Would you rather be a big fish or a bigger fish?

Recently I played in a table tennis tournament (which a few of you just read as “Lawrence is a dork”) and was asked if I would be interested in playing in a higher rated division. The reason for asking me if I would want to play in this better division was the tournament organizers felt that while I had a good chance of winning the lower division, the higher division would be more challenging for me and I would enjoy it more.

This reminded me of all the times I have seen youth soccer coaches put their teams in lower divisions of tournaments so they could leave with a championship and tell everyone how good they were. Or, they would have a choice of two tournaments to play in and would choose the easier tournament. The more difficult tournament might have helped the team become better by challenging them and helping them learn how good they really could be but by playing in the lesser tournament, they got to pad their record and feel good about themselves (although it always seemed it was the adults who felt more pride than the players).

Would you rather be the big fish in a small pond or a bigger fish in a huge pond? For some reason people frequently ask this question incorrectly. They ask would you rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond. Competing against better competition allows you to become better yourself and while you might not be the best in the bigger arena, you do get to see where you really fit.

If we don’t challenge ourselves sometimes, who will?

By the way, I did choose to play in the higher division and lost in the quarterfinals. Oh well, maybe next year!

Have a great day!

Lawrence

Deal with it and move on

The economy sucks, people are behind on their bills, some people are unhappy with the election results from last week, people are sick, your boss is mean, the baby is crying, service isn’t what it used to be, the weather is getting cold and basically life isn’t fair.

We have two options. We can do what too many people choose to do and sit around and complain about how bad everything is and find ways to place blame on everyone (except ourselves) OR we can deal with it and move on.

Option one of complaining about everything and placing blame elsewhere doesn’t do anyone any good and in fact just makes matters worse (if you are behind on your bills, sitting around complaining about them doesn’t get them paid any faster and in fact results in them getting even further behind since you aren’t making money complaining)

Option two of dealing with the issues and moving on is much more effective. If you are behind on your bills, reduce your spending and/or increase your income. If this means having to get a second job, then do it. If it means not eating out, then do it.

We have become a society of complainers. Deal with things and move on and life will prove to be much better for all!

Have a great day!

Lawrence

Is it more difficult to get to the top or is it more difficult to stay there?

Is it more difficult to get to the top or is it more difficult to
stay there?

For some, the motivation of being the underdog is all that is
needed to work hard and overachieve. As long as you have obstacles
to overcome, you will keep doing everything that is needed to get
to the top. However, when they get to the top it’s harder to stay
motivated because you are no longer the hunters but rather you are
the hunted.

For others, the confidence that comes with being the top provides
the motivation to do everything they can to stay at the top.

The thing that complicates things is if you are a manager (or coach
or whatever else you might want to call yourself) some people on
your team might be motivated be the uphill battle to become the
best while others on your team might be motivated more by staying
at the top. As in most aspects in life, you can’t assume everyone
is the same way.

If you aren’t careful, you will work very hard to get to the top
only to find out it’s not all it’s made out to be. Even worse, if
you aren’t careful, you wont stay up there very long anyway.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

Building a foundation

When I used to agree to coach a soccer team for the first time, I would do so knowing that in the beginning, the team would appear to get worse. They might lose more than they were accustomed to and appear to be confused on the field in situations that they weren’t confused in before. Inevitably, people would get a bit nervous because the expectation was I would help the team improve and that didn’t seem to be the direction they were going.

The thing people didn’t realize (and which I did understand which allowed me to keep what little sanity I have) is that it’s more important to fix the foundation than it was to worry about outward appearances.

The example I always gave was it’s as if I took over a shack. I could paint the shack, put new curtains up, do some landscaping and in a very short period of time, it would look a lot nicer. However, in the long run, I still just have a shack.

The alternative is to knock the shack down, build a strong foundation and build back up so that it’s stronger and more significant than it ever was before. Short term, you went from having a shack to having just a hole in the ground but long term, you have a sound, strong building. Frequently, if you are willing to make some sacrifices short term, the long term will be much better.

In today’s society, we frequently only think short term and as a result, we don’t have the foundation needed to be successful in the long run.

Are you willing to make the sacrifices short term, to build that strong foundation for the future?

Have a great day!

Lawrence

Fundraising

If you are involved with a non profit organization and are doing some fund raising for them, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Just because a cause is extremely important to you doesn’t mean it’s extremely important to others. Don’t assume everyone will be as passionate about your cause as you are.

Many people plan their charitable donations a year or two ahead of time. You can’t expect people to work on your time schedule when it comes to donations.

If you think someone would be a good “target” for your fund raising, it’s important to understand that others probably are thinking the same way. Your “prime targets” are being approached by many other people as well so while you might think they would have a lot to give, they also have a lot of people asking for things

If you can find a “tie in” it will really help with your efforts. This could be anything from knowing the CEO’s mother has breast cancer (if you are raising funds that would go toward research to combat breast cancer) to knowing the child of the marketing director plays baseball (if you are raising money for little league baseball).

If there is something you could ask for that doesn’t cost as much money to the organization but provides value to your cause, it could be a win/win. An example would be instead of asking a hotel for a cash donation, asking them for the use of a banquet room to do a fund raiser This might cost them less money, they might get some room rentals and also get a write off. Another example would be asking a company for something that could be auctioned off. The value of the item to be auctioned might be $500 but the cost to the company might be only $250. This way, the non profit gets something valued at $500 and it only costs the company $250

Especially in difficult economic times like now, be creative in your fund raising and you might be able to receive greater value and create true win/win situations for all

Have a great day!

Lawrence