Becoming elite…

Today we kickoff season three with the Buckeyes. In looking back over our practice notes from the past two years, I smiled as I read what I captured during practice one – our first practice with the team of grapplers. Kyle Snyder was a freshmen but he was grabbing the reins even then. I had asked the team why, during BTL practice, they are going to be forced to write. No arms shot up except his. I didn’t know his name, so he introduced himself. I didn’t know what year he was, so he told me. And then he went on to explain what he thought about writing.

“I write everyday,” he said all ccd. I asked him what he writes about. “My daily training plan for starters,” he explained. Don’t the coaches do that for you, I replied. His reply was the language of elite. He didn’t know this, he is this. “I write my own training plans because mine are harder,” he stated as a matter of fact. No emotion. No bravado. No hesitation. Fact.

After our BTL practice came to a close, I couldn’t wait to give Grappy my first impression of his squad. I asked him to tell me more about that Kyle Snyder kid. “He’s special,” Grappy replied. I told Grappy he’s mature beyond his years and is going to be quite a leader around here, but is he any good? Grappy simply smiled. We had no idea.

Elite performers don’t wait. Elite model the way, embrace pain and suffering, and don’t tolerate mediocrity. And, the best of the best like Kyle make those around them want to be better. They make the lesser skilled want to become more instead of settling for getting the gear. And, the elite are hardest on one person – themselves. They don’t get down when they taste the valley of defeat, they get more committed. To my eyes, the hinge moment for Kyle’s Olympic gold came a few year prior when he lost in the NCAA championship. Kyle’s hinge moment came in defeat. He did not get down on self. He got harder on self.

In your journey toward becoming your best, there are bound to be many a test. Your height and honor will be more about your response to defeat, setback, injury of all kinds, then it will be to anything else. Write out your aim. Write out your strategies. Write out why you’re gonna love the process of becoming not the glory or the gold. Write out who you plan to bring along. Write out who, beside you, this big dream is for. Write until you’ve got an OPUS that truly represents your labor of love. Now you’re ready. Get to work, friend. Keep working. Keep training. Keep reaching. Keep humbly getting after it. An authentic OPUS doesn’t make work any less like work. In fact, it makes it more. You are meant for this kinda work.

How ’bout you, friend, you ready to work? Kyle is. How ’bout you? How badly do you want it, right Durp? Good.


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