Over the course of an athlete’s career, they are challenged to constantly improve, to get better, to master whatever physical needs and specific skillsets are necessary for them to succeed at their sport. To keep it simple, we judge how “good” the athlete is by how they have developed in each of these areas. I can’t stress enough, there is no timeline for this development, but your effort and intensity can certainly affect it! One particular trait that I find in each high-level athlete I’ve worked with (amateur or professional) that can be seen at all stages of their development is their ability to persevere and consistently push themselves outside of their comfort zone. This is no easy task. If it was, everyone would be a Starter, a Captain, an MVP, a Hall of Famer. Having the ability to take your mind to a place that allows you to keep going, to keep pushing through those barriers, is what separates those at the top from everyone below them. Similar to the body, the mind can adapt to the stresses you place on it. Holding that plank for an extra 30 seconds when you wanted to drop it a minute ago, battling through reps 8, 9, and 10 when you didn’t think you could make it past the first three, having the patience, perseverance, and focus to not settle for an incomplete drill on your practice sheet; these are what will set you apart. Drew Brees, who against all odds (not tall enough, fast enough, etc.), just broke the NFL Total Passing Yards record and is on pace to break more prestigious records before long. Saquon Barkley, a rookie in the NFL, has proven that his time in the gym and consistent hard work and ability to push himself to a level the next guy couldn’t, is allowing him to just plain out-perform defenders, leaving them in the dust after he’s shed their initial attempt at bringing him to the ground. I bring these athletes to mind because many of us spend our Sunday afternoons in amazement at how they are able to do what they do. The equation isn’t as complicated as you might think, they out-worked their opponent way before the cameras were watching. I am relating this principle to sports right now, but the same holds true in school, in business, and in life. The most successful people you see around you did not get to where they are by taking the short cut. Good old-fashioned hard work, dedication, and the desire to be better are must-have ingredients in the recipe of success. I want to challenge all of you to start to dig deep and find out what you’ve got in the tank. We all can get complacent at times, that’s life, but recognizing it and making a change will keep you a step ahead. “In order to become the 1%, you must be willing to do what the other 99% won’t’” See you in the Zone!

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