Stay With The Heat

A while back I was in Whistler with some buddies for a dads getaway.

We had a ping pong tournament, and before long, the last men standing were me and one other guy.

We squared off, played a fast and furious game, and I won.

It felt great.

But then he asked for a rematch.

I felt a little niggling doubt, but of course I accepted.

…and promptly got SKUNKED.

He trounced me on the second game as well.

As we played, I realized this had been a pattern in my life.

In sports, business, and so many other areas, I’d often been the “fast start” who is first out of the gate but then quickly plateaus, fades, and ultimately FIZZLES OUT.

A one shot wonder.

Well, as I was getting crushed in that ping pong rematch, I finally put my finger on WHY.

It was the tension of high performance.

When you are up against a true competitor or challenge, it demands your best in a way the first easy win does not.

When my competitor was relentless and hungry for the win, I often unconsciously made the choice to BACK OFF and gear down ever so slightly instead of stepping up my game and meeting it head on.

When faced with the heat of battle, I wasn’t staying with the heat.

Once I realized what was happening, I embraced the tension in that ping pong game and consciously pushed my intensity to 100%.

Although I was down three points, with my competitor only two points from victory, I played like my life depended on it…

…and won.

I’m sure you have areas of incredible natural talent. Things that are hard for others but easy for you.

But I’m guessing that natural ability hasn’t always led to long term success the way it seems it should.

The truth is, sustained success requires a strong start AND a strong finish.

So if you can relate to the “one shot wonder” thing, I invite you to deliberately step into the areas of tension you have been avoiding. Seek out the difficult battles, the ones that seem designed specifically to defeat you.

Then, when the pressure comes, gather up all your strength and will and meet it head on.

Stay with the heat.

It’s hot and sweaty and uncomfortable. But it’s where greatness is forged.

Related article: How Your Soul Dies


  1. […] was inspired to write this after reading Stay With The Heat by Bryan Ward. I wonder what kind of greatness […]

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