Oh, and he plays for a team I hate because I’m a Cowboys fan.
Coming out of high school, this leader was recruited by only one major program. He quickly took their scholarship before they changed their minds! He was listed as their 5th-string quarterback!
He faced all of the challenges that you would expect in college football: the relentless conditioning exercises, mandatory time in the weight room, learning a huge playbook, competing for playing time, and wanting to excel in full-time school work.
But what made him great is the way he reacted to the challenges you wouldn’t expect. “What I didn’t expect was my biggest challenge of all—the challenge I faced in terms of my own character.
The best leader in the NFL is Kirk Cousins, quarterback of the Washington Redskins.
“How many times did I face the temptation to quit on the inside? The biggest challenges were when the coaches were critical, when I wanted to complain, or when I wanted to blame someone else.” It didn’t stop there. Kirk also mentions the challenges “when I was tempted to go places or say things that are contrary to who I want to be as a person.”
I’ve never met Kirk, but I know his dad. Don Cousins is a champion. I can’t tell you how much respect I have for Don. So I wasn’t surprised to read these words from his son:
My dad told me when I came to Michigan State that his greatest concern for me was erosion—the idea that I would wear down gradually over time in terms of my values, morals, convictions and beliefs; that I would become someone different than who I was when I first arrived. Many times I’ve had to dig deep to walk against the flow of traffic, if you know what I mean.
Friends, we’ve all been there. It’s always our character that ends up tripping us up rather than lack of leadership skills. Every day we face the temptation of erosion. If we compromise only 2% this week and only 1% next week… our lives will begin to slowly spin out of control. People won’t see the battle on the inside… until they see it leaking through to the outside. By then the death spiral will be gaining speed.
As John Maxwell says, “My biggest leadership challenge… is me!”
This is going to take some courage. Have the guts to do an honest assessment of your life to see where your character has been eroding. Recognize it. Admit it. Come up with a positive behavior instead of your negative pattern. Then look forward to changing your behavior the next time you are tempted to do otherwise.
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