I’ve spent the last several days at the county fair watching my daughter show dairy cows for 4H. Yes, that still exists. Kids spend months and months working with their animals all for a few minutes in the show arena where their animal is judged on its physical correctness, projected growth, and overall look for that specific breed.
Ally, my daughter, has spent much of her first 19 years of life invested in holstein cows, red holsteins to be exact. Her passion for them has survived the devastation of a lost calf during birth as well as a major life-change like a physical move from the country to the suburbs.
On the other side of the cultural world, our family has watched my son play AAU basketball with and against some of the best players in the country. The AAU basketball drama is everything you’ve heard and seen on social media. But, the thing that is often missed is that it’s played by a bunch of kids that love the game. They spend months and months preparing for weekend tournaments with their teammates.
Gabe, my son, has spent much of his first 16 years of life invested in basketball. He’s ridden around in ball carts and spent practices in playpens set up in the corner of the gym. His passion for basketball has survived the devastation of missing the game winning shot as well as constant questioning from critics.
As different as those two things seem, they were really doing the exact same thing.
Why Should We Care? They were learning HOW to do things. All things. Hard work? Check. Sacrifice? Check. Humility? Check. Toughness? Check. Perseverance? Check.
And the most important aspect of these lessons is the carryover to the rest of their lives. They’re learning HOW to pursue excellence. HOW to chase their passions. And HOW to live a life they can be proud of.
There is nothing more important in your life than HOW you choose to live. Are you going to make excuses or have the toughness to admit mistakes and learn from them? Are you going to sacrifice your time to accomplish the goal or justify your lack of achievement? Are you going to share the credit and welcome the blame or seek the credit and pass the blame?
REAL TALK - Action Steps So, the question is: What’s your HOW? What ‘s your process to accomplish your goals? What do the most successful people in your field do? Have you checked, watched, or asked?
Do your actions match your aspirations? You need to be able to honestly assess your actions. Are they leading you closer to or further away from your goals? You’ll need to be still - meditate, walk, think. This is invested, important time that most people never take the time for.
Decide Your Personal Standards
What are you ok with? Life is full of choices. You’re probably not going to be a great mother while being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and running ultra marathons. You have to decide what is important. Everything can’t be. The good news is you get to decide so make a decision - a conscious one.
You can debate and justify this one all you want - how you’re a night owl, how you work better when it’s last minute. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that the people pursuing excellence the most get up early. They can self-care and prepare for the day because they buy themselves extra hours by getting up early. You’re no more special than anyone else and you don’t need anymore sleep than anyone else. Stop making excuse and just get up.
That’s it. Your what can be anything, but choose your HOW very carefully and very intentionally. It will color all of the WHATs of your life.
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