The Devil is in the Details


The Devil is in the Details

It is so great to be back in the gym both as an athlete and as a coach. I definitely returned with a renewed sense of purpose for our work at Catacombs and a personal commitment to dig back into the details that create excellence. While on vacation, I made lists of specific tasks that contribute to this notion of excellence that needed attention. Without exception, they are all details. That is both reassuring and disconcerting at the same time. Let me explain.

On the positive side, I take great pride in the fact that the main idea of what we do and why we do it has not faded or changed over the months and years. There is no course correction or wholesale change needed here. The passion for changing lives, dedication to doing things the right way, and caring for our athletes remain the central themes every morning when we unlock the doors.  It is this focus and the relentless pursuit of helping people that is at the forefront of everything we do. 

On the negative side, the list of details or “issues” is over 200 items long. They range from small inconveniences that no one else notices to obstacles that will ultimately blunt our effectiveness if not addressed. The realization that I have made upon setting to work on these “issues” is that many of them relate to a mindset of excellence rather than a task list to be checked off. It isn’t so much about what you do, but how you do it. It is the focus and energy that you put toward doing that which you’ve set out to do and the integrity with which you do it. The other realization that I have made is that this mindset of excellence spills over into every other area of your life. You will not take care of business at the gym or at work if you are screwing up your nutrition or your personal relationships.

Now, a mindset of excellence is incredibly challenging when you are just barely hanging on by your fingernails to the pace of life. We all get into periods where we are moving so fast and juggling so many moving parts that survival becomes the priority. When just getting dinner on the table is a small miracle, organic meat and fresh vegetables from the Farmer’s Market are impossibilities. When just getting to the gym takes all the courage you can muster, perfectly executed reps and intensity become “nice to haves”. It is my suspicion that the “issues list” became as long as it did as a result of me spending too much time in that cycle. So, suffice it to say, if you are in that place right now, I understand. But it is not a justification for staying there. I challenge you to start charting the course toward excellence over mere survival. How do you do that? Just start living it.

So, where do you fall on that continuum? I’m going to share one last piece of Coach Philosophy then I promise I will get back to work. Somewhere between being excellent and being in the scattered state of dysfunction I describe above, there is a midpoint. I believe that this midpoint is called complacency; and, that complacency is the opposite of intensity. It creeps in slowly but ultimately robs our effectiveness and drive. I challenge you to look for it in you workouts (even your warmup!) and in your life. Call it out for what it is then eradicate it from your life. 

Yes, the devil is in the details. But so is excellence.