Operating in the Middle
Are you staying even keel? A great example of someone who operates in the middle is Taj. Never too high, never too low. Executing at a high level requires you to close that gap. Although it may come more natural for some more than others, it requires consistent work.
Taj was a freshman playing varsity in high school; therefore, he was placed in bigger situations early on. The silent assassin. Taj stayed quiet, worked hard, and outshone the upperclassmen around him. Execution and precision were the keys to his success. This mindset carried him forward into college as a graduate assistant. He kept his mouth shut and put in the work.
Then the opportunity came. He was coaching at Wyoming and the coach threw the headset on and said, "Taj, what do you like here?" That was his shot. Put me in coach.
Everyone wants to rush the process, but why not better prepare yourself? Why not prepare yourself to recognize and crush an opportunity when it comes up? Although the timing can be difficult for some people, you must push yourself to prepare. Many people think it’s just going to fall into their lap. That’s not how it works.
When No One’s Looking
Respect the process. Trust the process. Write it down, hang it on the wall, and burn it into your brain. You don’t know when the opportunity is going to come. It could be one week, one month or one year. No one knows.
You must be willing to do the things when no one’s looking. You have to consistently do what’s working and prepare yourself for your shot. Always stay ready. Just because you’ve been working for two years straight doesn’t automatically entitle you to this or that. Sure, you have to put in the time, however, you have to execute and perform too. There’s always somebody watching. You never know.
Taj learned the importance of attention to detail from one of his coaches, Coach Christianson. At one point, one of Taj’s jobs as a GA was to toss balls to receivers at practice. Coach Christianson would be out there every day with a notebook taking notes. Then, in the staff meeting he’d whip out his notes and be like, "Okay, so-and-so, you guys didn't do this or this. Good job here. You got to do this."
One day Taj was a little too chill with some of the guys. They're catching it. They're jogging around. Staff meeting comes. He pulls out that sheet. He goes, "Taj, that drill you're doing is bullshit. I don't want that anymore. They don't want to be doing that shit. Bring some fucking juice. No more lackadaisical shit." He saw that one moment. The one second he eased up and didn’t pay attention, he got checked.
Fast forward to another opportunity at another university with a different coach. Taj was supposed to be coaching the guys through a warmup but let up one day and was talking to an assistant. They were fucking around and not watching the guys. The coach came up and screamed at him in front of the whole team. Big wakeup call.
Never slip up. Someone’s always watching.