Time to conquer, not cower

By David Tepera, May 2, 2018

At the beginning of each year, I will tell my children to make each month better than the one before. Once the month has ended, I ask them to reflect and share everything they felt was accomplished. The goal is for them to develop the habit and drive to succeed and never be complacent.

Recently, I was having a conversation with my business partner, Tina, as we were discussing the progression of our business model. During this intense strategy, we realized that not only was each month getting better, but it felt more like “conquering.”

We’ve now taken on the attitude of Vikings, with kicking “better” to the curb, and attacking life with a conquering force. Believe me, nothing will stop us from succeeding.

Remember, we all make thousands of decisions throughout our day. It starts the moment you wake up. Before you get out of bed, besides daily routines, what’s your attitude and thought process to start each day?

Are you ready to get out there and kick some butt, or is it another day to cower?

Just know, the definition of conquer is to overcome and take control, and the definition of cower is to crouch down in fear and to be a person who lacks courage.

At this moment, you should be game planning how to take back your life. It could be as simple as improving your diet or tying up your sneakers to head out the door for a brisk walk or jog.

For all you athletes, do you train to conquer the opponent, or just going through the motions? Even if you’re not a starting player, you must train like one because, in time, you’ll be the lead person in something. So, step up your game.

For some of you, have you taken the steps to get rid of bad habits? Are you still hanging with destructive friends?

How many of you are allowing someone or others to keep you down? For some reason you decided to not be confrontational and to let this person belittle you, which keeps you from conquering your destiny.

Today is your day. Delete “cower” from your vocabulary and take on the Viking attitude of conquering everything in sight. Put your game face on, fill your lungs with a deep breath and bust out that door to kick life’s butt. You own your body, you own your thought process and attitude, and now, you have complete control of your destiny.

Make one small adjustment

By David Tepera, April 25, 2018

Recently, I’ve taken up playing golf more consistently. In my youth, I was too hyper for the slow pace of the game. But, now that I’m older and with more patience, I’m actually enjoying golf, while constantly working to improve my strokes.

Even if you don’t play or understand golf, keep reading because I’ll get to my point.

For those you who do play, I had developed a terrible slice with my driver, plus a horrible hook with the irons. I kept trying to adjust my stance, swing and pin angle, but for some frustrating reason, it kept getting worse and out of control.

Finally, after a few holes, I recognized something else needed to change or I’m going to give up. “OK,” I thought to myself, “It has to be something that only needs a little tweaking for improvements.”

I decided to close the head on my woods to correct the slice, and to open the face of the irons to straighten the hook. BAM, all strokes were back on target, plus hitting the ball further than ever before. All it took was just one small adjustment.

How many of you are frustrated with diets? Maybe, all it needs is one small adjustment like taking out dairy, sugar or both. You’d be shocked how this one deletion can catapult significant fat loss.

Are you getting bored with the same old-cardio routine? How about increasing your pace and incline, swinging your arms, switch machines, or all the above? This will force your body to burn extra fat.

I know plenty of people who perform the same weightlifting machines each week, Yes, at first, your muscles were sore and felt stronger. But now, nothing is improving and you’re getting frustrated. It’s time to switch the order of machines, try different angles, increase weight, and so on.

Are you starting to understand that really all it takes is one small adjustment to make the biggest impact in your life?

This can be applied in every aspect of your daily routines. If you feel you can never get caught up at work, then go in 15 minutes early and stay 15 minutes later. This extra 30 minutes ought to get the attention of your employers.

Now, sit down and think of all the frustrating components in your life. Start by making just one small adjustment, and soon you’ll find success. I promise, this will take a lot of unnecessary stress off you shoulders, and you’ll probably hit a hole-in-one.

You can’t keep me down

By David Tepera, April 18, 2018

There are many well-known athletes who’ve come back from what most would think were career-ending injuries. One of the most popular names is Peyton Manning who played in four Super Bowls — winning two of them in 2007 and 2015 seasons.

I’m sure most of you remember that Manning suffered a severe neck injury in 2011, which sidelined him for the rest of the season. Everyone counted him out, including the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts decided to get rid of the perceived old man and replace him with a new young talent out of Stanford named Andrew Luck.

But, general manager and Hall of Famer John Elway saw a seasoned veteran and signed Manning to the Denver Broncos in 2012.

Within three seasons, Manning led his team to win Super Bowl 50 at the ripe old age of 39. This made him the oldest winning quarterback in Super Bowl history. He not only won, but set so many records, that I don’t have enough column space to list them.

