It is “Time to Focus”

IMG_1710Each week I see college and professional athletes fill time between training and games with Minecraft, Five Nights at Freddy’s, FIFA 15, Clash of Clans, or Candy Crush Saga. If you guessed these titles to be top iTunes Apps you would be correct. I can’t say that I have played all of these but I can say I am very curious about why they are played.

I am so curious that I decided to design my own App with the help of a young programmer Brett Ponder. Our first goal is to translate boring psychology theory into a fun and purposeful game format. So far the feedback tells us we have succeeded.

Users have said TIME TO FOCUS is addictive and raise individual’s mental focus. So using TTF is not only fun it improves intangible skills such as mental focus and mental processing. How does TTF do this?

The app engages visual, emotional, and physical skills during every round. When these three senses are stimulated at the same time by the use of movement, color and a time challenge the brain is activated and challenged very quickly. When the brain is exercised in this manner you have a quick rise in your brain’s processing power.  Well that is enough psychology because unless the app is FUN and creates a desire to compete those gamers that I know will not download TTF.  So here is how TTF is FUN and competitive.

The App asks you to find as many numbers as you can in 30 seconds. The App will randomly select a starting number and then you will find that number and continue to find the next highest numbers as fast as you can in 30 seconds.  For example if the start number is 7 you will find 7 then 8, then 9 and so on.

If you get 10 numbers or more that goes toward reaching the next level and all you need is 5 double-digit results out of 10 to get you to the next level. Once you get to the next level adding colored squares to distract you and some numbers that spin increases the challenge.

At each level the new challenges are added.  TTF is a challenging App that continues to make you better one level at a time.

Who should download and play Time to Focus?  Well that is easy everyone of course.  If I had to pick it is anyone who considers himself or herself a competitor.  The competitor who wants to be great every moment like Aaron Rogers or Derek Jetter is constantly creating images of success.  By using TTF you not only enhance creating images of success but you activate the brain to turn thought into action quickly.  A coach would call that twitch or your processing speed.

You can have the best images of success but if you are not quick to take action you will miss the opportunity to be great.  TTF helps your brain practice quick engagement and decision-making by challenging you with movement, color, and the pressure of a time limit.  It seems simple to comprehend so start playing TTF and see how more active your brain will be taking action on your images for success.

Go to this link and download TTF

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time-to-focus/id905781224?mt=8&uo=4

Social Awareness Radio, Adam Ritz Making a Difference

If you have not heard the Adam Ritz story I will not spoil his message and yet I will encourage you to tune into his radio broadcast and look for an opportunity to hear him speak. Adam tours the country stopping at University campuses to send messages that share social awareness insights on professional and college athletics as well as behaviors needed to live purposeful and positive life.

You may want insights on how to be responsible when using social media or looking for the words to impart wisdom to your college age son or daughter about managing relationships and Adam will be a great resource for support.

Here is a sample of his radio show.

The Adam Ritz Show featuring Lowell Wightman at the NFL Combine 2015

 

Adam-Ritz-with-Sports-Psychologist-Lowell-Wightman

 

Screen shot 2015-01-23 at 12.14.44 PM

 

 

 

Connection, Power to Privilege

The team practice today is similar in every way to each practice before.  To repeat the success that yields championship results there can be no let up of effort, intent, or accountability. Everyone is responsible for the behavior necessary to become a champion.

Everyone includes anyone who provides service and support to any member of the team. It could be an administrative secretary or an equipment manager who have nothing to do with gaining yardage, defending a goal, or scoring points but they contribute to the environment of champions.

When everyone is aware, deeply aware, of the conditions necessary to process championship results  they do not hesitate taking action and holding others accountable for that process.  A team an organization has a higher probability of repeating championship success when everyone’s behavior is constantly focused on improving the conditions of others.  Each individual is not concerned about their own personal power or privilege they are only concerned about making a meaningful connection for the greater good. They place others before themselves because they know their own power and privilege will grow as a result of their actions.

Even the smallest of gesture are meaningful and have purpose. The more you know about the goals of others the greater meaning you deliver in your actions.

