#1719 The Two Cornerstones of Competitive Greatness

Enthusiasm & Hard Work

I’m typing this at 10:22 a.m. CT on Saturday, March 2nd, 2024.

Emerson just won his first match in this year’s Texas State Championship.

Last year, he won the JV division. This year he’s in the Championship division.

As I’ve said many times before, our just-the-boys weekend trips to his chess tournaments are tied for first as my ABSOLUTE favorite thing in the world.

NOTHING beats driving a few hours with him talking about life then joyfully unpacking our stuff in the hotel (we move in as we bring all our own food for the weekend!), calling mommy at night so she can read to him with Eleanor before bed then falling asleep holding hands.


This is our 21st tournament since Emerson started playing in them almost exactly a year ago.

At this stage, we have a pretty dialed-in pre-match protocol.

We move for 15 minutes, bang out 3 sets of 11 burpees together, listen to mommy’s Rocky-theme-song declaration meditation then walk in together—chest up, chin down, breathing in through our noses, down into our bellies, calm confident, ready to rock!

Fun fact: We forgot to bring our ball for our skippy-ball workout so I pulled off my Spartan jacket and we made that the ball. (Hah.)


We talked about John Wooden and his Pyramid of Success.

I told Emerson about Coach Wooden and how he’s one of my favorite heroes.

Then I told him about the summit of his pyramid: Competitive Greatness.

I celebrated Emerson’s Competitive Fire and his ability to show up as his best when it matters most and I also celebrated his true LOVE of the battle—the two elements Wooden says make up Competitive Greatness.

Then we talked about the two MOST IMPORTANT cornerstone blocks to the Pyramid of Success…


(Technically, Wooden calls Hard Work “Industriousness” but when in doubt and I want to explain it to an 11-year-old I like to simplify it so…)

I celebrated his incredible Enthusiasm and Hard Work and made the connection on how his consistent joyful effort is what has led to his incredible improvement and performance.

Then I quizzed him a few times during our workout to see if we could make it stick.

I just asked him right now …

Me: “What are the two cornerstones of Competitive Greatness?!”

Him: “Enthusiasm and Hard Work! You asked me like five times so now I know.”

Me: “Hah! Repetition is what it’s all about. Nice work.”

That’s Today’s +1.

Me to you: “What are the two cornerstones to Competitive Greatness?!”

You: “Enthusiasm and Hard Work.”

Me: “Exactly. Nice work!”

🙌 🤓

Today’s the day…

It’s time to work hard and put our hearts into everything we do.

Day 1. All in.

Let’s go!!!

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