I used to play football. I actually was a pretty good defensive end. Of course, the worst part of playing any sport is the conditioning. One day we had to run gassers, hard enough right? Nope, not on this day, this day, we had to run gassers in full pads while carrying a teammate, also in full pads on our back. What did I do? I picked the smallest guy on the team. His name was John and he was a second team safety. Needless to say I ran them and then puked. Then the coaches told us to switch… Oops, now John has to carry me. Crap. I feel like a jerk. I chose the easy road and put him in a very difficult position.
I climbed on John’s back, he was 5’4″ maybe 120 lbs. I was 6′ and 150 lbs. I’m sure it looked ridiculous, my toes were practically dragging on the ground. But he ran the gassers. He actually ran the gassers faster than most of the rest of the team. John had just earned his stripes, he had done the work that I hadn’t and the team and the coaches noticed. From that day on John was a first string safety and the coaches a “work as hard as John” gasser workout everyday. If you beat John in the gassers you could sit down and relax. If you didn’t beat John you had to do it over.
Somewhere in my archives from almost exactly a year ago is a blog called “Confidence vs. Ego.” One of the quotes is “Confidence boosts people up on it’s shoulders. Ego pushes people down and stands on their shoulders.”
I love this quote, I can say that because I didn’t write it, God did.
As much as I love this quote it’s incomplete. There’s something missing. You see in the same way that I couldn’t have lifted a fellow lineman and run the gassers most people can’t lift people up onto their shoulders because they haven’t done the work. They haven’t put in the effort to get themselves in a condition to where they can lift people up. They pick the smallest guy and do the minimal effort and then puke afterwards.
There are some people, a select few, who have done the work, who have trained and conditioned so that when the time comes to put a person on their shoulders, someone much bigger, they are ready. They can lift that person up and hold them there as long as needed.
As leaders, it is our job to lift people up. Most leaders think they get to sit high on there throne and people get to carry them around while they eat grapes. This is not leadership. If you are not capable of putting your entire team on your shoulders and carrying them until they are ready to start carrying others then you need to hit the weight room.
What do I mean? Get into books start growing and developing yourself so that when that time comes that you need to carry someone you are ready. Being a leader isn’t easy and if you’re not ready to carry people then get back into line.
Some of you wonder how others get to work with big leaders across the country and you don’t. Some of you wonder why some people get to travel and speak around the world and you don’t. Some of you think that they just got lucky being in the right place at they right time and you weren’t.
What does a weight lifter do so he can lift more weight? He does a ton of reps with a lighter weight than he wants to lift so he can build muscle and endurance to lift the heavier weight. If you aren’t working with the level of leaders that you want to be working with, get back to the weight room. If you aren’t where you want to be as a leader, get back to the weight room.