When Going the Second Mile Becomes Second Nature

Do you know where you're aiming? What does excellence look like? You can't be complacent and strive for excellence. Excellence requires effort.

“If you don't aim for anything, you'll hit it every time,” Zig Ziglar

Tonight at the supper table, we had a family conversation about how we can tell people are really aiming for what they say they want to do. Every basketball, football, softball, baseball, and every other team I know talks about wanting “region” and “state.”

But so few hit the mark. Why?

I've known quite a few state winning teams in my time as a teacher. I've learn to spot them in the off season. When I see students at the school working out with each other and on their own when they don't have to — that is when I can tell. They are aiming.

You're aiming for excellence when going the second mile becomes second nature.

Post Mortem or Final Answer?

Kip was discussing a football team he played on once that never won region or state. After practice, the kids who made mistakes were punished with extra work and had to do a “post mortem.” But not everyone. Just the misfits and those who messed up. Most of the players were tired and went to the locker room. Everyone really needed those extra runs.

This is quite a contrast to what my son's former NFL football player, Danny Copeland, has taught my son to do — the Final Answer. The Final Answer is an exercise that Danny did himself in preparation for pushing ahead during exhaustion. When the workout is done and they're exhausted, the Final Answer is an exercize where they push and drag a heavy concrete block up a hill. The goal is to do it four or five times when done with the workout. It teaches you to push hard when you're tired. It is not an exercise any of them look forward to doing but it is something they're thankful for when in an exhausting point in the game.

The people who prepare with a “Final Answer” are those who are aiming for excellence in the sport.

The “Final Answer” exercize makes the second mile second nature.  It is your answer to the question everyone is asked at some point in their life,

“Are you going to reach the goal you're aiming for by pushing through exhaustion?”

We All Have a Final Answer

Excellence is difficult. It is hard. Some people will call you a zealot. Others will say it is too much. But we all have a final answer we give when we're tired but the bulls eye is within arrow-shot.

If you don't aim for anything, you'll hit it every time. And if you are aiming for something important to you, sometimes you have to let the arrow fly when you're spent and have nothing left to give. You'll need steady hands and a mind prepared to act and aim when everyone else gives up.

Great achievements rarely happen after you're well rested and relaxed.

They often happen in the midst of exhaustion and exertion and they don't happen unless you aim for them.

Where are you aiming?

Do you prepare a final answer?

Is going the second mile second nature?

This post is day 37 of 80 days of excellence. I've created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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