I recently watched the moved, When the Game Stands Tall, with Jim Caviezel. It’s a 2014 true-story account of De La Salle High School in Concord, California and their 151-football game winning streak. The movie is more about the coach’s principles of how to be a team and best version of yourself, although you will see plenty of football scenes.
I am not a football fan, but I loved how the coach’s ultimate goal was to turn these high school kids into respectable, honest men. One of his many speeches was about giving a perfect effort every time. Players weren’t expected to be perfect but to give their perfect effort. When they finally broke the streak and lost their first game in years, the assistant coach simply said, “They played a better game than us, and that’s just the truth. We will congratulate their efforts and work on ourselves.” We only have control over our own actions and cannot control the outcome. If you give your best, that’s all you can do.
Too many times, winning is the focal point for sports. As a competitive person, I certainly want to win, but I also learned long ago that good sportsmanship is something that can’t be taken away from you. You may lose a game, but you can retain your dignity and build camaraderie. What good is winning if no one wants to be around you? Your victory sweetness will quickly turn sour if you have no one to share it with.
In life, I think we can get caught up in our goals and forget that the journey to reach them matters. How we conduct ourselves along the way says more about us than the achievement itself. If you have to trample upon others to get where you want to go, you might want to reconsider your goals!
On the flip side, if you are settling for mediocrity and are not giving your best to your endeavors, you are spitting in God’s face. Yes, I said that! God generously gives us talents, abilities, and skills, and He expects us to use them to the best of our ability! I took this too far and fell into perfectionism in my 20s. Perfectionism isn’t what God asks, and it is really a case of doing things for your own glory, not His.
No, God wants us to strive for excellence. One reason is He experiences great joy when He sees us thrive! Secondly, our passion and desire to be better inspires others. We live in a world of self-pity victims and low self-esteem, and people need an example of real, true success. Will you be one?
No one wins when you play small: not you, your family, your employer, your community, or God. The world needs us to excel and burn our lights brightly, whatever it is that we’ve been called to do.
It doesn’t have to be huge things either. Don’t get discouraged thinking you have to invent something new or solve the world’s problems. Simply being kind, generous, giving, thoughtful, and considerate to others would be a great place to start. What better time than this as we enter the Christmas season when the only perfect person on the planet was born so He could die on the cross for our sins. If we truly want to be like Jesus, then we need to give our perfect effort in all we do. As a coach, I can help you identify your true God-given talents based upon the personality God gave you and together we can craft plans for you to make great contributions to the world. What are you waiting for…perfect conditions to start? They don’t exist! We only have now, and now is the perfect time to start.