Mental Fitness Is The Challenge

2 04 2012

The toughest battles we have in life are the battles we face everyday with our own minds. Sooner or later we all have to face the reality that what we have done, or not done in life has come from our efforts or lack there of. This is a tough reality for many as they are left with the choice of getting better to succeed or lower their definition of success becoming good at something that does not matter (video games, sports leagues, beer pong).

I recently attended the Wisconsin State Wrestling Tournament. This weekend brings me great exhilaration and sadness at that same time watching many young men who have worked hard their whole life for one shot at their dream. Excited for the victor I can’t help but feel for the one who came up short as he will forever think what might have been. Wrestling is a great sport because there is no one else to look at for failure but yourself. There is no quarterback to blame for a bad pass, no pointguard to point to for a missed free throw, or a pitcher to blame for a bad pitch. It’s just you.

Wrestling is a tough sport mentally because lack of success leads to two choices: get better or quit! Maybe it’s my background in wrestling that lead me to my future in leadership development. Mentally it’s challenging┬áto be a leader as my lack of succes does not give me a boss, partner, or customer to blame. Much like wrestling if I am bad as a leader I have two choices: get better, or quit.

As a coach I would tell my wrestlers that not everyone can be a wrestler, we are the lucky ones. I used to think the same thing about leadership but I was wrong. Everyone can be a leader, but not everyone will. In an age when mediocrity is celebrated I salute those leaders in Life who aspire to be the change needed in this world.

Enjoy the journey,

Steve Leurquin

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18 responses

11 04 2012
8 04 2012
Kevin Hamm

And then I hit the wrong one:)

9 04 2012
steveleurquin1

Did you find it?

8 04 2012
Kevin Hamm

Hey Steve,

Just making another post so I can activate an email following. I couldn’t see another way to do it on your blog. I would hate to miss one.

4 04 2012
John Graff

Great post Steve,
I ran Track and CC and it’s similar in that it is just you (except for the relays). I certainly wasn’t the best, but the thought of quitting never crossed my mind. Penny and I will until!

4 04 2012
rjfisher1

Thanks for the post Steve. I appreciate the comparison and am so excited for people who decide to continue the mental challenge, rather than look back at high school or college athletics and feel like they missed their life long shot to be a victor.

Thanks for all you do!

3 04 2012
Kristen Seidl

Fantastic post Steve! I have always been an extreme-ist (110% or nothing at all) – which isn’t always a good thing. So the ‘get better or quit’ mentality is refreshing to hear. Whether it be in this business or life in general, mental fitness will always be the challenge. We hold the bar and accountability on ourselves so it is only up to us to make sure we choose to always get better and never choose the alternative.

3 04 2012
steveleurquin1

I hope people choose the first option!

3 04 2012
Bill Eder

Great post Steve. Both my sons were wrestlers so I can understand the analogy. Isn’t most all atempts at most every thing we want to succeed at begins with mental toughness. If we think we can most likely we will do it.

3 04 2012
steveleurquin1

Thanks BIll.

3 04 2012
Justin Zautner

Another amazing post Steve! You never fail to impress with your ability to relate a topic or theme to a practical example from your life. Mental Fitness really is a challenge. As Chris and Orrin lay out in their LLR book, there is a gap between current reality and our vision. They call this the hunger gap. Peter Senge calls it “creative tension.” To me personally, this is where my mental fitness is put to the ultimate test. This is one area where a very pivotal battle takes place. If the battle is won you reach success, but if you fail to win you pack your bags and return home as the one who came up short. Although Life tends to become easier and the battle seems less scary when we think of those who have fought before us and know they will lead us through the battle. For this we stand firm and Salute you and Jamie!

3 04 2012
steveleurquin1

Justin, you are a very good writer yourself. Looking forward to the day when you have your own blog with the life leadership principles you have learned on your journey.
Steve

3 04 2012
Chris Brady

Mental fitness is a constant task! Love the comparisons you’ve drawn in this post!

3 04 2012
steveleurquin1

Thank you Chris. The comparisons are endless and everywhere.
Steve

3 04 2012
Kevin Hamm

Great post Steve,

It brought back a lot of memories. Perhaps next year I’ll take in the tourney with you. It really is all about thinking. I was able to make it to state, albeit in North Dakota, three years out of four in high school. The first two years I lost my first two matches and had to resort to watching others fulfill their dreams. While watching I learned a valuable lesson. In the finals, my junior year, I saw a wrestler I had beaten during the season mop up on the wrestler that sent me to the bleachers in the second round. I looked at my coach and he said, “Do you know why you couldn’t do that?” “Why”, I asked. “Because you were thinking about what he was going to do to you, rather than about you were going to do to him.” That exchange dramatically changed the results of my senior year. I set two goals my senior year to improve my focus on what I was going to do. One, was to never be ridden for more that 10 seconds. I always chose down, my opponents always chose up, and I always scored a point in less than 10 seconds. Success on that goal led to success on the second goal to win state. The only difference was my thinking. The problem was within and the proper focus produced the results. Community building is so much like that. Perhaps thinking through that memory will dramatically change my results. Thanks for jarring it lose.

Kevin

3 04 2012
steveleurquin1

You are welcome and thanks for your example.
Steve

2 04 2012
Mike and Emily Hebbe

Great post S!! It really is a head game isnt it??? It seems like every time Mike and I dust ourselves off from the last battle it always goes back to our mental fittness and ability to grow in thought. I love how Orrin says the real battle is getting ready for the battle!

3 04 2012
steveleurquin1

The game is in the head and it can be beaten! Have fun in the battle.
Steve

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