of the worlds’ population, but is the leader by a large margin in the use of tranquilizers.

Tranquilizers are prescribed to people to reduce tension and anxiety. Instead of tranquilizers however, what if people simply developed a heart of gratitude? What impact would gratitude have on depression, tension, and anxiety?

It is a proven scientific fact that it is impossible to feel gratitude AND anxiety, sadness, tension, and depression at the same time. Our brains cannot process both emotions simultaneously.

When we express gratitude, a chemical called dopamine is released in our brains. Dopamine is a “feel good ” chemical that is related to pleasure. The more dopamine that is released, the more pleasure we feel. Therefore, the more gratitude we express, the happier we become.

Dopamine is extremely addictive. Expressing gratitude is a healthy way of releasing dopamine. However, our society has been using extremely negative practices to release dopamine in our brains; stimulants such as nicotine, cocaine, and methamphetamine also promote increased levels of dopamine. Dopamine is the main factor as to why those drugs are extremely addictive – people desperately want to feel pleasure, even if it requires destroying the body.

The good news is, just like how nicotine or cocaine releases dopamine, so does gratitude! The more gratitude you practice, the more “addicted” you will become. The more addicted you become, the happier you will be!

Make Gratitude A Daily Habit

In my Instagram account, I have expressed the importance of “paying yourself first”. Paying yourself first is a financial term that is used to express the importance of paying yourself the first 10% of your pay cheque into a savings account.

I have developed the notion of paying yourself first into different practice as well…that is, when you wake up, instead of showering and running off to work or school, pay yourself first by waking up early to do something that will energize and strengthen you for the day.

One of the best methods of paying yourself first is TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE. My favourite author, Jon Gordon recommends taking a “gratitude walk” every morning. Whatever you decide to do, I strongly encourage you to begin your day by simply speaking things you are grateful for.

Most people are thankful for the big things – job promotions, their new car, winning a prize, etc. But very few take the time to express gratitude for the small things as well. Be thankful you woke up alive and healthy! Be thankful you have a warm bed to sleep in. Be thankful you have a water heater so that you can have a warm shower!

So many times we focus on the negative and don’t realize just how fortunate we really are. When we begin to practice gratitude and focus on the positive, heavy amounts of dopamine will be released in our brains. We will feel happier and become healthier.

Gratitude In Action

I have witnessed, first hand, the power of expressing simple, daily gratitude.

Gratitude has been a major factor in changing the culture of many negative classrooms that I have encountered in my career. I have witnessed countless depressed, anxious, sad, and worried students change their entire mindset with the simple practice of speaking daily gratitude.

I have seen depression and sadness melt away. I have seen gratitude and joy take root and grow in the most harsh environments.

I challenge you to practice gratitude this week. Say THREE things every morning that you are thankful for. Remember, being thankful doesn’t mean winning the lottery or getting 100% on a test. Being thankful is being alive, enjoying the sunshine, and having a strong body and a sound mind.

Focus on the positive. Be thankful. It is not necessary to destroy your brains and body with  drugs when you can activate dopamine in a healthy way! Be thankful! Practice gratitude!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Get better!

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