Prejudice, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, is “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge. An instance of such judgement or opinion. An irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics.”

BTL team practice is designed to blow up what divides every system – Us vs. Them. Sales vs. Marketing. Engineering vs. Operations. Corporate vs. Field. President vs. COO. PNC vs. Benefits. Coaches vs. Athletes. Administration vs. Coaches. Retail vs. Direct to consumer. All systems, if they are going to perform at their peak have to admit their biases and build unity instead.

You see, friend, your prejudice isn’t simple and goes way beyond a black/white, right/left, rich/poor, south/north, east/west, conservative/liberal, or believer/pagan kinda configuration. Your prejudice is about us vs. them. And, the root of the problem is all we’ve really got is us. In reality there is no them.

All we’ve got is us.

Lead anything and you gotta root out bias as you build unity. Unity, you see, requires a leader realizing all we’ve really got is us. What us vs. them are you rooting out, friend? Good…

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King Phillip II selected Aristotle to coach his son (Alexander age 13). The King wanted Aristotle to coach his son because Aristotle had a love for learning and he wanted Alexander to catch his passion for learning. He did.

Eventually Alexander the Great would conquer the world.

Remember this, friend. You can only do what you have learned to do. Nobody comes into their field a master. All masters, of any domain, are lifelong learners. Whatever your aim, friend, you’ve got a lot to learn and the more you learn the less (you’re going to realize) you know.

What are you learning to do today? Do not be afraid of failing as it’s the only way to really level up. Learn from a virtuous master before the universe teaches you a much harder lesson. Most lessons the universe teaches us are because we didn’t listen to wise instruction when things were going so swimmingly. Listen up. Swallow pride. Subdue ego. Humble yourself.

Learn. Never stop learning. Good…

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Endure. Together. Always…

Yesterday, my bride woke up feeling not so good in the middle of the night. It was 2:30am and my nights sleep was interrupted and over. For three hours I tried to return to rest but it wasn’t in the cards. So, when the boys showed up at a little after 6bells for our 80 miler to Utica, I had to trust my training and trust the team. Deep trust, remember, arrives when you’re tired. The same is true for teams. Teams build deep trust when they are tired – together. Always together, right FD?

Leaders understand this and purposely put their team in tiring, trust building practices. This is not some kinda ropes course team building bullshit we’ve become so enamored with either. I’m talking about the kinda practice where teammates bathe in hard truth, practice difficult conversations, and push themselves just this side of the panic zone. They get tired together.

The Kansas Jayhawks, under Bill Self, have become an example of this kinda disciplined team. “When our players have reached a point of exhaustion or deficit, I put them in tough situations where they have to band together and buy into a common goal. They have to trust and believe at these points, and they really have to concentrate to be able to make winning plays and decisions. We drill it.” Self said. He continues, “Players need to be put through it almost every day. How can we expect players to care or believe unless they have gone through tough times together? As coaches, we have to put them through those tough times so they will know what to do when they get there.”

They get tired together. The leader puts them in pressure situations as part of their preparation. Francesco Molinari, just became the first Italian to win a major in professional golf. His key, according to him, was hiring a new coach who makes him practice under pressure. He had never simulated tournament pressure in his practice routine. He does now…

Want a tougher team? Lead practice after practice after practice with your team and get them tired together. Put them under pressure. They’ll come together. The problem is this kinda discipline doesn’t have an instant reward or return on your investment. This kinda trust takes time and discipline. Few have the patience to lead these kinda practices. Fear stops them short. You see, most are too afraid to push the team to the point of exhaustion and panic.

Yesterday, as the lights went out and my legs went limp, I reminded myself that my mind is more tired than my legs. I changed my mantra from “keep working” to something shorter. I kept reminding myself to “endure.” I kept encouraging downer and jmo as I held on for dear life. The feeling of being bone tired bore into my system. Yesterday’s practice will pay dividends when under pressure in the French Alps or in some kinda team practice where my system senses pressure building beyond my capacity or the capacity of our team. Instead of panicking, we’ll settle in to the saddle, keep pedaling, and let another teammate take a turn at the front. We’ll endure.

