This morning, as I was pounding out pushups during bootcamp, our instructor said something to us that resonated. "If it's not difficult, if you aren't struggling to finish this set, you're not working hard enough - you're not giving 100%. It's not okay," he continued, "to be 'good enough' or to say 'it's better than nothing.' What kind of attitude is that?
He went on to give this example: "You order your favorite dish at a restaurant. When it arrives, the meat is overcooked, the side dishes are luke-warm and the bread is stale. Would you eat it anyway, and say that 'it's better than nothing'?"
I don't think so. We expect 100% effort from those around us. Our employees, our financial advisor, the lawn service, car repair, etc., etc. Shouldn't we put forth that same effort in ourselves?
'Good enough' never is.
If your child gets a "C" on a test - and you know he didn't study outside of school, would you let him get away with saying 'I passed - that's good enough'?" What kind of example are you setting for your kids? For those around you?
If you give 100% in everything you do, you'll see results that much faster. There is a saying that you can only expect out of those you lead, the effort you put forth on your worst day.
That's not to say that you should be competing with the guy next to you. If that were the case, I wouldn't feel very good about the number of push ups I was able to knock out during that 2-minute set. But, what I do know is that I worked my ass off. I didn't take the easy way out, I didn't waste time, and I did give 100%. Doesn't matter how many push ups the girl next to me did.
Let me digress...My oldest just finished his last final this morning. He has been studying like mad every night. All the finals were going great - A's and B's. Then came time for the Math final. Math is his least favorite subject (gee, wonder where he gets that from), but he spent several hours the night before the test studying with my dad (who reads books like "the history of mathematics" for sport), and then, had me drive him to school an hour early so that he could meet with his math teacher to get some additional, last minute help. Well... that damn math final still proved to be the hardest test he took this week, and even though he gave it the most effort, it still turned out to earn the lowest score, too.
But herein lies my point... If that child of yours studies hard, practices, gets extra help from the teacher before school and still earns a less-than-stellar grade, then you can and should feel proud of that grade - and his effort. That's 100%, right there.
Make every day count. At work, at school, at the gym, at home. And watch your kids' attitudes slowly change, too. Remember, they do as you do, not as you say.
(Author's note: Happy Summer! And Congrats to all three of my kids who made it through a tough, but great year! I now have a Sophomore, a 7th grader and a 1st grader!)