What exactly is 100 percent? I know what it is on a sliding scale, but I’m not certain that in my life I’ve ever hit 100 percent of anything. Really. Have you?
I hear sports figure expound on their giving 100 percent on the basketball or tennis court, on the football, baseball or lacrosse field, or on the ice. But have they really? Who’s judging? The only “real” judge is me. It’s my push. It’s my exertion. It’s my all. I wonder what it feels like to give my all.
When I play tennis I give my all even when I’m playing poorly. But does that mean I gave 100 percent of my talent, mind, body and energy? Did I really go for every shot? I doubt it.
I’ve been watching the US Open in Flushing Meadows; I’m a true tennis junkie! I watch in pure amazement at the talent that these players portray on the court. I also know that their lives off the court deems perfection – if possible. Their workout schedule must be brutal. How often do they practice to make the grade to get to a grand slam tournament? Hours upon hours upon hours of weights, running and core work, not to mention the mental stamina must take a commitment to their sport beyond anything that I’ve experienced. I applaud them all – in all sports.
Yesterday I witnessed – on television – a stellar performance of two exquisite players give 100 percent of what they had. But, was Serena Williams’ mental accumen at 100 percent? Her service? Her forehand? The same questions can be asked of Kim Clijsters – her opponent. The power, concentration, desire, focus of their shots, service and return of service, were brilliant. And then….
A line judge called a foot fault on Serena on second serve when she was not only down a set, but also down a point in a game that could mean the difference between losing the set; therefore, the match, and getting even. The line judge – right or wrong in the call – became the focus of 100 percent of Serena’s frustration – she wasn’t playing her best – and anger – not only at the judge’s call and the timing, but also herself. Serena verbally went after the line judge not once, not twice, but three times. She forfeited the game…and the match. How do you channel your frustration? Do you give it 100 percent, but not your work? When frustration mounts and you give it more energy and focus than necessary, you may explode like Serena. Let go of the frustration immediately, get over it and move on. (Serena said as much in the press conference after the match.) Focus on the job.
I go to a spin class at my gym once or twice a week. I so want to complete a full class at the rate the instructor asks of us. I want to give it my all -100 percent – of my energy and my lung capacity. It’s a brutal workout for me, though I love it and keep going back. But I don’t know if I give 100 percent. I don’t know what that feels like. I do know that depending on the day, I may get through the hour and be proud, not to mention totally exhausted, or I may pedal at half the pace so I can regain consciousness – or close.
Tomorrow I want to give 100 percent at some activity during my day, I’m just not certain what that activity will be. Then on Tuesday, I’ll go back to spin class and see if I can extend my energy, give freedom to my competitive nature and pedal at the rate the instructor asks. I’ll let you know.
It’s a new day. It’s a new week. See where your scale of mental and physical work hits: 50 percent? 66 percent? Give something extra today, tomorrow or one day this week to see if that barometer hits 100 percent. If so, congratulations.