Everyone loves a great story and the recent win by the Chicago Cubs in the world series is one of those that took 108 years to make. The love is evidenced all over my city as garage doors, like my neighbor's, cars and flagpoles are all flying the Cubs familiar "W" flag. Since we don't have time to go over all 108 years we will start with their 100 loss season. As sad as it sounds, when the Cubs suffered that 100 loss season, everyone wondered if the promise of a World Series would ever happen. The team ownership asked the fans to hang in there with them as there was a plan, but it would take some time and some difficult years to get there. Have you ever been in a spot where there was a promise but the circumstances made it seem impossible to achieve?
As athletes, we all dream of the day we can celebrate a championship. We train, day in and day out, based on the hope that if we endure, we will someday reach that pinnacle of the sports world, a championship. Along the way, just like the Cubs, we will suffer what seems like devastating setbacks that make us wonder if it's worth it. How do we stay in it? Where does the motivation to endure come from?
Motivation can come from a number of places ranging from the desire to make ones family and friends proud, to honor those who have gone before you in trying to achieve the same goal to that internal drive to win! Most people stop when they encounter hard times. The tendency is to stop and focus in on the current situation and lament over what happened. That shot I could have hit, that pass I could have made, the defense I didn't play. No matter how long you choose to dwell on it, the fact that you took the L won't change. What you can change is your perspective and that's where discovering/rediscovering your motivation or your "Why" comes into play. Whatever that source of motivation, it has to be strong enough to get you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and fire you up to get back to work.
In sports as in life, there are moments when we need to find some external motivation to keep going when things get tough. The road for them then and for you now isn't an easy one. It's going to take a lot of sacrifice and a lot of pain. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news here but you will take more L's along the way. The question is can you learn from it?
When I train my athletes, I always ask them to share the good points that happened in the game/drill first. The reason is that I want them to learn to see the good in the situation which will lead them to recognizing what needs to be worked on. My hope is that they become motivated to keep going.
In the case of the Chicago Cubs it was the years of losing, whether it was during the season losing over 100 games or in the playoffs when you get so close but fall one over eager fan or one goat short. The memory of that seemed to serve as fuel for management to put together a plan that would bring its long suffering fans a World Series title. What is your fuel?
For some, Faith seems to be the one driving force to keep going. The writer in the book of Hebrews points out that one need only to look at the one who went before us and set the example of perseverance, Jesus himself. He goes on to say we need to stay focused on the prize at the end of the race just like Jesus did when he suffered through a horrific death in order to get to the ultimate prize of being seated at the right hand of God.
For the Cubs, it was the thought of someday celebrating a World Series win that carried them through that 100 loss season. Their faith came in the form of an executive who had done the same thing before with another team. They followed his lead and his plan which took some time but as we all know, it worked!
It's easier to stay in the race when we know it can be done. The secret is that we need only to look at our best example, get that fired up feeling again and then get out there and put in that work