Anticipation: A Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

When I hear the word anticipation, it makes me think of two things. The first is the old-school Heinz Ketchup commercial. The second is Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote when asked: “How do you score so many goals?”

Let’s take these one at a time and see how they may apply to a greater sense of satisfaction in every-day life.

Anticipation (in the World of Ketchup)

A Heinz Ketchup advertising campaign in the 1970’s used the famous Carly Simon song, “Anticipation,” in all of their TV ads.

“Anticipation, it’s making me wait. It’s keeping me waiting.”

In this context, I choose to look at its meaning as I would the word patience–looking forward to a future occurrence.

The hope for the ketchup is that it eventually comes out of the bottle and onto your food. In every-day life, anticipation is about looking forward to [fill in the blank] — a summer vacation, a new car, going out to dinner with friends, attending a sporting event or concert etc.

But life is not ketchup. And while it’s perfectly understandable to anxiously await your ketchup hitting your burger, that may not be the best way to think about more important things in your life. I believe it is important to enjoy the journey or the process, too, on the way to your destination.

It’s like the old saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” There is greater meaning and a greater sense of satisfaction at the end when you’ve enjoyed the journey.

 Anticipation (from the Mouth of a Hockey Superstar)

Wayne Gretzky, arguably the best hockey player in history, has a very different view on anticipation. He was once asked by a reporter:  “How do you score so many goals?” He famously replied: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” In other words, anticipation.

What a great response (and visual) to describe his goal-scoring philosophy. Wayne would put himself in the best possible position, based on his decades of hockey knowledge and game-day experiences, to positively impact a future occurrence. In this case, it usually referred to scoring a goal.

In Wayne Gretzky’s world, it’s important to not only be aware of where you are now, but also where you are going. That’s anticipation in the most productive, positive sense.

So Is It a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

Anticipation is a part of life. Everyone thinks about the future at one time or another. Sometimes it’s in a good way, and other times it’s in a less productive way.

I believe that the key to happiness and success is finding the right balance between “anticipation” and “presence.” In other words, enjoy today and prepare for tomorrow. It will make for a great journey and an even more satisfying result.

“Thank You:” The Most Powerful Phrase

Think about it. What phrase makes you smile more than almost any other? What phrase makes you feel good? Or feel appreciated? I would venture to say that the words “thank you” make up one of the most powerful two-word (non-profanity-laced) phrases in the English language. Why is this? Let’s start exploring.

Breaking Down the Meaning

Merriam-Webster defines the word thank as: to express gratitude to (and I would add) or appreciation for. The word you is defined as: the one or ones being addressed.

So, put together the phrase “thank you” is: a polite expression of gratitude to or appreciation for an act, offer, service etc.

But somehow, this doesn’t seem to do it justice. Individually, these are just two ordinary words in the English language. Together, they take on a life of their own.

Research shows that hearing the word “thank you” truly does make a difference. And that people tend to underestimate the power of saying thanks.

What “Thank You” Makes Me Think of

When I hear the phrase “thank you,” I’m reminded of the Dido song “Thank You,” written and performed by English singer/songwriter Dido and released on Dido’s 1999 debut album No Angel. The first line of the chorus, to me, captures the true power this phrase packs into two lines:

I, want to thank you, for giving me, the best day of my life
Oh, just to be with you, is having, the best day of my life

As Dido’s song points out, there may only be one feeling equal to or better than being the beneficiary of a nice gesture or an act of kindness. That would be being the recipient of the gratitude or appreciation expressed by the receiver of a “good deed.”

The power-phrase “thank you” also reminds me of the many acts of kindness directed toward my mother (Maxine) and wife (Alyson) during their battles with cancer. In the Acknowledgements section of Know Your Enemy, I had a four-page thank you to all of the special individuals that touched our lives. I want to take this opportunity to publicly share two passages from the book:

Each of them (Max and Alyson) literally had “an army” of supporters that were with them every step of the way. I want to thank this special group of individuals for their many acts of kindness and prayers during our greatest time of need. This group included: family members, longtime friends, neighbors, classmates, work colleagues, church parishioners, and fellow cancer patients…

Max and Alyson were blessed with an exceptional group of highly-skilled healthcare professionals – warriors in their own right – who cared for them and worked tirelessly on the frontlines every day of our battles…

Harnessing the Power of “Thank You”

In this informal age of email and texting communications, individuals tend to be less likely to acknowledge and respond to written acts of kindness (e.g., a referral request, an answer to a question, a special recommendation). I personally, don’t view this as progress or as Martha Steward would say as…”a good thing.”

