When I was growing up my parents would often tell my brothers and me that "anything worth doing is worth doing right" or "a job worth doing is not worth doing half way" as they were trying to teach and train us. As an athlete, many a coach told me, "you play the way your practice so practice the way you want to play."
My grandmother offered me the best words of advice before I started my first job and I have carried them with me ever since. She told me, "Never let people see you standing around or asking what should be done. God gave you eyes to see, so when a counter that needs wiped off or a floor needs swept, pick up the rag or broom and do it." Today she might say, "Just do it" or "Get 'er done" but back then, the sentiment was the same.
As a parent, I have used many of these same lines and shared my grandmother's words of wisdom with my own children as I have attempted to teach and train them to be hard working and to apply their best effort in what they do. Last week I received an email from my mother that reminded me of my greatest asset and why those words from my youth still inspire me so much.
Growing up in an agricultural area of Ohio, my older brother and I were active members of the 4-H. We showed horses for a number of years and learned a lot about hard work, disappointment, and success. Those lessons proved very valuable during my years in competitive athletics. As a Midwestern family that had a love of horses, the Dan Fogelberg song Run for the Roses about a young colt that would grow and run in the Kentucky Derby was a hit in our home. When I was in high school, my mother told me part of that song summed me up pretty well. Last week she reminded me of it again. The last stanza of the song says, "From sire to sire, it's born in the blood. The fire of a mare and the strength of a stud. It's breeding and training and something un-known that drives you and carries you home."
It is that "something unknown" or personal drive that has always made me push a little harder, dream a little bigger and expect a little more. Over the years, my family and close friends have seen my drive as never being satisfied, negative or someone that always sees the glass as half empty. For me, I don't remember feeling dis-satisfaction but rather that I wanted to do something better and that no matter how good something was, there was always room for improvement. For instance, when I was playing competitive volleyball and we were working on hitting the ball "down" the line, I was driven to hit the ball "on" the line. That drive did not come from the coach or a player but from something inside. That personal drive took a person with mediocre ability and provided them with a college scholarship.
Drive is defined as being compelled, forced, or urged by pressure, coercion, or strong motivation. For some of us, our drive or motivation is solely external and when it is high, we are motivated to work hard. However, when it is lacking we find it difficult to keep going toward our goals, dreams, and desires. For those of us that have that "something unknown" we don't really understanding not being motivated or being compelled to do more or needing someone else to motivate us. Drive for us is the very thing that moves us to climb Stone Mountain to see the view instead of taking the tram or knowing that anything worth doing takes effort and hard work and when you arrive you really have only just begun.
I am grateful for that "something unknown" that has driven me all these years. I am also grateful that my mother saw it in me so many years ago and reminded me of it all these years later. How about you?
Do you have that "something unknown" that drives you in life or do you struggle with motivation and finding the drive to reach and exceed your goals?
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