An interesting fact: Elway was the previous oldest winning Super Bowl quarterback at 38.

After listening and watching many interviews of Manning, it was obvious, as everyone was trying to keep him down, he was determined to get back up and fight for his passion of the game.

Now, haven’t we all had or have people trying to keep us down? You’re told your ideas are stupid, you’re too fat, old, broke and worthless.

A friend of mine who’s been working for the same company for many years had an upper management change. He’s upset because they’ve changed his salary and commission structure to where he’s lost a lot of income. Obviously, he wants to quit.

I asked him, “what’s your biggest passion in life?” His reply was how much he loves to foster animals and find quality family homes for them.

I told him to start his own organization or partner with others and find a way to generate an income in the multiple avenues in the animal industry. Maybe, start a specialty pet and supplies service or store.

I don’t know what the income can produce, but once you start researching and networking, then you’ll get many ideas.

So, no matter what your situation is, don’t let them keep you down, get up and take control YOUR life.

Don’t be scared to strike-out

By David Tepera, April 11, 2018

In 1977, while I was in high school, Reggie Jackson became a household name for hitting three home runs on only three pitches to win the World Series for the New York Yankees.

Reggie was given the title as “Mr. October” for his postseason spectacular batting career, for not only the Yankees, but his time with Oakland Athletics as well.

Reggie was the home run king for many seasons expanding to 563 throughout his 21-year-career.

But, guess who had the most strikeouts than any other player in the history of the MLB? Yep, Reggie Jackson with a total of 2,597.

Don’t we all fear striking out in life? Don’t we fear standing up to the bully that keeps putting us down, starting a business, asking the girl for a date, trying something new, and so on?

How many times did you fall down learning to ride a bike, but eventually, you could ride with no-hands?

Think of every skill you’ve become an expert at and all the times you failed or struck out. None of the failures matter once you’ve mastered your craft because you were determined to be at your best. Now, you’re known as the leader in that category.

In all sports, as I watch the professional players, I think about how many times they must have failed in-order to reach the pinnacle of their skills. Yes, we will get frustrated, but our passion should catapult the drive and determination to get back up and keep pushing through it.

Maybe, you’re battling an addiction. How many times have you struck out trying to beat the habit? I’m sure each time only made you more depressed, which didn’t help to get out of the rut.

Just know, I’m not a therapist, so I always tell people to seek legal, professional and spiritual help, according to the severity of the situation.

But, I am telling you not to get down on yourself for each failure. As long as you get back up and try again, you can eventually succeed and hit that home run.

Words from the hall of famer himself Reggie Jackson, “I feel the most important requirement in success is learning to overcome failure. You must learn to tolerate it, but never accept it.”

Beauty of being “Bull in the Ring”

By David Tepera, April 3, 2018

If you’ve played sports, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced the drill “bull in the ring.” This drill typically consists of one person in the middle with everyone else circling around them.

In football, the circled players take turns hitting the bull, while the bull takes on the block or tackle.

In soccer, I had my goalkeeper as the bull, with each player rapidly taking turns firing the ball, while the keeper deflects.

In martial arts, the circled attackers would quickly take turns grabbing and putting the bull in specific holds, then the bull uses self-defense to free themselves.

The beauty of bull in the ring is that the bull learns to think fast and be quick on their feet. It’s an extremely exhausting drill that typically leaves the bull digging deep to get back on their feet and keep fighting.

How many of you can relate this to life? Haven’t we all seemed to be just moving along smoothly and carelessly, then out of nowhere, something comes along and knocks us off our feet? Now, you must think quickly trying to resolve the best outcome.

Maybe you were diagnosed with an illness or unexpected medical bills, your car suddenly breaks down needing engine repair or a new transmission, an unexpected divorce, death of a loved one or unemployment.

But, that’s just it. This is our time to be the bull in the ring. There’s no choice — you must get back on your feet and keep fighting back in this game of life.

There’s no time to play the pity party. We all have or will have extreme circumstances that change our course. You can either choose to let it define you or you can take action and make you stronger.

Sometimes playing bull in the ring in sports can leave external scars where you can wear them proudly. But, also, life’s bull in the ring will leave internal scars.

When scars heal, they leave a stronger thickened skin to protect the body from future impact. Well, guess what? You should recognize internal scars react the same way.

