Preview of The Pledge
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I lost count, but I knew it wasn’t the first time or the second or the third. I had shut down before but this time was different. The previous times were just warm-ups. Public humiliation and embarrassment are not created equal. It’s extremely difficult for adults to handle humiliation and embarrassment in front of their peers but its hell for a child to process. I had set goals after each time it happened, attempting to solve my hell. None of them worked out. All good intentions, but they stayed locked up inside my messed-up 12-year old mind, with nowhere to go, with no escape plan; no way out. Not one goal happened because nothing just happens. I hadn’t reached that point yet. Not until today. As quick as I realized it, I was spirited across the threshold and changed my life for good. I found the true solution to my worst hell.
“I vow never to be obese again.”
It was my first pledge. I made it when I was 12 after I reached the lowest level of H.E.L.L. – Humiliated Embarrassed Laughed-at Loser. I didn’t lift my head for hours. When I shut down, I couldn’t lift my head. I looked down. Dual meaning. I looked down in the dumps and I stared at the ground. It’s fitting that being unfit made me stare at the same ground that I felt psychologically flattened onto. Shutting down hung my head the way I hung on the chin-up bar – like a corpse, not able to make eye contact. The inability to lift my eyes, my head, and what was inside my head were all conditions of shutting down.
The good news of shutting down was that it pushed me in the direction I was supposed to go. It was a full psychological departure from the reality of H.E.L.L. Getting pushed didn’t just happen. It was my Guardian Angel pushing, talking, and… suggesting that I read Instant Replay again. Instant Replay, the book by Jerry Kramer, a Green Bay Packer, was one “soul of a lifter” that lifted me out of the slimy pit, the low point. Reading Instant Replay twenty-three times during the next two decades reinforced my pledge because the book helped me discern my calling, over and over again.
Performances are not created equal. There are average, below average, above average, and transcendent. Incompetent, half-assed, kick-ass, and never-seen-before performances. They range from Sinking Performance – the lowest form of effort, the gross incompetence that sinks your team and your career to an unrecoverable level – to Transcendent Performance, that which raises the bar higher than it’s ever been… into unoccupied air space that changes the game altogether. All high-performance raises the bar but only Transcendent Performance raises it to a league of its own, creating a brand new standard that has never before been thought of or imagined. If you and your team settle for Sinking Performance, I can guarantee you your competition won’t.
But, it starts with The Pledge. Performance goals are imperative to reach minimum performance standards but there’s a force greater than goal setting: The Pledge. What you commit to and how you commit to it is the difference between winning and losing, success and failure, ordinary and extraordinary (by whatever definition you choose). A goal has no power without The Pledge – it is empty.
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)
Head coach – Niagara X-Men Football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Blogs – www.GinoArcaro.com and www.SWATFootball.ca