We ALL need you to win

Regardless of whether you follow college basketball or not the NCAA Division 1 championship game between Villanova and UNC was a classic. I didn’t have a dog in the hunt but I watched the game because I love to see competitors in a championship moment. The outcome is history – Villanova won and UNC lost. In the last 15 seconds of the game both teams started raining down 3 point plays – back and forth in the most incomprehensible scenarios. The game winner was a 3 pointer at the buzzer by a player named Jenkins from Villanova.

But as you watch this video (regardless of who you were cheering for) I want you to watch for a sense of expectations of something great about to happen.

Kris Jenkins’s Shot reactions!

Kris Jenkins’s shot was great. But the reactions, were AMAZING!

Posted by NCAA March Madness on Tuesday, April 5, 2016

You see we all want to cheer. We all want the fighter to prevail against impossible odds. In the last few seconds of that game one team had to lose – that’s a fact. Think of it like this: if the winning shot had missed the champion would have been UNC and everyone would have been cheering for the impossible 3 point shot the kid on UNC’s team had made less than 5 seconds before instead of cheering for Villanova.

When someone does something impossible and wins – we the spectators, fans, family, friends – we all win.

When you do something impossible – your friends, family, team, fans – they all win. That’s why we need you to win. So we can cheer for you. The next time you try the impossible dream, think about that.

If you have achieved the impossible dream, tell me if you feel like your people won along side of you.

The Dark Side of Having Grit

Sort of weird to think there’s a dark side of having Grit but it’s true.

Here’s a real life story:
Years ago we owned vending machines. They were truly a pain in the ass. I had to negotiate prices with stores, then had to do the leg work of lugging the food to the machines and loading them. Not to mention beg my way into offices to actually place the machine. On top of all it the business didn’t make any money. One day on a bike ride I was talking to my friend Mark, who was worth $500,000,000 at the time (half a BILLION) about what I was going to do now that I had gotten laid off from my job as a Network Engineer. I told him about my vending machine business and how it was going and his response was simply, “Z, I know you. You’re in the wrong business. Get out of it as fast as you can.” The next week I sold all the machines to some guy from Alabama via Ebay.

Here is a play by play of my thoughts:
– the almost Billionaire says it’s the wrong biz for my personality.
– the almost Billionaire was an excellent athlete and listened to everything I taught him about cycling for the 3 prior years.
– he’d earned my trust… so I didn’t hesitate I got out of the business.
– he explained to me that the traits that made me an elite athlete wouldn’t necessarily translate into business. Meaning as an athlete you NEVER give up. As a business owner you need to know when to cut your losses and move on.

Mark showed me the dark side of having Grit.

In this podcast you’ll learn how to develop your Grit and if you’re a parent how to develope Grit in your kids.

(In case the embedding doesn’t work click here to hear the podcast)

3 Steps on becoming a Connor McGregor fan

Until Friday I had never heard of this guy but just by appearances he looked like a skinny little bad ass. You should also know that I am not a fan of UFC – I have nothing against it, I’m just not a fan – I don’t follow the fighters or the matches. (Ronda Rousey got my attention but again she didn’t hold my attention to become a fan of the game.) I became a fan of this guy by Saturday morning. It happened in 3 steps.

Step 1.
I saw this photograph on the cover of SI.


Step 2.
I read this quote in the story on SI and thought, “…hmmm, I like that. Something I need to remember when I’m under the gun. Interesting new thought, who is this guy????” Let me learn more.


Step 3.
I watched this video – he does cuss but then again, so do I.  But I liked what his coach says 4:24 in and that resonated with me.

The point of this post is to illustrate that before we go to another way of thinking or believing in most cases we ought to look for converging lines of evidence. Multiple streams of data to help us hash out reality. In this case I reached my point of view from 3 different angles but all of them from 1 source.

What do you think?

Living Legacy


Me, Weiner Sensei, Demko Sensei, Main Sensei and Brent Goodroe.

