Work Hard. You see and hear this phrase everywhere, but what does it really mean? It’s almost become too cliché to say or use. I’d be willing to bet it’s used in some form in over 85% of all high schools in our country. Almost every coach and team uses it. This week we’ll discuss what it means and what it looks like.
I tell my basketball girls that’s there’s a difference between working hard and really working hard. I tell them that anyone and anything can work hard. Heck, washing machines work hard! The difference is belief, knowledge, and purpose. While working hard one must have a belief in themselves and what they’re doing, they must have knowledge of the task, skill, or game, and they must have a purpose for doing what they’re doing. Coaches must help provide all three of those to their players. Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things half-heartedly. Because if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results.” I couldn’t agree more. If a player has belief, knowledge, and a purpose while putting in the hard work, they become unstoppable. The results will come.
However, in order to reach your fullest potential you must continually push yourself to new limits. You must continue to work hard and not become complacent with the success they begin to see. As Will Rogers said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” It’s not enough to do the right things and work hard once in a while; you must do it all the time. That’s what puts the elite above everyone else, sustained hard work and excellence.
One can have the best ideas, the most brilliant of plans but in the end it doesn’t matter. Coach John Wooden used to say, “Nothing will work unless you do.” A coach can study film and draw up the best schemes but it doesn’t matter if they don’t put in the work. Players can have amazing natural talent and ability but it won’t take them far unless they put in the work. This often means getting up before the sun and staying up after others have gone to bed. The most successful people know this to be true and have accepted it. It’s a choice, not a requirement, but remember it when you look at the most successful in your field. They’ve most likely put in a lot of hard work.
I don’t claim to know any secret to success or anything like that, but in all my reading and research one theme continually shows up: Preparation. One must be willing to put in time proper preparation requires. Famous NFL Quarterback Roger Staubach said, “Spectacular achievements are always preceded by unspectacular preparation.” Again if one wants to be on the stage with the trophy or medal they must be willing to put in the long hours that such an achievement requires. Everybody wants to be number one and claims they work hard, but not everyone is willing to make the sacrifices it requires. Most often this requires time. I have cut out a lot of television from my life. I used to nap almost daily in the summer but now do not. I know and accept that if I want to reach my goals I have to do this. Can you cut out some of your shows or nap time in order to put in work to reach your goals? I bet you can.
I want to end with a short story you’ve probably heard or run across at some point. I first saw this in my uncle’s football office at my high school. It’s the story of the Lion and the Gazelle. Every day a gazelle wakes up and knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every day the lion wakes up and knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve. The moral is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a lion or a gazelle, every morning you better be running!
I think this story is especially true and relevant in the world we live in today. The job market is more competitive than it has ever been. The world is now flat and people are competing on a global scale for jobs. If we want to reach our goals and fulfill our dreams, we better wake up running every day. We must have belief in ourselves, acquire knowledge, have a purpose, and work hard. If we do, nothing can stop us.
Thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!