Respect the Game!

The Game? It’s quite simple really. It’s what you wish to accomplish. It’s all of your goals, hopes, dreams and ambitions. Whether in the workplace, at home, school or out in competition, it’s who are you becoming or at least working towards becoming.

The Process? Well that is even easier to explain. It’s everything it takes to get there. The risks, the challenges and the tests of your own mental will to win and succeed.

I’m not quite sure why some people complain so much about how hard they have to work to achieve their ambitions. After all, once those goals are finally met doesn’t the satisfaction of attaining them immediately follow?

Picture a high school athlete, working towards a goal of winning a championship. Every drill, every rep in the gym, every minute of conditioning is all a means to an end. Hours of film, two-a-day practices, piles of homework still needing to be done, and school activities are sacrificed. Often blood, sweat and tears are met with pain and exhaustion. Sure it’s hard. Who ever said winning would be easy? Champions are not born. They are created!

When that trophy gets held up, and the lights flash from all the photos being taken in that final moment, when reporters rush to interview and ask, ‘How did you do it?’ When fans chant in excitement, or when the realization finally sinks in that winning the championship has been achieved, I guarantee you that no athlete is looking back and complaining about those grueling two-a-day practices. NOT A SINGLE ONE! 

Understand that this is all part of the process. Your willingness to endure is evidence of your respect for your personal goals and dreams. It’s your respect for YOUR game.

What about that business owner that is sacrificing temporary pleasures and activities to launch or run a successful family practice? One that he or she can eventually hand down to their children? It’s all the very same. When goals are reached and everything comes together as pictured from the very beginning, that’s when all the hard work to get there comes full-circle and appreciation sets in.

But what if I don’t win that championship? Or I never launch that business, or get the promotion? Or what if I never lose the weight? It was all for nothing right? WRONG! 

Loving the process changes who we are. It elevates us from our current position to an even higher one. We become better in the process and we are guaranteed results if we put in the necessary work. 

Evolve into a leader. Leaders have learned to love the process because it ultimately leads to results. They are those types of individuals that see things through to completion because of their own personal belief. They steer clear from the naysayers and make no excuses.

Trust me when I tell you that no one is going to work harder or care about your dreams more than you are. If you do not love the process then how are you showing any kind of respect for the game? 

I once spoke with an athlete who shared with me her personal goals of playing at the collegiate level. This young athlete was passionate in her expressions of what it would be like. There was focus and determination in her eyes. This girl was excited about a future signing day and what that would be like. As we spoke though I began to see a pattern in her thinking. All I was hearing was what she wanted to do but very little about what she was actually doing. There was passion, but no process. I had to stop the conversation and stated, quite bluntly actually, “You want to play at the collegiate level, just not as much as you are willing to pretend.” Needless to say, she was more than unhappy with what I had to say. But, excuses do not build empires.

Former Navy SEAL, Leif Babin, served three tours in Iraq. He is the recipient of the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart and illustrates this concept nicely in his book Extreme Ownership. In it he states, “…the leader must believe in the greater cause. If a leader does not believe, he or she will not take the risks required to overcome the inevitable challenges necessary to win.”

Believe in yourself and what you are capable of. Set those goals into action and learn to love the process. Your respect for the game, if genuine, will drive you to achieve results you can ultimately be proud of. Learn to avoid making excuses and do what it is you say you will do to win.

Or, are you just pretending?

Joe Olivas
HS Sports Insider™