In this ongoing series, I try to highlight life lessons that have stuck with me because of their impact upon my own time here on earth. This lesson is something that is very recent to me, but I was finally able to put into words when I was browsing Instagram sometime last year. My eighth lesson is all about what you choose to associate with and how that is an extension for you reputation.
I’ve talked about how I am an athletics coach before. This story comes from a track practice I had with my team back in 2018. It was relatively early in the season and I was a first year coach with them. I was trying to build excitement as we were warming up. Being someone who gives a lot of emotional pregame speeches, I have said many “rah rah go team!” clichés in the past. This was different though because it really resonated with why I do go all in with my teams. The speech went something like this:
“I know I’m still getting to know a lot of you but I can tell you this: there’s not a team I’d rather go into battle with day in and day out. That’s not a knock against other schools we face. I’m sure they are great people too. But my favorite team is this one that I’m coaching”A sweaty and emotional Kyle c.March 2018
By saying that speech I let the kids know that I was here for them, the whole way thorough. My philosophy is simple: whatever you choose to endorse, go all in. The Tosa East track team knows that coach is 100% in their corner and their biggest supporter. I think as I grow up in life it becomes more and more apparent that the mindset of committing 100% to whatever you choose to do says more about who you are as a person than what you accomplish with that program. I will tell you that I am not the most knowledgeable track coach and I don’t have the privilege of a long and successful competition career within the sport. However what I lack in experience, I more than make up for with energy and passion (and of course learning as much as I can behind closed doors). I was the same way in my football career. Even though I played the game for 14 years, I was never an elite player who garnered a ton of college attention. I was actually pretty undersized for a defensive lineman. However I committed to being educated about my game, focusing on technique and most importantly making the most of whatever playing time I did get.
“But Kyle! I don’t play sports. How do I go hard for something in my life?”
Well lucky for you going hard for whatever you’re associated with is not limited to athletics. Do you have a job for example? Something that pays the bills from 9-5? How can you go hard when you’re just doing your regular work? That’s easy: do your job to the best of your ability. Be a great representative of your place of employment. Carry yourself in a manner that shows you have pride in what you do. Be honest, follow through, mean what you say and do all of those basic skills that require no amount of talent to complete.
When it boils down to it, this lesson is just about taking pride in what you do and chose to put your best foot forward. The purpose of these lessons should be taken as little pep talks just for something for you to consider going about your daily life. Just remember this: nobody forces you to sign your name anywhere except yourself. You might as well do your best to be your best for your own sake.