Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Hard Work"

As I sat and watched the 2010 NFL Hall of Fame Inductions, I was inspired by a common theme throughout each of the speeches by both the inductees and the people who were presenting them for induction. That common theme was two words...hard work. It is a phrase I am familiar with because it was preached to me by my father and mother from a very early age. I can remember my father telling me when I was a very young child that you must always hustle and work hard.

My brother and I played sports our whole lives and I can remember how passionate he was about making sure that we represented our family in a positive and workman like way. There was no such thing as shortcuts or taking plays off. My Dad would take my brother and I to the gym with him when we were growing up and we would watch his incredible work ethic as he lifted weights and played all types of sports on Army bases all over the world. Not only were we being told we needed to work hard, my Dad SHOWED us what that meant. He hustled after every loose ball on the basketball court, dove to the ground to return the ball during racquetball games, ran as hard as he could on a routine ground out to first base in baseball, was ferocious in his conditioning and technique in football and he was a great leader of his men when he was at work. My dad retired after 25 plus years in the military as a full bird colonel. He was respected and loved by those men he was in charge of. My dad was and still is the epitome of excellence in all things. He breathes hard work.

My mother showed me how to be relentless with school work and in relationships with others. I remember coming home from school and my mother greeting my brother and I in the kitchen and telling us that we could not go outside until our school work was done. Play happened when you took care of your business first. No matter how much my brother and I begged our mother to let us go outside, she was not having it! It was work hard first then go play. And my mother was awesome with play too! One of my fondest memories of hard work was when my mother would come out to play backyard baseball with me and my friends. We had ghetto bases like electrical boxes, skateboards and rocks in this huge outdoor area in one our of military stops in Dale City, Virginia. My mom would get a base hit and run those "bases" as hard as she could. That memory still inspires me to this day.

One of my other hard work inspirations is my mentor, Dr. Challace McMillin. If you've read one of my previous blogs you will have noticed that I mentioned Dr. McMillin as one of the great inspirations in my life for his zest for life in regards to mental toughness and passion for his work. What I also remember about Dr. McMillin was his tremendous gym work ethic. I used to help run the faculty and staff fitness center at James Madison University as a part of my graduate assistantship during my Master's Degree. I would come to open the gym around 6:30am. I would put the key into the lock and noticed it was open already. At first I wondered who could be in there, but after a while I got used to the fact that it was Dr. McMillin in there working his butt off. I'd walk in and put my stuff down and see Dr. McMillin in the zone on the stair climber. he was drenched in sweat and breathing hard. It was the stuff of legends in how hard he was working. There was no way he could work any harder. He would then hit the weights super hard and go clean up to go upstairs to start his day as one of the most respected and loved professors in the Kinesiology Department at JMU.

What's so sad about today's society is that we are losing that sense of hard work. And in particular, I see it all the time in the gym. People who claim to workout, but aren't willing to give it their best in order to claim a high level of fitness. Infomercials are littered with gimmicks and shortcuts for fitness. What's up with the laziness? Why are people trying the latest fads to find a new level of fitness? Why are people afraid to push their bodies to a new limits to see what they can achieve? I guess I'm old school about it. However, this attitude of not working hard is apparent in all parts of life, not just the gym.

When I see many parents today I just shake my head in disgust. They would rather be friends with their kids rather than do the hard work of raising their kids. What about the hard work required to move up in your job? I can't tell you how many times I have seen co-workers of mine throughout the years settle for mediocrity and then complain about why they aren't getting a raise or a promotion. Do your job and do it better than everyone else and then you can expect some great returns.

The choice is yours. If you live a life where you put very little into it then you will get very little out of it. Hard work is the great equalizer because when everyone else is taking a day off or cutting corners there is someone out there who is giving it everything to reach that mountain top you want to climb. If you want to the best the best you have to work like you want to be the best.

Let me tell you something...there is no rest in my game. I just received a promotion with the company I work for, WTS International. I am humbled and honored by this promotion, but I'm already thinking and working like crazy to move up again. I can't stop because the pursuit of excellence is never ending. I want to be the best manager and corporate employee in the company, but I know I can't accomplish this unless I do everything in my power to be the best and that means working my hardest to making it happen.

I'll leave you guys with this. When I was working with a colleague of mine, Riley Ross, back in Kansas at Pinnacle Career Institute, we used to have some pretty deep and rewarding conversations. We talked about life, God and of course personal training. One day Riley puts up on the dry erase board the letters "HW." Seeing it I asked Riley what HW was. He goes well, "HW is the best supplement I've ever seen. It has virtually no side effects and tremendous reward." Now, me being a non-supplement guy, I was like here goes another stupid supplement someone is pumping. And even more I was surprised that my close friend was pumping it up so much since we had pretty much the same philosophy on life and exercise. However, when I asked Riley what it stood for he said, "Hard Work." Well said Riley. Well said.

Until next time everyone.

Dr. D

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