We are driven to be our best and make an impact in our world.

We have the intense desire to achieve the goals we set for ourselves and continue to drive the ball forward.

If we just won a Super Bowl then we are hungry to win another one, and will start working immediately towards that.

It’s the way we are wired and it is one of the ways that we stay energized and focused.

We are hungry and it is a beautiful thing.

But what if that hunger begins to fade?


Out of all the lessons I learned during my time on the football field, there is one that resonates just as clearly today as it did more than 15 years ago when the words first echoed out of my coach’s mouth:

Complacency is the enemy

Let’s think about this for a moment.

After every victory or accomplishment we achieve, we have a very specific choice. We can be grateful for the accomplishment and begin focusing on raising the bar further OR consider it good enough.

I cringe at that phrase – good enough. It screams of emptiness and is a black hole for unrealized potential and all that could have been.

I see complacency all around me, and when I think about my future, it remains one of my biggest fears.

Good enough on the field means the guy or girl behind you in the depth chart WILL take your spot.

Good enough in the office translates to an uninspired work product, lack of meaning, stalled career, or being a slave working a ‘9 to 5’ until retirement.

Good enough at home means a fading relationship with your spouse, disengaged relationship with your children or shallow relationships with neighbors and friends.

Good enough is never enough

If we hope to live fulfilled lives and reach our true potential and genius, then good enough can never be enough.  Complacency can never creep into any part of our lives.  If we allow it to impact one area of our lives, then it will eventually take over all areas.  I believe this for 2 reasons:

  • “How you do one thing is how you do everything” (Thank you Todd Durkin)
  • Being complacent and not putting in the work is the EASIER path every time

So, we know our enemy. But how do we defeat it?

Throughout my ongoing battle against complacency, I’ve leveraged the 5 tactics/tools below to stay focused, stay driven and execute on becoming my best self.

  • Maintain and feed your ‘why’ – Always be clear on why you are doing what you are doing.  Review your why and vision for yourself and recommit to that higher purpose to keep the drive alive.
  • Set and measure goals – It’s one thing to set goals, but a whole new ball game when you measure them.  As the great proverb goes, “what gets measured gets managed”.  Make sure you stay on track to reap the rewards of your goals as opposed to losing track of your timeline and either destroying your drive or running out of time.
  • Stay inspired – Distractions, rough patches or the mundane tasks that are sometimes a necessary evil of our days can get in the way of our drive and inspiration.  Understand this and find positive and inspirational content (podcasts, books, videos, music, etc.) to lift up your spirit and continue your battle towards greatness.
  • Realize that you are never done learning – As soon as you think you know everything in your chosen field then someone just beat you.  There are always different or better ways to do things and there is always new information and knowledge being uncovered.  Centuries ago everyone knew that the world was flat and that the sun revolved around the Earth…  If no one questioned what they ‘knew to be true’ then we would still believe those things today rather than charting far off solar systems and the great unknown.  Keep learning and you will uncover life altering knowledge and insight to be the best at what you do.  Never stop being a student of your game!
  • Be aware of the complacency around you – for me personally, this has been my greatest tool to combat the enemy over time. When you see someone who just shows up to collect a paycheck – no ambition, drive, or desire to make a difference it gives you a chance to reflect and reaffirm the life you want (or don’t want).  Furthermore, since many believe that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with, we know to STAY AWAY from those people!

The road ahead

Complacency is an enemy that will never give up.  It will keep pushing back on you and tempting you with an easier path… an easier life.  However, that is a life of mediocrity.  A life that I believe is not worth living.

The beauty of complacency never giving up is that as we continue to grow and become better, each successive victory over complacency will be that much grander and so much more impactful to us and those around us.

Keep fighting and never stop striving for your absolute best in all areas of your life.

Discussion Question:

In what area of your life does complacency battle you most?  What have you done to successfully defeat it in your life?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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