Student-Athletes, I have a question for you.

When you get up in the morning, enter your practice facility, or enter into a competition, do you tell yourself “I want to have the worst work ethic known in sports history?” Are some of your thoughts “someone else will pick up my slack so it’ll be ok?” Or is it simply “the work looks like it requires too much from me, so thanks but no-thanks.”

Holding these perspectives while being a student-athlete will absolutely create habits in you that no coach or employer would want to have around. And doing just enough to be slightly above the person with the worst work ethic is even more toxic than the person with the worst work ethic.

But here’s what I know about most student-athletes…they want to be leaders. They want to be influential in the life of others. They want to be heard. However, they take off running when the opportunity to be this very thing is dressed in overalls – it looks like hard work. I think you athletes run not because you don’t like hard work but because you don’t know HOW TO DO hard work.

The first tip to doing hard work is to realize the hard work isn’t the problem for you, it’s your attitude towards it and your attitude is managed by your mindset.

The first step you will have to accomplish so that you can cross over into your goal of influence and greatness is to cut off your extra emotion-filled habits.

“You BEGIN to step over into the realm of team leadership when you think about sacrificing some of your behavior for the benefit of something or someone other than yourself only.” #JocLife

Not because your emotion-filled habits are right or wrong but because sacrifice of some of those helps you hold on to the greatness that you’ve imagined and limits unnecessary distractions that can hinder the purpose of a program. Greatness is not greatness if no one recognizes it…there needs to be an audience. And all coach-athlete relationships need someone to sacrifice individual habits for the strength of the relationship and program standards.

How can you do this? You need to know what you hold as core values and which are just selfish preferences.

Don’t try to hold as core values that which is just a weakness.
For example, if you tried to tell a teammate what they should be doing better and they cuss you out and you retaliate with the same, don’t say that a core value of yours is to be respected at all times. That could be true but it could also be true that you are weak at communicating and should find a mentor to teach you how best to communicate with others.

Get a piece of paper and write out what things you value in your sport and in interpersonal relationships. Let’s start there.

What other examples and advice can you come up with?


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