The Process

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It’s Championship November. The time of the year where champions are proven and fakes are exposed. For teams across America, the goals are in reach. The end of the road is in sight. For the Sooners, it is so incredibly tempting to start crunching the numbers, comparing schedules, and dreaming up all the crazy scenarios that could put you in the playoff. The Prize is so close. It’s right there. How can you get to it? The answer is simple: Take your eyes off the prize.

Wait…

That’s not how it goes…

I know. Your parents… Your teachers… Everyone you ever trusted… They lied to you.

It’s not about The Prize. It’s about The Process.

But it’s the ultimate oxymoron. The formula doesn’t make sense. Stay focused on the what’s important, right? Don’t lose sight of your goals!

No. Focus on what’s next. Only pay attention to the details. Don’t think about The Prize. Tell yourself over and over again that it’s all about The Process, even when you don’t believe yourself, or when your excitement and ambition begin to take over.

That’s what champions do. Champions know that The Prize is IN The Process. You can only reach the end of the journey by focusing on the next step.

I learned this the hard way.

In 2014, we knew we were good. We had all the pieces. Everyone was coming back. There was NFL talent on both sides of the ball. Coming off of a Sugar Bowl victory, we were highly ranked in the preseason, and it seemed like everyone had us penciled into the first ever CFP. We worked hard. We had a great offseason. We knew that we had a chance to do something special.

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But we made a huge mistake. We made it about The Prize. No, not Coach Stoops. Of course,, he said all the coachly things. But we were dreaming big. We were dreaming of a national championship. It was Natty or bust…. And man did we bust. The first loss hurt, but I quickly realized it wasn’t over yet. Our dreams were still in front of us. Defeat #2 was debilitating, because I knew it just about put us out of contention. But, sure enough, I started postulating. I began to think of all the things that could happen for us to still have a chance to achieve the dream that we set out for so earnestly. But then came 3… and 4… and 5.

How did we go so wrong? We did everything right?

I made it about Prize.

Flip the script… 2015.

No expectations. No high rankings. No talk of a national title. But there was a buzz around the locker room. A chatter. But we weren’t talking about being Big 12 champs. We weren’t dreaming of a playoff spot, or scheming about a national championship. We were talking about beating them… All of them…as bad as we possibly could. Was the leadership very much aware of the stakes? Absolutely. Did we know what our ranking was? Of course we did. But the narrative being repeated from the top down was that this was about taking our respect. It was about dominance. It was about sending a message. It was about us being as good as we could possibly be from one week to the next.

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What were we focused on? We were focused on The Process, and that took us to The Prize.

But there’s another thing.

It’s not just that The Prize is IN The Process.

The Prize IS The Process.

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Kobe Bryant won his first NBA Championship and looked around the locker room in the midst of the confetti and champagne and thought “Now what?”

Ray Allen won his second NBA championship, and he woke up the next morning and went to the dentist.

There are countless similar testimonials from some of the most accomplished athletes in all of sports.

Why??

Fulfillment is not in the trophy. You find your joy in the journey. If you make it about The Prize, even if you do find it, you’ll be disappointed. It won’t make you as happy as you think it will. It cannot offer you fulfillment. A fleeting moment of glory, nothing more.

If you truly want to be happy, relish The Process. Make it your Prize.

By doing so, you just might end up with both.

It’s Winning Time, one play at a time.

Boomer,

TD

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