Give me your best! I want your best! You’re not giving me your best! This phrase in its many forms and fashions can be heard on the field, track, and court by coaches and parents. But, what does it really mean? And when an athlete hears this phrase, what should they be thinking, and what should they do next?
In working with elite amateur and professional athletes on the mental side of their game, this is a phrase and question that I have used in talking to my clients. To me, giving your best is a call to bring everything you have to a given moment.
Specifically, giving your best involves the following:
- Play with Energy and Effort – This is one of the core values of our basketball academy and for any team I have ever coached. Above all, I demand that my basketball players and the athletes that I work with in other sports bring energy and effort to everything they do! When an athlete in any sport brings energy and effort to their practice, game, event, or match, they greatly increase their chances of success. An athlete must be mentally and emotionally engaged in order to physically impact their performance, and energy and effort engage the mind and heart. Great athletes don’t just go through the motions; they are fully committed to the moment!
- Unleash Your Talent – In order to give your best, you can’t just timidly unveil your talent; you must relentlessly unleash your talent on the competition. Athletes who do this well know their strengths and trust them in a fearless way to deliver their best performances. They don’t hold back in terms of things they can do to impact the outcome of a game. They bring all of who they are creating value and impact in the process.
- Compete Fearlessly – When you give your best, you don’t worry about what the competition is doing. You become so focused on YOUR best that you don’t concern yourself with THEIR best. The goal is to compete with a fearless spirit, which means to trust more and fear less. The whole goal of a game, match, or event is to compete. Sometimes, I see players and teams melt down mentally before the game is even played due to the perceived talent of the other team. They lose before they even begin the game, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We teach our athletes to have a mindset of competition and to compete fearlessly in every situation, which helps them focus on something they can control versus an outcome they can only influence.
Whether you are an athlete, a business leader, or an entrepreneur, I encourage you to “play your game” with energy and effort, to unleash your talent in everything you do, and to compete fearlessly trusting your talents over your circumstances. In short, bring your best…today and every day!
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