You’ve been given a gift.
A moment in time.
It may not seem like it when your alarm goes off at 5am. When it seems like you are the only one lacing up your shoes to go train. When it’s the middle of the night, you are up studying, and you glance over to see your roommate peacefully sleeping.
You arrive at a place where you get to do what you love, and somehow wish you weren’t there. You wish for the simple. To sleep in. Eat whatever, whenever. Yet…if you were granted that wish, you’d be miserable. Because the passion in your heart to compete is more powerful than the pleasure of temporary satisfaction.
So how do you deal with the mental ping-pong of those thoughts?
Embrace your platform.
You’ve been given athletic talents. You have an opportunity to use them to help others. You are living out your calling, & inspiring countless others to do the same in the process.
Progress doesn’t come without struggle. Success doesn’t happen without sacrifice.
So the next time you feel like giving in, give more. When it feels like you’ve reached a breaking point, think back to where you started, and use it as the motivation you need to make this an all-in launching point.
You were made for this.
For such a time as this.
The air smells different the higher you climb. Not everyone is made to thrive in that climate. But you are. You are hard-wired for it. You thrive on it.
That is your gift.
You know the difference between thriving and surviving. The stark contrast between creating and caving. The clarity as to what it takes to achieve greatness, and the easy path to laziness.
You’ve got this…even when it hurts. You’ve got this…even when others don’t understand. You’ve got this…even when doubt tries to push you down.
And lest you think the only result that matters is…
The lowest time.
The best score.
The gold medal.
The top platform.
Those will never determine the end result. That is for you, and you alone to say.
Don't get me wrong...I'm a competitor through and through. I don't like to lose.
I'm not minimizing the effort that goes into winning, or the pain you experience as a result of losing. I've been on both sides of that coin, many times.
What I feel like you need to hear...deserve to hear...is that as time passes, the lesson of competing as a student-athlete has roots that run far deeper than one moment in time.
You'll begin to ask yourself these questions. And if you can say yes, you'll have gained far more than momentary recognition.
Did you give your all? Did you honor every person on the journey? Did you show humility? Did you act gracious to your competitors? Did you sacrifice your personal preference for the betterment of the team? Did you come a little early, and stay a little late?
Would you do it all over again?
If for no other reason than the relationships you made along the way.
Just to spend those long hours training with them. Just to ride the bus with them again. Just to laugh together, cry together…experience all of it together…again.
Because at the end of the day…
That is the truest definition of winning that I know.
Make the decision to be intentional about building relationships, so that you create a team of influence.
When that is seared into your soul,
you can do far more than win a sporting contest.
You will be ready to change the world.
So please don't throw in the towel when it gets hard. We need you to learn every lesson you can along the way. For the calling that is on your life will be accomplished because of what you learned from them. Without them, life on the other side of sports gets harder. With them you are equipped to take on every challenge thrown your way, in a way that only you can.
Because of that...
You ARE ready to change the world.
No time like the present. Lord knows our world so desperately needs it. And you?
We...those you know, and so many you may never meet...
WE. BELIEVE. IN. YOU.
For it's in the lessons of competition you will begin to understand your calling's destination. And when that happens, run in that direction with every ounce of passion your heart can muster.
You’ve been given a gift.
A moment in time.
Now, and in the future.
You, student-athlete, were made...
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.
We often measure success by our ability to accomplish something.
We'd do better to measure success based on serving someone.
Doing we can, with what we have, where we are.
That is an outcome worth looking at.
Honoring someone else's needs above our individual wants.
The opportunity we've been given to serve one another will always be greater than obsessing over the wins and losses trying to trump one another.
We can come up with all sorts of excuses why we "aren't able to".
And we'll end up missing out on the greatest opportunity of all...
To serve one another.
To be grounded, is to stay connected.
To a source, not a whim.
To a vision, not a version.
If we are ever going to be able to start saying "no" to the things that we need to, it'll start by committing to a well articulated vision.
Here is what I mean...
Have a filter.
Making decisions without one is emotionally, financially, and culturally dangerous.
It's hoping to get lucky.
When you know WHO you are, you will know WHAT to do.
You'll base decisions on who you are and why you exist.
You'll build relationships with people who are willing to sacrifice their personal preference, so that something bigger than themselves can be created.
So how do you know if you are making solid decisions?
If you are alone, you are much more likely to make a call you'll regret later.
If you have a team of people to walk with you, you've got what we all need.
You'll stop running in 101 directions when you have a relational connection.
You'll replace chaos with focus.
Your "retention problem",
is really a relationship opportunity.
It's a much needed shift in perspective.
It's a much needed shift in focus.
From trying to come up with initiatives to keep someone (that sounds like prison),
to creating environments to get to know someone (that sounds like a lot of fun).
No two experiences on campus will ever be the same.
They can't be.
Every single student coming to your University brings different baggage.
And not just the ones on move in weekend.
The emotional ones they carry with them every, single day as they go to and from class.
The emotional ones they carry with them trying to look strong, when they feel weak.
The emotional ones they carry with them when they aren't accepted by someone.
The list is longer than we'd ever know.
And the effort it takes to carry them weighs on a person's heart.
It did for me as a college freshman,
and it does for many, many students on your campus as well.
But here is the good news...
The opportunity is greater than ever before.
Engage them in conversation from day one.
Empower them to talk about their baggage and they'll be more likely to open it up.
Excite them that their best days are still in front of them, on your campus.
Energize them by showing them they aren't alone, and that others carry baggage too.
Remind them they are a relationship you value,
by creating an experience that matches your words.
Give them access to people who have been through what they are going through,
not just people that want to "fix" them so they don't leave school.
That's a very important part of the process.
People respond to the opportunity to hear from someone who has been in their shoes.
You'll be amazed how willing they are to open up about what their greatest needs are, so that in 4 years or so they walk across a stage having reached their next milestone.
It's what you want.
It's what they want.
It's what I wanted.
And it will happen when we stop referring to them as a retention problem,
and start honoring them as real people, with real needs through a real relationship.
It's what helped me on my journey from failing out of college,
to becoming a scholarship musician and athlete, and graduating Cum Laude.
There are countless stories similar to mine waiting to unfold on your campus.
The only question is are you willing to seek out the conversations early on,
so that you don't have confrontations (removal from school) when it's too late?
I believe you are.
I believe you can.
I believe you will.
Please remember to connect with someone who has carried the burden of failing out, as part of your freshman initiatives. There aren't many Universities doing this. And if you are looking to lead...to differentiate yourself as a University, that would do it. It's an integral part of the success for every one of your students. And if you don't know where to start looking for that person, I've got good news...
You've already found him.
Another reason your "retention problem", is really...a relationship opportunity.
For you and me,
so that it is for you and your students,
at your University.
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.