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Tired of Doing Good : ICMS – Success is NOT Logical
Tired of Doing Good
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12 August 2013 - 23:15, by , in Performance Management, No comments

If you never allow yourself to grow tired of doing good, you can achieve record results.

On September 9, 1990, Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith gained 1 yard in his first NFL rushing attempt before being tackled by San Diego Charger Martin Bayless. On his next attempt, Emmitt gained 1 more yard, finishing the game with 2 yards in this his professional debut. Fast-forward twelve years. On October 26, 2002, Emmitt Smith surpassed Walter Payton’s 16,726 yard rushing record. Smith started slowly but never grew tired of doing good.

Are you or your organization tired of doing the right thing? Are your thoughts leaning more and more towards, “I think I’ll just skip _____________ (fill in the blank) this week”? What’s the blank for you? Are you tired of updating your Activity Based Cost model? Do you feel like skipping the process improvement team meeting? Are you growing tired of exercise or eating the right foods? Or maybe it sounds appealing to skip church, tithing or serving the needy for a while.

People and organizations get tired of doing good. Curtailed continuous improvement is an oxymoron of our times. Our culture does not promote long term, unending commitment. Instead, companies offer early retirement. Over 50% of the couples who say, “until death do us part” get a divorce. Parents hire babysitters instead of keeping the kids. Leaders announce continuous improvement initiatives, thereby inferring to employees, whether they mean to or not, that Total Quality Management, Activity Based Management or Six Sigma will have a beginning and an end.

People regress, resign or retire. Companies decline, disassociate or dissolve. All too often because they simply get tired of doing the right things.

Why did Smith break the record and not someone else? It wasn’t his physical prowess. In fact, coming out of college Emmitt was smaller and slower than many running backs. I believe the primary reason Emmitt Smith achieved what hundreds of others failed to accomplish can be directly attributed to his mental prowess. Emmitt never allowed himself to grow tired of doing good. He ran the ball towards the goal line week after week after week.

What can we do to not grow weary of doing good?I found ten things in Emmitt Smith’s career that we can use to sustain instead of succumb:

  • Have long term vision…“Some who coached him through the years say Emmitt Smith’s vision helped him gain yardage other couldn’t and spurred his chase to surpass Walter Payton’s NFL rushing record.” (1) His vision was not only physical, it was also mental. Emmitt began his career with a desire to be the best running back of all time. Without a long term desire of being the best you can be you’ll grow tired of doing good. Coach Norv Turner said of Smith, “It wasn’t the play that generated the yards. It was Smith’s vision that made those plays go. He didn’t always run the plays the way they were drawn up.” If you have vision, obstacles will never stop you.
  • Have written goals… At the beginning of every football season, Emmitt Smith prepares a list of written, measurable goals. Without goals, we lose focus. “Those who are victorious don’t let the opposition throw them off their game plan.”(2)
  • Be willing to change and adapt… During the past 12 years Emmitt has made several changes to his lifestyle. He began using a chiropractor to keep his body flexible and free from injury. He rededicated his life to Christ and became an active member of T.D. Jakes’ ministry.
  • Pace yourself… Most NFL running backs burnout physically and mentally in 4 years. Emmitt and his coaches paced his performance to prevent burnout. Coach Jimmy Johnson let Emmitt take naps while other players practiced. It’s a “road to victory”, not an overnight trip.
  • Provide value… Emmitt never takes the field without giving his all. He wants to win. Wasting time leads to end of times. Compromising commitment to quality leads to curtailment and quitting.
  • Celebrate… It’s good to jump up and down occasionally in joy. As of this writing, Emmitt Smith has scored 150 touchdowns, more than any other running back. He and those around him celebrated every single time. Celebration energizes you and those around you.
  • Be part of something that grows… “By chance or accident, Smith came to a team prepared to support him with every necessary ingredient: lineman, passer, receivers, defense and coaching. The rest was up to him, a challenge Emmitt accepted with relish. You can say he ran with it”. (3) A person who sets out to enrich the lives of others enhances those around him/her as well as themselves.
  • Have physical and financial margin… Margin is your limit minus your load. “Margin is the opposite of overload. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating. It is rare to see a life prescheduled to only 80 percent, leaving a margin for responding to the unexpected that God sends our way.” (4)Emmitt maintains margin in his personal and professional life.
  • Eliminate fear… Fear runs down your battery. It drains you physically, emotionally and spiritually. Emmitt never took the ball in fear of being tackled. He knew that would happen. He was prepared, never doubting his ability. He eliminated fear by trusting the coaches, trainers and players around him.
  • Surround yourself with encouragers… Emmitt’s career, like our own lives, has not been one of total positives. Disappointments happen. Emmitt had teammates who were there to celebrate the victories and pick each other up after defeats. One of the most moving moments captured on TV after breaking the record was Emmitt embracing Daryl Johnston on the sideline. Johnson, now retired, blocked for Emmitt most of his career. They relied on each other. They encouraged one another. A bond that goes unbroken.

Like Roberto Duran who, in the middle of a championship fight with Sugar Ray Leonard relinquished his WBC welterweight title when he ended the fight saying, “No mas” (Spanish for “no more”) and refused to come out of his corner, most of us have moments when we feel like quitting. Whether the foe has been our job, family relationships, or other difficult circumstances, we’ve been smacked in the nose too many times and we want to cry, “No more!”

While it won’t be Martin Bayless, every one of us will be tackled during our personal and professional lives. If we allow it or accept it, people and circumstances have the potential of stopping our progress. Emmitt Smith did not quit when tackled. He got up. So should we. Emmitt never lost the desire of doing good. Neither should we. Don’t give up on your dream, your purpose in life, your calling, your organization, your goals, your principles, your family, your company or your church. Never, never give up doing good.

(1) The Dallas Morning News, Rick Gosselin, Oct. 26, 2002
(2) The Victorious Christian Life, Tony Evans, Thomas Nelson 1996
(3) The Dallas Morning News, Frank Luksa, Oct. 26, 2002
(4) Margin, Dr. Richard Swenson, Navpress, 1995

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