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Michelle Hill

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Run Your Business Using Referee Signals

They are referred to as zebras but their ‘real’ title is official or referee. They stand right in the middle of the chaos and decide when someone breaks the rules, goes out of bounds, or catches the ball.

Referees all follow the same basic signals which tell us what went wrong or right. As entrepreneurs, we can learn how referee’s signals can help us in our businesses. The various signals let us know when something has gone wrong, when we’re making progress, and when we’ve made a touchdown.

Crowd Noise Signal

Are you spending too much time on non-business related conversations or out on errands when you should be working? Do you spend half your day opening, reading, and responding to emails? Excessive crowd noise in a game creates a virtually impossible situation for the visiting offense to communicate. It may be time to hush the crowd noise in your home office by focusing on tasks at hand first. This same signal can also mean dead ball. When you foolishly waste your most productive time doing non-productive tasks, it can mean a dead ball as far as your time. Quiet crowd noise and focus on your priority list.

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Secrets to Working with Pro Athlete Clients

In my work with current and retired pro athletes, I’ve made a few discoveries along the way. Basically, working with pro athletes, specifically NFL athletes, requires the same principles and ethics as needed for any other client. If you are currently working with, or have aspirations to work with, pro athletes in any sport, here are a few tips I’ve learned and regularly practice in my own business:

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How Dream Teams are Composed

We’ve all been admonished to notice the absence of “I” in teamwork. We hear it so often that we become numb to its meaning and significance. It’s never an individual effort.

Wikipedia describes teamwork as, “A joint action by two or more people or a group, in which each person contributes with different skills and expresses his or her individual interests and opinions to the unity and efficiency of the group in order to achieve common goals.

It’s teamwork that’s made my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, 5-time Super Bowl champions back in the day. I’m still waiting for number six but I’m not holding my breath. Sure, a team needs a great leader but the players really make or break the success of the team.

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The Recipe for Post-NFL Broke Athletes

The ingredients are simple: Take one talented young athlete. Add one agent, one team owner, dozens of family members not heard from in decades, a few dashes of self-entitlement, several bushels of undisciplined spending habits, one unscrupulous financial advisor, a couple of shakes of bad business investments, and a handful of injuries. Yield: One post-NFL broke athlete.

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Lessons We Can Learn from the Dallas Cowboys

On August 26th, I drove over two hours in my 14-year old car with over 240,000 miles on it (yes, it’s a Honda) on my almost-yearly trek, to attend my beloved Dallas Cowboys training camp at River Ridge Field in Oxnard, CA. Except for the fans who stay at the Marriott Residence Inn next door, the rest of us park in a half dirt/half mud parking lot that really should only allow dune buggies and 4-wheelers.

We all pay $10.00 for a parking space and while we’re watching our Cowboys train, a big truck maneuvers through the “parking lot,” row by row, to water down the dirt and mud which sprays that same dirt and mud all over the cars and trucks. The water truck does not just give a mere sprinkling; it’s like the force escaping from a fire hydrant. But, it’s all part of the fan experience.

Anyway, for 9:15 a.m. practice, I stood at the 50-yard line, behind the fence that surrounds the entire field. Official-looking city volunteers with official-looking badges manage the crowd and exchange friendly banter. I was amidst hundreds of other fans, some highly annoying in their fan-like behavior. One fan screams over and over at the top of her lungs, “Miles, I love you Miles.” I overheard comments from those around her to the effect of, “maybe she’ll lose her voice…” Oh well, every fan exhibits their affection in their own personal style – she provided some laughs and entertainment along the way. For the most part, Cowboys fans are good-natured, friendly, non-violent fans.

As I watched the 3:15 p.m. practice drills from the end zone, I observed a few lessons we can all take to heart:

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Interception

According to Wikipedia, “an interception is a very specialized move that occurs when a quarterback’s pass is caught by a player on the opposing team. This leads to an immediate change of possession during the play: the defender who caught the ball immediately assumes the role of the offense and attempts to move the ball as far towards the opposing goal as possible. Following the stoppage of play, if the interceptor retained possession of the ball, their team takes over possession at the spot where he was downed.”

