It would be so easy if this were the only piece of the puzzle needed to be a successful athlete, coach, business person, partner, parent, friend… but the truth is, there may be more to this than you think.

Success can be measured in so many aspects and a million different ways to find its meaning and purpose in your life. But seeing that those who win take this to heart, I think we need to examine what makes a true champion in the very first moments of creation. And what makes those who don’t commit always to this one simple rule, fall short every time.

I watched the WCWS games this past week and saw an excitement and passion for the game that is unmatched in the eyes of the girls who represented those eight teams. I saw record attendance and incredible athleticism. I saw strength and grit and guts and glory… and humility, and mistakes and tears of joy and tears of sadness and regret.
In order to fully understand what goes into the making of a champion, we must first begin at the start… The most logical place to find our answers. However, I believe this is something to understand from the perspective of the very thing that drives us, the passion for success and the will to win at all costs. The fire in the belly sensation that moves you out of bed in that first second your feet hit the floor. Otherwise known as your WHY.

When we are driven, to the point of knowing we will succeed, we begin by making a commitment to the process. Outcome dictates who gets the medals and who hoists the trophies and who gets to play the longest… but the true champion is made and chiseled and discovered long before that. They happen upon an ordinary Tuesday afternoon when they walk into the gym. When they lace up their shoes, when they secure the Velcro on their glove. They are made in that very first second of the decision to show up.

Two days ago I remember the battle well. I sat in this very chair working on a few projects that got the best of my time. I had crossed off most of the things on that day’s to-do list. Except one:

“GYM”

I put it aside for a moment to take on another email and answer another question and make a phone call that I needed to make.

But I could ignore it for only so long. And then I remembered my mantra that has pushed me back to health, running 300 miles already this year, lifting 3-4 times a week, on my way to my best self.
Just. Show. Up.

A long pause. I know the secret to success is within that moment of choosing. The decisions we make to take another swing, lift another rep, run another mile. Do one more pushup. To begin in any of it, is often times our greatest accomplishment.
I got up from my chair and got my iPod. I laced up my shoes and got into my car. I knew the second I moved in that direction I would go get it done. It was the decision. It was in that moment that I succeeded. What I did at the gym was almost irrelevant. Obviously, I knew I would work out if I was heading there. And while I was there, I would get done what I wanted to get done. Simple.

And in watching Florida hoist that trophy, I know this to be true… It all began in the early morning decisions of feet hitting the floor before the alarm. Of a fire in the belly that could only create accountability. Of the decisions to begin.

The years I coached, and the teams I have spoken to have all heard one thing clearly from me: The team that is the most well-conditioned team (Mentally, emotionally and physically) will be the last team standing in the end. That doesn’t happen during the last game, that happens during the first moment of effort, and the countless moments that become first moments every day.

When we face the decision to do better and be better, we must first do the hardest thing we can do.

Just. Show. Up.

The rest will take care of itself.

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