By Taylor Ford
We are all granted the same 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in our day. What we choose to do — and not do — comes down to what we value, and what we don’t.
Talk is cheap. Everyone can talk about doing something. Some can follow up with action. Few are consistent enough to see success.
Every day we are faced with thousands of choices — opportunities that test our will and guide us to success or failure. The cumulation of these choices defines where you are today. The self-reflecting question we ask ourselves at work: “What Drives You?”
During the most driven years of my life, I walked onto a Division 1 track program. To fuel this drive, I developed my own mantra: “How Bad Do You Want It?” The answer to that simple question would guide me through every decision and excuse I would face throughout each day.
Should I hit snooze? Should I take the day off? Should I take it easy? Pizza or veggies?
The Driven is more than a blog; it’s a community. Driven individuals, at their highs and lows, sharing their stories and lessons to inspire others. This last year has made many of us feel isolated and alone, when we are likely facing very similar struggles. On that note, I hope someone out there finds inspiration here today.
I’m Taylor, and this is how I stay driven.
If there’s one common denominator I’ve found in successful people, it’s accountability. Winners take ownership of their mistakes; losers place the blame on outside people or forces. Positive change comes from looking in the mirror and asking yourself, “What is stopping me from growth, success, or winning?” Is it energy, drive, knowledge, resources, motivation, past failures? Be honest with yourself. It’s totally fine to have a goal with zero idea of how to get there. Walt Disney famously said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” Just start. You’ll figure out the rest if you want it bad enough.
What stopped you from success yesterday? For me, it’s usually time, or lack of it. I’m a firm believer if something is important enough to you, you make time for it. I started laying out every item I need to have a successful day the night before. I can’t use the excuse of “I don’t have time” if everything is laid out and ready to go. Running gear is ready to go for a morning run, protein shake (Mdrive Start) is set out, and my work clothes are laid out so I’m ready for another successful day. And if I choose to sleep in, staring at the morning gear I just laid out the night before is an awful reminder that I failed today…and not to fail tomorrow.
As I said, life is filled with decisions and choices. Some we can control; others we can’t. Know your weaknesses, and when possible, don’t put yourself in vulnerable situations. I often joke if I’m trying to lose weight, is it smart to have Snickers and Doritos sitting on the counter at home? No! Out of sight, out of mind. I know myself, and I leave those two on the shelf at the grocery store. 😉
Another method: think back to the idea that tomorrow starts today. You can plan — predict how you could potentially slip up and prepare a solution beforehand. For example, I know I will get hungry mid-morning. Rather than sneaking to a gas station or vending machine to buy junk, I pack a banana or almonds instead.
As for the uncontrollable? It is what it is. It’s not worth your time or a sentence here either. What I will say is, focus your efforts where your uncontrollable weaknesses will least affect you (that’s what led me to running).
One of my favorite scenes from any movie happens in The Pursuit of Happyness when Will Smith is talking with his son. While shooting hoops the son says, “I’m going pro!” Will’s character catches himself crushing his son’s aspirations, and then changes his tone:
The other day I was watching the Olympics with my 5-year-old son, and he told me he wanted to be an Olympian. I told him it takes hard work and that I’m here to help him. Whether you say it out loud to yourself, or tell the world, the first bold step towards achieving any goal is putting it out there.
Personally, I prefer to work hard in silence and let my actions speak for themselves. Maybe this works for me because I have confidence in holding myself accountable. Alternatively, telling your spouse, coworkers, or social media network that you are setting out on a goal could absolutely help you achieve it and allow others to support you in your efforts.
When I was exhausted from working three jobs and the alarm went off at 4:55 for practice…
When I was losing feeling in my legs and my teammates were breaking away on a 13 miler…
When I questioned whether I could handle 10 minutes in that ice bath after the first 10 seconds…
When I wanted to skip class and just go back to sleep…
HBDYWI: How Bad Do You Want It, Taylor?
Bad enough to overcome anything and sacrifice everything.
I want to know. Please email me so I can support you.
P.S. A special shout-out to Louie Quintana: a coach who believed in a no-name walk-on who struggled to believe in himself. You changed his life.
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