Due to an injury I wasn’t able to attend our annual seminar but I got a chance to visit on Friday afternoon.  This photograph shows something deeply significant.  Demko Sensei is the teacher of Main Sensei, who is the teacher of Weiner Sensei, who is Brent and my teacher.  Between the 3 Sensei’s there’s over 100 years of experience.  Living, breathing collections of experience and perspective that are willing to teach, train and mentor the willing – people like Brent, myself and many other students.  This photograph shows a living legacy.

Made me think about people who undertake ventures without the guidance of someone more experienced.

Do you have mentors in your life?  If so, what areas.

Dealing with Physical Adversity


Over the course of my 49 years of life and about 40 of those as an athlete I have dislocated my right shoulder 16 times, my left shoulder 8 times, broken my leg, dislocated my right knee among many other injuries. I’ve also had tons of close calls – like violently crashing on a bike at 40 mph in the middle of a sprint or being sat on by a killer whale underwater or blacking out underwater during a hypoxic swim. I’ve always come back, so much so that part of my identity is that at a deep down cellular level I feel that I am blessed.

Last night I got injured in my newest pursuit, a martial art called Aikido. I’m a 2 year practioner and I was working with a much more advanced student – he zigged, I zagged and viola I’m injured. And yes it hurt like hell and it sucks and all the other things you can think of, I learned some things.

My dad had a stroke 3 years ago. I didn’t know what a stroke was but I learned REAL FAST how it impacts a person. Seeing my dad going from normal “pops” to a physcially disabled, broken man who lost the ability to use his right arm and leg really affected me. In fact it was a mind**ck. During his recovery process I thought he should have been stronger (I hate even admitting this but it’s true). Until I realized one day that for 3 years he’d battled his physical condition, adapted and managed to keep his spirits up. Super admirable.
So I learned this: when injured, use your mind to your advantage, suck it up and deal with it. Someone is watching and learning how to also deal with adversity.

My buddy, we’ll call him B, is part of a special missions unit in the armed forces. I got a message from his wife that he got shot and found out later it was in his arm. He called from somewhere and we talked for a while and he didn’t sound like he was injured at all. Apparently he was flying high on pain killers. He had multiple surgeries and I heard stories of him screaming in his sleep because of the pain. His little daughter wanted him to pick her up once and he hestitated because his other daughter was in his good arm. I picked her up and put her in the crook of his messed up arm. One day I asked him if there was even a little part of him that doubted if he would come back. He laughed and said, “…no doubt I’ll be back. There is zero doubt…”
So I learned this: when injured, use your mind to your advantage, suck it up and deal with it. Someone is watching and learning how to also deal with adversity.

Once when I was still racing “back in the day” a rider took my inside line on a group ride. She crashed me and herself, destroyed a pair of Mavic Open 40’s and put me on the bench for 8 weeks before I could return. In the van riding home all I could think of was “…your lack of control and risk management cost me time and money…”
So I learned this: when injured, use your mind to your advantage, suck it up and deal with it. Someone is watching and learning how to also deal with adversity.

Last night I admit I was scared. And tight. And in tons of pain. I remembered to use my mind to my advantage – it is no ones fault that I got hurt. Sometimes we want to blame someone else for something and sometimes it is the fault of others but after the deed is done, it’s back on us. Just like a game of chess: you have the pieces you have, next step is move the pieces you have. Wishing for different pieces makes no difference, it is what it is, just suck it up and deal with it. This morning after the xray and the first treatment (and navigating that hellish pain) I feel better. I know what’s wrong and with Kim’s help created a training plan so I won’t lose my fitness as my hip heals. I used my mind to my advantage.

Last night Asie (my son) told Kim he wanted to stay home from school today, to take care of me. This morning he and I talked and he asked if I needed him to stay home and help me. I told him, I was ok and would let him know later. I realized he was watching me and how to deal with adversity. He also pointed out to me that I said the F word and that I need to watch my language!

