Friday, July 1, 2011

Heart of a Tiger

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander has it figured out. At 28 he understands the key to success. He understands what makes people great. Drive, determination, and expectations higher than most people can comprehend push Verlander to greatness.

In a Yahoo! Sports article published yesterday, Justin Verlander says, "I've never shied away from the fact that my only real goal is to be a Hall of Famer when I'm done."

The true measure of success is not the ultimate goal, but how hard you tried to get there. Verlander is having a great career and he may very well be a Hall of Famer when it's all said and done. But even if he's not, he's made himself better by setting that goal.

The competition to be a Major League Baseball player is fierce. The first-year player draft sees approximately 1,500 players each year. With only 30 Major League teams carrying a 25 man roster and the vast majority of those positions already filled, the odds of breaking into the Majors are slim. So it's understandable for many players to simply be happy they made it when they do. Yet, being content with where you are does not lead to success. If the goal is just to make it, the failure rate will be high.

The same can be said for all our jobs. With unemployment hovering at about 9%, the competition in the job market today is intense. It would be easy for most people to just be happy they have a job. Yet that mentality does not lead to success.

Set the bar high, try to be the best and results will follow. As Verlander said, when you try to be the absolute best, "most other things, the individual things, those will take care of themselves." On the other hand, striving to just get by will surely lead to failure.

Take a step back and enjoy Justin Verlander's approach to work. With 11 wins already and a no-hitter in the books, he is proving that hard work and high expectations makes him a winner. Enjoy his competitive spirit. "As competitive as I am, you hear someone say no one will ever win 300 games again, that makes me want to go out and do it."

In six and a half big league seasons so far, Verlander has racked up 94 wins. He'll surpass 100 wins this season and still have an uphill battle to reach 300. But if he stays healthy and maintains the same commitment and desire he has now, he can reach that historic mark.

Most successful people will tell you it takes a certain amount of selfishness to be the best. It takes a little bit of an ego. Don't be afraid to want to be the best. Don't be afraid to set your goals high. If we apply Justin Verlander's attitude to our own lives, results will naturally follow.


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