Together we endure. Together we transform. Always together. Endure. Together. Always. Thanks, FD, for the good reminder…

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Nothing matters more v. 2.0…

Yesterday during practice 261, we heard from a few who have deeply changed because of their hard work that some BTL practice inspired. I love hearing these stories from real people like Keisha, Alicia, and Jeff. We tend to look to outsiders, hero’s, and famous people for inspiration to pursue a life of purpose, meaning, and passion. We forget to look to our right and left and ask ‘em how they’ve somehow found the time to do what we think is undoable, at least from where we’re sitting.

One BTL participant wrote me following practice to tell me about this rant, written back at the beginning of the year, had seared him. So, instead of giving you something new, here it is again. Most of the good stuff, remember, is old stuff. Enjoy going back, friend.

I’m always thinking about why beliefs matter so much. Funny, I think about mine and yours nearly every day, ‘cause thinking about such things is my life’s work. I’m asking all my clients to write a top ten list, of sorts. I want to know what are the ten things that they think everybody ought to know. Don’t think too long. Just let the pen flow and let what’s top of mind flow to your parchment. Here’s mine, at least for now…

1. Nothing matters more than knowing what matters the most to you. Figuring this out for you is the aim behind authoring your BTL core, opus, and playbook of productive action. Start here.

2. There is a God and I think we can know Him.

3. One day you will die. Aim at Heaven. Live today like hell on wheels. Make it count. Take nothing for granted. Life is suffering. Practice gratitude.

4. Either or thinking is lazy and so yesterday. Practice the power of “anding.” Evolution and creation are true. We are good and not so good. On and on it goes…

5. Love more. Love is a nearly inexhaustible energy source and you are made in it and for it. Start by loving yourself more. Love your family, friends, teammates. Love work. Love life. Someday, maybe you’ll be the one able to love the world. See 1 & 2…

6. Nobody is as wise as everybody. There are no enlightened ones, only ones still working on becoming more light. Keep seeking more light.

7. Life is better when you learn to do hard things well. Start small. Keep working. Who knows maybe you’ll be the one solving big stuff someday soon!

8. Learn to laugh more and loathe less. See 5 as a reminder.

9. We are meant to belong and become. Nothing makes sense alone and you’ve got to go it alone, at some point. Find your tribe and try to keep it open to outsiders (at least those who want the best for you). Figure out who you are and keep figuring out who you’re becoming. Never stop. Never arrive.

10. Play more. Our most creative, inventive, and collaborative selves are found when we play. Play everyday. Play with your kids. Play with your brothers/sisters. Play with your teammates. Play with strangers. Play with people like you. Play with people you like. And, play with people unlike you and with people you don’t particularly like. Play. See 1-9 as a reminder. Nothing is so important that you and I shouldn’t play around on this serious, limited, and blessed time we share. Play more.

I hope you enjoyed a short trip back. Did anything hit you differently this go ‘round? How longs it been since you went back to your BTL core, gave it a look, aligned it with your behaviors, and gave it a rinse? What’s more important than gaining clarity within, friend? What you thinking? Good…

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Today, during practice 228 with k-dev krazies, we built some clarity within and with each other. Krazies shared their thinking in a most vulnerable, authentic, and freeing fashion. Many in attendance walked out inspired, I know I did. Here’s one of the reminders I shared with them after being prompted by young Anthony and his comments around regrets.

Remember, friends, when you’re 90 you will wish for the 3 R’s. Ninety year olds, when asked what they would do differently if given the gift of a “redo,” consistently answer with the 3 R’s.

