"But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall also reap bountifully." 2 Corinthians 9:6
Sir Winston Churchill famously stated, "The price of greatness is responsibility." Every champion, in whatever field of endeavor, instinctively knows the truth of Churchill's famous quotation. Bottom line - Champions take responsibility! No Excuses Allowed!
Welcome to the latest in our Championship Series of blog posts. The capacity to take personal responsibility is one of the foundational characteristics of every champion. And responsibility is the subject of today's post.
President Harry S. Truman kept a sign on his desk in the Oval Office which read, "The Buck Stops Here!" It's meaning derives from the expression of 'passing the buck', which means passing responsibility on to someone else. President Truman said, "You know, its easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say what the coach should have done after the game is over. But when the decision is up before you - and on my desk I have a motto which says 'the buck stops here' - the decision has to be made."
Champions are by definition leaders. One of the basic qualities of leadership is the assumption and acceptance of responsibility. Legendary NBA Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan always wanted the ball in those clutch moments when the game was on the line. MJ was the quintessential champion! Champions don't pass the buck, nor make excuses. They want the responsibility to take that winning shot, to make the decisive call. They understand Churchill completely - no responsibility, no greatness!
College Basketball Coaching Legend, Dean Smith, kept an "Excuses Jar" on the desk in his office. Before meeting with him, each player had to put all their excuses in the jar. That was just one way Coach Smith taught his players the lesson of responsibility. One of those players who put excuses in the jar was future Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan. Moral of the story: you are responsible for your own life, for what you do and say, for how you spend your time, for who you associate with, for how you conduct yourself, for the decisions in life you make. We all have the free will to make our own choices. (See Joshua 24:15; Deuteronomy 30:19; Isaiah 7:15; and Proverbs 8:10.)
Success on any major level requires that you accept responsibility. Champions clearly understand it is their, and only their, responsibility to strive to improve themselves athletically, intellectually, financially, morally, and spiritually. It is a process of continuous improvement. Champions are always under construction, always striving to grow, to improve, to be better today than they were yesterday. It is their responsibility!
As leaders, champions also take responsibility for their teams. On one occasion, during a period when the Chicago Bulls were not playing their best ball, Coach Phil Jackson gave the team a practice day off. Michael Jordan led several players to Coach Jackson and requested a practice be scheduled because the Bulls were not a sufficiently good team to skip practices. The practice was not only scheduled, but lasted longer than usual, and marked a significant turning point in the Bulls' improvement that season. MJ believed, "The best players have to be the caretakers of the team." And he was the caretaker of the Bulls, leading them triumphantly to multiple NBA championships.
Champions know that if they are to grow and acheive their dreams, they have a responsibility to not only learn, but totally master their craft. Legendary UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden taught his players four laws of learning: 1) explanation, 2) demonstration, 3) imitation, and 4) repetition. The goal was to create a correct habit that could be produced instinctively under great pressure. Coach Wooden put great emphasis on #4) repetition, and more repetition, and more repetition after that. His method was often difficult for the players, but the results were truly phenomenal!
The ability to learn is a critical skill of champions, even when it is difficult. Legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow stated, "Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts." Champions can definitely relate to the truth in Mr. Murrow's statement. Difficulty is not an excuse for champions. If what they did was easy, everyone would be a champion! You get out of any situation exactly what you put into it. (See 2 Corinthians 9:6.)
Champions go on to embrace the next level in the chain of responsibility. Once they have acquired new skills, information, and knowledge, they become accountable for the ways they utilize them. They take personal responsibility for maintaining a winning vision, correctly applying their new skills and knowledge, for performing at levels never seen before, and for dreaming beyond limitations!
In the final analysis, the one quality that champions share in common is a major capacity to remain steadfast in taking personal responsibility for getting the work done! (See 1 Corinthians 15:58.)
What examples can you give of how taking responsibilty has helped you to achieve your goals/ dreams?
Until next time,
Hi! I'm Kenneth Lillard, author, ordained minister, and motivational speaker. This blog is an expression of some of my thoughts and opinions. I'm glad you stopped by. Hope you'll share some of your comments while you're here. Be Blessed!