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Resources for Athletes – Part 2

In a previous article I wrote about two valuable resources that professional athletes can use to manage and improve their lives. In this Part 2 article, I’ll focus on Fan Inc., a new resource that helps former NCAA injured athletes receive the medical attention they deserve and I’ll also dive further into Sportsdrive to see how their high tech development tool helps athletes reach their highest potential possible.

FAN, Inc. Foundation for Athletes in Need – We see the glory of athletes when they’re “in the zone” and hitting their game like a Trojan. We see the sweet victories and think to ourselves, “what an exciting life.” What we often don’t see is the chronic physical pain many athletes endure for years after they’re finished playing.

Steve Strinko, former NCAA middle linebacker for Michigan State founded FAN, Inc. in response to experiencing his own post-career medical issues and also seeing a serious gap in services for former student athletes who have been injured while participating in a NCAA sanctioned sport.

FAN’s mission statement succinctly states, “To provide financial assistance to qualified former student athletes who are experiencing hardships related to an injury incurred while participating in an NCAA sanctioned activity.” FAN, Inc.’s goal is to assist under- and uninsured individuals in obtaining relevant, professional medical services.

As a grassroots effort, FAN is currently determining the extent of the problem. If you have knowledge of a former NCAA athlete with sports-related injuries who needs medical attention but is unable to secure care due to financial constraints, please visit the website and send Steve an email.

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4th and Long

A football team in a 4th and long position is poised to make something out of nothing. To attempt a play in a 4th and long position is a long shot…a slim chance. Sometimes a team will go for it when there’s no other choice – time is running out and this is their last chance to score.

Sometimes coaches will go for it on a 4th and long early in the game because they either see a big opportunity right now or they think they’ll have sufficient time to recover if it doesn’t go well. No matter what, it’s usually a very risky proposition to go for it on a fourth down.

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Protecting the Dream by any Means Necessary

In the old days of football, receivers used a substance called Stick-Em, a sappy concoction that would make the ball stick to their hands, allowing them to make one-handed catches easily. These days, possession receivers will sometimes wear gloves that have sticky palms so when a leather ball on a dry day hits them, the ball sticks on the glove, making it easier to catch.

Coaches are always admonishing players to protect the ball by any means necessary. We’ve all seen the horrifying plays when a great pass is intercepted by the opposing team. Or maybe when a running back is not protecting the ball well and it’s stripped away from him in an instant.

It’s the same thing with your dreams. The ball represents your dreams and when you watch a football game, it should remind you to protect your dreams by any means necessary because you see what can happen when you lose the ball.

Let’s face it. It’s exciting to birth a new vision or dream and by nurturing it and feeding it, we watch it grow and develop, just as we would a child. It’s ours and it’s special.

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How Mental Imagery Helps Athletes Succeed

What is Mental Imagery?

Classically, mental imagery has been defined as:
The ability to form mental images of things or events
By repeatedly calling up images in your mind and rewiring the circuits of your mind toward a realization of those images. The remarkable feature of imagery work is that it can be accompanied by physiological changes.
Experience that resembles perceptual experience, but which occurs in the absence of the appropriate stimuli for the relevant perception.
Involves focusing your mind to visualize yourself in a certain situation and doing well in that situation.
A cognitive psychological skill in which the athlete uses all the senses to create a mental experience of an athletic performance

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The Power of Focusing

Without focus, football players miss passes, field goals, and audibles at the line of scrimmage. Without focus they can also miss correct formations, called penalties, and kick-off returns.

With the power of focus, players make Hail Mary receptions and speed through the line with force and fury. Blitz’s work. Nickel and dime packages make defensive strategies look like child’s play.

No doubt, focus makes and breaks games. It creates great players. Legendary coaches are made by laser focusing on how to best utilize the team’s talent.

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The Rooney Rule

According to Wikipedia, “The Rooney Rule, established in 2003, requires National Football league teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operations opportunities. The rule is named for Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the chairman of the league’s diversity committee, and indirectly the Rooney family in general, due to the Steelers’ long history of giving African Americans opportunities to serve in team leadership roles. It is often cited as an example of affirmative action.”

Those are the facts in a nutshell. The opinions and results, however, are steeped in controversy and conjecture. Any potential NFL coach is groomed and prepared with years of hands-on training and development, progressing from a supporting role to head coach. Coaches are chosen based on character, commitment, work ethic, leadership and motivational skills, and of course the ability to create winning football teams.

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