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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hurt versus Injured

One of the things that I've noticed about the best athletes who have risen to the top of their sports is they have learned the difference between being hurt and being injured. The best athletes know how much pain their bodies can take. They know if their body is just aching and hurting from the wear and tear of a long season or if they really have a serious injury. When an athlete is truly injured, they are forced not to play the game. They have to sit on the sidelines and watch and coach the other players until they heal up. The best athletes who lead their teams to championships learn how to play hurt. They don't miss games when it really matters because they are hurt. I think about the NBA Finals that just wrapped up a few weeks ago. Both the Lakers and the Celtics played a long season. Both teams had players that had to miss games toward the end of the regular season due to injuries. But when the playoffs started, the best athletes were on the floor and played through their hurts, bruises and pain.

As leaders, we have to know the difference between being hurt versus being injured. When a leader is injured, they need to take time off to get healed up, but when a leader is hurt, they need to learn to push through the pain and lead well. There are many leaders who stop leading well when they are hurt. They easily forget that there are people counting on them and their leadership during difficult times. They easily forget that during hurting times, they are setting the pace and culture of their organizations. They easily forget that if they don't play when they are hurt, their team won't play when they are hurt. Your team is watching how you lead and respond during hurting and difficult seasons. Teams that do great things over the long haul have leaders that learn to lead and lead well during hurting and difficult seasons.