Sunday, August 19, 2018

What Breaks You?

Nick Saban spoke to his players in summer workouts on the ESPN special, “Training Camp” with the University of Alabama, and one of the most impactful parts of the show was the question he posed to his players about mental toughness.

What Breaks You?

As he persistently asked this question, he referenced everything that prevents players from making “The Play” or the obstacles that present themselves in the forms of disappointment,  mistakes, and failure. Those mental barriers to a football player’s excellence would include. 
  • Pain, 
  • Injury,
  • Frustration,
  • Missed Blocks,
  • Fumbled balls,
  • Missed steps,
  • Mistakes
His point was that mental toughness is the most critical component to excellent execution, and the best players have more mental toughness than their opponents. In fact he said that mental toughness is the ability to forget the past, focus on the present and aspire for growth in the future. Without mental toughness, you will always fall short because you’ll be mentally preoccupied by something that is already said and done. In short, you won’t move because you haven’t mentally moved on first. 

So let’s apply this concept to our role as educators. 

What breaks you from finding excellence in every student?  Some examples include:
  • Student misbehavior,
  • Preconceived beliefs about kids,
  • Learning labels on kids,
  • Challenging questions,
  • Unmotivated students,
  • Major gaps in student learning,
  • Difficult content,
  • Huge workloads,
  • Personal attacks.
What Breaks You?
If you want to find excellence in your craft and excellence in every student, you must first realize that the real barrier is found between your ears. It’s you and your mind, and you must first break what breaks you. Being unbreakable means never relenting when trials and tribulations attempt to detract you from your quest for continuous improvement. More specifically, it means ignoring yesterday’s failure, pushing through today’s pain of growth, and letting your work confront the negative naysayers and critics chirping in the background. All of these roadblocks exist for one reason and one reason only, to break your focus  away from your moral imperative, finding the pinnacle of your success. 

To ensure that you never break, let’s commit to the here and now. Reach out to your support system for help, for encouragement, and for the brutal truth. When you have people who care for you and your success, you can and must lean on them when you’re about to break. If you’re isolated, giving up is inevitable. 

The best never rest. The best never relent, and the best never break before the rest. In the end what breaks you is your choice, and if you want to discover your best, you will need to make the choice to never ever give up. 

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