That negative impact should harden you, not soften. Take that experience to find determination and get back up, plus take on another challenge. Because, through time, you’ll always fight your way back in life to win the day.

Now, get ready bull because another unexpected event is coming, but you’re a warrior and will kick its butt. So, put me in, coach — I got this!

Spring season is your new beginning

By David Tepera, March 28, 2018

If you’re like me, this is your favorite time of the year. Yep, spring season has arrived! The air is still cool with sunny days, plus all the plants are blooming. But, the best part of all, baseball season has started.

I remember when my kids were younger, playing ball to dust off last year’s gloves and bats to see if they had outgrown them. Sometimes a glove could make a few seasons, but because of yearly growth spurts, a new bat would always be purchased.

I loved the many years of building memories and bonding with my children through baseball and softball seasons. Even if you don’t volunteer to coach, it’s still a great opportunity to spend quality time with your children.

How many of you, like me, actually take on the task of spring cleaning? We’ve been cooped up throughout winter months of dreary weather. But now, the windows and doors are open while cleaning all the extra dust, including putting away jackets and sweaters.

I enjoy getting outdoors, working in my flowerbeds, riding my bicycle again, and feeling the sun radiate on my skin.

Really, spring should be a yearly decision to not only do external cleaning, but internal as well. I guarantee, almost everyone of us has something in our past that still haunts us or is hard to let go.

Look, last year is gone, even yesterday has past. All you need to do is learn from it and keep moving forward. Sometimes, life will slow your momentum, but it’s OK because there’s times you need to change speeds.

It’s time to recognize what’s holding you back. Get outside, breathe the fresh air, and fill your mind with positive thoughts. We all have something to be thankful for, so baste yourself in goodness.

Let spring season be your new beginning. It doesn’t matter what your current status is. You’re never too broke or worthless when you project kindness and love. Step out of your norm and go hug your family members to let them know you appreciate who they are. I promise, lives will change instantly.

Now, get out there and make this world a better place because you are needed.


Fake it with attitude

By David Tepera, March 21, 2018

Recently, I attended a bodybuilding and physique competition to watch my 19-year-old son Dylan and many other friends compete. At this elite level, most muscular bodies are very similar, so the judges are forced to score competitors based on posing routines.

The importance of stage presence and performance is critical because the competitor must be flawless and project confidence. Part of their showmanship is owning the stage, along with a sense of cockiness.

For Dylan, me and all my family members who compete, the cockiness takes us out of our comfort zone.

You see, naturally, my family and I are very conservative, reserved and kind to everyone. But, we also recognize to succeed, we must take over the stage with a sole purpose of winning. So, for that brief moment, we are trying to knock you out by faking it with attitude.

Now, let’s think about your current life. For those still participating in sports, no one likes to expose their weaknesses. You can’t let your opponent see you cower or be reserved. You must take on the stance of seeming cocky and let your actions overpower a mindset.

Now, my definition of cocky is through attitude and determination. It’s not by using discriminating words to demean anyone. I hope this message is clear.

How many of you are competing for job promotions? Are you the leader that gets the job done and lifts everyone’s spirit? Or, do you fly below the radar hoping no one takes notice?

If you want to get ahead in life, then it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and fake it with attitude.

We typically all have morning routines. Part of mine is psyching myself up in the mirror before heading out the door. Each morning, I challenge myself to be a better worker, father, trainer and person.

We all know, this world is competitive, and if you don’t get out there to kick some butt, you’re going to lose the battle. Yep, you’ll get knocked down, bloodied and sucker-punched. But, today you’re going to jump back up with an attitude to win. Sometimes, you have to fake it until it sinks in and becomes part of your determined character.

So, I challenge you today. What are you truly made of? Whatcha got? Get mad and go out the door with attitude to win the day.

Just know, Dylan took first place and is undefeated for two years running. I’m proud of that boy.

Get up and do it again

By David Tepera, March 13, 2018

During my children’s childhood, while teaching them new experiences, there were many times they would fall-down or get hurt. I would find myself constantly telling them “get up and do it again.”

Now, before you judge me, I always made sure they weren’t injured. Really, typically, the only thing hurt was their feelings.

Also, throughout multiple years of coaching youth sports and even high school, I saw way too many parents babying their kids. Most of these kids were never hurt, they just knew their parents would run to their rescue and bail them out of an embarrassing situation.

Look, you can parent whichever way is best for you and your children. I don’t judge. I only observe because you can parent a dozen kids in the same manner, and you’ll still get 12 different outcomes. If you’re a multi-child family, then you understood that last statement.

