Monday, June 21, 2010
HOW NOT TO BECOME THE "USED TOO GUY"
This MMM came to me when an athlete of mine asked how much I bench. My immediate response was... "Well, I used to...."
Instead of telling this kid the standard, "how much you bench doesn't matter," I went with a possibly inflated number that I did in the 90's:))
What's funny is I said this with no hesitation. Not a thought entered my mind about telling him how much I currently may bench press. I would love to blame it on the fact that I haven't done a bench press max in a few years, but when it comes down to it, it's because I became the "used too" guy.
Here are a couple of facts about the mythical "used too" guy:
1. As the years pass, your "used too" numbers continue to improve. For example: If you actually bench pressed 250 lbs in high school. Buy the time you are 30, it marginally increases to 275-300lbs. And by the time you are 40, you may be looking in the 325-350 area. It's amazing how your "used too" guy gets stronger as you struggle to put up 135.
2. The "used too" guy always comes through: He always comes through when you cannot meet a challenge, you get your butt kicked by a kid, or you are watching any sport. The "used too" guy always finds a way to whip up a "good ole days" story to let people know that you didn't used to suck this bad.
3. If not for the "used too" guy most of us would be in trouble. You see, the reason we call the "used Too" guy off the bench every now and then is for validation. Validation that we actually were athlete's, or strong, or even smart. GPA is another on of those numbers that probably magically increases with age.
When you call the "Used too" guy up from the bench....no one cares. You generally get a blank stare just like Napoleon and Kip as they watch Uncle Rico's self-recorded VHS tapes of him throwing a football.
No one who lives in the present really cares about or likes the "used too" guy. Their are two ways you know this. The person your are introducing the "used too" guy too will either A) roll their eyes, or B) Just change the conversation.
What we need to understand is keeping this guy around doesn't help anyone, especially you. I am particularly talking to coach's and leaders in this one.
Someone once told me that in order to become a coach (or leader), you first have to let go of the fact that you are not longer a player. Why? Because if you are a player, you compete. If you are competing against your team, than it is impossible to be an effective coach.
A great leader thinks only about one thing...everyone else.
One of the most virtuous qualities of a leader is humility. Humility is impossible if you think about validating your worth more than you think about improving your team.
Another problem is the "used too" guy can stop your from progressing. At some point you probably stopped working out as hard. At some point you stopped practicing your sport for 2 hours a day. The natural law says that if you stop doing something that used to consume your life, over time, that skill will eventually become diminished.
So this week, as a coach or leader, take this advice on getting rid of the "used too" guy for not just your good, but also everyone else too:
1. Put your team first: Quit telling them how great you used to be and start showing them how great they still can be. As their leader you must continue to improve with the intention of giving what you learn.
2. Use past stories only to teach lessons: Do not waste your time telling stories to validate your worthiness or let them know how magnificent you used to be. Stories of when you failed, overcame, or had to fight through particular situations are much more effective as a leader. Teach your team through stories that help them take wisdom you've gained from the past.
4. Don't compete: Not with your team. Most leaders have a competitive streak that can change relationships. You never want to make competition personal with people you lead. You can play hard, you can go hard, but never take it to a level where it becomes personal.
I love to play one on one with my kids. And I love to beat them. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by they have improved and grown. I have not. I hate losing, I don't care if they are in the NBA, I still hate losing. But when I changed my mindset to using that time to help develop them and our relationship instead of trying to get a W for my own ego, everything changed. Now I can compete hard, lose, and the only thing I am worried about is if I gave them a chance to get better.
5. Worry about being the best at who you are right now: You can't be the best at who you are right now if you are still holding on to what you once were. Fight even thinking about what you did yesterday. It's over. The best continually strive to get better daily.
Life's greatest gift is the ability to change with every moment. Each moment gives you a new opportunity to be something better than you were. This is created by nothing by the decisions you make to change, to learn, to do what is right. To me this is more than just a gift, this is a responsibility.
Watch Uncle Rico in this video as he shows you what the "Used Too" guy is all about! It is outstanding. Have a great week!
Posted by Liberation Tour at 1:50 AM