You get my age, you spend some time with folk.
It’s impossible to categorize, 100%, good and bad. Think of something you’re proud of that you did. Like, rescuing that turtle from the country road. Good on you. Now, think of something you’re not proud of at all.
Like, when you <intentionally left blank.>
Are we as good as the great? As horrific as the horrible? Usually, no. Somewhere in the middle. If you’ve got equal parts on the ledger, though, you fall somewhere in the middle. And that’s like doing the autopay for a donation to WWF — and ordering ivory candlesticks on the black market.
(Who does that?)
I’ve noticed these seven traits of people I’ve been blessed to know that add so much to everyone around them. I celebrate these. I aspire to these in the biggest ways. I share them today so that you may celebrate those around you like this, and strive to be there, too.
It doesn’t matter what you do, do it with pride. I’ve seen abhorrent behavior from the top of an organization. Also, the noblest acts from someone in a seemingly invisible role. No matter your tax bracket, take pride in what you do — and embrace servant leadership.
Example: Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. He’d shower and dress without big delays after a game, then stand by his locker and answer every question posed from the media.
Professionalism isn’t a label you give yourself — it’s a description you hope others will apply to you.
I’m starting myself with one day in a row! It’s that simple. Then I can do another day and another. Although it’s difficult to guarantee results, you can ensure your effort stays the same. As a coach, that’s golden. As a guy in a new job, it’s the way I’ll establish expectations of me.
Example: I love the bloggers I know who can set a schedule and stick to it. You know to expect gratitude posts on Fridays. It’s a cadence you begin to depend on!
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”
What good is greatness in a vacuum? It’s one thing to have talent and results. But if you take that only vertically, you’re not helping those around you. Great leaders lift others. And that trait can lead to exponential growth.
Example: Evan was a talented player on my team with incredible drive. He worked the hardest at getting others involved in the game and seeing the benefits of dedication on their own.
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
My favorite on this list. Nothing makes me more proud to see one of my girls dig in and go with heart, whether on the pitch or in life. There’s a breaking point in all of us. When you can fall to it, feel pressure from it, and turn on it and tell it to go straight to hell … you’ve got something.
Example: Madison was just 4 when she got into an inflatable obstacle course. I lost sight of her for so long I wanted to go in after her. I’m glad I didn’t. She emerged over the last wall with a look of determination — and a smile when she swung her leg over for the final descent!
“True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done. No moral man can have peace of mind knowing he left undone what he knows he should have done.”
We often fool ourselves on this one. I consider myself the utmost in it. But do I treat everyone in every shift as if they’re loved? No. I often look at my watch after I fail to love those I encounter, determined that tomorrow it’ll be later in the day that I have to make such a discovery.
Example: Dorsey Standish is a meditation guide whose love for the craft and the people she reaches is apparent in every session. I’m blessed to count her as a friend!
“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
This is one trait I’m proud and humbled to have. My dad and I butted heads when I was a teenager (we later became best friends). When things reached an impasse, I would write him a letter. He’d read it. And we’d talk. I’m convinced this saved our relationship.
Example: John Wooden is my coaching hero. He could deliver a message of inspiration and focus that I will spend a lifetime trying to duplicate at 7%.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw
The truth sometimes hurts. But I’d rather deal with that pain than to be told a falsehood, and have to work backward toward it. Some deliver honesty more humanely than others, but I’d like to know where I stand. A former boss called me a champion and a f*cking idiot on the same weekend! The truth is, I’m somewhere in between. (Closer to champion.)
Example: Let’s face it — reporters ask dumb questions. Former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch once showed up to media availability and said, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” Can’t get much more honest than that. I’m with you, Marshawn.
“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”
Maybe I should try to key on one of these each day of the week. Which of them resounds most with you? What trait would you add to the list?