What up friends?

I hope you’re enjoying the new blog so far. My wish is to share the knowledge and experiences I’ve accumulated over the years. With that in mind, this week’s topic one of the main lessons I learned from my football career:

Give everything you have, every single day, every single play.

I grew up as a people pleaser. I was a tall, lanky, redhead with barely any self-confidence and found a place where I fit in on the sports field or court.

I was the WORST player on my fourth grade soccer team. I mean the coach literally put me in the back and told me to kick the ball to one of the “good” kids. 

I begged and begged to quit but my dad wouldn’t let me. I finished that season and it was a blessing because it set the precedent of always finishing what I start and having perseverance.

Let’s get to the main story… 

For as long as I can remember, sports helped me to feel like I fit in and naturally I gravitated to them.

Sports can be very competitive and you are constantly being compared to others. Whether that’s how fast you are, how many points you scored, how many tackles you had, rebounds you pull down, etc.

I believe that you are a product of the five closest people to you, even down to the amount of money you will earn. 

So in a sports environment, most athletes (except the best ones) raise or lower their performance to the level of the competition. 

This was one of the knocks against me; I played at my best against the best competition, but then played down to the lower competition.

I didn’t have the mindset to play to my highest potential every single day. Every single play.

I thought I was doing well if I just played better than the guy next to me.

I used to think I worked hard, and I did, but I couldn’t look myself in the mirror at night and say that I had gone as hard as I could, every single day, every single play. 

You can’t lie to the man in the mirror.

Sadly, many times I just performed good enough to beat the guy across from me. 

I look back sometimes and think what I could’ve accomplished with my mindset today! 

But I don’t believe anything is wasted in life. It always has a purpose. Those experiences (failures) enabled me to be the man I am today.

It wasn’t until the summer before my senior season of college that I really kicked this bad habit, and I remember like it was yesterday…

We used to run sprints on the football field in the summer heat with our strength coach.

We might have 10 sprints of 110 yards to do. So I would run the first two as hard as I could. Then ease off on numbers 3-8, then run the last two as hard as possible.

I was doing this to “compete” with the guys around me that I was comparing myself to. Because that’s the effort they were giving.

I thought I was doing a good thing, but was subconsciously sabotaging my results. By not going as hard as I could I wasn’t living up to “every single play” mantra I live by today.

The one day it happened; I paid attention to how my my coach would run. Even though I was faster than him, he ran absolutely as hard as he could every single rep!

After witnessing his effort, I decided to mirror it. Remember how you’re product of the five closest people to you??

You can ALWAYS can control your attitude and your effort. You can’t control what happens to you. So I decided to control what I could control: my effort.

The first day I decided to sprint every rep 100%, I got roasted! I was dying and got smoked by the others guys even though I won the first couple reps.

But a funny thing happened the next day…

Those sprints got easier. 

Then the next day, they got even easier.

Then the next day… You get the point.

It blew my mind that I thought I had been giving great effort before but really wasn’t near to tapping into my TRUE POTENTIAL.

Long story short, that summer prepared me for my best season in college. I earned first team all-conference awards and my team went 13-1, losing a heart breaker to the eventual national champions.

This habit, of giving it everything I have every play, enabled me to play till I was 29 years old in the Arena Football League. In pro football, someone is always trying to take your job, but I always controlled what I can control. MY attitude and MY effort.

The cool thing is that this lesson has stayed with me till today.

Sometimes stuff is going to go wrong in life, and that’s ok. Those hurdles are just tests to see if you’re going to stay on the path.

But when you control what you can control, eventually you will see the blue sky above the clouds!

So I hope you find value from this, take action, and implement this habit into your life!

If someone you know needs to read this please pass it on and/or share it on social media.

There’s greatness in you! You just have to take the steps to unleash it!!

I believe in you! 

Nate

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