What is a hero?

Recently, I was having a discussion with Tony DeMeo (head football coach at the University of Charleston) and the conversation turned to heroes

Tony had a very interesting perspective on heroes. He explained how people think of a hero as someone like Superman because he would fly into a burning building to save people or would step in front of a bullet to save the innocent. As he pointed out, these acts weren’t really the act of a hero because he performed these acts knowing there wasn’t much risk to himself (I do believe Tony is aware that Superman was not a real person).

A real hero is someone like the fireman who goes into a burning building knowing he is doing so at significant risk to himself.

A real hero is someone like a policeman who performs his duty knowing at any point, he could be putting his life on the line.

A real hero is the person in the military who puts their life at risk every day to make things safer for others.

A real hero is the person who understands they are putting themselves at risk but is willing to do so to help someone else.

The person who scores the winning basket or makes the great save might be a great athlete but that has nothing to do with heroism.

Have a great day!


Deal with the now

When something major happens in your life (loss of a job, loss of a loved one etc) many things go through your mind. People tend to panic and worry about how this will affect things in the long run.

Inevitably, so many things go through your mind that you end up….doing nothing.

Instead, when things seem to become overwhelming, deal with the now first. There will be some things that have to be done right away and once you start dealing with those things, other things will start to clear up.

When circumstances seem to be overwhelming, deal with the now and then worry about the later.

Have a great day!


People aren’t always what they appear to be

It’s so easy to make assumptions about people based on the way they look or act.

Frequently, we see the very outgoing person (talks to everyone, seems to like being the center of attention etc) as someone who has a great deal of self confidence. The reality is, the very outgoing person might be the one lacking in self confidence and is using their persona to mask their insecurities.

The person who appears to be arrogant and standoffish might actually be so shy that what others perceive as them “thinking they are too good for the rest of us” might actually be them feeling they don’t fit in with the rest.

The tall athlete might seem to have everything going for them but in their opinion, they might feel they stand out even when they don’t want to and feel uncomfortable most of the time.

The business executive might seem to have a great life, with lot’s of money and opportunities but they might feel their whole life is based on pressure and would prefer to live a more relaxed lifestyle.

Spend some time to actually get to know people as opposed to making assumptions based on some simple stereotypes.

Have a great day!


Everything before the “but” is a lie

Have you ever noticed that when people say something and the word “but” is in the middle of the sentence, everything before it can be discarded because they didn’t really mean it?

When someone says “that is a really nice sweater but…” I don’t care what comes after the but, they don’t like your sweater.

When a person says “I really like your website but” it means they don’t really like your site.

The question that has to be asked is, do people think we are so foolish as to not realize this?

While you might think using this technique will “soften the blow” the reality is, people know what you are doing. If what you are saying before the “but” isn’t true, then don’t say it. Be honest, don’t waste people’s time and concentrate on everything after the ‘but”.

While this might seem like a very small thing, the reality is, it’s the type of thing that can make us all much better communicators.

Have a great day!


We aren’t as smart as we think

I get a good number of emails after making each blog post. Some are questions, some are comments. One of the comments I get is “I know what you mean but I think others might read this the wrong way” or something similar to that. Inevitably, they go on to explain what they think I mean and more often than not, they are incorrect.

Without question, that leads me to reconsider my communication skills (or some would say my lack of communication skills) but it also leads me to wonder, why do people always think they are smart so they understand but others aren’t smart and wont understand?

When a person writes to say that they understand something but others might not, is that their way of saying they don’t understand but are embarrassed to admit it?

Why would someone think there is anything wrong with admitting to not knowing? I certainly respect a person a great deal more who doesn’t know something so asks to learn as opposed to the person who thinks they know something but really doesn’t.

Do people simply think they are smarter than they really are?

Have a great day!


I already know that, I don’t need to learn it again

Recently, I was having an email discussion with a subscriber about people being allowed to exempt out of some course work because of the fact they feel the course was beneath them. In this particular case, the question was, should someone with a strong background as a soccer player, be allowed to exempt out of a coaching course.

My response, which went along with what the subscriber believed included points like “just because someone can play a sport doesn’t mean they know how to coach the sport” and “wont they need some of the fundamentals from this course in order to take a more advanced course?”

The next day, I was rereading the book “Getting To Yes – Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In” for what was probably the 20th time in the past 20 years. I read this book each year because it’s a great reminder of so many things. Every time I read this book, I am reminded of something I forgot, or I learn something I hadn’t picked up previously.

This made me think, is there ever a learning opportunity that can truly be a waste of time? While I agree there are times when I feel I could be doing something that would allow me to learn more, I can’t think of any time when I wasn’t able to learn something. Admittedly, sometimes, it’s what not to do but that can be invaluable as well.

A few weeks ago, I went to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America national convention. I sat through a couple of clinical sessions and watched the people in the audience as well as the clinicians. It was amazing how many people were there but didn’t pay attention. Some even made comments to the people they were with “this is beneath my team” or things to that affect.

Realize, every opportunity is a learning opportunity, if you approach it with an open mind.

Have a great day!