On Day 1, immediately upon taking their seat, I say to them:
I have one rule:
Show up. Prepared to be here, and nowhere else.
As you can imagine, I get varied reactions.
Some of them look confused.
Some of them think, “only one rule?”
Some of them have absolutely no idea what I’m referring to.
They are all trying to get a read on me.
Am I a nice professor?
What can they get away with?
What, exactly, have they just walked into?
The answer to the last question is the simplest…
Straight into life’s most powerful lesson, which is this:
If they can muster up the courage and the confidence to show up to each class and give it their all, they will win.
They will not just win with a grade, they will WIN in everything they do for the rest of their lives.
However, if they can’t, it’s open to debate how life will turn out for them.
At any time they can change their course of direction and make the choice to show up, but life may not offer them many opportunities.
At first, this all-or-nothing philosophy might seem harsh.
You might be wondering, what if someone is sick?
What if someone in the family dies?
Do you still expect them to show up to class?
It’s not about the outlier moments of tragedy.
It’s about ceasing the constant internal battle of looking for the exception to the rule to stay comfortable.
It’s about leveraging everyday, routine moments.
It’s about whether they will choose excellence or mediocrity.
It’s about cultivating emotional competency through the act of showing up, preparing, doing the work, contributing meaningful ideas and overall being present to what this particular time in their life is offering them.
When tragedy strikes, as surely it does, they can leverage the same foundational principles.
Understanding how to bring their all in anything, makes them capable in everything.
When they find themselves in painful, trying and devastating moments, they will be equipped to lead and to offer the same presence, contribution and emotional competency they do in other parts of their lives.
Additionally, tragedy strikes far less than is lied about. It has become an unproductive habitual excuse to lie in order to get out of the discomfort that the present moment can offer to self-development and growth.
Furthermore, the lies (to themselves or others) function to excuse themselves from digging deep, preparing, doing the real work and taking massive action.
Diamonds were not made from sea sponges. They were made from the world’s most intense pressure.
While it may seem there is more competition than ever, becoming the best in the world at any given craft is becoming easier. Even with public access to the best technologies and information, networks and mentors, we find fewer and fewer people who are truly willing to go the distance, keep showing up, be present to their lives and make use of THIS moment as a teacher.
So yes, this is my only non-negotiable rule in class.
Show up. Prepared to be here and nowhere else.
Here, uninhibited in this moment, to fully experience it.