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Silence Your Inner Critic (And Those Haters) With This Timeless Quote

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

This is my third post in the "6 Life Lessons From a Hall of Fame Coach" series, paying tribute to Larry Haylor. Inspired by LinkedIn's blog to #ThankYourMentor, I'm sharing the principles I learned from Larry and how they have influenced my life. When followed they will yield success for anyone who embraces and applies them.

Lesson #3: Dare Greatly

In my first post I referenced fearing failure and the grip it held on my decision making. At worst, it would paralyze me. At best, it created intense pressure to perform. Moving forward from a place of paralysis or intense pressure was a challenge to handle consistently.

One of Larry's favorite quotes that helped me focus, quiet any distraction, and perform despite my fear was in the team locker room and referenced often . A reminder sign to “DARE GREATLY” adorned the locker room exit, touched by every player on game day as we ran onto the field. The full quote comes from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Through this quote, Larry extolled the virtues of perseverance, going beyond failure, and never giving in to outside opinion or perception. He emphasized the effort one made in the process of daring greatly was the most important factor one can judge. Disregard anything that would tell you otherwise, and let the critics who sit on the sidelines or refuse to challenge themselves to achieve greatness be silenced.

This lesson remains with me today. I think of it often, and have shared it when I meet someone who needs inspiration. It’s also a great reminder of the way Larry helped mold the character of his players. He instilled a determination, resilience, and drive that catapulted his teams to achieve their full potential. He challenged us to spend ourselves in our worthy cause. 

Assess yourself and apply this lesson:

  1. What is your worthy cause?

  2. Where might fear be holding you back?

  3. How can you begin to dare greatly as you pursue your worthy cause?

What do you think of this lesson? Add a comment, like and/or share this post, and join the conversation to #ThankYourMentor

In my fourth post I share my favorite "Larry-ism" that came out when he got fired up. I always found it funny at the time, but now see the value in the lesson it inspired.

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