Survive and Regress
The difference between a player trying to just get through, or survive, a workout in the weightroom and a player embracing, or attacking, a workout in the weightroom is significant.
The difference is apparent in the approach, as well as in the outcome.
Those surviving rarely challenge themselves with heavy weight or additional reps. They push themselves to the edge of their comfort, which is typically light years below the standards of the team. Survivors persist to the point of acceptance, never beyond it. They look for excuses they can’t, rather than reasons they can.
They think they’re advancing by surviving, but they’re not.
All you need for proof is to watch a fighter, the opposite of a survivor.
A fighter seeks out discomfort, knowing that the littering of failure is the only way to the level of performance he is aspiring to. The fighter is the standard bearer. He raises it consistently. You are more likely to have to make a fighter stop than you are to catch him skipping a rep or an exercise in search of relief. They are dismissing excuses they can’t and only accepting reasons they can.
The outcome is just as different as those two approaches.
Why Should We Care?
Surviving as a leader yields us the same results.
Allowing our team members to simply survive will do the same.
Just as excellence leaves clues, so does surviving.
Leaders that are surviving are only present. That may sound like a good thing, but only living in the present doesn’t allow us to honor the past or prepare for the future. A leader that is surviving has no concern for the future or use for the past. Cutting corners, just meeting deadlines, and doing the minimum all make sense if survival is the objective.
Team members relegated to survival often disconnect, are the last to arrive and first to leave, and rarely engage in meaningful conversations around the team. They raise silos around themselves, robbing the group of needed trust, and never fully commit to the group.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Surviving may be necessary in moments, but it can never serve as a sustainable approach. As one of my close friends reminds his captains: “You can be bad, but you can’t be bad often.” The same can be said for surviving.
Here are a few ideas for helping yourself, or your team, stay out of survival mode.
Survival mode really only helps us do that, survive. We can’t progress, and we certainly can’t excel. If we’re not growing, we’re dying. If we’re just surviving, we’re regressing.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.