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"If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first two hours sharpening the axe."

- Abraham Lincoln


As many of you might already know, I used to play for the Hamilton Tiger Cats. While I was on the team, our coach would put up quotes and sayings on our team board. I wasn’t sure if they were there to motivate us or to just keep us in sync with the reality of life. One of the most distinctive phrases I remember was, “prepare for success”.

Prepare for success.

It's funny. Sometimes when I go out I would take my mom along with me. Whenever I asked her out, I'd always be bombarded with an array of questions: “Where are we going? What time? What are we doing? Who’s going to be there?”

I always wondered why she could never just go along with the flow and say, “yes son, I would love to spend some time with you. Let’s go.”

Then I realized something key: my mom needed to gather this information so that she could prepare for the outing. She needed to know where we were going so she could dress appropriately. She needed to know what we were doing so she could bring appropriate accessories. She needed to know how long so she could do what she needed to for the evening and plan for the next day. I didn't realize that there were so many things involved in the preparation of taking my mom out. In the actual time that we spend together it was actually less than the time that it takes to prepare.

In football, we practice 6 days a week. We watch hours upon hours of film and run around the field for what feels like days. When it comes down to it, the game itself only lasts 60 minutes. And because it's not like basketball where there are different groups (like offense, defense etc.,) and every play lasts for about 6 seconds, you’re only on the field doing something for about 6 minutes when you tally up every second you’re on there.

Think about it.

We prep hours upon hours for 6 minutes of glory.

When I work with youth, I always remind them that they have to grind before glory. The reality is that the glory is so short but the beauty of it is so blissful. We work and we prepare for success. We grind. We work for just a little bit of glory and bliss.

So now I understand when there is a long preparation time. I don't get upset because I know people like my mother or my teammates want to prepare for success. If somebody asked me to cut down a tree, I’m going to take time out to problem solve: Where will the tree fall? What do I need to cut it? How am I going to cut it? Do I need help? I'm going to prepare myself by answering all these questions to successfully chop down this tree.

So in the process of preparation, make sure you are thorough. Make sure you’ve activated your will to stick to it. And make sure you get after it. Because those moments of bliss, those moments of winning, those moments when you get to do that thing you love to do far outweigh the investment, cost and sacrifice that it takes to prepare for success.





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