They wish they had taken more risks. Remember, humans are hard wired, predominately, for loss aversion. They wish they invested more time in the relationships that matter. Remember, men are the biggest culprits here. Men tend to over-value metrics and measurement; meaning not so much – at least till we reach a certain age. And, 90 somethings wish they had reflected more. Remember, the untrained brain avoids slowing down and staring at it’s naval cause it tends to go all negative in the process. The normal brain simply gets busy to avoid such uncomfortable conversations with itself. Here’s the problem with avoidance strategies in our “youth,” so to speak – when we’re older they turn into regret. When we’re young our regret is mostly focused on acts of commission. We wish we hadn’t done or said something. When we’re old and we reflect back, however, mostly what we’re gonna remember are regrets of ommision.


Hmmm. What are you thinking about, my friends? Does your calendar reflect your attempt to do it all or do you have margin for spontaneity alongside your responsibility? Have you a better understanding of your portfolio than the people you’re pursuing it for? Do you sense alignment as you walk through your week or does it feel like somethings a bit out of whack? Maybe you and I would benefit from some RR&R.  Stop thinking so much about the fear of failure or how badly it went when you went there the last time. Chalk it up to experience and get after it or them again because you want to. Take more risks, choose to lose with those you love, and write like a banchee as a habit of your heart. Remember, if it all goes super bad beyond your worst nightmare you can always invoke the 4th R – repair.

Risk. Relate. Reflect. Do more than you think, friend. You can do more than you think. Good…

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Always the and…

Today the 3PP was filled to capacity again. It’s been awhile. I don’t know how I ended up working out with so many old dudes, I guess it just happened over time and through adversity – kinda like life.

Stud was back in the TRX in spite of his cancer diagnosis. Brett was back even though his travels take him away every week. Slo was back with his healed bicep tendon. Blondie was back after his Ironman adventure this weekend. Grappy was back in spite of his bulging disc and neck pain. Downer was back after bunion surgery and the dull ache of pain that won’t go away. Jmo never left and never lets us know if he’s hurting. PJ was the only regular MIA this mañana. Felt good to have a full house again.

I’m re-reading Behave, by Robert Sapolsky and it’s a great reminder for why this country, America, is so freakin’ special. We’re a collection of outsiders as less than 1% of us are Native Americans. Almost 25% are first or second generation immigrants. We had to build bonds with dudes unlike ourselves to figure out how to get along in a foreign land, if you will. We were all outside our comfort zone at one time or another and this discomfort is the breeding ground for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurs.

So, friend, get outside your comfortable circle. Mix it up with folks unlike you. And, keep mixing it up with good friends who make you better. Don’t forget the value of old friends alongside the integration of the new. Old and new. Wise and energized. Always the and.


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Sandy soil or bedrock…

Pain is inevitable. Misery is a choice. You can choose what is easy now and life will get harder. You can choose what is hard now and life will, eventually, get easier. Chronic pain is eradicated by acute pain. Peace is found on the other side of the acute stuff. Joy is available always. These are a few of my deeply held beliefs – my worldview, if you will.

The truth is that my problem is not other people or circumstances. My problem is how poorly I perceive other people and circumstances. My problem is found when I peer deeply inside my core and see me at the center. Sounds kinda childish, huh. I mean come on man, shouldn’t we be old enough to realize the world doesn’t revolve around us? I’m amazed how much I’ve aged when I look in the mirror and wonder why the wisdom hasn’t kept pace with the wrinkles. Growing old does not guarantee growing wiser, does it?

Your problem, just like mine, oftentimes is found when we discover how soft and unstable our foundation. Building a self centered core is sandy soil, friend. The reason NYC skyscrapers fly so high is due to the abundance of deep, strong, bedrock. Yes, it’s quite painful and time consuming to chisel and attach to bedrock. However, if you want to build something to stand in the face of difficult people and circumstances, build wisely. You choose.

What, friend, centers you? How do you make sense of this world? What gives life meaning and purpose? Have you taken the time to author your worldview? When was the last time you questioned it? Slow down and sit with these thoughts for awhile.

Sandy soil or bedrock? God, help me build wisely. God, help me…

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