For example at the end of each meaningful workout there is time for recovery and renewal. A common action for athletes to take after a practice is simply clean up with a relaxing shower. Prior to cleaning up you remove your gear and clothing. There are very few sports that equal the amount of gear and clothing a football player uses for each practice.  For all athletes and sports there are organized systems for collecting gear and clothing that support getting the gear and clothing back to the athlete for the next days practice or game.

Over the years I have lost a sock, worn a stinky tee shirt, and even had to practice in the wrong shoes because I did not understand the process for preparing my gear and clothing. I have also spoken with athletes at college and professional levels who have had similar experience. In every case the athlete, including myself, knows how to reduce the errors and continue with championship behavior.

Here is an example of when championship behavior is beginning to slip.

Make better choices

Make better choices

Three rolling baskets are provided to collect practice gear and towels.  As you can see two of the three bins are full and third has little or nothing in it. Based on my own experience as well as talking with other athletes this does not represent a championship environment.

In fact in this particular situation I actually heard players comment that it was not their responsibility to correct this because there are other people who get paid to maintain these bins and the clothing. I would agree with this comment to a point.

Seeing this picture at what point does the player’s role stop and the equipment management take over?  What are the implications this picture poses related to a player using their power and privilege to hinder equipment managers performing at their championship level?

Fill All Bins First

Fill All Bins First

Consider in this photo that you can see two very relevant conditions. One the bins are over flowing and two a third bin can be seen that has nothing in it.  So what are the probable courses of action?  This is not the first time I have seen a picture like this nor the first time I have asked championship teams to discuss courses of action.

The first comment suggested is “pick up the items on the floor”.  Now that is brilliantly simple and to the point.  The next suggested comment is something that sounds like “push down on the overflow items to see if there is more room” equally simple and brilliant.  The last suggested comment directly relates to this picture “use the third bin”, now that is not only brilliant and simple but overwhelmingly obvious. So why are the bins still overflowing?

All that being said what reasons are there for the behavior that created these pictures?  The players/athletes  who are responsible for the towels, gear and clothing are the same athletes that take credit for being champions, celebrating great plays and eventually a championship win. So why is their behavior in the locker room different then the care and attention to details they have on the field?

Perhaps the athletes responsible for this mess are not the ones delivering the great plays on the field nor are they the athletes who take responsibility for making sure their gear, towel and clothing are in the bin.

I agree there are people paid to clean the locker room, do the laundry, and distribute gear. But do you understand that if you make their job more difficult on purpose you increase the chance that they will fail? Do you further realize that if they fail you may not get all of your socks or your clothing maybe damp when it gets hung in your locker.  So how would that impact your ability to perform?

If a coach or a teammate uses their power to diminish your ability, because they can, does their behavior support your desire to encourage someone else? It is only laundry and equipment and someone else is paid to take care of. Why should I use any of my time or talent doing someone else’s job?

Desired Outcomes

Be a champion every season for as many seasons as possible. This statement has been realized by teams such as the Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, LA Lakers, New York Yankees, USC Trojans, Ohio State Buckeyes, Crimson Tide of Alabama, as well as IBM, or Apple. The process to become a champion is a series of outcomes connected together by each participant’s actions within the process.

The athlete who pushes the laundry down and picks up the loose towel on the floor is connecting the process. The CEO or the quarterback who compliments the actions of others while admitting they can do better is connecting the process to championship outcomes. Your power, your privilege are never greater then the whole.

When every part of the whole are humble enough to find the empty third bin and contribute their power and their privilege in order to improve others it is only then the whole moves forward on a path of greatness.

The most powerful outcome to desire are those that place others ahead of you first as you feel others doing the same for you.

 

The Jewel Shines Brightest After Polishing

Ask a Questions Get Answers

May weather in Chicago is unpredictable and yet always welcome for any resident who went through record snow fall and low temperatures. The question lingering in the minds of most

Hyatt Lodge- McDonalds Oakbrook, ILlocals is “how fast will the snow melt”? It was a pleasure to pull up to Hyatt Lodge on the McDonald’s Oakbrook campus and see this view within in yards of the “RJO Next Gen 2014” meeting. I can not speak for anyone but myself but I believe RJO selected a great facility for creating new ideas and challenging yourself to think beyond what you are capable.

