A Letter to the “Dedicated”

If you are reading this, then there is something that has sparked your interest. Either you are “Dedicated”, think you are, or want to be…. Thank you in advance, and today I want to give you a little education.

There is a difference between being committed and being dedicated. Commitment means we are meeting the requirements, accepting the structure, and are accountable to the standards. This in itself is a sacrifice, a sacrifice of many personal freedoms and time to join a team or organization. For many… this is the definition of “All In”…. This is also the main hurdle for bad teams, the challenge to just get people to be committed. They have people that are only interested in being committed when it is convenient to them. However, in reality, even though being committed is honorable, it does not make you uncommon. Mediocre to good organizations have many people that show up on time everyday and do what they are told. Commitment is always the first step, but what we hope to inspire is for people to be “Dedicated.”

“Dedicated” people are not only committed but are inspired toward a greater purpose. They go beyond what is required by the schedule, coaches, administration, or boss. They do not do extra when it is convenient, they make it a priority. They are the ones in the weight room, field, or court when nothing is scheduled. They are the ones that are checking on their teammates past the locker room. They are the ones that change eating and sleep habits to better fuel their body to perform. They are the ones that study the game and want to learn. They are the ones that change their inner circle to other dedicated people…. Even if this means they have to stand alone. They are the ones that will not do anything to jeopardize their larger purpose. They are the ones that do not have to say they are “All In”, everyone already knows it…. Great to high level organizations are filled with these people. This becomes the standard….

However the reality is that in most groups, the “Dedicated” are the few… they are the rarity…. They are the top 10%, or you could just be the 1%…. You may be more unpopular to be “Dedicated” and more popular to remain “Committed”. Society will also often confuse a high level performer with a “Dedicated” person. We will then pattern and model our behavior after the wrong example. Many high level performers are gifted with enough natural ability that they can be successful with barely being committed. These are the players that coaches are constantly having to check on, push, and hold accountable. They are reinforcing and hoping that one day they will become truly “Dedicated.” They know that when natural ability and dedication combines, it is the recipe for something uncommonly special. The best cultures are when your best players are truly dedicated…. The best organizations are when the CEO is the example of “dedication” and not just commitment. This is especially hard when you have not had an example to follow or you are trying to create the example. Until the culture changes or if you are aspiring to be at another level… Here are 4 main points we try to get people to understand:

  • The #1 reason keeping the “Committed” from becoming “Dedicated” is “FEAR“. I have watched many people let “fear” self-sabotage the best version of themselves. The “fear” of failure, not being accepted, judgement, knowing that success will bring higher expectations, and not being able to consistently live to a higher standard. The “fear” that people will think you are a hypocrite by comparing your old ways…. The “fear” that your current group will probably not go down this path with you… Everyone imagines doing something unique in life, but we also want to feel valued within our group. Most that become truly “Dedicated”, will lose some current friends, but will also gain others making the same choice. It is great when your group is full of “Dedicated” people, but in most cases they are not. The fact that you could be called a “try hard”, “coaches favorite”, that you just think you are better than everyone, or people will make up stuff about you… The “fear” that you will be made fun of you when all your efforts to be different result in failure. If you want to be “Dedicated”, you will have to face your fears.
  • The reality is that many of these things will likely happen. Negative opinions, false judgments, or rejection really hurts and can cut deep… As long as we are human, this will always be the case. However, always remember that people do not talk about or judge anyone that accepts average. Anyone that has dared greatly has faced an equal amount of opposition. The difference happens for people when your desire becomes greater than your fear…. In the words of the great civil rights activist Rosa Parks, “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes the fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” There is nothing greater than giving yourself totally to a worthy cause and do not give haters the satisfaction of credit. Understand that deep down, their comments are just a defense mechanism to mask their own insecurities. If you want to be “Dedicated”, you will have to decide that your purpose is greater than your fear.
  • Just because you are “Dedicated”, does not guarantee you worldly success… You can do everything possible to be successful and a less dedicated person can still beat you. You will often think that “Life is not fair”… and guess what?? You are right… “Life is not fair”… However what you gain is a guaranteed path to the best version of yourself. It also guarantees your best chance to win in this world. The “Dedicated” will gain something deeper and more valuable than any win on the scoreboard. They will develop pride, great habits, integrity, and self-respect. The proof will not come from the scoreboard, but from the look you get in the mirror. You are only as good as your experiences, and you will learn to apply this mindset to other windows of life. You will become a “Dedicated” spouse, parent, employee, friend, and community member. You will discover that what started in a sports uniform, has become a lifelong standard of excellence. The most successful people I know in business, the military, coaches, or in their homes, where once truly “Dedicated” players… Some of the most unsuccessful and struggling people I know, were once productive players that never truly grasped what it even took to be committed… If you want to be “Dedicated”, realize that the rewards are greater than the world.
  • This decision is much bigger than you or your goals… You being the example gives someone else the courage to step out and be the best version of themselves…. You are the definition of what we mean when we discuss legacy… The example of behavior that people model in your presence and after you are gone. As I stated earlier in this article, great organizations are filled with these people and you can help create the snowball effect. We need more examples of “Dedicated” people for others to follow… Because deep down your example is what we long to be, and the one we greatly respect. Understand that the moment you gained breath, you gained the ability to influence other people. How do I know this? Because people follow examples and not titles… Employees may be compliant to their bosses direction, but they only emulate the behaviors of the right example. People will remember how you make them feel, and your example can help lead them to greater self discovery. If you want to be “Dedicated”, realize that it is not about you.

If this is you… keep being the example…. if this is not you… it is time for you to be the example… This world need you… We need the best version of that difference making gift inside of you. Dedication is a choice and can start or end today… Nothing in this life is written in stone and you can change if you want it bad enough. Excuses are for losers and winners are the ones that take on real responsibilities.. You will have obstacles, but so does everybody and this too is relative to your path. You can decide to leap over them or let them be the reason you stop. We become what we repeatedly do and understand that nobody owes you anything… Time plays no favorites and will pass whether you act or not. Dare to dream and take risks…. Compete… If you are not willing to work for your goals then do not expect others to… It is time… To be special….

One thought on “A Letter to the “Dedicated”

  1. What powerful insight into the difference between commitment and dedication. This article encourages me to make sure I remain dedicated by example. This is great inspiring education. Thank you Coach Winegarden!

    Liked by 1 person

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