I am very transparent about my desire to win....at everything I do. My parents believe you compete at everything you do. They instilled in me that life is competitive, so you better get used to competing at a young age. If there is a trophy/award to win, big or small, I want to win it. I first learned this value on the baseball field and in the hockey arena growing up in the parks of Valley City, ND. My competitiveness provided some level of success both athletically and academically in the form of MVP honors, work ethic awards, state championships, and scholarships.
This important lesson has stuck with me for the past 33 years, but my competitiveness has also created several challenges, especially as I have grown in my professional life. The more success one earns, the more critical and jealous people become. SPEAK2compete's second Principle of Success: DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR SUCCESS!
Rather than work harder, critics tend to replace work ethic with pot shots in order to somehow reduce the competition or one's accomplishment. Excuses become disguised as criticisms. Many people do not possess the drive or commitment necessary to be successful and quite frankly, have no interest in working that hard. Over the past 9 years, I heard all kinds of reasons why my teams were successful from we write their speeches, cut their literature, to we make them practice 24 hrs. a day. We adopted the words of NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, "Today I will do what others won't so tomorrow I can do what others can't." We were successful because we were willing to pursue excellence at the highest level. We raised the standard when others thought we should not and could not.
Failure is critical to success, and success should not alway be defined by trophies. Success is a high standard by which one is willing to commit to on a daily basis. We do not sell you a trophy, but we do promise you a process that will teach you how to be successful. When you experience competitive excellence, you know you have earned it. This enables you to stay humble, stay motivated, and stay focused. More importantly, you will NEVER need to apologize for your success. Right now, STOP apologizing, to everyone, for your success. You earn the right to be successful.
This summer I received these words from Dan Smith, the former DOF at Bradley University,"...it's OK to pursue excellence, and admit that we do. Because students learn much more with higher goals and standards, whether they ever reach them or not. Failing to admit this does them a disservice."