OK, this topic isn’t really about teams specifically. But as the end of a semester draws close here at the university, I’m reminded of an important habit/discipline that will serve anyone – student, manager, team member alike.

How often do you near the end of a big task – could be a project, an event, a bike race even – and the only thoughts going through your mind are “whew, almost done”.  It’s natural to let up at the end.  You’re physically exhausted or emotionally spent.  And unless you’re in a deadlock race to the finish line, most times when the end is in sight we just want to coast.

DON’T.  Instead, push hard and finish strong.  Practice the discipline of giving 110% effort all the time.

I remember playing rec-league softball back in my General Motors days.  I worked at a 24/7 manufacturing plant with a HUGE softball league.  Even had our own full-size ball diamond on the property.  Sometimes we would have games scheduled as we came off a long shift.  We’d be exhausted, but that’s OK it was a rec-league – the game was just for fun right?  HA!  The team I was on expected 110% effort every game and every inning regardless of the field conditions, the amount of sleep you’ve had or the score.  110% all the time, right to the end.

We had a no contact rule at first base, meaning there was a double-bag.  One side was for the first baseman and the other – the orange side – for the runner to step on.  Because of this system, the batter could run through the base.  You could get thrown out at first if the throw beat you, but not tagged.

110% effort all the time, right to the end meant no matter what – even if you hit a dribbler to the second baseman – you ran hard to first.  And in case you forgot about this expectation, Jake our first base coach, would remind you – very loudly!

But why bother?  You know you’re going to be thrown out.  Save the energy for the next at bat.  That’s what you’re thinking.  Right?  NO.  The mind set of 110% all the time means just that – all the time.

When you practice (and maybe master) this discipline you’ll be able to respond to the toughest challenge.  You’ll be able to push through mental fatigue.  You’ll be prepared to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself – like an errant throw to first base. AND if you are playing or working with others, you’ll inspire your teammates which could lead to a much bigger achievement later. Hmmmm, I guess this blog does have something to do with teams!

110% effort all the time.  Anytime I forget this discipline, I picture that orange bag.  Then I hear Jake yelling GO HARD.  And I do.

edited March 19th, 2022 – originally posted April 29, 2011

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