A month ago, I got to catch up with a friend who works as a strength and conditioning coach within collegiate athletics. I got together with him and one of his staff members to do some shooting, talk shop, and compete a bit.
We got to talking about the message that the head coach established for the upcoming season and the challenge the message brought with it. The message was simple – toughness. What does it mean to be tough? What does it take to be tough? Are you tough?
Now, when you think of tough, you probably imagine the bar scene in The Terminatorwhen the biker puts out a cigar on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chest without him even flinching, the UFC fighter who finishes a fight with a broken nose, working long hours at a job, or waking up early every day.
How about toughness in training? You might say toughness is attacking every training session, doing an extra repetition, performing a drop set or occlusion set, or training through an injury.
So, is this the message the old ball coach was preaching to his team? To show up with energy and aggression at practice, in training, and during competition? To establish dominance on the opponent from the first snap and then bury them in the fourth quarter? No. Not even close.
The mainstream brand of toughness that we are most familiar with is really not that hard to reproduce. Furthermore, true toughness is a characteristic many talk about but few execute. It’s easy to raise four fingers at the end of the third quarter. It’s easy to take a punch, hold back your emotions, or speak your mind. In fact, many people would rather be punched in the face than execute certain defining instances of toughness. Working long hours could be an indication that you’re not productive enough. Waking up earlier is accomplished simply by going to bed earlier.
So what does it mean to be tough? Let's find out what it means in these domains:
3. Personal Life
4. Relationships and Family
The conclusion: If you want to improve your quality of life, relationship, or total, you should start by asking yourself, “Am I tough?” Are you tough enough to figure out what you want in life? Are you tough enough to identify your weaknesses and create a plan to accomplish what you want? And are you tough enough to do the little things right, every time, even if no one is watching to accomplish what you want?