So maybe it’s time to take a good look at yourself and how often you stop and say “thank you” when people help you whether it’s a small favor (like taking in your mail) or a huge one (like caring for you when you’re sick).

If you are currently going through a major health matter, a personal or professional challenge or a typical life issue, hopefully, you have a strong support network that you can rely on for strength and assistance.

Just remember, most friends and family members will rally, when called upon, to help fellow loved ones in their times of needs. Oftentimes, these special individuals only want to be asked to help and directed as to how they can help.

And when the help is delivered, in whatever form it is required, a sincere recognition of the gratitude and appreciation followed by the power-phrase “thank you.”

How do you feel when people say “thank you”? Do you think you say it enough? Do other people? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Goal Setting & Attainment: 5 Secrets to Success

If you’re a competitive or professional athlete, you probably know a lot about goal setting (and achieving those goals). But if you’re not, I am going to share the life lessons I learned from a tremendous experience and privilege I had in my youth that set me on a path to successful goal setting and attainment.

I had the good fortune to participate in the Cumberland Valley High School football program under legendary head football coach Harry C. Chapman III. In the 1970’s and 80’s, Coach Chapman’s football program had an off-season workout component that would rival most 2019 major college football off-season conditioning programs.

The start of summer takes me back in time to the days spent taking part in Coach Chapman’s summer workout sessions with teammates in the CV gym and at the track.  And when I go back in time, I hear the same voice in my head that I heard 40 years ago, calling out his go-to words of encouragement…Fellas, get your weights!

The following quote, credited to former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry, provides readers with insight into Coach Chapman’s off-season program philosophy “… I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on the field and be prepared to play a good game.” Coach Chapman’s off-season program emphasized the five following key goal-setting principles. Each one includes a “key takeaway” that you can use in your next goal setting exercise, whether that’s related to sports, business, a fight against cancer … or anything else in life.

Principal #1: Define Both Team and Individual Goals

Coach Chapman emphasized a team-first mentality, and the importance of individuals maximizing their athletic abilities for the betterment of the team. He would sit down with each player at the end of the school year and set specific strength, agility and conditioning exercise goals for their summer workout program.

Key takeaway #1: Have anyone responsible for achieving the desired goals participate in an exercise that sets both team and individual goals. This ensures buy-in, personal responsibility and accountability by all participants.

You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.” – a Zig Ziglar favorite quote of close high school friend and teammate #85 Edward “Spike” Zionkofski


Principal #2: Maintain Consistency and Dedication to Goals

Coach Chapman held morning and evening workout sessions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the summer. It was understood that players would attend one session a day. And the sessions weren’t easy: They began with a weight-lifting period–players recorded the weight and reps attempted for each exercise–followed by a circuit of timed agility exercise stations set up in the gymnasium. After the agility circuit, Coach Chapman would take the players to the track for stretching and a recorded distance and/or a speed workout.

Key takeaway #2: Have a regular routine that everyone follows. This ensures a consistent level of effort is directed toward achieving their goals over an extended period.

There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” – Derek Jeter


Principal #3: Establish Benchmark Testing and Reporting Procedures

Coach Chapman would test and record key exercises (e.g., half squats, single and five rep bench, 40 yard dash, mile run etc.) for all players throughout the summer. To motivate and inspire players, he would post charts on the walls listing all players and their personal best for each recorded exercise. He also recorded new personal bests in his highly-sought-after “blue ink.” These methods encouraged players to continually strive to receive “blue ink” and a “good effort” acknowledgement from Coach Chapman.

Key takeaway #3: Have a method of regularly monitoring and tracking your progress. This ensures that you are taking the right steps to achieve your goals. If you determine you are not on the right track, you can modify your strategy or plan to ensure you achieve the desired results.