During the training exercises there were a great many questions asked. It is my hope that many questions were also answered. Based on the participant surveys not only were many questions answered but even more questions were created. It has been my experience that an open minded participant creates more questions then they will ever have answers because they have been engaged

RJO Next Gen Training

and motivated. While facilitating the exercises I witnessed great focus and commitment by all of the participants. It is interaction between participants that we hoped the most effective training would occur. Once again based on survey feedback participants confirm that they want more time with their peers to discuss business issues and this inaugural meeting seemed to meet that need.

It was very rewarding to see peers, one might say competitors, exchange ideas and challenge one another creatively. An example of this was seeing Stuller and RDI executives support participants as they exchanged business ideas and strategy. I believe it is important to note that this type of learning is a powerful motivator because it is sincerely and freely offered. The participants used these insights to dig deeper and challenge themselves because colleagues (Stuller & RDI) they trust gave them personal examples.

RJO Next Gen Wordle

Examples of their work showed the creativity and genuine approach that was motivated by their peers and the sponsors. Participant shared desires to investigate many issues deeply as well as hold on to the traditions that created the legacy found in their local business. That being said many participants are looking for more training in areas that help them manage technology as they manage staff and improve sales. Given the time to reflect many participant found the confidence to share their feelings about being overwhelmed and concerned about being prepared.

Questions Define Opportunity

One of the most rewarding outcomes of this training process was seeing participant embrace the challenge of gaining new knowledge in areas that stretch them up to and outside their comfort zone.

RJO NextGen Exercise

There are moments when the training process pushed participants to ask many questions and yet never to the point of frustration. This experience is a credit to each participant who worked past their frustration by asking questions and staying positive. This does not mean the training process should not be altered or changed. In fact it is an endorsement for moving forward with changes that continue to challenge participants to ask questions while giving them the resources to discover answers.

This first group of Next Generation RJO associates represents a great collection of curious and dedicated professionals. There passion for the retail jewelry industry is matched only by their love for family and doing what is right.

I compliment them on their first steps discovering “Why?” they are retail jewelers and more importantly what resources are needed to meet future business and life challenges.

By Lowell Wightman, Facilitator for the 1st RJO Next Gen Training Retreat

 

Parental Support Gone Overboard

I believe I was fortunate to not have too much parental support growing up. However there  were times when an extra seven cents would have been nice to get another popsicle. I think that dates me.

It does not matter if it is seven cents or unlimited funding too many resources and/or support can distract kids from displaying a genuine interest and desire. Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal you may find interesting.

The Problem for Sports Parents: Overspending – WSJ

It has been my experience as a parent that being present and NOT too quick with spending money kept my child’s attention with their sport. In addition we were able to try more activities and sports without exhausting our financial resources.

I agree with this article and would add that parents and coaches ask the athletes to take ownership of their sport emotionally, financially and physically.  I bought my son his first pair of hockey skates and when he wanted to upgrade he came up with the money.  As he continued to play I was always present, despite how cold those stands get at 5am ice time. That was my commitment as long as I saw my son maintain his commitment and passion for the sport.

Lastly let your children guide you by their earnest participation and desire to improve. Remember you do not play the game for them. Guide them to discover the level of their personal ownership and desire for their sport.

CPA Mindset Compared to the Professional Athlete

What does the competitive professional athlete have in common with a Certified Public Accountant?

A recent blog posting from Bill Sheridan at the Maryland Association of CPA shared how the mental conditioning for professional athlete can be applied to the competitive and demanding performance of Certified Public Accountants. Follow this link to discover Bill’s thoughts and insights.

Mental Conditioning- CPA vs Professional Athlete

NFL Combine 2014- Lessons for the CPA

 

Jeff Foster took over as the NFL Combine President and Director in 2006. His remarks during an NFL Network interview highlighted how far this event has come and what the future may hold (2014 NFL Combine).

