Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trying vs. Doing...MTXE

Trying vs. Doing…MTXE


Basketball season is my favorite season, and this time of year March Madness serves as the long awaited, electrifying crescendo to high school and college basketball players' and fans' seasons.
In the spirit of the season, I can't help reflecting on my glory days as a high school basketball player in eastern Kentucky.  I grew up in Carter County…and I played for the East Carter Raiders.  Fellow alumni from East Carter High School grew up with a slogan…a tag line…our own motto, if you will…MTXE.
Growing up falling in love with the game of basketball, looking up to my Dad, my coaches, and the Raiders that played before me…MTXE was always a concept that gave me hope, fired me up, and kept me believing in myself and others that anything is possible with a little mental toughness, and extra effort.
I remember when I was a sophomore in High School I was a starter on the Junior Varsity team, and I came off the bench for limited minutes in the 7pm Varsity game.  Once in a home game my sophomore year, Coach Charles Baker back pedaled down the sideline, reached for me and put me in the game.  Shortly thereafter I found myself in the throws of the game, with a million things happening at once.  A teammate knocked the ball away from the opposing team.  I was close to it, but didn’t run it down quite quick enough…the ball trickled out of bounds…last touched by the Raiders…the other team got the ball.
As luck would have it, this all took place directly in front of our own bench.  Coach Baker gave me a bit of a motivational speech (to put it mildly), and offered his…well…coaching.  He told me to “get after it…come up with those loose balls.”
I replied, “…I tried…” 
Bad move.
Coach quickly took advantage of a teachable/coachable moment and offered up his coaching again and said, “Trying won’t cut it…get the job done.”
From that moment on…in basketball and in life…I’ve always wanted to get the job done.
Some days are better than others.  Some things are easier to accomplish than others.  Sometimes the loose balls on the floor are easily scooped up…while other times we miss it.  We miss the ball, we miss our chance, we miss our opportunity.  But in life, just like in basketball…we can always get the ball back.  We can always get the job done…with a little MTXE – Mental Toughness Extra Effort.
Sometimes we’re all buttoned up, and we have a fundamental understand of everything that needs to get done…we’re mentally prepared…yet we lose steam halfway through a project, a semester, an event, an endeavor, or a career once adversity of some sort sets in.  That’s trying, at its finest.
Next time adversity sets in…and a million things are happening at once, think MTXE.
Dig in…get mentally tough.  You’re smart enough.  You and your team CAN do it.  Be the “thought leader” that goes OneMoreStep and rallies the team to pause, take a deep breath, and take a more cerebral approach…and…
Then go another step with the Extra Effort – the extra 5 minutes to teach someone something, extra emails to clarify something, extra time listening to somebody else’s concerns, or an extra hour or two of your own effort, staying devoted to your cause…
Are you trying or doing?  

Go OneMoreStep…think MTXE…Mental Toughness Extra Effort…and I promise that more often than not, you’ll get the job done.
One for the road…
16 years ago today…Leap Day, February 29th, 1996…
62nd District Tournament: East Carter Raiders vs. Lewis County Lions
Our team, the Raiders, had only won 7 games all year.  Lewis County was a better team, with great players, and the site of the game was on Lewis County’s home floor.  We were outmatched.  By all accounts, projections, and forecasts…the Raiders were going to lose the game.
The game went back and forth…nip and tuck throughout.  Long story, short…I hit a layup with time running down in regulation to force Overtime.  I was also lucky enough to hit a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds on the clock at the end of the 1st Overtime…to ultimately tie the game, forcing a second Overtime.
We won that game 16 years ago; a double overtime game, on the opposing team’s home court…and a week prior everyone from players to fans to sports reporters to the custodial staff thought there would be no possible way that the East Carter Raiders could beat the Lewis County Lions.
I don’t state the above “stats” to brag about how awesome I am or was...although it was one shining moment…I highlight this game and experience because we won with Mental Toughness & Extra Effort.
Our coaches had a game plan…and they taught us, they coached us, they encouraged us, and they showed us what it means to be mentally tough.  They motivated and inspired us to put forth the EXTRA EFFORT, which allowed us to withstand a grueling game, not one but two overtimes…and in the end, we came out victorious.
Thanks Coach Baker, Coach “E”, Coach Calhoun, and Doc Bender for teaching me then and for inspiring me now, 16 years later…to live, breath, walk, and talk – MTXE.
Go Raiders…and good luck tonight in your Regional Tournament game vs. the Russell.

