Friday, March 30, 2012

The Definition of Effort

The Stanford Cardinal Basketball Team recently won the NIT basketball tournament. This accomplishment cementing their legacy as the 69th best basketball in the NCAA in 2012. The unceremonious accolade came with a much bigger prize! My friend Steve shared a pre-game speech they were given by the Great Ray Lewis. Mr. Lewis is one of the greatest Linebackers in the history of professional football. He is also a physical beast and a person who many consider to be a complete maniac. So, what can a fire breathing physical mad man from the mean streets of Lakeland Florida teach a team of well-to-do student athletes.....a lot, it turns out!

Mr. Lewis makes a variety of points in this 2 minute rampage of inspiration. The 3 most prominent in my mind:
"If tomorrow wasn't promised what would you give for today"
"Legacy is found through effort"
"Every moment is a new moment"

No Sunlight Left
Ray Lewis poses the question: If there was no tomorrow would you worry about yourself or the person sitting next to you. Fear might insist that on our last day on earth we would act with cowardice....but I doubt it! I would like to believe that people would want to share their fleeting hours with their loved ones...and to tell them how much they cared.

What if tomorrow wasn't promised?

Do you have the job you genuinely want? Are you with a person who makes you better in every moment? Do you treat people around you with respect? Are you focused on the right things? Does money matter more to you than the people who exchange it? Are you a Hero?

NOW is the time to start pondering these questions. Tomorrow is not promised!

Effort is Everything!
We often approach life in shoulds. "Should I take the job for which I am over-qualified and perform extremely well or should I take the job for which I am under-qualified and risk failure?". I hearken back to my college days.....I posed a similar question to my career counselor, her response......Take the job for which you are under-qualified and perform extremely well.

Dam Right!

Greatness has a simple definition: You know you are the most talented person on the team and you still put in more effort than anyone else.

It is easy to be talented and to give just enough effort. It is not so easy to show up early and to stay late. Combining the aforementioned virtues means you are working harder and smarter. There are no shoulds in this scenario, it is the difference between greatness and mediocrity. Ray Lewis reminds us that no one is OK with being basic.

Pissed Off for Greatness
You are a different creature now than you were 5 minutes ago. That truth is difficult to embrace. You have a plan to follow: get the finances in order, find a girl, buy a house, raise some children, get that corner office. While the end game in that might seem boring it takes a special creature to achieve such things. Every day there is struggle! The first step in conquering your goals is confronting what is difficult and making it less so. It is simply a matter of having the will to try, the courage to risk failure, and the ability to find a door where others see a dead end.

It doesn't matter if you are a middle-aged business contributor, you can still compete like a college basketball player. You don't have to be an entrepreneur to have original ideas and to utilize them in your work. Every day is an opportunity to redefine yourself.

Are You Pissed Off for Greatness?

Don't Forget to Remember!


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