Monday, May 4, 2009

Get Your Mind Right

When I was collegiate track and field sprinter in college I went through some of the most hellish workouts you could ever think of. For many people running was a punishment in the other sports that they played, but for me and the other sprinters it was just a way of life every day. I can remember it like it was yesterday...Coach Walton would come into the hall where we all sat before practice and he would be fired up. On Monday's he would let us know the workouts for the entire week and after he ran down the list everyone just got rally sick to their stomachs because the workouts seemed impossible. Coach would then get on a rant and say "Gentelmen, we are going to open the barn doors and let the thoroughbreads come out!" He would also say "respect yourself during the workout...do not sit down or waste what you have done. Prepare yourselves mentally!". 

Each week we would get the same speech and have that same queezy feeling.  Before each practice you could see the fear in each guy's eyes. All of us tough and strong sprinters were shook each day because we truly believed we were going to hell and back with our workouts....but then again...10 300's or 10 400's will do that to you. Running was our passion and our pain. For four years we went out there with the fear of knowing that that their would be an unbelieveable amount of pain coursing through our veins, but we got out there and did it. 

One of the things all of the guys would say to each other before we started each workout was "get your mind right". When going through some of the toughest workouts you could imagine you had to get your mind right or you were done. Once you checked out mentally it was game over. So, we worked as a team and as the captain of the squad it was my job to make sure the guys were ready to tackle the workouts with their mental game on point. We thrived on the challenge, we came together through the dog tired last sets of the workouts when you could just see the energy being sucked from our bodies...when guys had what I liked to call "dead eyes". There was nothing behind those eyes...just a pleading to get it over with to stop the pain. But even in those moments we still had to "get our minds right" for one last interval. It was in those moments that I saw many sprinters rise to the challenge to hit their times even in the face of unwilting exhaustion. I was proud of my guys and to this day I can remember those times and remember for four years we sucked it up and were warriors every day. No excuses, no laying down...ever.

As I think about my life today, it is totally different from those collegiate track and field days, but the same principles apply. No matter who I talk to or who I come in contact with I make sure to tell them that when you work with me you better "get your mind right". You better come with a consistency in your effort because that's what I require and that's what you should require for yourself. While it is human nature to have some lapses in effort, you must do your best to be as consistent as possible in whatever you love to do and in things you hate to do. You control your effort and you control your thoughts. "Get your mind right".

When you are faced with adversity, tough decisions and circumstances that seem overwhelming...focus yourself and get that mind of yours in position to overcome those odds. You see, you don't have to be a college or pro athlete to be a champion. You can be a champion in life through your unwilting mental attitude to not comprise who you are and to work hard for what you want. Nothing is free and nothing is earned without the respecting yourself and what you bring to the table in whatever you do. Do not give up on yourself! Do not give up when things get hard...get better, get stronger and get tougher. 

So, ask yourself...what will you conquer today? What will you fight for today that will make you mentally and physically tougher. As my mentor Dr. McMillin always says "focus and then refocus". Find your strength and then never let anyone take it away from you. Never, never...let anyone take your power and that first begins with "getting your mind right".

Thanks for reading everyone! 
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