2014 NFL Combine

2014 NFL Combine

As I watched the athletes go through their physical drills their psychological testing and finally their interviews I wondered how would this job interview process translate to finding the highest performing Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

The Lucas Oil Stadium would be a great place to have the CPA examination to test the skill of the CPA. However at this time the CPA is not tested for their physical skills or their psychological framework prior to being employed.

Lucas Oil Stadium 2014 Combine

Lucas Oil Stadium 2014 Combine

That being said Lucas Oil Stadium is large enough to simulate racks of product for an inventory count as well any number of creative drills that may simulate sprinting through airports or chasing after cabs in order to assess physical skills.

An event as large as the NFL Combine creates a distinct and powerful community well before the athletes and team representatives even get to Indianapolis. The event is as much a family reunion as it is the first employment step for a professional football career.

At this time the AICPA may not have a career fair that would equal the NFL Combine but my experience has shown me that a sense of family, teamwork, and professionalism are common characteristics to both.  In addition the CPA and the NFL professionals are always looking for strategies and methods that connect their physical and psychological skills in ways that create excellence.

I have listed seven keys to consider as you connect your physical and psychological skills in ways for you to create excellence.

 Seven Keys for Creating Executive Excellence

Creating a foundation for success that results in team and personal excellence requires an investment in yourself to be your BEST on a daily basis.

There is no ranking or ordering the steps to success there are only conditions necessary to be present for each individual to deliver their best.

  • Accept Failure and Adjust
  • Promote the Positive to yourself and everyone you trust to support you
  • True SUCCESS is not a number or a medal it is an EFFORT equal to the best you can be each moment
  • Adapt to Change because it is a constant
  • It is a PROCESS to excellence not a finish line
  • It is Completing each task you Agree to start- Integrity.
  • A Daily Plan with Specific Goals

“Your Success is personal and unique and when you share it with humility it will grow without hesitation.”  Lowell Wightman, Mental Conditioning Coach, 360 Mindset

Every source of energy is potential until it is ignited into action. Coach Wightman is your mental catalyst igniting your potential to take action on those goals that will make you great.  Connect @coachlkw or coachlkw@gmail.com

NFL Combine 2014 Behind the Scene View

Three Reasons for the NFL Combine

Centralization

In 1977 at the urging of Tex Schramm, Dallas Cowboy President & General Manager (1960-1989) two national scouting organizations centralized the testing and evaluation of college football players pursuit of a professional football career. Prior to 1977 team General Managers and team Scouts scheduled individual meetings for each recruit they were interested. National Blesto and Quadra Scouting Organization came together and centralizing the evaluation and testing process and in 1982 the first National Invitational Camp was held. Then in 1985 this event was titled as the NFL Combine.

Reduce Team Costs

Centralizing the measurement and testing of college prospects reduced the travel cost as well as the evaluation and measurement expenses. There are 14 measurements or evaluations done at the NFL Combine.

Standardized Testing & Measurement

Prior to 1982 college football draftees were measured separately using tests and measurements chosen by the team interested. This process created opportunity for measurement error and evaluation results that maybe biased.

NFL Combine 2014

Jeff Foster took over as the NFL Combine President and Director in 2006. His remarks during an NFL Network interview highlighted how far this event has come and what the future may hold.  Will football fans be allowed to attend the NFL Combine?

2014 NFL Combine

As I walked to and from the Combine sessions I saw fans waiting patiently for a coach or NFL player to walk by providing opportunity to request an autograph. Outside the Lucas Oil Stadium the mood was very focused on the professional behavior necessary to find the next Pro Bowl player that helps deliver a Super Bowl Victory. In every hotel lobby from the Omni to the Marriott coaches, scouts, and GM’s were catching moments to review and recap strategies and player profiles before an interview session or watching the players go through their exercises.

I met Weston Richburg (OL37) at the Intercontinental to wish him luck and review mindset management as he prepared for his evening interviews. The interview process is so clearly defined and highly weighted by teams that Draftees practice sample questions prior to the interviews.  Weston is a great example of players who are serious about the preparation process and yet not focused on how to package their skills and risk looking staged or insincere. Talking with professional scouts you will find out the intangible factor like interviews are essential and yet not measured like a 40 yd dash.

