Involved or Committed?
Are you committed or just involved? These two sound the same, but they couldn’t be more misunderstood. Are you all in to what you say you want and what you say you’re going to do, or are you a “just when I feel like it” guy. Are you involved enough to help, but not committed when it gets hard? 99% of commitment is easy, but 100% is difficult.
Have you heard the analogy of the farmer’s breakfast? The farmer was having his breakfast of eggs and bacon while a chicken and pig looked on. The chicken comments that the eggs make the breakfast hearty and filling, and the chicken is glad she is involved in the breakfast. The pig nods, and then says yes you are involved, but putting that bacon on the plate, the pig was totally committed. The pig is willing to sacrifice himself in order to provide food for the farmer.
Why go through the things you care about choosing to only be involved? Be committed. Choose it, then be intentional about it. Commit and be all in. Dr. Joseph Parent, author of Zen Golf, writes, “Commitment doesn’t guarantee perfect results, but it will give you the best chance of making the shot as you imagined it.” Analyze an area of your life where you may be involved, but you would be better served (and better serve others) if you were committed. How much are you willing to sacrifice (to commit) to have the life you want? Are you eggs or bacon?
Champions Are Different
We usually see the championship, the end result, the final raising of the trophy. But no team or individual gets to that moment by accident. To even have the chance to raise that trophy or see any recognition from the outside, they have to prepare like champions each day. It’s not about trying to win championships, it about living like a champion. So how do we live like champions?
Champions do the little things, always. They act a certain way in class. They treat their parents and coaches and teammates a certain way. They do what is best for others, they step up and serve. They don’t take shortcuts in other areas of their life and then expect to excel on the court/field.
Champions learn from mistakes. They aren’t perfect, but they are accountable. They see failure as an important part of their growth.
Champions focus on the moment. Nick Saban, Alabama’s football coach, said, “Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship. Don’t think about the national championship. Think about what you need to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.” Champions understand it’s only what is right in front of me that is most important at this moment.
Champions crave the hard work. They push past what is required. They keep the lights on late to do a little extra. Their standards are too high to settle. They go all out.
Champions are different.
Sport As Growth
Last week we wrapped up with “Becoming > winning. Growth > points scored.” Steering athletes to view success and failure with a different lens is very important, and is an applicable life skill beyond athletics. Success is giving your all, laying it out there, having the courage to try knowing you might fail. Successful people know that failing is part of growth, failing is learning.
Sports should help us grow as people. Period. Who we become as we play sports and face challenges and chase goals is the most important thing. Wanting to be great at a sport, working to grow in your skill set, and putting in the sweat when it isn’t easy, these things all develop character: great perseverance, toughness and discipline. These are the values of athletics, the reason that former athletes make great employees.
When we focus on our process of becoming, we get the order right: Person first. Player second. Athletes who see themselves as players first run into a lot of hardship because they see their results as a statement on their self-worth (play bad=unworthy; play well=feel good and accepted). Opposite from this, athletes who see themselves first as a person can judge their self-worth based on their reaction to things in their sport (continue to be a great teammate and encourager when they are playing poorly; winning and staying humble; missing a game winning shot, but being proud they had the courage to take it). All of these reactions are in their control at all times.
Urging athletes to adopt this perspective means that every training opportunity is a chance to build skills to become a better person. Every reaction to good moments and challenging moments is a chance to grow as a person. It’s a shame to allow sports to create value statements for who you are; instead let sports mold you and teach you so that you can be a strong, productive, and confident person striving to grow each day.
The last two posts were inspired by Brett Ledbetter’s “What Drives Winning.” This book focuses on character skills that sports should teach athletes, and why they oftentimes don’t because of our focus on outcomes.
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