Whether he meant to or not, Hall of Fame baseball player and iconic quotemaker Yogi Berra offers a powerful warning for each of us today. That’s because the pursuit of excellence in any area of life – in developing a team, in building a business, and for us here, in raising and developing champion young people – requires that we know where we’re going. It demands that we see the big picture, embrace the journey, and trust the process. And without creating a vision for where the important goals in life are leading us – or the path we’re required to take to achieve them, we’re warned – it’s likely we’ll end up someplace else. Unfortunately, by not creating a clear vision, too many of us fail to define our destination. We’re headed someplace; we just aren’t sure where.
When it comes to raising and developing a champion, your vision is like your roadmap. It’s your clearly defined destination. It’s easy to see the here and now – your son as he’s currently built. But when you combine the here and now with a vision of who your son can become, it moves you into action. And not just any action, but purposeful, productive action that advances you toward your goal – the destination you have in mind.
In reality, your boy’s not a champion yet – he’s got plenty of work to do. And if all you can see is the here and now, it might be easy to accept that he is who he is, and that’s that. But a powerful vision puts you to work. It helps you clarify his areas of strength and weakness. More importantly, it opens your mind to new opportunities and creates urgency to use them, right here in whatever he’s experiencing today, for teaching and developing him towards tomorrow.
We talk regularly in the newsletter about the talents possessed by the champion athlete, and how cultivating them can lead your son toward the destination you're pursuing: his full potential and real success, in sports and in life.
I’m gonna ask you to stop for a minute today and intentionally live in a vision. It’s a vision of who your son can become with those talents fully developed. Regardless of his age or ability level, take a minute and picture this athlete:
-See your son in full uniform, playing with a great love and passion for the game. See him exhibiting the genuine by-products that come with such a love. He’s joyful, inspired, energized, focused, and driven.
-See your son giving his very best out there on the court or field. Picture him – drenched in sweat, his tank completely empty. He’s exhausted, but proud…and so are you. He’s givingeverything he’s got today.
-See your son demonstrating the resilience to overcome every adversity. So many others are crippled by challenges, but your boy doesn’t have some weak-minded victim mentality. A bad call, a bad play, some bad luck – doesn’t matter. He's strong enough to overcome anything.
-See your son relentlessly seeking improvement. See him hunting for and uncovering new opportunities to learn and grow. He’s working tirelessly to get better, even on the stuff he’s not very good at, and he's excited to face the challenges that come with it. He is hungry to improve!
-See your son getting coached. See him developing real, authentic trust in his coach, and see him earning that same kind of trust in return. See him listening intently and executing flawlessly. See him respond to tough coaching with courage and determination – looking his coach in the eye, giving him a head nod or a “yes, sir,” and moving on toward success.
-See your son, the great teammate. See him encouraging, uplifting, and supporting those around him – not begrudgingly out of some obligation, but joyfully from a genuine spirit. It's the result of a clear understanding that when he makes others better, he gets better, too.
-See your son taking risks. Picture him in a clutch moment, with a lot on the line. Others may be paralyzed by some fear of failure, but not him. He’s seizing the moment. No matter the outcome, you’re proud. Your son’s got the courage to go for it!
-See your son, playing with the positive attitude born from a powerful vision of his own. You’ve helped him define his destination, too. He sees who he can become, and now he’s been moved into action as well, in relentless pursuit of the goal.
Now that is a big-time vision. No matter his age or ability level, that is your son, the champion. Is all that, you think, too much to ask? Is it too much to think he can love the game, give his best, overcome adversity, seek improvement, get coached, be a teammate, and take risks, and do all of it with a positive attitude? If you think that’s too much to ask, then you need a bigger, better vision. Absolutely he can become a champion in each of those areas! It’s not easy, convenient work, but if raising a champion is your goal, he must!
Once you create a vision for who your son can become, you can use it to get to work. Obviously, a vision alone isn’t enough to make your son a champion. It’s only valuable if it moves you into action today. So start the process of clarifying his areas of strength and weakness. There may be a wide gap in some areas between who he is and the vision for who he can be. Hopefully that realization – that a gap exists – opens your mind to new opportunities and creates urgency to use them, right here in whatever he’s experiencing today, for teaching and developing him towards tomorrow.
I hope you’re encouraged today by a powerful vision – a clearly defined destination. I also hope you’ll create a vision of excellence for the other important areas of your life, at home or at work, and use it to move you into purposeful, productive action there, too. Do work today that advances you toward your goals – the important destinations in life. Clarify for yourself where it is you want to go, so you can ensure that you don’t end up someplace else.
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