The Read Step

Happy Monday to you all and welcome to another installment of Carter's Call. How was everyone's week? Do anything new this weekend? Last week was a challenging one for me to say the least. I fought through a stomach bug in the early part of the week and forcing me to complete this week's tasks in half the time which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I realized how productive I SHOULD be! But I digress, now lets dive into this weeks topic; The "Read Step". Since its inception, Carter's Call has attempted to give you a new tool (skill) for your toolbox (skillset) as you progress on your journey and this weeks topic, the "Read Step" might just be your most useful tool to date! The "Read Step" is exactly what it sounds like, although it doesn't necessarily have to involve reading; it is the step in the problem solving process in which you analyze or access a situation, task, problem, etc. before you address it. For example, reading the directions on a test before answering a question, looking at the menu before you place an order, taking the first pitch of an at bat and getting into the triple-threat position when you catch the basketball are all examples of the "Read Step". Its essentially an analytical skill, everyday your faced with insignificant and or impactful choices that challenge you to analyze information before you make a decision. Ironically, it seems that in a time in which analytics is intertwined with our lives, our businesses and sports alike, our personal analytical skills are worsening. Which leads me to pose the questions; how often do you think about the "Read Step"? Do you know why you make the decisions you make?

Candidly, I do not have the answer to why many of us struggle to analyze and interpret information efficiently or why many of us cannot explain why we make certain decisions. Technology could be to blame, as data analysis tools advance, humans are being replace by computer programs that literally do all the work for you. The opportunities for people to analyze problems, patterns, strengths and weaknesses are few and far between. Without getting into an entire a human's versus computers argument, mastering the "Read Step" takes repetition just like any skill and with shrinking opportunities to practice, you must take full advantage of the ones in front of you. There is great value in mastering this skill, not only in business or sports but in life. Utilizing the "Read Step" can minimize the chances of making a misstep or putting oneself in harms way. How many times in life have you made a rash decision or an uniformed choice that has come back to haunt you at the absolute worst time? Regardless of the severity of the situation you must find the best practices to complete the "Read Step" in YOUR life. 

During my football career, my "Read Step" helped me to decipher all the chaos that comes with an individual football play. Football being one of the most violent sports around, analysis and recognition of a situation not only makes you successful but also keeps you safe. During my "Read Step" I was able to decipher my opponents intensions, the way in which they were attempting to execute those intentions and how I could utilize this information along with my experiences to stop them from gaining an advantage. In our basketball example from earlier, we mentioned how the "Read Step" is embodied by the triple threat. As offensive player, you are taught to get into the triple threat position (an athletic stance, in which you hold the ball adjacent to your body giving you the ability to dribble, pass or shoot) as soon as you gain possession of the ball. The position gives you the opportunity to analyze the defenders body position and decipher the best point of attack to ultimately score the basketball. Different sport, same "Read Step". This is an identical process that you could implement in more practical situations. As it relates to our test test question example, you must not only read the directions to decipher what the question is asking you but you must read for context clues that tell you the best way to answer the question. In other words, you must decipher what the question is not asking you to do, that way are less likely to commit unforced errors. 

I may be making the "Read Step" sound like a simple or basic process but thats because it is. However in life we often find that the most simple processes have the biggest impact. Like any skill you acquire in life, the more you put in to the "Read Step" the more you get out of it. We talk about it all the time; your approach is what will differentiate from your peers, I can't stress it enough! I challenge you to take control of your decision making process, to analyze every situation either impactful or insignificant with the same level of focus. I can guarantee you will see a notice a difference in your outlook on life's tasks, problems and challenges. When you change the way you look at things, you change the way things look!

I hope I've helped you add another tool to your tool box and I can't wait to hear about how taking your "Read Step" helps you in your passionate pursuit. Until next week. 

- Christian A. Carter