“When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.” – Terry Bradshaw


Principal #4: Create a Culture That Fosters Competition and Teamwork

Coach Chapman used to get really fired up when he was testing/recording players, especially when a player was attempting a new personal best. His enthusiasm was contagious, and often resulted in a crowd of teammates gathering around to encourage the player to succeed. Call it motivation, fear of embarrassment, or a sense of pride, but you always felt compelled to give it your all; and more importantly, to not let your teammates down.

Key takeaway #4: Establish a positive and competitive environment that fosters peak individual performance and team unity. This ensures a “team first” mindset and mentality for any team, group or organization

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan


Principal #5: Persevere, Persevere, Persevere

Coach Chapman’s football program emphasized the importance of perseverance in all activities, both on the football field and in the classroom. This phrasing–along with persistence, mental toughness, hard work and overcoming adversity–were commonly-repeated themes that you heard when you were in the presence of Coach Chapman.

Key takeaway #5: Have the physical and mental toughness, as well as intestinal fortitude, to overcome the challenges that occur in football, the classroom or in life. In summary, I have found that very little is given to us in life, and most successes are the result of hard work, persistence and perseverance.

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”- John Wooden


Coach Harry C. Chapman III’s goal-setting principles and coaching philosophy has had a positive impact throughout my life and for that I am truly grateful. I believe that Coach Chapman’s goal setting principles can be used by anyone to help ensure that they not only meet–but exceed–their desired life goals.

A special thanks to my close grade school friends and teammates #13 Harry C. “Four” Chapman IV and #72 Brian “Bull” Bullock for their contributions to the creation of this blog.

Coach Chapman - Goal Setting
Harry C. Chapman III
Former Head Football Coach
Cumberland Valley High School

I would also like to acknowledge the countless hours the early 1980’s CV Football Coaching Staff — Coach Harry Chapman, Coach Butch Bricker, Coach Bob Crobak, Coach Ron Audo, Coach Joe Correal, Coach Tom Uhrich and Coach Jim Hess — invested in teaching young men how to compete and conduct themselves both on and off the football field.

Thank You Coach Chapman!
#82 Frank Antonicelli

Can You Hear Me Now? The Mind-Body Connection

In a recent blog post, I referenced the phenomena of catchy phrase(s); the ones that become staples in pop culture and stick in our minds — sometimes for years. Well, there is a line from a cellular phone commercial that comes to mind. You know the one… Can you hear me now? Good. Can you hear me now? Good. Can you hear me now? Good.

Can You Hear Me Now? Can Your Body?

So I’d like to provide you with a slightly different perspective on this famous Can you hear me now? line. To do this, I want to share with you another favorite inspirational quote that I found during my mother, Maxine’s, cancer battle. The quote is credited to Rhonda Byrne and goes like this:

Whatever you believe about your body, your cells believe too. They don’t question anything you think, feel, or believe. In fact, they hear every thought, feeling, and belief you have.”

Do you see where I’m going with this? This statement says that your body is always listening for clues from your brain as to how you are thinking, feeling or believing at that particular moment in time.

If your mind is filled with positive inputs or vibes… “This is no big deal”… “I can handle this”…”This is in my wheelhouse”…your body processes these thoughts or cues and reacts accordingly.

The same holds true if your mind is filled negative inputs or vibes….”This is a big problem”… “I don’t know if I can do this”….”I’m a-scared.” Can your body hear you now? You bet it can.

More About the Mind-Body Connection

To reinforce this point, I’d like to share the following additional quotes with you:

  • • Cogito ergo sum, “I think therefore I am.” – Rene Descartes

  • • “As you think, so shall you become.” –  Bruce Lee

  • • “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” – James Allen

If you have read any of my other blog posts, you know by now that I’m a big believer in the power of the mind, and the impact that having a positive outlook on life can have on your health.

The first two quotes say to me that we are — and we become — a mosaic of what we think, feel and believe.  Can your body hear you now, Roger that.

The third quote by James Allen further validates that who we are (and what we will become) is nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy of how our minds process thoughts, feelings and beliefs about past, present and anticipated future life experiences.

So Can your body hear you now? That’s a Big 10-4.