One of my very good friends is coaching his team in the state finals volleyball match tomorrow afternoon. He asked me to write a letter to the team since I could not make it there in person and I thought some of you might enjoy the letter as well. Take what you will from it and pass it on.
A Letter to a Champion
I may have never met you before, nor you, I. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have the chance to leave a legacy behind for your school, your peers, yourself. Champions are made when no one is watching. All the hours you’ve put in, sacrificing the normal social life that a high school student normally pursues, all come down to this one moment in time. And it’s ok that you aren’t like other normal students your age, because you have the chance in front of you to become a champion. A champion is someone that has given it their all and comes out on top, never resting on their laurels. ‘Champion’ isn’t in an average person’s vocabulary. Yet, the word Champion will define you. You are right at the finish line….all the hours at summer camp, playing club ball, private lessons, visualizing this moment and it is finally here. This is the point when the posers run and the champions step up. The hotter the heat, the harder the steel….the higher the pressure, the bigger the diamond. What are you going to leave on the court tomorrow? Will you know in your heart of hearts that you gave a Championship effort? Will you be able to look back in 20, 30 or 40 years and remember tomorrow with great emotion? Make the most of it, leave it all on the court and walk away a champion….
I always think its funny when trainers or strength coaches try to rehab an athlete or client when they themselves have no clue on what it is like mentally or what it feels like. One of the greatest blessings of my knee injury was knowing that I would be able to really help that many more athletes and clients at Newell Strength from a position of having been there before. I developed protocols both physically and mentally to cut healing time and comeback time significantly. I start playing in a basketball league tomorrow night, less than 6 months after rupturing my patellar tendon, IT band, medial patello femoral ligament and both sides of the knee capsule. I was told it couldn’t be done and certainly not this fast. Keep telling me it can’t be done, its fuel for the fire…
It has been said that one of the hardest things in the world to do is to sustain a thought for a period of time. Most people think that they are thinking all the time, really just confusing random, floating thoughts with sustained meaningful thoughts. It is very hard for people to let an idea grow from a little seed into a big ass tree.
People often give up on a thought after a few hours or days at best. Some people have an idea and brush it aside before it ever really becomes anything significant. And that is exactly why most people never even come close to realizing their full potential. Most people put more energy into complaining and telling others why such thing is impossible, thus making them part of the majority and one reason that you have such a big advantage if you choose to take and act on meaningful sustained thought.
A quick story for you….I have always had the ability to have a laser-like focus. I used to think it was a problem, getting so consumed in a way of thinking or thinking about what I wanted to accomplish that nothing else would get in the way. When I would get ready for a bodybuilding show, you could have told me that my best friend died, it wouldn’t really hit me until the show was over. I would be totally focused on the task at hand and visualizing success, etc., that there would be no mental energy left over to expend on anything else. I even have a vision paper that I made, with goals typed up on the back that I can look at and create or reinforce a positive thought I want in my mind with. In high school, I wanted to be the best shooter that anyone had ever seen in basketball. I used to literally take 500 jump shots per day, chart which ones I would make and make note of which area on the floor I had to improve on. When I would go to bed or even during a free time during the day, I would visualize over and over again in my head what making a jump shot looked and felt like. Sometimes, between practice shots, I would take 20 seconds to visualize the shot going in. The results were scary! I could literally hit a jump shot anywhere in my range, any time, even if I couldn’t see the basket.
Those times were some of the greatest lessons of my life, because it taught me that we can do anything we want to do, if we would just sustain the right thoughts. Ask most people to say what they are thinking and they would say nothing…
I thought that video would be a great image to carry into this rant. I get a lot of clients and athletes, emails, etc. of people asking me to help them become better. I can help them all they want physically but if they don’t change who they think they are….its all for naught.
I am a big believer in self-belief and I try to lead by example. But, I cannot get inside someone else’s mind. There is a reason why phenomenal athletes sometimes get to the peak and then disappear just as quickly. It’s not a physical thing, its a mind game. That is the whole key to self-betterment, whether that be in the weight room, on the field or in life.
I get the question a lot about why some fat people will get the lap-band or GBP surgery and somehow wind up fat again. Simple, they didn’t change their beliefs, and what they think about themselves.
My dad is an alcoholic and that is something that he will have to deal with forever, but unless he changes his beliefs and his views on life, he will never be sober. Greatness comes from within and the seed is found within each of us, it is just a matter of whether or not we are going to avoid it because of fear, remain average or actually cultivate it.
This might be a little deep for some of you meat heads, but its true nonetheless and this principle is active in each of our lives. Work on your head game as much as you do on your physical game and good things will happen….
While I was jotting down notes at the pool the other day, I made some notes that read: ‘we accept limitations that are really self-imposed’ and ‘your belief in doing great things will lead to that energy radiating outward’.
Too many people are scared to TRY. Try what you say? To try and become great. As humans, we have a deep need to grow and learn and the only way to truly do that is to find what you are most passionate about and learn as much as possible about it. I hate it when people say ‘I’ll try’. No, that is for pansies in my opinion, make a commitment to becoming great.
I talk about Yoda in one of my recent videos and what he said was right on the money. ‘There is not try, there is only do or not do’. If you do it and fail, you still went through with the act of doing it and so what if you failed. You need to get bumped back to move forward. Failure is a part of the process. Dr. Maltz was famous for saying that success rarely comes in a straight line. It is from a zig-zag path. If you understand this, you take some of the emotion out of the process.
The only one that thinks you can’t is you. Read that again….I have some people tell me that they don’t like it when people tell them they can’t do something, when the reality is, most people are too busy thinking about themselves to even think about you for a fleeting moment. We impose our own limits, but we believe we are great, people will flock to to us like a magnet. The mind is a powerful tool, nurture it and feed it the right stuff and make your commitments to the world so we can hold you accountable to becoming great!
The video below will explain a little bit about how I have developed my ‘never give up, optimistic’ mind-set over the years. I have heard from a number of men that have had similar knee injuries to mine and that is the aspect they are most interested in. With that, it gave me the nudge from Mother Nature to organize my first Newell Strength Success Seminar, which you will be hearing more about next week. But don’t worry, if you can’t make it, I will still be putting out a ton of content on mindset in the coming weeks.
As far as my rehab is going, I had a deep tissue massage this morning with some ART and I just rode the bike in the basement for 20 minutes, even took it down a notch at the end to finish on a high note. The past hour is the best my knee has felt. I spoke with a young soon to be physical therapist this morning and he said that the rate at which I am healing is almost super human, unheard of with an injury involving this much soft tissue. I have to remember this as I move forward so I don’t get discouraged like last week. They told me 12 months, I’ll do it in 6, still a great accomplishment. Doc told me this morning that it would never recover 100% (once again), but I’ll prove him wrong. I am on a mission now and daily steps lead to big gains over time (read that again, it is a lesson that you can use for everything in life). Also, I found it fitting that as I was finishing up my bike session an hour ago, I finally finished the movie ‘The Wrestler’, which I had been watching in bits and pieces since first attempting the bike 2 weeks ago. It was fitting because it reminded me to follow my heart and not give up, a champion will always be a champion because it the mind that makes them so….