The year was 2006. I was heading into my 3rd year in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers. I was 25 years old, in the prime of my life, and just signed my second contract. Yeah, I had made it! Or so I thought…
The next day, I walked in to the weight room at Charger park, proud of myself, head high, chest out, amidst a ton of congratulations. Teammates, coaches, and trainers were all patting me on the back, knowing that the reason you play is to have fun and get paid. I had checked those boxes off. And then my strength coach gets ahold of me. Dave “Redman” Redding yells at me from his office, “Get in here boy!” Redman. The most genuine, authentic strength coach from North Platte, Nebraska. He was rugged, funny, and straight forward. I step into his office and expect more congratulations and praise. Instead he barks at me, “Don’t let your butt get flat!” I didn’t know what he meant, as he caught me off guard. He stripped it down for me in a very strength coach type of way.
Red was telling me affectionately, ‘Congratulations. But now the work begins.’ His reference to my butt was talking about the work I still needed to do. In a weight room sense, I couldn’t quit squatting. I couldn’t just stop getting bigger, faster, or stronger because I had been paid.
That hit me like a ton of bricks and was a refreshing and much needed slap in the face.
I have taken that with me into every walk of life. It’s fighting what psychologists refer to as “Arrival Syndrome”. That term means getting to a perceived goal or level of success and shutting down, as you have “arrived” at a destination.
Goals and dreams are not destinations. They are bus stops. They are pauses in life to validate all of the hard work and to justify the hard work that is yet to come. It’s important to keep moving and growing throughout life. It’s important to “keep squatting!”
The next time you consider slowing down or resting on your laurels and being comfortable, imagine ‘Redman’ as you walk into your weight room, and in a hillbilly voice reminding you “Don’t let your butt get flat!”