Moral of the story:  when injured, use your mind to your advantage, suck it up and deal with it. Someone is watching and learning how to also deal with adversity.

If you have any thoughts on dealing with physcial adversity, let me know.  I need all the help I can get.

We are all Creators

Check it out…but first the back ground:

Jon Weiner, my Sensei in Aikido (Weiner Sensei) just completed an epic project: a new building! Half of the building is his media studio but the other half is a huge Aikido dojo.  Last Friday he got the certificate of occupancy, on Sunday the students did serious work to relocate all of the mats, flooring and other equipment from the storage area to the new dojo, on Monday they continued working and on Monday evening we had our first class in the new dojo.  This was extraordinarily exciting for those of us who hadn’t practiced for almost 3 months!  In the photograph above (from the new facility is Weiner Sensei in the front row 4th from the left.)


Now here’s the story:
5th from the left in the photo is Dennis Main.  Main Sensei is a 6th Degree Black Belt and has been practicing Aikido for well over 40 years.  Not only did he start Aikido in Charlotte but he is also Weiner Sensei’s teacher.  Main Sensei told the story of how for the last 16 years Weiner Sensei has been training and teaching.  And since day 1 he told Main Sensei, “…someday I’m going to build a dojo…”

I heard this story at the conclusion of a 2 hour session of fight club and was hurting like hell but I heard what Main Sensei said.

Weiner Sensei spoke a thing.  He created something.

For 16 years he carried this creation.

On January 18 I got to practice inside the physical manifestation of his creation.

Think about that for a second.  He created a vision in his mind 16 years ago.  Through thick and thin, trials and tribulations, ups and downs; he managed to hold on to a dream and it just came true.  I got to be part of the end product but there’s a lesson to be learned.

We are all Creators.  The visions we create in our mind can come true but we have to pay the price.  I wish it was easy.  I wish I got paid residual income on all the idiots who promote how easy it is.  It’s not easy!  It’s never been easy.  But the act of creating a vision, doing the work and staying true to that vision…that’s just plain exemplary.

Tell me this, what vision are you creating , I really would like to know.

Congrats WS, you’ve done awesome!

How Are You Handling Adversity In Your Life by Brandon LaRue

Brandon is a very close friend and super wise dude.


You can’t hide from adversity. You can’t hide your children from life’s ups and downs. The ones who achieve do so by experiencing and conquering obstacles, even from their childhood days. These are the ones who were never denied their right to face some struggle, some adversity. Others were, in reality, cheated. Those who attempted to shelter their children from every conceivable germ in our society…never really inoculated them from fear, worry, and the feeling of dependency. Not at all.

Let The Fur Fly by Brandon LaRue

Brandon is a very close friend and super wise dude.




My father, Robert “Bob,” used to tell me before big wrestling matches, “let the fur fly Brandon.” Those 4 words seemed so insignificant at the time, yet it has become one of my life’s most valuable lessons. You see, in the sport of wrestling it’s not only a physical grind, but it’s really more of a psychological grind. Wrestlers, including me, would get caught up in the hype and defeat himself before he even step foot on the mat. “He looks stronger than me…..he is ranked higher than me….he beat a guy that I lost to….ect….” That simple statement before I stepped out onto the mat left me feeling confident that if I wrestled my match, and most importantly, that I didn’t leave anything left on the mat, the outcome wouldn’t matter. He was right. Most often times that mindset led to victory, but even when my hand didn’t get raised, victory still remained in my heart because I had no regrets.

Let’s apply that to our lives outside of sports, but then again, life is very much a reflection of sport isn’t it? Are you “letting the fur fly” in your life? Are you leaving your best out on the mat of life? Are you playing to win, or are you playing not to lose? As we near the New Year, I hope you read this and let the story of my Dad, telling me to “let the fur fly” inspire you to take action and not just circumstantially exist. Play to win! ‪#‎letthefurfly‬