Don’t give up. Get started. That’s where the real work begins

Ever feel like you want to skip that workout? Blow off that meeting? Put off practicing that presentation?

Of course you have. We all have. Our instincts tell us to stop doing stuff that stresses us out.

Case in point: I’m a Detroit Lions fans. That’s a team that has won exactly two playoff games in the last 57 years. Giving up on the Lions is an annual rite of passage. Last December, after they lost six of their last seven games to miss the playoffs yet again, I grabbed my Lions sweatshirt and two Lions hats and threw them in the trash, vowing never to root for that sorry team again.

That’s what Benjamin Zander would call “The F**k It.” (The asterisks are mine. This is a family blog, damn it.)

It’s that moment when you just give up. No workout today. No presentation tonight. No more Detroit Lions — ever.

What separates the superstars from the rest of us is their ability to go “Beyond The F**k It” — BTFI, as Zander calls it. It means going beyond where you ordinarily would have stopped. Everyone hits the wall each day, but our best work gets done when we break through the wall and go BTFI.

“Where is the electric socket for possibility, the access to the energy of transformation?” Zander asks in his best-selling book The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life. “It’s just there over the bar line, where the bird soars. We can join it by finding the tempo and lean our bodies to the music; dare to let go of the edges of ourselves … participate!”

It’s not easy to do. Complacency and apathy are powerful things. BTFI requires resilience, passion, and an iron grip on our “why” — the reason that drives us to do what we do.

But those who get there do more than great work. They inspire others to do great work, too. What do you do when the people you work with routinely go beyond their breaking points and do awesome stuff? I’ll bet my next paycheck that you try to follow suit. Great effort is contagious. The harder you work, the harder those around you work. Great stuff gets done BTFI.

When you find yourself saying “F**k it,” that’s when the real work begins.

For the record, five months after I tossed out my Lions gear, I went BTFI and bought three tickets to the team’s Oct. 5 game in Detroit.

They lost.

For us Lions fans, BTFI is a way of life.


Bill Sheridan