MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION
By Deion Sanders with Tejado W. Hanchell, Ph. D
There are few things more exciting than Game Day. When I played professional football, all the practice and preparation during the week was what I got paid for…Game Day was for free. Even as a coach for our TRUTH teams and Prime Prep Academy, I look forward to Game Day. On Tuesdays for junior high, Thursdays for JV, Fridays for high school and Saturdays for TRUTH. As a coach, I find myself repeating a phrase that I heard from many of my coaches throughout my high school, college, and professional careers: “Bring your ‘A’ game!”
This phrase, that most of us have heard numerous times, refers to bringing maximum effort, focus and undeniable commitment. It’s an encouragement to do your best – no excuses. When you bring your ‘A’ game, it means that you are leaving nothing on the field. You’re giving it your all.
I believe that it’s important for us to bring our ‘A’ game, whether in sports, or in the game of life. Too many people make excuses as to why they are not successful, and why things haven’t worked out for them. I’ve found that a lot of times, things don’t work OUT because we refuse to put the work IN. That’s even biblical – whatever you sow, you reap. Whether you’re a basketball player or a barber…you have to bring your ‘A’ game. Whether you’re a CEO or trying to get your GED…you have to bring your ‘A’ game. Maximum effort produces maximized results. If you haven’t maximized your moments…that’s on YOU. You’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game.
In actuality, you need to bring your triple-A game (AAA) because there are three A’s that make up your ‘A’ game: Attitude, Appearance, and Action.
The old saying may be old, but it’s still true: “Attitude determines altitude” – the better your attitude, the higher your altitude. You give me two players with similar talent I can guarantee you that the one with the better attitude will be more successful. In many cases, some players with less talent can be more successful than their more talented counterparts whose attitudes stink. I got kicked off my high school football team my junior year for having an attitude with one of the teachers in the library. She said I was “insubordinate”, at that point in time I had to look up the word to find out what it meant. Although I didn’t agree, I allowed my attitude to affect me and my teammates because I was the starting quarterback, and I was kicked off the team with three games to go.
History is littered with talented flameouts – people who had all the goods…but didn’t have a good attitude. It really makes me sick when I meet someone who’s hungry and thirsty for success, and when they make it, they’re whole attitude changes.
In life, we must always be careful to bring our ‘A’ game by having the right attitude. The right attitude can turn a negative situation into a positive one. None of us can control what happens to us, but we can control how it affects us. Our Bible clearly tells us that in this world we will have tribulation. Knowing that, your attitude is determined by YOU. Don’t give anyone else the remote control over your attitude. It doesn’t matter what negative things happen to you. You have the power to choose to have a positive attitude. Bring your ‘A’ game!
While your ‘A’ game starts with the right attitude, it is maintained by the right appearance. I always say, “If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you play good.” Appearance is important. That’s why ya boy, Prime, is always so clean I’m dirty!
In sports, you have to wear a uniform. Your appearance communicates what team you’re on. How would it have looked if, after I signed to play for the Cowboys, if I showed up in a 49ers jersey? I would have got run out of town because my appearance would not have matched where I was. In the same way, you can’t dress today the same way you dressed 10 years ago. Appearance matters. You can’t be 40 years old, sagging and rocking some Tims. You just look foolish. That may have worked when you were 20, but you’re appearance no longer matches where you are. Ladies, your appearance matters too. If you want a man to love and respect you for who you are, stop using your body as bait! You can’t be in a hoochie uniform but you want to be treated like First Lady Obama. LADIES, MAKE SURE YOUR APPEARANCE MATCHES WHO YOU ARE (or desire to be).
When you dress for success…success usually finds you. Bring your ‘A’ game!
Your ‘A’ game starts with your attitude, continues with your appearance, but it is solidified through action. In other words, you’ve got to go out and make a play. I always tell the kids that I coach and mentor that “a play don’t care who makes it.” Make something happen!! This attitude is what separated me from my peers. Most defensive backs play the game not to get beat. I played to make a play. When the quarterback had the audacity to throw the ball in my direction, I felt it was meant for me to catch. Don’t just sit back waiting for the game to come to you. Be proactive. GO GET THAT THANG! You can’t have an ‘A’ game without effort.
If you want to be successful in the game of life, you have to be willing to put in the work. (Everybody wanna get paid, but ain’t nobody wanna put in the work.) Go out there and start that business. Go back to school and finish that degree. Rekindle that fire in your relationship. Put your dream into action. It’s important to dream big, but you have to DO bigger. Dreams don’t just come true. You have to pull them through. Take action. Bring that dream to pass, but you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game!