Have you known someone who went above and beyond the highest possible goals regardless of the personal sacrifice it required? I wanted to write this post for a few different reasons.

The first reason is to honor my mother; she taught me – by example – what it was to live this sentiment.

She was my first wonder woman!

Mom went to work every day.

A traditional Pittsburgh, PA streetcar.

She was a single mom raising a young boy before being a single mom was at all cool. She was responsible for keeping us both alive and thriving.

So, through rain, sleet, snow, frigid or hot temperatures, my mom (Violet Allen) got up and went to work. She had to walk up our street, walk a quarter mile through a trail in the woods to catch a streetcar to downtown Pittsburgh, PA and then walk a few more blocks to get to work. Every single workday.

She never complained. Not once. Years later I learned she continued on to work after being mugged – banged around and had her purse stolen. 

My first boss didn’t “Skip” work.

My first real boss, Skip Bauer (who owned the gas station at which I worked), suffered from terrible, painful bouts of gout. I watched him work through and walk through the pain many, many days.

Well, he had responsibilities: his family, employees and a group of very loyal customers.

So, my message is pretty simple: When you have to, you can work harder than you think; you can run farther than you ever have; you can suffer through debilitating diseases like depression and still achieve many great things.

I crushed the “ropes” course.

When I worked in the NBA, the team high management decided we all needed to go into the wilderness and complete a “ropes” course. This was a gantlet of physical tasks allegedly designed to build trust among team members.

One of the elective exercises was to climb to the top of a telephone pole, hoist yourself up into a standing position and launch yourself towards a metal bar suspended in mid-air that was about 7 or 8 feet away.

It was fairly well known that I was afraid of heights. My miserable boss – who was about 15 years younger than I – ridiculed me in front of other staff about my seeming inability to handle this challenge. So, of course, I decided to do it. After climbing the pole and positioning myself atop it, I pushed off and flew through the air on my way to the metal bar.

I learned to fly – and crash.

I’d love to tell you I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Nope. My sweating hands grabbed onto the bar, I slipped off and fell about 30 feet towards the ground. Fortunately, the ground was about 40 feet from the bar and I was strapped into a safety harness and two trusted, hand-picked comrades stopped my fall.

Even though I had been literally shaking from fear on that pole, I did manage to fly through the air for a very short time…and then for a little bit longer time. But, no real harm. In the heat of the competitive moment, I also told the boss to “go screw himself.”

You can perform at a higher level.

So I believe you can rise to a very high level of performance and accomplishment when you have determined exactly what is in it for you. When you figure out why an activity is critical to you, you can harness some amazing forces within yourself.

Go out and do it.

#workethic #highperformance #successinlife #successinwork #success #doingmorethanyourbest

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