Friday, February 17, 2012

FRED Friday...Meet Ms. "D"

FRED Friday…Meet Ms. “D”
Ms. "D"

Today’s featured Fred is Ms. Nina DeSantis…Arts & Humanities teacher at Boyd County Middle School in Summit, KY. 

Her students and fellow educators affectionately call her Ms. “D”.   

Students…past, present, and even future students not only affectionately call her Ms. “D”, they affectionately greet her with hugs when they see her in the hallways.  People love her.

She makes a difference…a very positive difference in the lives of all of her students. 

Sign of the Times Choir

Ms. “D” majored in Speech, English, and Theater at Eastern Kentucky University…and is well educated in not only theater, but also theater for the deaf.  Over twenty years ago she created the Sign of the Times Choir at Boyd County Middle School.  The concept was a different one, as the students in this choir wouldn’t sing…they would sign

Ms. “D” began teaching a small group of students American Sign Language and signed English. The Sign of the Times Choir was born.  They would perform in front of a few groups at the school, signing to a collection of songs…rather than singing. 

Ms. “D” formed this choir for the kids that didn’t have a “group” to call their own at school…the students who weren't into sports or any other clubs…she set out to offer something different and positive for young people that may have needed it the most. 

In its first year, the Sign of the Times Choir had just over a dozen members.  Twenty plus years later, Ms. “D” not only has to cap the number of members, she has to hold auditions for 6th, 7th, & 8th graders each school year because of the overwhelming level of interest among the student body.

Under her direction, the choir performs several times throughout each school year.  The performances are well choreographed, inspiring renditions of a variety of classic/popular songs…In each number, the choir moves, signs, and even dances in unison, signing the words to each song.  Every year the Sign of the Times Choir performs on several occasions at their school, around the holidays at nursing homes, shopping malls, civic and community events across the state of Kentucky and West Virginia. 

Audiences love it, and they’re moved as they watch this very diverse, talented, and well schooled group of middle schoolers passionately signing every word to popular music.  Members of the choir…6th, 7th, & 8th Grade students become stars of the show, and they feel great about themselves, even if it’s only for the 35 minutes they’re on stage.  

I’ve seen several shows…the kids light up before, during, and after the performances.  They are so proud of each other because they’ve just conquered their fears and anxiety of performing live…on stage…and they’ve done so together.   

They may not be the stars of the football team, but they can sign every word to The Star Spangled Banner at the age of 13…and they will be able to communicate with, assist, and/or befriend a deaf person later in life when they’re 23…Can you?

Ms. “D” has devoted her energy and passion to teaching middle school students sign language every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon for over 26 years.  Sure it gets tedious, and it undoubtedly can be tiring.  Ms. “D” does it anyway…for the students.   

Because of her, hundreds…no…thousands of middle school children, many of whom are now grown adults, have not only learned sign language, they’ve learned the art of communication, teamwork, how to stay disciplined, and how to make people smile. They learned by watching and listening to Ms. "D".

Ms. “D” doesn’t make millions of dollars directing the Sign of the Times Choir…she makes a difference…a million positive ones, every single day.
My only competition for proudest nephew...Henry loves his Nini

Her students call her Ms. “D”…I call her my Aunt Nini…and I’m the proudest nephew in the world to be able to call her my Aunt.  Well…maybe one exception.

Love you Nini…Happy Birthday…keep being you.  People love that about you…

Have a great day.


“You shouldn’t be asking, ‘Did I make a difference today?’  Of course you did!  You undoubtedly affected somebody, maybe slightly, maybe significantly…

The most important question to ask yourself is, ‘What kind of a difference did I make?’ “ – Mark Sanborn…Fred Factor, pg 36

Sign of the Times Choir...

"So proud of the babies tonight. They performed so well and received a standing ovation! They also looked so daggone cute!" - Ms. "D"...via Facebook

One Nini hug...for the road...

