I was in ninth grade and we were finishing up our work outs in the weight room. After every session we would always have some type of team finisher. This particular day Coach Srock, (the head of our strength and conditioning program, and a legend in the state of South Carolina) decided we would do plate holds. Weighted plates to be exact. On his whistle we’d drop down into a perfect squat and hold the plate out with straight arms as if we were sitting in a chair.
Now this may sound simple, but to do it the right way, which was the only way he accepted, you had to focus. If not we’d start the whole round over on his stopwatch. Oh and the plate that most of us were holding was forty-five pounds. We started the drill not knowing how long we would be in this position. I remember after three rounds he looked me dead in my eyes as we started the last set. This was my time. It was my time to show him I’m not going to quit. And I didn’t. He saw my legs trembling and my face fighting the pain. I could tell that he was impressed. After that session, I knew I’d earned his respect. And for some reason, I wanted his respect.
You see, Coach Srock was different. Different than any other man I’d ever met in my life. He was diligent in his work. A committed man who drank black coffee every morning. We had one kid who was overweight and if he wanted to play he had to lose at least fifty pounds. Like clockwork, there was my teammate and Coach Srock every morning before school walking the track together. He loved his job and he cared so much about our well being. When it came to improving speed, he was a mad scientist. We were on the cutting edge of every new technique that came out. And we were good. Real good, and everyone in the state knew why.
Fast forward almost ten years later and I get a call from Coach Srock asking me to demonstrate some drills for an upcoming strength and speed seminar. And of course I gladly said yes. After we finished our session there were two more days left in the event and he was front row taking notes listening carefully to every speaker there was. I told you, he’s just different.
When I got an opportunity to play with the San Francisco 49ers for two years I was in the same meeting room as one of my idols Frank Gore. A future hall of famer. One of the greatest to ever play the running back position. Before practice I was doing a footwork drill to warm up and I saw Frank coming over. He asked me to show him the pattern of the drill I was just doing. The next day I saw him adding that to his repertoire. Now I knew from his reputation that Frank was humble and hard working but it truly blew my mind that he was asking this rookie with an injured knee to show him a new drill. And again, I had that same feeling. The same admiration I felt when I was around Coach Srock and for the longest time I couldn’t put my finger on what made these two so special. What made them stand out from everyone else I’d ever been around. What made them so unique? They walked differently. They asked questions with genuine interest. They had an aurora around them. They were unconsciously humble.
I was reading a book on leadership (Reboot) by Jerry Colona and I came across a word and when I read it my mind immediately went to the two people I respect most in this world. Complacency, and it all made sense.
They never got to a place where they were complacent. Heck they might not even know what that word means and I mean that in the most positive sense! They were never satisfied with where they were. They always wanted to get better and that type of mindset was contagious to those around them.The most fascinating part about it all is that they didn’t have to say a word because their actions spoke so loud. In all aspects of their life! They were the least complacent people I’d ever met. It was as if they fell in love with growth and stumbled upon greatness.