You weren’t put on this earth to SUCK, you were put here to be SUCCESSFUL.
We are built to be great. We are given the tools to develop the Heart of a Competitor and achieve greatness. If you are reading this message, you believe that you have the ability to live with greatness. Having this ability to achieve greatness and be successful, you also have to believe that at any point, you can just plain out suck and be a failure. It is the struggle that we place in our minds in every endeavor we undertake. This is a battle every single day. Are we going to SUCK or are we going to move toward SUCCESS?
Throughout our experiences there have definitely been times where we have sucked. It is our job to take this SUCK and turn it into SUCCESS. We are one move away from success. This is the fight; this is the fire that burns within, to push forward to be successful. The Heart of a Competitor takes this SUCK and COMPETES with all of their focus on fighting to achieve their success. This might be your physical fight to get into shape or accomplish a physical goal or the mental and emotional fight to push through any resistance that is in place. The resistance can occur outside or inside of you. Any resistance that you experience is the filling of the fuel tank.
We must experience the SUCK to fill your fuel tank for SUCCESS. Successful people recycle the SUCK into a biofuel that fills their fuel tank. Greatness requires a fuel tank that is burning deep within our soul and propelling us forward. Your SUCK is fuel for your SUCCESS. Success is not a one-day effort; it is a continual process of pushing and pursuing. This is why you need a large fuel tank and those that are the best in the world have huge fuel tanks. Novak Djokovic’s fuel tank was filled with the SUCK of being forced to practice on a makeshift tennis court in an old swimming pool. (ESPN.com article) This SUCK was his fuel for SUCCESS.
You have not been put on this Earth to SUCK, but this SUCK is FUEL for your SUCCESS.
The Heart of a Competitor is based on being a FINISHER.
While the last two Community of Competitors Newsletters have focused on Pressure and the understanding that pressure situations and stressful situations build us into the competitors that we need to be, this week is focused on FINSIHING.
The competitive world needs more FINISHERS. They need more competitors like old-school boxer Rocky Marciano who finished his opponents. Marciano had 49 total professional fights and finished with an unblemished record of 49 wins and 0 losses from 1948 until he retired in 1956. Even more impressive than his unblemished record was the fact that he won 43 of these fight by knockout. He FINISHED his opponents.
The need for being a FINISHER was also evident during the opening weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Those teams seeking upsets were able to finish their opponent with plays down the stretch, making foul shots, and executing quality possessions at the end of the game. They were FINISHERS, while those games that were won in the final seconds on a tip-in (Notre Dame over Stephen F. Austin) or an inbounds play (Providence over USC) were based on the team that lost not being a FINISHER. These teams had opportunities to throw the knockout punch and finish off their opponent, but they were not able to do FINISH.
Look around in your life and ask yourself, “What do I need to finish?”
For the business people that are reading this, we are ending the first quarter of 2016, be a FINISHER in this last full week March.
For those athletes beginning the Spring Season, during these first competitions, finish each play, each at-bat, each throw; be the FINISHER that you need to be.
In our lives, we are rewarded for FINISHING, not starting. Real champions, real competitors are FINSIHERS.
“All of us get knocked down, but it’s resiliency that matters. All of us do well when things are going well, but the thing that distinguishes athletes is the ability to do well in times of great stress, urgency, and pressure.”
– Roger Staubach, Heisman Trophy Winner, Member Pro Football Hall of Fame
Great accomplishments and great moments are a result of adversity and the struggles competitors face. A true competitor relishes in the opportunity to face the adversity and perform in crucial situations. It is easy to perform when things are going well and there is little perceived pressure, however, little to no growth occurs in these situations.
The true competitor seeks out opportunities to feel the pressure, to be accustomed to the struggle, the stress of a situation and the urgency of the moment. As Roger Staubach points out, this is what distinguishes athletes; their ability to handle the pressure sets them apart. Perspective allows the competitor to understand the ability to handle and perform under stress and pressure is always developing and evolving. This ability, which is ultimately a skill, cannot be turned on with a switch.
Developing the ability to perform under pressure can be practiced in a variety of situations, not just in the athletic arena. If you want to be the player to get the big hit in the last inning, establish that mindset when giving a speech in class. If you want to be able to sink the game winning free throws, study and prepare for the test in the same way. If you want to be in the boardroom making the million-dollar sale, rehearse the presentation and closing in the bathroom mirror. Competitors find ways to prepare for pressure; large accomplishments are made of small steps. Seek out the small pressure-packed situations to develop the poise required in the pressure-cooker.
Question of the Day:
What small pressure-filled situations can you seek out today to be come comfortable with pressure?
“I like pressure. If I am not on the edge of failure, I’m not being sufficiently challenged.”
– Jewel, singer
“The struggle and frustration you feel at the edges of your abilities—that uncomfortable burn of “almost, almost”—is the sensation of constructing new neural connections, a phenomenon that the UCLA psychologist Robert Bjork calls “desirable difficulty.” Your brain works just like your muscles: no pain, no gain.”
– Daniel Coyle, in The Little Book of Talent
A true competitor desires to be pushed to the edge of their abilities. At the edge of our abilities is where development occurs, where true improvement takes place, and where greatness is achieved. The edge of our abilities is also where the largest amount of discomfort lies. The Heart of the Competitor enjoys and seeks out this discomfort; they enjoy the pressure. The Heart of the Competitor turns the pressure into pleasure.
The pressure that comes from teetering on the edge of failure is the proper challenge. We can identify this because it has been researched and is known that this uncomfortable feeling that arises within us is our brain working to make new connections, to establish new programs. While we are working physically to learn a new skill, our brain is also working physically to make new connections and establish new neural pathways.
The Heart of the Competitor believes in the following mantras, “Turn Pressure into Pleasure” and “Desire Difficulty.” When using these two mantras, the competitor seeks out difficulties because true learning and growth occurs there. While desiring the difficulties, the competitor enjoys the pressure that comes with performing.
Question of the Day:
Today, seek out a learning experience at the edge of your abilities. During this experience, how did this help you turn pressure into pleasure?
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
– Norman Vincent Peale, Author of The Power of Positive Thinking
The strength that is needed to develop the Heart of the Competitor comes from within. In competition, the only faith that matters is the faith in your own abilities. A coach, a teammate, a boss, or a supervisor might show faith in you by giving you a high-profile assignment, but true accomplishment and achievement is rooted in the faith that you have in your abilities to be able to accomplish the objective.
Faith and confidence are used synonymously by many different people, including well-known author and preacher of positive thinking, Norman Vincent Peale. In the quote above, Mr. Peale references this faith as belief. He also adds a layer to faith, confidence, and belief, when he places a label of these three being humble. Confidence and faith does not need to be boastful, however, many competitors interpret humble as passive and shrinking. When used as an adjective, humble can also mean lowly.
True humbled faith for the competitor is rooted in the depth of the Heart of the Competitor that is respectful of all that can be accomplished in our lives. In choosing humble to be respectful, the competitor is respecting of the power of their faith and confidence. In giving this respect, we know that great things can be accomplished when there is faith that comes from the Heart. Faith is aggressive, knowing that a continued pursuit of excellence will yield unbelievable results.
Question of the Day:
What did you do today that resembled humble, yet aggressive faith in your or another person’s abilities?