The image of a champion is someone who is bent over drenched in sweat to the point of exhaustion— when no one else is watching.
As everyone’s basketball season is about to get underway, this is often the image that is not seen. So much goes into preparation for anything. There is a correlation between the mental and the physical training. For example when I train my basketball teams, I want them to be in the best condition possible; I called it my 12 week plan. It took them through so much, including the “messy middle” where everyone in all things wants to quit. This is where it gets difficult to persist. Relationships, marriages, businesses, sports all have this messy middle, where things get difficult and people quit.
I found that this is where it was especially to get help from your teammates, colleagues, support system, coaches, bosses. This is the where the strength comes from. There is shared pain and a shared joy that usually comes from this type of training.
But what I am learning from Karate is that same concept of never quitting, putting things into perspective and to believe that if I don’t quit, the Sensei’s won’t quit on me either. This has helped me as a person, as a father, as a businessman, as a coach. To use this same idea with everyone else…I won’t quit on you.
Often in life it’s not the people who are the smartest, educated or talented who succeed, it’s often the ones who just persist. The problem is that we live in an instant society. If we don’t get the results that you were looking for immediately people switch, this is true of marriages, careers, learning a skill. So I have some suggestions that may help in staying the course.
1. Set a goal. Start from the finish line and work backwards. This will help you break down what you are trying to accomplish into smaller achievable goals. Your mind works best when it can focus on a few things at a time to achieve, gain momentum and continue forward in the pursuit.
2. Improve your pace and push through. There are times when you have to just pick up the pace. The best way is to continue to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” It will help you reconnect to the goal that you have in mind. It will help you visualize the victory. Ask yourself what will accomplishing this goal do for you? How will it make you feel? Most of us can do more than we believe we are capable of. The pursuit of anything worthwhile you will have to press on and ask why you are doing what you are doing.
3. Run and walk at the same time. There has to be recovery time in anything you pursue. When you grind out a project, when you are working constantly it’s a recipe for burnout. All of my training sessions have built in recovery periods to keep everyone fresh, and this applies to us all. Staying up late to finish homework, to complete a project isn’t good for anyone. All achievers have this instinct of “Keep working, keep working!” For example, you have a project, and a deadline looming and your trying to push through and it takes you 4 hours to do something that if you had a good night sleep, and you worked on it in the morning, you could get it done in 20 minutes. So this is why we all need this change of pace. Like the top tennis players in the world, the very best, use the time in between the game, they stand still, they use those few seconds to be still, rest, and over time, over the course of the match, equates to quite a bit of time, it helps their endurance, and it becomes a big deal at the end of the match.
4. Kill the distractions. Stay focused. The phone today, with texting, emails, etc., takes away from the focus. We also just need to identify what we are going to do. You have got to learn how to say no so that you can be committed to the bigger yes.
5. Change your self-image. They may see themselves as a quitter. Maybe you quit on something, a job, a relationship. Inner dialogue has to change, that you are a finisher. Karate for example yesterday, our Sensei gave us a drill of punching with weights, slow stress, a good amount of punches to be delivered, and then we dropped the weights and the amount of punches increased exponentially so that would force us to think about quitting. The challenge to get through that was to have a positive self-talk, and to get creative in the sequence, and think in terms of 2 at a time to get through to the end.
It’s important to just never quit. To get through to the end, even if you have to walk. Finish. Confidence will come because you have built this muscle; you have made it through the messy middle and crossed the finish line. You will trust yourself and have the resources to figure out anything.
Have the perception that whatever you undertake, it’s going to take longer than you expect. This will be a temptation for you to quit. Discouragement over the apparent lack of progress will also be a temptation to quit. Going alone on a project, will be a temptation. Don’t go at things alone. And also getting disconnected from why we are doing things? Why is this important? What are the consequences of not completing? This is usually the biggest reason that will keep you persistent.
Thank you for your time, I look forward to your thoughts!