“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field.” ~Vince Lombardi
I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote ever since I saw it a few weeks ago. What does excellence mean to you? We all have our own interpretations of what defines excellence and the steps or mindset necessary to get to that elusive end-goal. I love watching people chase their version of this, whether it be in sport or music or art or whatever it is that inspires them to dedicate their lives to that solitary goal. I love watching the Olympics, or any other elite athletic competition. I’ll watch any sort of playoff game or race (even baseball!) because those competitions are the pinnacle of what those athletes have trained for and waited their whole lives for. While I don’t watch them consistently, I’m a bit of a sucker for shows like ‘X-Factor’ or ‘American Idol, simply because I love seeing that moment where people realize how good they are or that moment where they have to perform and they nail it. I love seeing people passionate about what they are doing and witnessing those defining experiences. Few people will ever challenge themselves enough to achieve something great, but those that do have the opportunity to be just that… great. Few people even know what it takes to get to that defining moment. The time commitment… the training and dedication… the unwavering and relentless pursuit of their goal.
Now, the disclaimer to what I’ve just written is that the majority of people don’t want that for themselves – they are perfectly happy with how they are and the lives that they are living. Most people aren’t wired to need that focus and to push and push and push. Other things are more important to them, and that’s okay. But, hopefully without sounding too self-congratulatory, that is who I am… to my detriment sometimes. I alienate a lot of people in my life because they don’t appreciate that intensity or insistence on ‘walking the walk’ in every aspect of the pursuit of my goal. As I write that, I know that it sounds pretty robotic or ruthless… and it is lots of the time, but it is also a lot of fun and incredibly rewarding. And that is why I love this training environment so much – it is cutthroat and there is nowhere to hide. You are judged on who you are and what you do… every day, every week. You have to go out and earn the respect and trust of your teammates in everything that you do. There is something simple and pure to that. For me, a lot of the joy and satisfaction comes from the process and knowing that I’m doing everything I can to be the best that I can.