You have more than you think you do
“Hit it again!” I can hear my old defensive line coach say right after we thought we finished the last drill of a long hot practice. We were worn out from a two-hour plus practice in the late summer Virginia sun, but the coach knew we were not as sharp as we needed to be nor as good a defensive line yet as we could be.
With every sports season, I can always recall the voices of my former coaches as they pushed every member of the team in our drills and in our games. I don’t know about you, but as I get older and more experienced, I keep pealing back lessons that the coaches were trying to teach me all through my childhood and into my teenage years. Part of those lessons were about the skill or the game that I was playing and some of the lessons were about life. Some of the greatest lessons that I remember from playing sports and playing music that have direct impact into my professional and personal life are:
- Drill and drill again until your responses are both immediate and excellent
- A good self-disciplined player can out perform a gifted athlete with no discipline (This also holds true for musicians as well)
- There is no such thing as a perfect play, game or season despite what the scoreboard says
- People stop before they have truly given everything that they have physically and emotionally
The winner in most sports contests is the team or the individual who maximizes their natural abilities more than their opponent does. In life and in business the successful individual or company learns through self or organizational discipline how to work smarter / harder / faster than their competition on a continual basis.
What we all need from time to time is that driving force pushing us to do more and execute better than we thought we could. Let’s face it, we need to be pushed from time to time because we get fatigued and the easy way out is to say we are tired and just stop whatever it is we are doing. Without that internal or external presence pushing us, we can rationalize ourselves into believing that the activity is too hard or the competition is just too great for use to handle.
If you are feeling that you have reached the top of your abilities at work or in any aspect of your life and still need for reasons of job performance or personal pride to go further, try this following exercise:
- Remember your own sports or scholastic past and identify that coach or teacher that pushed you the hardest
- Once you have identified that person, write down their name
- Write in large font or lettering at least three phrases or examples (more the better, but no more than a page) of when that person pushed you beyond where you thought your abilities were
- Put this list somewhere in your work or personal space where you can not avoid seeing it
- Every time that you don’t want to go running, feel like shutting off the computer when there is still some work to be done or avoiding hard decisions, take a look at that list of phrases
My experience is that if you do this exercise, you will find yourself working a bit harder and a bit longer than you thought you could resulting in more traction and productivity. So who pushed you beyond your limits and what was your reward for accepting the challenge?
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