Internal Motivation

It’s easy to push myself when I’m challenged, when I’m disrespected. When I was in my 20’s, a co-worker bet I didn’t have what it took to run 2 miles a day over lunch for 30 days. That I didn’t have the internal fortitude. He threw down the gauntlet. I was off and running the next day. Thirty days came and went, and I realized I liked the mid-day physical movement. My work day afternoons were easier and my mind was clearer. So I continued the habit for the next 5 years.

This challenge was the case with No. 1 Alabama before the recent matchup with Vanderbilt. The Crimson Tide had been disrespected by the Commodores and Alabama team members worked hard to win the game. The result? Alabama 59-0 over Vandy. However, ahead of last week’s game against Ole Miss, there hadn’t been much trash talk from the Rebels. Not much to push against. No need to prove themselves. They could have been stuck.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban told his players to be motivated by self-respect and pride in the upcoming game. “The ultimate disrespect is when someone thinks they’ve got your number . . . Your own self-respect should be the motivating factor and not what somebody that you don’t even know says about you.” He challenged them to ask themselves: Am I being the best as a person? As a student? As a player? He confronted them to be unstuck.

As a coach, Saban has an outstanding record. Over 22 years, he has 215 wins, 61 losses and one tie. He is faced with the major challenge of keeping his team on point. Saban is well aware this perspective starts from the top and moves through the team. He fires himself up daily, even to the point of grumbling when he had to devote a week to dinners and fetes in honor of winning the BCS Championship. He wanted to be out recruiting for the next year’s players. The celebration got in the way of his forward progress. Being stuck never even occurs to him.

Oh, by the way . . . Alabama beat Ole Miss 66-3. I guess his strategy works. How do you motivate yourself? Need sayings? Billboard reminders? Or is it an internal process? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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