Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Organizing a Shooting Competition?

Fate would have it the other day that Ian Millar and I would arrive at the municipal dump at the same time. Of course the conversation turned to the British Columbia Rifle Association’s annual Service Rifle Championship, which Ian coordinates. This year Ian has over 90 people registered in Service Rifle and about 50 people registered for Service Pistol We stood there in the flies and the dust discussing build up training, employment leave, logistics, planning, coordination, sponsorship, prizes, trophy construction and so on. I wished him good luck in the competition prior to going our separate ways. I sure wish I was going to the BCRA SR competition. Oh well!
Afterwards my mind turned to the Service Rifle competition that I coordinate and host annually. The Terrace Rod & Gun Club competition is on a much smaller scale than the BCRA SR competition but it is still fun. Regardless there are numerous preparations that must be made prior to any shooter arriving for registration.
Every successful club or association has them, a commodity resource that is the heart and soul of any successful program. People that invest their personal time, share their expertise freely and enjoy seeing others succeed in their shooting discipline are the resource. These people are usually enthusiasts and specialists in a certain field that want to see the sport flourish.
  • Are you one of these people?
  • An untapped resource?
How do you get started? It takes planning and you’re probably going to need some help. If you, or someone you know, wants to coordinate a shooting competition there are a few things you will need to consider.
1. To need to have established (or are in the act of establishing) competencies in a particular discipline and you will need to be able to demonstrate that you have those competencies;
2. You will need to make a presentation to your local club executive. Describe in detail:
  1. Your vision;
  2. Your method;
  3. Your plan;
  4. How it benefits the club and the members;
  5. Timing / Dates / Schedules & Coordination with other programs
  6. Range Improvements;
  7. Range maintenance;
Your local club is interested in providing their members with safe sporting alternatives so long as it does not conflict with other established programs. You will need to garner support from the club’s executive first and be prepared to be flexible. The club may want you to take baby steps and to establish a reputation before your event can be too big or sophisticated.
3. Ask what resources can the club bring to the table? You and the club are developing a partnership for your event.
  1. Training opportunities
  2. Refund policy
  3. Expertise;
  4. Club Assets
  5. Advertizing / Newsletters / club web site
  6. Are there any other stakeholders that may have a vested interest in your event?
It takes time and dedication to put on a good competition. Try not to be too disappointed if you have fewer competitors attend that you were hoping for. If it’s a well planned, safe and fun competition word will get out and your following will grow.
In the past I have employed radio, internet and television interviews to advertize my competitions before and after the events have occurred. You can do the same – it’s great coverage and is seriously worthy of your consideration. It has paid off but it has been a tremendous amount of work. Your take home pay is pride in a job well done and the gratitude of the people that attend your competitions.
In closing there is something else that needs to be said. Our champion shots don’t get to be champions without the support of people that organize and deploy practice sessions and competitions. It is these events and competitions that give our champions the opportunity to perfect their craft and bring home wins.
To all of you that work towards arranging and organizing competitions, regardless of the shooting discipline, shooters from all walks of life send you thanks and gratitude! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

What is Personal Mastery?

Ever felt uncomfortable addressing a large group of people?
How about having difficult conversations?
Ever experienced gut wrenching discomfort because of a conflict?

How does one overcome these self imposed pressures and emotions?
It’s a phenomenon called ‘Personal Mastery’ and it takes a bit of work to develop.

Depending on the challenge most people develop a persona to help them through it.

Persona is a mask or appearance that one presents to the world.

These are versions of yourself and behaviours that you tap into, sometimes unintentionally, when confronting challenges.

Persona was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans in theatre and was represented by a mask that the actor would wear while playing a particular character.

Are we any different when it comes to performing roles or tasks that are a little outside of our comfort zones?

I recently saw an interview with Meat Loaf where he admitted that he didn’t perceive of himself as a rock and roll star but he does see himself as an actor portraying a rock and roll star. This is how his authentic self copes with the stress of standing up in front of adoring fans. It’s an interesting question to ask but when are we really our authentic selves? Meat Loaf was very blunt about it and I find it very refreshing to hear that kind of honesty from someone as famous as him. Freddie Mercury said the same thing during an interview while he was on the “It’s a Kind of Magic” tour. He said that that’s not really him up there pumping his arms and trouncing about on the stage; it’s a persona he adopts. It would be ridiculous if he was like that in his day to day life. We have these mental models of what it is that a rock and roll star should be. Do we have these perceived notions about ourselves as well?

Mental models can often be beneficial but they can also do harm to individuals and organizations. Mental Models are big assumptions and beliefs that are anchored in ourselves or our organizations and sometimes we need to let them go. Some people believe that they can only be who they really are after they retire and some people cannot separate what they do from who they are. Are these mental models bad for us and can we let go of them?

The elephant in the room – Something we all know about but never talk about. You don’t heal a festering wound by hiding it under a band aid. You heal it by cleaning it and exposing it to the air. If something is negatively impacting you (or your organization) then it needs to be exposed and talked about. Is it possible to turn a ‘Win – Lose’ situation into a ‘Win – Win’ situation? In most cases it is possible but it takes leadership and a measure of fortitude to have a meaningful and structured conversation in a safe physical and emotional space.

Peter Senge says, “Personal Mastery goes beyond competence and skills, it means living life from a creative viewpoint not reactive.”

What do you want in life and in work?
How do you make that happen?

When your persona and authentic self align with one another you are starting to exhibit some of the characteristics of personal mastery. Practitioners of personal mastery exhibit the following characteristics
They have a sense of purpose that lies behind their goals
  • Their vision is more like a calling than a good idea
  • They see current reality as an ally, not an enemy
  • They are committed to seeing reality increasingly accurately
  • They are extremely inquisitive
  • They do not resist, but work with, the forces of change
  • They feel connected to others and to life itself
They feel that they are part of a larger creative process that they can influence but cannot unilaterally control

Senge links personal mastery to effective leadership stating, “The core leadership strategy is simple: be a model. Commit yourself to your own personal mastery.”

In my experience it is only when your authentic self and your persona come into alignment that you have stepped onto the threshold of personal mastery. You lose the mask because confidence and experience become the staple of your efforts. You are now free to be yourself in areas that once were unfamiliar and uncomfortable and you are accepting of phenomena that were foriegn previously.