We’ve reached the time of year where many of our athletes begin leaving for college. Some have been with us for years, and going to play a college sport is the fulfillment of a dream they began working towards many years ago. They are field hockey, ice hockey, track, football, and baseball players but are united with the knowledge that they worked as hard and as wisely as they possibly could to prepare for this moment.
But did they all reach such a high level, while other fell to the wayside, by luck? Was it simply their work ethic? According to author Gary Keller, who wrote ‘The One Thing‘, probably not
One thing this group has in common is they think big, a trait Keller believes is necessary for high achievement.
He states, ‘Don’t fear big. Fear mediocrity. Fear waste. When we fear big we either consciously or unconsciously work against it. We either run towards lesser outcomes and opportunities or we simply run away from the big ones.
If courage isn’t the absence of fear, but moving past it, then thinking big isn’t the absence of doubts, but moving past them.’
Over and over we see that the kids who start with big dreams and are willing to do the work necessary get to the highest levels.
Consider the 12 year old who started with us nearly a decade ago. Back then he was just another good athlete training with his friends, but he was extremely dedicated and always believed he could go as far as his work ethic and energy could take him.
Last week he left us to start his 2nd season as a professional hockey player in Finland, playing on a top line for one of the better teams in Europe.
Many times we put limits on our own expectations and never reach the heights we could reach by ‘Winning the Day’ and believing anything is possible If we win enough of them.
Why do so many young athletes do this?
Keller reasons that a fear of failure plays a huge part in why so many of us, kids especially, do not think big.
Keller offers this advice:
‘Don’t fear failure. It’s as much a part of your journey to extraordinary results as success.
In fact, it would be accurate to say we fail our way to success. When we fail, we stop, ask what we need to do to succeed, learn from our mistakes, and grow.
Don’t be afraid to fail, because you’ll go nowhere without it.’
Another of our athletes spent the last year recovering from Tommy John surgery, which for a baseball pitcher like him could mean you never pitch again. After a decorated high school career and experiencing the joy of being drafted by a major league team, his future at that point was likely to end in failure.
So did he give up in the face of this monumental setback?
No chance. He went through his rehab, spent 6 months getting in the best shape of his life, and is off to play college baseball for a new team this upcoming year.
He kept thinking big even when it seemed unlikely, and because of that he put himself back on track to success.
Last week we discussed Winning The Day and how to work every day to get a little better. But to do so you’ll have to have a reason, and that means thinking big.
We are extremely fortunate to have not only those two athletes here, but literally hundreds more whose stories are just as impressive. If those younger kids continue to do what our older role models have done, who knows how far they will go?