Richburg at College Press Conference

Richburg at College Press Conference

During the physical exercises I watched Jadeveon Clowney excel with physical performance then field questions from the media about arriving late and questioning his desire to prepare for NFL competition and challenges. How does a GM or Coach know that Clowney’s desire to play is genuine and ready for the NFL.

I spoke with several NFL franchise executives that are aware of the risk they have when they draft a player and they misread the intangibles evaluating player core values. Jeff Foster has added psychological evaluation (Wonderlic) that evaluate tendencies toward behavior type but do not quantify a player’s desire for core values . Simply put discovering “Who is this Player?” and “Why are you here?”.  The NFL Combine has an efficient evaluation process that quickly and effectively processes over 300 applicants for interviews and consideration by 32 potential employers.

 Coaches Perspective

An event as large as the NFL Combine creates a distinct and powerful community well before the athletes and team representatives even get to Indianapolis. The event is as much a family reunion as it is the first employment step for a professional football career. Media and market awareness teams have been in Indy for a week or more prior to the start setting up equipment and technology.

As the coaches arrive they have brief moments to visit with colleagues and in some cases teammates from the days they were in the league before observing Draftee performance .

Joey Porter as CSU coach

Joey Porter as CSU coach

This was not the case for me since I did not play professional football but I did go to dinner with my friend Joey Porter, Pittsburgh Steeler alumni and 4 time Pro Bowler.  The 2014 NFL Combine is the first time Joey is on the Coach’s side of the table. During dinner Joey and I reflected on his time with the CSU Rams and the impact mental conditioning and mindset management had on the team.

As our conversation continued we discussed the differences between college coaching and NFL coaching and the one common process for both and that is building player trust. Building trust is supported by getting to know the player so that you may intuitively anticipate their response and behavior. At this point we both laughed as Joey pointed out that each coach will walk away from the Combine with a slightly different impression of each player’s intangible traits.

Measure Core Values

At the Combine, are there measurements for core values and desires, i.e., motivation, for each Draftee?

Jeff Foster in his interview with NFL Network remarked about the partnership with Microsoft and Under Armour as two great resources for processing player data and standardized equipment for each player. The point being is to support an accurate and fair evaluation. The Under Armour role in fairness is quickly understood and by the way the underwear was very sharp.

The Microsoft role was also easily understood because the updates and transfer of player data to the coaches as well as on the NFL web site was quick and complete. That being said this support has nothing to do with measuring a player’s core values or measuring how they are motivated and by what or who. The NFL Combine currently uses the Wonderlic Tests as a psychometric measurement tool.  All data with the help of the Microsoft partnership is shared with each NFL franchise and added to the scouting reports generated from the previous college football season.

During my dinner with Coach Porter we discussed how coaches and team scouts use all of the data to assess player attributes, traits and skill while not relying on any one or group of measurements to dictate their choice.  This is a very complete process but is not exact or guaranteed to predict future performance and yet it is taken very seriously. Once a Draftee is selected millions of dollars are committed with the hopes of a large economic return. A successful Draftee selection will equate to greater ticket sales, merchandise sales, and concession sold during each game. The reverse consequences not only cost the franchise current dollars but the lost future revenue potentials are multiplied as you wait for this Draftee’s contract to expire or be traded.

The NFL Combine has centralized, standardized, and cost effectively managed the evaluation of human potential, but they are still looking for more accurate tools for measuring human desires and the core values that drive them to exceed expectations. The Wonderlic test identifies a number that measures the potential for success in a given profession or in this case position (QB, Running Back, WR, etc.). The Wonderlic test is a vocational intelligence test and provides a number for evaluating one’s ability to think and process quickly. A scout for an NFL team asked me if there is a test that measures following instructions, listening skills, or being organized and I said yes. The RMP 16 (www.360mindset.com) numerically measures human core values and desires. So a player like Clowney could be profiled to discover why he is late for important meeting, i.e., what drives him to do that, and that discovery would begin to prescribe training for him.

