No one likes to lose. And yet, in the 64 team bracket that makes up the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament known affectionately as March Madness, 63 teams go home defeated. Or do they?
While conversing with my father-in-law as the Wichita State Shockers took on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the round of 16, I was reminded of a truth I’ve encountered many times in sport: sometimes you lose and sometimes you get beaten. Casey Stengel, a big leaguer, said, “most ball games are lost, not won.” Let’s take a deeper look at that statement.
I have friends that are superhuman. They are always on the go, have a new project in the works and accomplish far more than I do in 24 hours. Does this describe someone you know?
You wonder how they never burn out. You ask yourself, “Do they ever stop to rest?” Might it be that you aren’t getting the whole story? What truly allows them to be at their best, display excellence and stay energized?
Lou Holtz said, “I can’t believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary.” And I agree with him. We, all human beings, were created to live a life of excellence.
Contrary to Abraham Maslow’s “psychopathology of the average,” we weren’t created to drift along the path of least resistance, lulling ourselves into meaningless toil. We were created to build, do, create and make an impact in the world around us.
As we move toward the end of the year, it seems natural to both look back and look ahead. Perhaps the holidays cause us to reflect. Possible New Year’s resolutions may be swimming through your mind. What will the next year hold for you, your family and your career? What will you make of it?
Some of us get excited about the possibilities. We enjoy plotting the course and look forward to setting our sights on new heights. We are eager to set and pursue our goals. Others may be a bit more apprehensive. Hopefully, you’ll decide the journey is worth the risks.
Your sweet spot is “where your greatest strength and your greatest passion intersect,” according to Ken Coleman, host of the EntreLeadership Podcast and author of One Question. I love the depiction Ken paints of finding our sweet spots in life – the elusive grail so many of us long for.
When we aren’t operating from our sweet spots, we can end up frustrated and miserable. We’re frustrated when our enthusiasm doesn’t match our abilities. It’s like when I first learned to play tennis. I was awful because I didn’t have the skills to be good at it.
“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work,” said famed football coach Vince Lombardi. “Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price.” I talk with a lot of people who want to achieve more, be better leaders and perform at a higher level. However, wanting to be better and more successful doesn’t make it happen. The question we must answer is, are we willing to pay the price?
Confidence is essential for becoming and remaining a high performer. You have to believe in yourself and your abilities, as well as in your team. Often our approach to maintaining confidence is to focus on all the things we do right, recalling our successes and building ourselves up. With such a focus, is there a danger that confidence will turn to overconfidence? How do we keep from crossing the line?
In their 2011 annual Stress in America Survey, the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that American’s main obstacle to their ability to make healthy lifestyle choices and positive change in their lives is a lack of willpower. Often linked with self-control or discipline, the APA defines willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In our culture of microwaves, fast food and next day shipping, it’s no surprise that many see willpower as a challenge. With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention classifying 1/3 of U.S. adults as obese, I think it is clear that we’re suffering from a willpower epidemic.
“I don’t think anyone aims to be typical, really. Most people even vow to themselves some time in high school or college not to be typical,” writes Bob Goff in Loves Does. The truth is, despite their vows, many people find themselves living typical lives because doing so doesn’t take intentionality. If you’re looking for something more; if you’re daring to excel, to make a difference in the world, and truly thrive – read on.
A good friend of mine is searching for her passion. She’s already accomplished a good deal in her life and has many interests. How could it be that she hasn’t found, or somehow lost, her passion? Many of us find ourselves in the same boat, searching for something more, something deeper, something with meaning to pour ourselves into. Some people don’t like their jobs. Others are in a season of transition in life.
When it comes to searching for our passions, where do we look? What are we looking for? Sometimes we feel like we’re playing the kids’ game Hot and Cold. How do we escape the game and know when we’re moving in the right directions? Allow me to share some of what I’ve learned about this journey with you.