“Hard work and togetherness. They go hand in hand. You need hard work because it’s such a tough atmosphere. You need togetherness because you don’t always win and you gotta hang tough together.”
– Tony Dungy, football coach
Mental toughness is never a one-man band. Mental toughness is developed through a consistent and persistent march to self-satisfaction that you are working hard on a daily basis and anything that life throws at you is the best way for you to improve and learn.
In the above quote, Tony Dungy calls to our minds the tough atmosphere. He is not just referring to football, the game he played and coached, and he is also referring to the arena of competition as a tough atmosphere. The Heart of a Competitor views each day as an opportunity to compete against themselves and improve, which takes hard work AND to surround yourselves with other people that have the Heart of a Competitor. This togetherness which Dungy references is this known as the ”Community of Competitors.”
One of the top ways to develop mental toughness is to surround yourself with people of the same competitive drive. In the development of a team with toughness, togetherness will drive the consistent and persistent march toward greatness.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Do individuals that deserve to belong to a “Community of Competitors” surround you?
What can you do to increase the competition of those around you? (This will ultimately increase your mental toughness and competitive drive.)
“He who wants to succeed should learn how to fight, to strive, and to suffer. You can acquire a lot in life, if you are prepared to give up a lot to get it.”
– Bruce Lee, Actor and Philosopher
The Heart of the Competitor understands a key to performing and competing at their peak is the commitment to preparation. The commitment to preparation requires sacrifices. In hearing the word sacrifice, the human mind typically attempts to convince itself that it would prefer the most pleasurable experience. The true trait of a competitor and a champion is to be able to delay the cheap and instant thrill for the expensive long-term investment that is worth much more. Th is is what is occurring during preparation; the competitor is pushing the cheap easy mind-calming experience and choosing the expensive, mind-building preparation that allows for the distinguished experience of goal achievement down the road.
In Bruce Lee’s words above, the competitor must learn “to fight, to strive, and to suffer.” Preparation encompasses each one of these. True preparation forces the competitor to fight off the voices of quitting, telling yourself that you can accomplish a goal, when the first thought in your mind is that you should just quit. Preparation provides a longing and striving to meet a standard of competition that is just beyond your current level of performance. Suffering occurs during preparation as a result of the fighting and striving to push the body and mind as far as it can and then to go further. However, the suffering is replaced with exhilaration upon the accomplishment of that small step forward.
To continually build the Heart of a Competitor, be prepared to make sacrifices that will pay off in tremendous experiences of accomplishment.
QUESTION OF THE Week:
What are you sacrificing today? As a result of this sacrifice, what will you earn in the future?
Over the last four years as I have had the opportunity to work with numerous teams, individuals, and businesses it’s evident to me that those that are most successful compete with courage. Courage is one of the five fundamentals of building a TRIBE. Courage is not an absence/lack of fear, or not acknowledging fear. Courage is looking that fear in face and utilizing that fear as a passenger on our journey.
Many people say that we should live without fear and I take a little issue with this because we will experience fear or that little doubt that creeps into our mind. Fear might pop up in the form of things that we do not like to do or things that really do scare us. When we compete from the heart and build our Competitor’s heart we are taking those small things that we might struggle with and might place doubt in our mind and we are using them to propel us to great things. We have the ability to create the competitive life that we desire and quite frankly we deserve.
As we work with teams to move to a TRIBE and become something bigger than just a team, we must demonstrate and live out a competitive life of courage. This courage we are referencing does not mean that we will be saving someone’s life by the way we compete and play in a competition, but great competitors put their self on the line in every competitive situation we encounter. When I say competitive situation I do not mean every game, you see everyday is a competitive situation and it takes courage to go out and embark on the unexpected.
Being a great competitor means utilizing the fear that comes with the uniqueness and unexpectedness of every day as a welcomed passenger on your journey to excellence.