“I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. That is when I start counting, because then it really counts. That’s what makes you a champion.” ~ Muhammad Ali
This is not about sit-ups. Well, for Ali, I guess it was about sit-ups, but how does this inspirational quote pertain to us even if we never do one sit-up in our life?
All of Ali’s sit-ups before they started hurting were expected; they were simply his baseline. If he did 1000 sit-ups a day, he certainly was not proud of all 1000—he may have only been proud of 50 because they were torturous. Those last 50 challenged him to be better, to grind through the pain, and persevere. It was those last 50 that showed him he could go above and beyond what was expected of him.
Replace the word sit-ups with your word. Is it leadership, work performance, or even parenting? Can you raise your game? Can you challenge yourself to be better at this? We all know our own baseline and it’s likely we’ve been counting all of our sit-ups for a while now but it’s time to kick it up a notch. Remember, Ali is also famous for saying “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” Hmm. I believe we need to do some more “sit-ups!”