Monday, February 20, 2012

The Hill

I recently saw a documentary on Walter Payton. He is an athlete that is near and dear to my heart because I played him in the Viejo Elementary production of The Superbowl Shuffle in 1985. He was called "Sweetness" because he had a certain style, on the field and off, that came to characterize the charismatic Chicago Bears of the mid-80's. The team won the super bowl by a landslide, losing only 1 game the entire season. They dominated. It should be noted that the head bands, haircuts and flashy clothes did not contribute to the Bears success - their success was a result of one thing: Hard Work!

That year I saw an article in a magazine. It was about "The Hill", a piece of land that Walter Payton owned. While some would have used the landscape for hunting or to built a race track for the kids, Sweetness used the land as a training ground. When football practice ended, Walter went back home and ran up and down a near vertical hill on the property...over and over. He pushed his physical limitations ever forging a new frontier of conditioning...never stopping until he reached the mountain top. It was a foreign concept to many, to use your limited free time to torture yourself. The result was the aforementioned championship and personal achievements that will forever be enshrined in the pro football hall of fame. More than the results, The Hill represented the American Dream: success is there for you if you are willing to work really, really hard!

New York Knicks point guard, Jeremy Lin, has become an American Icon of late. Tim Tebow completed one of the most hyped football seasons in 2011. Neither of these young men are the most talented in their trade. They are a phenomena because they have worked hard to earn their place in the spot light. In a time of multi-million dollar contracts, endorsement deals, flashy cars and tattoos; Lin and Tebow chose to make a career of a game through hard work. They went back to The Hill!

In business, there are those who have big ideas, others are blessed with the gift of gab, and some people have a firm grasp on the art of finance. No matter who you are or what you do there is one thing that will always ensure success: Hard Work!

What does The Hill look like to you?

We all have goals to conquer. Each of us is tasked with making the impossible a reality and then doing it again next year. The Hill we face is mighty and we must start the climb!

We are six weeks into 2012. Have you started the climb?

The cleats and the headband are not enough. Here are a few tips for getting up The Hill:
1. Wake Up One Hour Earlier
2. Listen to What you Have to
3. Be Persistent

Get There First
I never believe people who say they do not have enough time to perform certain tasks. This excuse is a result of poor time management. Are you too busy or are you busy doing unnecessary work?

Holstee released their organizational manifesto in 2011. The line most prominent, "if you don't have enough time, stop watching TV". You spend time on facebook, watch stupid shows, and sit on a bar stool in an effort to decompress from the rat race - I get it! But, your time can be better spent.

When the excuse of limited time became a staple in my vocabulary, I made a wake up at 5am every day! It is hard....the air is cold, the sky is dark, and the snooze button is inviting. The adjustment took a few days but I learned to shut off the TV and go to bed earlier. I stopped spending time on the bar stool to avoid waking up with a lamp shade on my head.

Try it for one week....wake up an hour earlier!

You have to hear this
Most often in life, we are told what we want to hear. Cell phones were created to fill time on our commute calling a friend, complaining about our day, and hearing we are right for feeling disgruntled. We seek validation for our lack of effort and our friends are kind enough to lend it. The people who really love you may, from time to time, tell you not what you want to hear but what you have to hear! It stings and it cuts deep.

Only you spend every moment of every day with you. Only you know if you have done everything you could have done today. If you are to be successful you have to be honest with yourself. You have to face the tough decisions head on and do the right thing.

The Hill gets no less ominous if you stand there and look at it!

Never Give Up
My dad would often test my resolve by telling me "NO". I would walk away upset and he would say, "You're going to give up that easily?".....The thought often crossed my mind that if he was willing to give me a buck for nachos, why didn't he just hand it over. He wanted me to earn it.

In this day and age very few people will hand you anything. They need to know you are committed. Now more than ever loyalty is a result of trust. Trust has to be earned. You can have a less attractive marketing strategy and might even neglect wearing a fancy suit. If you can prove you will not let someone down; they will take a chance on you. But, you have to earn it.

If, with every challenge failed, you put your tail between your legs you won't even make it to the foot of The Hill.

Get Started >>>>
The image of Sweetness pumping his legs as he climbs The Hill remains the benchmark for hard work. We always see the Great Ones with the trophy in hand. We seldom see the failures they had to overcome to get there. The camera does not light up at practice. The media does not wake up at 5am to document the morning jog.

The Hill is in front of you and it is yours to conquer!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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