Some time ago, I had the opportunity to work with my daughter’s soccer team on basic sprinting mechanics. Her coach gave me about 30 minutes to work with the team, so we started out with some basic drills that the kids could practice at home. About 10 minutes in, I noticed I was losing the focus of team and I had to change things up a bit to refocus them. I shared a little about the many great athletes I have had the privilege to compete and train with throughout my athletic career. Without much thought at all, I found myself talking to the group girls about how easy it is to be mediocre and how tough it is to be great.
Since that day, I have been reflecting further on my definition of greatness. Greatness happens when you recognize you have some basic building blocks for a skill coupled with a single-minded focus and the willingness to spend hours, days, months and years obsessing and perfecting that skill set.
Throughout my career, on and off the field I have seen over and over that talented and gifted individuals have all too often fallen into the grip of mediocrity. Why? Because being mediocre is comfortable, warm and seductive. It takes little discipline or sacrifice to be mediocre when you have talent. All you have to do is go through the motions and not screw up. Sadly, I’ve seen athletes that have unbelievable natural talent appear to be great at one level yet they seem to falter when they step up to the next level. I’ve come to believe that this occurs because the idea of getting uncomfortable is too much for them to bear. It started when they were young but the price is paid at a much later date.
Greatness comes in many shapes and forms, but it never comes without some form of sacrifice. Take a few minutes and ask yourself if you’re sacrificing anything right now for an objective or goal you’ve set? If so, then you’re off to a good start. If you’re not and everything is easy then chances are you are on the road to mediocrity. Ask yourself which road you’d rather travel. After all, it’s your choice.