Casting shadows, toughness, over delivering and being wrong

sent by Nick Grantham | 11th May 2021

"Your leadership shadow reflects everything you say and do. Whether you intend it or not, you cast your shadow over your team."

Paul Hutchinson

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I'm not a massive fan of Star Wars (there I said it), but there is an interesting scene in Attack of the Clones that shows the shadow of Anakin Skywalker resembling the mask of Darth Vader. It's the shadow or foreshadowing that Darth Vader casts over the young Anakin, showing that eventually, he will turn to the dark side. I like this idea of shadows being cast over others and the impact our moods and behaviours can have on others without them (and often us) even realising it. It's important to remember that we set the tone, mood, and atmosphere at home, work, or the gym. We cast the shadow. The way we act and the emotions we display can significantly impact the mood and behaviours of others. What is your leadership shadow? Are you casting Darth Vader shadows? Take some time to consider how your moods and behaviours influence the people around you. If necessary, make some changes before everyone around you turns to the dark side!

Source: Thinking Focus by Paul Hutchinson

"There is no such thing as tough. There is trained and untrained. Now which are you?

Denzel Washington (John W. Creasy)

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Are you mentally tough? Are you physically tough? You'll often hear pundits comment on an athlete's mental or physical toughness or lack of it when things go pear-shaped. Indeed, many athletes and teams turn to specialists to help develop mental and physical toughness. Sometimes this takes the form of a military-style boot camp in the misplaced hope that a couple of rough nights and someone shouting will suddenly develop mentally and physically tough athletes, capable of drawing on their newfound 'toughness' during an Olympic final. Other times they'll go on a team-building weekend and work with a renowned adventurer. You know, the sort of person that sailed around the world or walked across a frozen wasteland. Again, there's a belief that this will stand the team in good stead during a relegation battle! They will somehow become tough! But as Denzil Washington's character in Man on Fire says, "There is no such thing as tough. There is trained and untrained." And this is an important distinction. People that display these coveted qualities of toughness are simply trained. Those that lack toughness are untrained. What we perceive as toughness is merely the result of training. We must understand that the training needs to have a specific focus and purpose. Military personnel or adventurers, and explorers are very good at what they do. We consider them mentally and physically tough because they spent years training to cope with particular situations. It doesn't necessarily transfer to sport! Make the training specific. Become trained. Athletes that work hard in the gym hone their skills on the training pitch become trained. They perform specific exercises and complete specific sessions to cope with the particular demands of their sport. They train with this performance outcome in mind. They become 'trained', and by being well trained, they will have the ability to deal with the difficult situations they encounter during competition. The side effect of their specific training is that they will become 'tough'.

Source: Man On Fire - Denzil Washington (John W. Creasy)

"Work hard and over deliver. Get to the point where your reputation outweighs your education."

Stuart Sawyer

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In the past, I've employed people who on paper haven't stacked up against others in terms of their formal qualifications. They got the job because they had a proven track record of working hard and over delivering. Whilst there seems to be a drive to study for longer, attain higher and higher qualifications, I'll take someone that has the essentials but will put a shift in over an MSc or PhD all day long.

Source: Stuart Sawyer

"Half of what we know is wrong, we just don't know which half."


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As I read books and journals, I learn new training techniques, new methods of evaluation and alternative approaches to coaching. Everything I read helps to make me a little bit smarter, but it also reminds me that all the stuff I thought I knew as facts aren't always correct. The world of high-performance sport is constantly evolving. With this in mind, it's essential to keep a beginners mindset so that we can develop a greater understanding, and maybe at some point, and we will figure out which half of what we know is wrong!

Source: Unknown

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