This morning I saw a quote on a poster of a football player named JJ Watt that really got me thinking. Typically, I don’t look to the NFL or anyone in professional sports for inspired thinking. Typically… but today, I saw it. Another note of warning in advance, it was on the internet so I can’t confirm he actually stated this or not. None-the-less here it is: “Success isn’t owned, It’s leased and the rent is due every day.” Pretty strong words.
This spoke to me on a fairly deep level, as I tend to think this way as well. Even in the mornings when I am up and getting dressed for work, I will often tell Connie (my wife of 29 years) that I am “Suiting up for Battle”. That is just how I am wired to think. All in. No half-way. On or off.
What’s the down-side to this way of thinking?
An internal drive to perform and to keep getting better to a point where understanding how and why everyone else doesn’t think this way requires intentional work and sensitivity to their feelings. I continue to work on understanding different styles, how people measure success, and what motivates them (or not).
What’s the upside to this mindset?
An inexplicable passion to succeed and enjoyment of accomplishments.
Understanding that “good enough isn’t good enough for me”, takes time. It can be a tough internal row to hoe, but you learn to deal with it in your own way. There’s not much rest for your brain and very little “time off”. But it‘s OK, we are what we are, seeking our own level of excellence and performance. Really understanding your ONLYNESS can be a huge driver in what you do and how you do things.
Often, I wonder about what makes people plateau when they feel that they “made it”. Is it financial security via their paycheck? Is it seeing their kids grow up and make it in the real world? Is it finally getting fluent in that second language that they have been putting off learning since high school? Probably a great blend of all of these and much, much more.
I read a book by Phil Jackson entitled Eleven Rings. That would be championship rings. I think he understands performing at “his right level”. Another success story is Sir Richard Branson and what he has done with a “Yes I can” attitude”. Yet another, a young lady I had lunch with today, worked her way through a divorce, moving back home, college, student loans, etc… Ultimately she had a part time gig as a security person at a sporting events facility, yes – complete with the yellow wind-breaker. She recounted the story of watching some of the VIPs walk by her and thinking, “If I could reach the place where these folks are in life, I know I will have made it”. Guess what, she has made it. Now she reminds these VIPs not to forget those folks in yellow wind-breakers, we all go through phases and steps in life, that may be you one day.
Malcom Gladwell wrote in his latest work, David and Goliath about, and I quote, “Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants”. It’s about what happens when ordinary people confront “Giants” and what incredible things can happen when you set forth to accomplish a goal with some proper planning and an insatiable desire to overcome.
Think about what “Giant(s)” you are battling now and how you can best Suit Up to ensure your own success… as measured by you, and only you.