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Those To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required

Scott Cunningham / Stringer

“Those to whom much is given, much is required.” - John F. Kennedy

When you lose a game, make a bad play, or falter in a time of pressure, do you look around for an excuse or do you look within yourself to make a change?

It is in these moments of failure that athletes make the most significant choices, not only for the present but because of how it will change the future. The athlete who chooses to blame the turf-field, the refs, the play call, or the angle of the sun, never develops into the athlete who decides to look within.

Survive a moment of discomfort, and make a change for the better. Those who look at mistakes as outside of their control will continue to make them. Those who look at mistakes as within their control will always have more insight into their cause and will have the power to learn from them. The moment of self-discipline may hurt, but it will ultimately be the driving force for a positive change.

The pain of change is temporary but the pain of comfort will forever weigh you down.

Taking ownership for one’s actions is a constant mindset, not a temporary action. One day sports will transition into life and if one has the constant mindset that failure arises from their coach making the wrong calls and not their own performance, they will have challenges resolving issues in the workplace, home, and social situations. While taking ownership is hard and can cause pain, it is also the only true way to give oneself power over a situation. When you blame someone or something, you give it power over you; but when you look inward you have the power to make a change.

Leadership is an idea of power. Where we lose sight of that power is when we believe that it comes from being perfect, from being the warrior who never stumbles or falls. Leadership can be misunderstood as being the one above the rest looking down from a pedestal of perfection upon those whom you lead.

Leadership is looking upward and pushing those who need you from behind. Leadership is showing strength, even if it is through vulnerability. It is being the first to admit when a change is needed therefore freeing others to do the same. You are so strong that you have the internal locus of control to admit you can be better and through that you allow others around you to do the same. Leaders take ownership - they take EXTREME ownership of everything in their lives because they recognize when something goes wrong, that something has to change to create a new outcome. 

Those to whom much is given, much is required. - John F. Kennedy

It is not a matter of how much you were given, because if you look hard enough, we’ve all been given something special. It is a matter of how you take that special something, internalize it, and find a way to make it great.

That internalizing step comes from the idea that you take ownership of the life you have - 24 hours in a day, a heart beat, and a vision. Don’t make an excuse as to why the person next to you has it better, their boss gives them more time, they are naturally strong, or they got lucky. Give yourself the power to take what you’ve been given and use it to conquer any obstacle that stands in your way.

Eventually, the person who chooses to take ownership will grow into their success story and the person who chooses to blame others will be calling them lucky. Identify your strength, own your failures, turn failures into lessons, and expect greatness from yourself. 

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