Raise Your Performance

This week marks the end of a very fun, very tiring, and very rewarding basketball season as coach of the Fresta Valley middle school girls basketball team.  I’ve spent the past few evenings writing notes to each of my players, which has made me think back on the season and wax nostalgic.

For those of you that know me well, you know that I have a hard time doing anything halfway.  If I’m going to do something, I tend to run full steam ahead and over-commit.  😊 So, I’ve spent the better part of the past two years reading basketball books, researching things online, taking online courses, and going to coaching clinics when possible.

At the Nike/USA Basketball Coaching Clinic this summer, I was introduced to Alan Stein, Jr.  Alan is one of the top athletic trainers in US basketball, having worked with Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Kobe Bryant.  Alan was at this clinic to talk about the coaching mindset (and also promote his excellent book, Raise Your Game).

Many of Alan’s comments were powerful, but this one struck me hardest—to raise your performance (as a coach or a player), you must learn to focus on three things:

  1. The process
  2. The controllables
  3. The next play

This struck me as so simplistic but so perfect—so when faced with the daunting task of building a team with very young and inexperienced players this season, this simple advice clicked.  I couldn’t do anything about the things out of my control, but if we have a process for learning the game and focus on the things we have control over, then our practice and development would be laser focused on things that bring results.  And, if things didn’t go as planned, we’d just have to look up and focus on the next play, as there is never any sense in wallowing in past mistakes or missed chances.

And what a season it was!  We went from fighting to stay out of last place last year to tied for 3rd in the conference this year.  We went from a single scorer last year (who scored over 90% of our total team points last season) to having a team where 11 out of 14 girls scored.  We had a winning conference record, and we had a lot of fun along the way.  The simple advice of Alan Sten worked well.

The great thing about his advice is that it works well across all of life in general—and especially in your financial world.  There is a lot that we can’t control when it comes to money—we can’t control the market, inflation, or taxes.  We only have a little control over things like our health and mortality.  But we do have total control over our savings rates and how we chose to invest:

Spending our time on the things we have control over is far more valuable that fighting to maintain the illusion of control over things that are uncontrollable.

Within the things we have control over, we focus on the process.  For example, in building an asset allocation, we take into account cash flow needs, then structure the portfolio investments to suit:

By focusing on the process of prudently structuring the portfolio allocation, and then diversifying the investments, we have a framework for decision making that allows to avoid costly emotional decisions.  If we’ve prudently built a portfolio to cover living expenses for 1-3 years, then when the market sells off, we curb the urge to panic and sell and we are more able to avoid painful mistakes like being out of the market at the wrong time!

And finally, focusing on the next play…bad financial decisions happen.  But each day provides a new opportunity to make a good choice.  Past decisions do not define future decisions.  We also see it the other way—one brilliant investment call does not mean brilliant decisions in the future.  Each day brings a new set of challenges and opportunities, and so we do our best to focus on the next play and not dwell and wallow (or gloat) on past plays.

As it has been a treat to watch the basketball team grow and thrive, we cheer on our clients’ success too!  Let us know how we can help you~~ 😊

Categories : Financial Planning

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