“Training Camp”

I finally got around to reading Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else by Jon Gordon, which I’ve been interested in for a while. The book is a fictional story that shares lessons on pursuing greatness.

The story follows Martin Jones, an undrafted rookie trying to make it in the NFL. During training camp, Martin is mentored by a seasoned coach named Coach Ken, who shares life-changing lessons to help Martin be the best he can be.

The book is a quick, and good, read, especially if you like football. The lessons are shared in the context of football, but they’re applicable to life, in general. Coach Ken tells Martin, “Making the team is a goal. But striving for greatness is a life mission.”

The coach says …

You see, everyone says they want to be great, but very few are willing to pay the price. … People think it’s all about talent. But talent isn’t enough anymore. Everyone here has talent. It’s about infusing talent with heart, soul, spirit, and passion.

One important lesson is about the nature of purpose and calling

Regardless of when and how, whether by practical experience, role model, spiritual insight, or lightning strike, the best of the best all had a moment in their lives when their vision became clear. When they said, this is what I truly want. This is what I want to strive for and I will pay the price to make it happen. It was as if they looked through a telescope and saw their future.

On the importance of trying to become your best, Martin recalled his mother’s advice: “To deny being your best was to deny the gift you were meant to give others.” Coach Ken adds, “The best are never satisfied with where they are.”

Coach Ken teaches Martin about the importance of process. He says …

The ideal of the overnight success is a myth. Just as the Olympian must train for years for one defining race, you must wake up each day and practice, prepare, and train to be your best. Don’t settle for mediocrity, but strive each day for excellence. It requires hard work, preparation, and hours of effort, but it’s worth it. … Becoming the best is a process. It’s a long and difficult process and it takes loads and loads of positive energy.

I appreciate the spiritual foundation of the book. Coach Ken tells Martin, “you can’t talk about greatness without talking about God.” He says …

You were made for a purpose and you were created to strive for greatness. But remember that you were made to become great in order to benefit the greater good, not yourself. God blesses us not for our own good but because God blesses through us to bless others.

Coach Ken also contends that it’s not about being the best but about being the best you can be. he says …

… being the best really (isn’t) about being better than anyone else but about striving to be the best you could be and bringing out the best in others.

Are you striving to be the best you can be by developing your God-given gifts and purpose?

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