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How to Be a Hall Of Famer

How to Be a Hall Of Famer

By: Jim Fannin

Yes. This is a 54-year old statue of me as an eleven year-old Little Leaguer with dreams of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It was then I became aware of this shrine of 306 Hall of Fame members (68 members are still living). These men are the greatest baseball players ever. I’ve wanted to go to this museum in Cooperstown, New York for over 50 years. Finally, I’ll visit the Hall for the first time as an honored guest of my client Frank Thomas. I’m feeling like a kid again.

What is greatness? How does one become a Hall of Fame member? Physical and mental talent is needed. That’s for sure! However, there were thousands of men with exceptional talent that never graced this shrine of excellence. Thousands more with amazing prowess and skill will fail to be honored as an all-time great. Is there a formula for greatness?

I’ve learned that greatness is reaching a high daily standard over a long period of time. The differential between one’s best and worst performances must be small. Any long period of inferiority will surely mar one’s chances of being one of the all-time greats.
What is your standard of performance? This is a minimum requirement for a satisfactory performance. What would you call a standard day?

Most professions and all sports have metrics to measure performance. A salesperson can measure closing ratios and a golfer can measure greens in regulation to showcase how each measures up to the rest of the performers in their field. You know when your performances are poor and inferior. You know when you are in the Zone and your performance is over the top. It is your daily standard, however, that is the true measure of your greatness.

Attitude plays the most significant role in reaching your high daily standard. How you react when things don’t go your way dictates reaching this minimum requirement for a solid performance. The mental balance of self-discipline, concentration, optimism, relaxation and enjoyment is crucial for reaching this performance state.
Too many times my clients try to reach their ultimate state of performance. This “try” factor gets in their way every time. Allowing for the Zone to arrive is the key. Reaching your minimum standard is paramount.
This past weekend professional golfer Rory McIlroy won the British Open. In his press conference he mentioned it was “the process” that helped him win his third major title. By having solid mental and physical routines before, during and after a performance one can more readily reach a daily standard. Do you have these routines in place in your life?

Frank Thomas had a series of routines that he enjoyed during his illustrious baseball career. Even before he entered the on-deck circle, prior to his next at bat, his routines were being checked off. These routines of mental and physical preparation kept him confident and always ready to reach a solid performance.
Inspect your life and see what routines are in place. Do you have morning routines before work? Do you have routines before any management, school, sales, sports or other performance? Do they help you get off to a solid start? Do you have routines of adjustment if something goes wrong? Do you have routines after you are finished? What routines do you have before you go to sleep?

Frank Thomas had great routines that he adjusted throughout his career. His self-awareness and visualization skills were both utilized to help him prepare, adjust and evaluate every performance. Why not you?
As I embark on my Cooperstown journey, the Hall of Fame members that I’ll meet all have one thing in common. They reached a high daily standard over a long period of time. I look forward to saluting them and their achievements.

The six newest members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame will take their permanent place in Cooperstown on Sunday, July 27, highlighting four days of celebratory events and programs for baseball fans of all ages, as part of Hall of Fame Weekend this July 25-28.
The Induction Ceremony will feature six Baseball Writers’ Association of America electees. They are Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and my client Frank Thomas. They will be enshrined at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 27 at the Clark Sports Center – with the Induction Ceremony shown live on MLB Network.

Thomas, who was named on 83.7 percent of all ballots cast, hit 521 home runs over 19 seasons in the big leagues, batting .301 while driving in 1,704 runs. Thomas won back-to-back American League Most Valuable Player Awards in 1993-94, led the AL in on-base percentage four times and captured the 1997 AL batting title. The five-time All-Star posted seven straight seasons (1991-97) with at least a .300 batting average, 100 RBI, 100 walks and 20 home runs, the longest such stretch in big league history. Thomas, named on 478 ballots in his first year on the ballot, is the first player elected to the Hall of Fame who played the majority of his games as a designated hitter. I was there every step of the way. As Frank makes his way to the podium to deliver his acceptance speech, I’ll be the one in the audience with a tear in his eye. It seems surreal. Over 20 years ago I asked Frank Thomas the same question I’ve asked over 1500 professional athlete clients, “What do you want and why am I here?” Only three have said, “Hall of Fame.” This Sunday, our journey will be complete and my childhood dream will be realized.

I leave for Cooperstown tomorrow. Dreams come true.

Word of the Week: Prowess (noun). skill or expertise in a particular activity or field. “She has great prowess as a salesperson.”

Fanninism: “Greatness is reaching a high daily standard over a long period of time.”

Zone Fact: Trying and definitely over-trying will repel the Zone as opposed to letting the Zone come to you.

Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee

Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee

By: Jim Fannin

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.