A great Disney memory...a classic...standing in the epicenter of Magic Kingdom, at the forefront of Cinderella's Castle...just after we jostled/wrestled/battled for strategic positioning for the 3pm parade down Main Street USA...with plans to let him ride all the rides in Fantasyland through the evening...when asked what he wanted to do next, Henry says, "Wanna go to Epcot?"


What is FRED Friday?

In my favorite book, The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn tells an inspiring story of how a man named Fred goes OneMoreStep after OneMoreStep in his role as a Postman for the United States Postal Service.  I love this book.  Since my mom sent it to me in 2004, I've purchased the book for friends, coworkers, and girlfriends...I've even purchased and hand delivered copies of the book to several executives at both Wynn Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Fred Friday is a series in which the OneMoreStepRevolution blog will showcase a real life "Fred" on select Fridays.   Reading The Fred Factor definitely leaves us with a desire to to be more Fred-like ourselves, but I also love looking for FredsFreds are everywhere. I love it when I experience a real life Fred.  I'm inspired just as I am every time I re-read the book.  I thought it would be fun to spread the magic of Fred to our OneMoreStepRevolution community.  Enjoy...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Today is the day

Today is the day
Rejoice.  Be glad in it.

“If only I had…”

“As soon as I make more money, then I’ll be able to…”

“Once I get a girlfriend, then I’ll…”

“If I ever get married I will…”

“If I get the promotion, then I’ll be able to…”

“When things calm down at work, then…”

“I used to be able to…”

“Back in the day I was…”

We all do it.  We become consumed with our ever hopeful predictions of how “great” it will be one day or we romanticize the past and how “great” we had it back in the day. 

I do it all the time…far too often.  Maybe you do too…

OneMoreStep Thought for TODAY:  Yesterday’s events can’t be changed.  Game over.  Tomorrow’s events, while they may be important, are a whole day away.  TODAY IS THE DAY THAT MATTERS

We often get so wrapped up in how great it will be one day “when”…or how great we once had it.

Rather than “living” in the unchangeable past or dwelling on the uncontrollable future, what if we set out to crush life today?  Our mood all of a sudden transitions from doom & gloom to positive & productive.  We add to everyone else’s experience by uplifting their spirits instead of dragging them down.

Maybe we did have it made a few years ago, a week ago, or yesterday.  We may very well nail it pretty soon and make all our dreams come true.  Either way, we must make it through today

Today is the day we should appreciate.  It’s real.  It’s really happening…for better or for worse, whether it’s what we wanted or not; these are the cards we’ve been dealt.  So… let’s deal. 

Today is the day…We get one shot at it.  Enjoy it.  Embrace it.  Appreciate it.  Capitalize on it.  Be glad in it.  If we don’t, then you can bet that tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year we’ll look back and wish we did. 

We’ll wish we laughed more when we had the chance.  We’ll wish we told them just how happy they made us.  We’ll wish we focused on the good rather than the bad.  We’ll realize that job we thought we hated or those people with whom we couldn’t see eye-to-eye…maybe they weren’t so bad after all.  We’ll look back and wish we had appreciated the opportunities we had to make an impact, make a difference, and/or make magic…when we had the chance.

Not yesterday…Not tomorrow…today is the dayDon’t miss it.  Time is ticking…24 hours…86,400 Seconds in a day.  What are we going to do with them?

Today is the day to go OneMoreStep…early and often.  Tomorrow it might be too late.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” - Psalm 118:24

Have a great day.


One for the road…

Church is and always has been important to me.  My church here in Las Vegas, Central Christian Church, props me up, gives me hope, brightens my day, and strengthens my faith.

We were fortunate enough to have Lincoln Brewster lead our praise and worship portion of the program this past Sunday.  Lincoln is a singer/songwriter and worship leader in the Sacramento area.  He was great…flat out crushes it.

He and his band did this song…it’s been my jam all week.  Get into it…if it lifts even one person’s spirits it will have been worth it to post.  

If you like it...share it.  Somebody else might want it, they might need it, and this could be what props them up.  Today is the day...

Today is the Day…Lincoln Brewster