Raise The Bar.
When I first stepped on to campus at Bowling Green State University I had no idea what I was going to be putting myself through. I’ll admit that the perception I had of what college and college football were going to be like were about as far off as my parents calling Under Armour, Armor All, when I was a kid. And look, I know its not a bad thing but I was a goody two shoes in high school. I worked hard and stayed away from booze, drugs, and girls, and since that’s what got me there, I thought everyone else was gonna be like me. Let me know when you're prepared with your best sarcastic “I’m shocked” face…because they weren’t…at all.
I’ll spare the juicy details, but this post does warrant a fantastic story about one of my first days in the weight room (a place I got kicked out of numerous times). Trying to explain what goes on in a college football weight room to someone who didn’t play college football is like trying to figure out the sale price of something that has odd numbers involved. Amidst the yelling, blaring music, and smell of tobacco and coffee there are certainly players who are working hard. There were also players who would’ve edged out Jamie Foxx as Ray for Best Actor. I’ll never forget when a teammate told me not to try as hard as I could during an exercise because the strength coaches would know what I’m capable of and expect that, and more, out of me all the time. Here I am competing at the Division I level and my veteran teammate is telling, not asking, me to mail it in so the rest of our workout is easier. I couldn’t believe it.
The title of this post, although specific and intentional, is meant to be applied to more than the weight room because if you can raise the bar, raise it! Raise it as a mother. Raise it as a father. Raise it as a friend, student, coach, husband, or wife. Think about my weight room story and others like it. What are we all so afraid of, it being hard? BREAKING NEWS: It’s going to be! Maybe we’re afraid we might fail at first. Ding ding, definitely a possibility! I once overheard a coworker talking about how he doesn’t like being romantic and going the extra mile for his wife because then she might expect “that stuff” all the time. Honestly, I hate when I hear things like that. It just proves we are all way more capable than we act, believe, and think. Simply put, it’s matter of what we’re willing to put in. You can’t say you want more, or you expect more without putting in the necessary work that's involved.
I believe most people know what they want in life. Less know how to get it. And even fewer want to take the time to figure it out. Raising the bar in your own life is a lot like running. Wherever and whenever you choose to start becomes your starting line. The best part, unless you hate this kind of stuff (in which I suggest picking a different blog to read), is that your goal should never actually be to reach the finish line. Just continue to pick up the pace as you continue to increase your own expectations. You all are great parents, amazing artists, wonderful managers, beautiful musicians, exceptional athletes, and capable leaders but I believe we can be even better! Since I love the number three so much, I want to leave you with three steps to follow.
Step One: Take a step back and look at all you have accomplished (emphasis on have)
Step Two: Increase your awareness (really open your eyes to what else you’re capable of)
Step Three: Focus on consistent progress over time (once you achieve something raise that bar again and again)