She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity –boiling water — but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. ” When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?

ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN? I hope you enjoyed this and it made you think. It sure has for me. I want to be the coffee bean.

Change Is Scary!

Change Is Scary!

By Jim Fannin

Change is an absolute and it impacts all of us. The need to change arrived on my doorstep within the last seven days. I was in the Zone as I received details about the following situations, conditions and circumstances of a few prospects, clients and friends.

  • He was a dominant college golfer. He was one of the favorites to win at every tournament. Upon graduation he was excited to turn pro and go for it. Now after several months of forced change (graduation) he has found himself with self-doubt, low discipline, anxiety and indecision. This is a former Zone performer that dreamed of professional golf domination but finds himself further away mentally from actually making it a reality. Change and the belief he has to change have him concerned and scared for his future.
  • She loved her son with all her heart. This proud Mom thought of him every day since his birth. With his tragic death in an auto accident, she has become despondent and has stated many times to family and friends, “I wish I was dead.” Heartbreaking change did this. Cancer has now entered her body and another change must be made to prevent manifesting her death wish.
  • He was a top draft choice and the league had high hopes. Injuries have plagued him and quality minutes on the NBA hardwood are shrinking. Infrequently seeing his wife and kids due to the life of a pro baller has him alone in strange hotel rooms pondering his fate. Rumors, gossip and hearsay of trades and even relegation to the D-League are daily occurrences. Now he is forcing his game and his results reflect this tension.
  • He has two grown children, a lovely successful wife and a very good job. However, he is not satisfied with his lot in life. He feels he has settled on the home front and his job appears to be a dead end line. He wants change. Create a consulting business? Divorce? Help his wife change? Complete a total life makeover? Many options and many obstacles are in his windshield view.

Commitment to change is the first step on the Bridge of Change

  • Divorce has finally freed her from a challenging and abusive marriage. With two young children in her custody, a high-pressure job and a body weight issue, she knows another major change must occur. What does she do? What advice does she need? She is at the Bridge of Change and she feels a time crunch to cross it. This self-inflicted pressure has her currently stymied, especially after the energy drain from her divorce.
  • His non-amicable split with a business partner has left him bitter. The former “biz buddy” took clients, business plan and a chunk of his confidence, relaxation and enjoyment. They are now fierce competitors and adversaries in the same industry and marketing footprint. As a lone entrepreneur he knows positive change is mandatory.

All of the above men and women are approaching the scary bridge of change

There are over 320 million Americans. A few know what they want in their life and most know what they don’t want. All will change with every passing day. Some will direct positive change and others will succumb to the negative change of depression, worry and despair.

Eventually all will cross the Bridge of Change

Some will fight change and refuse to cross. Others will crawl across. Numerous ones need to be pushed. Several need to be carried. Many walk across and occasionally look down with trepidation. A rare few are ready and they sprint across with a narrow, purposeful calm focus.

Prepare to change. When you arrive at the Bridge of Change get prepared to cross. Know it’s okay to be “screwed up” for a short transition period, especially if change is forced. Avoid alcohol or drugs. This short-term placation will not last and this crutch will keep you away from realizing your dreams. Seek a support team of friends, family and advisors. Listen. Filter and extract what’s beneficial for you. Take a major break (if possible) if the change needed is formidable. Go somewhere you’ve never been (hopefully nice and sunny). If travel is not possible do something that takes you out of the norm.

Ready to cross the Bridge of Change?

First…relax…smile to yourself and commit to change regardless of its difficulty or challenge. Accept your current circumstance, condition or situation and know you will be okay. “I am okay!” you think to yourself. Accelerate this affirmation to “I’m awesome!” Avoid shoulda’, coulda’, and shoulda’ self-statements. Stay out of the past, as positive change does not reside here.

Now let’s get going! Initially, change takes place in your mind. Once embedded with repetition, it grows by the day until physical manifestation arrives.

Place a well-defined picture in your mind of what you want. This is your new vision. It is on the other side of the Bridge of Change. See it there. Make it simple, positive and mentally replicable.

See this vision in finished state every night for seven days within the last 30-minutes before sleep

This visualization takes no more than 90-seconds, although you can repeat as much as you want. During the day relax and breathe. Go about your routines. Smile a lot and get others to smile back. Think about what you think about and keep it positive. In any down time, read or watch anything positive that interests or entertains you.

After seven days change will accelerate. Embrace it. Take one step at a time. Chin up (don’t look down). Breathe. Laugh (for no reason). Play music as a “change” soundtrack. Know that what you have can get you across the bridge.

We all have different visions and challenges and positive change is needed to make it real. Get across the Bridge of Change and finally realize your genuine, authentic best self.

Stay in the Zone!