My youngest brother Josh plays double A baseball for the Boston Red Sox. In my family we are all hard workers, but I admire his ability to work in what is a super risky career. In his world, it is literally all about “the grind,” but not the kind of grind we think of in the 9-5 work world… although I literally haven’t worked 9-5 in over a decade!
Most people get confused by the professional sports industry. A lot of people think it’s all about being exceptional at playing a sport and that’s basically your life. The thing that most people don’t see is the professional sports industry is a fast paced, entrepreneurial environment where you as the athlete are the product.
You see it’s beyond just being excellent at a sport you have to be marketable and someone coaches want to work with, someone players look up to, someone managers and owners consider a profitable entity. You have to grind in a different way. It’s not just what you do on the field, it’s who you are off the field.
Your entire life is on display and the the closer you get to “the big show,” the harder “the grind.” How many times have we watched an athlete fall from grace not because of their dip in athletic prowess, but because of the exposure of their personal flaws. It’s like working in a fish bowl. That type of “grind” is enough to make any young athlete crack or falter.
What I love about my baby brother though is something that I try and infuse in my daily life, and it’ s also what I know will guide his success. These 3 key steps to effectively “grinding” without breaking:
- Find your sense of value and purpose. Faith is our # 1 priority in my family. My brother lives and breathes his faith. He is barely 25, yet he knows that God has to be # 1 in His life. Does that mean he doesn’t have moments of doubt? Absolutely not! That’s what brings us to the 2nd step…
- Surround yourself with a “check yourself crew.” These are the honest people in your life who will be there to support you in an uplifting way. They are the people who will love you and pray for you and provide you with the guidance you need to sustain the grind. They are also the people that help you with the final step…
- Don’t EVER take yourself too seriously! When the Tobias siblings go out… we GO OUT! We karaoke, we make friends with anyone in arms distance, we surround ourselves with laughter and fun, and we joke! There is this perfect moment when my brothers were my backup dancers when I karaoked to CeeLo Green “F*ck You” (yes.. this happens often), and the even better moment when my brothers karaoked together and my brother Drew held the microphone for Josh as he belted out Creed “Higher.” We can’t make this up, and you know what if you haven’t laughed at yourself lately, you should really start now!
You see the “grind” is all about the process. How are you supporting your own “grind”? What are you doing to set yourself up for success but not burn yourself out because you’ve grinded too hard and forgot about Step # 3? Don’t let your “grind” be your downfall. Let your “grind” be your driver, but own your journey to getting to that next level.