The best coaches I have met rely on intuition that is flavored with how players execute when challenged by the toughest competition. This data is real and concrete for a coach. That being said the championship coach is always looking for tools and training to stay on top. The NFL Combine provides coaches with great resources and insights. So, congratulations Jeff Foster and the entire NFL Combine team you deliver a great event for discovering NFL excellence.

RMP 16 – Measuring What Drives You

RMP 16

RMP 16

 

I am so proud to announce that I have successfully completed my training as a Reiss Motivational Profile Master. What this means for my clients is an instrument that will measure needs and desires that drive human behavior. Simply put identifying what you want and how much you want of each of 16 desires.

Dr. Steven Reiss has spent the last 30 plus years studying what drives human beings. In his book, Who Am I?: 16 Basic Desires that Motivate Our Actions Define Our Persona, he lists the 16 factors that over 7,000 participants identified as their primary needs to be satisfied. His research and findings have been independent peer reviewed over 1,700 times. This type of scrutiny confirms the highest scientific integrity and statistical validity.

What will this profile offer you?

The RMP 16 offers you insights into “who you are” with specific measurement define your degree of desire. The measurements will create a framework for you to perform with greater focus while understanding what desires have the greatest influence on your behavior. You will have a road map for being your best.forleaders

With a road map you are now made aware of where the pressures and stressors maybe found. With this knowledge you can anticipate situations and behaviors of others in order to avoid discomfort and stress. This is not a crystal ball but it a legitimate measure of who you are. Here are the 16 need constructs that are measured.

The 16 basic desires make us individuals. Although everybody embraces all 16 desires, people prioritize them differently. How you prioritize them reveals your deepest desires and intrinsic motives.

Acceptance, the desire to avoid failure and criticism.

Curiosity, the desire for understanding.

Eating, the desire for food.

Expedience, the desire to act out of self-interest.

Family, the desire to raise children and to spend time with siblings.

Idealism, the desire for social justice.

Interdependence, the desire to trust others to meet one’s needs.

Order, the desire to be organized and clean.

Physical Activity, the desire for muscle exercise.

Power, the desire for influence or leadership.Donell Alexander with 2pt Convert

Beauty, the desire for romance and sex.

Saving, the desire to collect.

Social Contact, the desire for peer companionship.

Status, the desire for respect based on social standing.

Tranquility, the desire to be free of anxiety and pain.

Vengeance, the desire to confront those who offend.

The results include an easy-to-read report about your deepest desires, intrinsic motives, and core values.

How do I use the RMP 16?

Here are several examples of how you can use the data and Profile Master Evaluation.

  • Identify those personal attributes that expose you to stress and pressure
  • Numerically measure your desire to compete
  • Are you a team participant or a loaner?
  • How much recognitions do you need in order to perform at your best?

Athletic and Career Coaches can use RMP 16 data to place the best team into the contest or focus on those professional traits that allow executives to sustain excellence. Executive leaders can anticipate personnel conflicts and apply human resources cost effectively 1-2when they are not guessing regarding the needs of their staff.

Profile Master Evaluation

After receiving your RMP 16 profile and report you are given a personal evaluation from a RMP 16 Profile Master. Your personal evaluation will compare and contrast your 16 profile factors while asking you questions about your personal performance goals.  The primary evaluation objective for the Profile Master is to offer you methods and strategies enhancing your performance while reviewing the report you are sent with your profile data.

Conclusion

I have spent many hours studying Dr. Reiss’ research as well as many hours of training with Dr. Reiss to become a Profile Master. As a mental conditioning coach quantifying performance results is a common practice for physical activity (time a race, how much weight can you lift, etc.). Measuring desire and/or those needs that determine your desire to perform was not available until Dr. Reiss completed his research. There are no psychometric evaluation instruments that quantify human desire, i.e., intrinsic motivation, but now the RMP 16 is available. Measuring human traits that determine core values provides a greater probability for predicting the direction of human desire and outcomes.