I recently watched a great documentary called “Undefeated”. It’s about a Memphis high school football team in an impoverished neighborhood with minimal funds, a lack of parental support and players with rap sheets. Despite all the odds, one coach volunteered his time and took on the challenge of a lifetime – to give these kids a winning season and a reason to care and try.
One thing that really stuck out to me in the movie was a comment the coach made during the team’s first game of the season. In the first quarter, his team was already down 14 to 0. It didn’t look good. His message, however, to the players was this, “It’s the first quarter – sure it looks bleak but we don’t throw in the towel. They have nicer uniforms and a better practice field but we work harder and we don’t give up. We play four quarters. We are down but it’s early – we have 3 more quarters to turn this around. We play til the finish.”
That really got me thinking. How many times do we throw in the towel in the first quarter? When things start off not going how we wanted or expected or we aren’t seeing the results we want – do we quit too soon?
If you have ever moved and had to pack up a home or unpack a home, it can be a daunting task. Looking at full cupboards or full boxes can seem overwhelming. But when you get started and keep at it – slowly but surely you get it done. It might take a while and even longer than you thought – but you get it done none the less. It is the same with our bodies and the changes we hope to see and make. Our diets or fitness plans can be daunting. When we are looking to the scale in the beginning – it may seem like we are down by 14 in the first quarter! The ‘healthy game’ is a long game – it may take you all 4 quarters to get there. You may suffer some setbacks but you get up every time and give it your best.
I’ve tried to apply this mentality recently to the various things that have come my way. Business wise, I have goals and some months it looks like I’m well on my well. Other months, I have moments of doubt but then I remind myself I’m still in the first quarter and I’m going to play until the end! I think sometimes we expect results or goals – be they personal or professional – to be met in an unrealistic time frame. We want instant success or results. Often, however, we are going to have to be patient and persistent. Often we aren’t going to get ahead until the fourth quarter.
When I first set out on my own to build a business I was told by a mentor to “Have goals and have an idea of when you’d like to reach them – but don’t give up too early it may take you longer. Sometimes success is around the corner if you don’t throw in the towel too soon.” Maybe next time you set a goal – have a timeline but realize if you are making forward motion sometimes there may be some delays – not permanent stops – but slower times and you need to just keep going! You will then be undefeated!