Go Dig a Ditch
I had an excellent advisor and professor when I first entered the Physical Education program here at Shepherd. Dr. Mike Jacobs was one of the longest-serving professors in the department at the time of his retirement last summer. Having taught and coached for 40+ years in both public schools and at the university level, Mike was a font of knowledge for us, and always had a story to share. He was always smiling, always seeing the positives, and he shared that with all of his students. I can’t help but smile when I see him come to visit campus these days, he just has that effect on people.
The most important lesson I learned from Mike was presented in the very first class I took with him, and that was his idea the concept of doing your best. He said to us, “Even if you dig a ditch, dig the best ditch you can”. Of course this was met with the sighs of every freshman in the room as they wondered what this crazy old codger was getting on about, but I just sat there and made sure I took that quote down in my notebook.
Under the quote I have written his points behind doing your best, and I strive to remember them in all aspects of life:
- Your work ethic is who you are.
- Be proud of your work, it reflects who you are.
- Never settle for less than your best.
- Commit yourself to your actions.
The work we do is a direct reflection of our personalities and who we are as people, and that lesson has stuck with me ever since. This applies to work, relationships, training, and just about anything else. If you know you’re not giving your all in something you’re doing, then maybe it’s not something worth doing. By the same token, if you’re doing your absolute best and not seeing results, maybe another plan of attack is required.
If you’re half-assing a program that you’re writing, then it’ll show when your athlete makes less than ideal progress. If you’re walking into the gym and skipping over half of your program because you “just don’t feel like it today”, then don’t act shocked when your returns show that. Walk into the gym, put all you’ve got into every rep, finish the session and know that you did everything in your power to succeed. Go in like that and your work ethic will show even if there’s a missed attempt on the books. If there’s water flowing through it, then you’ve probably dug a decent ditch, but if you’re seeing flooding, then you may have missed a few things.