As you give more of your heart, you get more in return.
As you give more of your heart, your influence expands.
As you give more of your heart, you are called to give more.
As you give more of your heart, you develop strength.
As you give more of your heart, you have the courage to COMPETE.
Competing takes courage. The courage to test your limits. The courage to step outside of your comfort zone and place your abilities to the test. The courage to fight the societal pressure of wins and losses. The courage to compete with yourself instead of comparing yourself to others.
The Heart of the Competitor is a courageously driven machine to become the best it can become. You have the Heart of a Competitor and are driven to create and use every possible situation as a learning opportunity.
In his book Choke, Sian Beilock details the need to prepare for performance in stressful moments by training with stressful situations. Police officers that are trained to be able to shoot and hit a target while being fired upon are much more successful than those that have only ever practiced without return fire. This is a must for the Heart of a Competitor, training in mentally and physically stressful situations. For the Heart of a Competitor, the number one way to create stressful situations in practice is to keep track of your progress in an area and that is done by keeping score. If you want to get better at something in a competitive situation, keep score of it in a practice situation and hold yourself accountable.
As you give more of your heart and focus in practice, you will get more of your heart and focus in a competition.
This past weekend, I shared a short time with members of the 2005 Franklin and Marshall Baseball team as they celebrated the 10-year anniversary of our conference championship. I have had a number of opportunities to be on coaching staffs of teams that have been successful, but the group of players on this team always sticks out as an example of what it takes to function as a unit. The members of this team have moved on to successful careers in medicine, law, investments, and real estate, to name a few. This close-knit group had success on the baseball field and enjoyed many memories off the field as well and I asked them to reflect on their experience ten years later, by pondering this question:
Did the winning lead to the relationships or did the relationships lead to winning?
The discussion around these questions ended up being a circular argument, with no definitive answer. However there was agreement from the players that their relationships were strong and the success they achieved as a group provided relationships that have lasted.
Strong relationships of trust among a team are essential because so many things happen over the course of a game, a season, and a career that are out of our control and the strength of a team’s relationships provides the needed support system to achieve the wins and championships. In sports and life, there are many factors that influence winning, which leaves much of it out of our control. The one thing we control is our self and our relationships on a team. Building the relationships on the team will produce a strong environment for individuals and the team to thrive.
The discussions that took place this weekend among the members of the 2005 Franklin and Marshall College Baseball Team were all focused on their experiences as a member of a team. Their memories were based on the experiences they shared and the relationships they built, rarely mentioning single wins or achievements of an individual. If this is what is remembered 10 years later, then as a coach, we called to create an environment where these relationships are paramount.
For those players reading this, build relationships based on trust throughout your team and great memories will be made.
Creating an environment where everyone can grow, develop and ultimately achieve is the goal of every, parent, teacher, coach, and leader. An environment that promotes performing outside of our comfort zone is essential to growth and development. This is difficult in the American Society that is based solely on winners and losers, rather than development.
The development mindset is commonplace in Asian culture. The cultures of the Far East value pushing each other to take risks and improve weaknesses. In the Far East, there is a focus on improving a weakness and persisting through the agony with patience and dignity. The word that is used in the Japanese language for this concept is “gaman.”
Many people outside of the Japanese culture view this as introverted, reserved and showing no emotion, however in the Japanese society it is considered a show of strength in the way they attack a weakness or endure the suffering that comes with this in their development.
In their book, The Confidence Code, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman reported the term, gaman, when it is loosely translated means, “keep trying.” In Far Eastern cultures, it is expected that you keep trying and learning as you endure and persist through any agony with patience and dignity.
Build on a weakness this week. Keep trying, endure, and persist through your struggles, for those that win are likely those that continue on the longest.