Do the work

In the spirit of Kevin Garnett returning to Minnesota, this post is about something he’s best known for. No, it’s not his signature pre-game powder ritual.

Garnett’s known as one of the fiercest competitors in the NBA. He’s a guy who clocks in early, does the work, holds himself to professional standards, then calls it a day. The one thing I admire about Garnett though (who happened to be my favorite basketball player growing up) is that he doesn’t settle for Craig_0142mediocre. You might be having an off day, your shots aren’t falling. But, there’s no reason not to do the work. To run the floor and make a play on defense. To work hard, shuffle your feet, and be a pain for your opponent. It’s about doing the work.

A soccer coach of mine growing up repeated this phrase almost every training session – “do the work.” Excellence isn’t made from a flash of brilliance or lucky genetics. Excellence is the product of hours and hours of preparation, of doing the work.

It’s easy to pass the buck and let others pick up the slack. Then, when it’s game time, we make up all the excuses in the world for why things didn’t go the way we wanted them to. (The same principles apply to almost all life situations.) It was bad luck. It was the referee’s fault. It was a bad coaching decision. It was my teammates.

No, it was you. You didn’t do the work.

Greatness comes from bringing our best selves every day. Each day is an opportunity to start anew. But it’s up to us what we do with that opportunity. Will you squander it? Or, will you do the work?

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