In last week’s message, we focused on choosing a word to live out during the year 2015. I chose the word “Growth”. By making this public declaration of my word, I expect each of you as members of this community of competitors to hold me accountable to growing. In addition to this accountability from sharing our word, our minds will be open and aware to every opportunity to live out our word.Since writing last week’s message sharing my word as Growth, my life has been enriched by the growth of the athletes and young people that I am given the opportunity to work with. On Wednesday, we wrapped up six weeks with the ladies that are part of the Spooky Nook Softball Academy. The coaches and competitors that are part of this program demonstrated growth in their ability to focus on the task at hand, do the little things that are easy to do, and think and act confidently. They are prepared to direct and produce each day of 2015, like it is their own television show.
On Thursday I was fortunate to work with three young athletes that have lofty goals. Not only have they set these lofty goals, now they are matching their daily effort to improve and reach their goals. These young people are growing right before their parents’ and their coaches’ eyes.
Friday provided an opportunity to grow in my life. I had the pleasure of attending my first ever indoor track meet. This meet was held at Franklin and Marshall College with numerous teams attending. It was a pleasure to watch hundreds of athletes compete against themselves using the tape measure or a stopwatch. The specific athlete that I was there to watch competed with confidence in her thoughts and actions.
Why do I tell these stories? I tell them because the growth these young people are experiencing in their approach to competition with a confident growth oriented mindset will not only increase their ability to be successful now, but also in every endeavor they will pursue later in life.
These athletes evidenced 3 skills essential for success:
1. They set lofty goals that push their limits.
2. They commit to working on a daily basis to improve their skills and progress toward their lofty goals.
3. They understand that confidence comes from within. They think and act confident.
Pride permeates through every aspect of the competitor’s life. Pride in every effort and every endeavor the competitor undertakes, no matter how small it may seem at the time. Pride is doing the best that you can do to become the best that you can become. Imagine placing a sign on the front of your jersey that says the Heart of a Competitor is behind this jersey. That is what you are doing everyday. (Watch this Nick Saban Press Conference and you will understand the Jersey reference.)
“There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.”
– John Maxwell, Writer and Leadership Consultant
To accomplish a goal and to demonstrate excellence in any field a competitor must have pride in their work and pride in their heart. For a competitor, pride can take on many forms, but best-selling author and speaker, John Maxwell, mentions the most important part of pride above there must be dignity and self-respect. The Heart of the Competitor has the dignity and self-respect inwardly that forces them to pay attention to every small and seemingly inconsequential detail. Pride is the reason the baseball team hustles on and off the field. Pride is the reason the football team hands the ball back to the official, so preparation for the next play can occur. Pride is the reason the team walks together in lines of two coming off the bus to the field.
On the other side of the pride coin is the bad pride that seemingly seeps into some competitor’s lives. This is the “bad pride” that is evident when certain competitors walk like they have never done anything wrong. It is not the confident or successful strut, it is the “arrogant” and “I am too good for that” attitude that radiates from their body. The arrogant individual that never helps pick-up equipment or the individual that jogs to the next station. This has no part in the Heart of the Competitor, for the Heart of the Competitor is always asking what else they can do to help themselves and help the team.
Coaches and players that have experienced success at a young age must fight the “bad pride.” Those that experience success in the form of wins and losses at a young age have a tendency to develop the “show up and win” attitude that reeks of conceit and arrogance. The players that have to work at the craft develop the Heart of the Competitor because they have always had to fight and prove their will can defeat an opponent’s skill.
How have you evidenced “good pride”? How will you evidence “good pride”? (What have you done to show self-respect and dignity toward your craft?)