Updated: Mar 22
Before we can get to the star of our article, the exceptional Raymond Berry, let us take a look at what brought me to my conversation with him about what it takes to be great.
So, it all started with this phrase, “Good enough.”
Let’s take up this feeling.
What does “good enough” feel like?
Think about it.
We’ve all experienced that feeling.
We know what it’ll take to get the job done. We know just how much effort it’ll take, how much energy, and just how much time.
We know. We do it, and it gets done.
How does it feel?
Pretty good, right?
We accomplished something! : )
But wait! That’s the problem.
It feels good. Kinda happy. Kinda satisfied.
That's the trap.
We’ve done exactly enough to get it done.
But have we done enough to create an exceptional experience or something that we are proud of?
Have we done enough to create that fantastic life we know we want to live?
Are we giving all we can? Are we firing on all cylinders? Are we sparkling and shining with excitement about the future? Are we breaking our own records, creating new discoveries or even solving problems only we can.
So, if the answer is no, then we have to ask ourselves what it would feel like to live beyond good enough.
We’ve discussed in various forms and subjects, the idea of being an ARTIST and what it has to do with Mastering Your Craft. Does good enough measure up to Mastering Your Craft?
In a word, "No."
There is a magical word that most people don't realize separates out good enough from exceptional and I have been lucky enough to have come to know a man who understands it all too well. He is the father of a dear friend so I had an opportunity to visit with him.
His name is Raymond Berry.
Raymond Berry is a Hall of Fame football player who led the NFL in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, in 1959, becoming the fourth player to record a "triple crown" in receiving. What makes all this beyond exceptional is that he accomplished all this with one leg shorter than the other.
He went on to become the head coach of the New England Patriots deep into their very troubled season of 1984. The very next year, under his leadership, he took his team to the Superbowl. It was simply an extraordinary feat! A season filled with grit and determination and ending with the unthinkable - 3 away playoff games! But they did it. They won all three and made it to the Superbowl. Who is this guy? How in the world did he take a team that was underperforming and suddenly inspire them to want to give everything they could to go beyond enough?
Well, early on Raymond wasn't considered a gifted athlete. In fact, he wasn't even a starter on his high school football team until he was a senior (and his dad was the coach)! No, he was a solid, dependable receiver, but he had something the rest didn’t. I’ll tell you what that is in a minute. What I will tell you is that he noticed something that changed everything. Every season, it took a few games before the players were in shape enough to play at their best. So, he did something no other players did, he made sure he was in great shape for game 1. The rest of the players spent the season catching up to him. It was a great advantage physically, mentally, and emotionally.
He had decided that knowing what was agreed upon to get the job done wasn’t enough. His decision changed the game of football. It elevated the sport. It demanded more from the players.
I wanted to know more so, while visiting a year or so ago, I had to ask him, "So, what’s the secret? As a player, what was it specifically that elevated your game? And how did you as a coach decide who was the best of the best when they were all so talented?"
He said, “It’s actually quite easy to see if you know what you are looking for and what we looked for was "drive". You can’t coach drive. That comes from within. That’s deciding that what is good enough today might not be good enough for tomorrow so I’m going to keep working. That’s the player who is never going to stop learning."
He added, "That's the player you want on your team.”
Wow. There ya go!
"The most prepared are the most dedicated." - Raymond Berry