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How to Win

How One Sneaker Changed a Coach’s Life

What does the first day of winter mean to you?

Some people think of the long, difficult slog until spring. Others rejoice that the days begin getting longer. For some, winter means ski season. For others, a countdown to baseball’s Opening Day.

In other words, it’s up to you.

Peak performance coach Dave Cross of “Yes, I Can!” sports often says, “No situation has any meaning except the one that you give it.”

Dave’s words came to mind the other day when I was reading “Our Time — A High School Baseball Coach’s Journey.”

In it, author Scott Illiano makes a brilliant point about how outlook is a matter of choice, not of personality.

In the dumps after a crushing loss, Illiano was in the locker room when he saw single, expensive sneaker. That item symbolized all the frustration he was feeling. That’s the problem with this district, Illiano thought. The kids don’t appreciate anything. Things come to them too easily. They can lose a high grade sneaker and not even think about it.

At that moment, Illiano wanted to quit. He even wrote out a resignation letter, but he didn’t send it. Instead, he sought some counsel from a wise friend. Then he had an insight.

That sneaker is not a reason to quit, Illiano thought. It’s a reason to stay. These kids have to learn some values. They need someone to tell them what they need to hear. they need someone to say, “No, you can’t have that because you didn’t earn it.” From that moment, Illiano’s coaching career took a turn. To learn more, check out the book! It’s a must-read for coaches, teachers, leaders of all kinds.

It’s just like Coach Cross said: No situation has any meaning except the one you give it. One sneaker, two different conclusions. It’s a sports lesson, a life lesson. You can work smarter and more effectively if you realize that you are in charge of the way you look at things.

It’s important for coaches to realize this, and even more important to teach it to their players.

And you can begin today, with the way you look at the winter solstice!


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