Hitting it out of the park

Sometimes we all need a bit of a morale boost. And who better to get it from than a former New York Yankees coach who was part of their 2009 World Series championship team?

Dana Cavalea, who we featured in WAG in March 2014, was the performance coach for the Bombers for 12 years. He’s worked with some of the best on the winningest team in North American history. (Yes, Red Sox fans, we are aware of your team’s recent World Series triumphs.) Along the way, he’s picked up a few strategies for success, which the Stamford-based man now shares in “Habits of a Champion” (Jet Launch, $19.99, 140 pages). 

“My objectives are to bring the same techniques, culture, attitude, service, first-class training and development programs to entrepreneurs, executives, companies, students, and pro athletes,” he writes.

He opens with this idea: Do you love to win or hate to lose? Makes you think, huh?

“What I appreciate about the question, ‘Do you love to win or hate to lose?’ is that it makes you take inventory on who you are and what you stand for. Would you want to make $1 million dollars a year while the company is headed out of business?

“How long will that million last as your severance? It is all interconnected. Teams cannot win if only the captain wins. Workforces cannot win if only the CEO wins. Both outcomes result from a bad culture,” he writes.

Much of his advice centers on our own personal attitudes toward different aspects of our lives. When things are difficult, it’s important to maintain a good attitude.

“When your world feels like it is crumbling, remember: It is only happening in your own mind. If you are down on your luck, it’s only in your own mind. And if you feel like the world is on your shoulders, that things won’t improve, that you are stuck and can’t see a way out, remember, it is all in your mind. You have the power to change your mindset in an instant. Do it,” Cavalea says, riffing on a philosophy that dates from Aristotle.

Sometimes, that’s easier said than done, but it’s still sound advice. Cavalea highlights the importance of surrounding yourself with people who support you rather than harm your psyche. He notes former Yanks’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez referred to the latter as energy vampires. “Avoid them at all costs.”

In today’s world, many people are overworked and stress levels run higher than ever. Cavalea’s advice? It’s worth making sacrifices to have the time you need.

“Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a few cents more per gallon for gas. Or, take the toll road to save on the traffic. Some of those small choices over time can wear you down without you being aware of it. Stress. Fatigue. Take the short way home and pay the toll.”

What I appreciate most in “Habits of a Champion” is that Cavalea gives it to us straight. He tells readers what they need to hear to be the most successful version of themselves without sugar coating any part of it. Using his own personal experiences and wisdom and knowledge gained from the likes of Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and even his own mother, Cavalea teaches readers to use time wisely, create a routine that works, be respectful and demand the same respect in return.

Don’t be surprised if this read causes you to step outside of your comfort zone and re-evaluate your perspective on all aspects of your life.

For more, visit danacavalea.com.

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