“Get to” versus “Have to”

A recent guest on my podcast, UnYielded: Thriving No Matter What, was Pat Carroll.  He was on the St. Joe’s perfect season back in 2003-2004, where they finished the college basketball season as the top ranked team in the country.  They made it to the Elite Eight and were 1 shot away from the Final Four.  He went on to play professionally and he brings that same winning mentality to his role as a Pharmaceutical sales leader.  I learned so much during our conversation! You can listen to it here.

One of the great distinctions that Pat made is that the most successful players had a mindset towards practice that was different than that of the less successful players.  The great players viewed practice as “they get to practice” instead of “they had to practice.” 

It seems like a simple distinction but it truly makes a tremendous impact on the way that we feel about the activity:  is it a privilege or is it a burden

Years ago, I heard Zig Ziglar tell a story of a woman whose mom was in a nursing home.  Every Tuesday, the woman would leave work and say, “I have to go visit mom tonight.”  Then the woman’s mother passed away and the following Tuesday, as the woman was leaving work, she began to cry and she said, “I will never get to visit my mom again.” 

That story has always stuck with me and when I find myself saying, “I have to do . . .” I stop myself and ask:  Do I have to do this or do I get to do this?   If it truly is a “have to” then I need to re-evaluate why I’m doing it in the first place.  If it is a “get to” then I can embrace it with gratitude.