It was my junior year in high school. I had always wanted to play basketball but due to a variety of circumstances did not have the chance… until now. I mustered up enough courage to try out for the team even though all the other boys trying out had been playing for years. Surprisingly, I made the team and showed up for the first two-a-day practice eager to show the basketball world my talents. Unfortunately, seconds after the coach blew his whistle for the first drill, I realized that everyone on this team was better than me, and there was going to be no compassion for the “guy who had never played before.”
From that point forward, I was the junior who played and practiced with all the freshmen. I was the skinny guy of average height who could only dribble with his right hand and didn’t know a zone defense from a box and one. It didn’t take me long to figure out that there was a distinct possibility I would be the first ever senior to have to play on the freshmen team. What a humiliating thought.
Driven by the teasing and the fear of playing with the freshmen team again, I made a commitment to get better. In fact, I took it one step further. I decided to not only get better but to become a starter on the Varsity team my senior year.
So filled with determination, I committed to a rigorous practice schedule. I practiced the fundamentals over and over until I could do them without even thinking about it. I would tie my right hand behind my back and force myself to dribble and shoot with my left hand. Day after day, all through the summer, I practiced. Many days I saw no progress, but I was determined to keep going. I was determined to meet my goal.
Looking back on all this now, I wonder why I showed so much commitment to this goal. It seemed unrealistic and it certainly had a huge chance of backfiring, which would lead to more ridicule by my teammates. But for some reason, I refused to give up.
We all have stories like this, right? A story of endurance where we set out to be successful in something and worked hard to achieve it. And if we’re honest, sometimes we were shining examples of hard work and other times, examples of how lack of discipline doesn’t equal success.
Doing what’s right even when everything and everyone is telling you to give up. That’s a good definition of endurance, don’t you think? It fits about every situation -- from creating a food safety training program at your restaurant to being a good parent. In fact, the principles of endurance can be utilized in many situations:
Set achievable goals
Break those goals into manageable moments
Make obstacles your friend
Crash through the quitting points
Surround yourself with encouragers not quitters
So whatever challenges you’re facing right now – at your restaurant, with a certain employee, in your personal life – make a commitment to endurance. It will pay off.
By the way, on November 12 during my senior year in high school, I heard the PA announcer bark my name into the microphone as he named the starters for our third basketball game of the season. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Paul McGinnis is the VP of Marketing for Ecolab's Food Safety Specialties division (formerly Daydots). He is an author and a speaker, and currently serves as editor-in-chief of Food Safety Solutions magazine.