Playing for Greatness
Built into any sport is the idea that each person is playing for greatness. Whether you were as vocal as Muhammad Ali about your talent, the assumption is that you are in this to be great. And while I like the assumption, it falls short many times in the real world at all levels of a sport.
The Fundamental Question: Do you want to be great?
The question must be asked because greatness comes with requirements. It's like a package deal. Greatness requires dedication, extraordinary effort, focus, and the belief that you can become the greatest of all time in your sport. Oh and one more thing,
You have to have a whole lot of "I don't care what you think about my chances of success"!
That's the formula I've seen work time and time again. You have to outwork people on your same path in practice, in the game, in your thoughts, in your dreams, and in your words. Greatness is ultimately measured by others. We don't get to give ourselves the title, no matter how much we may lay claim to it. It is by our work in, out, and around our sport that elevates us to greatness.
Hands down the people around you are "all in". Coaches, trainers, your family, and friends, they all typically buy in to your dream. It becomes this unique symbiotic relationship whereby your circle encourages you as much as you encourage them. And you have to have that in your life. I've always said as a coach and motivator that you can't drag everyone out to your games and practices if you're not all in. That's not fair to anyone. Believing in your talent and what you can accomplish is what will propel you to the conversation of "greatest of all time".
There will be those days, when greatness seems so far away
And in those days, you'll have to dig deep, and you may need your circle to help you dig deep. All GOATs had their moments. Greatness isn't a perfect path, it means you went down the path that most won't go. It means that you endured what most aren't willing to go through. What makes you great is the building blocks that you kept building to keep moving forward. It is those times you chose not to give up. It's the time you failed and continued forward. It is that time when your own personal life tried to pull you in a different direction and you resisted, and persisted to your goals. It's a shame we give people the GOAT title and only show their game highlights. The reality is what made them a GOAT are many of the things we do not see.
Hard work will pay off. The highlights show the pay off, you never get to see how hard that work was.
Being a GOAT is not a one-time event, your greatness must grow each day.
Most people don't stop to think about the DNA of greatness. Greatness continues to grow; it never stops. It's the difference between a person "was" a GOAT and the one that "is" a GOAT. Greatness is a set of milestones that you continue to hit if you work hard enough. No one who has achieved greatness wants to be referred to in past tense. The reality is that if you're able to be great once, greatness is within you for life.
It's up to you to unlock your greatness, and to continue to apply it to your daily life.
Being in sports helps most to unlock their greatness if they're all in. What I love about the GOATs we celebrate who give of themselves through GOAT Skills is that they continue to carry their greatness forward. That's the beauty of greatness. If you're smart; if you're dedicated; if you believe in something greater than yourself, you will become a GOAT in life.
Muhammad Ali looks like the exception, but he should be the rule.
Believe in yourself first
Study the people who came before you, and map out your place in history
Harness your greatness as a number one priority in your life
Care about your dreams to do positive things in life more than anything else.
I love where greatness can take a person - all over the world and shape a better world. Greatness can change your family's circumstances. Greatness can improve your community. Greatness and the journey of striving for greatness will positively change your life. We'll get into this more.