But, for me, I chose to teach my kids the lessons of digging deep to accomplish a task, even after a complete failure.

A few examples in our house were: getting hit by a pitch, crashing on your bicycle, catching a football with your face, collisions in soccer and much more.

As of today, even though they are late teenagers, I’m proud to say, this part of my teaching skills is paying off. My kids know winning doesn’t come easy.

Constantly reinforcing this determined behavior in my children has forced me do the same as an adult.

How many of you get frustrated with your job, spouse, family, diet, exercise and so on?

Don’t we all want to cry for mommy to come rescue us?

But guess what? If you want to be the leader in your family, then you must develop the character as one.

There will be many times throughout life where we will get knocked down. Never allow anyone or any situation to keep you down. Let the intensity boil inside, dig deep and just get up and do it again because with the right mindset, you’ll succeed in life.

Let’s go fishing

By David Tepera, March 6, 2018

I believe if you live in Galveston County, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced the sport of fishing.

As a young boy, growing up in West Texas City, there were three man-made lakes near my house. All the boys in the neighborhood and I would frequent those lakes and spend hours fishing along the banks.

We typically used artificial bait, so we were constantly casting over and over hoping to get a bite. As we all know, once something tugs on the line, you jerk the pole and start reeling in the catch.

Do you remember the thrill of not knowing what was on the other end of the line? Which type of fish and how big? You’re trying to guess by the fight of the reel and the bend in the pole.

But, sometimes, the fish didn’t turn out to be that great; you’re disappointed, but you keep casting hoping for the big one. But really, you know through time that eventually you’ll land the big granddaddy of a prize.

All us boys wanted to land the big catch of the day for bragging rights, and tease who ever had the small-fry. Of course, we each took turns on the outcomes at each fishing excursion.

If you think about it, life is very similar to the sport of fishing. How many of you are disappointed with your current career choice? Maybe it’s time to update your resume and start casting it out into the sea of opportunity.

You won’t know what big fish is trolling out there and looking for someone of your quality unless you jump in the water. Sometimes, it takes gathering up a few small fish in order to build experience into your resume.

Look, I think we all know it can be a scary world out there. It’s like that big ocean because you don’t know what’s lurking beneath, but don’t let the unknown prevent you from getting your feet wet.

I told my kids that once they’re through with their education, come live or stay at home for at least another year. I want them to chase their dreams and passions and not worry about the initial income.

You’ll need to gather work experience, learn the interview process, and understand how to interact with all people.

Now, to all of you who feel other circumstances are keeping you down, don’t let your age, education or minimal work experience keep you from baiting your hook. Grab your tackle box, get all your gear organized and cast your line because the whale is hungry.

So, my friends, I’ll see you on the pier, and let’s all go fishing because today you’ll earn all the bragging rights.

The Thrill of Victory

By David Tepera, February 27, 2018

If you’ve ever competed in sports, you’ve experienced the agony of defeat. We know it happens every season, and it’s part of the process. That depressing feeling of defeat is what makes victories so much sweeter.

The part of defeat that’s typically most difficult is when there is still a little time on the clock, and you know the score is unreachable, but you must finish the game. You’re probably feeling embarrassed, upset and ready to get out of there.

But, what always impresses me the most, are those players who will battle to the end because pride is on the line.

Which player can you identify with? The one who will never quit or the one who gives up? I’m not trying to fool anyone, I’ve given up and felt defeated plenty of times. I did this in sports, in life and was ashamed of myself.

Now think, typically in the game of life, everything starts off slow, but gathers momentum.

Of course, the purpose is to keep moving forward to reach the goal line, bases, basket and so on. What goals are in front of you? Are you moving forward or backward?

Right now, you have developed a habitual thought process. What thoughts constantly take over your day? Where does your mental energy spend its time? Remember, what ever you’re thinking about will become your actions.

If you’re not sure what your actions are, then look around at your friends. I promise, you are just like them. And, your kids are doing the same things their friends are.

I gave up on close friends over 13 years ago when I became a single parent. My focus was on my kids and the types of friends they chose.

Let’s take today and start a new process of engaging. Kick defeat out of your house. You’ve probably been dwelling in defeat way too long. Remember, defeat is only in the mind of the defeated. Let setbacks become opportunities. Redirect yourself and push for the goal line.

You were made to succeed, so get out there and show us what you’ve got because it’s time to feel the thrill of victory.